Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why Paramatma should turn to become Jivatma

26th February 2013 - Tuesday

One question posed to Amma in today's satsang was "Why the nameless and formless God, the Paramatman should become a Jivatman (Individual soul)?  If Paramatman has no attributes, where from God's love came?"

The gist of Amma's reply was as below:

It is indeed true that what exists in reality is Paramatman. Only the individuals feel they are separate because of their identification with ego. (Amma used to say frequently 'everything is created by God, but ego is our own creation').  Think of a pot that gets immersed into a ocean. What exists outside and inside the pot is nothing but the ocean water. (Ocean is akin to Brahman and the ocean water inside the pot is akin to jiva). It is the pot that seemingly creates a feeling that the water inside is different from the water outside. Our ego is like the pot.

Out true nature (Atman/Brahman) is like a sweet pudding. Just like mixing hot chilli or salt with sweet pudding (and spoiling its taste) our ego functions as the hot chilli or salt to prevent us to enjoy the bliss of our  true nature.

We all breathe the same air in the atmosphere. Whatever portion of air that one breaths cannot be claimed as one’s own.

Gold is same whether the ornament is a necklace, ear ring or bracelet. Wood is same whether the furniture is a table, chair or a cot. It is God who created the gold and wood. It is we who make ornaments and furniture and treat them as different.

With ego comes I and mine. When we are in deep sleep state (‘Shushupti’) we don't have any knowledge of the existence of our body, mind or intellect. We have no feelings of mine -- "my house", "my watch" etc. But we do experience a state of bliss that is felt, but not expressive at that state. When we wake up our ego rises up with the feelings of "I" and "mine". Thus the same person who existed as nameless and formless in the state of Sushupthi is the one now having a name and body at wake up state. (In a similar way, Brahman and jivan exist).

We have the feeling of mine to things -- "My watch", "My house", "My car" etc. When we start discriminating: "This is my watch, am I the watch?", the answer is no. "This is my house; am I the house?" - No. In the same trend, if we question "This is my body; Am I the body?", the real answer is no. But unfortunately, we identify the body as "I". That's where the problem lies.

(We have to understand that our wakeful state is also like a dream).

In our dream, suppose we see a thief breaking open our vault and stealing our golden ornaments, we get grief and we start crying. But when we wake up, we grasp immediately that it was after all a dream and we have nothing to grieve about. Likewise, when the true spiritual  awakening happens in us, we understand that we are none other than the Brahman and all duality like pleasure and pain, love and hatred, happiness and anger vanish.

All of us know our real existence deep inside us. The knowledge of our oneness with Brahman is with us like a seed. Just as the seed is product of the tree and it contains the future tree in it, our Jivatma has the Brahman inside it.

All of us love ourselves. It is because our true nature is love.

Only in the outlook of a Gnyani, God is without name and form. For a devotee (Bhakta), the concept of Brahman is with name and form. A devotee (like we love ourselves) loves THAT God form.

As long as "I" and "you" exist, the feeling of "I love you" exists. Once true realization dawns and the unity is grasped, the feeling ends up as "I am love".

It is only through sadhana, we can grasp our true divine nature. It is like a process of purification of sewage water into good water.

The overwhelming compassion over the erring person – that’s Amma’s way!

27th February 2013 Tuesday

Yet another day to get enthralled by Amma’s way! A day of learning what true spirituality is; what it means to be compassionate; how one should accept things in an Ashram if one wants spiritual progress.

Amma came for Tuesday Satsang at the main hall at about 11:20 and the usual meditation session began It was Swami Amritaswarupanandapuri  who gave the guiding instructions for meditation today.  He was also the translator of Amma’s words to English.

In the Q-A session that followed, the very first slip of paper that Amma read was really a complaint letter.  Several Brahmacharinis had signed that letter and it was about the misbehavior of one young western devotee (woman) who is an in-mate of the Ashram. 

This western woman, whose seva responsibility is cleaning and up-keeping of the Kali temple, wanted a place to sit very close to Amma for the Tuesday Satsang. When Amma’s venue got changed to main hall instead of Kali temple today, this woman, along with several other brahmacharinis rushed to reserve their vantage spots with their mats. This western woman could not tolerate other Brahmacharinis reserving the closest spot; she reportedly  got very angry, kicked one of them at the waist, threw away their meditation mats, caught hold of the neck of a girl and threatened to kill her! She was also shouting very abusive language at them.  Several westerners who were new to this place reportedly got a shock of seeing such an unruly behavior in this holy ashram.

The letter stated that this woman has been center of such undisciplined behavior frequently and many inmates are simply afraid of her.  It ended up requesting Amma to give guidance to the woman as well as to the others to tide over such situations.

Amma’s first reaction was that inmates should be careful enough in their behavior and nothing should be done to create a bad impression about the Ashram. People expect this place to be an abode of peace and spirituality and any such incidences will be really shocking and confusing to them.
That said, then Amma, the compassionate mother took over!

“You see, this woman has had a highly unpleasant, torturous and painful life right from her childhood; she is mentally troubled. Because of the negativities she has experienced in her life, she tends to get violent at times. It is only natural that she wants to get closer to Amma and is eager to receive and experience Amma’s love and compassion. 

“You all have to be patient with her; be forbearing with her. If she wants a seat closer to Amma, why don’t you simply allow her and  just give her the space? 

“You have all come to Amma with a lofty goal. We should all evolve ourselves to see God in every one.”
Amma’s justice was thus delivered. No inquiry, no cross examination, no pronouncement of the guilty, no declaration of punishment!

Amma then finally added something with a laugh “Children! Don’t you all start citing your past mental troubles and start behaving like this and justifying your behavior! Then this place will become a mental asylum!”

Saturday, February 23, 2013

How to manage your anger

21st February 2013 - Thursday

The ashram started bubbling with activity as Amma returned from north India tour on 19th afternoon. Amma came to Kali Temple on 20th afternoon and started giving darshan to Western devotees and other stray visitors.

On 21st evening, Amma came to beach and she spent a brief while alone at the beach without her devotees hanging around close to her. After a while, all were called in.

Amma wanted to know how clean the rooms of Brahmacharis are. Amma for sure must be knowing that many Brahmacharis don't keep their rooms clean and particularly after the long, tiring and physically taxing tour, most of them  would have opted to take rest without bothering to clean up their rooms that  remained unoccupied for several weeks.

 When Amma posed the question, several brahmacharis have to confess the truth! Amma, in Guru bhava, took them to task and directed several of them to go back to clean their rooms immediately -- that would be the meditation for them that evening!

Once this was settled, Amma began the  meditation session. Then came the Q-A session. Amma posed this question: "How to manage anger and keep it under control?" and sought response from inmates.  After a while Amma aired her views on it. The gist of her talk was as follows:

"A physical wound caused by you may heal, but a wound caused by angry words would take quite a long time to heal. One approach to expressing anger could be to treat the target person of your anger as your own child. With our child, even though we may get angry, the anger would not be venomous not would it last long.
"Another approach is to consciously delay our response when we are provoked. Instead of reacting with anger on face, we can write down our feelings and emotions in a piece of paper. That would really prove to be a good emotional outlet for us and we may feel far less relieved by doing so. Once our initial and immediate reaction is curtailed, we get an opportunity to cool down and then review the matter in a more objective manner. At that point of time, we may not really feel the same intensity of anger and we could even appreciate the offender's action."

Amma narrated the following story to explain this:

"Once a famous professor gave a lecture at a gathering. The next day, he received a letter from one of his audience. It mentioned that what the professor lectured that day had a few mistakes and adivised the professor to avoid such mistakes in his next lectures.

"The professor became very angry. He felt 'I am such a knowledgeable and experienced person in this field; I am so much respected and people throng to my lectures to hear what I say; how dare this person find fault with me! What an arrogance! No. I cannot allow this to happen'.

"The professor thought of filing a defamation suite against this person; he even wanted to engage thugs and give a physical beating to that critic!

He took a piece of paper and wrote a very strongly worded reply to the person. Unfortunately, before he could post it, the time for that day's mail was over. The professor kept that letter beside his bed so that he can remember to post it early next morning.

Next morning, when he woke up, he felt like reading his letter once before posting it. After going through it, the professor felt that the letter was too harsh; he sat down to rewrite it to make it more sober. As he was about to post it, he thought "If my mind could change so much over a day, why not I postpone sending this letter for another day and make a fresh review tomorrow?" He retained the letter on his table.

The next day, the professorre read the letter that he had received from the critic and also his re-written reply. He now felt "Oh! The mistakes that this person found in my lecture are true indeed; why should I write negatively to him then? I should actually be thankful to him for bringing my slips to my notice". He sat down to write a fresh letter thanking the person for pointing out his mistakes; he invited the person for lunch in a restaurant as he wished to meet him in person.

The other person obliged. It was actually a woman and as they met and talked to each other they developed liking for each other. Soon, it blossomed into love; the professor proposed to her and she accepted; soon they got married!

* * * *
When Br. Subhamrita translated this story in English, he added his mischief by concluding the story with his own statement "Then the professor remained angry for the rest of his life!"

The whole of the audience burst into laughter and Amma too joined laughing aloud and also yelling "I never said so!"