(continued from last issue)
- When Amma demonstrated through her life, ministration and teachings the righteous path, why are people not able to take a cue and adapt the teachings in their lives?
It may not be correct to state that Amma’s teachings were not heard and not followed. Many people who came into contact with her or even read about her were transformed for good. Generally the greatness of Mahatmas is not realized by many during their lifetime. When the Mahatma is in a body, the ordinary perception is to view him or her as another person. The ego-directed minds, unless cleansed of the impurities and negative vasanas, cannot appreciate the divine in the garb of a human frame. The attributes of the great ones can be sensed by those who have positive traits to some extent. But gradually the world is coming to know of Amma and Her directions. The very fact that you are interested to know more about Amma and questioning is in itself a proof of this.
- In such an event, the community around Her in Jillellamudi where Amma lived for several decades would be an ideal role model for the world to follow. Is it not so?
In the experience of untainted Love, the six strangleholds (Arishadvargas) loosen their hold. An awakening into a genuine human dimension happens. The conscience is cleansed. The change happens naturally and unobtrusively. From worshiping the person, worshiping the ideals starts. Doors to a new way of life open. This silent inward journey does not cause inconvenience to any and gradually moves towards the Self-enquiry. That is how under Amma’s indirect tutelage, Jillellamudi evolved as a humanistic center not embroiled in dogmatic arguments and counter arguments. This is the religion resolved by Amma. A cool shelter is built by Amma which invites mankind in deep self infected strife. What Amma expounded is not a new religion nor did she indicate a new way. She widened the narrowing paths and showed the proper way.
The absence of commercialism and consumerism holds Jillellamudi in its pristine spiritualism.
- Coming to certain concepts which seem to have been looked at from a different dimension by Amma, for instance, the concepts of good and bad, merit and sin, need some elucidation to see cohesion in them. Would you give your view points?
As already said elsewhere, the indications of Amma have to be read in the correct context. However, on the subject of good and bad, Amma’s observation is that they co-existed always and are relative. Centuries of moralizing did not wipe away the so-called sinful behavior. Amma’s views are very explicit on these aspects. They cut across the societal norms acceptable and unacceptable.
It calls for a very open and deep appreciation of human behavior. 50. This interesting exposition creates hope in those persons with the so called sinful tendencies and actions. What did Amma say when such persons approached her and presented their problem?
Amma advised them not to worry about it at all. The sense of complete surrender will lead to peace and will loosen the stranglehold of the undesirable tendencies. Needless to say utmost sincerity is the prerequisite for such an approach to have desirable effect.
She never drew a line between good and bad. She felt all that as a state of mind. Attitude defines and mind derives.
- Were there instances when Mother gave some assurance that she would help the aspirant in the process?
Certainly! Amma assured that she would take all the responsibility upon herself in this process of letting go. Her words: “You see… this is my state; you may go out and smear yourself with mud, but when you return home, I bathe you and feed you.” This is the position.
- That is very reassuring! But is it not advocating regression which could lead to the characteristic irresponsibility of childhood?
It would be easy to misconstrue this promise. A superficial reading out of the context of Amma’s teachings as a whole might give the impression you expressed. The real sense of her words is far more sublime. Amma, by her statement, is advocating an innocent trust in the protective reality of the divine. In fact, all the great spiritual Masters have insisted that only a child-like trust in the omnipresent support of the Creative Principle, call it God, Shakti, Karta, Mother or by any other name, can liberate us from anxieties arising out of exclusive dependence on our own efforts. To throw responsibility on God is not to shirk it, but to recognize that there is a greater force than our own isolated ego at work in the universe and the ultimate success or failure lies beyond our personal control. What the Mahatmas do is to create a conducive environment through their words and deeds so that by its soothing influence, the murky waters of perception become clearer and one would be able to see things and issues for what they are.
- So, one has to fully appreciate the fact that unless earnest efforts are put in, the aspirant might not make progress in the spiritual path. How can a novice in spirituality know the path best suited to him? They say that there are Karma, Bhakti, Yoga and Jnana paths. What did Amma say on these subjects?
First, it is to be understood that the four approaches are not mutually exclusive but are complimentary. Depending on one’s nature, a person will be drawn more towards a particular path. The starting point however is Bhakti, a belief in a Shakti or even himself. Whatever one does is Karma. Karma is inert and neutral. The Bhava behind the performance of the Karma is important. A surgeon cuts the flesh with compassion and a criminal uses the knife to harm. While the act appears the same, the motive behind the act is different.
Yoga is not merely doing some postures with the body. In Ashtanga Yoga, there are several stages which will fine tune not only the body but the breath and Prana. Jnana is a ripened stage.