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Conversations with Amma

Pothukuchi Jhansi Lakshmi Bai, Y.Kameswari
Magazine : Viswajanani
Language : English
Volume Number : 14
Month : September
Issue Number : 2
Year : 2014

Amma: Suppose I ask you who do you love better, me or your child, your choice naturally falls on your child. Your flesh and blood holds your complete attention, concern and love. If you say you love me better than your child, you are not a true mother. But if you get a second child, your attention is diverted to him. It does not mean you love the elder one less.

Sister: In the same way, when we meet new comers, sometimes we drift away from the old ones. After sometime, we may drift away to still newer acquaintances. Thus it goes on.

Amma: Yes, but nearness or distance is not always physical. If you do not come here, if you cannot see me for sometime, don’t think there is a distance between us, don’t think I love you less. The child living closer to the mother enjoys better comforts, but the one staying away has a larger share of her love. One who is prosperous may offer a large donation to me; a poor man may bring me his devotion. Both are equally dear to me-rather the poorer devotee is dearer to me. Not only human beings, but every living thing in creation– including the dogs and cats that roam in and around here are dear to me.

The child living closer to the mother enjoys better comforts, but the one staying away has a larger share of her love.


Brother: Do you think there will be a third world war?

Amma; I cannot say.

Brother: If it takes place, there will be no one to help India. I am scared of being left alone.

Amma: Why do you talk of external help? Do we, as a country, help each other? There is a barrier between one man and another, a barrier of jealousy, a barrier of hatred, greed and rivalry. We erect barriers of caste, creed, language; we create barriers between one race and another, forgetting we are one nation. Look at it in a different way. What is a nation? A few villages put together are called a district, a few districts put together are a state and a few states together make a country. But we don’t realize the greater oneness of the nation but think of our own small, little place. We divide ourselves into so many smaller units. If we can surmount these barriers, and feel the inner, deeper harmony, the oneness of ourselves, if we can substitute ‘WE’ for ‘I’ we can expect external help.

Brother: Yes, you are right. We must also stop taking external help for granted.

Amma: Yes, but when we really become one as a nation and respect the rich culture of this ancient land, we grow strong and powerful. Take for example, the sanctity accorded to marriage in India. To live with a man who is afflicted with pox, or who lost his wealth or who is disabled in an accident is considered the height of sacrifice in many countries. To live together despite all odds, in the face of adversity is the most natural thing in India. Here in India, people do sympathize with your misfortune, they understand the differences that grow between the wife and husband, but they expect you to live together, especially when things go against you. In India, marriage is a holy union not only between two bodies, but between two hearts and souls.

But unfortunately, we are losing sight of this rich heritage. We live in self erected compartments which are too narrow and too stifling. Suppose you want to take up a job in a state other than your own. How many problems do  you have to face? You must know the language of that state. You must have studied there for sometime. You are compelling people to confine themselves to one small area; Larger and more important issues like caliber and qualification are put on the back burner. We have become too parochial.

Brother: Who is responsible for all this?

Amma: I do not blame anyone. These are the characteristics of this age. You blame individuals and institutions. I call it Yuga Dharma-the nature of the age we live in. Even if someone wants to be helpful, friendly and truthful, others won’t allow them to be so. Gandhiji said that politics cannot be separated from righteousness. How many nations realize this or understand the need for this?

Brother: Even religion is manipulated for political ends. With some people, visiting a temple has become a thing.

Amma: The temple or the church is within you, part of you. We follow a particular religion, observe certain rituals but lose the real spirit of religion. We concentrate on the dregs and forget to enjoy the sweet nectar which is brimful and bubbling in the cup.

The temple or church is within you, part of you.


Worldly wealth, social status, power and plenty have no meaning for Amma. Her love and all pervading benevolence make her a mother to everyone. One couple came to meet Amma and the following conversation took place between them.

Brother: I have been planning to visit you for a long time, but somehow I could not make it. Soon I will be leaving for Japan. I sincerely request you to visit my place and bless me before I leave the country.

Amma: I will come at a suitable time, not now. Don’t feel unhappy, thinking that Amma has turned down your invitation. If I come, I would like to visit everyone in the village. You are well off, enjoy a certain status in society, and have official recognition. Even if I don’t visit you, you can always come to me. But there are many who cannot do this. They can’t afford the fare. You have brought so many offerings to me. – but there are many who cannot bring me even a fruit. These people bring to me only their devotion. They would like to talk to me, pour out their grief, and seek solutions and solace to their problems. As a mother I too would like to spend some time with them, console them and empathize with them. A mother cannot but be loving to her children. My heart goes out to everyone.

Brother: When you come to my house, you can visit everyone.

Amma: But just now I don’t have much  time to visit your village and talk to everyone. I don’t feel happy visiting only your house neglecting all the others. I will definitely come, when I have a little more time which I can spend with all my children. My mother’s heart wants to see everyone happy.

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