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Conversations with Amma

Magazine : Viswajanani
Language : English
Volume Number : 13
Month : May
Issue Number : 10
Year : 2014

Brother: That means, whatever I do, I should dedicate it to God.

Amma: If you can do it you are really blessed. We may talk of surrender, but we really don’t understand what it is. We call Him Omnipresent, but we need a form to bow before. We are too small to visualize Him, see Him in everything, feel His presence everywhere. We say He is Omniscient, but keep on worrying about the execution of our work, its consequences, the success etc. We take the responsibility on our shoulders and do not leave anything to Him.

Brother: So, if we believe in you, have faith in you, think of you, and rely on you completely, we attain God. But you have not answered my question. Is it knowledge or faith and devotion that help us reach our spiritual goals?

Amma: The grain contains rice. But how do we get the food from this? We have to separate the rice from the grain, remove the husk, and then cook it. To cook the rice, you need a vessel, fuel and a person who cooks it. Devotion and knowledge are like the fuel and vessel to cook rice. They are complementary to each other, not opposed to each other. They are the props that help you reach God. According to me you need both.

We may talk of surrender, but we really don’t understand what it is. We call Him Omnipresent, but we need a form to bow before. We say He is Omniscient, but keep on worrying about the execution of our work, its consequences, the success etc.


There is a lot of discussion, disagreement and division regarding different spiritual practices, religious pursuits, rigorous self discipline, the food to be taken, the dress to be worn, the hours of prayer etc. There are also hair splitting arguments regarding various sects of religion, the superiority or otherwise of each religion, its sect and sub sect. Amma did not advocate any particular sect but believed in the everlasting, the pristine truth. She explained the most abstract and complex truth in the simplest possible terms.

On the 17th Oct.57, a swamiji met Amma with all his disciples. He was not very happy to know that people come from far off places to have her darshan, hold her in high esteem and throng around her. He was very curious to see her and to judge her for himself. Following conversation took place between him and Amma.

Swamiji: What is your spiritual pursuit?

Amma: The most ordinary and common. Like everyone else’s.

Swamiji: What are your food habits?

Amma: I believe in everything that is normal. My food is also normal, like everyone else’s.

Swamiji-[derisively] So you have neither specific spiritual pursuits nor food restrictions!

Amma was silent.

Swamiji shoots a volley of questions.

Swamiji: Who is your favorite God?

Amma: Everything divine is dear to me. I see and feel God in everything. Everything is divine and dear to me.

Swamiji; How do you perceive the world around you? What do you think of it?

Amma; The trees look like trees. The houses look like houses. Everything looks as it is.

Swamiji: Where do they come from?

Amma: They appear to come from the earth.

Swamiji: How can you say this? The tree must have sprouted from the seed. Where did the seed come from?

Amma: Whatever is there in nature, whatever has life, takes birth.

Swamiji: It must have come from somewhere. Where has it come from?

Amma: Nothing comes from anywhere. It is where it has been all these ages. Whatever is inside emerges.

Swamiji-[annoyed with these replies, asks in a loud voice,] What is Advaita? What is Vishistadvaita? Have you at least heard these words?

Amma: [taking a banana in hand] I think this banana, with the skin is Adwaita. It is that philosophy which talks of the oneness of the individual soul, Jeevatma and the universal soul, Paramatma.[she peels the skin and shows the skin and the banana separately, and says] this is Dwaita-the philosophy which says, the individual soul is separate from the universal soul.

Swamiji: You said the earth gives everything. What gives support to the earth?

Amma: The earth supports itself.

Swamiji: What about you? Who supports you?

Amma: I am my own support.

Swamiji: You have sanskara. But you don’t have knowledge of the scriptures.

Amma: Scriptures don’t give experience. Experience is at the root of scriptures. It is more desirable and valuable.

Swamiji: scriptures are essential for your spiritual pursuits. They are like the touchstone that tests the purity of gold. They are not born for people like you.

Swamiji gets up with these words and storms out.


Why does one make offerings to God, or to someone who they consider is Godly? Can an offering better or alter your fate? Amma speaks about this.

Amma was sitting in the veranda and some visitors were sitting with her discussing their problems, seeking solutions to their problems and trying to get their doubts clarified. A young boy of sixteen brought her a golden sticker. [Bottu the vermilion which the Hindu women put between their eye-brows]

Amma: Why did you bring it for me?

The boy kept silent. She tried to return it but he did not take it.

Boy: No, no, it is for you.

Amma: [with a smile] Are you going for an exam?

Boy: [nodding his head]; Yes, Amma.

Amma: I will take it, but remember there is no connection between this offering and your exams. If you succeed tomorrow, it is not because of me or this offering you have made to me. If you fail, then also, don’t blame me. Failure or success cannot be attributed to me. Your destiny remains the same in spite of the offerings

Your destiny remains the same in spite of your offerings.

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