‘Krita Yuga’ was the time when Prana is said to be identified at bone level. In ‘Dwapara Yuga’ it was flesh oriented and in this age of ‘Kali’, Prana is dependent on food. This is characteristic of the Yug. When this evolutionary process is closely looked at, it appears that this age of ‘Kali’ is a sacred time.
The man in ‘Krita Yuga’ lived in the conviction that all that exists is ‘Paramatma’ and as long as he lived, he kept connected to the source through Sadhanas like Tapas, Dhyana and Yoga. Strengthened with the austerities, he lived the full life span.
In Treta Yug, the Sadhaka tread the path of Sadhana through Yajnas and the like to reach Paramatma. In that age Prana was flesh oriented.
In ‘Dwapara Yuga’, instances such as the vow of Bhima indicate that the Prana was at blood level.
In the present age of ‘Kali’, even though the above austerities are followed, due to the influence of civilization, Jiva became food oriented. Against this background, the first phrase uttered by Amma…. “Come after having your food!’. Have food first! Then come to me!
The five sheaths
The hungry man will not listen to Vedanta. Moral principles are unnecessary for him. Only after satiating hunger and by being alive, other things matter! Man has five sheaths. They are ‘Annamaya’, ‘Pranamaya’, ‘Manomaya’ ‘Vijnanamaya’ and ‘Anandamaya’ Kosas (sheaths). If the body is to sustain, food is needed. Food when given lovingly, graciously, compassionately and above all affectionately, it becomes purified and leads to spiritual contemplation. The food gets charged with the ‘Bhaava’ with which it is prepared. When bodily and Pranic powers (Shaktis) manifest in a coordinated way, the ‘Annamaya Kosha (food sheath) and ‘Pranamaya Kosha (Pranic sheath) are formed. When the body that moves about and the Shakti that propels it align and begin to function, that is when the body goes about in appropriate ways with proper food, there arises another Kosa reflecting peace, contentment and pleasantness. That is ‘Manomaya Kosa’. Mind is the aggregation of many thoughts. It does not bear any form. It is a field which is very powerful. The foundation of the mind is ‘Annamaya Kosa’. When the food is given affectionately, it becomes fragrant and gracious. The thoughts emanating from such a mind will be cultured and love-laden. The thoughts of such a compassionate mind make the Sadhaka, a ‘Sadhu’, a soft and agreeable person.
The mind with qualities such as patience, peace and stability will lead the person from bondage to a state of freedom while living in the society enabling maintenance of cordial relations with humane thoughts. Mind is the reason for bondage and freedom. Hence the one who is desirous of ‘Moksha’ has to take care of the ‘Annamaya Kosa’ first. That is why Amma fed people in the first place which retained Prana and led to the efforts to contain the mind. Though the process appeared casual, behind the affectionate feeding there is a profound spiritual teaching. Those who are well provided have to rescue those who are under privileged and afflicted. It is not a civilized society if there is a hungry soul and beings die for want of food. A culture-less nation can not live long.
Whatever is the food, similar is Bhaava,
Whatever is the Bhaava, similar is the language,
Whatever is the language, that is personality.
Body, vitality and mind are a wonderful ‘Triputi’ (band of three). The person who is equal to the divine has to be constantly on guard with these states. These are the basis of ‘Iccha’ (initiative), ‘Kriya’ (action) and ‘Jnana’ (knowledge). If one entertains the good wish of welfare of everybody, self-less action which does good to the society, wisdom and discretionary knowledge are essential for which the basis is food. Every one and every thing having Prana is food-bound. That is why whatever Amma spoke or pointed at, the emphasis is always on partaking of food. For this to happen, the ‘House of All’ with long lines of people sitting side by side at one place to take food evolved. For hunger there is no distinction of caste and creed. It is the reason for ‘Vatsalyam’ becoming a unique ‘Vijnanamaya Kosa’ devoid of bonds and bounds, discriminations and reservations.
The state of non doer-ship
Authority on Shastras, keen grasp of matters, complete understanding of analytical issues, and philosophy applied in daily life are the strengths inherent in ‘Vijnanamaya Kosa’. That is why scientists, great poets, widely read scholars, persons leading pious and ideal lives, teachers adept in Vedanta and Tattwa, eminent Acharyas who sang devotional Kirtans, a kaleidoscopic cross section of humanity including foreigners, flocked to Jillellamudi and it is transformed into ‘Vijnanamaya’ field. When this happens, all that exists is joy. While the Upanishats glanced at the states of the five Kosas, Amma with out discriminating caste and creed, unfolded them very easily with ease and poise.
The devout children asked Amma, “Amma..! What should be done on your fiftieth birthday?”
“What is there to do? I would like to see one lakh people eating food together!”… Amma replied.
In the remote Jillellamudi village having no facilities or infrastructure, in a single day, a lakh and twenty eight thousand persons took food. Is it a miracle? Grace? Or Amma’s love? “Did I feed them? Every one of them ate their own food here”.
This statement of Amma reveals her state of non doer-ship. All those mothers and grandmothers who gave food are not real Mothers. The feeding should be an outpouring quality of natural Motherhood. Amma’s teaching makes us learn this. That is why she is ‘Matrusri’ !!