Over the years, many spiritual children of Amma who were drawn to her and to Jillellamudi again and again and who kept her in their hearts developed some of the noble traits of Amma to a remarkable degree. Such transformation in their personality was brought about in a natural way by the benign influence of Amma. Countless persons were prompted unobtrusively to embrace some austerity suited to their nature.
Unveiling and interpreting eternal truths and dharma in his/ her deeds and words to suit contemporary times is what an Avatar does. Amma is an avatar. Avatar is the manifestation of infinite power in finite form.
What Amma wanted to convey to the world by her deeds? The saga of Amma is replete with innumerable instances of transforming people’s lower nature to nobler through the alchemy of her unconditional love.
Why the world did not look up to Amma when she pointed to a direct path to emancipate oneself, more so when she demonstrated them through her actions? The answer is not easy to come by. In today’s society where commercial considerations are ruling roost and unobtrusiely entering and influencing human relations, deeper introspection into matters of this sort is considered as unwise, impractical and not suited to the times. And in Amma’s words, ‘the ordained moment should come’.
Let us try to understand a message Amma gave on Sadhana. Some of Amma’s sayings which are seemingly simple are like hot embers covered with ash. Thus they have to be contemplated upon deeply. The real import of Amma’s words dawn in a purified mind. Perhaps the mind when purified enough by jettisoning unwanted baggage of undersirable tendencies and makes room for the Shakti to enter, the import of the words becomes clear. The first step is of course to start with words but the real Sadhaka can not afford to remain parroting the words and stuck only with the literal meaning of her priceless words.
Amma gave utmost importance to the intent than the action. In her view, intent which starts with an impulse leads to an action. Thus in a sense, even the intent also is an act. Amma’s saying ‘contemplation is also action’ supports this. In a cultivated and pure mind, there arise Sankalpas which lead to good actions.
Amma with deep perception said ‘Sankalpa is Samsara’. Thus if there has to be a benevolent action, the Sankalpa should be pure and self-less. For such Sankalpas to rise, one has to make an effort to keep his mind pure. Amma said in one context that what we need to pray to a higher power, call it God or Shakti, is for a pure mind. If that is there, good Sankalpas are generated which culminate in good actions. Perhaps the process of purification of the mind can be termed as ‘Sadhana’. There is another dimension here. As the process of purification goes on there is the possibility of intuition flashing in the consciousness which is the Sankalpa of the higher power. That is how the higher power works through pure ‘Upadhis’. If this kind of thinking is accepted, there is a certain amount of effort to be put in on the part of the individual which is ‘Sadhana’.
Coming to the dimensions of Sadhana, Amma’s Vaakyam (saying) is ‘Saadhyamainade saadhana’ (in vernacular telugu). Rendered into English it reads ‘Sadhana (spiritual practice) is not what is prescribed but what is practiced.
The ways of ‘Sadhana’ Amma advocated look different from what generally goes by that name. And they appear common place and seemingly simple. Some times they appear to be not in accordance with the Shastras but by internalizing and whole heartedly accepting the ‘practical philosophic truths’ Amma is pointing at, one would see that the ways of ‘Sadhana’ are differently told by Amma and after all they are not different from what Shastras said.
Amma did not encourage the dry, dogmatic theories and practices which are not appropriate for the changing times. She infused new meaning into the religious and spiritual practices. Amma, with her deep introspective research into men, matters and things delved into their core and as such what she revealed on issues such as Sadhana are fresh and practical, though unconventional. Devoid of the many layers of trite traditions and irrational rituals, what Amma indicated is eminently applicable in daily life. Or it may be apt to say that the way one leads life itself becomes Sadhana.
Some persons, after looking to some sayings of Amma started wondering whether any Sadhana is to be done at all for spiritual progress. Amma did not discourage Sadhana. In Amma’s view, only what one can actually do should be called Sadhana. In other words ‘It is not that you get something after doing a Sadhana but to be able to recognize such an opportunity itself is Sadhana’. To eleborate this concept, worship of God’s image with flowers is not limited to the time of worship but the idea to grow plants for flowers to worship God and tending to them also is worship. It has become possible for a person to grow flowering plants and perhaps the mental contemplation and the physical actions of growing flowering plants also is Sadhana and a part of worship in this context. What about those who did not have opportunity to do so? Even pining mentally for such worship also is Sadhana. Ultimately Sadhana has become symbolic of the right attitude (Bhava) towards intent of serving the Lord.
Amma remarked that the cause of all misunderstandings and conflicts is the inability to cognize the mind of the other and that even many of the so called Gurus who initiate disciples by giving a Mantra or stipulate a Sadhana are no different. In Amma’s view, there is no ‘teaching’ or ‘initiation’ if the mind of the other is known.
This however cannot be taken to mean that guidance and direction for one’s evolution has not been forthcoming from Amma. Innumerable aspirants received wordlessly Amma’s guidance when she was physically present and are receiving more so after her Mahasamadhi.
Amma said that the ‘intellect’ (which of course is the name given to the discriminative aspect of the mind) may become ‘intuition’ at some stage. It is said that intellect cannot transform itself into intuition. When the mind-intellect conditioned and directed by the ego is cleansed of its impurities, then the environs of the mind would be conducive for the intuitive Shakti to dawn. Such an intuitive mind will be able to benefit the person and the society around.
Amma is now seated in the Anasuyeswaralayam at Jillellamudi. The place is growing into a great spiritual center and is attracting seekers of truth from far and near. It is the experience of thousands of visitors that they are transported into another world the moment they step into Jillellamudi which was sanctified by the presence of Amma for several decades.
One can reflect in the serene atmosphere at Jillellamudi that attaining equanimity is very much with in the reach by following Amma’s teachings and by doing Sadhana one is impelled to do. There is Annapurnalayam offering Amma’s Maha Prasadam, on partaking of which Amma’s grace and blessings enter our being purifying all the sheaths.