Amma’s Message

Question : With what attitude should the disciple approach the Guru?

Answer: There are many different types of Gurus. Teachers who impart secular knowledge are also considered Gurus. Those who teach us dance, music and the alphabet are all Gurus. One who elevates to the knowledge of the Self is the Satguru. In His very presence, the disciple experience an awakening in her heart, provided she is a genuine seeker. She need not hesitate to clarify her doubts with the Guru. The Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharata are all in the form of dialogues, mostly in the form of questions and answers. The Bhagavad Gita is Krishna’s responses to Arjuna’s queries.

However, the questions were not rooted in arrogance; they stemmed from a keen desire to know. Therefore, one must approach the Guru with an open mind. Only then can one understand the true import of His words. One must ask out of a desire to learn. One will definitely find answers to such questions.

If two people hear the same answer, their understanding will be based on their personal samskaras. We can figure out what they have understood from their consequent actions.

One must approach the Guru without preconceptions and with an open mind. Even if one is unable to grasp fully what the Guru has said, one can move in the right direction if one has innocent heart.

Once, there was no rain on earth. Crops perished. People started starving. The incidence of thefts increased. There was no peace anywhere. How did this happen? What was the solution to this problem? How could peace be restored on earth? The gods, humans and demons conferred jointly but were unable to find a solution. They then approached Lord Brahma, the Creator.

They were all seekers, genuinely concerned about the plight of the earth. They wished for the world to become a better place. They told Brahma about their sorrows. The Lord merely uttered ‘Da’ – that was all. Each one of them regarded it as advice for them, and left.

All of them pondered over the meaning of what Lord Brahma had said. The gods thought, “‘Da’ means dama –sense control. Indulging in sensual delights, we have become addicted to these pleasures. If we control our sense organs, our problems will be solved. Chasing sensory delights is the main cause of today’s problems. If we can avoid doing so, we will not only be able to gain individual peace; peace will prevail in society, too.” The gods started controlling their senses.

The humans thought differently. They thought, “‘Da’ means ‘dama’ – charity. What Lord Brahma has said was true. We are full of selfishness. We have stopped thinking about what we can give others; our only thought is how to gain ownership of what others own. If each one practises charity, would there be poverty on earth? No, ” Therefore, the humans decided to practice charity.

The demons thought in yet another way. They thought, “‘Da’ means ‘daya’ – compassion. Without doubt, we are lacking in compassion, for we are utterly cruel, and do not have any love at all. Henceforth, we must love others. We must behave compassionately towards others. The mind must be trained to do so. Then, problems in society will disappear.” In this way, they began to practice compassion.

Thus, the three virtues – sense control, charity and compassion – began to flourish in society. Soon, the lot of the world also began to improve. In this way, they understood the meaning of the single syllable, ‘da’. The motives of all of them were able to see goodness in everything. Though the lotus arises from mire, the pure mind does not see the dirt, only the beauty of the flower. When sense control, charity and love flourished in society, nature showered her blessings. Rain fell in sufficient quantities. Agriculture began to thrive. The harvest increased. Troubles vanished. Prosperity increased. Peace and contentment began to prevail in society. In this way, There was spring, both outside and within.

There are two types of poverty in the world : one, the poverty caused by not receiving enough love and compassion; and two, the shortage of food, clothing and shelter. If we develop a loving heart, both types of poverty will disappear. We will feel compassion towards others. When we have love, we feel like sharing what we have with others. In this way, material poverty will also lessen. If we can gain sense control, we will not have the desire to take what belongs to someone else.