Om Namah Shivayah! Salutations to Lord Shiva (who resides in each one of us)!
Greetings, dear Santosha family! I am back at Amritapuri, Mata Amritanandamayi’s ashram and birthplace in the south of Kerala. I’d like to tell you about the guest lecture I went to the other day at Amma’s university. One of Amma’s most senior disciples was asked to summarize the Bhagavad Gita in one hour. Noting that this was highly impossible, he instead provided us the 3 main obstacles to realization and the antidotes for overcoming them.
The first obstacle in the quest for realization is attachment to the body. In American yoga culture, such a concept can be quite sticky. How do we maintain our yoga practice as a means to keep the body, our current earthly vehicle, healthy and fit for loving service to our world family and Earth Mother, without crossing the line of body and health obsession? In the greater context, how do we use this lifetime with discrimination and discernment so that we may depart from our unique and special bag of bones and flesh and leap peacefully into whats next, whatever that may be? The remedy is to develop the conviction that I am but an instrument in God’s hand. I am but an empty flute for a sweet divine melody to pass through! This body, this incarnation is only temporary. This thought and bodily machine is powered by divinity! I am not alone, but God is always with me. So may I move with happiness and strength!
The next obstacle is sorrow, also known in Sanskrit as ‘shoka’. We all know this one: breakups, failures, heartaches, getting laid off, environmental destruction, war, poverty. The list goes on. As Amma says, we’re in the peak of Kali Yuga for Pete’s sake. We depend on things and beings for joy, peace and security. However! If a particular object or person is actually the source of joy, it/he/she should be able to provide this joy at all the times. Totally not the case. A puppy isn’t as cute when he stains your new carpet. Or how about when a precious baby (AHhhhh Gucci Gucci Goooo) spits all over your new sweater? Things of the material world just can’t provide unceasing joy; they just can’t! Now if only my mind could catch up with this simple logic. And how to overcome this sorrow? The best way to move from world-dependence to God-dependence. And by becoming dependent on God, you are actually just becoming dependent on your own true nature. The lecturer noted a funny story of how when a certain brahmachari was assisting in Amma’s darshan line, his favorite Bollywood star came to see Amma. He was in a pickle- could he really ask for a movie star’s autograph in front of the Divine Mother??? Luckily, he refrained! And, as it happens, later that night he was invited to accompany a dear friend/journalist who was to interview the star at the star’s house itself! SO, moral of the story, in migrating from worldly dependence to God dependence, you get BOTH! Prosperity in both your inner and outer world. Not a bad gig, eh?
And lastly, our third obstacle for realization is delusion. We are swimming in maya! (Or splashing and drowning, depending on the day) Amma’s disciple provided a metaphor for this one. I’ll give you the gist. Its like walking in your backyard at night all of a sudden getting extremely frightened, because- SNAAAAKE! But really, its just a rope! And in actuality, the rope is just covered by the darkness. It is us who project the snake onto the rope… Lady and gents, I’m afraid to relay the message, we do this to the truth, and apparently, all the time. First, we cover the truth. Next, we project the untruth onto the truth. And so, we totally distort the real truth- our infinite blissful TRUE nature! So how do we overcome this one? The ultimate solution is knowledge of non dual love. We must develop the understanding that my reality is in fact a projection of my mind. In truth, divinity alone is. And, as I am told, once you understand this concept, every aspect of life becomes an expression of love!… So there’s you’re homework for this month! Ha! Just kidding!
I’ll conclude with Amma’s closing remarks from this Tuesday’s satsang. “One small act of love can awaken love in others and help us to awaken love in ourselves. So, may I be able to spread the sweetness of love, speak good words and do good actions.” Much love and endless blessings to my Santosha family!