Amma’s Time Management – A Unique and Yogic Style
Everyone in this world has only 24 hours in a day.
In Indian culture the Goddess Kali is worshiped as the embodiment of time and energy. This formless divine principle, which is beyond time and space, has assumed a human form and is living in our midst as our beloved Amma. Like everyone else, She too has only 24 hours in a day. We can learn a lot from Amma, especially in how effectively She utilizes each available moment.
Amma’s time management style is unique; we could call it a yogic or divine style of time management.
She never wastes a minute. She eats and sleeps very little. She works 20 to 22 hours a day. She never gets tired or stressed out. She remains energetic always. Thousands approach Her every day without an appointment. She hears the problems of everyone with patience, and responds immediately. She hugs thousands daily. She reads hundreds of letters a day. She plays with children, sings bhajana, performs marriages, and advises spiritual seekers. She discusses social problems with government authorities. She manages a huge network of institutions. She embraces the world, either in Her ashram or on tour–smiling, loving, sharing and inspiring others.
How is Amma able to perform these thousands of tasks in a day without feeling any fatigue? Is it a human possibility or we are witnessing a miracle? What is the secret?
Amma says, “I am always directly connected to the source.” The source is universal energy and consciousness. She often says it is a human possibility to live directly connected to the source. Can we try it?
Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita advises Arjuna, “Work in this world after firmly getting established in yoga” (Yogastha kuru karmani). Yoga means union with universal energy and consciousness.
Through yoga, we practice awareness in every action and focus on our eternal connection with universal energy. Yoga also helps to put our thoughts, emotions and energies in harmony and to learn the art of attachment and detachment as taught in the Gita. Then we can gradually achieve what Amma is demonstrating for us.
The more energy we have, the more joyful we are, the more peaceful we are, the more we can do at any given time.
When we look into the cosmos we see the gigantic evolutions of time. The movements of the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars all follow a rhythm. Seasons come and go, flowers bloom, birds call, animals obey the seasons. Human beings alone are out of rhythm; hence we get stressed out. We are cut off from cosmic intelligence.
Amma, the very embodiment of nature, observes a regularity in Her day-to-day interactions. For the past forty years, She has maintained a rhythm in Her schedule. Her darshan days are fixed and normally begin at 11 AM. Once begun, She is available for twelve to fifteen hours a day. While giving darshan, she discusses many subjects–with the public, with ashram residents, with representatives of Her institutions. She talks to researchers and students. She plays with children and is available to all. Each action is performed with complete awareness. On non-darshan days She reads letters, addresses problems, conducts satsanga, and leads meditations.
As Amma’s schedule is regular, people can connect with Her without fail. Sun and Earth also follow their own orbits, and all beings on Earth participate. In Indian astrology, this effect of the sun, the moon, and the stars upon us, is called jyotish. The essence of Amma’s time management also originates from the cosmic source.
When we follow a rhythm or schedule in our day-to-day activities, the world follows us according to that schedule. As we connect to the world, people connect to us. When we value others’ time, people value ours, and respond accordingly. This is the simple yet profound secret of time management that nature teaches us.
Amma values other’s schedules, and changes hers accordingly. Five or six years ago, parents would wait until the end of Amma’s darshan for the baby feeding ritual. This meant that parents and babies had to wait until the small hours of the morning. One of the parents wrote Amma a letter about the difficulties of having to wait until so late. When Amma read this letter, she immediately changed the feeding ritual to late afternoon. This flexibility, and the respect and value Amma gives to others’ time is unique–an important lesson for us all. We could call it compassionate time management.
In Amma’s satsanga there will be a translation into English after Her usually lengthy talk in Malayalam. She uses this time for fabric painting, and the modest revenues from these creations go to her charities. Amma spends every minute of her life for others. She never wastes a single minute. Her compassion and concern for others’ time is reflected in her own time management. She will not waste time, energy, or nature’s resources.
Conclusion: Four principles of time management that we can learn from Amma are:
- Every moment get connected to universal energy and consciousness through yoga, meditation or japa. (yogastha kuru karmani–Gita 2/48)
- When you follow a regular schedule, the world around you responds accordingly. (jyotish–Indian astrology)
- Spend every moment of your life for others and for your own Self-realization. Do not waste time.
- Have respect for others’ time. Value others’ time with compassion and oneness.
A yogi who is intelligent in eating, sleeping, working, and in his movements, never comes to grief (Bhagavad Gita 6/17). If we use six hours a day for sleep and ablutions, we are left with eighteen to work for others or Self-realization.
Amma values everything as the manifestation of universal consciousness or God. Time is precious and eternal for Amma because she is very embodiment of time—the Goddess Kali. Events evolve in Her, are sustained in Her, and vanish in Her. She is the Universal Mother of Love in human form. She is the Universal Mother of Love in human form. Let us invoke Her blessings by being conscious of time.
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