Welcoming the New Year 2019!
We are, with our Amma, stepping into the New Year. We are following Her into a new year.
There is a practice in our scriptures that spiritual seekers do on their way to Eternal Life. It is called simha avalokana nyaya—the way a lion behaves while walking. The lion has the habit of walking some distance, stopping, looking back, then continuing to walk.
So too, we, Amma’s children as spiritual seekers, should stop, or rather pause, look back and see what we have done so far while walking on the road to liberation. We see whether we have done our spiritual practices well, and have followed Amma’s advice, periodical instructions and Her Eternal Teachings!
Following Amma is Following Amma’s Teachings.
Amma says that a spiritual aspirant is like a businessman who checks his accounts daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, checking his profit and loss account and balance sheets.
So too, we seekers check how many mantras, archanas and seva we have done, how much we have meditated and whether in difficult times and trying situations we are able to be calm and peaceful. We check whether our sadhana has helped us gain inner strength, purity of mind and compassion for the new year.
Yes, if we have followed Amma’s teachings well, we look back, but we never turn back. When we look back, we see how hollow and meaningless our past life was, that we never want to turn back!
“Poya Kaalam Swapnathulyamaayi Poyi,
Innu Jeevitham Ninnil Samarpippu Njan”
“My past is a mere dream, my Mother, I now offer my life at Your feet!”
There was a prince who never wore any clothes. He was already in the highest state of God-Consciousness. But his father, the King, the royal family and the courtiers thought he was a mad person. One day, a great saint entered the palace; the prince ran inside, put on some clothes and came out. Everyone was surprised and asked him why he did that. He said, “Today, a living man entered our palace. Till now I have seen only corpses; walking dead bodies around me!” The Prince was indicating that only one who has attained God-Consciousness is really alive; others are only walking dead bodies!
After we came to Amma, we became really alive! We look back to the Divine memories of moments we spent with Amma. We see how she caught our hands and taught us to walk, to smile, to sing, to remember Her in every action.
“Ethrayo Noothana Adhyayangal enteyi mugdha Jeevanil Ni ezhuthi cherthu…”
“O Mother, Thou has added so many beautiful chapters to this life book of mine!”
This is looking back. Our Amma has taught us what to erase from our minds and what to preserve.
Looking back, one does not turn back. These memories become a strong wind which makes us move forward and lifts us to great spiritual heights!
“Oru dinam athu vazhi alayumbol enneya Prabhamayi maadivilichu
Tiru nada turannamma kalabham eduthente nerukayyil aniyichu…”
“One day when I was wandering along that path, that Radiant One (Amma) beckoned me with Her hand. Opening the sacred door and taking some sandalwood paste, She smeared it on my forehead!”
It happened to many of us when we sing these lines during Amma’s darshan that our voices choke and we are not able to sing. We have so many other bhajans like this.
“Verpaadin Vedana ullil othukki Theenaalamayi eriyunnu…en manam..”
“Like a flame, my mind is burning me in separation from Thee! O Mother!”
Every one of us has memories like these that give us strength and inspiration to surge towards our goal.
At the same time, every one of us has memories which haunt us and pull us back into the past, forcing us to turn back. In Sanskrit and other Indian languages, the word for past is bhoota. And again, the word bhoota means a demon. Therefore, we have to understand that the only bhoota which troubles us is our past. And in the Devi Mahatmyam or Chandi Paath, there is a mantra that says,
“Om Jaya Thvam Devi Chamunde,
Jaya Bhootha apaharini”
“O Devi Chamundi, the ever-victorious, who destroys all the demons”
Remembrance of our Amma helps us overcome all unwanted memories of the past. The mantra that Amma has given us helps us to introspect, analyse and “save” what can help us in our future sadhana, and also “delete” those images, files and folders in our mind that constantly disturb our minds and hinder our spiritual progress. The mantra that Amma gave us is powerful and will not allow any virus to enter our mind.
The one moment we spend in Amma’s motherly arms is a spark of fire. Our thoughts are the firewood. Our mind is the homa-kunda (fire ritual). Our devotion to Amma is the ghee. Our mantra is the havis (oblation or burnt offering) offered into the homa-kunda. The archanas we do are like chamathas (fire wood for offering) and our dhyanam (contemplation or meditation) is the fan which we use to keep the fire burning. In this way, all our prarabhda (karma which must be experienced in this lifetime), obstacles, worries are burnt away.
“Aneka Janma Sampraaptha Karma Bandha Vidahine”
“O Guru, who destroys the bondage-causing actions, accumulated in our countless previous births”—that is our Guru Amma!
Let us march into the new year of 2019 following Amma.
The disciple following his Guru asks the Guru what He wants from His disciple. The Guru replies “Nothing.” The Guru has the highest experience of, “I am Brahman…. I alone am everything.”
Ask the disciple what he wants from his Guru. The disciple replies, “Nothing. My Guru is everything for me.”
Ask the Guru what he gives to his disciple. The Guru replies, “The revelation that he (the disciple) is everything.”
Ask the disciple what he gives his Guru. The disciple replies, “The faith that my Guru will reveal to me the Supreme Truth at the right time.”
“Anantha Srishti Vahini” . . . This bhajan has the perfect rhythm for us to march into the new year!
We march with Amma from brahmasthanam to brahmasthanam (temple to temple) and by Her Grace, see Her in the brahmasthanam of our hearts!
Following the Guru.
Amma has millions of followers all over the world. Not only in Her ashrams, brahmasthanams and devotees’ puja rooms, but on every table and computer screen in Her institutions we can see Her smiling photos.
In the morning before starting work, these (devotee) children apply a pinch of vibuthi, chandan or kumkum on their foreheads and, while chanting Her mantra and looking at Her photo. They say, “Amma, let this day’s work be my puja, my offering to you. I offer my entire life to you. Bless me, Amma.” These are the ones who follow Amma. With Amma’s grace, we welcome the new year!
Author — Swami Amritageetananda Puri
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