Fill Your Hearts with Love & Gratitude27 September 2007 - Amritapuri
Amma's address on the occasion of her 54th birthday celebrations in fact began with the topic of birthdays. Amma said, "Everyone, from those living in huts to those living in palaces, celebrates their birthday by blowing out candles, cutting a cake and with the singing of ‘Happy Birthday to You.' When cutting the cake and participating in birthday parties, one may be relatively happy. But what about before the party and when the party is over? We are unhappy. What is the point being happy only on one's birthday? Birth itself is a very short process. What about the long journey of life that follows? The truth is that for most people it is not a joyful experience."
Amma then went on to discuss the nature of happiness, saying how if people want to experience continual happiness they must first fill themselves with an all-expansive love. Amma said that in truth it is the power of love that makes everything in this universe possible. "Human beings, animals, trees and plants—for anything to grow, love is needed. The seed becomes a sapling, the sapling becomes a tree, and the tree gives flowers and fruits to the world. All this is possible only when it is nurtured with love. The power of God, which lies dormant in the human mind, can only be awakened and made vibrant through love. Love alone makes a human being divine. When one is devoid of love, one becomes like an animal."
Amma also discussed various problems the world is currently facing, such as the trend to focus on the negative, spiritual ignorance, ego, adharma, the restless nature of the human mind, haste and impatience.
"We are living in an age where no one has any time for anyone else or, for that matter, even for themselves," Amma said. "As we rush to try and finish our various tasks as quickly as possible, we hardly find time to breathe. You may have seen the signboards that read ‘Speed thrills but kills.' This saying does not only hold true when it comes to driving. It is relevant for any one who doesn't know how to control the speed of his life. ... Many of us spend our days and nights holding our cell phone to our ear, our eyes glued to the computer screen. As such, we don't have time to listen to our near and dear ones—or even to simply be with them. We don't have time to look at our friends' faces. Even those who have planted beautiful flowers in their gardens and backyards rarely find a single moment to enjoy their beauty. Excessive speed ruins the beauty of everything."
Amma stressed the importance of three factors for actions to bare their desired fruits: the proper time, self effort and God's grace.
Amma ended her talk with a warning regarding the perils of India abandoning its traditional culture for the ways of the West. "Today we consider our cultural tradition and the values to which our forefathers held onto so tightly as outdated," Amma said. "Whatever is new, we are ready to blindly accept. In everything from clothing and relationships to entertainment, we are trying to copy the West. We are moving from cooperation to selfishness. There is nothing wrong in taking good things from other nations. But why should we receive with both hands what others have already spit out?" Amma said that India should not gauge its success only in terms of economic power but, more importantly, in terms of education, compassion and culture. "Even if India becomes the greatest economic force in the world, if there are still crores of people starving or lacking proper education, what will be the use of such status? Our advancement should manifest as food for the hungry, homes for the homeless, upliftment of those from the lowest social strata and good spiritual culture amongst the people. Real advancement is the refinement and culture of the human mind. A cultured mind is one in which selfishness has been decreased—a mind that sees others as one's own Self. That is culture. If that is achieved, material prosperity and peace will happen spontaneously."
Amma ended her talk by requesting everyone to serve the poor and suffering "Service to such people is what Amma sees as worship of God. Amma is praying that the attitude of sacrifice awakens in her children. Let the world see through Amma's children that the streams of love, compassion, selflessness and sacrifice have not evaporated from the human mind. May my children become the light of the world."
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