Children, we must always maintain the attitude of a beginner. Having the attitude of a beginner means to have humility, optimistic faith and enthusiasm. For this, we need the open-heartedness to accept all good things, no matter from where they come. If we can do this, then humility, optimistic faith and enthusiasm will automatically waken within us. Then we will be able to learn from all our experiences. We will also react correctly in all circumstances. On the other hand, if our heart is not open, not only will we fall slave to our ego and stubbornness, but we will also make many mistakes, and lose the ability to absorb what is good for us. Such a mental attitude in the end leads to self-destruction.
One day during the Mahabharata War, Arjuna and Karna faced each other in battle. Lord Krishna was driving the chariot for Arjuna. Salya was the charioteer for Karna. Arjuna and Karna showered each other with arrows. Finally, with the intention of bringing down Arjuna, Karna prepared to shoot an arrow at Arjuna’s head. Seeing this, Salya said, “Karna, if you want to kill Arjuna, don’t aim at his head. Aim at his neck.”
Karna egoistically replied, “Once I aim, I never change my mind. I will fire this arrow straight towards Arjuna’s head!” Karna proceeded to fire the arrow.
Lord Krishna saw the arrow coming straight at Arjuna’s head and quickly pushed the chariot down towards the earth with his holy feet. The wheels of the chariot sunk into the earth, and the arrow—which would have hit Arjuna’s head—struck only his crown. The crown was hit, but Arjuna was saved. Soon after that, Arjuna killed Karna.
If only Karna had obeyed Salya, he would have hit Arjuna and killed him. But Karna’s ego did not allow him to accept Salya’s advice with an open heart. That caused Karna’s destruction.
The attitude “I know everything” blocks us from learning. When a vessel is full to the brim, what can be added to it? Only when the bucket is empty and sinks into the water can it be filled. Even a Nobel Prize-winner, if he wants to learn to play the flute, must adopt the attitude of a beginner and become a student under a teacher.
Having the attitude of a beginner is the passage to a world of knowledge and expansiveness. That is the attitude of “I know nothing; please teach me.” From that, we will receive grace from everywhere, gain knowledge easily and experience victory in our lives.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi