Question: Some cry when they pray. Isn't that a weakness? Doesn't it lead to a loss of energy?
Amma: Crying while praying to God is not a weakness. Crying for the sake of ordinary things is like wasting logs by burning them away. But crying to God is like using firewood to prepare Payasam (Sweet pudding) by doing so, we enjoy its sweetness. The more a candle burns, the greater the brightness of its flame. Crying over worldly matters may help to relieve the burden in our hearts. But it is of no use crying over what has happened and what may happen. If we go on crying, thinking about whether our child will study or do well ; ; the examinations, what others would say about what he or she did, and things like that, it will pave the way for depression and other diseases. This is weakness. But when we open our hearts and pray to God, our mind becomes peaceful. Praying to God nurtures good qualities in us. Such prayer helps to keep the mind, which otherwise runs after objects, in one place. The mind thus becomes one-pointed. Therefore, prayer does not lead to a loss of energy, but a gain. It is a shortcut to bringing the mind under our control. Even though God is within us, at present, our minds have not turned within. Prayer is a way to fix the mind in God. It is like how children cry to get the attention of their mothers. If the child cries in hunger, the mother will run to pick it up and feed it with milk. Crying while praying is an effective means of bringing our minds under our control. Therefore, it is not a weakness. In the path of Self-inquity, it is with the help of the mind that we negate thus: I am not the mind, intellect, body, merit or sin, but the Self. Opening our hearts to God and crying for Truth is an easy way for those who do not know meditation, yoga or the scriptures to attain control over the mind. It is a kind of yearning. Some like reading silently. Some can only understand if they read aloud. There are those who enjoy singing loudly. There are also those who prefer to hum softly. Each one does what he or she likes. It is not right to say that a certain way is a weakness; it is just one way. Although God is within, our minds are not. Suppose there is a container in front of us. If our mind is not focused, we will not be able to see it even if our eyes are open. We will not be able to hear what someone is saying, if we don't give our mind to it. Likewise, we do not know God even though He is within, as our minds are not intraverted. Usually, our minds are attached to various objects. We must withdraw our mind from them and fix it on God. In this way, we must awaken love, compassion, equal vision and other divine qualities within. We must be of benefit to others by imbuing ourselves with these qualities and manifesting them. This is what happens through prayer also. A son told Amma, "I don't like prayer. What's the use of it?" Amma said, "Son, Amma would like to ask you something. Suppose you have a girlfriend, is it possible that you won't like speaking to her? In fact, you would relish it so much! Similar is prayer to a devotee. God is everything to a devotee." Amma then asked again, "Suppose someone said, 'I don't like it when you talk to your girlfriend," how would you respond? Would you give it a second thought? What you just said about prayer is just like that. Love for God is not ordinary love. It is the purest." Devotion is not like an ordinary relationship between a man and his beloved. In worldly life, a man craves the affection of a woman, and vice versa. Each revels in the reciprocation of love. But neither attains total fulfilment, because both are beggars. But the devotee's prayer to God is not like this. A devotee prays for divine virtues to be nurtured in him/ her, to be able to see God in everyone and to have a mind that is expansive enough to love all.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi