Question: Amma, can one change a person's behaviour by words?
Amma: You certainly can. Once, a Brahmin man was giving some children spiritual instructions in a temple. At that time, the ruler of the kingdom entered the temple. As the Brahmin was absorbed in teaching the children, he did not notice the king. The king became angry and asked the Brahmin, "Why did you not acknowledge my presence? I was teaching the children and did not see you coming in," replied the Brahmin.
The king asked, "What were you so absorbed in teaching that you didn't notice me enter?" The Brahmin said, "I was telling the children some good things."
"What good things?"
"Things that promote good behaviour."
"Can words change one's behaviour?" the king asked.
"Certainly," replied the Brahmin.
"No way!" countered the king.
At that point, a young child who was among the Brahmin's students told the king to leave the place at once. As soon as he heard this, the enraged king said, "How dare you! I'll kill you today. I'll kill your Guru too. I will also destroy this ashram." Saying so, he reached out for the Guru's neck.
The Brahmin said, "Please forgive me. Didn't you say that words cannot change a person's behaviour? When a child uttered a few words, how much your behaviour changed! Weren't you ready to destroy everything, and even kill me?"
Children, as this story illustrates, we can alter a person's behaviour by words.
Question: Amma, if one does mantra japa (the repeated chanting of a mantra), will one achieve anything?
Amma: Certainly, children. However, there is one thing: you must chant the mantra with concentration and devotion. Depending on the quality of your bhavana, you will gain power. One's attitude is what matters. A doctor will prescribe some medicine and say, "When you take this medicine, your body needs to rest. You should not eat certain types of food." We will act accordingly, and our disease will be cured. In a like manner, the rishis underwent spiritual austerities for aeons, and were thus able to gain control over the universe, as if it were no more than a mustard seed under their fingernail. If they instructed a lifeless plank to fetch something, it would. The rishis were seers of the mantras. They have declared that certain mantras will yield certain results. They have also specified the rules relating to each mantra. If we chant the mantra accordingly, we will definitely attain the appropriate results.
Question: Amma, what observances should we follow just after meditation?
Amma: Children, we should not get up too fast or speak immediately after we have finished meditating. It is good to lie down for some time in the corpse pose. We must take care not to fall asleep then. Don't doctors tell us to remain seated and to rest awhile after we have been given an injection? Likewise, solitude is necessary immediately after meditation. The benefits of sadhana will be realized, not while doing it, but afterwards.
Question: Why is it that, no matter how much I meditate, the attraction towards external object doesn't go away?
Amma: Children, if you truly love God with all your heart, you will feel utter contempt for worldly objects. If you offer sweet delicacies to someone who is in bed with fever, the delicacies will taste bitter to that person. We should likewise become afflicted by the fever of divine love. We wiII then not feel any attraction towards external objects. Without overcoming the taste of the tongue, you cannot relish the taste of the heart.
Question: Amma, even though I have been doing sadhana for a long time, I am unable to feel the benefits of it.
Amma: Children, we might meditate. But right after that, we will jump up and begin talking about worldly matters. This is like frittering away all the wages we have earned that day on liquor. If we bathe im-mediately after applying oil on our bodies, it would not have had time to permeate into our skins. After meditating, we should remain in solitude for at least 10 minutes. Only then will we gain the benefit of meditation.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi