The mind is like a street. While walking along the street, we might see many scenes on both sides. There might be squabbles here and there. There might be a circus act in front. We might see hawkers. There might be fairs. The traveller will walk past these sights because he did not set out to see any of them. His destination is elsewhere. In the same way, many thoughts will arise in the mind; that is the nature of the mind. We have not come to hang out with those thoughts. We must move ahead. If we try to pry apart the squabbling parties, we will get caught up in the argument. Let thoughts go their own way. We need not give them importance. Let us move on. Our goal is elsewhere. There is no need to become upset, thinking that if we look into the mind, all we see is filth. Doesn’t the lotus emerge from dirt? Therefore, instead of dwelling on the impurities of the mind, we should continue with our sadhana (spiritual practices). We should ensure that we do not miss japa (repeated chanting of one’s mantra). If we can do so, we will definitely draw close to our goal.
We might not be able to change the world wholly, but we can bring about change in ourselves. After all, societies are formed of individuals, and nations are born from societies. Therefore, it is the individual mind that must first be purified. There is no other way to change the nature of the world.
Amma is reminded of a story. A man had placed his child in a stroller and was pushing it when the child started crying. No matter how hard the father tried to pacify the child, he did not stop bawling. The father said, “Madhava, keep cool! Madhava, keep cool!” But the child did not stop crying. The father took out many toys and chocolates from his bag and gave it to his son, but the child continued crying. The father began muttering again, “Madhava, stay cool! Madhava, stay cool!”
Witnessing this whole scene was a woman, walking beside the two of them. She told the man, “How patient you are! You never lost your temper even though the child has been bawling all this time. I could never be so patient.” Saying so, the lady asked the child, “Son, Madhava, why are you crying like this? What do you want, my son?”
Hearing this, the child’s father said, “His name is not Madhava. That’s my name! His name is Mukunda.”
Such is the case with the world, too. We cannot control the world. We should try to control ourselves. It is difficult to change the nature of the world. But by changing ourselves, we can see change taking place in the world.
We love the cow for its milk. Once it has stopped yielding milk and will no longer give birth, we sell it to a butcher. Similarly, worldly love is always for an object. If we depend on such a world, we have to suffer. We all desire that everyone should love us. But are we able to love everyone? Not at all! Sometimes, we like certain people, but these people might not like us. At the same time, there might be those who love us with all their heart, but we might hate them. In this way, our love is restricted to just a few, whom we wish will reciprocate our love — this is the cause of three-quarters of the world’s problems. These problems can be eliminated only if we live with an understanding of the world’s nature. It is meaningless to hope that fire will emit only light and not heat. Depending on the love of a particular individual might temporarily brighten our lives, but we will invariably have to face the burning heat of that light, too. This is because our love is not pure. Striving to overcome suffering by depending on worldly love is like trying to cross an ocean by climbing into a paper boat. Therefore, it is vital that we develop an understanding of our own. Instead of thinking about what others can do for us and how they behave towards us, we should instead cultivate a mentality that considers what we can do for others. Only then can we attain peace in life.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi