Amma has heard even people in India being critical of Hinduism. They say, “Hindus are primitive. Theirs is a primitive devotion. They pray to a monkey and the elephant-headed Ganapati!” How many have understood the scientific principles behind these depictions? How many people have tried to understand them? Even if one desires to understand, how is one to go about it? These are issues we must seriously contemplate.
When Amma goes abroad, she has seen paintings in the homes of many people. In one house, Amma saw a painting that had four or five colours and five or six lines; that was all. It seemed as if someone had dipped a broom in paint and painted this. Amma couldn’t understand what the painting was about. Upon inquiry, Amma learnt that the painting was worth $500,000! In order to prevent it from being stolen, the owner had hired a security guard and mounted security cameras. Even though we didn’t understand the painting, the owner could talk about it elaborately for hours on end. No one considers the painter a fool. On the contrary, he is acclaimed as a great artist. No one asks the owner why he paid so much money for the painting when there are so many poor people starving. The value of the painting is not diminished just because ordinary people cannot understand it. Similarly, it is only when one understands the principles behind the depictions of deities in Hinduism that one can understand the greatness of these principles.
We can realize from the principle behind the exhortation to worship Hanuman and through the message that the form of Ganapati conveys, how vast the knowledge, intelligence and experience of our ancestors were.
Amma has no wish to comment on the internal matters of other countries. When she goes to any country, the people there ask her about such matters. Amma doesn’t say anything. They have the liberty to think over those matters. These are matters that the people of the country must discuss before deciding. However, there is one thing that Amma cannot help mentioning. Amma has been travelling to America for quite a few years now. The cost of goods in India has gone up many times more compared with the cost of goods in the US.
Foreigners are not as lazy as Indians. They are ready to do any kind of work. Unlike the situation here, there is no agitation or strike for 20 days in a month. (It is doubtful if people here work even during the remaining 10 days!) But when Indians go abroad, they change. They do not hesitate to work 22 hours a day. Amma knows people who work even longer! There are Indians who, after working 22 hours, go home to cook food for themselves, eat, and then go to the San Ramon ashram to do seva (service activities). So, when we go abroad, we do not hesitate to work hard.
In Japan, wives upbraid husbands if they don’t work for at least 12 hours. If the husband reaches home slightly early, the wife asks, “Hey, why have you come back so early?” In contrast, it is doubtful if people here work even eight hours daily. After eating, resting and drinking tea, how much time is left for working? The reason for the rapid development of other countries is the hard work of the people there.
Even though there are people of utmost intelligence and talent here, their laziness is predominant. Their only thought is how they can reduce their workload, though they would never agree to reducing their wages. They don’t think about what they can do to help their country progress. Without changing this mindset, how can the country progress? Suppose progress takes place in the country. Even then, we are not capable of sustaining that progress. That said, India is on the road to progress. However, we should not squander the energy needed to maintain this momentum. Though we have awakened, we have not gotten out of bed. It is not enough to awaken. We must get up... and work! Only then will we gain the benefit of waking up — the progress of India. May India continue to be a light for other countries.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi