When Amma talks of the need for devotion to God, she doesn’t mean just prayer. Love for the Lord is not only sitting somewhere and crying out for Him. We should be able to see His presence in every living being. The compassion and the smile we show to others show also our love, our devotion to God. When we have opened our hearts to God in devotion, these things happen spontaneously. Then we will not be angry or unloving to anyone.
A man fell ill and could not do any work. He had nothing to eat for a few days. Because of starvation, he became very weak. He begged several people for food, but no one paid him any attention. He knocked on several doors, but everyone drove him away. The poor man became very despondent. Thinking that he did not want to live among such cruel people, he decided to end his life. But he was very hungry, “If only I could appease my hunger, I could die in peace!” he thought. He decided to ask for some food at one more house. He went to a hut nearby. A woman lived there. She gave him a seat. “Please be seated here,” she said lovingly, and went inside the hut to get some food for him. There she found that the pot containing the food was lying upside down— the cat had gotten into it. She was very sorry. She came out and said, “Pardon me! There was some food—some rice and vegetables. I was hoping to give it to you. But the cat ate it. There is nothing left here. I cannot give you any money either—I don’t have a paisa. Please do forgive me for disappointing you!”
The man replied, “You have given me what I needed. I fell ill. I begged many people for food. Everyone drove me away. No one had even a kind word. Finding I could not live in a world like this, I had decided to commit suicide. But since I could not bear the hunger, I decided to try one more place, and so I came here. Even though I did not get any food, your words of love have gladdened my heart. The fact that there are kind souls like you in this world gives poor people like me the courage to live. Now I am not going to kill myself. Today, I have found a joy and a contentment that I have not experienced in my life so far.”
Children, even if we have nothing material to give, can’t we offer others a smile or a kind word? Is that so expensive? A kind heart is enough. That is the first step towards spirituality. Such people need not go anywhere in search of God. Wherever there is a heart full of compassion, God will come there running. That is His dearest abode. Children, we can’t call someone a devotee who has no compassion for fellow-beings.
If you love God, and if you have compassion for the world, take a vow to give up bad habits. How much money are we wasting on alcohol and cigarettes, on expensive clothes and other luxury articles! Children, you should try your utmost to reduce it. The money you thus saved can be used for helping the poor. There are smart children who stop their education as they cannot afford college fees. You can help them continue their studies by paying their fees. You can help those who don’t have homes. There are so many sick people who are in pain because they have no money to buy medicines. You can buy medicines for them. There are many such ways in which we can help others. The money that we overspend now is enough for doing service. Service to the needy is true worship of God. That is true worship that truly makes God happy. Let us pray to the Almighty to grant us such a compassionate heart!
Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi