Every person has strengths and weaknesses. Whenever we see a special manifestation of talent, whether big or small, we should understand that it is a particular blessing of God. By calling it a blessing, what is meant is that it is to be regarded as a means of doing good to nature and one’s fellow beings. Such talents are an asset to the world. For this very reason, that individual should strive to live with utmost care and devotion. He should strive to ensure that such abilities, which the infinite universal power has deigned to, bestow on him, are not misused or used solely for safeguarding selfish interests. What is a small mistake by an ordinary person becomes a big mistake when committed by one with extraordinary abilities?
Those with special talents and abilities should be role models, too. They can thus influence the lives of many people, leading them to virtue. When a celebrity appears in an advertisement to endorse a particular brand of soap, shampoo or perfume, aren’t at least some people inspired to use those products? So, when famous people say good things and do good deeds, they will be great inspirations to others.
Amma has heard of a world-famous footballer who declined to appear in advertisement for alcoholic beverages or cigarettes. His reason was that, “I’m surrounded by a huge fan base that watches my every word and move. In particular, the younger generation tries to emulate my ways. If I endorse those products, I’ll be sending them the wrong message. It will be like committing a big crime against them”. Not everyone may be able to help others by giving money or wealth. But being able to think and act in this way is setting an excellent example. Anyone with a social conscience can do this if he or she has the right attitude.
Every individual is indebted to the society he or she lives in, to fellow beings, and to nature. Therefore, we ought to pay back to the community whatever we owe with an open mind. Ordinary people should serve society and nature according to their abilities. Those with extraordinary talents must be prepared to dedicate those talents to society. Refusing to do so and, instead, acting according to the base instincts that have enslaved them is the main reason for the problems we see all around us.
Amma remembers a story. Once, a traveler from overseas came to see Chanakya at dusk. Chanakya was writing something in the light of a small oil lamp. As soon as he saw the visitor, he stopped writing. He took another lamp, and putting in a wick and some oil, lit it. He then extinguished the first lamp and invited the guest to speak.
The guest asked, “Why did you extinguish one lamp and light another?”
Chanakya replied, “I was doing some official work. The oil for the lamp I was using was given by the government. But talking to you now is a personal matter. I don’t use government funds for my personal needs. The oil for this second lamp was bought using money from my income. I use this lamp for personal matters.”
Children, what society needs today are good role models like him. It is natural for someone with extraordinary talents to become an egoistic. If he remains unaware of his egoism and becomes enslaved by selfishness, his knowledge and skills will become a burden to society. Conversely, one who discharges his duty without selfishness or egoism becomes a blessing to the world. We should first realize that we are insignificant creatures in this vast universe. We need to become aware of our own limitations.
We have made great accomplishments in various fields. We have been able to increase our knowledge and power immensely. At the same time, there are so many things in the world over which we have no control whatsoever. We cannot decide when, where and under what circumstances we will be born. We have no freedom in deciding who our parents and family should be, or what we should possess. Death is not under our control either. Therefore, instead of crowing over our limited abilities, we should remember our numberless limitations and weaknesses. Children, we should learn to bow our heads down humbly before the universal power. We should love life, have compassion to our fellow beings, and be compassionate towards nature and the creatures that inhabit the natural world. We should do our duty unfailingly. This is what true spirituality teaches.
Amma – Sri. Mata Amritanandamayi Devi