Children, spirituality is self-knowledge—the recognition of one’s true nature is. If a king is unable to recognise that he is the king, then his kingship is useless. If a beggar is unaware that there is valuable treasure under his hut, he will continue to live as a beggar. Most people are in a similar state. As such, in their desire for wealth and pleasure they hurt each other and themselves. They even destroy Nature. If we want to uplift such people, we have to come down to their level.
Once, an oddly clothed magician arrived in a village. The villagers started poking fun at him. When they exceeded the limit of teasing, the magician got angry. He took some ash, chanted a mantra and dropped it into the village well. His curse was that anyone who drank the well water would go insane. This is exactly what happened. Soon everyone in the village was insane.
The village chief, however, had his own private well. He was fine. The villagers were completely mad. They would blurt out whatever nonsense came to their mind and would dance around, displaying chaotic behaviour. But they gradually noticed that their chief was not behaving like them. They were surprised. They decided that he was the insane one and tried to tie him up. It was total chaos. Somehow the chief escaped. He thought, “All the villagers have gone mad. They will not leave me alone if I behaved differently from them. If I have to live here and uplift them, there is only one thing I can do: I must behave just like them. To catch a thief, one may have to act like one.” With this resolve, the village chief began to dance and act just as crazy as them. The villagers were happy to see that their chief had been cured of his madness.
Gradually the village chief encouraged the villagers to dig another well and drink water from it. Eventually everyone returned to normal.
Mahatmas are like this village chieftain. People may poke fun at them. They may even label them “insane.” But the mahatmas—viewing praise and insult with the same attitude—do not concern themselves about these things. They reach down to the level of the public and uplift them by giving them an example of service and love without expectation.
Spirituality is not blind belief in God or religious observances or customs. It is about uniting hearts. Only when our religion becomes spirituality will the society will live in become established upon a solid foundation of dharma, universal values and service-mindedness.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi