The Marma of Karma

Satsang given by Swami Dhyanamritananda in the presence of Amma at Amritapuri on 6th Aug 2021]
sutra is “You have to understand the vital (Marma) aspects of Karma while performing karma”.

[Satsang given by Swami Dhyanamritananda in the presence of Amma at Amritapuri on 6th Aug 2021]

यस्य स्मरण मात्रेण ज्ञानमुद्पद्यते स्वयं
स एव सर्व सम्पत्तिः तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः 
By whose remembrance knowledge dawns in me, she alone is all my wealth; to that satGuru my infinite salutations. 

My humble prayers at the sacred feet of Jagadguru Amma.
My pranams to all Amma’s dear children who are here and online with Amma

The subject I am trying to talk about today is an Amrita Sutra, “The Marma of Karma”. Before that, let me say one thing.

First time talking in front of Amma

In the early 1990’s, I remember being the 1st one to speak during the 1st round of Satsangs, sitting in front of the Kalari, after evening bhajans.
Amma was sitting on a chair near the south entrance.

Shruti Seemantha Sindoori Krita

Later these Satsangs used to happen at the back of this hall, back then it was just a sand-filled patch of land. A dim bulb to light up the area, warm breeze caressing the palm trees, combined with mosquitos which would buzz in tune with the crashing sea waves. Amma would be sitting amidst us listening.

During that series of Satsangs, there were 2 speakers a day and each had the freedom to debate and establish their views.

My Satsang on that day was on the mantra “Shruti Seemantha SindooriKrita Padabja Dhoolika” from the Lalitha Sahasranamam

Goddesses of Vedas themselves come and prostrate at the feet of Devi.

I interpreted that the red Sindhoor (worn by married Hindu women on their forehead) which Goddess Shruti wore on her forehead had turned the dust of Devi’s feet red!

My attempt was to establish that Devi is the truth and is beyond Vedas & scriptures.

However, Dr. Leela (Swamini Atma Prana) who spoke after me, opposed it.

She argued that the dust on Devi’s feet was what the Shruti goddesses wore as vermillion marks on their forehead.

I stood firm in my argument, and she wasn’t ready to relent either.

I said, let us ask the Goddess directly to resolve this argument.

We asked Amma what her opinion was.

Amma supported me and agreed with what I said.

The reason Amma supported me was that my argument ‘had a heart’.

Today Amma is next to me and nowadays she herself asks us questions from time to time. She inspires us to be thoughtful, confuses us at times, and always encourages and corrects us.

The beauty of such a blessing is indescribable.

To answer the above question of whether Amma is Devi /goddess or not, let me share an experience with you.

Building a throne

Once a devotee from Kodungallur wanted to make a chair for Amma and that too a throne. According to him, Amma is Tripura Sundari, Lalita Parameswari, Rajarajeswari so he wanted to see Amma sit on a throne.

He wanted it to be made from Rosewood. Since it was going to be a throne for Goddess herself, he wanted the dimensions to be as per Vedic Science and approached me for my opinion.

I said, “Well, I am not sure if Amma will sit on a throne, it is highly unlikely as it’s not her style.”

He interrupted and asked, “Won’t Amma oblige if we pray to her?”
I said fine, as you wish.

Another point is, if you are going to make it, then it should be convenient for her to use & for that, few things need to be ensured.

The chair’s height should be proportional to Amma’s height, have enough width so that Amma can sit with her legs crossed the arms of the chair should be strong enough to withstand the pressure of devotees using it to stand or kneel when they come for darshan.

He agreed to these specifications.

He took measurements of the length, width, and height of the chair that Amma was using during Darshan.

The devotee then went and met Kanippayyoor (famous astrologer) and gave him the dimensions. He looked at it and said, “These measurements are the correct proportion of Devi’s throne. The chair used by Amma in fact had the exact measurements of the throne used by Devi.

This incident has an interesting backstory.

The Chair that Amma was using at that time was presented to Amma by a devotee from Ernakulam. Amma would sit on it for hours at a time and give Darshan and it had a special seat made to keep heat out.

The Ernakulam devotee made the chair and brought it to the ashram, however, it was not used for 3 to 4 months.

At last, the Ernakulam devotee came, wept, and prayed and so Amma agreed to use it.

When Amma sat on it, her feet wouldn’t touch the ground.

Amma said, If the height of the chair was reduced, she would use it.

He was ready to do anything for Amma to sit on it and so according to Amma’s convenience, 2 inches were cut from the legs.

After that, Amma sat on the chair and started giving regular Darshans.

It was the dimensions of this chair that Kanippayyoor had said were the measurements of Devi’s chair.

The adjustments made for Amma’s convenience matched the exact dimensions of Devis’ chair as per Tachu Sastram – Vedic Architectural Science.

What we need to understand here is Amma isn’t sitting on Devi’s chair, instead, she is using a chair that was adjusted for her convenience, and that in fact turned out to have the exact dimensions of Devi’s chair.

Sastri Kurvanthi Sastrani. The Mahatmas manifest the truth from scriptures; their words become scriptures.

Marma of Karma

The Amrita Sutra on which today’s topic is based, are from the word of such a satguru, who is an avatar, our Amma.

The sutra is “You have to understand the vital (Marma) aspects of Karma while performing karma“.

So, let’s see what that is.

This sentence, a secret formula, loses its beauty and effective meaning when translated into Western languages.

Karma, Vikarma, Akarma

What do you mean by Karma? How many types of Karma are there? We need to think about all these aspects.

What do you mean by Vital (marma)? The human body has many vital points (marma) but how does this apply to Karma?

Whatever we do with our mind, words, and deeds – can be called Karma. They are of two types – Karma & Vikarma

There are many categories in Karma – they include, our daily activities, occasional activities, and our acts of atonement etc. It also includes following one’s duty as well as any action prescribed by Guru and the Scriptures.

What is Vikarma? It is opposite actions or prohibited acts. What are they? Anything that causes pain and distress to others, any action which Guru and scriptures advise against.

Not just these two, we need to recognize Akarma as well…

What is Akrama? Even when you are involved in action, mentally you are not one with it, you are just a witness to the action.

We must be versed about these 3 – Karma, Vikarama, Akarma and the reason being the mysterious nature of Karma, says Sri Krishna in Gita.

karmaṇo hyapi boddhavyaṁ boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ,
akarmaṇaśca boddhavyaṁ gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ.

Relief from sorrow and pursuit of joy

Everyone, right from the President to the poor on the street, performs action for 2 reasons.

What are they? They are: relief from sorrow and pursuit of joy.

When we perform any action, we always try to avoid/negate the pain that comes with it.

If we have been sitting on the floor for a long time and our legs start to hurt, we stretch our legs to avoid that pain – that is relief from sorrow. Then we saw an empty chair nearby and sat on it. It feels more comfortable to sit in a chair. That’s the attainment of joy.

People get married thinking it will bring them joy. However, after some time, few of them find it difficult to adjust with the partner and begin to feel that it was a big mistake – and decide to divorce with the intention of overcoming this misery. Here too we observe that action was performed for the removal of sorrow and the attainment of joy.

We amass unfair amounts of material possessions in our pursuit of joy. However, we become desperate to get rid of our ill-gotten wealth when the tax authorities come knocking. Why? We want to escape sorrow, from the prospects of being put in jail and to avoid ruining our reputation by going to jail. This too is for the sake of joy.

We lived for 80-90 years but only faced sorrow in life and needed some freedom from this. What do we do? We have heard that if you go to heaven, you will be happy. And so, we plan our trip and start reading Bhagavatam or chanting divine names and prepare to die. Here too, the goal is the removal of sorrow and attainment of joy.

But even if you go there, you will not feel happy. No one realizes that these actions will not get us the eternal happiness that we so badly seek. The truth, that the eternal happiness which we seek, is within us, is lost on all.

If we examine all the actions of our life, we can see that these 2 factors are the only driving forces behind all our deeds. Removal of sorrow & attainment of joy

Attachment & aversion

The joy or sorrow that occurs when we perform actions creates affection or hatred in our minds. If the presence of certain people, or things or performing certain actions makes us happy, then we want the presence or action to continue. We would like to be in their presence or do the same action again and again as it gives joy, this is attachment.

Similarly, if any person, object, situation, or action causes us sorrow, then we constantly reject / avoid them. This develops hatred in our minds.

sukhanushaayee raaga:, dukhaanushaayee dwesha: says Patanjali Yoga sutra.

This is Vasana

This constant and repeated pursuit of joy and avoidance of sorrow starts to leave stains on our minds.

Over time, as these stains increase and get thicker, they start to block the light of consciousness in our minds.

As a result, our awareness decreases, wisdom fades and intellect becomes dull. Actions performed out of such a senseless mind starts to create their own stains on our minds and this is what develops as Vasana.

वस् – आच्छादने – The Sanskrit root of the word Vas means to cover. वासयति कर्मणा योजयति जीव-मनांसि इति वासना – Vasana makes us forget our true self and creates intense body/mind attachment.

This creates culture, destiny (Prarabda) in an individual and manifests as desires in our minds. We can accept or reject them too.

We then act according to these desires and these acts can either be good or bad deeds. They in turn result in (merit) Punya and (demerit) Papa, which in turn creates joy and sorrow. We take birth to experience the results of our Punya and Papa, to experience pleasures and pains. And without realizing it, we fall into the cycle of birth & death. To save ourselves from this cycle, the first step is to not create new stains or vasanas.

How do we do that?

Did you develop this Vasana by performing karma?

– Yes.

Is it possible to not do karma?

– No. 

By continuing to do karma won’t you develop new vasanas?

– Yes

And, if you do not perform karma, you will not be able to get rid of the existing Vasana either.

So, how do we perform karma and not develop any new vasanas? So how do we get out of this vicious circle?

When performing karma, do it with awareness, this will help us to not develop new Vasana in our minds. In this way, over time, the stains can be washed away.

Cleaning the bathroom

Let me give you an example

A bathroom that has been used continuously by many, over time all the white tiles in it are now yellow.

Why is this? – It is because water has left its stains.

And now how do we clean it?

We use water to clean it.

But didn’t the stains develop due to water? – Yes.

However, now along with water we add a bit of soap and use a brush to scrub it and the stains will go. Although the water caused the stains, a little bit of soap and a brush made all the tiles shine again.

Here, Soap is knowledge, and Brushing is selfless action.

Karmayoga means

Vasanas came from performing an action. So now if we do it with the awareness of God, we can regain our radiance. This is called karma yoga. This is the vital aspect (Marma) of Karma.

su kauśalam karma yogaḥ – The Gita says, an act done with proper discernment, is Yoga

buddhiyukto jahātīha ubhe sukṛtaduṣkṛte,
tasmādyogāya yujyasva yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam 2.50

So, without developing new Vasanas in our minds, flushing our existing Vasanas, if we can perform Karma, then such actions are graceful and radiant. Performing such prudent karma is called Yoga. This is the vital aspect (Marma) of Karma.

So, when Amma says that we must understand the Marma of Karma while performing karma, we must bear at least these in mind.

We must obey the guru’s advice with acumen. To the best of our ability follow Guru’s words without bothering about the praise or criticism, pleasure or pain, profit, or loss. We need to ensure that we do it with happiness, love & detachment. This is the Marma of Karma.

Panchagavyam & Brahmasthanam

Let me narrate an interesting experience.

During the Idol installation at Chennai Brahmasthanam, Amma went inside the shrine for consecration. There are many things needed for the rituals of consecration, but Panchagavyam was not ready. Amma asked me to prepare Panchagavyam and bring it.

Milk, curd, ghee, cow dung and cow urine are the five ingredients for Panchagavyam. Milk, curd, and ghee were in the ashram. But where will I get the cow dung and cow urine from?

From the cow dung that was obtained to coat the bricks used to make the sacred fire pit, I took some. Now, where do I get cow urine from?

Amma had started the ceremony and there were no cows in our Chennai Ashram.

I went out of the Ashram thinking it would be easy to see a cow on the roads in Tamil Nadu. I walked east along the main road, it was a busy one full of vehicles and I didn’t see any cow. After walking a while, I saw a cow lying in the middle of the road chewing cud and enjoying the morning sun.

I finally found a cow !!!, but now the cow must urinate!! There was dung lying next to it. But I need urine.

I pleaded with the cow, “Hey, Amma has started the preparations for the puja and Panchagavyam is a must and I need your urine to prepare it. I just need a little, can you please quickly pee a bit? You will get Punya”.

The cow just lay there chewing, unmoved by my plea; I don’t know if it was my broken Tamil or if the cow didn’t understand my need. Time was running out and I did not know what to do.

There were no other cows in sight and even if I managed to find another cow there was no guarantee that it would urinate for me.

It was a spectacle to see; everyone around me, bikers, pedestrians, passengers in the bus were all staring at me. A tall boy in a white shawl squatting in the middle of the road next to a cow holding a cup in his hand. The feelings, shame, impatience went through my mind, but I was not ready to give up that easily.

Suddenly an idea flashed in my mind. I got some water from a nearby tea shop and poured it over the cow.

The cow stood up, stretched, and straightened itself, raised its tail and shrrrrrrrrrr the gates opened, and urine began to flow.

I quickly filled the cup, ran to the ashram, and prepared the Panchagavyam and gave it inside the shrine.

You must do what Amma instructs you to do, and it must be done before Amma’s mind changes. We will be able to do it if we have Shraddha. Nature will also provide the necessary assistance in fulfilling that.

Lock and the key

As the saying of Amma goes, a lock can be locked if the key is turned to the right, but it can be unlocked by turning it to the left. The key is the same.

Similarly, when we use Karma that binds us, consciously, it becomes the cause of liberation. We have no other means of liberation other than karma.

Rope and Karma

Another example of Amma – someone was drawing water from a well, the rope got stuck on his leg and he fell into the well. A long rope was lowered to rescue him, and he was asked to tie it around his waist. He was then pulled up. Here, he fell into the well because of a rope and was also rescued using a rope. That rope is Karma.

Depending on how we use Karma, it can either bind or release us.

Desire is the cause of Samsara

Desire is the basis of this world(samsara), for birth and death. To be free from samsara we need to renounce desires. With desires in mind, one cannot perform karma yoga in its fullness.

How do we disown the deep-rooted desires from our mind?

Fantasies foster desire in us. For example, I want a cell phone. It may be a necessity. I read and research about various models and its features Like camera and memory etc. from my friends and from the internet. We then move on to dreaming about using the phone to take pictures or videos; the likes, comments, fame etc. that we might get when the photo or video is posted on social media etc. Thinking about the happiness that might come, we continue daydreaming.

As these dreams continue, we start to engage in actions to further our desires. The latent desires in the mind are created by circumstance and our accumulated tendencies over many lifetimes.

Conquer the desires by Viveka

We have seen that all our actions are for the attainment of joy alone. We increase our desires and try to make them a reality for the same reason. This continues unabated.

Desires come to mind with circumstances and latent tendencies. The first thought is not in our control, however we need not further that thought, and we need to overcome the desires that follow; this requires discernment (Viveka). With constant discernment, we can overcome desires/lust.

Now, how do we acquire this discernment (Viveka)?

Wisdom can be drawn from anywhere; it may be derived from worldly experiences too. For example, a person worked hard, raised his children, and taught them to stand on their feet. When the children grow up, they kick the parents out of the house and put them on the street.

Such a scenario taught them that they are truly alone, but they still do not realize God alone is truly with them. That wisdom could have been easily obtained from a guru, the scriptures and through Satsangs. Viveka Buddhi is this wisdom/knowledge. We must acquire this knowledge by self-effort.

Strengthen Viveka

Even if we were to hear a lot of Satsangs and learn a lot of scriptures, our Viveka may not necessarily be strengthened. If we do not listen with Shradha, sincerity and do not focus within, we will not learn what is taught. We will even lose interest in learning. We will focus our efforts on comparing different teachers and finding faults with them. We do not realize our own mistakes and shortcomings. That is why Viveka Buddhi does not strengthen us.

Amma has repeatedly reminded us that, whatever may be the subject, no student can ever comprehend the deep meaning of scriptures without the grace of the teacher who teaches it.

What happens once Viveka Buddhi is established? When desire arises, we will have opposing thoughts in our minds to defend against desires. Even a person who practices Viveka or is endowed with Viveka, may have desires due to his latent tendencies. At that moment, his Viveka shines bright, and due to his strong samskara which was reinforced by listening and contemplation helps him eliminate or avoid desires. For such a Samskaara of discernment to be established in one’s mind, it must constantly be in Satsang. This is the main way to gain Viveka.

Normally, when desires are not fulfilled in one’s mind, it causes frustration and restlessness. Sometimes, after the mind is overpowered by desires, wisdom dawns and we get upset thinking how we are a slave of desires. Then, there is great remorse that the mind has gone astray.

What if some do not repent? This is due to the lack of Viveka Buddhi. Externally they may be two-legged, but internally they are four-legged animals and still in the process of evolving, we will wait for them to become humans in the true sense.

This lack of Viveka, continues to create disturbances in the human mind. He may not have had enough practice, that is the reason.

Sometimes, they choose to sit inside a closed room and try to meditate or chant, or they go to a cave or forest and try to be alone. But meditation is not possible for those who do not have Viveka Buddhi. It will be useless unless one acquires Viveka through scripture study, instruction of Guru and Satsang. Its side effects can be anger, sleeplessness, and depression.

Other’s weep, thinking that he has lost his mind again and has not been able to keep the truth and follow dharma. This kind of guilt can sometimes lead to suicide.

How can you convict the whole body?

Once an advocate was arguing in court “My client merely put his arm through the window and removed few cell phones from a store, how can you punish the whole individual for an act that his arm did.”

The judge replied. “Using your logic, I sentence the defendant’s arm to 2 year’s imprisonment.

The advocate looked at the defendant and smiled.

With the lawyer’s assistance, the man detached his artificial limb, laid it on the table, and walked out. Everyone stood staring with their jaws dropped.

Unfortunately for us, our Body Mind Intellect is not something that can be detached so easily. However, we can be a witness and gain more Viveka.

No need for any of this circus.

If desires are weak, the mind will yield to meditation, yet it won’t have full concentration. The mind will drag you in different directions or distract you by suggesting, let it go this time, next time I swear, I will not commit such a mistake, etc.

If the desires are too strong, japa will end soon and your mind will never allow you to be in control. However, if one is established in Viveka, there is no need for any of this circus.

A pond covered with algae

If you want to drive the desires out of your mind, you cannot do it with Japa & Meditation alone; they may yield temporary results. If you stir a pond covered with algae, the algae will temporarily separate but will soon cover the pond again. To achieve lasting results, you need to invoke Vivek and dispassion and use them to destroy desires. It is this Viveka that makes us worthy of Guru’s grace.

It is a little easier for us here.


kāmāri priyayallayo bhavati ĕntī
tuccha kāmattiliṭṭāmaṃ vaccu
valacciṭunnu nararĕ, tāreśa cūḍapriye.
bhīmāghaṅṅal̤ĕ nīkki nin tirumiḻippāṭṭil
piṭicciṭṭu kaiyyāmaṃ vaykkuka
nāmamotiyiviṭĕ kūṭāṃ marikkuṃ varĕ.

[Oh Amma, aren’t you the darling of Shiva who destroyed Cupid? Why do you ensnare people with these insignificant desires? Take away all the grievous sins and chain us unto your song of mercy and care. Allow us to stay here until we die, chanting your name.]

Just a glance from her is sufficient.

Viveka does not always stay awake

If we want to renounce desires from the mind, we just need to strengthen the Samskara of Viveka and dispassion through self-effort. Because Viveka does not always stay awake all the time. Whenever desire arises, our intellect should strongly awaken and resist them.

This is not a conscious action, it should be automatic, awakened on its own – if the samskara of Viveka is well established. Else, we must continuously work hard towards creating that samskara.

Someone who knows how to swim will not drown even if he is unknowingly pushed into deep waters. He will start swimming as soon as he falls into the water. His knowledge of swimming is immediately turned on because that knowledge is stored in him and has become a part of him.

Swiggy or Zomato

When joy increases, the mind creates sorrow. If it is sorrow, it will continue to increase as time goes by.

For example, a person who eats home food regularly 3 times a day, starts to feel that the food is not tasty enough and so he orders food online from Swiggy or Zomato. He spends excessive time and money to find so-called good food. During online transactions, we have heard that credit card information can be stolen. If the order is not received on time or if the wrong item is delivered it leads to sadness and anger. We have heard a lot of incidents where delivery boys were beaten.

This is an example when search for excess joy turns to sorrow.

Now let us look at Sorrow.

Sorrow causes discomfort directly, so we want to avoid sorrow. And since joy does not create sorrow directly, we always desire it and are under the false impression that it gives us peace. Both these feelings happen in our mind. Our minds should be equanimous to either feeling. Our mind+intellect should be unflinching. Understanding this is the Marma of Karma.

There is no shortcut

I remember an incident of a Bhramachari who held an important position at Amrita Hospital. He did a lot of scriptural study and practice; once during darshan, he asked Amma for liberation.

Amma casually answered, “son, you should do all the action as pooja, there is no other shortcut.”

He thought, “Amma said this to make me work in the hospital “. He thought so because after learning all Shankara’s commentaries, he was convinced that wisdom cannot be obtained by action. He felt distressed and went back.

Around the same time, he participated in a lectures series that was held at the Shiva Temple in Ernakulam. The topic was Uddhava Gita. Uddhav asks Lord Krishna what is the easiest way to liberation. Lord Krishna’s answer was, “All actions should be performed as pooja, that is the way.”

The Brahmacharis misconception changed, and he began to follow Amma’s words. This incident was narrated to me by the same Brahmachari.

The wisest of men

The body cannot avoid karma. When the body performs karma, one’s mind should not be with the body, but with the Atma which is the cause. Atma has no karma, the body performs karma in the presence of Atma. He who understands this is the wisest of men and attains liberation, freedom and bliss, which is the ultimate result of all deeds.

karmaṇyakarma yaḥ paśyedakarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ,
sa buddhimānmanuṣyeṣu sa yuktaḥ kṛtsnakarmakṛt. 4 -18

You should proclaim this to the world

Kanchi Shankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swami came to Amritapuri, in January 2010. Amma spoke to him for almost 30 minuutes on this very stage.

During the meeting, Amma asked him “Why do people become inactive when they learn Advaita and say that if they do karma (action), they will accumulate more Vasana?”

Shankaracharya said, “Amma, the way it is taught is not right, that is why. If you study Advaita properly, one will not be inactive.”

“Then Swami Mon should proclaim this to the world.”

Shankaracharya agreed. “I will come wherever, whenever Amma calls me,” he said with folded arms.


Awareness of God and belief in God

Awareness of God and belief in God are two different things. Karma Yoga is not possible without the awareness of God. When selflessness merges with awareness of God, it becomes Karma Yoga. Any action is Karma, however attitude towards Karma is paramount. Working hard forgoing food and sleep does not necessarily become karma yoga.

If we do not get the desired results, we need to examine ourselves to see if it is due to a lack of planning, or due to our inefficiency, or because we are unwilling to put our ego aside. There is no need to blame God’s grace.

Mind of a Karma Yogi is on God

Amma says that the mind of a karma yogi is not in karma, but in God, this does not mean doing things carelessly. It means that every action is done carefully. Shradha is on Amma, who is present as “Akarma in Karma and Karma in Akarma”.

This is the gist of this Amrita Sutra,  “know the Marma of karma.”

Do these few words have so much potent meaning? Ha ha.. We can continue to interpret and give commentary on these words for days.

Some people do not know Amma, but like what she says. Others love Amma but will not listen to her. Even if they do listen, they may not necessarily know the import of what Amma says. We need to know Amma by experiencing her directly or through her words; this is not easy.

Let me share with you some experiences to illustrate this.

Sannyasins from Rishikesh

One day, during the early 1990’s, a few Sannyasins from Rishikesh who were visiting Kerala, heard that there is an Ashram in Amritapuri with around 300 Bhramacharis/nis living here.

They met Amma in the Darshan hut and encouraged her to learn Sanskrit and study Vedas. Amma told them “I don’t know anything, please teach all these to my children.”

After that, the monks addressed all the Ashramites in Sanskrit for about 40 minutes. This is the summary. No matter what circus one does, one cannot be saved without studying the Vedas and for that, you need to learn Sanskrit. They also reiterated that only a Brahmin is qualified to be a Guru.

Reading between the lines, what they said without explicitly saying so was – the Amma whom you call Guru does not know Sanskrit and has not studied the Scriptures (Vedas), so there is no scope of liberation for any of us. Also, she was not qualified to be a Guru as she was not a Brahmin.

How do I counter this argument? My mind was fuming.

After the lecture, the visiting Swami gave us an opportunity to ask questions. I have not studied the Vedas. What do I do or ask?

After a few moments of silence, I asked a question. A very naive question. “Swami, have there been any Mahatmas, outside India, who attained realization?

The Swami said “yes.”

I told myself, I’ve won and fired my second question.

“Have they studied Sanskrit or Vedas?”

The answer was “No”.

We were all very relieved. Whatever he preached for over 40 minutes, he proved himself wrong.

He was an Acharya of Vedanta and Maha Mandaleshwaran (Elevated Seer) of a great monastery.

Acharya Pradyumna

Let me tell you about another experience with another acharya.

In 2019, when Amma was on the US tour, Acharya Pradyumna visited Amritapuri. Who is he? He is a Vedanta teacher at Khanpur Arsha Gurukul, Patanjali Yogapeeth. He is also the guru of Baba Ramdev.

I spoke to him for about 30 minutes about Amma. The whole discussion revolved around Amma’s advice. There was a mantra he was continuously chanting, and it seemed that the mantra gave him inspiration.

Months before this, Baba Ramdev had visited Amritapuri and spoke to Amma for quite some time. Amma had told Baba Ramdev that “creation and creator are not two This is the view of Sanatana Dharma.” He conveyed this to his guru Acharya Pradyumna.

Because we always hear this all the time and do not understand scriptures properly, we do not grasp the meaning and depth of these simple words. But he understood. Amma, who has not studied any scriptures, had compressed the essence of scriptures into a capsule of 4 words. “Creator and Creation are not two, but one” He was chanting it like a mantra.

Those who are knowledgeable understand its beauty.


Very easy to recognize God if you are innocent.

Let me share another interesting experience with you –

Attappady is a sub-district near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.

Most of the people in this forest area are tribals. I was conducting contact programs and visiting houses talking about Amma. I used to visit 3 or 4 villages every day. The villages were at the top of the hills. If you go down a hill and go up the next hill walking a few kilometres each time, you reach the next village. There were less than 100 people in each village.

Since all the trees in those high mountains were cut down, the mountains looked bald. Clouds would float past our feet and when it rained, only our feet got wet as were above the clouds.

One day I went to a village and gathered most of them to perform a small pooja. I would inquire about their wellbeing and talk to them about Amma. Later I realized that they did not know Malayalam, only knew Tamil and their own tribal language. I felt sad because I was there to talk about Amma, and they could not understand my Malayalam. I tried to speak their language – mixed with a little bit of Tamil I knew! –

Many were crying, I couldn’t tell if it was because of them hearing about Amma or my terrible attempt at Tamil.

An elderly tribal mother approached me, and she pointed to the image of Amma in DeviBhava which I had in my hand and said, “I dreamt of this Amma yesterday, she was wearing the same Sari and crown. Amma is truly Devi, supreme power, Parasakthi.

How did the uneducated Attappadi tribal understand Amma? That too without seeing her in person. Many people do not understand anything even after seeing Amma in person. So, is education the problem? It is very easy to recognize God if you are innocent. I remember reading a quote on a t-shirt. “I was born intelligent, education spoiled me”

the presence of a Satguru

Every day we see children, who are yet to learn how to read or write, properly interpret the profound Vedanta principles in front of our Amma in very simple ways. We also enjoy their answers to Amma’s questions and their spontaneous comebacks.

Do you remember what 4-year-old Arvind answered on Maya? Maya is magic, we become sad when Maya catches us, and we can be happy if we catch Maya. Who taught him this? Was it his father or mother? No way. They know nothing. In just 3 lines, Arvind explained a great philosophy.

Do you know how 6-year-old Lalita from New York interpreted “Nimithamatram” from the Gita sloka “I’ve already killed the whole army you just be an instrument”. She connected it with the experience of her tooth falling off. Her hand is the tool that was unwilling to pluck the swaying tooth. She told her hand, anyway, all the teeth are going to fall away one day, they all are destined to fall, even if you do not pull, they will fall. So do your duty my hand. Six-year-old interpreted the Gita sloka in connection with her life!

What did 7-year-old Shakti Prasad say when he described Maya? He said Amma is Brahmaswarupini and Mayasvarupini. When Amma asked him why, his response was that Brahman cannot be seen or touched. That Brahman came in the form of a human as Amma. If you want to see and touch, it must be Mayaswaroopini. But this form is not the truth.

Who taught him the form of Brahma and the nature of Maya? Even those who study the Brahma Sutras cannot think like this.

4-year-old Bhavya from Germany said, ‘Amma says creation and creator are one’. Her question was, if the Creator is true, then how can the creation that came from the Creator be untrue?

How is she able to ask such profound questions?

5-year-old Amrita Varshini from France says she has a lot of attachment to her biological mother. Her mother is one of the most beautiful flowers in the garden of Amma. But she wants to have a bond with Jagadamba, because only Jagadamba can give her immortality.

My question is – where do they get this Viveka and Vairagya – Discernment and dispassion from?

All this is unfolding in their hearts in the presence of Amma, naturally, without anyone teaching them. All we must do is sit in front of Satguru with an open heart; with Shraddha, everything will shine within. These little butterflies of Amma are an example of this.

Purity of heart

Just by mere bookish knowledge, you may not receive Guru’s grace. If the Goddess appears directly in front of you, you may not recognize her. There are chances that you may misunderstand her too.

Those who have studied scriptures and those who have not studied, may not understand Amma, as explained through earlier experiences.

How can a fourth grader talk about scriptures, that too without learning Sanskrit! This is not something that anyone, in general, can trust and accept. It requires purity of heart.

The light of Sanatana Dharma

Many of you may remember what our Scriptural Acharya Swami Kaivalyananda ji told us at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita class, “Wherever I say Lord Krishna, you should replace it with Amma and understand.”

When he first saw Amma in his private room darshan, 20 years ago, the meeting lasted for about 4.5 hours.

Amma asked Swami. “How does Swami feel after seeing the ashram here? Are all my children studying well?

Swamiji replied “Amma, I have visited all the ashrams in India. I have even examined the by-laws of Sri Ramakrishna Ashram. Only what Amma does, is practical in spiritual life. Amma is leading Sanatana Dharma and in the future too, Amma will be the light of Sanatana Dharma”.

To understand Amma, to know the depth of the words spoken by Amma one requires scriptural awareness and purity of heart.

May Amma bless us all to understand the Marma of karma and live according to it, praying that her graceful glance will prevail in all,

I shall take any number of births for your sake.
If you could consume what Amma is providing today,
all your sorrows will be over. (- Amrita Dhara)

These flowers of thoughts are offered at the lotus feet of Amma.