Spirituality is not an escape from life. It is turning inwards so that one may know oneself. Spirituality is the science that teaches one to understand life in greater depth. It is management of the mind. If we cannot manage the mind and thoughts well, life loses its balance. Running away is the way of a coward, whereas spirituality is the path of the brave. Real courage is the coming together of two things: the mental strength to face anything, and compassion. Those who charge spiritual life with being a form of escapism have preconceived ideas. Trying to explain matters to them is like holding a mirror in front of a blind man, or like trying to awaken someone pretending to be asleep. Knowledge cannot be enforced on anyone. It can only be imparted to someone who is receptive; knowledge then dawns within that person. Someone with a blocked nose cannot enjoy the fragrance of a flower. How can one blame the flower?
Further, no one has come here using spirituality as a pretext for escaping. Everyone here — from little children to the elderly — works day and night selflessly to serve society. When Amma travels abroad, she has seen so many heart-warming incidents of young children setting aside a part of the pocket money their parents give them to buy ice cream and chocolates, to serve the poor! When asked, they say, “While eating ice cream and other goodies, we remember those suffering because of a lack of food, clothing and shelter. Out of compassion for them, we feel that we ought to do something to make them happy.”
Amma teaches both ashram residents and devotees to meditate and do selfless work. She doesn’t force anyone to do anything. Those who wish to get married and lead a householder life are free to do so. There are many couples who, after marriage, volunteer to do selfless service. There are many individuals and organizations that create problems both for their own families and for society by not discharging their duties but instead taking on the responsibilities of others. They are the ‘escapees,’ and not those who lead a spiritual life with an understanding of spiritual principles.
There are three factors that make one a human being:
Spirituality teaches us to realise these three. Only then does human life become fulfilled.
Amma’s Message on “Spirituality” was published in Krishnaamritam (2018, Amriteswari Society Singapore)