My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth ‘I was the same’. As a little girl ‘I was the same’. ….Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change around me, in the hall of eternity ‘I shall be the same’. – Sri Anandamayi Ma
Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982) was one of the great Hindu saints of the 20th century. She was born in present-day Bangladesh. As a person of remarkable piety, sanctity, and wisdom, she came to the notice of both simple people and famous figures of India. During her long life, Anandamayi Ma traveled a great deal and assisted in the building or establishment of numerous ashrams and places of worship. Although born into a family that worshiped Vishnu, she became a devotee of Shiva. Her beatific presence and words of wisdom won her many followers and spread her renown. Many of Anandamayi Ma’s sayings were written down and recorded in books.
The central theme of all her words and expressions is this: Life and religion are one. All that you do to maintain your life, your everyday work and play, all your attempts to earn a living, should be done with sincerity, love and devotion, with a firm conviction that true living means virtually perfecting one’s spiritual existence in tune with the universe. To bring about this synthesis, religious culture should be made as natural and easy as taking our food and drink when we are hungry and thirsty. Mother says “With earnestness, love and goodwill carry out life’s everyday duties and try to elevate yourself step by step. In all human activities let there be a live contact with the Divine and you will not have to leave off anything. Your work will then be done well and you will be on the right track to find the Master. Just as a mother nourishes her child with all possible care and affection and makes him grow up into a healthy boy and a handsome youth, so you will find the subtle touches of the Divine Mother shaping your inner life and making you reach your full height and stature. Whatever work you have to do, do it with a singleness of purpose, with all the simplicity, contentment and joy you are capable of. Thus only will you be able to reap the best fruit of work. In fullness of time, the dry leaves of life will naturally drop off and new ones shoot forth.”
Mother says: “Just as there is a definite time-table for work at school, office or the shop, so should we set apart for divine contemplation a few minutes out of the twenty-four hours of every day, preferably in the morning and evening. One must make a fixed resolve that this little time shall be dedicated to God throughout life. During this period no worldly activity should be allowed to encroach upon the contemplation of God. A fixed time for prayer or meditation must be allotted to all the members of the family including the servants. If this practice is continued for long, divine contemplation will become a part of your nature. Once the habit is established, the future course of your life will be made quite easy. You will feel the flow of the mysterious Divine Grace feeding all your thoughts and giving you new strength. You get a pension or bonus after years of hard work, so that you need no longer earn your livelihood. In the spiritual realm the reward for good, sincere and selfless work is even far greater and can be obtained more easily.
“Your earthly pension expires with your life, but the divine pension continues long, long after death. Those who amass money, store it up in a hidden chamber of their house, add to this store what they can save from time to time, and keep a constant watch over their treasure. So also reserve a little corner of your mind and heart for God and always steal an opportunity to add to your stock in the shape of the invocation of His name or some pious work or divine thought.” One day Mother was showing the various ways of saluting God and said: “Lose yourself altogether when bowing down to God with a single-minded devotion and you will obtain joy and power in proportion. If you cannot do anything else, at least morning and evening at the appointed time, lay down your body, mind and life before Him in salutation and surrender, and think of Him just a little.”
In this connection she added: “There are two kinds of pranamas : Offering to Him your whole body and mind with all thoughts, desires, sense-impressions, love, affection, devotion, just like emptying the contents of a full pitcher to its last drop. The other way is like scattering face-powder through the minute holes of a powder-box : the major portion of your thoughts and desires is kept back in a hidden chamber of your mind, and only a little dust is allowed to escape.”
From Mother as Revealed to Me, by Bhaiji – from http://www.anandamayi.org/
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