Amma is an internationally known humanitarian and spiritual leader. I met her in June of 1989 and have spent time with her every year since then. (I was going to add except in 2020 but then I remembered I was with her in India in January 2020!) From time to time, I share Amma quotes on my blog. This is one of those times.
Traveling by bus, we see many things on the way and just let them pass by. Watch the thoughts of your minds in the same way.
Never forget God. Never forget your real Source. Never move away from the real center within you.
In times of tragedies, our duty is to lend a helping hand to those in grief and thus light lamps of kindness and compassion.
Grace is the factor that brings the right result to your actions, at the right time and in the right proportion.
Lessen the quantity of unnecessary thoughts and allow more space for the energy of love to flow within you.
Those of you who have read my blog posts for some time might remember that one of Amma’s teachings is to “Be like a bird sitting on a dry twig, ready to fly at a moment’s notice.” She also encourages us to focus on the present moment, rather than dwell on the past or the future. I have had many opportunities to apply those lessons in my life. Each experience has helped in preparing me for what I am dealing with now, Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
During my years as a psychotherapy client and as a psychotherapist, as well as during my spiritual journey, I have had plenty of opportunities to learn that Resistance=Pain. Leap of Faithwent so far as to say that Resistance=Death. Amma teaches us to accept whatever comes. Byron Katie wrote a book entitled Loving What Is. These teachings and plenty of experiences in learning the value of acceptance and the futility of resistance have also helped me to accept that PD is part of my life now and will probably be for the rest of my life.
My younger brother died at 39. Shortly before his death he wrote an essay, The Truth I Live By. The sections of that essay that impacted me the most were:
Is cancer unfair? Is it fair that we should expect billions of cells in our body to reproduce over and over again, over an entire lifetime, and always get it right?
I can’t walk outside without seeing the beauty of our created world, from the rainbow in a line of earthworm slime, to another visible ring on Jupiter.
Even though I have enough things to interest me another 10 lifetimes, I must take solace in knowing that, at least compared to others, I’ve had much more than my share even in half a life time.
I am now 72 years old. No matter what happens in the future, I believe I was given and have lived a full lifetime.
Right now, every day is filled with puzzles to be solved, whether it is getting dressed, figuring out meals or at times even walking. I’m grateful to Ramana for housesitting when I stayed in Woodinville and for staying on to help me when I returned home. I am grateful for the love and support I get from other friends and my neighbors. I am grateful for my doctors. I am grateful for my physical therapist and for all the zoom exercise classes he and his staff provide. I am grateful for the medicine I am taking to relieve the symptoms of PD. I am grateful for the love and support I receive from my adult children, Satvamrita and Chaitanya, and my ex-husband, Al. I am grateful for Amma’s never-ending love and guidance. I am grateful that I have so many things to be grateful for that I can’t list them all here.
I used to teach a workshop called Lessons on Lessons. When I started this blog, I decided to call it, Living, Learning and Letting Go: Lessons on Lessons. I am realizing that as I learn from Parkinson’s Disease I will have the opportunity to share those life lessons here. Consider this the first in a series! I don’t know how often I will write but I will write. As I wrote those last lines I remembered that the pastor’s wife of a church I used to attend always prefaced her weekly announcements with “If the Lord shall say the same we will……..”
With that in mind and knowing that I don’t even know “what is around the next corner” I will amend one of my last statements to say that it is my intention to write about the lessons I learn from this experience.
When I was looking for something else on YouTube a few minutes ago, it occurred to me that a group video which had been made as a gift for Amma might be on it. And it was! The video was posted in August of 2020. Ten thousand participants from 360 cities and 39 countries were involved in making it.
There is no doubt in my mind that Amma has helped me the most in finding peace in uncertain times; by her presence, her teachings and the opportunities to apply those teachings, her music, her guidance when I have questions, the example she sets in living a life of service and the community of people I have in my life because of her.
As I am dealing with my own health problems, as well as living in the world during a pandemic, I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to learn persistence, flexibility, letting go, being like a bird perched on a dry twig, and being in the moment. While my mind still goes into overdrive, most of the time I am able to find a centered place within me.
As I am writing this, I am remembering a prayer I wrote in the mid to late 90’s. It is still my prayer.
Mother, may my hands be in service, my mind fill with mantra May my voice forever sing your praise, my heart dance with joy May my love shine ever brighter, my faith ever grow Mother, may each day I become more like you, only for this I pray Only for this I pray
Not too long after the pandemic began and we were told to stay home, I started writing one of the 108 Names of Amma ten times in Devanagari (the script used to write Sanskrit words) each day. Many of the “names” relate to one of Amma‘s characteristics. The list was written by a devotee decades ago and is frequently used as a chant before meditation or singing.
If you notice differences between the transliteration and the Devanagari script know that more information about that is provided in my last Sanskrit writing post.
ॐ त्याग वैराग्य मैत्रयादि सर्व सद्वासना पुषे नमः omtyaga vairagya maitryadi sarva sadvasana pushe namah … who encourages the cultivation of good qualities such as renunciation, dispassion, love, etc.
ॐ सुभाषित सुधा मुचे नमः om subhashita sudha muche namah … whose speech is as sweet as ambrosia
ॐप्रोत्सादित ब्रह्मविद्या सम्प्रदाय प्रवृत्ताये नमः om protsahita brahmavidya sampradaya pravrittaye namah …who encourages the learning of Brahmavidya, the science of the Absolute through the tradition of the guru-disciple relationship
Not too long after the pandemic began and we were told to stay home, I started writing one of the 108 Names of Amma ten times in Devanagari (the script used to write Sanskrit words) each day. Many of the “names” are events in Amma‘s early life or one of her characteristics. The list was written by a devotee decades ago and is frequently used as a chant before meditation or singing.
I have been having health problems, not related to covid, so it has been a week or more since I last wrote any Sanskrit. I finished line 78 last night. In this post, I will share lines 71 and 78.
I frequently make errors when I write. Usually by the 10th time I write the line, it is correct but not always, I still slip up. I also have discovered there are occasionally discrepancies between the transliteration and the Devanagari versions. Since I don’t know which is right, I just write it the way it is in the various books I am using. I also do not differentiate between the different kinds of “a”s, “i”s, “u”s, “n’s, “sh”s (and a few others) when I write the transliteration in blog posts. And last, there are occasionally times when letter combinations I use when I write the Devanagari script are different than the keyboard I am using for the post.
Line 71 सुप्रसन्न मुख़ाम्भोज वराभयद पाणये नम: suprasanna mukhambhoja varabhayada panaye namah … who has a bright, beaming face, as beautiful as a lotus flower, and who holds her hand in the posture of blessing
Line 78 प्रेमभक्ति सूधा सिक्त साधू चित्त गूहजूषे नम: premabhakti sudha siktasadhu citta guhajushe namah … who resides in the cave of the heart of the pious that are drenched with the nectar of devotion
It has been 58 days since I started writing one of the 108 Names of Amma in ten times in Devanagari (the script used to write Sanskrit words) each day. Many of the “names” are events in Amma‘s early life. The list was compiled decades ago and is frequently used as a chant before meditation or singing.
In my last Sanskrit post, the lines related to Amma having had a vision of Lord Krishna. In this post I am using three lines that follow the one about Amma having had a vision of the Divine Mother holding an instrument called the veena. So these three lines are about what happened once her vision disappeared.
देवी सद्य: तिरोधान ताप व्यथित चेतसे नम : devi sadyas tirodhana tapa vyathita chetase namah …whose heart was burnt in the fire of sorrow on the Divine Mother’s sudden disappearance,
त्यक्तान्न पान निद्रदी निद्रादि सर्व दैहिक धर्मणे नम: tyaktanna pana nidradi sarva daihika dharmane namah … who gave up all bodily activities like eating, drinking, sleeping, etc.
Note: In doing this post, I see that I didn’t write pana in any of my sentences. Whoops.
कुररादि समानीत भक्ष्य पोषित वर्ष्मणे नम: kuraradi samanita bhakshya poshita varshmane namah whose body was nourished by the food brought by birds and other animals
Note: I only wanted to use three lines in this post. Day 49 was “… whose sorrowful wailing was rending the ears of the four quarters.”
Earlier this week, a friend sent me this video. I was VERY touched by it and sent it on to family and friends. Days later, I’m still thinking and talking about it so I’ve decided to share it on my blog. I will let the video speak for itself.
During the previous decade, I attended Sanskrit classes for about five years. For a while I even attended two classes a week. My goal was to be able to converse in Sanskrit.
I became discouraged, however, when class after class of Indian students zoomed past me. I may have known more Sanskrit when each class began, but many of the Indian students’ native languages were rooted in Sanskrit so they were able to easily able to develop a Sanskrit vocabulary. I couldn’t do that. I progressed in my studies, but the time came when I was no longer willing to dedicate the hours it would take to reach my goal; besides, I was no longer convinced my goal was even possible.
One day during the current pandemic, it occurred to me that I could write in Sanskrit as a form of spiritual practice. It had been a long time since I’d written the Devanagari letters and I knew I would enjoy doing that once again.
Many years ago, a devotee of my spiritual teacher, Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi), wrote a beautiful chant consisting of 108 characteristics of Amma. I realized I could focus on one line of that chant each day by writing it in Devanagari script ten times. I have been doing that exercise for the last 28 days!
In the past, I often wrote about my Sanskrit studies on this blog. I decided a few days ago that I would do that again. But each day, I determined that my writing wasn’t good enough or the line of the chant wasn’t the right one. Today, I decided that since my purpose was to share the process, nothing about it had to be perfect.
I picked the 24th and 25th lines of the chant to share:
om nissabda janani garbha nirgamadbhuta karmane namah (Salutations to Amma who did the miraculous deed of keeping silence when she came out of her mother’s womb.)
om kali sri krishna sangkasha komala shyamala tvishe namah (Salutations to Amma who has the beautiful dark complexion reminiscent of Kali and Krishna.)
I hope the pandemic ends before I reach the 108th day, but even if it does, I may continue this practice until I have finished the last line.
I will end my post with the following prayer:
OmLokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu May all beings in the world live in peace Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti Peace, Peace, Peace
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”-William Shakespeare