Charity is an expression of unity, and the educational and cultural mission of Amma Sri Karunamayi is based in honoring the vlaues that are universal in the Human Family. This message of universality stands against the tide of petty divisionism robbing people the world over of their birthright of heartfelt safety, wisdom, and peace.
Peace for Individuals, Communities, and the Whole World
In hundreds of discourses given to thousands of people, Amma has stressed the vital necessity of peace. When Amma speaks about peace, she is not just speaking of the absence of war. Of course, this is very important. But just as health is more than the mere absence of disease, peace is much more profound than simply the absence of war. In the ancient spiritual tradition of India, peace is first and foremost a state of consciousness. This consciousness is not limited to humans, however. According to the holy sages of ancient India, all of Nature is permeated with consciousness.
Therefore, the sages always advised people to pray for universal peace—for peace in the heavens, peace in the element of earth, peace in all the oceans and rivers, peace for the plant kingdom, animal kingdom, and peace in the human kingdom. In the sages’ mystical view, the entire cosmos is part of a divine whole, and no part can be ignored or abused.
According to Amma, peace must start with the individual. If we are always in conflict, always experiencing inner agitation, how can we be at peace with others? When we ourselves are at peace, we then begin to influence others through our words, our acts, and our very presence. Peace begins to spread to our family, to our community, and from there to the entire world. In order for diplomatic peace efforts to work, there must be a strong grass-roots peace movement. As more and more people come together for the cause of peace, entire cultural attitudes can shift, and world peace becomes a realistic possibility.
During the 2007 Hyderabad Peace Program, thousands of Hyderabadi citizens came to hear Amma speak and receive her blessings. Srimati Purandeswari, India’s Minister of Human Resources Development, said during her speech, “We need the blessings of Amma to make sure that India continues its ancient legacy of peace. Peace will definitely spread because of her love and blessings, because Amma is a beacon of light showing the way for all of us.”
Nonviolence and Respect for All Life
The most important principle in Sanatana Dharma, the ancient spirituality of India, is the principle of ahimsa—the command to do no harm. More important than any belief, ritual or pilgrimage is the necessity to never willingly harm another creature in thought, word or deed. This principle of nonviolence extends not only to all humans, but also to animals, insects, plants, rivers, and in fact, the entire Earth.
If everyone on Earth embraced the principle of ahimsa, how could there by any wars? How could there be any abuse, torture, or crime? As more and more people embrace a culture of nonviolence, aggressors will become marginalized. One of Amma’s goals in traveling throughout the world is to encourage more and more people to value nonviolence and to spread that value throughout their communities. By encouraging people to eat little or no meat and purchase organic produce, Amma wishes to help end the cruel treatment of animals and the poisoning of the Earth.
As sacred as the principle of ahimsa is, Sanatana Dharma does not allow us to stop there. It is not enough to simply avoid harming others. One must also make some effort to help others. In the Vedas, the most ancient Indian scriptures, the sages tell us “Paropakarartham idam sariram.” This short maxim states clearly that this body, the human body, is meant for noble action. The human body is considered to be a great gift, and in repayment for that gift, we must serve other beings in some way. All beings are considered to be bound together by subtle bonds of divine love. As an expression of God’s love and divine unity, we engage in compassionate service to others, without thought of race, religion, or nationality. In this way, we fulfill the highest purpose of our lives.
If everyone in the world sought to serve others, how could there be famines, or loneliness, or orphans? Amma teaches that what the world needs most is more and more selfless service, performed with a loving heart.
Humanitarian Values are Spiritual Values
In the ancient tradition of Sanatana Dharma, renunciates are not considered superior to householders, spirituality is not equated with exotic mystical states, and seekers are not encouraged to ignore earthly existence in favor of distant heavenly rewards. Simple, common human values are raised to the status of exalted spiritual principles. Family relationships are glorified as sacred and divinely meaningful. Seekers are encouraged to integrate all the teachings into a meaningful lifestyle that honors the individual, the family, the environment, and the entire world.
“Vasudhaika kutumbakam,” the ancient sages tell us. This pithy statement means that this entire world, with all the animals, birds, oceans, people, and trees, is like one small family. What the sages are telling us is that we must treat all beings as our own near and dear family members. Just as we share food with our family and help our own brothers and sisters, we must expand that sense of family until we feel that all creatures are our own brothers and sisters who deserve our love and help. This is the true meaning of spirituality, and to live in this spirit of love and oneness is considered to be the highest path that humans can follow. It is Amma’s sacred intention to encourage and inspire everyone to follow this beautiful path of harmony and unity, so that the Earth may flourish and prosper for many generations to come.
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