Matri Vani | Teachings of Anandamayi Ma
From the wisdom of ŚRĪ ANANDAMAYI MA
recorded during her dictated letters and public talks
Translated by ATMANANDA
Teachings of our beloved God-realized Śrī Anandamayi Ma (30 April 1896 - 27 August 1982) as they were given while dictating answers to letters of devotees and during public talks concerning different topics of spiritual growth and God realization, sometimes called also Self-realization.
The message of Anandamayi Ma is both timeless and timely, for a world filled with tensions and confusion needs to be constantly reminded that all our sufferings and tribulations can be traced to one primary cause: alienation from God, the source of our being.
Mother aptly points out that all those who are steeped in worldliness are the actual renunciates, foregoing the bliss of God- realization for the sake of paltry, ephemeral material pleasures.
Again and again Śrī Anandamayi reminds us that we who are blessed with the possession of a human body have to live in accordance with our exalted destiny, concentrating all our efforts on the only worthwhile goal, realization of our immortal nature.
While in the ultimate sense time is a delusion, for all practical purposes time is a most valuable commodity which must not be squandered. Consequently it behoves us ceaselessly to invoke the divine name. This is the way to cope with whatever problems confront us and to remove bad karma.
Utilizing any and all devices that will remind us of the divine presence, we shall assuredly overcome māyā. While Mother acknowledges that normally māyā holds mankind in a vice- like grip, She makes it clear that māyā itself contains the key to our liberation, for “where there is a veil of ignorance, there is also a door to Knowledge”.
It is by suffering that suffering is overcome, because without suffering few would see the need for self-purification which leads to the unfoldment of our immortal Self.
The pilgrimage to immortality may appear arduous and unattractive at first, but it has to be undertaken, for it will lead us to our true home from which we have been absent too long, exposing us to the dualities of worldly life and the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Endurance and courage are essential requirements on the spiritual path. God- realization is not bestowed upon cowards. Just as did Arjuna, each one of us has to act heroically, slaying our weaknesses. There is no escape from the battlefield of life, since any attempt to evade our duty will only prolong the ordeal, keeping us in bodily captivity.
Instead we must confidently engage in battle, wielding the unfailing weapon of japa. God will not withhold the price of victory, blissful immortality, which is none other than our own true nature.
Mother’s advice is meant for renunciates and householders alike, for She advocates regarding all our duties as service to God who- is immanent in all beings and conditions.
Actually, we are all ashramites, since where is there a boundary, an area where God is not? All distinctions are part of our limited consciousness. In truth, mine and thine do not exist. Mother is never apart from us. It is to this level of realization that She urges us to advance.
There, where only One is, all suffering ceases. And it is from the realization of Oneness that Mother addresses us. Thus Her sayings originate from a level beyond time, space and causality. Consequently, any analysis of Her personality or Her motives from a dualistic level of consciousness is futile.
As an unruffled lake at night clearly and accurately reflects the moon shining upon it, likewise Mother mirrors our own state of consciousness.
Our vision of Her and our interpretation of Her advice constitute a reflection of our spiritual understanding. Ultimately, we must attain that level where we realize that She and we are One.
The path that leads to the realization of one’s Self and cannot be relinquished — this is dharma. For every individual the road to illumination is different. Wherever you may be, from there itself start advancing. For there is only He and no other. He Himself is holding you. He never, never forsakes you. Then again, the practice (kriyā) that aims at God - realization is called dharma.
A man who has gone forth in search of God — God will never give him back again. God is one’s very own Self, the breath of one’s breath, the life of one’s life, the Ātmā. Not until his true Self has been revealed to him may a seeker ever relax his search. By seeking one will find; the Self is within one’s own grasp.
Happiness that depends on anything or anyone turns into sorrow when that particular thing or person is out of reach. Everything in this world is transitory. So also worldly happiness: it comes and the next moment it is gone. If permanent, abiding happiness is to be found, That which is eternal will have to be realized. In this world, every single person is crazy after something or other.
Bhagavan, the all-pervading, in every form, in every sect and religion is He alone. To be eager to love God is very fortunate; it is in fact His grace. Man’s love should be directed solely towards God, then only will there be peace and bliss. Ever take refuge at His feet. It is man’s privilege to realize the One; the path to Truth is open to him.
To invoke God sincerely without a result — this can never happen; He will surely cleanse and purify His own offspring and then take them to Himself. Pray to Him with heart and soul. To the limit of your power, using all the strength and capacity you possess, endeavour to live constantly in His presence. Surrender yourself at His feet. He Himself gives His kriyā (spiritual practice).
Do whatever God prompts you to do. Japa, dhyāna, pūjā have to be performed regularly for the sake of practice, even if one does not feel inclined — so that this practice may be transformed into the yoga of practice. Devotion and faith must certainly be awakened. Whether one feels like it or not, it is imperative to attend to one’s prayers with great regularity.
God’s Name is not like worldly medicine that acts at times and at other times does not; God’s Name invariably bears fruit. either renounce everything and seek refuge solely in His Name, or else, while remaining with your family, act according to your Guru’s instructions and live a regulated life. Thereby also you may hope to get rid of your disease.
If the relationship of Guru and disciple has solidly been established, the Guru can never be forsaken; He is ever present with the disciple. God alone is man’s Guru. One should put one’s whole trust in Him. Kriyās, yoga and similar exercises cannot be practised without a Guru by one’s side, while japa and meditation may be performed anywhere. The Guru should be regarded as God.
Towards Self-realization is the only direction in which to advance; all the rest is vain and leads to suffering. The path of renunciation is indeed the path of bliss. The man who is on the pilgrimage to God is fortunate. The path to Him is alone worthy of being called a path; all others are wrong paths, where one meets with troubles and calamities at every step.
Who is ‘Anandamayi Ma’? Who indeed is ānandamayī (bliss-permeated)? He is in all shapes and forms, eternally enthroned in the hearts of all beings. Truly, He dwells everywhere. Many tell Ma, “You are my Guru.” Ma always declares: “Whatever you may say is all right.” Ma also says, “The One who is all-pervading, who is variously called Para- Brāhman, Paramātmā or God, He verily belongs to all.”