When we acquire knowledge with the wrong attitude, it only creates misery, unhappiness and loneliness.............
Q1: Why do you think love, compassion and peace are becoming rare commodities even as we modernise and globalise at a frenetic pace?
Amma: People always act according to their intellectual convictions. In today''s society, since progress is being equated with the wealth one possesses, people all over the world have come to believe that money is everything that "Without money you are nothing". It''s only natural then that the slogan has become: "Make money by hook or by crook". It is absolutely fine to have money. But money should not control man; man should control money. Unfortunately, man has become money''s slave. It''s like the tail wagging the dog, instead of the dog wagging the tail! In a society where money is king, everything becomes business -- even love, compassion and human relationships like marriage. Why? Because dharma, the fundamental principle of life, has been thrown completely out of the window. Q2: We are becoming modern. We are becoming techno-savvy. We are getting material comforts that previously we never could have dreamed of. Why are we then growing increasingly intolerant and egoistic?
Amma: [smiling] Due of lack of proper understanding. People think that without ego achievements are impossible. But this is a misunderstanding. Behind all great achievements, including ground-breaking scientific inventions, something beyond the ego and mind comes into play.
Effort is ego, but the right result comes only when we let go of the ego. We must put in effort. However, one should also know how to drop the ego and when. Imagine a kingdom where everyone wants to be king and nobody wants to serve There are only takers and no givers so the intolerance and conflict. Q3: As we witness this paradox -- scientific advancement, material comforts and modern lifestyles, yet more of unhappiness, loneliness and misery, what does India have to offer to the world?
Amma: When we acquire knowledge with the wrong attitude, it only creates misery, unhappiness and loneliness. Look around and you can see that the number of schools, universities, students and teachers are increasing daily. But is knowledge growing? Right-knowledge brings right-understanding and right-understanding brings beauty, joy, peace and contentment in life. In the old days, our schools imparted true knowledge. Only true knowledge can rectify such problems.
But today are our children acquiring right-knowledge from our schools, colleges and universities? If they are, then why are youngsters today so immature? Why then is there so much conflict, chaos, violence and war in our world? Why are today''s wars much more brutal than ever before? India used to not be like this.
If we look back, we see that here even war used to adhere to dharma. The Mahabharata War, fought 5,000 years ago, had clear rules and regulations. Ground soldiers were to fight only with other ground soldiers. Similar was the case with soldiers fighting on horseback and on elephants. Women, children and the sick and elderly were not to
be harmed under any circumstance. The war began at sunrise and ended at sunset, after which soldiers from both sides would sit and have dinner together. That is why the battle of Kurukshetra was known as a dharma yuddha. One should observe dharma even at the warfront. India has the right-knowledge but unless we develop the right attitude it will not be of benefit to us or to others.
Peace and happiness will not come through scientific advancements, education and by increasing physical comforts. If so, why do even people who live in five star facilities commit suicide in their air conditioned rooms? Why do people have to consume sleeping pills to get sound sleep in the midst of all physical comforts? In order to experience peace and happiness we should air condition our minds. That is what the practice of spirituality helps us to attain. And that indeed is the greatest contribution that India can offer to the world.