Sad Vani | Teachings of Anandamayi Ma 4



Have you ever observed children at play? They start their game with great enthusiasm and buoyancy: how friendly they are, how affectionate!

But before their play draws to its close, a difference of opinion over the question of victory and defeat has involved them in such bitter quarrelling that they first abuse one another, then come to blows and finally run home in tears.

Worldly people, although grown-up, behave in a very similar manner. No sooner have they earned a little money than they go in for luxurious living with parties, entertainments and society life. For a short while they thoroughly enjoy themselves.

But gradually, with advancing age, they have to pass through all sorts of severe trials and bereavements and finally are so overcome by despair that life seems unbearable to them.

Those, on the other hand, who lead a life resigned to the Will of the Almighty, taking shelter at His Feet, will remain unperturbed and at peace even if faced with any number of privations and afflic­tions.

In this ever changing world, happi­ness alternating with sorrow will always be man's lot, just like the eternal sequences of ebb and flow, sunshine and rain.


As a mother is known by her affection and tenderness for her children, a wife by her love and devotion for her husband, a friend by his fellow-feeling and loyalty to his comrades, so a religious person can be recognized by this God-centred, dedi­cated life.

Merely to say that one believes in God is quite useless. Religion must be practised by one's attitude of mind and heart and by one's actions. When engaging in austerity — fasts, vigils and the like—if real devotion is lacking they become mere mechanical observances.

Carefully examine your heart and mind and try to eradicate shortcomings that you discover in yourself. In this way, performing the duties that befit your station of life, steadily forge ahead: a day will come when your actions will be in harmony with your aspirations and then you will be capable of true spiritual progress.


To taste is the natural function of the tongue. But unless some bitter, sweet, salty or sour substance touches it, there is no taste. The wonderful thing is that whatever is put on the tongue, be it pungent or deli­cious, its taste will be faithfully produced.

In a similar manner, the possibility which the human body does not contain has yet to be discovered; for this reason it may also be called a microcosm.

Keep it in any way you like, it will respond. If you seek worldly experience, you will see how it will entice you, only to leave you sur­feited. But if you train it to serve the spiritual life, it will let you grow calm and serene.

The body is valuable, yet it is not: If you want to cross a river, the boat is of great importance to you; but once you have reached the other shore, you never even give a thought to the ferry that took you across.

The usefulness of the human body is of a like nature. When the "l-ness" has become extinct the world and with it the body will have gone out of the field of one's vision.


In all matters it is necessary to establish a centre. Otherwise real intensity cannot be developed.

As the mind becomes ever more concentrated on one thing, one steadily grows more sincere, tranquil, loving and at ease. In this way one may well catch a glimpse of the All-pervading One.

Choose a word, a form, an image, a symbol — in fact anything sacred represen­ting Him as a whole or in part — and, whether in happiness or in misery, cease­lessly direct the current of your thinking towards it.

Even though the mind may repeatedly wander here and there, it will again seek rest in this fixed centre. In due course, love and devotion will awaken for Him who will then take possession of your heart.

To attain to Self-realization by personal effort only or to realise God by yoga and similar practices is in the present age extremely difficult for the ordinary person.


Why do you sit idle, groping in the dark? Arise and set about in search of Light, ever more Light!

For how much longer can you live by the gleam of a lantern or an electric bulb? When the oil is exhausted, when the bulb fuses, your lamp is bound to go out. Illumine the world with a light that can never be extinguished.

Do you know what this light is? Faith in God, the love of God. Carry the quest for this light into every home and you will soon see everyone radiant within as well as without.

One thing has to be borne in mind: if anything is to be accomplished in our times, Ma Lakshmi will have to be propitiated, that is to say the co-operation of women must be secured. For it marks the spirit of the present time that women will take their place at the helm of society and men ply the oars.

It is imperative to train girls along with boys to sing kīrtana, to read the Bhagavad Gītā and the Śrīmad Bhagavata, to practise japa and meditation. They must be brought in touch with the Holy and Wise and attend satsang. Then you will see how the lives of both men and women will be ennobled and raised to a higher level.

If in this way the first of the varṇāśramas of ancient times, namely the brahmacharya āśrama can be revived and lived by the young, a renaissance of Hindu society will follow.


A sannyāsi is he who ever dwells in the void (śūnya). One who has taken sannyāsa, yet all the time depends on others, is merely attempting to become a sannyāsi. A genuine sannyāsi is he who in God's Name has set his all afloat in the void.

So long as one harbours desires for home and family, for money and the things it buys, for bodily comforts and intellectual enjoyment, for fame, recogni­tion and the like, it is far better to remain within the folds of the family.

There are only very few who can tread the path of complete renunciation.

Those who have gone forth into homelessness without having become utterly unselfish and are therefore unable to observe the prescribed rules of conduct of the sannyāsāśrama, will create all manners of complications.

To be a householder with the spirit of sannyāsa is indeed very praiseworthy. But the man who merely assumes the ochre robe without being a sannyāsi at heart becomes guilty of a serious wrong. Not only does he harm himself, his behaviour also is contrary to the ideal of the sacred order of sannyāsa.


Without solitude God cannot be found. Those who are striving to attain to the Supreme Being by meditation in silence and freedom from ties will find the Himalayas a most congenial abode. Braced by the grandeur and magnificence of nature, enve­loped in its stillness, it becomes easy to- contemplate Infinity, one spontaneously dives into the depths of the Self.

Those, on the other hand, who are devotionally inclined will prefer to stay by the seashore. Inspired by the music of the rolling waves, ecstatic emotion surges up high until, engulfed in the boundless love of the Lord of Love, one is carried away straight to one's Goal.

For those who have no special line but are eager to be wayfarers on the path to Enlightenment, any beautiful, secluded spot will be suitable. Householders should set apart a corner in their homes kept sacred as a shrine for divine contemplation.

But for one who has forsaken everything for the love of God, who everywhere sees Him alone, all places are equally good.

Endeavour to control your rambling thoughts and rise above the changing circumstances of life; then the problem of having to select a suitable site for your sādhana will cease to exist.


To become a truly surrendered devotee one must uproot the "I" from one's thinking and feeling as well as from one's speech, and cease in toto to judge by one's reason, and intelligence.

A small infant, after wall­owing in the filth of his own body, stretches out his arms wanting to be taken on his mother's lap; and because a baby does not know any better, the mother cleans and washes him carefully and then smilingly lifts him to her bosom.

Such is the law of selfless love and tenderness. Where complete self-effacement is the sādhana, no other mantra or tantra is required.

Try to become as a little child and, without any other effort on your part, the Great Mother of the world will take you into Her Arms.

But if contrariwise you wish to be guided by your own intelligence, you will have yourself to shoulder the entire responsibility of your uplift. Are you not weary of the play of your reason, have you not tasted enough of victory and defeat?

Now is the moment to throw yourself unto the Mercy of the Almighty as one without shelter and support. Leap into His embrace and you will be released from cares. Remember that it is the pure fool who shall find God.


God's play in the physical world of action is of a very different nature from that of the psychic world of ideas and sentiments (bhāva).

The world of action is plainly perceptible and full of activities and disturbances, while in the subtle world of ideas and emotions everything happens in silence and secrecy. If it were otherwise, feelings and thoughts (bhāva) could not grow strong; it is this inner force which keeps the world of action going.

The source of the Ganges lies in the depths of inaccessible jungle, hidden away from the eyes of men; yet its life-giving waters irrigate fields and pastures and bring pros­perity to the smiling country-side along its shores.

It is bhāva which is at the root of creation, preservation and dissolution of the universe.

Nevertheless, so long as man's bondage of karma has not fallen away of itself and he therefore depends on work, it is important to recognize the munificence of action. One who feels the desire to be active cannot attain to the highest Good without engaging in work.


The older you grow in years, the smaller you seem to become under the pressure of worldly cares.

You may have come across some saints who, expecting nothing from nature or men, filled with all-embracing love, the very embodiment of independence, act as the spirit moves them and are happy and serene under all circumstances.

But you, in spite of all your attempts at security in the fortress of secular life, are always frustrated and riddled with fear.

Shake yourselves free and try to become really great. By applying in your active day to day life the power received from sages and saints, the world can be improved.


The sense of separation between God and man has continued to exist at all times.

God is ever ready to receive man with open arms. But man, entangled in the meshes of his karma, is not aware of God's presence within him and, as if blind, neither sees nor even seeks Him.

Yet, when the' individual becomes engrossed in the search after the Divine, that very pain of separation becomes the causeway leading to union and thereby the flood­gates of Bliss are released.

The hope of union is even more delightful than union itself. With increasing faith and devotion one exults ever more in this hope until one's yearning and supplications bring about fulfilment.

Have you never observed how in the mountains birds are calling to each other from two different summits without ever getting tired? They hear each other's call quite well but derive so much satisfac­tion out of this love play from a distance that they never fly near each other.

Calling out to God gives itself relief from the temporary pangs of separation. The sense of want and absence is very necessary indeed. The strong impetus to struggle on, aroused by the anguish of being divorced from God, can never be induced by the recognition that the search after Truth is man's duty.

Ever aware of your emptiness, try to fill it by intense aspiration. The deeper you become absorbed in thoughts of Him, the more will your growing longing for the Divine avert your interests from all other pursuits and bring about complete self-surrender.


“God is everywhere. Why then should we have to call out to Him? Surely, He does not want anything from us!" Words of this kind can often be heard from young and old.

Precious gems and metals lie hidden in the interior of the earth. How much strenuous labour is not required to bring them to light!

Similarly, although He dwells in every human heart, man must by prayer and meditation, by delving deep into the mysteries of Truth, purify his mind and remove his ignorance, so as to become fit to receive Divine Grace which alone can induce the Supreme Experience.

If the above mentioned query arises in any­one's mind, it is an indication that the desire to find God is stirring in him, be he conscious of it or not. He should therefore rouse himself by all means and turn to God.

Don't you pray but for your own benefit? When, after smarting in the threefold suffering of the world man faces a crisis, then only he implores God for help. How many desire Him purely for His own sake?

To start with, most people cry out to God in dire distress. But when their prayers draw a response from Him, how­ever dimly felt, then ever more joy is found in appealing to Him.

While living your life in the world endeavour to invoke Him at all times whether you feel the inclination or not. Trials and tribulations will thereby lose the power to distress you.


"Unless one is blessed with His Grace, is it at all possible to pray to Him?"  Such considerations sometimes serve as an excuse.

If His Grace were not upon you at all times you could not even be alive. Take the trouble to examine your life patiently and you will get some idea of His Mercy.

Scattered all over the earth there are innumerable things. In order to collect and convert them into useful commodities, machines and factories are at work and science is constantly inventing new expedients and gadgets,

if with similar zest you put your heart and soul into calling down His Divine Grace, you will very soon become aware of it distinctly and undeniably.

He manifests through action. Let your work be prompted solely by pure, unselfish motives; by the force of your prayers the rigid knots that cause your inertia will be undone. You will then be able to see by direct perception that, like sunlight He pervades everything.


Truly, weakness is man's greatest sin. To avoid any waste of one's physical energy is very important.

Food and recreation in mode­ration give sustenance to the body; purity of thought, aspiration and the remembrance of God provide the right nourishment for the mind.

To keep the mechanism of body and mind in good condition makes it easy to find the Self (Ātmā) who is their master.


To have continuous water supply in a city the pumps must be worked day and night. Likewise, in order to keep the heart filled with the sweetness of the Divine Presence, the constant remembrance of Him is essential.

If you can at all times remain engrossed in Self-inquiry (tatwa vichāra), japa or meditation, it is indeed excellent.

If not, endeavour by all possible means, such as kīrtana, pūjā, yajña, the reading of scriptures, visiting temples and shrines, contacting saints and sages, going on pilgrimages, and so forth, to keep the thought of God fixed in your mind.

Let all your actions be done as an instrument of God; live your life in the world purely in this spirit and all will be well.

A person who is able to remember God's name or His Presence with every breath, day and night, abides in the continual awareness of Him. All his outer activities are then accomplished automatically and effortlessly like the movements of marionettes.


Do you know what real worship is? The expression of man's love of God.

When something is boiled in a closed vessel, there comes a stage when the vapour will push up the lid and, unless force is used, the vessel cannot be kept covered anymore.

In a similar manner, when, while being engaged in japa or some other spiritual exercise, a wave of ecstatic emotion surges up from within, it becomes difficult to check it.

This ecstatic emotion is called bhāva. It emerges from deep within and expresses itself outwardly.

At first it arises only for brief spells but by spiritual practices it is gradually strengthened. For Mahabhāva, the supreme source of divine love and inspiration is present in every human being and, given the opportunity, it functions freely and spontaneously.

In the measure as this state of divine love becomes more cons­tant, the aspirant is vouchsafed a glimpse of his Beloved.

Religious practices carried out mechanically, without deep emotion, are like artificial flowers: very beautiful to look at, but devoid of perfume.

Kīrtana may be per­formed in great style, the hall almost breaking with the throng of the congregation, but if the singing is without deep feeling (bhāva), there will be no response from on high.

The Deity answers only to the call of the heart. Therefore it is imperative to be ever vigilant and make sure that outer observances go hand in hand with single-mindedness and purity of aspiration. Fire kept ablaze with plenty of fuel is bound to shoot up to great heights.