By: Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi on Oct 14, 2013 –
Children, in our country there are a lot of places of worship for people of many different faiths. The Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs all go to their respective places of worship. They arrive at these places of worship and pray. However we don’t see any sign that true religiosity is growing. Engaging in corruption and aggression are not sanctioned by any religion. Regardless, we keep hearing more and more stories of incidents that show us that criminal tendencies and corruption are rising at an alarming rate. Have you children ever thought about why this is happening? Although people have faith in God, they haven’t obtained any real spiritual awareness.
In all these places of worship, there are certain people whose job it is to perform these rituals and pujas. In the various faiths, these people are known by different names. Regardless, the majority of these are householders. They have studied the procedures for performing the puja and rituals, and now perform them like a job. For them it is just another way to earn a living. Of them, how many are viewing puja and rituals as methods for mental purification? This is why they are unable to correctly guide the devotees coming to the temples and churches.
The people sitting on the boards and committees of churches and temples don’t have the time to understand or disseminate the spiritual principles. Generally, their focus is centred on how to conduct festivals in the grandest manner possible and on whatever gain they can acquire from that.
Most devotees know nothing about the foundational principles of their religion. Without understanding the real meaning of their religion’s customs and rituals, they just imitate the ways of their ancestors. Having observed what the father did at the temple, the son just imitates it when he is grown. He never tries to understand a single principle behind the rituals or the science behind them.
There’s a funny story about this. A manager summoned four of his employees and gave each of them a job. The first one was to dig holes, the second one was to plant seeds, the third one was to water the seeds, and the fourth was to cover the seeds with earth. The one who was to dig the holes did his job, but the one who was to plant the seeds didn’t do it. Regardless, the other workers went ahead and did their respective jobs of pouring the water and filling the holes. What was the result? All their work went in vain. The singular intention behind all of the jobs was to cultivate seeds, but this did not happen. This is how it usually is with people going to temples and other places of worship. Without properly understanding the principles and applying them in their lives, they perform observances in this pointless manner.
Although the number of religious people has increased, society isn’t deriving any benefit from their devotion. Furthermore, their so-called devotion and spirituality are not reflected in their lives. Amma isn’t saying there isn’t any change at all though. At least we’ve been able to hold on to this extent—haven’t we? If we have alertness, we can transform individuals and society to a much greater extent. For Amma, there is no doubt about this whatsoever.
You children should understand that—whatever be the religion, whatever be the sect—the fundamental principles were framed for the welfare of society. The customs aimed at benefitting human welfare must be preserved.
We shouldn’t only try to conduct grand festivals. We need to live the spiritual principles behind these festivals. If we do so, there will be peace and happiness for everyone.
–Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi