Letting go of the past and learning to forgive, accept and love are the keys for a fulfilling life
BY SADHVI AMBA
During our reporting on Tiruvannamalai, we met Sadhvi Amba at Kailash Ashram, where she was staying while her own ashram, Antakarna Dhyana Nilayam, was being completed. She is a disciple of Bhagwan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri (1897-1961), whom she first saw in visions as a child growing up in Chennai.
I HELP PEOPLE WHO COME TO ME BY CHANGING THEIR perception of their problems. I don’t give a solution, I help them look at the problem as a solution. I help them change the perception to see the same thing differently. First I teach them in depth about the law of karma and the law of nature and make them understand very clearly how these two are connected. I make them understand about past birth and rebirth. Once this is understood, it is very easy to make them change their perception of their problems. They need not blame themselves or others for all the shortcomings and the sorrow once they understand the law of karma.
There is no need to blame. You have to resolve it positively, face the problem beautifully. You don’t have to have any emotion to face it. Emotion comes out of ignorance; so once the ignorance vanishes, then there is no emotion attached to it, there is no sorrow, there is no sadness, there is no pain. It is just a situation; that is all. And right understanding always comes with a solution.
It is all how we look at life and how we color it. Similarly, you can paint whatever you want on a canvas, but the canvas is not actually affected by what you draw. The moment you start looking at the canvas—the canvas is the consciousness—nothing gets affected. The consciousness is still the same. It is like watching a movie on a screen, whether the movie is good or bad, the screen is not affected. The screen remains the same.
In every birth we make our own movies; but we make mistakes when we make them. Then we are inspired to improvise and improve it. Every birth is an improvisation of the previous birth. When our desires are not fulfilled, then again we come back. We fulfill that particular desire but we forget to show gratitude for the good things that we already have. So then we create another movie, another birth. But again there is a shortcoming in this, which brings another birth, and this just goes on and on. It is like a serial.
To get the aspiration to transform, you have to understand that what we are seeing is not real. There is something more real within. That should be the first knowledge. Then how to experience, how to believe and how to understand that we are that and not this. With that real interest, the right guru and proper knowledge, if you do this giri pradhakshini (cicumabulation) around the Arunachala Hill, then sit and spend time in self-introspection and self-inquiry, then one hundred percent you will see some transformation here.
In Hinduism, charity is something very important. We should learn to give. What is it that you have to give? Externally, we have to give. Internally, we have to let go of the past. That is also giving; that charity should happen within. Let go, leave it. It’s all right. Whatever is past has no meaning now. It happened and it’s over. Why do we have to go back to that painful moment which we have finally come across? We have gone beyond that now—that is not even existing. Why do you want to hold onto it? It is dead, right? So what is dead, we either burn or bury—we don’t live with it, right? That is past. Anything good or bad or whatever we call it, whatever situation, it has no meaning once that moment is over. But we all have the habit of holding on to that. That is the wall or obstacle, actually. The most threatening wall is the past, the wall of the past. Once we know how to demolish it, give it away, let go of it, that charity first we should learn to do within—then only any charity outside that we do has any meaning.
Once you let go of the past, learn to live in the moment and start forgiving your own mistakes, it’s easy to forgive others’ mistakes also. Because we comfortably do lots of wrong things. We lie, right? And we do many things that we don’t like in others, yet we are comfortable about it when we are doing it. So why is it difficult to forgive someone else who is doing that? When you say someone is an angry person but you are fine with your own anger, why can’t you be fine with the other person’s anger? First understand yourself, acknowledge the shortcomings that are already present in you. Then it’s very easy to forgive others. Similarly, loving others—you always like to be loved, right? So why can’t you first give it to someone? Because only what goes around comes around. Only what you give someone else will come back to you, in some form or other. If you want love, show love. If you want to be accepted, you must first accept someone. And if you want to be forgiven, you first forgive. So, that charity should come from within. Do that first, then automatically it is very easy.
Love has to be unconditional, so that there is no emotion. Love is not an emotion. Happiness is not an emotion. Happiness is a state of being. Similarly, unconditional love is what we are. The consciousness is nothing but love, right? That is why we say Anbe Shivam. In Tamil, anbu means love, unconditional love. Anbe Shivam means “Siva is love.” Siva is nothing but consciousness, so consciousness is love. Anbe Shivam means love is God, so love is Siva, God is Siva, Siva is love.
I always say if you practice three things you can attain mukti, you can attain moksha: unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness and unconditional acceptance. If you can practice these three things every single day of your life, then there is no enmity, there is no hatred and there is only eternal happiness. I have been following that practice, and I have always been like that.
In today’s age and time, Bhagavan Nityananda always insisted on not seeing differences in creation itself—not just no caste, no creed or nationality or anything. He wanted everyone to look at all the jivas, the embodied souls, as one. He believed in that. He practiced that. He has taught me inwardly also to practice that, to not see any differences in anybody, to unconditionally love everyone, unconditionally accept everyone and unconditionally forgive everyone, including our own self. It is very simple, but very intense also.