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Sitting in Amma's Presence

Amma 12

The literary epic the Ramayana describes activities in the life of Rama who was an actual person who walked the earth - an incarnation of the Divine.  Rama tells his brother Lakshman and his wife Sita why even sitting in the presence of these rare souls is such a blessing:

Rama:  These men of mystic powers live far from the world.  They perform penance in this wilderness.  They don’t exhibit their powers in cities or towns.  They are very rare beings.  We benefit even by their mere presence. 

Sita:  How does their mere presence benefit us?

Rama:  Sita, just as from merely sitting in the sun its warmth enters our bodies.  Similarly, being in their physical presence the inner light of their spiritual knowledge, their subtly of emotion, permeates our inner core.   Without many words they speak profound truths.  To reap full benefit of their wisdom we must keep open the doors and windows of our mind and reside at their feet.  If we go to them with all the humility of a beggar, and lay open our minds in receptive calm, the pearls garnered by their penance will be given to you without your striving.  Lakshman, only rare fortune gives one such opportunities.  Even the sight of such great sages is rarely gained.

In the following quote from Amma, she further underscores this truth:

Spiritual progress that cannot be had through pilgrimages and austerities (meditation, mantra japa, etc.) can be gained in the presence of mahatmas.  We may be able to perform austerities for many years.  But the presence of mahatmas is much harder to come by.  That is why, if we get a chance to be in their presence, we should never throw it away.  The benefits that cannot be gained even after performing austerities for 10 years can be gained from just one darshan or one touch of a mahatma.  However, we should approach them without arrogance, but with humility and faith.  Only then can we benefit from their presence.     - Amma, Awaken Children

Ramana Maharshi comments on the advantage of being in the physical presence of a true Master:

“True, that in the proximity of a great master, the vasanas (mental tendencies) will cease to be active, the mind becomes still and samadhi results, similar to fire not scorching because of other devices. Thus, the disciple gains true knowledge and right experience in the presence of the master.”  Ramana Maharshi, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi


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