Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

Gandhi, Amma, and the Newtown School Children Massacre, Dec. 14, 2012

The Newtown CT, USA massacre of innocents, Dec. 14, 2012 has struck deeply into the heart of our country's soul. For everything has a soul, or spirit, call it the life-force, whatever you will, that leaves or diffuses, when it is dead.

The Mahatmas, the Great Souls of this Earth have always been a beacon for all mankind. To the countries they are born in, they have had sacred missions in directing the transformation of the Nation Soul. They succeed to the extent that their countrymen could grasp the light of the ideals they adhered to. Some Great Souls, whose inner breadth has become so infinitely broad, have come for the planetary soul.  

Mahatma Gandhi was first and foremost, a spiritual aspirant, who held that:

``Human life, being an undivided whole, no line could ever be drawn between its different compartments, nor between ethics and politics.”

He laboured, with universal ideals, uniquely tailored to India's context, to forge a united nation of diverse princely states, enhancing the quality of `unity in diversity' in her Nation soul. His breadth grew to encompass the entire planet, and his earnest strivings for Truth remain in the legacy of our Planet Soul, to all nations. All people feel the resonating `twang' his words sound to the heart of truth within us.

Holy Mother Amma, known also as Mata Amritanandamayi, and simply, Amma (which means Mother in South India), is living today; a woman Mahatma or Great Soul. Worldwide she is lauded for endless humanitarian activities, seen and unseen, in every sphere of societal endeavour, as well as for Her embrace that she offers to everyone who comes to meet her, which has caused her to be known as the `Hugging Saint,' in the western world. 

 Regarding her  embracing of people, Amma has said,

``I don’t see if it is a man or a woman. I don’t see anyone different from my own self. A continuous stream of love flows from me to all of creation. This is my inborn  nature. The duty of a doctor is to treat patients. In the same way, my duty is to console those who are suffering.”i

The Marthoma Cristostem of Kerala is an orthrodox Christian order begun by St. Thomas when he came to India after Jesus' passing. The Bishop of this order publicly acknowledged Amma's spiritual stature, when on her 57th birthday, he proclaimed,

``While I always knew that God had a son, I didn't know he had a daughter. I have found in Amma, he has a daughter also.”ii

Dr. Jane Goodall, internationally recognized for the awareness she has brought to humanity of primates and their necessary habitats, presented Amma in Geneva with the 2002 Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence and said,

``She stands here in front of us. God’s love in a human body.” iii

Holy Mother Amma has come in service to the planetary soul. To assist us in the re-establishment of righteousness, in our personal, familial, community, and national awareness. She has said,

``If we fail to restore dharma (righteousness), all of our efforts to establish world peace will be in vain.”iv

Speaking of Herself, she has said,

``… Amma sees the whole world as a flower. Each petal represents a nation. If one petal is infested with pests, it will affect the other petals as well. The beauty of the whole flower suffers. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to protect and nurture this flower. Therefore all the nations of the world should advance together, hand in hand, sharing and adopting each others' worthy contributions and examples.”v

Over the few centuries of America's birth, we have striven hard to cultivate and imbue unique qualities into our Nation Soul. In this tremendous task, we took the teachings of some great minds that lived with us. We took the highest ideals that inspired our founding fathers. We insured their reality, which is to say, we cultivated the virtues their ideals gave us.  This happened when we heeded Abe Lincoln, had the civil war, and followed Dr. King, and stood up for civil rights. When we saw the invaluable beauty John Muir made us realize was our country's real treasure, and made national parks out of some of our pristine wilderness areas. When we read Thoreau and began non-violent civil disobedience when we felt the ideals of our Nation Soul had been offended. Charity is another quality that was enhanced in our Nation Soul by Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin and many more.

The pure and positive ideals that have lit the lives of all of our citizens, gave our nation the unique Soul quality of being a nation with the ideal of social equality, regardless or race, religion or creed, and later, gender. Of qualities of helpfulness to ourselves and other nations in times of need. Of a democratic spirit, invested in our citizenry. To a very real extent, we have been able to practice a sense of human brotherhood that is thirsted for, all over the planet. Although often hypocritically and socially denied, this pure ideal is one of the great gifts of the American Soul to the sphere of Nations.

For every nation, its real investment, its real treasure, lies in its children. Another gem in our Nation Soul, is freedom of opportunity for our children. To be born in America was to have the chance, girl or boy, to learn to express yourself, to expect opportunity.

With the massacre on Dec. 14th, of 20 innocent first graders and 8 adult teachers and caretakers, by a young man, just out of his teens, the pity of nations all over the world arose for us. Condolences poured in, from everywhere.

Our glorious country, in her fine robes of wealth and materialism's majestic might, has revealed again, that something, many things, are terribly, terribly wrong underneath the would-be appearance, that things are not going at all well, especially for the children of the land. That, in the least, we are somehow damaging that great American Soul, that so enthused the world with hope in by-gone decades.

Nearly a century ago, Abdul Baha, the beloved Master of the Bahai faith told us:

``If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual; but if enmity and hatred exist within it destruction and dispersion are inevitable. This is likewise true of a city. If those who dwell within it manifest a spirit of accord and fellowship it will progress steadily and human conditions become brighter whereas through enmity and strife it will be degraded and its inhabitants scattered. In the same way the people of a nation develop and advance toward civilization and enlightenment through love and accord, and are disintegrated by war and strife. Finally, this is true of humanity itself in the aggregate.”vi

For those of us who were birthed in that land, in those New England woods, the wound is particularly deep. For that was where we first touched the breast of Mother Earth, as called America. A country is not only the collective soul of its people, but the cherished earth they walk and live upon, that sustains them. Mother Earth is the great nurturer of everyone, everywhere, who walks upon Her. Her breasts are an open fount, for all Her children, everywhere. From Her we absorb qualities and virtues of open-handedness, selflessness, endurance and the hope of spring. Her own life, spawned through patient, toiling generations of nurturing, through the ages and destinies of people, had found new form in the innocent babes of Sandy Hook Elementary School. And these beautiful budding babes, were totally, meaninglessly, wantonly, desecrated. It is incomprehensible.

And yet, we have the painful duty, to try to comprehend.

The Dalai Lama has noted to us that:

``Each individual's future is entirely dependent upon the rest of humanity.”

We have a grim responsibility to bear facts, that we cannot escape. A pain, that media's loud and glitzy Christmas this year, will not cause us to forget. There is a past upon which we stand now in the present. How do we go forward in a way that will address the entire gamut of issues that have brought the capacities for evil, violence, and mental illness, into the air we breathe?

Years ago, Mahatma Gandhi, deeply crushed by President Truman's use of the atom bomb on thousands upon thousands of innocents in Nagsaki and Hiroshima said sadly,

``The atom bomb has deadened the finest feelings which have sustained mankind for ages. It has resulted for the time being in the soul of Japan being destroyed. What has happened to the soul of the destroying nation is yet too early to see.”vii

We all know that a brutality has been unleashed on many poorer nations and peoples from our country, for reasons that are not clear, despite explanations given. President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in the 1950's:

“A military-industrial complex,employed its considerable economic and political influence to encourage American military involvements around the globe.”viii

In his last public message to Americans, at age 77, on October 21, 1946, Gandhi advised the government and citizens to:

``Dislodge the money-God called Mammon from the throne and find a corner for poor God. I think America has a very big future but in spite of what is said to the contrary, it has a dismal future if it swears by Mammon. Mammon has never been known to be a friend of any of us to the last. He is always a false friend.ix

We each have the birth-right and duty to know who and what we are in this vast panorama of stars and unfolding universes and solar systems. Reality is so much broader that we can even think of. For Gandhi, that infinite expansiveness of being that pervades all, is Truth, is Reality, and does so with Love; all this, Gandhi termed `God.' Gandhi tells us:

``If God is as vast and boundless as the ocean, how can a tiny drop like man imagine what He is?” x

The actions of our leaders and their administrations somehow, are the actions our our country, of all of us collectively, on the world scene. New-agers are saying the Newtown massacre is `karma', the experience that comes back to us from actions done in immediate or distant pasts.

Holy Mother Amma's teachings have shown that karma is much more subtle that we are capable of comprehending. She advises us that it is better not to think in terms of divine retributions, but to put our most positive and helpful lights on any given situation, to try practically with the power of our efforts, to be of benefit to others.

We always felt the shining glitter of our country would prove us otherwise, with universal education, TV, and medical, scientific and technological advances. But, it hasn't. We are victims of a system of greed. For long, too long, we have let the greed of others dictate to us what to buy, wear, drink, eat and feel. It is greed that has directed our education, to the point, that we, the educated, have great difficulty thinking out of the pretty boxes that have been painted and created, with our educations, that all serve the structures that keep greed, and its progeny in place. The status quo.

We have been told who and what we are; that we are instinct driven, primitive beings, just on the verge of eating each other. And we act accordingly, as our lawsuits attest.

We all look with bewilderment to the future. The freedoms and guarantees we enjoyed with Nature, are lost to our children. No clean air. Thousands upon thousands of children now have asthma, as we have allowed greed to pollute the air we all breathe.

Some sources estimate that 20 million children in the US, numerically almost the entire population of Australia, are on prescribed psychiatric drugs.xi We have no clean rivers. No clean food. Pollution, even nuclear, and genetic pollution jeapodizing health and security. No safe neighbourhood. Pollution of our minds has gone unchecked.

The licensing of unbridled greed has taken us away from a relationship of thankfulness to the Earth we walk upon, by taking food production out of our hands. This has destroyed our local economies, our communities, and our health.

An unbridled media has taken our innocent young girls and boys, and taught them that they are their bodies, that their sexual attractiveness especially for girls and young women, is their biggest virtue.

And this has destroyed the sacred balance of the relations between men and women, has destroyed the sanctity of family life, the home, the satisfactions of growing old and being elders, has destroyed our societies.

Media has perverted the minds of our children, with games and images of violence.

And the killer of these young children, Adam Lanza, was just out of his teens. He was not alone, he was the response and result of a society, which has allowed itself to be driven by greed, lust, and intoxication, as goals of life and pleasures.

There is an ethic in demonization. Its time we allow ourselves to demonize that which has destroyed us: Greed. Intoxicants. Lust. There was a time when America was a dry country. The majority of people agreed that alcohol was detrimental to the finer functioning of society and it was prohibited until 1931.

Holy Mother Amma often tells the story of a Special Olympics Race for children with Down's Syndrome. Urged by their `normal' caretakers, the children lined up on the track, and at the sound of the gun, began to run to the finish line. As parents whooped, and the crowd egged, several of the children fanned into lead positions. Suddenly one child fell, and began crying. Immediately, the runners in the lead stopped, and went back, and picked up their fallen friend. Holding his hands, they all walked across the finish line together, and turned to face the bleachers, with delight and victory evident on their faces, ``WE WON!”

We must come to realize that there is no real march forward; if we leave one individual behind, we will pay a heavy price. We need to connect the dots that brought about the tragedy of personality in the murderer, Adam Lanza. With truthful awareness we will start rebuilding the real American society. The one that is in our hearts. The one that is in our Soul, our Nation Soul, that all the leaders of the world sent their condolences of pity too. We have to bring and bend our explorations in science, our education, our media, our technology, into the service of our hearts, the concerns of our heart.

And ultimately, and finally, the centre of our hearts, our greatest concern, is always our children.

We have, somehow now, to strive to come clear and clean, to present to ourselves, and to the world community of nations we live in, the truth of our Nation Soul. We have to know and come to consensus on what we truly value in life.

What do we really need to rebuild our country? What and where will our country be without well informed, nourished, and most of all, virtuous children? Our nation needs children who can competently take the reins from their elders, and steer our country wisely to a role of genuine positiveness to the world community.

Where are the children we can look forward to, to treat us kindly and respectfully in our own old age when we encounter them in supermarkets, retail shops, in alleys, medical and other offices? To take care of us lovingly, if they are our own? Have we loved and cared for them in such a way that we should rightfully expect that it would be so?

Strident individualism, fostered by a consumer economy, that aggressively market-targets the child and teen, has not created a gracious people, who can care meaningfully and well for their children. Who put the care of children, all children, at the forefront of any agenda, plan or goal, and before themselves.

Our Children are our Future. What will it be? Can we put aside our legally licensed and socially sanctioned rights of self-interest, and learn to compromise, adapt, and bend our wills to be of service to the youth in our society? Civilisations that have endured have always held the care of children as being of primary importance. And there is one, in our species, whom Nature has intended to start the job, and whose influence upon the child is undeniable, despite desperate attempts by media to tell us that boys and girls are exactly the same. The one who will be Mother.

At this time, we need to commence the struggle to reclaim our children from the snares that we have allowed to claim our own lives and minds. Holy Mother Amma tells us that this is the path of righteousness:

``Instead of running after pleasures, we should understand the goal of life, and live for that. Lead a simple life. Give to others what is left after meeting your own needs. Live without causing any harm to others, and teach each other these principles. We should contribute to the creation of a great culture of this kind. Let us be good and virtuous. Let us make our own hearts good and thus help others to become good as well. That is what we need. If we do this, we will always feel peace and contentment within, even if we lack external comforts.”xii

We have a righteous path before us. Lets walk it together, and cause the vision of our Nation Soul to blaze with Her own pure and holy light, for all the world to see, for Love and Truth – my country tis of Thee.

with love, in the service of truth,

© Aunty Kamala, (Ph.D.)

Lisbon, Portugal

Dec. 16, 2012


iiAs heard by author at the 57th official birthday celebrations of Holy Mother Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi, Kerala.

iiiJane Goodall, in: Amritanandamayi, Mata (2003). Awakening to Universal Motherhood}. M.A.~Mission Trust, Kollam, Kerala.

vAmritanandamayi, Mata (2009). Cultivating Strength and Unity: Address. M.A.~Mission Trust, Kollam, Kerala.

viiGandhi, M.K. CWMG

viii King, M.L.& Washington, J.~(ed.) (1992). I have a Dream: Writings and speeches that changed the world. Harper Collins, New York.

ix Reddy, Dr.~E.S.~(ed.) (1998). Mahatma Gandhi: Letters to Americans}. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kulapati Munshi Marg, Mumbai.: 335

xGandhi, M.K. Truth is God : 45.

xi Citizens Commission on Human Rights International

xiiAmritanandamayi, Mata. Eternal Wisdom: Vol. 1: 7 - 8. M.A.~Mission Trust, Kollam, Kerala.

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We forgot those great souls to invite miseries

I feel the same when they killed Gandhi. I only pray now someday he will get the Nobel Peace Prize. This is long overdue, and because of the Politics of the time, he assuredly deserves this now. Long Live Gandi-G


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