A Discussion with Ma

An American woman, Markell Brooks had been only for twelve days in India when she asked Anandamayi Ma:

Question: Since the will of the individual is illusory and one does not know God's will, how can one lead a purposeful life in this world.

Ma: By contemplating the Self, one will find out. It is man's principal duty to aspire to Self-realization.

Question: What about self-expression in art?

Ma: This also belongs to that which is fleeting. You paint a picture, but it can't last. The most beautiful song fades away in a moment.

Question: Presuming that the striving goes on no matter what, how can one know how to live — in relation both to human beings and one's own creative energies?

Ma: A man who is after worldly things and is occupied with the business of this world gets satisfaction out of what he does, for otherwise why should he do it? He feels he is doing well, he gets praise and fame, money and position and his mind is always occupied with his affairs. If someone is opposed to him and puts obstacles in his way, he gets angry and hostile.

A person who strives after Self-realization will turn to Mahatmas [great souls] for advice, guidance, and company. He will start reading books written by such men. He will admire them and wish to become like them and so, since he is searching for Truth, he will come to be truthful in behavior and speech. The Self is one, so remember the Oneness of all.

Although a dog may bite you, you will not bite back. The man who strives after worldly goods and satisfaction is working for death because everything in the world is constantly dying and something else is born. The child dies to the young girl and the girl to the woman etc. But the man who is after Self-realization is working for immortality. When living and working in the world one's creative power is exhausted in the pursuit of sense objects so one may come to feel weak, tired or ill.

But by striving after Self-realization one's creative power is preserved and strengthened.
While the person who lives in the world takes pleasure in parties, meeting people etc, the one who is out for Self-realization will take pleasure in meditation, singing the praises of God, reading books of wisdom, listening to discourses by great souls and mixing with those who are pilgrims on the path.

- Death Must Die, p. 529