On Monday, I went to a Conversation on Compassion with Amma at Stanford. Here are a few highlights:
- “Compassion is the most important factor in life”
- “Compassion is the first step. If we can take that step courageously without fear then everything else will follow spontaneously.”
- “When we have compassion then all the decisions we make and the actions and their results that follow will have a special beauty, spontaneity, and power to it.”
- “Human’s calculations can always be wrong. But decisions taken from compassion and actions that are compassionate can be never wrong because compassion is a law of nature.”
- “When we give up the individual mind and tune to the universal mind which happens in compassion, then we can never do anything wrong because it is not us acting, but it is the universal power. Compassion gives us the ability to tune into the universal power.”
- “When love attains perfection that is when the flower of compassion happens.”
After the conversation, Amma announced that she would give darshan to all the attendees (near 2,000), but she asked that only attendees who have never received a hug come up so Amma could have time to hug everyone who wanted one.
Since I have been getting hugged by Amma since 1999 and I was wearing an “embrace the world” t-shirt that I bought at Amma’s ashram, I knew that I should remain seated, but I REALLY wanted to get a hug from Amma–especially when I saw that they were giving large gift bags to all who received a hug.
Unfortunately, during her talk Amma said that there are three types of people.
- The first type of person–what they get they eat.
- The second kind of person–what they get they eat and they also try to take the other person’s food and eat that as well.
- The third kind of person–whatever they get, they eat a part of it then give the rest to others around them.
I knew that if I went to get a hug, I would be taking from someone else, so I forced myself to refrain from getting a hug.
But something wonderful happened. As I watched Amma hug others, the craving and jealousy drained out of me and was replaced with sympathetic joy (mudita). I saw the glowing faces of the people walking off the stage, and I could feel their joy and gratitude which somehow became my joy and gratitude. I got a taste of the universal mind and power that Amma was talking about.
It was the best non-hug that I have ever received.
Have you ever felt empathic joy? Please share.