On the use of the Fast for Anni and the heart of humanity

April 1, 2007 Kamala Amma's Grace

Dearest Friends and Family,

Tommorow is our day of combined effort and penance.  What inspired us to take this step, to call for the use of the fast,  was Kimberly, a 16 year old angel, we met at NIH.  Her medical history is complicated, but not cancerous.  Most recently,  Kimberly had a huge benign tumor on her brain stem removed surgically.   It was a very dangerous and lengthy operation, in the end, her lungs collapsed requiring drastic emergency surgical procedures to revive them.  We had tried to see her before, but she was in the Critcal Care unit, no visitors were allowed.

On Thursday, when we went to NIH for the meeting with the Pain and Palliative care team Doctors,  we got to talk with Kimberly and her Mother who is staying with her in the hospital.  Her mother is tremendously brave and remarkable.  I was astounded to learn not only about Kimberly’s condition, but also of her own.  She has only ½ of one kidney left, the other and parts have already gone to cancer.  The family is Mormon.  The day that Kimberly was due to have the brain stem surgery,  her entire youth group in their Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints in Southern California,  took a fast and prayed mightily for her relief.  Although they nearly lost her at the time of the operation,  God’s Grace was there, and her prognosis now is good.  In a few months, she will be leading a normal  life.

I saw that the fast adds tapas to the support and power of prayer.  I know our Lord Amma loves tapas.   Another dear young friend of ours recently lost her father by heart attack.  He was a very great, simple and sincere man. He was righteous and dutiful.  There was no stain anywhere in his pure character. He lived his life to please God.   He often helped with the darshan Q when Amma was in the Ashram.  Whenever he was in Vallicavu,  he would never take his meals or eat or drink tea even, if Amma was giving darshan.  We all know Her darshans often go well over 12 hours.  His family became aware of his silent and secret tapas, and always kept food aside for him.  But no one else knew.  After he passed, when the family spoke to Amma, She said, “He would never eat or drink until I had finished with Darshan and gone to the room.” In India, tapas, penance, is the law of life in many respects. Amma has often said, that all life is in some form of sacrifice.

In thinking more about the role of this Fast in this effort for Anni and for removing the disease in the heart of humanity,  I was drawn to some of the earlier comments from Gandhi, whom I studied earlier.  I have learned that many people, for reasons beyond my understanding, do not regard Gandhiji  with the same love and admiration that we do.  I will forever be in awe of this great brother amongst us, who to me, is a Sadhak, a spiritual aspirant beyond reproach.  Whether or not he attained his goal, is to me irrelevant compared to the example that his sincere effort and struggle  to do so gives us.  In looking over my notes on Gandhiji and his use of the Fast, I felt the following expressions he made about it might be useful for reflection tomorrow:

First is the universality of the concept of the fast to the human psyche:

“Whist I regard Jesus to be one of the greatest religious teachers, I do not believe in his exclusive divinity.  You will be surprised to know that my belief in fasting as a form of intense prayer began before I knew anything of the teachings of Jesus.  But when I came to read the Bible, the Koran and other Scriptures, my position was further fortified by the knowledge that they advocated fasting as a help to heartfelt prayer and communion with God.”[1]

Its universality shows its rooted-ness in spirituality which is devoid of cultural and social conditionings:.  “Fasting for the sake of unfoldment of the spirit is a discipline I hold to be absolutely necessary at some stage or other in the evolution of an individual.”[2]   Ultimately Gandhi saw that “Fasting is merely a prop.  But as a prop to a tottering structure is of inestimable value, so is the prop of fasting of inestimable value for a struggling soul.[3]   We feel we are struggling.  Deeply struggling.

In that we are all, as indivisible parts of Creator and Creation, deeply married, as it were, to each other, and all that exists with us, to the air, the waters, the web of interdependent life,  using the fast selflessly helps to clear out the dross in our hearts, the indifference in our hearts towards the Reality of our Relations with everyone and everything:  Gandhi noted: “It is of no use without a living faith in God.   It should never be a mechanical effort or a mere imitation.  It must come from the depth of one’s soul.”[4] The fast is, “A whip administered to lethargic love.”

Ultimately and immediately, I see that the fast, as with any service, prayer or effort, offered to our Precious Lord Amma, our Holy Mother,  ends up being beneficial to us individually.  It is we who gain and grow the most from these efforts, even though we may perceive them as being for “the Other”.  They are between us, as individuals, and our Maker within and without us.

Gandhi was acutely aware that his epic fasts, which the world perceived to be ‘for’ this or ‘against’ that, were a personal matter.  He said,

“I wish to say in all humility that my fasts and other ordeals are inspired by the desire to see God face to face.  I fast in order that, even if I go without food altogether, I may have a glimpse of God such as I have described.  But one cannot force oneself to undertake a fast.  One must have fitness even for a fast.  I am constantly striving for such fitness.  But it is possible that I may not acquire it in this life and may even die ingloriously.”[5]

For us, always, we only have Amma.  We do not know what or why Anni is suffering so greatly, or why, when all of us crave the tenderness and sweetness of love that we are ever snobby or unkind to each other.  For us, this is an appeal to That Principle that is our Amma.

This quote from Gandhi describes it for us: “It is a matter between me and my Maker…I am wrestling with Him!  If there is pride or defiance in me it is all over with me…Let God keep this body if He has still to make some use of it.  Let it perish if it has fulfilled His purpose.”[6]

Gandhi used fasting not only as prayer, but as preparation for greater identification with his soul, and the exercise of his spirituality: “I must undergo personal cleansing.  I must become a fitter instrument able to register the slightest variation in the moral atmosphere about me.  My prayers must have much deeper truth and humility about them than they evidence…there is nothing so helpful and cleansing as a fast accompanied by the necessary mental cooperation.”[7]

For myself, I know that this fast is an assist in helping me to touch that core of sincerity within that brings me to Her Feet.  I pray that all of our small and great efforts tomorrow, no matter what they be, will pierce the darkness surrounding our earth, will touch the great heart of humanity, of God, a bring a big change into all our lives.

“Try it, for we can never truly estimate the strength of the soul until we have ceased to defend it by bodily means.” – Gandhi

– Kamala


[1] CWMG 55:260-261. July 9, 1933.  Age 63.  – Alstair Macrae

[2] CWMG 31:319 August 20, 1926. Age 57 – Ester Faering.
[3] CWMG 31:319. August 20, 1926.  Age 57 – Ester Faering.

[4] P.54 Mohan Mala. Harijan March 18, 1939 Age 69.

[5] CWMG 34:93.  July 2, 1927. Age 58 – Santoji Maharaj.

[6] CWMG 22:182-184. September 19, 1924 Age 54. Discussion with Shankat Ali.

[7] CWMG 22:419. CWMG 22:419. Young India Febrary 16, 1922 Age 53.

No Responses to “On the use of the Fast for Anni and the heart of humanity”

  • suja says:

    Aum Amriteswaryai Namah
    Dear Kamala, Anni and Link,
    I will strive to do my humble bit tomorrow.
    You may not realise just how much an impact you are making in our lives already.As our Amma’s instruments in leading all of us to a more humble and meaningful life,filled with gratitude and faith.In your love for each other and the rest of us,we are made to sit up and take notice of what is the most important message from life.May Amma shower Her love and grace on all of you.Our prayers,love and hugs to you.
    You might remember my sister Jaya,from Kollam.
    In Amma’s service,

  • Sanatani says:

    Beloved Family,

    May you take comfort in knowing that you are surrounded by a huge web of Light and Love, and that at every moment, we continue to weave that web more fully and completely around you, so that you may take rest within it. My husband, my son and I are offering homas for you, and we just want you to know that our hearts and our prayers are with you at every moment.
    We ourselves have undergone much suffering and tapas and I can only offer you my arms and my heart, and remind you that you are never alone, and that beyond the apparent horror and suffering, the Light Grows, and burns away all untruth, all illusion. Sometimes it is so hard to keep our hearts open and our minds quiet and focused upon the truth when everything around us churns and screams and explodes in chaos; yet that is the task. Remember that what you think you see with your eyes is simply a very powerful, yet transient illusion. The truth is that Anni is not this body. She is the immortal spirit, ever strong and powerful, ever established in Her Divine Nature, which is LOVE. Anni is growing more Radiant and Beautiful every day. We pray deeply and whole heartedly for Anni’s healing on every level, but whether Her body stays or goes, Her essence remains unchanged, and is ever established within Her Divine Mother. Anni is the Immortal Self. She is Immortal. She is Immortal. She is Immortal. Anni’s true nature is Divine Love and Light. She is Love. She is Love. She is Love. She holds the universe with Her Heart, as a tiny bubble of Light, and yet we forget this, and see only the physical frame, blinded to the enormity within it. She can never cease to be, and there will never be a time when she is not with you…no matter what.
    There is no difference between You and Her.
    Please understand that I do not say these words lightly. i too am a mother who lives her life in service to her beloved son. Sometimes we simply need to remind each other of the Truth, because the illusion can be so convincing, and wants always to pull us down. Everything is Her Grace. Everything. Everything. Everything.
    Grace is hiding behind every mask, every dance, every spring blossom and every autumn leaf, every tear, every birth and every death, every illness and everything healed. The duality is the greatest illusion of all. Here we are amid Holy Week in the Christian tradition, and this is the week where Christ transcended His suffering and crucifiction in order to demonstrate The Truth. The truth is that You and She are One, and there is never a moment when She is not with You, and when You are not within Her. There is no separation. Rejoice in the truth of that Union, a union which has no boundries, which is immortal, and which has it’s Roots in Divine Love. May this Love nourish you and give you strength. May it carry us all Home.

    Please call me if you wish. (717-615-9411)
    With All My Love,

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