Swamiji’s Address at Inauguration of ACWR 2011
December 21, 2011
I offer my prostrations at Amma’s feet, our guiding light and our sole inspirer here at Amrita University.
This is a great moment. A unique and memorable one in the history of Amrita University as well as in the history of wireless technologies within India. We are indeed fortunate to have so many experts from all over the world taking part in this conference. Let me express my gratitude to one and all for joining us on this inspiring occasion.
At the very outset, I want to confess that I am not a technologically minded person. But there is another science, the spiritual science, which I would like to touch upon briefly. Indian religion has never shied away from science. On the other hand, it has always embraced it, seeing it in some ways, as the counterpart of spirituality.
There is a beautiful prayer which has come to be known as the serenity prayer which I would like to share with you. God, grant me the courage to change the things that I can, to accept the things I cannot and the wisdom to know the difference. In fact, this prayer shows a spiritual attitude.
Lets have the courage to change the things we can, because there is so much suffering in this world that can be alleviated through technological advancements. Its our duty to put forth our effort, our time, our intellect, our resources, our blood, sweat, tears to make the discoveries and inventions that can uplift mankind. But we should always remember that somethings cannot be changed. And when we come to such unsurpassable boundaries, let us recognize them and accept. This two-fold path is the means to peace. Both for the individual and for the world at large.
Change what you can, through science, accept what you cannot, through spirituality.
The Chancellor of Amrita University, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, is guiding millions of people along such a path. Amma is a true miracle, showing us that as long as we root ourselves in love, compassion and selflessness, there is virtually nothing that we cannot attain. It is only due to her inspiration and guidance that Amrita University, both in terms of research and academics, has been able to attain any of the glory it has garnered in the past decade.
Spirituality focuses on the inner world; science on the outer; but these words cannot remain separate. As scientist and researchers, although you may be focused on making discoveries in the material realm, Amma says that it is essential that the spiritual realm also must be explored. For only when we root ourselves in love, compassion and universal human values, can our technological discoveries and advancements truly help the world. Only then, does a scientist’s work find true completion.
Communication is the focal point for much of the work being discussed at this conference. Wireless technology – bridging gaps, bringing people together. But without love, Amma says that even if two people come together physically, there is no true connection, no true meeting. Amma says that only the bodies meet if there is no true love. The hearts don’t meet. On the other hand, when there is love, distance is no barrier.
There is a story from the life of Adi Shankaracharya, a great saint born in Kerala, more than a thousand years ago. He spent his short life spreading the Advaita Vedanta non-dual philosophy throughout India. According to the legend, before he left home at five to become a monk, he promised his mother that he would return to her whenever she had an intense desire to see him.
Years passed, the mother became old, sick and bedridden. As she was lying on her death bed in Kerala, her heart called out for the presence of her son. According to the legend, at that very moment, Sri Shankara who was travelling in North India said to his disciples, “I am returning to the land of my birth. My mother wants to see me.” Wireless?
You may say that it is just a legend but love has its power. We only have to attune to that power. Doesn’t the breast milk of the mother flow when the child cries? No one else even hears the child crying. But the mother knows. She excuses herself from the present company and goes to her child. My point is, love must be the foundation. Without love and compassion, there is no value to our work. Without them, all our actions are ultimately, without meaning.
In 2010, Amma was bestowed an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the State University of New York. Upon receiving the honor, she delivered an address wherein she spoke about the relationship between science and spirituality. Amma said that technology is like a river and that its true nature is to constantly flow. Wherever it can flow, it does so, nourishing culture. On the other hand, the same knowledge devoid of values, becomes a source of destructions for the entire world. When values and knowledge become one, there can be no more powerful instrument for the welfare of humankind.
Amma concluded that address with a prayer. A prayer that I feel fitting to remember now, at the outset of this conference. I will read it.
It is Amma’s prayer that we develop the expansive mindedness to embrace¬ both scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom. We can no longer afford to see these two streams of knowledge, flowing in opposite directions. In truth, they complement one another. If we merge these streams, we will that we are able to create mighty river, a river whose waters can remove suffering and spread life to all of humanity and the entire creation.
I wish all success to this conference. Let us join hands and continue to work together for the betterment of the world, for the preservation and protection of all its wealth. Thank you so much.
Om Amriteshwaryai Namah
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