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The Devotion and Selflessness of Bees

Excerpts from Mary Beth’s satsang, continued from 2023 Q3

Bee in flower

The day before I left to come to the Amritapuri ashram I was out in my garden. I looked over and noticed that a hive of honeybees had moved into the eaves of my home. This particular kind of bee likes to make their home in the walls of houses. They can do a lot of damage to a building. So I decided to call a local beekeeper to come and move them.

She came and gently took the honeycomb out of the wall and put it into her beekeeping box. She scooped out all of the bees and added them in with the honeycomb but she couldn’t find the queen. So all the bees just kept flying back into the structure. Their devotion to their queen was unbending.

I could not help but think of Amma as the beekeeper worked, looking for the queen. Even though Covid has kept me away, all I wanted to do was fly and be with Amma. I could relate to the bees’ wanting. What does it mean to have a guru?

Amma says, "Love is not something that can be taught by someone or learned from somewhere. But in the presence of a perfect master we can feel it and, in due course, develop it, because the Satguru creates the necessary circumstances for love to grow within us. These circumstances created by the Guru will be so beautiful and unforgettable that we will truly cherish these moments as something precious and invaluable. They will remain as a sweet memory forever and ever. One incident of this kind will create a big wave of love in us. More incidents like this created by the Guru will make a chain of exhilarating memories which will produce waves and waves of love. Through these circumstances the Guru will win over our heart and soul, filling us with pure and innocent love."

When I arrived at Amritapuri I was put into the Amrita Darshan building. The first day I noticed a giant beehive attached to the overhang of the building. I soon discovered more on other floors. So many bees at my home in Los Angeles and here.

One morning, a few days after I arrived, I was going to morning prayer, and as I came down the stairs my forehead smacked right into a swarm of bees in front of the elevators. They had started a new hive on the light.

Bee in flower
At this point I felt called to really stop and contemplate the life of a bee. Bees are devoted to their queen, the hive collective, and to the world. Their entire life is a devotion to others.

They spend their time collecting pollen to create honey to feed the collective. In their lifetime they will make less than 1 gram of honey, but collectively they feed thousands in the hive.

While gathering the pollen for their queen and fellow bees they pollinate the world’s food. The United Nations states that bees pollinate over 71% of the crops responsible for 90% of all food grown around the world. They feed not only their collective, they feed the world through their actions.

The labor of the sevites (volunteers) growing trees would produce no fruit if it wasn’t for the bees. They come and attentively visit every blossom and pollinate the flowers. Their actions affect the entire world. Without them our existence crumbles.

Amma says, be like the honeybee who gathers only nectar wherever it goes. Seek the goodness that is found in everyone.

While each bee gathers only 1 gram of honey in his life, that small action has a huge benefit. When we show up for others we also are able to change the world. When our actions are for the collective we radiate love. The bees where I live sting quite quickly if they feel their queen or hive is threatened. You must be careful when you are near their home. I have noticed the bees here are quite gentle. You can walk right up to their hive and they have no reaction. They continue to tend to the hive. Even when I walked right into them they didn’t sting me. Their devotion to the hive is steady, kind, and peaceful.

I look at the collective action of Amma and her children. Her global beehive. I see a community that is feeding the world physically, mentally, and spiritually. The fragrance of the collective drifts to the air for all. A sweet fragrance of unconditional devoted love. It attracts people from all over the world and welcomes them with open arms.

Nature has always been very important to me. She was my first spiritual teacher. As a child I used to wander the hills and streets always looking at all of the animals, bugs, plants, and trees. I couldn’t believe how big and creative and gorgeous the world was. My childhood love grew into a love for gardening and environmental consciousness.

Amma says, "Nature is our first mother. She nurtures us throughout our lives. Our birth mother may allow us to sit on her lap for a couple of years, but Mother Nature patiently bears our weight our entire life. Just as a child is obligated to his birth mother, we should feel an obligation and responsibility toward Mother Nature. If we forget this responsibility, it is equal to forgetting our own self. If we forget Nature, we will cease to exist, for to do so is to walk toward death."

May we be inspired by the bees to practice selfless devotion for the greater good of all species. When we all work together we can change the world and support our future generations.

Amma says, "May the tree of our life be firmly rooted in the soil of love. May good deeds be the leaves on that tree. May words of kindness form its flowers, and may peace be its fruit. Let us grow and prosper as one family united in love."

Thank you Amma for all of these words of wisdom. May we all take them to heart and lovingly care for Mother Nature.

Mary Beth - Los Angeles, CA


Read the Sentience of Trees in the Q4 2023 Newsletter >>

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