(Photo of 9/11 Memorial, New York, by Aaron Lee on Unsplash)

During 9/11, many devotees and students reached out to Sri Swami Satchidananda to ask his advice about how to not only understand what happened on September 11, 2001, but also what they could do during that time to help relieve suffering. The evening of September 11th, he invited those living in Satchidananda Ashram and the surrounding Yogaville community to gather in the satsang hall. He then addressed the events of earlier that day. Here is what he said…

Many people have asked me how to understand the recent events that have occurred in our country. It is very difficult to make sense of such tragedies in the world. But as spiritual seekers, we should understand that while we may not know exactly how or why these things happen, they happen for a purpose. That is where the law of karma comes in. Karma is the law of cause and effect. What we sow, we reap at one time or another. We may have some karma as a country that we are now facing. Nothing happens to us without our karma. If we don’t accept that, then all we will have is anger and animosity in our hearts, which is not going to help us in any way. Will our anger and hatred bring back loved ones, will it bring peace to our world?

The best way to respond to such a tragedy is to pray and to take every opportunity to serve people. Offer your services in any way you can. Many, many would be suffering because of this adversity. Many families would have lost their kith and kin, so offer them some kind words of consolation. I hear there are lots of people standing in lines at hospitals to donate blood. Extend yourself in whatever way you can by kind words, by service, by money because this is a time to think of others and to do whatever we can to help relieve suffering. Prayer and service to the needy is what we can do right now.

I have been asked if there are some special prayers to use during this challenging time. I would say to use any prayer that comes from your heart; that is wha

(Photo: Swami Satchidananda praying at 9/11 site, New York, April 2002.)

t is most important.  You can use your own words to pray for peace for everybody. The Tryambakam mantra is also very good to repeat. It is a mantra that helps us to understand the immortality behind these temporal situations.

Some of you have asked me what advice I would give our President.  If there was any advice I would give, it is to please not be in a hurry to do anything. We should not act until we are sure, and I’m sure that is also what he is thinking. And, of course, when the government determines who caused this, they will decide the punishment. So, I hope they will investigate well, find out who is the cause, and then take the necessary action. It is the responsibility of our government to do whatever is right.

As spiritual seekers we should know that whatever happens in our personal life, or in public life, is God’s will. Without God’s will, not even an atom can move. So the first thing we should do is not to have any anger toward the people who caused this problem. Let us root out any anger or vengeance from our hearts and pray for those people. As spiritual seekers, our responsibility is to pray for the suffering souls, even for the people that caused this situation. That is what we can do now: pray, pray, pray.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. Peace, peace, peace be unto all.