Ms. Yolanda King
Daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
25 September 2003
Ms. Yolanda King—the multi-talented daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and one of the directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Centre for Non-violent Social Change—opened the Women’s Initiative at the Amritavarsham50 with an inspiring speech. Here are excerpts from her interview session with the international press.
“First of all, it is a joy to be here. I met Amma and had my first darshan in June this year. It was an incredibly transcendent time for me. I felt a deep sense of fulfillment that I had not experienced before. All my needs were met, and I felt a tremendous amount of love being poured through my being. After that, I started to read Her biography and started to reach out to Her through Her sayings. In a new book I am publishing, I will also take sayings of Amma.
“I was thrilled to received the invitation for this tremendous gathering. Even though I had many conflicts to get here… there did not seem to be the time. But then all these conflicts went away and now I can be here for the whole time.”
“I believe that what Amma is doing in the world right now is so special and unique. People are doing good all over the world, and I believe strongly that there is much more good being done than bad, even though the media seem to put the emphasis on the bad.
“But there is something very unique about Amma—She is a woman, also She is such an embodiment of who and what She believes, She is genuine, She is the real thing!
“Many times times people speak of who we must be and how we must behave. But Amma is doing it all. She is that. She is compassion and love and forgiveness. She inspires so many others with the brilliance of Her being. And that is why we are so blessed to be here. I hope I am able to come together with Her more, to see if we can join somehow.”
Why do so many Westerners look at Eastern wisdom and Gurus for inspiration?
“What I have found is that Eastern wisdom puts the emphasis on the inner, while the Western philosophies put the emphasis on the outer, that is finding the answers outside yourself. Here in the East, they tend to look inside for the answers. That is also what my father believed strongly in: to find the power of love within to transform yourself and the people around you. So that’s also what has compelled me to broaden myself, to include these very precious traditions.”
What book are you writing now?
“It will be a book with wisdom from different traditions. Open My Eyes, Open My Soul will be published in January 2004. It is a book to open our eyes, to realize our oneness, to realize we are all connected to the same source. We are all family and there is never enough opportunity to share that message. So I gathered personal stories and moving testimonies. About transformations that show our oneness to all. Even though we hardly realize it, we are all tied together in an inescapable network of mutuality. Amma’s words are also in there. I use Amma’s quote on world peace:
‘The world is like a flower. Each nation is a petal. If one petal is infested, does it not affect all the other petals? Does not the disease destroy the life and beauty of the flower? Is it not the duty of each one of us to protect and preserve the beauty and fragrance of this one world flower from being destroyed? This world of ours is a big, wonderfull flower with many petals. Only when this is understood and becomes deeply ingrained within us, will there be any real peace and unity.’
“My father was strongly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. We had his photo in the house, and we learnt about his struggle and read his books. When I come to India, I feel an enormous connection with this country. I feel like part of the Indian people because of what Gandhi meant to us.”
What is the comparison between your father and Amma?
“There is much common ground; there is a strong connectedness between my father and Amma; they have common philosophies. They have this enormous ability to express these philosophies in beautiful words. Words that will move people into action. My father and Amma are kindred spirits.”
“It is important to bring spirituality into politics, the principles that we are all one and that we come from the same source have to enter politics. Only then is real transformation and peace possible. In most of the world, politics are corrupt. We need these guiding spiritual principles to support politics. The Dalai Lama recently said that ‘war is obsolete,’ and I agree with him wholeheartedly. Those sort of principles we should all understand.”
Should women have a greater role in all this?
“Men and women both have a role. They have to work together. Women have to be brought up to voice their opinions, to be more active. Women and men must go hand in hand together.”