Prema rasāmrta varshini mātā amrtānandamayi |
Prema bhakti sandāyani mātā amrtānandamayi ||
Showers us with immortal nectar of love, O mother;
Grant us the capacity for love & bhakti (selfless devotion), O mother Amritanandamayi ||
Two weeks ago, I got the opportunity to experience darshan of Mata Amritanandamay, better known as Amma. What started as a casual email invite, turned into a life fulfilling experience. Below, I have used my tweets to supplement my notes.
Sunday, July 10
A friend and I arrived at the event outside of Boston around 10:30 am. Tokens for the morning darshan were all gone and the evening program would start at 7 pm, with darshan sometime after 10 pm. I remained unfazed and chose to wait it out.
We spent the morning wandering in awe at the 1000’s of devotees in near ecstasy. Then edged closer to where Amma was giving darshan (hugs). Despite the seeming chaos in the hall, there was a supernatural calm and everyone was utterly nice. Obviously, Amma’s radiance was infective. I saw how caringly Amma held each of her devotees, soothed the aches in their heart and lovingly embraced them. Most were in tears at this experience. Even from afar, I was not spared and felt a heavy burden lifted from my heart. I didn’t know what burden I had carried, but felt giddyly buoyant just being in her presence. Verily, in Amma’s presence, you are doused with love.
Even though it was late, I didn’t want to leave Amma’s presence and offered to stay and help.
Monday, July 11
Got a surprise call from one of Amma’s team, inviting me to join a few folks from our institution who were meeting with Amma on Tuesday. Unbeknownst to me, our hospital leadership had arranged a meeting with Amma offering collaborations with her organization. And I got invited.
Tuesday, July 12
What a dramatically different experience! On Sunday I waited 12 hrs to get darshan. On Tuesday, our group of four were received at the door, whisked to the front where Amma hugged us and motioned for us to sit next to her. There in the midst of giving darshan, and through a translator, Amma laid out her challenges in providing healthcare to the 500,000 poor on the Lakshwadeep Islands and around Kerala. As we recommended various solutions, Amma impressed us with her astute knowledge of technological advances. Amma loved one of the projects I offered! After more than 30 minutes with Amma, we broke for lunch with her team and worked on logistics of our collaboration.
Here is Amma singing Krishna Gopala Krishna from an older video.
When she belts out “Krishnaaa Vasudevaaa,” we sense that Amma actually spies Krishna and calls out to him. And HE, pauses in the midst of attending to the Universe and smiles back at Amma (and possibly waves), leaving her with a beatific smile. By simply witnessing this casual exchange of devotee and God, our human eyes were blessed and a smile passed through our hearts.
Wednesday, July 13; Devi Bhava Darshan
Our scriptures extoll that the divine is present in each and everyone of us. In us humans however, our ego veils our true nature forcing our association with the frailties of the human body. Exalted sages have come to realize that their bodies are mere vehicles to accomplish their duties in this world, and within their frames dwell the same being that powers this Universe.
Amma is one of those who have broken the bonds of ego and reached self realization. During Devi Bhava, Amma takes the form of the divine Devi (Goddess) to impress on us that the divine shines in everyone, and to give us each a peek at the divine manifested in human form, right here in our midst.
Amma believes she is divine, only as much as she believes that we are all divine. In her talks she refers to our body as a “rented apartment” that we need to vacate when our duties on this earth are fulfilled. But for a brief moment, in her body, Amma reveals to us the dazzle of the Supreme, within everyone’s grasp. And her messages is crystal clear: Give of your self with love and compassion, and this too is within your reach.
During the last night of the retreat, Amma in Devi Bhava.
You may be interested in my other related articles:
- Dwija – The Twice Born
- Shri Rama – The Holy Name
- Diwali: A Tribute to Lakshmi
- Mahalakshmi Temple, Goa
- Poster: Saraswati, Lakshmi and Ganapati
- Celebrating Ram Navami: A Tribute to Rama
- Celebrating Ram Navami: A Tribute to Rama 2010
- Amma coming to Boston, 2012