Posted on 16 November 2014.
Salutations to the One who is beyond differences. Salutations to the One who removes the sense of difference in others.
Amma always tells us that she sees nothing in creation as different from herself. We can see that this is true by her every word and action. But amazingly, in this time when humans seems ever more selfish and ever more caught up in religious and political differences, we can see that those who come into contact with Amma are themselves able to overcome that sense of I and mine, my country and your country, my religion and your religion. Never more than on this European tour have we seen the sense of differences dissolving. In every venue, it’s not just the local group that is seen, but people from absolutely everywhere, working together, singing together and appreciating Amma together.
People from all over Europe came to Milano to see Amma, including 100 Greeks and 30 Moscovites who were inviting Amma to visit their respective countries. On Devi Bhava, the Greeks delighted everyone with traditional music and dance right in front of Amma. They got everyone up and dancing in a line snaking throughout the hall and the few empty spaces in the overflowing venue were full of dancing people from Greece and anyone else who could figure out the steps.
Being held on a weekend, the crowds were immense and not even an incessant downpour for two straight days could dampen the numbers of people flowing in, or the enthusiasm. It was fascinating to see many lovely little children, and often a family of three generations came for darshan. The Italians are a highly social people who love being together and they didn’t seem out of sorts at the long lines, beginning in the early morning, for darshan tokens and to enter the hall. Roving vendors offered snacks and chai to break the monotony as well.
They also seemed to love doing seva together, sporting red fleece “volantari” vests, and their friendly and welcoming ways, even after days of little sleep, never seemed to wane. Even the security had a light and friendly way, and offered a good lesson on how to keep order with a smile and kind words. Major seva areas were serving, dish washing, keeping the venue and the toilets spotlessly clean and, of course, recycling. There was someone at each of the many recycling centers watching like a friendly hawk that we put the right trash in the right colour coded and clearly labeled containers and making sure we understood why we should do it!
Environmental awareness is big theme every year at the program. Interesting exhibitions were held in high traffic areas. A beautiful art exhibition focused on environmental themes and an innovative exhibition of the 6 steps of the InDeed campaign were on view with that distinctively creative and highly artistic Italian flair. Interestingly, discarded metal and even old car fenders were used as canvases! Something else unique at the Italian program was the Tisaneria..an herbal tea café! One could buy a healthy herbal tea and also purchase herbal teas in bulk to take home. Information was given on the properties of each tea.
The Italians have a deep heart connection with Amma. They celebrate her and her life by spontaneously clapping rhythmically and shouting her name joyously every time she comes and goes to the hall. They also celebrate her and show their respect by the many activities they hold throughout the year. There are bhajan groups all over Italy, from the top of the boot to the heel, that engage in various service activities throughout the world. For example, one in Milano, is extremely active. In addition to meeting and singing together regularly, they hold many events throughout the year. They hold parties at a care home for differently abled at Xmas and Easter and brought the residents to meet Amma. They have fundraising and environmental educational events and do clean-ups of parks and rivers. They also planted 300 trees and created a family event where children were given birdhouses to paint and to take home. Furthermore, they teach organic gardening and Amma’s IAM meditation technique. Such activities are held by other groups as well, and keep Amma’s “fiume d’amore” (river of love) flowing all year around. Amma says that the world is kept balanced through the selfless actions of altruistic people. After the Europe tour, it seems the world would have to more balanced and in harmony, as so many thousands work so hard, harmoniously and selflessly out of love for Amma and each other.
– Rta S
Milano – European Yatra 2014