Amma graciously consented to inaugurate the new hall at her German ashram, Hof Herrenberg. The hall was a converted training ring for horses and part of the floor remains dirt for the horses to continue to use. But a wooden balcony and temporary flooring for the dirt ring will make a venue for 2000 people and Amma’s programs can be held here in the future. Despite the fact that there was not even 24 hours between the last Devi Bhava of the Europe tour and Amma’s flight to immediately begin her program at her San Ramon, USA program, Amma wanted to see everyone and serve dinner. She looked fresh and happy and this 61 year old who did all the real “work” during the six week tour looked far better than some of the tour staff who were decidedly drooping.
She was seated in front of a huge glass picture window on a slightly raised platform. Outside we could see outlines of the trees that on November 17th were still amazingly green. The children clustered around her chair and I noticed little 4 year old Aikyam sheparding a two year old close to Amma. When Aikyam had appeared on the scene, he had been warmly welcomed by the path breaker for little kids, Siddarth, who showed no signs of jealousy and took care of him and showed him the ropes like a big brother. Aikyam clearly had learned the lesson and he welcomed the newest little boy. It was really inspiring and a little humbling to see the open hearted maturity and sharing nature of these tykes. May we all emulate them!
Amma asked for questions and a woman asked her whether mantra japa can remove sorrow. Amma asked what kind of sorrow the questioner was referring to and then began discussing the role of the mind in creating sorrow and the power of forgiveness to remove it. She said now we try to get over painful events in the past by getting even. Someone needs to be forgiving or the cycle will never end. Then it was time to serve dinner and Amma passed plates with a delicious dinner of pasta, broccoli, potatoes and desert. After dinner, in a festive ending for the inauguration, Amma sang three songs. “Unni Ganapatiye,” certainly an auspicious choice for an inauguration, and the highly Vedantic “Mano Buddhyahamkara”, ending with “Mere Guruvan di Vani”, her theme song for this year. At the end of the last bhajan, there was a sweet silence and a peaceful meditative moment before Amma swept us all into her heart and slowly made her way out of the hall.
For most, that was the last glimpse of Amma on the Etour, but a few of us had one more chance at 5am the next morning, when Amma left for America. In addition, to the hilltop structures, the German ashram is also comprised of two small, very charming adjacent houses at the bottom of the hill, linked by a garden path. Amma was staying in one and a few of us flying out the next day in the other. A little before 5, a few of us discreetly gathered in the garden along Amma’s path. The world was completely hushed and not even a hint of dawn yet coloured the sky. It was if even the birds did not want to disturb Amma by singing and the leaves held to the branches to avoid swishing on the walkway. The door of the house opened and bags were brought out, Amma’s car pulled up on the street above the house. Then a bit of movement around the door and Amma came striding down the walkway, looking fresh as a daisy. Would she acknowledge that group waiting in the shadows? After all, she had given us all so much already. But she did stop, say a word, touch a face or a hand and even after she entered the car kept looking out the window at us, until finally only two red tail lights glowed in the dark and disappeared. Nature seemed to breathe a sigh with us as Amma left the European continent and flew toward North America.
Europe Yatra, 2014