It was snowing when I left home. I had missed Amma after doing seva around the European programs all summer and fall. Also it seemed that work and other commitments would not allow me to join any of the India tours this winter. The prospect of not seeing Amma until at least summer made me feel sort of empty…
Then something came up at work and unexpectedly my boss was sending me to Delhi for a week! Jai ma!…could I combine this with a short trip to Amma?
As grace kept flowing Amma planned a tour just in the week I was free before starting in Delhi. I booked a flight and oh Ma… as I got to the airport it was overbooked. As I was gearing up to start complaining to the stewardess she smiled and said: But sir, we booked u in business class… is that all right? O Amma, I thought… You really take care!
Next day I arrived in Calicut in North Kerala where Amma was starting a program the next morning. Calicut is one of my favorite places to see Amma. The small temple, the heat, the thousands lining up, patiently for a short embrace by the Mother of all. Amma’s arms were like a marathon swimmer, crawling over the waves of suffering, longing, pain and devotion in the hearts and eyes of the people waiting to get Her darshan. Amma gave darshan at rapid speed. At times I counted over 24 people a minute coming to Her arms.
My body was still accustomed to winter and the heat was sometimes almost unbearable. Also the effect from the months of hard work was starting to surface. I was tired and my mind started playing it’s game: Would it not be better to take some rest in a beach town? Take long sleeps and lazy days under the palm trees and play with the waves of the ocean? Would that not get me back on my feet much quicker? Was being around Amma not to tiring with the long bus rides and the staying up late? I never manage to go to bed early around Amma…
Next stop was Mangalore, a city just north of Kerala in Karnataka on the coast. I had been here in 2004 when Amma had one of the biggest public programs ever. I remember She was on stage from 6 pm until 4.30 pm the next day: almost 23 hours!
The new Amritavidyalam school was located north of the city, right along a backwater… could it be that the ocean was close? Next morning I took the small ferry across the water and within 5 minutes walk I stood on an empty beach with golden sand…. This was paradise and better than any beach town I could have traveled to! Not only was Amma showering grace… She was also fulfilling my crazy desires….. The ocean was lukewarm and refreshing, the waves playful and tender.
Next morning I did some ‘catching-seva’ one of the nicest jobs you can do around Amma. Basically you stand in front of Her as She gives darshan and you help the people coming out of Her embrace making room for the next person. Often the Prasad is passed on through your hands before it reaches the person who it is meant for. It is an amazing seva to do. You are able to watch Amma in Her greatest moments from up close.
So here I was…. Unexpectedly close to Amma again, in a combination of beach holiday, little India tour and seva. It astonished me… How could things be so perfect around Mother? How could She have known all the longings of my heart?
Next morning one of my friends brought a Mangalore newspaper, on page three a photo of Amma giving darshan and prominently on the right there I was, photographed as I was doing the catching seva. The photo is a priceless memory of an amazing turn of events. But it is more: For it also is a reminder that Amma always cares for all we need. She knows our hearts and She gives when we need it. The photo shows Her grace is not endless, but also perfectly timed and always just a bit more graceful then you would expect. Oh Mother, may I never forget again how great You are!
21 Feb 2009