I can’t believe it has already been over 1 month since I have been at Amritapuri in the presence of the greatest living Avatar. To see Amma everyday and spend time in her presence is a great blessing in my life.
I first met Amma in Australia in 2010. Last year I was lucky enough to join the adventurous North Indian tour which was a great experience. With a longing and curiosity in my heart, I returned to India again this year to visit Amma. After discovering that there was no tour schedule, I have ended up being with Amma at Amritapuri.
Here, in Amma’s own home place, it feels like time expands in the moment. So many different people come together in a big hot pot to act out roles in God’s divine play. I may not necessarily speak with everyone, but it feels like we are connected and are here to help each other learn lessons (without even knowing it!) thanks to the hands of The master.
What I love about being near Amma, is the intensity of the learning that takes place in her presence. Lessons are being taught constantly in every moment, with every breath, word and action. It’s like little by little, more perspectives are revealed to this game of life. With my eyes I am learning by watching Amma’s grace, unconditional love and compassion. With my ears, her every word is food for the soul. In my body, I feel sensations, vibrations and energized, and in my heart I feel love. Pure Love.
On an even more subtle level, I know inner work is taking place with Amma’s help.
Amritapuri has been the perfect playground for me to immerse myself in spiritual practices. Every inch of these sacred grounds provides an opportunity for sadhana. Whether it is chanting, seva, bhajans, meditation on the beach, yoga, satsang, Upanishads classes, music classes, Sanskrit classes etc. there is something for every spiritual aspirant! There hasn’t been a dull moment since I arrived and I feel so grateful to be in this environment. Amma provides everything here for everyone and it is incomprehensible the infinite giving to all her children.
As expected, it didn’t take long for my vasanas to surface after I arrived at Amritapuri. Three days actually… And while there have been many moments of sheer bliss and joy, I can’t deny the times of utter confusion and frustration I have felt as I work on my vasanas. There have been days I have cried with joy, been ecstatic with gratitude, and had moments of frustration, feeling like I want to scream, bury my head in the sand and throw my mind out the window. In such moments, I can gratefully say I still feel Amma’s love and support in my heart.
It is on these days the coconut man appears with coconuts (I consider this Amma’s prasad as I love coconuts!), or I share a wonderful moment with Amma singing in the rain on beach, or playing at Holi festival. Mother reminds me in these moments to be happy, celebrate life and have fun. Other times, it may be Amma’s glance and I realize that she is there, thinking of me, and here to help me on my journey. It is this constant residing love that keeps me inspired in the moments when I feel temporarily caught up in my emotions.
One little lesson I have learned while being here is a very simple one. One can only expect that wherever Amma is, there are people… and lots of them! This makes it easy for many situations to come about to challenge us, test us and give us insight into ourselves.
One day Amma was giving darshan as usual. I was part of the sardine can situation where we all squeeze into a limited space on stage to be close to Amma. All personal space goes out the window. On this day, I assumed my position as allocated by the stage monitor. I really enjoy sitting with Amma (of course), being close to her makes meditation so easy and I love sinking into deep meditation and feeling her divine love through every cell of my body. I often sit there with my eyes closed, pretending that I am invisible hoping that no one turns up for the next sitting, or that no one will notice me and let me sit there for longer times. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not so well! On this day I was sitting enjoying my connection with Amma’s divine energy, feeling peaceful and content. Suddenly I was at the receiving end of a devotee behind me who scowled “Can you move and give me some space?” with a huff and a puff and a very cross expression on her face.
I was startled from my loved up, peaceful state, and in this moment physically felt a pang in my chest from the tone and anger in her voice. As sensitive as it seems, I felt hurt by the harshness of these words. I felt like a naughty little child being told off for doing something wrong. Without saying a word, I adjusted my position, as much as possible.
A couple of seconds later it occurred to me that this command, this tone of voice was something similar to the way I can talk to my siblings when they do something that has bothered me. As I reflected, I felt terrible for the times I had spoken in this harsh manner. I also realized that this situation was a mirror of behavior which was also in me.
At that moment, I made a vow to myself never to speak to anyone like that again. To be at the receiving end of this situation physically hurt and to know that I could make someone feel like this did not feel nice. I realized the importance of words, but more importantly how we say words and the effect that this can have on people. I created an intention to always speak from the heart with kindness, love and compassion. Like Amma is showing us everyday, perform ALL actions with awareness, love and compassion. A simple expression of words can have a big impact on our own and others’ experiences.
I smiled at myself, closed my eyes and sank back into Amma’s love. I was grateful for this simple, yet valuable lesson.
Amma is in Singapore now, and I anticipate things will be a lot quieter in the ashram. Even so, I know the lessons will continue with love, grace and guidance even in her physical absence. I feel happy that I have collated a multitude of heart warming moments since I have been here to keep me inspired as I keep working on my vasanas!
Om Amriteshwarayai Namaha
Yew Ling, Australia, 32