“Earth is more beautiful than heaven.” Amma gave this teaching in every country across Europe. An interesting topic to ponder, as most of us have been taught the opposite! What could be the things on earth that are more beautiful than heaven? As we drove across Europe, the landscape certainly came to mind. The rolling green hills of England, the russet autumn vineyards of France, the shimmering golden leaves on hills of Germany, the olive groves of Spain… The drive from Manheim to Milano through the Alps really made us think that we had arrived in heaven. Lakes, clouds, mountains, mist merged in a flowing symphony of nature at its most mystical and profound.
Then there is human beauty. People are at their most beautiful around Amma. The faces of people coming to Amma are full of light and joy. But more importantly we see the beauty of the conscious choice that only humans can make: to put others before themselves, to serve others rather than rest and relax.
Amma’s program is full of beautiful young children of every colour and culture. They meditate, pray and play and are seen helping in the bookstore and the snack bar. Some lucky children even travel with Amma and get to bask in the affection of the whole tour group!
We hear heavenly music every day. What singing is more heavenly than Amma’s? And additionally we hear the Swamis powerful voices, melting with devotion, the enthusiastic local satsang and tour groups… Until the final “Amma Amma Taye”.
How beautiful are the flowers! A beautiful array of plants and flowers decorate the hall. Some fortunate flowers become garlands for the devotees to offer to Amma. Thousands of translucent pink, white, red, yellow and peach rose petals are lucky enough to be folded over a sweet and held in Amma’s hand as she gives the devotees Prasad. Translucent rose petals are showered on families, infants, mantra recipients, newly married, and finally on everyone still standing at the end of the all night Devi Bhavas.
The food is heavenly, cooked with mantra and love. In Manheim, 108 divinely delicious cakes were made by the devotees and blessed by Amma. The staff rooms fed the tour group around the clock and the food service for the attendees continued until past the end, yet the servers continued to be cheerful and attentive. Even the toilets are beautiful on tour, decorated with hearts and flowers, ivy, leaves, incense and candles.
We had the chance to sing and dance across Europe with Amma, as we did our bit of “squirrel seva” to create the programs. Indeed, Europe Tour 2012 was a little bit of heaven on earth! It is easy to see that the earth is as beautiful as heaven when with Amma. Now, our task is to learn how to see that the earth is as beautiful as heaven when not physically with Amma.
Malpensa, Italy — Europe Yatra 2012