After a gap of two years, the buses and trucks were loaded with (in short) giant cooking pots, burners, thousands of steel dishes and cups, hundreds of chairs, the bookstore, everything needed for the canteen and juice bar, ABC and the tour group luggage. In the early hours of the morning of January 2nd, the nine buses, several trucks and cars, a medical van and most importantly, Amma in her white camper, roared out of Amritapuri as the bells rang the wakeup call for archana. We were heading for Pune, the first program site of Bharat Yatra, 2013.
The tour group stopped for hot milk and breakfast at Amrita Vidyalayam, Thrissur, followed by a delicious lunch at Amma’s flagship university in Coimbatore. The campus is impressive, with its stunning architecture, magnificent mountain setting, spotless campus and academic excellence. At the Bhavani River, the tour group and Amma and a few thousand flying insects had dinner. (Everything in nature seems attracted to Amma.) The sun set over the confluence of rivers as the evening arathi bells rang on the river ghat. Amma gave satsang and sang a number of Tamil bhajans to the delight of local people who had gathered near the group. However, it was the bhajan “Kodanakoti” that left many in silence and tears.
On to another of Amma’s schools In Bangalore for a four hour “sleep” stop, and once again as the sun rose we were on the road through the fertile fields of Karnataka. The lunch stop with Amma was in the back of a rural police station surrounded by fields of cotton, wheat and cane. The small glade of trees didn’t provide enough shade for the 600 plus group and Amma directed various rearrangements of bodies and finally had two canopies and a plastic tarp brought to ensure that everyone was in the shade. Amma would never sit in the shade while any of her children were in the sun. She shows us again and again that everyone counts and everyone should be happy and comfortable.
Back in the buses, and by evening we were in Maharashtra, having made good time on the new highway. A large group welcomed Amma at the border and she gave darshan to them, of course. Once again we had a Prasad meal with Amma, along with devotee stories, and Marathi bhajans. After the last bhajan, Amma asked, “Okay?” She seemed to be asking us is she could go now; if we had had enough; if we were happy? Who but Amma has such exquisite concern for others? We were very okay, even though we arrived in Pune at 5:30am. The sun rose as we finished unloading the luggage and enjoying a tasty breakfast, lovingly prepared by the happy and excited local devotees.
Sunrise is always special in Amma’s sacred presence, her effulgence seeming to add something to the orb. But, as Amma says, the real sunrise is when our differentiating intellect is dissolved in the Supreme Consciousness. May we witness that sunrise in our hearts and always be a part of Amma’s spiritual sunrise as it spreads over the earth.
Pune, Bharat Yatra 2013