On this Yatra, like any other yatra with Amma, there is so much to write: but even before one settles down to record one event another will have started. How can one afford to miss the present! And, when the present is so intense who would want to go back in time!
Somehow today I sit down to write telling myself, hey, sandhya, if you don’t record at least a few things now, you may not be able to recall them later. So forgive me for being less meticulous as I jot down these things.
If busy is the word, I say it is very insufficient to use in Amma’s context. She was a lot more than being busy, She was simply overflowing with innumerable things She has chosen to do on this planet.
The three day long journey to Kokata was yet another treat in the grand series of treats to those of Her children travelling with Her on the 2013 bharat yatra.
As usual Amma travelled with Her children on road, giving them full opportunities of lunch stops and tea stops. At such times Amma however looked as if She had all the time in the world for us Her children on tour with Her. How Amma can do this is beyond one’s comprehension.
Though we stopped for late lunches, our stops were memorable. The spots were as good as handpicked. Unique green fields of the UP plains surrounded by neem and such ever-green trees…. And Amma speaking of all trees being divine….. The birds, babblers and orange beaked mynas especially seemed to be twittering to each other about this year’s speciality: “Amma is visiting us early this year.”
And the chai stops included hot chai, dinner served by Amma, precious moments with Amma including satsang, bhajan, jokes and the warmth of the north Indian rajais and soft cotton beds -that is if we went to bed.
Delhi to Kokata route was familiar but the time was different; it was rather too early since normally Amma would be in this part of the world only by early March. The biting cold of Delhi didn’t deter us, just as long mad drives have never. The seven trains in one and half hour that ran on the track just a few meters from Amma’s back didn’t distract Amma or Her children from Her Satsangs, when Amma was saying how even an old dying man will still long for mother’s love, a mother’s loving hug. Every stop found us all sitting around Amma in the most intimate manner. Amma handed us Prasad every time She stopped with us. Amma also served us dinner on all the days.
The Vivekananda school in Fatehpur housed Her entourage for the few hours of the stay, during which some of us slept and most of us did cooking and washing and such things necessary for the next day long journey.
The hosts at Fatehpur gave Amma a formal reception. They had arranged for a session with Amma as they served us with hot chai. They requested Amma to visit the Maha Kumbh Mela happening just about 60 kms from Fatehpur very much on our path; just a little detour. The satsang initiated by Amma’s children (as Amma passed the mike around,) spoke about values such as holy rivers, rivers becoming holy by the grace of saints, Guru’s feet being superior to everything else for a sadhaka and so on.
Next morning we were led by Amma to the Maha Kumbh mela, at Allahabad, where at the confluence of Ganga and Jamuna, two holy rivers revered by every Hindu meet. It was exhilarating to see Amma walking on the Maha Kumbha Mela land! How blessed became the land and the waters there! Amma entered the water, and then gave dips to each one of her child travelling with Her, bringing joy to everyone. The State govt provided Amma and Her party all necessary aid to make this a smooth and successful historical event.
It was past 1-30 am when the entourage at last reached the destined accommodation at Hazaribag on the second night; we arrived there only to see Amma waiting for us from the eleven buses to arrive so that She could tell us wonderful things about how ephemeral our lives are through Her favorite song, “manase nin swantamay…”, make us sing with Her, clap hands with each other as she sang Bandalo bandalo, reminding us often the Truth that we have Amma with us who has come to show us the path to nijananda, real happiness. Amma answered a local devotee’s question and slipped into the manase nin swantamay mood. His question was, what is the goal of our lives?- a question Amma always wants us to remember often and try to answer within ourselves. When we went to bed in those wee hours, we were all fully charged with divine energy to the brim. If at all any one slept I am sure it was not the usual lethargic sleep.
One more full day bus journey: we had crossed four states of the country: Delhi, Up, Bihar, Jharkhand, and entered West Bengal. The cold and fog persisted as we travelled more or less along the same latitude. However, as we neared the sea side city of Kokata, we were warm enough for the two day brahmasthanam program.
There was a time not long ago- a few years ago- when we told ourselves, Amma is a little easily available in Delhi and Kolkata. But this year all such hopes were dashed against our own hopes. Cold didn’t deter Her children from coming to Her in record large numbers in both the cities. Amma cut down on the short break She would take between the two programs of the day on brahmastan premises. Amma chose to sit through giving long hours of darshan like in Amritapuri.
That was still not enough work for Amma. On arrival in Kolkata, Amma gave darshan to devotees, and sat down to serve food for all! For about a thousand people in all!!! It was past two am when the first day darshan ended; on the second day Amma finished darshan by 10-30 pm and that was only to begin another program: Amalabharatam in Kolkata.
Amma decided to inaugurate Amalabharatam work in Kolkata, a city in dire need of such a cleansing program. The fog was in the dark air. The street was stinky. Hundreds of Amma’s children from all over the globe set out with Amma as their leader. They wore gloves and masks, and carried brooms and bags in their hands. They cleared the front of the ashram premises and, turning right, went on clearing the littered road for two kilometers length. Traffic stopped, and people watched with open mouths.
In the end Amma didn’t forget to give each participant the ‘Chips Prasad’ that She has always given at the end of such seva for four decades now. Amma always has new things to offer but Amma also sees to it that the momentous old ones also remain.
Next morning we were only some of those who saw kahani of clean roads in Kolkata, as we drove out at sunrise.
One heap of trash when cleared revealed a plaster of paris idol of the great Bengali personality, Rabindranath Tagore. When the statue was lifted and made to stand against a safer back, it looked as if Amma has come to reclaim and restore the old values of each land.
Is this not what is happening in every state as She reaches out to each heart through their own languages singing in it, getting the satsangs delivered in it, speaking to each child in his/her own language etc. and invoking the divine in each one….?
By now Amma has done two grand public programs at Bhubaneswar and Vishakhapatnam. More about it all later.