With Amma it is always like this. There are surprises after surprises and yet something basic doesn’t change even with two sets of scores of years. For Ex. Amma’s darshan has been just in the same manner as years ago.
However this year on tour Amma added several new surprises. One of them was flight gift. As Amma had fallen short of time for Swami Vivekananada’s 150 birthday celebration inauguration function, as She was in Puna and Bombay for Her annual programs, Amma had to fly from Bombay to Delhi. Amma opened the chance for Ammamas of the ashram to fly with Her. Many women who are long time devotees had cherished this dream for long. Since Amma never took flights in India, and since not many could make it for foreign tours with Amma, their dreams had remained mere dreams till now.
On arrival in Delhi, all the women on Amma’s flight had so much to say about it. It was a unique feeling to be lifted high into the vast sky in an aircraft along with Amma, nothing short of a spiritual journey, they said.
Another noteworthy addition is this: Amma got a lot of food cooked and carried. As we arrived in a program place, Calcutta or Bhubaneshwar, Kannur or Mangalore for ex. Amma gave us and all the gathered devotees the dinner Prasad, much to the surprise and joy of all. (This Amma has always done at other stops, giving food to all the local people gathered to see Her.)
After handing out the Prasad first, then Amma would start bhajan singing. Sometimes more than a few songs. Matarani and Bandalo would definitely figure in them. Just as She would begin Bhajan, Amma would stop to give some clarification, which would be translated to local languages duly.
In Bhubaneshwar, as he translated into Hindi, Shubamrita swami played pun on the words Bhajan and Bhojan, because in Odiya language, the first vowel of both words are pronounced alike, except that it would be short for bhajan and long for bhojan.
The explanation Amma offered was, in Amritapuri we have bhajans first and then bhojan, whereas on tours at stops and such gatherings due to lack of time Amma does them almost together.
We always chanted the fifteenth chapter of the Gita before we ate in Her Presence.
Amma also quipped, even if one ate and remained by the Guru, he has done Upavasa.
-Sandhya, Bharata Yatra 2013