As i travelled homeward, ie to Amritapuri, from Mangalore, once again tried to take a look at Amma’s Indian tour from yet another perspective… How does a drop out from the tour feel?
The previous day, even as the program ended around 3-30 am, with five groups performing padapuja to Sadguru Amma, and Amma’s mellifluous singing of Bandalo, i was feeling something choking in my throat.
In a few hours from then, the progam place looked dull, with crowds gone, chairs stacked, stalls pulled down, trucks getting loaded, sound system packed, canopies removed, kitchen winding up, and the stage turned to a ‘piling lot’ like you say ‘parking lot….’
Around Amma’s Nest and our places of stay, most of them had gone to sleep only after 4 am, and since no bhajans were played anymore, it was all very quiet.
Around noon I partook of the wonderful lunch, red fat rice, thick pulicheri with banana pieces in it, and a vegicurry. On tours, the westerners refer to pulicheri as ‘yellow,’ yes, just ‘Yellow.’ Normally at lunch stops, after Amma serves, Amma wants rice and curriers to go round for second help. I heard Srinivas ji once, that was before Hyderabad, going round with pulicheri in bucket, calling out ‘Yellow!’ ‘Yellow!’ This is a specific recipe for tour lunch that our brother Om Kumar forgets all about when he is in Amritapuri… I stood in the line and waited patiently, enjoying every moment of the waiting. Oh, I would leave all this… I heard my heart whining.
Then I heard the familiar call for big bag loading, “Loading! Loading! Bring your big bags now! Also we need your help! Loading! Loading!” ‘One pain I escaped,’ I told myself, and wished best for the youngsters doing it so earnestly.
Kochu NarayanJi was already on the scene, running helter-skelter, with the curly hair flowing after him. After seeing him on duty during the Indian tours, one can easily guess why he becomes a mouni baba for the rest of the months.
The eleven beautiful majestic white-blue buses with their trumpet like horns, hooted even half an hour before two O clock, the fixed departure time. That’s very much like him, KN. And the travellers started going into their buses, keeping their big or small bags inside the buses, hurriedly running to do so before another person did. As a result there are more bags in some buses than sent to the specific big bag loading, and as a result, there is much less space for human limbs, and as a result we get packed inside the buses, into our seats, only to emerge at the next stop with swollen legs and/or stiffened backs . That’s very much like it. Then all of them came back to their lunch spots, ate leisurely till the second series of trumpet-hooting, and got into their respective buses. That’s also very much like them/us too.
Amma repeatedly tells us to see a frog as a frog and an elephant as an elephant; and Amma tirelessly reminds us often that nothing –big or small- is unimportant. Amma said this time in Her satsang that we should accept things as they are. So, things are as described above and all of us resign and agree to accept them without demur.
Soon the buses were gone from there as I stood watching from Amma’s balcony. Many devotees who did several duties by Amma’s room, soon left. They had offices and colleges to go to. Some senior devotees went, only to come back a little later, refresh, to see Amma off.
Just a few of us around there. Chokes were becoming audible to my own ears.
Soon I knew Amma called in Bri. Mangalamrita ji and Bri Anjali, the local ashram representatives, under whose hard work and leadership the Mangalore devotees did such a beautiful Amma Program.
So, very soon Amma would appear. This time, unlike yesterday and the day the before, Amma won’t be walking up to the stage, I reminded myself. Another choke pressed my heart.
Waiting devotees came up to me to exchange pleasantries. They said how they would miss Amma till next year. That reminded me, “Oh, I am after all going to Amritapuri, out of my own choice, only to receive Amma in a week’s time! Why am I still feeling so sad?” “That’s only logic, sadness is sadness,” argued my heart.
Amma came out, as glowing as ever, met all of us, gave us each a kiss on the cheek, and went downstairs. Amma kissed the cheeks of each devotee there, and waved Her hands in Her inimitable style, to those at a distance, and leisurely standing on the portico steps, repeated the two lines of a ditty someone sang for Her, and left. Her star like palm jutting out of car window to give its loving touch to many more children.
Buzz, buzz, zoom, zoom…. more vehicles drove after the camper that was behind Amma’s car.
Next instant the place became bare. How appropriate seems here the imagery of a queen bee! People just duck, dive, run, drive, ride or do anything to go the way She leads.
Amma left for program in Thalassery. Where again She would be received by thousands of thirsting hearts, into which She would pour Her ambrosia through darshan…. Every where She goes it is the same new story each time. How inexhaustible is Amma’s love and energy and concern…
I was lost in Her glory. Then I turned to my heart. There was no more sadness but gratitude. It is a paradox if an Amma child is sad. Amma, I am really blessed to be Your child.
– Sandhya, Bharata Yatra 2013