The days of Amma’s Seattle program unfolded all too quickly. The skies cleared for a few hours every day and many attendees took short walks around the parks and streets where pink, red and white azaleas bloomed. The population of this part of Seattle is thirty per cent Asian and the ethnic mix was noticeable as attendees included devotees of Indian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese origin, giving the program a particularly international flavor.
The public program and retreat included many of our “fav” things. Question and answer with Amma, meditating with her and receiving our Prasad dinner from her hand are always high on the list. After receiving my plate, I went to a corner to eat in silence, but the density of the crowd meant that soon a conversation was going on at my shoulder. At first I was a little irritated, but then I heard a woman happily telling her companions that this was her very favourite thing at the program, getting her dinner from Amma. She continued saying, “Just imagine all the billions, trillions of beings that would love to be here getting their food from Amma. Just imagine how many lifetimes we might have waited to get this chance… Don’t you find this food particularly delicious?” Suddenly I was very happy the devotee had sat down next to me. Her joy and attitude of “gratitude” had added to my experience. And it was a lesson, that relaxing and being open to all experiences enriches life immensely.
Another personal favourite were the two archanas a day and having two to three satsangs a day. In one of the satsangs, Swami Ramakrishna commented on the final stanza of the Meditation Shloka of the Lalita Sahasranamam, “Oh Great Goddess, let me imagine that I am One with your glorious form…” He pointed out that the divine qualities of the Divine Mother, which we were chanting in the archana, were the ones that we should be reflecting on as we went about our daily activities. Chanting this in the morning should set the tone for our day and we should be thinking in every situation, “What would Amma do?” Later several of discussed that we had never really paid deep attention to that sentence in all the years we had chanted it! There is always something new to learn at Amma’s programs.
All too soon it was the final night with Amma glorious in Devi Bhava. She stood for a long time at the end, gazing at everyone, missing no one and even asking to have a fan on stage removed that was blocking someone’s view. The curtains closed all too soon on that compassionate gaze and shortly afterward Amma’s camper pulled away. The tour caravan was heading down the coast of the Northwestern United States, surely blessing sky, land and water on the way. All of us that had been pulled like iron filings to a magnet by Amma’s presence dispersed as that magnetic presence moved to a new location. Next, many “filings” would realign in Amma’s San Ramon ashram, then to Los Angeles and onward across the continent. For the next weeks, Amma’s swirling magnetic energy will continue to transform and inform our lives with the power of Pure Love.