Seattle on the west coast of the USA was the first program of the 2013 North American tour and Boston on the east coast was the final program. Amma’s tour group crossed the continent from east to west and north to south by bus. Amma and the group stopped between each city in a beautiful spot in Mother Nature or at one of her ashrams. It is said that the very breath of a Realized Soul purifies the atmosphere. How many times she sang and meditated in the open air, surely blessing and purifying the environment!
The program in Boston was large and international. People not only flew in from around the USA, but from Europe and the Americas as well. Satsangs and bhajans were translated into English, Spanish and French on the big screens. It was another big family reunion as devotees enjoyed seeing each other, in some cases, after several years of not managing to be at the same Amma programs.
Amma, as usual, just gave and gave. Darshans went to pre-dawn every night and the birds were singing as we walked up the hill to our rooms. Amma did something special at the end of every program, clapping, singing and dancing. The last night of the retreat, she invited all the youngsters to come up on stage and dance with her. We looked at the happy children and commented that this is the coming generation who will carry on Amma’s mission of love and service. Amma was giving them inspiration and precious memories with her. And, of course, all of us were adding more memories and inspiration at this last stop to see us through all the challenges of daily life.
Another memorable event for the children is Amma’s prasad dinner on the second night of the retreats. The children have a special seating area and after Amma has served everyone, she sits with the children. The children line up and she feeds each of them a papadam (crispy treat). To finish off the experience, Amma has invented a new flavor of ice cream. She takes whatever papadams were left over from the feeding and smashes them in a big bowl with both hands. Then she adds ice cream and stirs it all together. The children watch this wide eyed! She does all this as only Amma can do, with full concentration and a loving look on her face. A spoonful of the concoction is distributed to everyone and it is relished by all.
Amma mentioned at one point in the program, that being with Amma “recharges our batteries” and indeed, though sleep deprived, we could feel that subtle effect on our minds and bodies. During her weeks in the USA, Amma recharged her many old and new devotees and her visit to the US capitol must have recharged some Congressmen and women as well. One of the bhajans Amma often sang featured the refrain, “O Mother, bless us with the mind for selfless service.” The many thousands of volunteer hours required to conduct the North American tour certainly demonstrated the service abilities of her devotees and the many charitable activities carried out by her satsangs throughout the year reflect that service orientation.
Before the end of the Boston Devi Bhava, the hall was mostly cleaned and packed. And then, with one more incandescent smile for her children, the camper door closed on Amma’s radiant form, as she began her journey to Amritapuri and Guru Purnima with her children there. Yet the full moon of the Guru had risen in our hearts and with batteries recharged, her children dispersed from Boston with a mind for selfless service and the joy of selfless service kindled in their hearts.
North American Yatra, 2013