Tumban is old now; so he is under care of one or the other ashram resident. He must be behaving like some adamant old people who want to eat just the thing prohibited. So his mouth is in a tiny basket. Like the ignorant young ones of cows have.
He is brought to Amma’s door just as the evening bhajans near. Seeing him like that I was wondering how he would sing with his mouth shut in a basket.
As Amma came down Her steps the first thing She asked for was the removal of that cover thus restoring him his right to speech. Tumban is a good ashram resident; he doesn’t much make noise. Only a distant dog bark or a cat in sight may sometimes prompt him to bark.
Next seen was Tumban on Amma’s peetham with Amma. Many times some of us grown-ups get into bad books of children who want to sit crowding around Amma on Her peetham, shake and shake and cause discomfort for Amma during Her meditation. Or those that want to walk about in the stage during bhajans. Because, we ask them not to do so. But here was Tumban invited to sit, leaning on to Amma while Amma sang bhajans. And of course Bhakti has always had it as her right to move around the bhajan stage as willfully as she wants. No rules apply for the twosome, much to my chagrin.
As Tumban sat by Amma, his face by Amma’s face, he looked over the huge gathering. After a while he put his head down and quietly listened to the bhajans. In between two bhajans, once, Tumban also wanted to sing. Amma allowed him to. She listened as he did a few little barks and then went on with a long tune. And then suddenly fell silent. He spotted Bhakti come up the stage from front. Maybe he had to wind up, as it was her turn now to call everybody’s attention.
It was at this stage that I noticed how Amma had kept Tumban by Her side, with the tether in Her hand. Tumban wanted to go down the peetham and pursue his dogly activities, but Amma would not let him go. Tumban who has in fact come to Amma himself, was reminded of his life purpose and soon he resigned to obey. Yet once again he tried to get down the peetham, but Amma was firm. She had decided for him in favour of his spiritual good.
So Tumban had to sit the entire session. He got a gift in turn as on Monday Amma Herself led him, holding the tether from the stage on towards Her room.
Why should Amma, who is interacting with thousands of human hearts in the hall, who is spending so much attention on singing new and old bhajans from an array of languages, choosing from a collection of over thousand bhajan-scripts, pay so much attention to these two mere dogs, one wonders!
Amma and the elephants
In the Ramayana we see Lord Rama as associated with many beings other than humans. The monkeys, the bear, the squirrel, so on.
The Tuesday was one wonderful day to see Amma in the company of several of Her non human children. After the sport during bhajans with Bhakti and Tumba, two dogs so similar in appearance, Amma walked down to Her room area. Two more non human children were waiting for Her: that was Raman and Lakshmi the elephants.
Amma delightfully spent about half hour hand-feeding the elephants. Several times Amma jumped up to reach the open mouth of Raman into which she placed huge balls of sweetened rice much to the joy of all her human children gaping. Amma put a whole watermelon into his mouth and showed us the elephant’s might as he crushed it in his mouth without much ado. After a row different fruits and biscuits and sweetened rice balls, the last item was the water spraying. Laskhmi enjoyed this item the best as she trumpeted and blew water on us all.