On the morning of Amma’s 59th Birthday tens of thousands of people surged into the great hall that was constructed for the occasion on the Amrita University grounds across from Amritapuri. This outdoor venue consisted of an enormous tin roof the size of two big football fields. Flowers of all colors adorned the length of the hall, and the stage was shining bright with decor and live flowers.
Despite the colossal size of the hall there was barely an inch to move. Rivers of humans flowed this way and that way and thousands of plastic chairs were side by side to accommodate the tens of thousands of Amma’s children who came together as one family on this day to honor our Mother.
At about 9:00am the drums began to beat faster and louder announcing that Amma will be entering the hall at any moment. Thousands of minds and hearts concentrated one pointedly on Amma’s arrival.
Amma gracefully entered the hall, she bowed to Her children and sat so that the pada puja could be performed. Swamiji (Sw. Amritaswaroopananda) did the 108 names, and offered generous handfuls of flowers to Amma’s feet. Amma put Her palms together and closed Her eyes. All present could enjoy a close-up on Amma’s face on the TV screens. Beautiful how She was embodying humility; such a deep magnificent stillness in Her persona. The ceremony was majestic, and amidst the majesty, Bhakti, one of the two endearing ashram dogs, walked up on stage to make sure everything was in order. Bhakti pranamed to Amma’s feet with a few sniffs, checked out the crowd below her, and moved from the spot light.
One extraordinary thing about Amma that came to my mind was that while She is undoubtedly the Guru, through the power of Her Love we also gain the keen desire to grow in Love, to grow in selflessness. Even in the midst of this Guru Bhava She always makes room for us to be playful children. She will always be both the Mother and the Guru.
Amma gave 20 continuous hours of marathon darshan, starting at 2:30pm, through the whole afternoon and night and up till 10am on the next morning! No one was turned away. The longer She sat the brighter She became… Her hair was a wild torrent of beautiful black curls, Her eyes were full of joy to see so many of Her children. If we had to host so many guests in our house and receive each one individually we would feel so much stress, and most likely would run away and hide! Which is what a few of my friends ended up doing as the night hours were rolling… Yet Amma was so joyful, so enthusiastic to see each face, and even when it looked like the job was done She looked here and there making sure that all Her children were embraced.
Once a Doctor in the U.S. watched Amma give darshan for six hours, he had come as a skeptic, but seeing Amma do this repetitive movement for hours on end he was in complete awe. He said that any other person would end up in the hospital doing such a thing! Amma sacrifices all comforts for Her children, and she works double time on Her birthday! Turning it into a true living celebration… A celebration for the ideals of Love, Compassion, Sacrifice and Patience that all religions talk about…
Many people ask for miracles, if Amma’s darshan, and unwavering loving enthusiasm is not a miracle, I do not know what is…
Sudha B., USA