Milano Devi Bhava lasted until 10:15 a.m. and the buses left by noon for the long journey to Berlin. We passed through the snowy Alps, but the love we experienced in Italy kept us warm! The landscape was breathtaking. Mist hovered over the peaks and hid in the valleys. Waterfalls plunged hundreds of feet down steep mountain slopes. Stone barns with grey slate roofs sheltered large sheep and horses. Small towns with onion domed church steeples perched on the hillsides.
Deep green conifers covered the mountainsides. There were also yellow trees that we first thought were deciduous species showing their fall colours, but sadly we soon realized they were dead conifers, victims of a die off that has decimated European forests. All the efforts at conservation, environmental awareness and tree planting seemed even more relevant looking at this. It was also impressive to see giant metal wind turbines in some valleys and the innovative placement of solar panels in south facing retaining walls along the highway.
At one thirty in the morning we arrived in Berlin to a venue that had been a rail maintenance installation in earlier years, similar to the venue in Munich. The kitchen crew began to set up their encampment by the side of the river flowing next to the building. The bookstore crew had til five thirty in the morning before their setup. Amma arrived around three am! No time to waste on this tour! But somehow we did’t feel as tired as one would expect.
Amma always reminds us that where there is love, there is no effort and the sincerity that the group has for their seva, seems to burn away the balance of fatigue. Touring shows us that we don’t need what we think we need. Not the amount of sleep, the amount of space, or even our first choice of travelling companions. We experience a taste of the true freedom of going beyond the perceived limitations of the body and mind. Not to the extent that Amma can go beyond, of course!
On the last day a number of staff walked a short distance in a misty rain to the site of the former Berlin Wall. The grey guardhouses and bits of remaining wall are now covered with graffiti, but still look menacing. We thought of the many who lost their lives here in a desperate bid for freedom. But that massive barricade that had seemed impenetrable and permanent, just dissolved away. So it is that Amma effortlessly dissolves away the barriers between people, nationalities and religions.
Moored in the river, next to the hall and our cook tents, was a floating bar/restaurant. It was open and faint sounds of rock music could be heard from it at night. The entrance had been decorated with attractive containers of plants and flowers. A small sign proclaimed, “Carpe Diem” (seize the day in Latin). This had been the motto of a group called hedonists centuries ago in Greece, whose limited view led them to proclaim that the best lifestyle was one of pleasure, and making sure one didn’t miss any chance for it either! Around Amma, we have a different “Carpe Diem”, similar to its original meaning in Horace’s Odes. Seize the day to make the most of this precious human birth. Seize the day to go beyond perceived body/mind limitations. Seize the day to do spiritual practices that will expand your potential. Seize the day to do something good for someone, even your enemy!
Salutations to One who is beyond differences. Salutations to Her who dissolves differences.
Berlin, Europe Yatra 2014