The program in Wnterthur, Switzerland seems to be the Center Point of Europe. The crowd is very diverse. Four nearby countries are well represented: Italy, Germany, Austria and France. This was reflected in the backdrop which featured Amma’s motto, Love and Serve in 5 languages-German English, French, Spanish and Italian. The translation on the screen for Amma’s satsangs, bhajans and archana often included Tamil, as this area is the home to many Sri Lankans of Tamilian origin who took refuge here during the civil war in their native country and now are at home in Switzerland as citizens.
Amma often uses the term “center point”, saying the center point is love. She says that is where our seva should come from. We could see this reflected in the loving service offered by these diverse nationalities at the program, and in the unity in diversity.
The Europe Tour features a young crowd and many beautiful children are a prominent feature of the programs. These children are very open and loving. These beloved children were encouraged to do seva along with the adults, and the adults had the patience to show them how to do the tasks. Starting selfless service at this age gives them the habit of helping and they experience the satisfaction and joy of service. Thus, their lives are directed to a positive path from early on.
In Switzerland, a Downe’s Syndrome boy came for darshan and Amma had him sit with her on her chair. Amma encouraged him to help “give darshan” to the people in the queue, taking offerings and rubbing their backs as they came to Amma. Everyone took their “double darshan” happily, giving back a lot of love to the little boy. Despite the large crowd, Amma would stop from time to time and play little games with him. Amma shows us by her example, again and again, that no one and nothing is insignificant and we can never be “too busy” to take time to make others happy.
This is the venue where we can enjoy the beauty of nature just by stepping out the back door of the hall. A small mountain forested with towering trees and bisected with hiking trails beckons on the other side of a crystal clear gurgling river. There is not a piece of trash anywhere! Bright red and yellow leaves and last flowers of summer provided opportunities for contemplation and photo opportunities. We couldn’t help wishing that Amma could have enjoyed it as well, but her schedule did not allow for walks in the forest. We hoped she could enjoy it through our enjoyment and see the autumn beauty through our eyes.
On the night before the program, due to our early arrival, Amma had time to serve dinner to all the local sevites and tour staff. Amma checked each plate to make sure it had the right proportion of food. As we started to dine on our pasta, salad and sweet, Amma apologized as she said she felt the portions were a little small and that she was sorry there was not food for a second helping. Of course, all were thrilled to have Amma’s Prasad and we hadn’t noticed any lack, but Amma is attentive to every detail. She also mentioned that it only in terms of food that people say they have had enough, an interesting point to ponder. She also reminded us to think of those who were not there. Amma always reminds us not to just enjoy for ourselves, but provide joy for others and if we can’t do that, to at least appreciate what we are getting and remember those who are not as lucky as we are.
Once again, the three day program passed all too quickly and we were soon back in the buses for the trip to another Center Point of Love, Paris!
Europe Yatra 2015