For various reasons, not everyone went with Amma for the Finland program. Different groups were housed at her Dutch and two French ashrams. I was with the group staying at Centre Amma du Plessis, her first ashram established in France near Chartres, and an hour and a half from Paris. This is probably her most spectacular ashram architecturally, as it dates from at least the 13th century and features the remains of a moat and 3 slate roofed towers. It has been lovingly restored over the past 13 years and the work continues. It also is amazingly active with 50 programs taking place throughout the year. Weekends usually see around 80 people participating in various activities.
Despite the fact that many ashram residents and nearby devotees were on tour with Amma, we were welcomed with great hospitality and consideration. We tried to return the favor by chopping veggies for our meals, washing dishes and cleaning up after ourselves. Additionally, we joined in the urgent seasonal sevas going on: preparing seeds for the seed bank, processing the apple harvest from the trees Amma requested be planted here, mulching the organic garden and preparing and freezing some vegetables left over from the kitchen at the Paris program.
It was refreshing to take up the ashram routine again and join our French brethren for morning archana, midday meditation and evening bhajans, punctuated by delicious and lovingly prepared silent meals. We also were treated to a tour of the property with highlights like the bee meditation hut, former moat with ducks and geese, the 400 year old wood burning oven and the new pigeon roost built to house the displaced pigeons from the towers. The main tower is being renovated to serve as an office on the ground floor, library on second and a temple on the top. Everywhere one looks there is something lovely and the attention to detail and historical restoration, without losing function, is truly impressive.
Over history there has been much warfare in this area, but what we can see at the Centre Amma is love, harmony and unity. Well over half a dozen nationalities were represented in the group, and the dominant language was French, but one would not have guessed we were from different countries. When Amma devotees meet, we are all on the “same page” and minimal translation is needed for the language of love. Our big family comes and goes, recombining in different Centres , satsangs and Amma programs all over the world. After two fulfilling days, early in the morning, we wistfully left this particular family circle for the twelve hour journey to the south of France, ready to serve at Toulon, likely to be the largest program on the Europe tour.
Centre Amma du Plessis, France
Europe Yatra 2015