03 Aug 2022, Amrita Hospital,Faridabad
It was the last day of our 4 – day bus pilgrimage and everyone was a little fried. As we entered Delhi, our group of approximately 40 vehicles were drawing quite a bit of attention. Suddenly, I noticed people on the streets waving to us and making pranam gestures. They recognized these were Amma buses and were showing their reverence to Her. It was extremely touching. As our bus pulled onto the property and I got my first glimpse of the hospital, I gasped, my jaw dropped and my eyes welled up with tears. I could not believe what I was seeing! Words and photographs cannot capture the magnitude and scope of this project and the millions of people who will benefit from this one act of mercy and compassion.
Before we exited the bus, we were warned that the hospital site is an “active” construction zone so we must be alert and aware at all times and whatever we do, “No texting while walking!” I didn’t quite grasp the seriousness of their words until I stepped off the bus. The entire complex is being built real-time, literally right under our feet. For example, you might walk to the Western canteen for lunch on a dirt path but walk back after lunch on a brick sidewalk. It’s so beautiful to witness how many hands and hearts are involved in this project and how Amma’s love bridges all gender, cultural, racial and socio-economic gaps. She has brought her children from all over the world from different backgrounds with different skill-sets together, to serve side by side. Everyone is included and valued and therefore, the spirit of unity, camaraderie, enthusiasm, reverence and gratitude is palpable in the air.
In addition to the hospital providing medical care for her human children, Amma is also creating a much-needed nature sanctuary throughout the grounds, providing refuge for birds, insects and other animals. There are many trees being planted all over the campus. These trees are providing shade for people to gather and rest under. There are also flowers and shrubs being planted everywhere which are attracting a variety of insects and butterflies. Amma’s compassion for all beings is truly boundless!
I would be lying if I said there weren’t moments when I felt like giving up and booking the first possible flight out of here. As a westerner who has had a very comfortable and privileged life, this whole experience has been way outside of my comfort zone and stretched me beyond the limits of what I thought I could endure. I’ve never been so dirty, so tired and had to fight so hard to overcome my own mental weaknesses. By continuously chanting my mantra and laying all of my frustration and fear at Amma’s feet, she is helping me overcome my self-imposed limitations one by one and revealing to me an inner strength I never knew I had. The most priceless gift in all of this is, because of the Amrita Silent Retreats, I am able to access the silence within me in the midst of all the chaos and construction noise. For someone who has suffered with complex PTSD most of my life, this is nothing short of a miracle.
I will be eternally grateful for all of the discomfort and hardships I have faced during this pilgrimage because I am not the same person I was before we started. I am stronger, more resilient. I am not a kitten, I am Amma’s lion cub! Amma has also shown me through this experience the truth of her words, “Where there is Love, anything is effortless.”
– Diya Heal, USA