Archive | Amma

on/about Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

i saw the goddess alive

well known carnatic classical violinists, mysore nagaraj and mysore manjunath, also known as the ‘mysore brothers’ came to meet amma and performed for her near the end of darshan. they were sitting by her side for some time and as darshan ended, amma decided to sing. she sang two songs, they then took out their instruments and started playing along with amma. after two songs amma asked them to play alone. they played the famous song “raghupati raghava raja ram” while amma sat clapping and enjoying the music, especially the sound of the violin. the whole crowd joined amma in clapping along to the music. after the marvelous performance amma once again blessed them.

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“this is the best and most memorable experience we have had in the last 40 years of career,” said arjun kumar, who was accompanying the mysore brothers on mridangam. he continued, “for me the mridangam has always been my goddess. but today i saw the goddess alive.”

this is the first time that i am watching professional artists who came to meet amma, then perform along with her and sit around her darshan chair and playing for her.

while leaving they were saying “we will come back, we will come back soon.”

yes, amma is so irresistible.

~ dhyanamrita
28 july 2016, amritapuri

stack chair, post a photo

at the end of darshan in jaipur amma asked all devotees to help to stack the chairs which was used at the program grounds. there were thousands..
and she specifically asked me to go and take chairs. i did. then came the second command. take a pic and post on fb! lol.. here it is ..
even if we cannot do everything guru says, whatever possible we must do na?
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may her grace be there with us always.
2 april 2016, jaipur.

shyam ki ye leela ko dekh

8 mar 2012, amrtapuri

early in the day it was very much in the air that amma may play holi. when? no one knew. i saw some devotees walking around with some colour powder. so it was obvious that something might happen. but when? no one knew.

remember? back in 2007, in mysore, one devotee took powder hiding under her sari while going for darshan and she she took out the powder and smeared it on amma’s cheek. she gave amma the rest of the bowl. then amma started smearing golden yellow colour on everyone who was coming for darshan. and lo!! it was the IVUSA japanese students who were in the line. they were meeting amma for the first time. they didn’t know anything about holi. amma was applying the yellow powder on their faces. one of my brother jokingly said that they thought that it was part of the darshan !!!

but today, the news was spreading around. amma will play holi at the end of darshan. so many little ones of the asrham were running towards the stage at the end of darshan for playing holi with amma.

there was a padapuja. after the puja one devotee brought powder and water. amma started spraying water and throwing colour powder all around.
i was standing near her chair. amma took a handful of pink powder and smeared it on my face. she took time to make sure that its all over my face. every one was laughing. then she threw all around, on the sides, in the front, upwards, and even towards the back taking everyone by surprise. the fan above made sure that everyone will have their quota of colours.

amma applying clours on dhyanji

amma was joyously singing ‘aaye he holi, bhar pichkari’ (holi has come!  water pistols are filled with colours).
i was helping amma to fill up the pichkari and handing it over to her. i never expected that she will aim straight back at my face as soon as I offered it to her! yes she did. she pointed the pichkari to my face and emptied all that water. she didnt forget to pour some into my shirt – i mean inside of it.

colour water with water pistol on dhyanji

then amma started the next song ‘vraj me isa.. much gaya shor‘…  this particilar line – ‘kanha ek, gopi anek’ (krishna is one, gopis are many). some girls standing in front of amma started dancing while singing, pointing to amma meaning that krishna/amma is one.
next line was ‘see the leela of shyam (krishna)’…
i started acting out, pointing to amma – ‘shyam ke ye” .. then to my face “leela ko dekh” (see the leela)
amma started laughing.
amma kept on singing those line for some more time.

it was superb.
after amma left the stage we collected the remaining coloured powder and went around, painting all those we crossed, amongst laughter and joyful screams till we ran out of powder.

i went back to the room. took off my shirt.  my chest was full of colours. looked at my shirt  several times and decide to archive it – as a memory of holi that my krishna played with me.
~ dhyanamrita

sit erect, close your eyes

20 feb, hyderabad, bharata yatra 2010

” now let us meditate for some time. sit erect. close your eyes.”

if our beloved amma says this what will you do? of course even if we cannot follow her instructions fully, we pretend that we are doing it.

but here in hyderabad people were different. they were clapping when she said that.
why?

because she was speaking in their local language – telugu. the joy of listening to their mother speaking in their own mother-tongue has brought about such a celebration.

“experience peace right from the head to the toes” they clapped again.

“every cell is awakening and dancing in joy” they clapped once more.

it was such a joyful experience for all those who speak telugu..

***
amma sang many new telugu bhajans which the devotees relished with their full heart. they burst into applause after each song.

opportunities to practice what is taught

12 feb 2010, talassery – bharata yatra

whenever i travel, especially with amma, i am reminded of what amma said about yatra. she says that when the mind is on the ride, we are traveling. if not, then we are not, even if the body is moving. such a person’s mind is centered in the self..

the bharata yatra of 2010 has started with the programs in talassery, one of the northern districts of kerala. amma has been coming to talassery for a long time. i still remember one of the earlier programs that happened at the sree rama temple. it might have been in late eighties. the crowd was sooooo big, the temple compound was overflowing with people who came to meet amma for the first time. at that time amma was not giving satsangs, only bhajans. bhajan would last nearly 3 hours and the darshan would start afterwards. for the morning programs there will be ‘vilakku puja.’ amma would lead the devotees in step by step of the puja to the lamp lit in front of them. it was always very nice to watch them all sitting in line and chanting the 1000 names of devi as devi herself lead the chant. one or two bhajans will be there at the conclusion of the program. that 3 hours program was also fantastic, which will take you beyond this world.

this year in talassery we were staying in a room next to amma’s. there are about 30 brahmacharis in the hall and only one bathroom on that floor.  so the toilet was busy through out. everyone was  given 3 minutes to 5 minutes to finish their cleaning activites. when the time is over the person waiting will knock at the door.  always there is a que. and the interesting thing is you see brahmacharis doing some yoga, chanting mantra, meditating, even  studying mandookya upanishad while they wait for the toilet. time is precious. as amma says time lost cannot be retrieved. money lost can be recovered. so without wasting time try to realise god.
living with amma gives more opportunities to practice what amma teaches.

now we are on the way to mangalore…

take me, i will be there

3 jan 2010, amritapuri

more than 1300 westerners were there in the ashram for celebrating christmas and the new year with amma.

the festivities are over and it is time to go back and resume work. usually, they take amma’s darshan before they leave. today, one devotee from europe came for darshan. she tried to speak in malayalam with amma. she said that she is leaving next morning and asked whether amma will be with her. with a lovely mischievous smile amma said, “if you take me, i will be there.”

i saw vaishno devi

21 sep 2009, amritapuri

yesterday there was a padapuja by a lady and her mother who is in her 80s. they did the puja with great devotion. after the puja the lady talked to me. she introduced her mother.

the old lady was planning to go to vaishno devi, the famous devi temple in jammu, at a height of 5200 feet above the sea level. you have to walk 14 km up mountains to reach this famous devi temple. recently she had a heart surgery, so she could not make it to vaishno devi.

but her daughter, who is from mumbai, told her that she was going to amma and invited her to come to amritapuri. the mother agreed. so she was here, doing padapuja with her daughter. she was meeting amma for the first time.  “i could not go to vaishno devi, but i saw vaishno devi and did puja to her”.
the old lady was in bliss.

Ananta bhava shalini

As Amma’s 35th birthday was only few days away, many devotees had started pouring into the ashram. It was 09:30 in the morning. Some children were singing bhajans in the darshan hut, the melodies reverberating in the serene atmosphere. Amma came into the darshan hut much earlier than usual, even though the bhava darshan of the previous night had ended very late. There was an innocent, child like smile on Her face. Her sari had been neatly tied around Her neck and Her hair bound in a knot on top of Her head. It was a very different Amma giving darshan now, different from Her mood during Her Devi Bhava. As Amma came into the darshan hut, She said,”Amma couldn’t remain in her room when She heard Her children sing with such devotion.”

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One by one, the devotees came up to Amma for darshan, Amma received them, each and everyone, patiently listening to their grievances, showering Her boundless Motherly love upon them all . At one stage, during darshan, as Amma listened to the children singing bhajans, She slipped into a state of meditation for a few minutes. During these moments, everything came to a standstill, and everyone looked with awe and reverence at Amma’s face.

A little later, a woman accompanied with her grown up daughter, came up to Amma with a prayer. She wanted a bridegroom for her daughter. She was praying that one of Amma’s ardent devotees should marry her daughter.

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Amma responded by saying, “An ardent devotee? Shiva, shiva! They come and ask Amma to free them from relationships. They would ask why Amma is placing them in bondages?” the woman’s daughter started crying. She didn’t want to get married at all. Amma said, “Leading a householder’s life, one becomes more austere. Only then can one become a renunciate (sannyasi). Being a householder one becomes patient and mature enough to enter sannyasa later on in life. Just being a householder is not enough; along with being a householder one should practice austerities.”

Another devotee came up to Amma with her son. She said, “O Amma, this boy is very intelligent but he doesn’t study. He refuses to chant the Lord’s name. He never listens to the advice of others and is very rude at times. Please bless him so that he will mend his ways.”

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Amma called the boy to her side and said, “Darling son, it’s OK if can’t sing the lord’s name. Words that are spoken with love and kindness, or a helping attitude, or a smile – all these constitute real prayer. Love everyone, and if you feel angry towards anyone, seek forgiveness. That is what you should do. If one these good qualities, it doesn’t matter if one doesn’t say one’s prayers.

A middle aged man approached Amma with his daughter. He prostrated at Amma’s feet. It was the first time that he and his daughter had met Amma. Without any introduction, Amma asked the father, “Is your daughter suffering from fits (epilepsy)?”

The father was dumbfounded. He stood in front of Amma with tears in his eyes. His daughter, who was holding on to Amma, started crying. Amma soothed the girl and said, “Darling daughter do not worry. Amma is with you. Everything will be alright. Amma wiped away the girl’s tears with the tip of Her own sari. Then. Amma conversed with them for some time. The girl and her father were surprised to hear Amma’s nectar like words, laden with supreme wisdom, flowing so incessantly from Her. The father couldn’t find words to express his gratitude in Amma, in whom he found his Refuge. He couldn’t find a word to say this Mother of Love incarnate. A little later, Amma gave this girl some instructions and a few packets of sacred ash.

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As a child, the girl had lost her mother. Due to the shock of that loss, she had stopped, going to school. They tried to treat her with many different medicines and taken her to many different places to find a cure. But to no avail. One day, a friend of the family had told the father about the Holy Mother. That’s how they reached this place, the place where the Universal Mother resides.

The girl said to Amma: “Amma in you, I have found my Mother. From now on it is only You I want. Please don’t leave me, Amma.”

“NAMAH SHIVAYA!”, Amma lovingly exclaimed, and there was a beautiful smile on her face. Both father and daughter were crying.

Amma continued to give darshan to all the devotees in the hut. All were fed with Her sweet love. Some were fortunate to have Amma wipe away their tears. By 12:30 PM., darshan was over and Amma came out of the hut.

The devotees had come from all over India to participate in Amma’s birthday celebrations. They were eager to serve Amma in any way they could. Amma was now busy making arrangements for their comfort. It is said that the Lord is the servant of His devotees. Amma is a living example of this.

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Amma walked to the north side of the ashram, and all the devotees followed Her. It is always like this. Wherever Amma goes, people flock to Her, like the bees following the Queen bee.

Amma went outside to the kitchen and started removing some cement blocks which were lying there. The devotees formed a line and began removing the cement blocks by passing blocks down the line from one to another. Amma Herself was handing blocks of cement to the people in the line.

Amma instructed everyone to chant the Lord’s Name, while they were working. Amma said, “Children, while you are working, you should think that each brick that you take is given by the Lord and is again passed on the Lord. You should keep this in mind while you perform your duties in the world.”Amma’s advice was the very essence of karma yoga.

Before them the devotees were not seeing a teacher giving out advice from a high seat, but rather a real mother who loves Her children so much that she cannot bear the sight of Her children hard at work without joining them to do the same.

The Divine Mother, who is so compassionate that She will bring Her children to the supreme state of God-Realization, was advising and teaching everyone about selfless service through Her own example. And everyone was happy to be doing any work in the presence of Amma.

Suddenly Amma shouted, “A frog, a frog!” and started jumping around in a joyful mood. Everyone else’s attention was on Amma. Amma plays these kind of games in order to make the devotees focus their minds on Her.

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The frog in question was sitting there, looking dejected, as if it has lost its home. Amma asked the devotees,” Children who gives these creatures their food?” And Amma began to tell a story:

One day Lord Shiva returned to Mount Kailash very late and was panting with exhaustion. Devi Parvathi asked anxiously, “O Lord, where were you all this time and why are you so late? You haven’t eaten anything.”

Lord Shiva said, “I was out there, distributing food to all the creatures. I Myself cannot eat, unless they have first been given food.”

As Amma was telling this story a cement block which was being passed suddenly fell on Her foot. “O Mother!” She cried out in pain, She sat down on the ground. Very quickly, Her foot began to swell. One brahmachari brought some turpentine oil and began messaging the injured foot.  “It is all God’s will,” said Amma. “Children, be careful while passing the bricks.”Everyone was silent for a moment.

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Amma was sitting in the hot sun. Droplets of sweat formed pearls upon her face. The diamonds in Her nose-ring were glittering. There was tranquil expression on Her countenance. The sun was shining above, bringing light to the universe. And sitting with Her devotees, was Amma, The divine Sun whose light melts away all our sense of difference. A few clouds appeared in the sky, and the sun hid behind them in embarrassment as if it compared itself to the the Divine effulgence of Amma.

Amma continued Her story:

The following day, Lord Shiva went out as usual to distribute food to all the creatures in the world. But Parvathi wanted to test Him. She caught an ant and kept it in a vessel. When Shiva returned, Parvathi asked him, “Did you give food to all the creatures?”

Lord Shiva answered, “Yes, I gave food to everyone.”

Parvathi said, “No you did not give food to all the creatures.”

Again the Lord said, “Yes, I have fed each and every being.”

To disprove Him, Parvathi took out the vessel and showed it to the Lord, saying, “Did you give food to this ant inside this vessel?”

The Lord said, “Yes.”

Parvathi was surprised at this. She opened the vessel and found the ant munching on a grain of rice. Parvathi was filled with remorse.”

In Amma’s presence, the blocks of cement were passed from one person to another with such speed, it looked as if the bricks were flying. When Amma is there, everyone more works more swiftly, at least four times faster than usual.

Some devotees arrived at this moment and were much surprised to see Amma right in front of them. They forgot about everything and, expressing their devotion, prostrated in front of Amma.

By one o’clock in the afternoon, all the blocks of cement were removed. Amma served lime juice to the working devotees. Amma, who not had any breakfast, also drank a little of the juice.

Amma asked everyone to go and have their lunch. She then walked to the bathrooms adjacent to the guest-house, and picking a broom, She started cleaning the toilets. A brahmachari had forgotten to do the cleaning that morning. He now rushed up to Amma to help Her. Amma said, “Is it not your duty to clean the toilets every day? Never again does Amma see such negligence on your part.”

With a remorseful on his face, the brahmachari took the broom from Amma’s hands and started cleaning. Amma went over to the cow-shed to check on the cows and see that they were alright. By the time Amma returned, all the devotees had eaten and were waiting to have another glimpse of Amma.

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The devotees tried their best to persuade Amma to take rest and have lunch. But she didn’t eat anything. Instead She went to carry sand to fill in the backwaters, and everyone joined Her. As Amma had done earlier, She again reminded everyone to chant their mantra as they worked. Amma said, “It is not possible to meditate for twenty four hours. But if you chant your mantra while you do your work, the work becomes selfless service, and its effect is good of the world.”

One devotee was harboring a doubt. He asked Amma, “Amma so much selfless work has been done, but the world is still the same. Why is it so?”

Amma answered, “Son a dog’s tail is always bent. Even if you try as hard as you can to straighten it, the tail remains the same. But if you keep on trying, as your hands strain, they will gain muscle strength. In the same way if you do selfless work for a prolonged period of time, your heart will expand, and you will never think of the world as evil. Thus your selfless actions will become real service to the world.”

It was almost evening. Amma started singing. And as they worked, all the devotees began to sing along with Amma. The work continued until 8 o’clock. Amma sent everyone away to have supper. She was alone now. In an exalted mood she lay on the sand, forming divine mudras with her hands, and as She lay there. She began singing devotional songs. Even from afar, one could hear the sound of Her singing.

Vegetables arrived for birthday celebrations. One devotee complained to Amma that there was no place to store the vegetables. Amma walked over to the brahmacharinis’ quarters. There She instructed the residents to move their belongings out of the room. The room was then used to store vegetables. Within a short while, the room was filled with different kinds of vegetables. Amma gave one of the brahmachari’s the responsibility of bringing all the vessels needed for the birthday feast. Another brahmachari was given the responsibility of chopping enough dry firewood for the kitchen.

By the time Amma returned to Her room it was past eleven o’clock. The rumbling of nearby ocean was like eternal sound “AUM”. It also resembles the sound of the divine Mother’s anklets. The moon, in its beckoning devotion to Amma, spread a path of glittering light across the sea.

~dhyanamrita

(translation of original article from malayalam)

i never knew kali is like this

22 mar, palakkad – bharata yatra 2009

after amma’s palakkad program, amma visited the house of a long-time devotee. the house was situated in a congested colony. we drove through a narrow gully, winding left and right. people were pouring out of their houses: many came out on their balconies, many lined up on one side of the road. There was a waist-high wall on the other side of the road and people of all ages jostled and crowded the sides.

inside the small house of this devotee, amma did a very simple puja. when amma started  singing ‘amba bhavani,’ normally amma will sing the lead and everyone else will sing the response. however, today the lead was taken over by the 3 kids – anagha lakshmi, amrita lakshmi & akshyaya lakshmi. the eldest one is just 4 years old. they were standing right behind amma. they just would not allow amma to lead the bhajan. and they were so much louder than anybody else. it was a total cacophony!! but amma was enjoying every bit of it.

after the puja, they started praying aloud. amma asked them what they were praying for.

“we pray to do better in our studies,” they explained.
“you pray for that alone?” amma asked.
“yes, thats the only thing we pray for,” the children said.

then one of them started telling amma that she had seen goddess kali in a dream.
amma asked them what color kali was.
one said she was wearing red. another said she was wearing white.
“what did you tell her?” amma inquired.
“i could not complete my prayer, because there was no time,” the little girl explained.

amma was laughing aloud.

as the discussion went on, each one was tapping amma, calling out “kali, kali,”” and vying to get her attention, and they continued to tell so many things to amma. they were so free–no inhibitions, no prejudices, all innocence and spontaneity.

at last, one of the girls touched amma and exclaimed, “i never knew kali is like this.”

everyone around including amma broke out in laughter.

i asked her, ‘how did you know this is kali?’
“my mother told me,” she said immediately and simply.
wow! what faith!
if only we had such faith in what our mother has told us.

~dhyanamrita

lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu