Wednesday, August 29, 2007

With Amma moved into

Om Namah Sivaya,

This Blog has now been moved permanently from here. All of Amma blogs are now integrated into this one single site — ‘’ From now onwards, new postings will appear here.

In, the main page shows the 10 latest blog postings. You can also view latest posts in each category (With Amma, Ashram Diary, Amrita News, Amrita Darshan).

We welcome your ongoing contributions, comments and support.

Thank you!

See you there...

Namah Sivayah

Friday, August 03, 2007

Before the flower shower

Rio Devi Bhava

11 p.m. There are 11 weddings scheduled. “it’s overwhelming” is what some people in the bookstore had said yesterday, and I might suggest that 11 weddings is in the same category. The lines of people at the bookstore tables are several people deep

12:15 The photographer was just talking to me about some native medicine men that came and presented some herbs for Amma in darshan this afternoon. She tasted one that is good for women’s pain, abdominal pain in the vital body and energetic body. Another is used to purify the aura. These herbs grow only their locality. They came back this evening for mantras. Some are bare chested, they all have painted faces and colorful feather decorations - headdress and/or arm bands and/or long earrings down to the abdomen. I just checked the mantra line, and counted well over 100 people waiting for mantra. One mantra instruction group is seated in front of me, there is a line into another room full of mantra instruction groups. The huge mantra lines in Chile may be surpassed. Mother is giving out mantras at a good pace, but I am guessing it will be an hour or so at the end of darshan to give mantras to all of those that will be in line if the backlog maintains.

1:30 a.m. the mantra line – it has grown, considerably. The bookstore crowds are starting to thin out – no longer several deep. There are a few people sacked out on the floor.

4:00 a.m. Some local groups have been playing – very nice, getting the audience into the songs, clapping and swaying. A mixture of guitar, harmonium, latino percussion things, with excellent singers. I recognize the simple Gopi Gopala and Jai Ambe bhajans that we sing, plus there are a lot in local language that use Amma’s name.

The bookstore is still going strong. The items that caught my eye in the snack area were a fresh cut up fruit salad; a plate with humous, salad, bread and cheese; the large egg-shaped roll baked with cheese inside; individual pizzas; yoghurt. (They were out of the little quiches) A huge improvement in quality and availability (it is after 4 a.m., and getting fresh fruit and salad is a boon)

5:45 Big Swami is starting the Names.

6;15 the shoppers at the bookstore have finally slowed down to a trickle. The energy in the hall has maintained a high intensity the whole night. Mother has not seemed to rush the darshans. The wedding couples are now in their pretty outfits, starting to assemble by the side of the stage, perhaps a little prematurely. One couple has a fresh cashew fruit and nut in the bowl of fruit offering, along with mango, banana, apples and grapes. Another includes pineapple.

6:45 the Names end, Mahishasura Mardini starts. It seemed that the energy level picked up even further during the last 50 or so Names.

7:00 Mahishasura ends, darshan looks like it is about to end, but still over 200 in the mantra line plus probably call the staff for darshan, plus the 11 weddings.

The mantra giving is a double line, as She gives one on one side, the next in the other line is positioned, etc. Knowledgeable people (Shantamitra and Ramakrishna Swami), with the slips of paper with the mantras, are on both sides of Her, listening, and handing the slip. The person is then escorted for explanation.

The staff intermingled with the end of the darshan line – those staff members not going back to their homes in India. The India residents say that they don’t get darshan in India because they get it on tour, and on tour they don’t get it because they get it in India. The separation anxiety/angst/sadness runs high among those going back to California. I am just an idiot with a grin going up for darshan, enjoying the moment. The moment of the quiet miracle of Her darshan.

Just before 8: The wedding participants (flock, or is it bevy, or whatever they are called) brighten up this corner of the room with their glowing faces and colorful silk saris and punjabis. Some were dancing to one of the lively bhajans. One beautiful blue-green clad couple nuzzles.

The mantra-ized people are flowing into the area just created for them near our table, borrowing pens and scraps of paper

The weddings start a little after 8:30, to very happy bhajans in the background, a joyful atmosphere.

You all, my dear brothers and sisters, have been here with me during this glorious tour and its finale in Rio. I hope that you have gained from this small effort to bring you some of the impressions and energy of the tour. I write this paragraph as Big Swami sings ‘Mata Rani’, the top of the hit parade this summer. Everybody (except me at the moment) is clapping, between 50 and 100 people are dancing/bouncing in a group, cheering as the last verse progresses. Feel the happy energy as you read this, and the joy that Mother wants for all of us.

I will sign off now, before the flower shower.

2 Aug 2007, Rio, Brazil

Sweetness in Toronto

I got in line for darshan near the end of the first night of Amma's programs in Toronto. As I was coming off the chairs, a devotee came up to Amma with a pan of something covered in foil. Since she was one of the last people to get darshan that night, people were clustered around Amma's chair and on the stage behind Her by that point - and I'm pretty sure more people hurried over when the following took place.

The pan was unwrapped and discovered to contain a lovely batch of blueberry crumble. Amma took a tiny piece, smaller than a pea, and Geetha went to take the pan away.
Whereupon Amma reached in and scooped out a rather larger amount with two fingers and popped it in Her mouth. The crowd exclaimed its delight.
Again, Geetha went to take the pan away.
But no. Gleefully, Amma stuck Her whole hand into the pan and grabbed a great big handful, like a little kid, and crammed most of it into Her mouth. Everyone was laughing and going "aaaah!!" in delight. After that, the remaining blueberry crumble, all over Her hand, was distributed bit by bit as prasad, and then Geetha took a cloth to wipe Her hand clean.

Rajeswari continues the story:

i was fortunate enough to be on the sidelines during pranada's darshan. after she had moved out of the crush of people around Amma, Amma continued to speak on the topic with Geetha translating into english. the exchange between them was so moving and sweet. to watch them felt like drinking milk and honey that had been poured over thousands of diamonds.

Amma said that She has no particular likes and dislikes. when a devotee brings Her something to eat, She eats it to make the devotees happy. sometimes the children have seen Amma cooking a particular dish in a video. they think that Amma likes this food and then they learn how to make it and bring it for Amma to eat. many devotees will bring Amma the same thing. but Amma laughed. She said She neither likes nor dislikes the items.

Amma said that in the old days, She used to cook for the children. now Amma is very busy and She doesn't get the time, but She decided to make something for the children.

as Geetha translated these words, her face shone with such grace. especially, "Amma decided to make something for the children." it was the words "the children" that were imbued with particular sweetness. there was divine love emanating from Amma in these words and pure adoration and devotion glowing from Geetha as she translated for the crowd but looked at Amma.

meanwhile, bits of the blueberry crumble were passed from hand to hand for all to share.

Pranada adds: On a semi-related note, Amma's sari for Devi Bhava in Toronto, three nights later, was a dazzling mixture of red and green and gold.

Jai Ma!

Pranada and Rajeswari, Toronto

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes – Kitchen Volunteers of Amma's 2007 North American Tour

We come from all over the globe: US, Canada, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, Finland, Japan, Brazil, Vietnam and elsewhere. We travelled by bus, car, van, camper, plane, or train. We chopped vegetables, cooked the meals, baked cakes and cookies, made chai, and washed dishes. There were more than 100 of us. We were joined by hundreds of others from the local cities, some who were just meeting Amma for the first time, others who have known Her for years. Everyone helped – whether it was few moments, or a few hours, or the entire program. We were, and are, brought together by Amma's boundless love and message of selfless service. And we have a great time!

Here are some photos of a few of the volunteers who work behind the scenes to help prepare the delicious meals and snacks served during Amma's programs.

Adam (from US) unloads one of the trucks that contains the kitchen supplies

There are over 30 pallets which have to be unloaded and unwrapped. At the end of each program, we have to box everything up again, re-stack the pallets, and load up the trucks.

Benjamin (left - Germany), and Jay Ram (right - Spain) set up one of the various tables throughout the hall. This one will be the snack shop which sells freshly baked goods, chai, and other snacks.

Triptta (from US), who has been running the kitchen for about 10 years, ponders the next meal.

Triptta (US) and Akshay (Germany) check out the menu.

Sumati (US), one of our fearless veggie prep supervisors, carrying a load of freshly washed carrots.

The other Veggie Prep leaders (Tom - US, and Prana - Austria). They make sure everything is chopped just right for the cooks.

Jagadish from Canada spinning the lettuce.

The veggie choppers......

More Choppers.....

Anand (Spain) and Niramayan (Brazil)....

Sulma and Deva Priya (both from US) plan the next meal.

Krishna (Germany) and Niramayan (Brazil) cooking dinner.

Mixing the salad.

The bakers (Sri Pati - US, Karnaki - US, and Apoorva - Canada)
with chocolate frosting on their noses.

Oh no! We're short about 20 lbs of potatoes! Triptta and Amartya (US) in the kitchen.

The serving supervisors (Malathy, Apurva, Ahalya - all from US) take a well deserved break...

Having fun with the oranges.
(who hasn't done this with their orange rinds?)

Jitendra (Germany) slices the carrots.

Divya (US) studying the recipe for one of the salad dressings.

Avinash (Vietnam) washing dishes.

Taking a nap between programs in San Ramon.
Jonathan (Canada - left), Vivek (Japan - middle), and Jayendra (Germany - right).

Shankar, one of the dishwashers (US) has a quick snooze behind the hall after the NY program.
(He always sleeps like that.)

Amba (US) - Kitchen Seva Coordinator - loading luggage on top of one of the vans that carried some of the volunteers between cities.

Getting ready for the drive to Toronto.

In New Mexico, a reporter wrote a wonderful story about the volunteers in the Kitchen. Click here to read the article...

Sri Pati
June - July 2007, US Tour

Devi Bhava in Rio

Mother is giving Devibhava darshan at this moment when I write this. It is 11 PM and the hall is full. People have been very devoted today.
They applauded a lot for the video about Amma's charity which they saw before Amma came.

Mother has orange colored sari with golden broidery.
She looks very beautiful in it, so beautiful! That is all I can say at this moment.

At Amma's Feet

Rio, Brazil, 2 August 2007.