My previous post was on how often we worry about unknowns, something beyond our control. Little do we realize that our paths have already been defined, and what's meant to happen will happen. Some things are just meant to be. No matter what, if it's destined to happen, it will! We just need to have implicit trust in the Maker. An incident that occurred over the past two days helped me realize this for the umpteenth time.
Amma, or simply Mother, is known to millions across the world as Amritamayi Ma, the Hugging Saint, a spiritual guide, a humanitarian, a guru. Some consider Her to be Goddess Shakti Herself incarnate. She comes across as a beacon of light for many, spreading hope and the message of peace through Her selfless love. As I started writing this, I realized that there is no definite answer to whom Amma really is, at least to me. Sure, she is my guru, guiding me in my every action. As a child, Amma was God for me. I still remember my childhood days, when my parents would instruct me to pray- mole, ambaati thozhanam! And every time I closed my eyes, Amma's splendid form flashed before me. As the days passed, I still thought of Her as God, but by then my equation with God had changed. There were traces of skepticism, a bout of 'school girl atheism', if you will. Those traces completely vanished in the days just before exams, and every spare moment I got was spent in the pooja room, furiously reading the Sai Satcharita and chanting Amma's 108 names. Then, even this changed. Now in college, I sometimes hardly get time to pray. Sure, I have enough time to go on facebook, blog and spend endless hours just worrying about everything (known and unknown), despite my so called busy schedule, but I find it difficult to spend a few minutes in prayer! But by this time, I have begun to consider God and therefore Amma to be a friend, and whenever worry bogs me down I simply try to pray. And my prayer often consists of conversations with Amma for I do know that She is listening, even if I am not physically present with Her. However, to state that Amma is God or a guru for me would be an understatement. These days, I try to see Her in all that I do, and try to remember Her in every passing moment. Suffice to say, I consider Her to be my All. This Sanskrit prayer describes it best:
Twameva mata cha pita twameva
Twameva bandhu sakha twameva
Twameva vidhya dravinam twameva
Twameva sarvam amriteswari ma!
(You are my mother, my father,
My kith and kin, my friend.
You are my knowledge and my wealth.
You are everything to me, Amriteswari Ma!)
So you can imagine how delighted I was when Amma visited Singapore a couple of days ago. On Wednesday, after my lessons, I ran back to my room, showered, changed into a kurta and jeans, and rushed to the Marina Bay Expo Centre. It was nearly 7 in the evening and there was a serpentine queue to meet Amma for just a few seconds. Darshan is indeed a divine experience and I didn't mind the long wait. I have been fortunate enough to get darshan nearly every year, and as usual, this year was wonderful, and within a blink of an eye, it was over! Each time, I think about how it would be if only I could spend a few more minutes in Amma's physical presence. As I slowly made my way back to my world of excel sheets, projects, exams and deadlines, I met S Uncle from Amma's Singapore centre and he asked me why I hadn't gone for the Sunday prayer sessions for the past few weeks. Uhh, I stammered, uncle, exams, projects, blah blah. Sad excuse, I know. Half of the time, I end up sleeping late, so I wake up late and by the time I start on some real work, it's already noon! If only I could make use of that time to go attend the satsang! Anyway, uncle asked me whether I would be able to volunteer for the next day, which would be the final day of Amma's visit, and hence would have the maximum number of people. I said enthusiastically 'Yes, of course, uncle!' but there were doubts in my mind. Before those dark clouds of doubt could take over, I looked at smiling Amma, whose face shines with the splendour of a thousand suns, and I just asked Her to guide me. And so, I went back to my room at the university.
The next day was busy, and the only thing that inspired me was the thought of a second darshan later. But towards the end of the day, I was upset about a midterm and was feeling particularly grumpy. When Amma called me to ask if I would be going for darshan, I was very rude to her. The fact that she and Appa were enjoying their Easter break in Oman didn't make things any better. Anyway, I put down the phone, and looked at my Amma doll, a little doll, made in the form of the Universal Mother and told Her, 'You are insistent on making things difficult for me, alle? You know what, I'm just not going to come for darshan today. As it is, You are supposed to know everything anyway!'. A few minutes later, I burst into tears, because I was overcome with worry, and decided to go for darshan, especially since I had promised S uncle that I would do some seva (volunteering/service.)
I went to the centre and was unsurprised to find it packed with thousands of people! I had already registered at the volunteer's desk and soon was assigned to help with Amma's magazine subscriptions. I had always thought seva would be an easy task, but my goodness! It was indeed a humbling experience. I did get many blows to my ego, but I tried to let go and surrender to Amma. After nearly four hours, someone at the magazine desk told me that he had put down my name for handing prasad over to Amma. Ever since I had begun going for darshan, I had always thought how lucky those sitting near Her were- they were after all able to touch Her, soak in the divine energy and simply be in Her presence. And now, I was blessed enough to get that chance! Blessed indeed. Those were the most precious three minutes of my life. I just thought back to how I had (nearly) missed going for darshan that day. Mysterious are Her ways indeed!
Some things are simply meant to be. Just like how this post is simply meant to be my 100th. Just like how this 100th should be posted on Easter Sunday. Just like how Amma gave me another chance to learn that day. Amma, for me at least, is the Puppeteer behind the puppet show known as life. She pulls the strings, and makes the puppet do what it is supposed to do at the right time. Make me, Amma, an instrument of Your Will, today and always!
'Mole, ambaati thozhanam!' means 'Daughter, you must pray to God!' and Ambaati is a form of endearment for God.
Darshan literally means 'sight'. In this context, it means meeting Amma, which in turn means a hug from Her :)
Satsang literally means 'good company'. In this context, it refers to prayer sessions and meditation, since these activities are indeed good company for spiritual development.
I have come across a number of situations when I talk about Amma, and people ask me whom I am referring to- my own amma, or Amma, the guru. So here Amma refers to my own mother, while Amma refers to the Universal Mother.