Tuesday, 28 April, 2009

i never knew kali is like this

09apr22-dyn-494522 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.

09apr22-dyn-4977after 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.


Friday, 10 April, 2009

special cashew & kabadi with amma

8 march 2009, enroute tiruvalla to amritapuri

it was special but not a surprise.
on the way back from tiruvalla programme, amma visited an old house. it has not been painted for years, not modified for the last 30 years at least. situated on the side of the main road,  this is one of the houses amma used to visit in the early days.
the mother of the house, who is in her sixties, welcomed amma and did padapuja. she poured milk, curd, ghee.. chanting her mantra. and in excitement she forgot to wash amma's legs at the end. since i was assisting her, i had to pour water and insist her to wash them.

in their puja room, pictures of early days with amma, amma in krishna bhava--were all there.

this lady of the house used to bring for amma boiled kappa, chembu, kachil, all root items,  whenever she came to the ashram. now here at the house she has prepared the same for amma. we also had our own healthy portions. it was really tasty... especially after the whole night program and empty stomachs even at 12 noon.

kakkanad house

after talking to the family amma came out to the courtyard. amma started explaining

"this is the ground where i used play kabadi*1 with this mole (daughter)." that square-sized court yard seemed to rejoice once again in the memories...

there was a cashew tree standing in the courtyard. it had full of ripe mangos. the nut is attached outside to the mango. the mango is juicy and good to eat when ripe. seeing the ripe mango, my first thought was to give this one to amma. but how can i reach. lo... suddenly one mango just falls next to me. i tried to blow off the sand, took inside to wash.
amma with kakkanad cashew
i gave that to amma. amma asked for a knife and started to cut into pieces.

seeing  the ripe ones on the top, my childhood vasanas rose up. i picked up a stone and flung it upward into the topmost branches. i got one. took another stone, and another one fell. seeing that, swamiji joined. he took a stick and tossed it up in the air. it went miles away from the mango. my next two or 3 throws didn't bring any result.  this time we were together in the throw, aiming at the same mango, and two mangoes fell at the same time. swamiji claimed he did it. i accepted it. anyway the mangoes were for amma. and amma had got a knife and started cutting the mangoes into pieces...

the amusement didn't last long. the onlookers, people from the road came in to see amma.


1. (kabadi is played as follows: two teams occupy opposite halves of a field and take turns sending a "raider" into the other half, in order to win points by tapping or wrestling members of the opposing team; the raider then tries to return to his own half, holding his breath during the whole raid.)

kuchela of sriranga pattinam

23 mar, bharata yatra 2009, sriranga pattinam, karnataka

en route to bangalore from mysore, we stopped at sriranga-pattinam for lunch. it was sangama of kaveri river. its a beautiful place; the river flowing around the tip of the land, big banyan trees shading the banks, serene atmosphere of the temple, chanting of the mantras by people doing the rituals for their ancestors...


amma came and sat on the steps leading down to the river. she sat on the very uppermost step. people rushed to get a seat near amma as always. sometimes i see that the old adage is true after all: love is blind. love for amma makes our eyes blind to the surroundings.  in their rush to be near amma, some of the devotees accompanying the tour knocked down the small table of an old man who was selling puja items there. 3, 4 small bottles of sweets, nuts, a few coconuts, betel leaf, arecanut.. all that you can fit in to a big-shopper bag.
this was on the right side. on the left there was a coconut seller. the tour group nearly sat down on top of his stand in their eagerness to be near to amma.
amma was there for over an hour. we had lunch, storytelling and bhajan before we left. as she was leaving, amma asked that 100 rs be given to the seller of puja items, saying that his business was blocked for nearly 2 hours by the group's presence.  but the coconut man?? our people have bought a lot of coconuts, so he didn't need a bonus.

lingappa, the old man in his seventies, wearing half a dothi and a torn banyan, and eking out barely a living selling puja items on the banks of the river here, was amazed by the amount of money he was given without selling anything at all.

lingappa came forward to amma with a coconut, betel leaf and an arecanut and presented them to amma. you do that when you see a mahatma, or any one great. and when you are giving some thing to the greatest giver on this earth. it will come back to you in manyfold.


receiving his gifts, amma immediately said to give another 500 rs to him, and gave darshan to him before she got up from her seat.
after amma got into the camper and drove away, the devotees accompanying amma on the tour made their way back to the buses. having witnessed the scene between amma and lingappa unfold, they also felt they should give something. many gave the old man 50 or 100 rs as they passed.

i am sure he cannot forget this beautiful day and blessing he  received.

to me, he was reflecting the culture of india. even if you don't have anything, you still give like the kuchela of bhagavata. that was the wealth india had. seeing today's scene unfold, my heart was saying victory to india and her culture who taught this attitude of giving.

~ dhyanamrita

Thursday, 19 March, 2009

unforgettable celebration

17 mar, chavakkad - bharata yatra 2009its always a surprise with amma. on the way to mananthavadi, amma stopped at the chavakkad amrita vidyalayam for lunch. the rest of the caravan was yet to come. imagine what happened there?
the school was in session.  it was the teachers who came out to amma first. they came out of the class rooms to amma's car.
amma asked them to go back to the classes. she went to a shady are in the school playground and sat there. the children were very much excited to see amma. they started coming out of the classroom to the veranda on all 3 floors, waving to amma. amma told them in a kind of sign language that she will see them later. children are always assertive, creative... they started chanting 'om amriteswaryai namah' with love. you could feel it. amma was restless, because of their 'pull'. she said 'call them ' and you know what happened?
they started coming in line from each class. amma gave them each a sweet and  made them sit around her. some children started to attract her attention by singing bhajans. around 2000 kids came, from 1st standard to 12th standard.
children with amma

it was a time of jubilant celebration for all. at the end, amma started to sing 'devi devi devi jaganmohini'. the children responded by clapping. amma wanted to see all of them, but she could not do so from the chair. so she stood up on the  chair, continuing to lead "samsara sagaram taranam cheyyuvan neraya margam kattane devi.

it was an unforgettable day for all the children and the teachers for sure. and for us too, because it was the first time amma ever visited any school during  class hours.
~ dhyanamrita

Tuesday, 17 March, 2009

Bodhamrita with the brahmacharis

Br. Bodhamrita Chaitanya, who had been fighting cancer for the past two years, left the body this morning. 3.55 am, 17 th Mar 2009.

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu