Being in the arms of Amma, a realized master, is one of the most amazing experiences of a lifetime.
Many stories are told about spontaneous healings, spiritual visions, and mystical experiences. And there are people also who do not have such experiences. Nevertheless, the almost universal experience is of an immense love that pervades the heart–a familiar sensation, a deep emotion. Or it may be a small seed planted in the heart, a seed that will sprout at the right moment in the course of one’s life. There are as many different kinds of experiences that result from that first contact with a mahatma as there are people. The nature of one’s experience depends on many factors: the level of one’s spiritual growth, one’s attitudes, one’s openness, one’s capacity. What will be your experience? Amma says that if you bring her a spoon, she will fill a spoon; if you bring her an ocean, she will fill an ocean.
It is not just amazing to receive one’s own darshan, but to observe Amma give darshan to others, one after another, forgetting herself, and smiling the entire time, is miraculous. She can sit for hours on end without paying the slightest attention to her own body, focused only on giving, on all levels. Amma has said, “Until the day this body is unable to do it, Amma will continue to give darshan to her children.” Watching her is so touching, so profound. We can learn many lessons just by observing her example of compassion as she shares her love and alleviates the suffering of humankind.
Amma will be surrounded by thousands of people in an atmosphere of reverence and devotion. There will be lines coming to her from both sides for darshan, people behind her preparing the array of fruits, candies and sacred ash that she gives as prasad and passing them forward, others simply sitting close to her, some meditating, some watching her in fascination. Others will be organizing the flowers, gifts and garlands offered to her, or assisting with the darshan itself. All these activities are going on as one approaches Amma. To benefit the most from this experience, it is important to be present and aware with every step: meditating, observing her, and chanting one’s mantra, immersed in the holy atmosphere that emanates from her.
I remember my first darshan in Amritapuri. Everything was so special. I did not have a vision or mystical experience. I was overwhelmed by her holiness. I found myself recognizing something strangely familiar in her. This was the first of many darshans I have since had from her.
On many occasions I have been lucky enough to spend a long time in her arms while she engages with other devotees. One time Amma started laughing boisterously as she held me close. What an amazing experience it was to feel myself enveloped in her divine laughter!
Another time as I approached Amma in the queue, I felt that I was in a dream. She appeared to be a still white light, beautiful, and at the center of everything. I began to see everyone else as in a dance around her: people assisting, talking to her, approaching, coming and going; everything else dynamic, she alone unmoving, the heart of a living organism. This was a profound vision for me. It is not what we think we can do for her that matters but what she allows us to do, to be near her, and to benefit from her holiness.
One of the most incredible experiences I have ever had was during an Amrita Yoga retreat, when we went as a group for darshan. I had prepared a question for her that was extremely important to me, an issue of much pain and sorrow. Brahmacharini Shobhana, one of the Amrita Yoga teachers, read my question to her. Amma looked into my eyes and smiled, lovingly pinching one of my cheeks and feeding me a chocolate. Then came the answer. I was stunned! I could not stop exclaiming, “She said yes, she said yes!” Sitting next to Amma, I could not stop crying for about twenty minutes. It felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off my back. I felt so light! From that moment my journey on the spiritual path has accelerated. Ever since, I have felt extremely grateful to Amma.
I remember the day Amma gave me my personal mantra and spiritual name. I will always treasure those moments which have served to deepen my relationship with her. The only thing I can truly say about Amma is that I recognize her as my guru. I cannot explain this feeling, both familiar and strange, with words. It is beyond this lifetime. There is no place where I feel more at home than Amritapuri. I am in a dream surrounded by beauty: the green of the coconut palms, the waves of the ocean, the eagles above circling, the silence of the backwaters, and a magic that permeates the place, purifies my soul and draws me in, awakening my spirituality. Within and without, Amma changes every one of us once we make that contact. She kindles our inner light.
I feel that Amma is always guiding me, no matter what I do. Sometimes I feel good about my thoughts and actions, sometimes not so good. But I can always feel her smile, her universal motherly love, accepting me and in all circumstances guiding me through life’s challenges. Amma has been the deep transformation of my soul.
May all welcome her love with open arms.
Author: Silvia Hidalgo Daya