I was fortunate enough to have met Amma for the first time here in Santa Fe in the summer of 1988. The unfortunate thing was, I was not ready to surrender my ego at Her Lotus Feet. I did not see Amma again for another six years. I believe it took me six years to realize that I am not the doer. If I want a pure, beautiful life, a beautiful world, to reach the state of realization and perfection, then I need the guidance and grace of a perfect Master. I need Amma. By God’s grace, I knew that Amma could take me to that goal; that I could become a flower in the world. Like Amma has said: “It is not enough to enjoy the flower and it’s fragrance, one must become the flower.”
When many of us, like myself, first come to Amma, we are filled with ideas of whom we are, what we can do, and what we have accomplished. Our egos and minds are very invested in these titles and accomplishments, but at the same time we come to Amma with deep pains, self-criticisms, self-hatred and self-doubt. I believe that, if we have the willingness to surrender our burdens and titles to Amma, She will slowly begin to shatter the perception of the mind and ego. Eventually, one comes to see the bondage we have created by believing in them.
Amma says: “The mind is a big lie, and the world is a projection of that lie. Both are unreal. The world exists only because the mind exists. The mind is responsible for all your problems. It creates doubt and makes you suffer; it causes all your anger, hatred and jealousy; it prompts you to act indiscriminately and even to commit evil. It inevitably pushes you into a state of misery. The mind is hell.” Amma goes on to say: “The ego is a product of the mind. Therefore, the ego is also a lie. It is unreal. Your existence will become full and perfect only when you get rid of the mind and ego.”
From being around Amma closely for these last several years, I feel that I am being filled and also being emptied at the same time. Amma gives the example of fresh water being poured in a container of salt water. Soon the fresh water will dilute the salt water and the salt water will eventually become fresh clean water. In Awaken children 6 Swami says this of Amma’s purifying effects.
“Amma’s darshan is a healing process, a wonderful divine healing process. Her touch heals the wounds caused by a painful past. Her presence purifies, uplifts, and carries us toward our true Self. Amma is purity embodied. Thus all those who come in contact with her are transformed and cleansed. In some cases the purification can be seen, while at other times, it is subtle. How many of Amma’s devotees are familiar with the seemingly innocent hug that transforms lives, and with the look that causes hearts to melt. Whether you are aware of it or not, whether or not you feel worthy, this purification happens. Just as an iron piece is magnetized when it is rubbed constantly by a powerful magnet, an ordinary soul is transformed into a spiritual being through the constant contact and companionship of a mahatma like Amma.”
There are many stories I have from my travels with Amma. I was pondering about which one to share. At every corner Amma gives us the opportunity to grow and learn, I would like to share with you one of Amma’s little leelas (divine plays) that I got to play a part in.
This particular leela took place in June of 2000 while we were on Amma’s U.S. tour at the San Ramon ashram. It was a Devi Bhava night around 10 or 11pm. I was visiting with Manohari at the seva desk next to the mandapond, relaxing and enjoying the night. Suddenly, a woman came running up to the seva desk, obviously excited, and said, “One of your guys up there needs help!” She had come running down from the meditation field. Manohari assured her that she would call security and picked up her walkie talkie, but then turned to me and asked, “Why don’t you go up there and take a look at what’s going on?” I got up out of my seat, tied up my hair, and presided to make my way up to the meditation field. I was walking at a casual pace sucking on a See’s candy lollipop, a childhood favorite, YUM!
When I got to the field, it was dark; there was no moon out and I could not see anything going on. I just saw a single figure standing in the middle of the field. To my left I saw in the bushes what appeared to be a pile of clothes. I walked closer to the pile of clothes and heard a voice coming from them, “Hey, can you give me a hand?” It was Australian James asking me for help. James is one of our security guards on tour.
I walked closer to the pile of clothes as my eyes adjusted and realized that the pile was actually two men on top of each other. James was on his back with some guy on top pinning him to the ground. When I realized what was going on, I immediately began to pull this fellow off of James. The young man began to struggle. To avoid him jumping on me, I threw him to the ground face first and grabbed his right arm, pinning it behind his back in an arm lock. He still was struggling to get to his feet, but I was not about to let him get up, so I increased the grip I had on him. I was not at all angry or perturbed, but his incisive struggling began to annoy me. I was actually afraid that I might hurt him if he did not stop struggling.
After a few minutes, Atmaran, our other security guy, showed up. He leapt onto the fellow and restrained him from the other side. After this, the young man settled down obviously completely exhausted. Atmaran then turned and looked at me with a big smile on his face. I couldn’t tell if he was smiling at the fact that a woman had rescued his partner or that I had a lollipop in my mouth; maybe it was both. Through the whole ordeal, that lollipop never left my mouth. I actually finished sucking the lollipop while Atmaran and I were still holding that fellow down.
To be continued…
Author: Nirupama Orona