Friday, December 28, 2012

Jesus Christ and Amma - a western devotee's view

24th December 2912 -- Monday

In today's evening Satsang at beach, Amma's question was "What is the real message behind Christmas Celebrations?"

A western devotee spoke very eloquently comparing Jesus Christ and Amma, which was well appreciated by the audience. The gist of the Westerm lady's speach is as below:

Firstly, Jesus Christ was an incarnation of God, like Amma. He was whole, he was purest. Only when God comes with a human body, we can grasp God. That is the purpose of Avatar.

Jesus Christ advised : "Love God first and then love other Gods". By 'other Gods'  he meant our worldly desires. Amma too emphasizes love of God above any worldly pursuits.

Jesus Christ loved everybody, irrespective of caste, color and creed. He did not differentiate between the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, man and woman, the saint or a sinner. In the same way, Amma accepts every one and showers her love equally on all."

Jesus said 'love your neighbor as you love yourself'."The significance of celebrating Christmas is to emphasise cordial relationship with every one around us. It can be achieved best by taking from the world what is our rightful share and then giving back to the world whatever best we could, for the good and well-being of all. This simple give and take can be best understood by observing how our own internal organs function for the well being of our body.

The heart does not say, "I will take blood only for myself and shall not pump it around the body. The kidney does not say, 'Why should I keep on cleaning the blood that gets dirtied for no fault of me'. The lungs don't say 'I will just breathe for my sake only; I will not do it for the sake of other organs'. All these organs need blood circulation for their survival and they take it from the body. And they give back what they could do best by doing their respective functions for the well being of the body.

In the same way, we should strive to live in this world and help the society for its well being.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Amma's Chritmas Eve Message

24thDecember 2012 - Monday

In the evening Satsang at the beach on the Christmas eve, Amma posed this question to her western children who had gathered in large numbers to celebrate Christmas with Amma : "What is the real message behind Chrismas Celebrations?"

Before seeking answers, Amma elaborated some of her own view points as briefed below:

"Christmas day is a day of joy and we share our love with our near and dear. We send Christmas greeting cards to our beloved ones. Sending greetings to those we love is normal and easy. Amma would say that we must send Christmas Greeting Cards to even those whom we hate. Jesus Christ was full of forgiveness towards those who slammed him on to the cross. He said 'My lord, forgive them because they don't know what they are doing'. Christ's crucifixion really signifies going beyond body consciousness and awakening in divine consciousness.

By forgiving those whom we hate and by sending a greeting like this, we are indeed healing our own inner wounds. So, Christmas day could indeed be the day of loving, forgiving and also seeking forgiveness from those whom we hated. Amma feels this is the purpose of celebrating Christmas.

When we nurture anger and hatred inside us, we really die every day. Hatred pollutes our inner self and creates negative vibes in us. By getting rid of hatred, we actually take a rebirth.

The source of anger and hatred is actually our egotism. The "I" inside us is the culprit. If you strike out the "I" (with a horizontal line), what you get is the picture of cross. Jesus' crucifixion and the symbol of cross should remind us to lose our limited bodily consciousness associated with our ego and to awaken at divine consciousness.

The real test of graduation!

21st December 2012, Friday

When Amma spoke during today's satsang, she was talking about lack of self-discipline among students. What is the true value of education, if it is not going to refine one's character?  The purpose of reading Shastras (scriptures), in reality, is not for any intellectual gain, but to put what you learned into practice.

To explain this, Amma narrated this story.

Once upon a time, in a Gurukula, several brahmacharis learned Shastras (Scriptures) for several years. They did well in their examinations and they were ready to get their "pass certificates". At that point of time, their guru said to them, "You will receive your certificates from a Senior Monk who is in the other Ashram. You have to walk a few miles from here to reach that Gurukulam. Better you start now". The Guru gave them directions on how to reach the other Gurukulam.

The brahmacharis started walking together chitchatting joyfully towards the other Ashram.  They had to walk across a forest along a narrow pathway. It was evening and the Sun was gradually approaching the western horizon. At one stretch along the path, there were lots of thorns found strewn right on the walk way. When the brahmacharis noticed the thorns, they started looking around for an alternative path to take a detour.  As they started to proceed on the alternative path, one among them did not join them.

He opted to pick the thorns from the path so as to clear it safe. When the others noticed it , they asked him "Hey! What are you doing? We have already found the alternative path; come on! Let's move ahead fast; it is already getting late; we should reach our destination before dark".

But the brahmachari refused to go with them. He said "No! I am not coming without removing these thorns. You may all proceed but I will come after finishing this. You are right. It is gradually getting dark. At least we could see thorns when we reached here and  we were not hurt. But think of the people who may come this way after some time when it would be dark. They may not notice these thorns and sure will get hurt. I can't allow that to happen." He proceed to remove the thorns. The other brahmacharis opted to leave him alone and proceed on their way.

At that point of time, a person hiding behind the trees came out. He was none other than the senior monk who was supposed to give them pass certificates. He came close to the brahmachari and hugged him. He said "I am so glad that you are the only one who has really passed the test of scriptures. You have truly grasped the essence of the scriptural knowledge!"

Amma concluded the story by saying "Those who remove the thorns in the path of others are indeed showering flower petals in their own path towards divinity"

Dirty Toilets, Dirty practices and dirty bodies!

21th December 2012 - Friday

After all, the world didn't end today as predicted by doom-Sayers!

"Were you afraid? How will you actually face the situation if such an end is really going to come?" was the question posed by Amma in the beach Satsang today.

One westerner made a a very lively talk that amused every one and was very well appreciated by both the gathering and Amma (by her facial gestures). Though his reply was not to do with the world-ending worries, it was more about his personal worries, dejection and loss of motivation in his work due to several happenings in his professional (research) activities.

In that week, his parents came to take darshan of Amma for the first time and it brought good cheers to him followed by lots of negative thoughts and interactions that had its origin in his childhood. He got quite some relief after getting an excellent darshan from Amma. To quell his worrisome thoughts and negative thinking, he opted to do a seva and the work allotted to him was cleaning of Ashram hostel boys' toilets! Those were the dirtiest toilet he had ever come across in his life! He became too angry at his heart with the college boys who had kept those toilets at such a horrific state! That was the last straw! After cleaning the toilets for 2-3 hours, he cried out of self-pity! But, surprisingly, after finishing the seva, he found a remarkable sense of peace and tranquility coming into him!
Dirtiest toilet?

After the Malayalam translation was finished Amma took the mike and spoke. The gist of her talk was as below:


" I am sorry, my son, that you had to do cleaning of toilets that have been kept so dirty by college students; though they are all well educated, such self-help culture has not taken roots in them.  Cleanliness as culture is unfortunately not strongly imbibed in the people of  India as in the West. In India the tradition has unfortunately been that boys are too pampered a lot here  and cleaning was never part of their chores.Cleaning work is invariably done by womenfolk. In many homes, even washing of men's dress and cleaning of food plates of men are done by women.

"Right in my younger days, Amma has seen how men were treated as though superior to women and how their egos were pampered.

"In those days, women were prohibited from showing broom stick to men. If a woman was sweeping the floors and a man entered the scene, the woman was supposed to hide the broomstick, else it would be deemed insulting men.
Any men coming there?!

"If a brother, be even a younger one, grew taller than a girl, the girl was expected to stand up when the brother enters the room where the girl was seated. If any male guests were coming to a house, the girls were expected to remain unseen to them. It was infra-dig for men to wash their plates or clothes. It was the duty of female members in the family to wash the food plates and dresses of men. The sense of superiority that males enjoyed was more or less fostered and nurtured mostly by the elderly womenfolk in the families.Perhaps since males were the sole breadwinners and protectors of the families, women extended so much extra respect for males that naturally ended up bloating up their egos.

"In Ashram hostels (where toilets are attached to rooms and to be cleaned by the occupants, unlike hostels at the Engineering college side where the toilets are separate that cleaned regularly by  by paid workers), the boys seem to think that it is not their duty to clean their toilets; perhaps they think, as they pay for their room, they can keep the rooms as they like.

"In the early days of the Ashram when several brahmacharis came to live in the Ashram in the huts,  the brahmacharis too kept their rooms unclean. When western Sadakas started coming to the Ashram and staying in the Ashram, they were disturbed by the lack of cleanliness in the rooms of bramhacharies. They came and complained to Amma about it.

"How can Amma allow my children to be berated like this? So, Amma attempted to "protect" her children by explaining rather sheepishly to the westerners something like "You see, my boys live so much in tune with nature and they love all creatures alike; they just cannot think of driving away the lizards, cockroaches, and snakes that have occupied their huts as their own!" (All round laughter). After regular coaxing and teaching, the brahmacharis learned to keep their rooms and ashram clean.

"What to do? We have to really learn this culture.

Stinking s~~~
"But, on another angle, Sadakas should try to come out of the disturbances in mind in relation to cleanliness and dirtiness. After all, the very human body itself is an epitome of dirt and filth. Poke into any orifice in the human body, be it ear, nose, mouth, skin pores, urethra or anus -- what comes out of it is foul. It is this dirty body that we are all so fond of!

Once a man walking through a pathway, noticed human excreta on the way; he closed his nose in disgust and turned away to walk away. The excreta called out to the man "Hey! Why are you closing your nose and going away?" The man replied "Oh! Your smell is disgusting". The excreta replied "It's all because of you people. I was originally a very sweet smelling cake and fruit hardly a day ago. It is only after a human being like you consumed me, I ended up like this! Actually I should feel disgusted to see you!"

(All round laughter).


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hoarding things in excess - Beware!



11 December 2012 – Tuesday

A letter given to Amma by a resident today, was not really a question to seek her answer but a piece of information that was expected to evoke some response from Amma.

The gist of the letter was:

“Amma,

While we recently undertook cleaning the room of a (family) resident of the Ashram (who was away from the ashram at the time of cleaning), we found dozens of buckets, bugs, plates, glasses, soaps, footwear, soap powder packets, brooms and countless number of vessels. Leaving behind a couple of them for the owner’s use, we took those excess ones and distributed to those who were in need.

When the resident returned to Ashram and came to know about what happened, he/she was very angry on what we had done and took us to task.

We request Amma’s guidance on this matter”

The gist of Amma’s reply was as below:

“Ashram is a place for simple living in search of a higher goal. It is not right to accumulate and hoard things in excess of what is basically needed. People should cultivate the sense of sacrifice while living the ashram life.

“Ashramites should know how much of sacrifice was made at the early beginnings of the Ashram.  Amma’s first round of  brahmacharis who became sanyasins later were mostly from families of comfortable financial status. They dedicated themselves to sadhana and service those days when everything from food, clothing and shelter were in shortage in the Ashram.

“Those brahmacharis were never used to the habit of washing their own clothes in homes – either their mothers or servants used to do the washing for them.  Amma taught them everything – how to apply soap to their clothes, how to wash the clothes in the washing stone and so on. Being carefree youngsters, they were lacking in shraddha in many things – they would waste lots of soap in washing their clothes; they would use one bottle of Tinopal to apply blue and brighten one single dhoti.  After washing, they would leave the soap there and somebody would swindle the soaps. They would hang their clothes dry in the open, but forget to take them back in the evening. This way, they lost their dhotis too.

“They would carelessly leave their knickers (underwears) too in the open and Amma would lift them with a stick and go around asking “Whose knicker is this?”

“Amma had to be extremely strict with them and teach them the basics of thrift.  Since Amma would scold them if they lost their dhotis, smarter ones would coolly take away another brahmachari’s dhoti and claim it as his own!  Sometimes, they did this even for their knickers! To avoid this mischief, Amma started stitching their initials in their respective clothes.
Copyright: betterphotography.in

“Amma, in order to force discipline on them, brought ration for everything – soaps, dhotis etc.  A new soap would be issued only after a prescribed days of normal usage was over. Thus, brahmacharis learnt not only thrift, but also shraddha, simple living and the capacity to put up with shortages.

“Even now, Amma is living in a small room only and that room too is shared with Lakshmi, Siddharth and the two dogs Thumban and Bhakti. The one annex room that Amma has got now was built by her devotees when she was away and Amma refused to use that room because she considered it a luxury thrust upon her. Only after lots of pleading by devotees, Amma consented to use that room. Even Amma’s room is given to visitors when Amma is on tour.

“Children, remember that this is an ashram existing to serve the world. Without sacrifice, we cannot expect to gain anything spiritually”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Amma’s insight into man-woman relationship (Part 2)

On a Tuesday Satsang at Ashram - some time in August/ September 2012

(Continued from Part:1)

While talking about how men were treated as though superior to women and how their egos were pampered, Amma shared many of her early days' scenario in her household and around.
Amma - when young

In those days, women were prohibited from showing broom stick to men. If a woman was sweeping the floors and a man entered the scene, the woman was supposed to hide the broomstick else it would be deemed insulting men.

If a brother, be even a younger one, grew taller than a girl, the girl was expected to stand when the brother enters the room where the girl was seated. If any male guests were coming to a house, the girls were expected to remain unseen to them. It was infra-dig for men to wash their plates or clothes. It was the duty of female members in the family to wash the food plates and dresses of men. The sense of superiority that males enjoyed was more or less fostered and nurtured mostly by the elderly womenfolk in the families.Perhaps since males were the sole breadwinners and protectors of the families, women extended so much extra respect for males that naturally ended up bloating up their egos.

In those days, males could not tolerate or digest verbal onslaught of women. Amma had heard some males saying, "Oh! That loud-mouthed woman scolded me so much! Should I ever live in this world after hearing those words from these lowly women? Oh what a shame; better to commit suicide!"

Amma's mother Dhamayanthiamma was always protective about her husband Sugunananthan. She always displayed a sense of respect towards him and she would never accept any complaint about him if made by her children. While she herself might have some personal grouse against him, but would never allow children talking ill of their father; she would almost blindly side with her husband in such situations.There was always a thread of love with a strong sense of duty and responsibility to the husband that women displayed those days.
(Late Sri Sugunanandan - Amma's father)

To explain the type of attachment her mother had with her father, Amma narrated this amusing incident:

Hardly a few years back there was a knock at Amma's room at one night around 9 PM. When the door was opened, Dhamayanthi Amma was standing there with a cloth bag tucked under her arm. She came into Amma's room saying, "I am fed up with your father; I can't live with him any more; I have packed my essential dress and I have come here to stay with you; I will not go back to him". Amma listened to it with a sense of amusement and made arrangements for Dhamayanthi Amma to stay in her room along with Swamini Amma (Soumya).

Dhamayanthi Amma (Amma's mother)
At around 3:00 AM early next morning, Amma heard noise in the bathroom as someone was taking bath. It was Dhamayanthi Amma. After her bath, Dhamayanthi Amma said "OK. I am going back".

Amma asked her "Why? You said you have left your husband and are going to stay with me?"

"Who will make tea for the old man in the morning? He is so much used to taking that tea early" so saying, Dhamayanthiamma left while Amma watched with utter amusement. That was the type of love that existed in the older generation."

The Importance of adequate age difference between husband and wife

Amma continued on the subject with a keen sense of 'worldly wisdom' that has practical relevance, not understood by the present day generation.

"In olden days, it was the prevailing practice that the husband was about 8 to 10 years older than the wife. It had some real logic. When the husband is much elder, the woman naturally tends to show respect for his age and maturity. Unlike a person of the same age, husbands too were able to deal with their wives in a more matured mindset when women show their idiosyncrasies.  Biologically too, the sexual needs of a woman are keener and much more sensitive, which could be satisfied better by a more matured man. That way, the age difference is advantageous."

When Amma spoke thus on a very subtle and delicate subject, it is quite natural that many in the gathering had their dose of wonder! Perhaps grasping this, Amma said:

"When I was talking like this on this very sensitive subject in another gathering in the past, someone asked me, "Amma! You were a Brahmacharini and how on earth do you know all these subtle nuances of man-woman relationship? Even many householders like us do not know of the importance of what you said now!"

"Do you know how I escaped from this question? I said to her:  "You see, a car driver may not know what is wrong in the car when a car suddenly breaks down on the way. But the engineer who designed the car would surely know the correct cause of a breakdown!"


This reply of Amma brought a spontaneous round of applause in the gathering. Only very rarely Amma speaks openly of her all-knowing-power (Sarvagnyathwam) born out of her divinity. Those who were present in this day's satsang caught that rare moment and it naturally triggered the instant applause!

If you have not read Part:1, you can read it HERE

Related reading: What is the ideal age gap between a husband and wife?


Killing rats - is it a sin?

11th December 2012 - Tuesday

Is is a sin to kill rats?

This question was posed by someone in today's Satsang.

The gist of Amma's reply was as follows:

"Amma does not want to say whether it is a sin or not a sin. When we breathe, there are millions of germs that get killed. When we walk, we tramp upon so many micro living beings and kill them.

"Rats pose lots of difficulties to human existence. They spread diseases, gobble up food produce and thus are a menace to human race.  Amma has heard that in some ancient civilization  cats were worshiped as Gods because cats could put an end to the manace of rats that caused so much trouble to that civilization.

"It is difficult to say black and white whether killing of rats is sinful. Amma does not want to say either. She would rather leave the matter to be decided by the questioner himself/ herself."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Is it necessary to do regular, annual ceremonial offerings (Shrardha karma) to the deceased parents?



11th December 2012 - Tuesday - Amma's Satsang 

"Is it necessary to do regular, annual ceremonial offerings (Shrardha karma) to  the deceased parents?"

The above question was posed by a resident.

The gist of Amma’s reply was as below:

"Our parents gave birth to us and did lots of sacrifice to bring us up.  It is the duty of the children to take care of them at their old age. Our duty to them extends even beyond their death;  The sacrificial and ceremonial food we offer to them and our fond remembrance of them on their death anniversaries do reach up to them in a subtle way, irrespective of whether they are still roaming around as spirits or whether they have taken a new birth.   Like a properly addressed letter reaching the addressee through the postal delivery system or as a phone call getting connected to the person whose number is dialed correctly or like an e-mail reaching a person of the correct ID, the sacrificial offerings, properly identified with that person and addressed do get delivered to the spirits in the subtle world and they help the deceased to get positive benefits in their after-life.

"However, what is far more important is to take loving care of the parents while they are alive. Once there was a little boy, who was very fond of his grandfather. His grandfather used to play with him, tell him stories and take loving care of him and naturally the boy too was full of love for his grandfather.  But the father of the boy had no love or reverence towards his father;  he would ignore the old man and would not care about him at all.

"One day, the boy came to know that the birth day of the principal of the school was coming on the next day; the same day was the birth day of his grandfather too. When the boy mentioned about the birthday of his principal, the father suggested to him to present the person with a rose and he readily came forward to buy and give it to the son. The son asked, “Father, tomorrow is the birthday of the grandpa too! I love him so much; can you get me one more rose for him? If I present it to him, he will feel so happy”

"“No. Not necessary. Your grandfather does not need such things” was the curt reply by the father.

"After some days, the grandfather passed away. The little boy was grief stricken.  When he was sitting beside the dead body of his grandfather, his father brought a huge rose flower wreath  to be placed over the body of his father. The boy suddenly got up, stopped his father from placing the wreath and asked him:  “When I wanted to buy just a rose to present to him when he was alive, you did not allow me. For what purpose are you now attempting to place such a large rose wreath? Can you make grandpa happy with this now?”
It is obvious that what we do to our parents when they are alive is far more important than what we do after their death.

"However, as for as house holders are concerned, it is necessary that they do the ceremonial rites to their deceased parents.

"But in case of spiritual aspirants, who leave behind their worldly life and dedicate their life in quest of God, there is no need for them to do the rites meant to be done for deceased parents.  Spiritual aspirants acquire quite some punya through their sadhana and selfless service and a portion of that punya definitely goes to the benefit of their parents.  So, they need not worry about doing prescribed ceremonial rites for their deceased parents."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting rid of our likes and dislikes - only after self-realization?



10 December 2012 (Monday)

The topic of discussion given by Amma in the last 2 beach Satsangs is this:  “Why do we tend to develop likes and dislikes with other people? Why do we tend to find fault with others? While all spiritual masters advice us to love every one and accept people as they are, why are we unable to do that? What should we do to come out of our likes and dislikes with people?”  Amma wanted Ashramites to share their opinions and  experiences.

As usual, there were several westerners who came out with their views and suggestions. Most of them were on predictable pattern.

But one westerner gave this reply and asked a counter question with Amma: “Amma! We all know that our likes and dislikes are essentially due to our egos. To get rid of our ego, we have to get self-realization and only when we get self-realization, we will be in a position to love one and all equally without any reservations. It is quite a long drawn process and may be Sanyasins and Brahmacharis will be able to attain that state after quite some effort. But how about ordinary worldly people like us? Is there any quick mode of transport ( “a Concorde plane”) for us to reach such a state of self-realization?”

The gist of Amma’s reply was as follows:

“It is true that one can reach the ultimate state of loving all only after self-realization. But a lot depends on our mental attitude. It does not mean that we can neglect our shortcomings and need not take any efforts to eradicate our ego-based likes and dislikes. If one says ‘I will take bath in the sea after all the waves subside’, he is never going to have a sea-bath.

“We are all essentially Atman; it is our true nature. But our ego is a product that we created.  Our ego is like a bubble in the sea that thinks it is different from the sea. 

“Satsang (company with the holy)  is very important for us to develop the right mental attitude and to get awareness about what is right and what is wrong.  We should shun bad company.  Take the example of Kaikeyi. She was in possession of such a good heart that she rewarded a servant maid with a diamond necklace when the maid brought the news that Rama was going to be crowned as the prince.  But what happened to the same Kaikeyi when Mandara stated giving her evil counsel? Kaikeyi’s heart totally turned negative towards Rama and she went to the extent of forcing her husband King Dasaratha to send Rama on exile to forest for 14 years. 

“Qualities like love and compassion must be cultivated by effort. Once there was this young girl of a rich landlord, who was always found playing with the physically handicapped little daughter of the servant maid. 

 "The landlord did not like to see his daughter playing with a lowly servant maid’s child. He scolded her several times on this issue, but to no avail. In order to wean her away from that habit, he brought to home a nice child from the family of another rich landlord befitting his status. His daughter exchanged pleasantries with the new girl just for while, but she went back to playing with the handicapped child again.

“This infuriated the landlord and he asked his daughter why she was bent upon doing it. The daughter replied:  ‘Father! This nice, rich girl whom you brought to play with me can get any number of friends to play with her. But what about this handicapped little girl? No one except me is willing to play with her; she finds so much of joy when I spend time with her; that’s why I play with her always’. “It is developing such a mental attitude that one can gradually get over with likes and dislikes on others.  

“Yes. It is true that getting self-realization is a very long drawn process. It requires lots of patience and effort. One cannot afford to slack efforts and abort one’s goal midway. Once two spiritual aspirants were doing ‘Sadhana’ under a banyan tree for quite some years. The Celestial Sage Narada happened to pass by one day. As Narada had his daily contacts with the Lord Narayana, the aspirants were eager to know from God when they would attain God-realization. They appealed to Narada to inquire about it when he would meet Lord Narayana the next time. Narada agreed.

“A few days later, Narada came by. One of the aspirants eagerly asked whether Narada spoke to Lord Narayana and got the answer.  Narada said that he did and what Narayana told him was that this person would require as many births as the number of leaves found in the Banyan tree to attain his self-realization. The person who heard this was devastated. He felt highly infuriated. “I have been doing severe sadhana for so many years and still Narayana says I will require so many births? Oh! Then its all a waste of time. It’s all a mere humbug then; I would rather go back to the world and enjoy it instead of wasting my time here” . He left the place fretting and fuming.

“Now the other aspirant posed the same question and Narada gave the same reply. Upon hearing it, the second aspirant was full of joy and started dancing in ecstasy! “O! Is it true that Lord Narayana indeed said that I would get my salvation after these many births, for sure? Oh! I am really lucky then! I am indeed blessed!” So saying, he continued to jump around and dance.

“At that very moment, the second aspirant got his self-realization instantly.  Such was the reward he got for his mental attitude and patience.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Amma’s drive against “reservations”!



7th December 2012 and 11th December 2012
Everybody wants her closest proximity!

“Keep ‘em guessing!” is one of the most often played sports of Mahatmas like Amma.  Amma’s predictable schedule involves essentially some unpredictability. As long as it does not rain or there are no symptoms of a rainfall, Amma usually conducts her Monday and Friday evening Satsangs at the beach.

Most of brahmacharinis are adept at reserving sitting places as close to Amma as possible; they won’t take chances. So, they would keep spare ‘dhayan mats’ and spread them at closest distance to Ammas’ seat – one at Kali Temple, one at Main hall and one at the beach. 

Amma’s plan would always be to upset their plans! On 7th December, when things were all looking normal for Amma to appear at the Beach and as many front-seaters found themselves comfortably positioned,   

Amma came to main hall instead of beach, that too much earlier than her normal time! As the word spread, all those who were waiting at the beach  packed off and came running to the main hall, only to see that all closest spaces are occupied by so many others!

Amma was visibly very happy!  “Ah! I made you all run around quite a bit, no?” Amma was further commenting “One day, I was walking towards the beach for the Satsang; you know, what happened? Many brahmacharinis started running, even ignoring me and over-taking me to rush to the beach to fetch a front seat there!”

On umpteen occasions, Amma had criticized the front-seaters for audaciously reserving the front rows for themselves (there are a few who are so adamant not to settle for any other space at the back rows. So much is their magnetic attraction for Amma).   Amma insists that while attraction to the Satguru’s physical  body is desirable for a disciple at early stages, the disciple must however grow above it to higher levels; Guru is not restricted to the physical body alone and his/her Atman is all pervasive.  Further, there is excessive possessiveness in this habit of trying to be closest to Amma always. You are denying opportunity for other devotees  to enjoy the bliss of a closer physical proximity to Amma.

Amma has spoken harsh about it in the past; Amma has made fun of such individuals right in front of the gathering in the past; Amma has concocted Krishna-Gopika stories about the “mat reservation” matters in the past!  Amma recently engaged a Brahmacharini to remove any reservation mats that are kept in advance but the owner not found seated there.

But all these are of no avail.  No criticism, coaxing or advice was found to be too effective to eradicate the ‘reservation policy’ of  (predominantly) brahmacharinis. ( To be fair, a few brahmacharis and house-holder devotees too are there in this addictive habit).  So, Amma’s treatment to them nowadays is make them run around and lose their coveted seating positions!

On 11th December 2012 (Tuesday),Amma’s Tuesday Satsang and Prasad distribution was as usual expected to be at Kali Temple.  It was customary to chant Lalitha Sahasranamam before Amma’s arrival. Amma mostly arrives at around 11:15 AM on such days.

And today, Amma decided to come early and that too, to the Main Hall. As per Amma's instructions, the preprations for shifting the venue to main hall began – that obviously made several people sitting at Kali temple restless!

The moment the news spread, a few inmates (including a senior brahmachari and several westerners) stopped the Sahasranama chanting, packed their things and started running to Main hall to fetch their seats, as usual, as close to Amma’s dais as possible! However, the majority rest  was continuing with Shasranamam here at Kali Temple, but with their minds there at main hall! Once the chanting was over, all of them started rushing to the hall; Amma arrived there early.

Amma said subsequently in the hall: “It is customary that once an auspicious chanting of Sthotra is begun, it shall not be left in the middle.  Even while reading Bhagavadam, there are stages of reading that need to be completed before ending a session; you cannot stop a story at a stage when an inauspicious event is being narrated; you have to close the reading till an auspicious event comes in the story line. Some of you people leave behind all such good habits and run just to fetch a seat closer to Amma! Where is your shraddha?  Even before I started from my room, I told Lakshmi,  ‘See, I am now going to main hall;  these children will now stop chanting of the Sahasranamam and come running to the hall’; it is precisely what happened!”

What to do Amma? It is you who spread your all enchanting net of Maya and we invariably get caught into it!

We can only sing: “Matru vatsalyatthode Jagadambe rakshikkane….!