Friday, October 5, 2012

How a Christian devotee ended up in the Ashram

24th Septermber 2012 - Monday
This middle aged person, an ashram resident  in his early sixties, is a very emotional and sentimental devotee of Amma. I always see him fetching a seat right in front of Amma within a distance of about 10 feet in all her satsangs. During Amma's bhajans in the evenings too, he is one of the prominent occupants in the front rows. One cannot miss him reverentially folding hands, lifting his hands pray-fully towards Amma and shedding tears when Amma sings bhajans.

Whenever he speaks during the Q-A sessions in the beach, he would utter words of praise and prayers towards Amma (Jagadambe, Jaganmathe, Parashakthi and so on) hailing Amma as the divine mother, in an emotionally choking voice. He seemed to have a firm foot on the path of Bhakti as a means of attaining God.

When today's Q-A session in the beach revolved on the subject of saying no or yes appropriately based on discrimination, this devotee started narrating his experiences. It was a huge surprise to me when he said that he hailed from an ardent Christian family from Mangalore.

He elaborated his life history as follows:

There is quite some population of very orthodox Christians in Mangalore and he belonged to one such family. They were very strict Christians, exposed to no scripture other than Bible. They visit Church regularly. Very unfortunately, none of these families have any exposure to the tenets of Hinduism or its scriptures. Their community is so tightly woven that any deviation from the tenets of Christianity will only end up in social ostraciszation.

But it so happened in his life that he came to Amma and had a darshan. The very idea that Amma was a divine mother and Hinduism has scope for worshining God as a universal mother was instantly very appealing to him. He was able to make an emotional umbilical cord with Amma instantaneously. Then he started visiting Amma every now and then and also started reading Hindu scripture.

But his wife and son could not accept his visiting a Hindu saint. They were dead against his new found spiritual endeavors. His explanation that Amma, according to him, is none other than Jesus Christ failed to cut ice with them. They were very much worried about the likely social castigation. He was mentioning to the audience that such was the sorry state of affairs amidst Mangalore orthodox Christians that they just don't have any exposure (or willingness to accept) the concept of Mahatmas and avatara purushas. Some of his friends, through his interaction with him, came to know about Amma, were desirous of having her darshan, but they were so much afraid of social castigation that despite their desire, they were pitifully bound to the social fabric and they did not have the courage to extricate themselves.

At that point of time, he fell very seriously sick. His wife and family members refused to serve him unless he severed his emotional ties with Amma. But this devotee said a firm no to their pressure tactics. His love and prayers towards Amma grew multifold and he started putting Amma's pictures everywhere around him-- including the toilet!

His family virtually abandoned him and he somehow managed to come to Amma's Ashram and Amma gave him shelter here. His health conditions worsened. He had a heart attack. He had kidney problem. Blow after blow he received with no kith and kin to take care. It was Amma's divine grace that kept him alive through all these tribulations.

When this devotee narrated his life story with an emotionally choking voice with tears flowing down the cheeks, many people in the gathering were moved.

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