Well, Emma, there will not be many photos today as I am on Day 2 of my time here with Amma and her devotees. So many people.
My hotel room is on the Lobby floor, the first room near lobby and elevators. Oh boy! I thought to myself upon arriving Friday but also saw a good side to it. The main events were on the first and second floor and I am on the third, so I thought that would certainly be convenient since I would only have two flights of stairs to use rather than always waiting in line for the elevator.
And yesterday there were so many people, that I was happy to be able to come up to my room for a mini break away from the crowd. I usually don’t mind but this year, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with the swarm of bees buzzing and all wanting to get a taste of the sweet nectar of Amma’s embrace. Even just to see her smiling face from afar is a blessing.
I got up early (well 7:30 AM IS early for me!) and considering I had not slept well all night, no matter which side I would turn there was always a patch of pain waking me up.
I went down to the token line (people waiting in line to get a token to later receive Darshan (Amma’s embrace). I usually get acquainted with a new person when I am waiting in the long line. Yesterday I chatted with a woman from Oregon. She has been a devotee of Amma, since 2000. I am always impressed by the stories about how someone heard about Amma and how they fell in love with this divine and compassionate guru.
There were so many people that we could not sit in the main hall to see Amma during meditation but go in one of the two rooms where we saw her on a large screen. I was disappointed but at the same time, I knew she was just in the next room and felt her grace.
I came up to my room to get away from the crowd and rest a bit in my room…so happy I can run up here even if it is to get a cuppa or go to the washroom (no waiting lines here) [chuckling to myself]. But I was also surprised to see that I had walked 5km in my entire day including a brief walk to the restaurant. Wow! I guess we don’t realize all the steps we DO take in a day. According to my info on my phone, I went up to my room (2 flights of stairs) 6 times X2 to get back down.
I went down to the hall just in time as my token letters were up…talk about coincidence, eh?! I was sad that I could not kneel however, due to my injured knees but the two young men were there on the side the stage facing Amma, ready to shove that bench under my cushion [chuckles again] and there I was in the arms of this warm and giving person. She was chatting with her staff so I got to rest my head on her shoulder a good minute before she truly embraced me. I had given her my new jade and crystal mala beads to bless. I was so humbled and honoured when she draped the beads around my neck before rest on her shoulder.
Usually after Darshan, we are permitted to sit on one of the chairs on the stage to be near Amma while we process our blessed encounter with her holiness. There were so many people, I waited a few moments and people coming after me were getting seated…I left, knowing feeling that it just was not meant to be. I prefered to be seated facing her whether it is close or far, as long as I see her embracing families, couples and individuals…it is a joy seeing her give so much love to others.
As I was making my way to the exit, I could not help but stroll along Amma’s shop and look at all the different tables. I found a nice bamboo utensil set that can be clipped to a backpack. How cool is that? Great gift to give! I may pick up a few more, since they are so original. All proceeds go to Amma’s humanitarian projects.
I was pleased Karuna texted me so we could have dinner together and we walked up to a Mexican restaurant nearby. It was nice to connect since she is so busy and involved with the programme and frankly with the 25 plus years in Amma’s grace, she knows a heck of a lot of people here. She is such a giving person and so easy to talk to.
Later in the evening I met Karuna’s son, so now I felt good having also met her daughter my first morning here. I know I have told the story before, but not on this site how I came to learn about Amma.
Four years ago I was blogging and writing poetry and flash fictions inspired by prompts from various blogs/people around the world. One blogger/writer/poet at http://www.TheSeekersDungeon.comhad a weekly prompt to write in any form and the topic was always something to reflect upon. I really enjoyed these prompts giving me an opportunity to be more self aware and write about it…many times it helped me to sort things out. It was like therapy minus the 100+$ an hour! [smiles]
Another blogger friend and writer from Italy told me he was living in an ashram in India. Hmm, I found that interesting as I also had a work colleague who lived in an ashram in Toronto.
Later this blogger’s mother who lived in Seattle was convinced by her son, to start a blog at http://www.LivingLearningandLetting.wordpress. com She is a retired psychotherapist. She also started following her son’s prompts and she and I started communicating, seeing many parallels in our lives…both in the helping profession, both had a son and daughter almost the same age, both married in the 70’s and so the list went.
She mentioned Amma once and I was curious so I check on Youtube to see some videos and was so drawn to her. I could not help but weep seeing how much joy she brought to her devotees all over the world, Japan, Malaysia, India, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil, Chili…well, the list goes on.
Karuna offered to share a room with me if I wanted to save a bit of $$ on Amma’s Canadian tour in Toronto in July. I agreed…I was curious. I normally don’t like sharing a room with a friend…family and that is it but I was so surprised how easily we got along. She did her thing (which you could see how many people spoke to her and she was always there to help someone as well). And that is how I came to meet Amma.
Today I slept in late, nursing a summer cold (that may be the reason I am aching more than usual and want to be alone) but better to have that at the end of a trip than the beginning, right? Also I think a cold forces me to rest more. I had a back massage last night given by volunteer massage therapists and again, all proceeds go to Amma’s projects.
The massage therapist said, “You are Canadian aren’t you?” I wondered what gave me away, she said with a smile, “You ended your sentence with ‘eh’”. Her parents were from Montreal and she was born and raised in Calgary. Another coincidence!! I always meet people who are connected to Montreal in some way! Wow!
Okay, that’s it for now, Emma. I am taking my time to get ready for Devi Bhava. I will share a video to explain Devi Bhava so much better than I ever could. As the hours progress and the lines start to slim down sometimes not until the wee hours of the morning. The latest I have experienced Devi Bhava to start at 7pm and end at 11:00 am!
The ending is a bittersweet time as Amma looks onto her devotees slowly, silently and it feels as if she can see each and every one of us before we pass by her one last time and she throws flower petals on our heads as we rush by her.
I had another massage with a different therapist and although great that she worked on those knots (I should be sailing!) it was a different pressure and I am in more pain right now.
Right after I went for Darshan and then went up to lie down. I cannot sit longer than 20 to 30 mins and my head feels it weighs 100 lbs and my neck cannot support it as well as my shoulders…ouch! So I just went to bed. Last night I was able to sleep from 2am to 4am at which time I was startled awake by people in the next room letting the door shut on its own and that vibrated to my room plus lots of laughter and chatting…so it took a good 2 hours before I could sleep again. I stay in bed until noon and wrote most of this post then got ready for Devi Bahva. I knew there would be a long line up but I really wanted to be in the main hall and see Amma and not see her on a screen. As luck had it, I entered the main hall and they started to place me at the back and then a volunteer usher asked me if I was alone…yep, so they made a spot about 10 rows from the front in a corner. Perfect! I was so fortunate!! …lovely blessings like that surely are appreciated.
After Darshan I went back to my room and finished packing, tried to sleep and I did doze off a bit then went back down to the main hall. I sat for about 45 minutes and my neck and back could not take it. I knew then, I would not be able to see Amma bid her farewells to her devotees.
Left shortly after for the airport and here I am finishing this last paragraph. I have a flight at noon to Vancouver (one hour flight) and then 4 hour layover and 6 hour flight to Montreal arriving well after midnight. It will be good to be home…I miss Bette my Best Feline Friend (best feline friend)
Mother scans the crowd
Children in the night
Like an evening primrose
Hearts open out
Mother scans the crowd
Embracing each living thing
With self-less love
Children in the night
Gather one last time
Bidding Her farewell
© Tournesol ‘18/06/04
Daily Moments – evening primrose (troibun)