(20 Oct '10)
12th – 14th October 2010, Milano, Italy
The devotees of Italy welcomed Amma to Milano by expressing their heartfelt gratitude with their almost constant loving and cheerful applause. Each time Amma entered or left the hall, sang a bhajan, gave satsang, etc…the whole hall erupted in enthusiastic applause.
Amma’s programs were held over three days in a large ice skating rink in the neighborhood of Sesto San Giovanni. Although a weekday, the crowds kept pouring in and Darshan went late into the night. Amma’s arrival was covered extensively by both local and national media.
Renowned Theatre Director, Actor and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature Dario Fo and his equally renowned wife, the actress Franca Rame, garlanded and welcomed Amma during one of the evening programs.
Ms Rame said in her speech: “I want to introduce you a woman who, since her childhood, is taking care of any human being, which is lacking food, shelter, dignity and respect. The source of Amma’s humanitarian activities is a love that includes anyone, a love that includes the whole world.”
Beppe Convertini, a famous TV actor and Demetrio Morabito, the vice mayor of Sesto San Giovanni also attended the programs and garlanded Amma.
During the second day, Amma was spending time talking to some students from various campuses of Amrita University. Amrita University students had come on a prestigious India4EU exchange program to various schools in Italy including Politecnico di Torino, University of Trento, University of Bologna and Politecnico di Milano. Amma spoke to the students and the faculty talking about cleanliness and research. Amma expressed her wish that India too should become cleanliness-aware one day and that people should respect Mother Nature. Amma spoke of how people follow social courtesy in western countries like Switzerland where even roads are clean and people feel it is their duty to keep their surroundings clean and tidy. Amma mentioned that although she did not see any country or any region as separate but when she sees India and compares the facilities in US, Switzerland and in other places she wants such facilities also for countries like India. Amma went on to say that she has started a “clean-up” project and that she is trying to bring in the awareness starting with the school children. She talked about the local cleanup operations in villages nearby the ashram and at Sasthamkotta. Amma mentioned she started at Sastamkotta since drinking water came from that region and surface cleanliness would ensure safe water. She said standards of Indian education is still good but institute-level research in several colleges and Universities is yet to catch up with some of the western counterparts. Amma said she wanted her children to go in depth in terms of research. Amma mentioned about disaster-relief studies and that she would like to see alternate energy solutions to modern day power problems. The students then requested Amma if they could take a photo with her. All this happened while Darshan was going on. Amma would talk to the devotees in her arms and even asking how they felt and other delicate details besides all the buzz. As the photographer came to take the picture of Amma with students, Amma lifted her hands in a gesture as if to say “my children!”. She even asked the directors of international affairs and a faculty member who is travelling with her to go and talk to the Italian coordinator to sort out any issues related to the students being in Italy.
Evening bhajans rocked the Italian hall making many dance with joy. Every bhajan was followed by claps of gratitude and happiness. When Amma sang a bhajan in Italian, the hall went silent and after there was a thunder of claps. Amma’s Mother Nature English bhajan touched many who even sang along. Darshan started later and went on until early 3 am the following day.
The last day also turned out to be a full house session with the whole floor filled with visitors. Amma’s Darshan finished around 9 am the following day. Many eyes watered longing for the sweetness of her company and Darshan as Amma’s car drove out of the hall. The car reached the airport and a group of devotees had followed Amma to see her off at the airport. Seeing Amma, some airline staff and ground crew came to get her Darshan and as she went to the security check, Amma longingly looked at all gathered until the escalator went further down out of sight.