Blessings & Celebrations in Albuquerque
25 June 2009—Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
The fourth stop on Amma’s 2009 Summer US Tour was Albuquerque, New Mexico. Amma held programs in the city for five days, including a three-day retreat.
On the second night, Amma was welcomed by Senator Linda Lopez, a member of the Senate of New Mexico, as well as two prominent area doctors: Dr. Cheryl Willman, the director and chief executive officer of the University of New Mexico Cancer Research & Treatment Center, and Dr. Vasant Lad, founder of the Ayurvedic Institute of Albuquerque.
Senator Lopez, who has represented the 11th District of New Mexico since 1997, said to Amma, “Welcome to New Mexico. You bring with you love and hope for our families and mainly for our children and our community of New Mexico.”
Dr. Willman praised the charitable medical programs run by Amma’s ashram. “I am so honored to have Amma here because through her great works she has opened many hospitals for children and cancer patients throughout the world that not only bring the best medicine from the West, but the best heart and soul and spirit for that healing power.”
A surprise guest on the first night of the retreat was renowned sarod maestro, Padma Vibhushan Amjad Ali Khan, who teaches at the University of New Mexico. Amjad Ali Khan came seeking Amma’s darshan and blessings, presenting her with his latest CD, Ancient Sounds.
“Somehow in India I could not have the opportunity to have the darshan of Amma,” he said. “But I have been hearing good things, beautiful things about Amma. How she is helping and healing people, and sharing love, and giving the message of peace and harmony and compassion. … All my students are also here.”
On the second day of the retreat, Amjad Ali Khan treated everyone to an hour-long recital as Amma gave darshan. “I was so pleasantly surprised to see the involvement of Amma into music,” he said before playing. “She herself was singing. I did not expect that. And she is so much involved in music and healing and blessing the whole world. I have also come here for the blessings.”
Amjad played several traditional ragas and original compositions.
“Our family, we feel connected with every soul, every religion, every song of the world. And in our country, in India, we say svar hi isvar hai—‘The sound is God.’ And every melody, every raga, has a soul. Har raga me ek atma hai. So it is a great privileged and honor to be here in the presence of revered Amma.”
That same day in the evening, there were more traditional music performances, including West Africa, Native American and a whirling dervish.
The most heart-capturing “performance” of them all came from Amma herself—who on two occasions concluded darshan with ecstatic bhajans—”Khol Darvaza,” “Dao Dao Dao” and “Meri Jhopadi”—which had the New Mexico devotees dancing and singing with all their hearts despite the late hour.