(13 Jul '03)
13 July 2003 — Amritapuri
No matter what one may say about Amma not being confined to the physical body, Her physical presence does make a difference. Anyone who has met Her will vouchsafe for that.
But absence has the virtue of making the heart grow fonder. Those who participated in the Guru Purnima celebrations at Amritapuri — in the conspicuous absence of the Guru — must have felt deep currents of longing for Amma, who is, at present, with Her blessed American children.
With Her photo on the parasol-shaded throne and Her form in their forlorn hearts, about 2,000 people gathered in the prayer hall for the day-long celebrations, which started at 5:00 a.m. with the archana. This was followed by the paduka puja (ceremonial washing of Amma’s sandals). As Swami Turiyamritananda Puri, one of Amma’s senior monastic disciples, performed this ceremony, everyone watched intently, each feeling as if he or she was personally worshipping Amma’s sacred feet. Swami Turiyamritanandaji later distributed prasad.
After breakfast, everyone re-grouped for samskriti puja. Guided by Br. Shivamrita Chaitanya, children did pada puja to their parents, a token expression of their debt of gratitude.
The highlight of the day was Amma’s phone call, at about 1: 40 p.m. The ashram residents rallied around the speaker to quench their thirst for Amma’s voice. After inquiring about Her children’s health, Amma said a few words about Guru Purnima. “Guru Purnima is not a day set aside for the Guru. The Guru does not have any special day. It is a day for the disciple. Every disciple must inquire every day if disciplehood has awakened within. For one who has awakened this disciplehood, everyday becomes Guru Purnima. In fact, Guru Purnima is meant to be celebrated every day, not just once a year.
“The Guru is striving to put out the flame of our ego and kindle the inextinguishable light of knowledge within us. The disciples, on their part, must surrender to the Guru.
“Amma prays that Her children are blessed and graced with the shakti that will awaken their disciplehood.”
Amma’s love-filled utterances inspired both joy and sorrow in Her children who are yearning for Her return.
An hour later, the sonorous chanting of the Bhagavad Gita filled the air; its luminous lines entered the hearts. This soulful ambience was sustained by the evening bhajans.
After the long day, some lingered outdoors, instead of retiring to their rooms. They were gazing at the full moon, its radiance and splendour a visible reminder of Amma, who is watching over us all, every moment, every day.