4 October 2000, Colombo
En route to Finland, the first stop before the European portion of Mother’s winter tour was a layover in Colombo, Sri Lanka. That’s where the snakes had darshan!
The members of the tour group had gathered at the beach and were waiting for Amma to come to meditate with Her, when suddenly a man with a huge boa constrictor casually slung around his neck shows up.
Of course, the travellers gathered close to watch while he stretched the snake out, stroked it, and offered it to various people to hold (only a few were ready for that experience!). “Will Mother come before he’s gone?”
Yes, there She came, walking from the hotel. She approached the group on the beach, and people parted so that She stood face-to-face with the boa. Not a moment’s hesitation: She held out Her hands, and welcomed the snake into her embrace with no less enthusiasm than She displays towards any of Her other children. She let it slide into a comfortable position over Her shoulders.
Casually it slithered the front portion of its body along Her outstretched arm. Someone standing in that direction stepped back rather more quickly than usual. Next the snake owner opened a basket on the sand, and called forth a small cobra. This snake raised its hood in response. Mother gazed at it lovingly, then slowly started walking towards the seashore.
As Amma left the snakes, there was a look of compassion on Her face. Perhaps it was only my imagination, but I thought She must be thinking, “Freedom! All my children love freedom! And these live in baskets!” I remembered some birds brought for Mother’s darshan a few months ago, and how She held them on Her wrist, let them hop onto Her head, kissed them and let them peck at Her lips and even Her teeth! Then, too, everyone was fascinated with Mother’s play with the animals, but here also Her compassion came forth. She said, “People normally keep pets because they have a liking for them. They love to possess it. But they do not think about the animal’s suffering while it lives in a cage. They too want freedom! Someone on the spiritual path should look inside for love.” She said that life in a cage (which cannot be unlike life in a basket) is sad, because it is without freedom. Maybe She was thinking of how we too are captive to our senses, to our likes and dislikes, to anger, greed, jealousy… To be free we should look within, dive deep into ourselves.
And so another unplanned event with Mother became a chance for reflecting on Her teachings. She played with the snakes, as She had done with the birds, but that soft gaze of compassion, evident as She turned away from the snakes reminded us that no part of creation is beyond Her notice, Her care, Her understanding.