14 – 23 November 2000
Winter visits to San Ramon and Ann Arbor, USA
It was an early Christmas for Amma’s American devotees. The most precious gift of all – Amma’s divine presence – arrived in San Francisco for her November visit following the European Tour. The November programmes in the U.S. have the atmosphere of a large family reunion. Devotees from all over the country gathered to see Amma in both California and Michigan.
This year the crowd broke all records for a Devi Bhava in the West. Amma gave darshan to almost 3,000 people during the 14-hour stretch that she sat for the Devi puja and for Devi Bhava darshan. Profoundly grateful to have her with them again, the northern California devotees worked hard to transform the Marin Convention Center’s Exhibition Hall into a darshan temple and dining area. Inside the hall bedecked with hundreds of tiny white lights, Amma lovingly greeted her children for five days and nights, never showing any strain from having just toured Europe for almost six weeks.
The three-day retreat in California provided a very special opportunity for participants to meditate with Mother and receive her prasad dinner. The young children performed a play with scenes from Amma’s life, including a funny and realistic depiction of Devi Bhava, complete with nervous darshan line monitors and all!
As she left the last California programme, the Holy Mother emerged from the Devi Bhava temple and wistfully gestured to her children, bringing them all to her heart and carrying their love away with her.
The devotees in Ann Arbor, Michigan, were blessed to host Amma’s programmes for the second year. Last November, the tour group had wished for snow during Amma’s visit and this year their wish was granted. Amma was given warm shawls and shoes by her hosts upon her arrival. When reaching the ashram, Amma got out of the car and immediately started playing in the snow with the children! At the end of one darshan programme, someone handed Amma a snowball that she continued to hold playfully even while exiting the hall. Amma said that seeing the snow covered fields reminded her of the sandy beaches by her home. As a child she spent a lot of time walking along the beach singing to God.
Due to an unexpected itinerary change, Mother stayed in Ann Arbor for an extra day after her public programmes ended. She used this opportunity to inaugurate the Amma Center of Michigan’s temple, which the ashram residents and satsang group use for programmes throughout the year. Amma blessed the temple by performing a beautiful puja and singing bhajans by the altar. She then served dinner to everyone present and even sat to join her children for the meal. On this auspicious day, the day after the traditional American Thanksgiving holiday, devotees gave thanks for their Divine Mother who constantly finds ways to give of herself fully.