26 September 2005 — Amritapuri
From all the parts of the world, they came to celebrate Amma’s birthday—from Europe, North and South America, Japan, Australia, the Middle East, and of course from India itself…. We had a short chat with a couple from Peru, a Malayali living in Dubai, a lady from Poland, two young girls from Germany, a devotee from India and two people from Japan…
Here is what they had to say:
Cesar Ricardo Sarmiento Mendoza, 53, & Rita Cecilia Vergara Ponciano, 43 (Peru)
Is this the first time you’ve come to Amritapuri?
Cesar: Yes! We arrived yesterday! We are a married couple and have a daughter and two grandchildren!
How and when did you hear about Amma?
Cesar: Last year. Some friends in Peru told us about her.
Are you here for Amma’s Birthday?
Rita: Yes, we are staying in Amritapuri for six days.
What is your impression after reaching here?
Cesar: This place is immense. The crowds are impressive! I can also strongly feel the divine grace.
Did you already meet Amma?
Rita: Yes! We had our first darshan yesterday!
How was it?
Cesar: What an extraordinary force! I felt clearly a pulse of expansive energy from Amma’s heart. When she hugged me, She said in my ear, special divine words. It was a unique life experience. I felt her energy enter me.
What touches you the most about Amma?
Rita: She is a pure manifestation of the Divine. What a wonderful experience Amma’s darshan was! I could feel the pure love coming from her heart and filling me!
Jayaram, 53 (Indian living in Dubai)
How long have you known Amma?
I heard about her 14 years ago and met her for the first time 12 years ago.
When did you first come to Amritapuri?
It was in 1994. And this is third time that I have had the good fortune to attend in her birthday celebrations.
What is your impression when you see these big crowds?
By seeing this and coming from the world, I can sense the transformation that Amma makes within each one. When in her proximity, the love within each one overcomes the hatred.
What would you like to offer to Amma on this occasion?
Whatever I could offer materially is anyway already hers. What I would like to offer is my mind. I would like to put my soul in her hands!
Vasuda, 41 (Poland)
For how long have you known Amma?
I met her for the first time in 1997.
When did you come here for the first time?
In 1998, but it is the first time that I am here for Amma’s birthday.
As a person from Poland, is there any particular service that you are doing at the Ashram?
I work in the Information Centre, and in addition to the Polish language I know some Russian and some Czech…. so when people come from those countries, I can speak to them and help them.
What is your feeling, witnessing all the preparations for Amma’s birthday?
It is overwhelming! The crowds are enormous! I’m happy that so many people come to participate in the event. It was also very beautiful in the morning to listen to the archanas.
What will you do tomorrow?
Like everyone, I will attend the padapuja and the ceremonies. I will do my normal daily seva and do some extra seva that is needed as well.
What is your feeling regarding this extra seva?
It’s great to serve all these people. Many could be new or feel lost. I’m very happy if I can help in any possible way! I’m also so impressed by this whole organisation. It is done so well!
What would you like to offer to Amma on her birthday?
My pure heart! But… she has to help me purify it first.
Anything else you want to add?
I want to thank Amma for bringing me here and offering me this wonderful chance to live in her ashram and in her presence.
Sneha, 14, and Valsala, 12 (Germany)
Is this the first birthday of Amma’s that you have attended?
No, we were here in 1998, when we were seven and five!
What do you remember from that year?
Sneha: I remember the big crowds and the padapuja! I also remember that the birthday programs were held in this hall, but the hall was smaller then.
Valsala: I remember the children I used to play with. I remember going for darshan with them in the very beginning. I also remember being stuck in the crowd, not seeing my mother and crying until she came!
Why did you come here?
Valsala: I like it. It feels like home.
Sneha: I want to live here for a while. Valsala, our parents and I are here for a few months. I want to see Amma a lot!
Why do you want to see Amma?
Valsala: She is like my mother! She gives love to everyone and everyone feels her love! She hugs us and cares for us.
Sneha: Amma is like my mother! Everybody likes his or her mother, no? Amma is so special!
What would be your gift for Amma on her birthday?
Valsala: I started preparing it. I am stitching a big heart with a rainbow. I’ll put Krishna there too.
Is there anything else you would like to offer to Amma?
Valsala: Anything! My heart, love…
A. Sushil Kumar, 52 (India)
When did you meet Amma for the first time?
In 2000, and it changed my life. After that I asked Amma if I could leave my job and come work in her institutions. Last year, it finally happened. I resigned and joined Amrita University in Ettimadai. I am the Dean of the School of Business.
Have you attended Amma’s birthday before?
Yes, I have attended it each year since 2000.
What is your impression when seeing such a big crowd?
Well, previously, I had seen that only in Disney Land ! Now it is common to see it around Amma.
But there are big crowds in India usually.
Not this big! And anyway this crowd has a unique quality in that it is serene. Usually when you see such a crowd, you have fear. But this crowd doesn’t bring fear. Even in the night, it is safe for women and children.
What do you feel like offering to Amma for her birthday?
I have a strong desire to put all the knowledge and qualifications that life has offered me at Amma’s feet!
Hiromi Yamaguchi, 31 (Japan)
Is it the first time you’ve come to the Ashram?
Yes, we are a group of six Japanese people coming here for the first time and staying for five days.
Why are you here?
I am here to see Amma in India. I have seen her for the last five years in Tokyo when she visits Japan.
What are your impressions after reaching here?
I feel light. Free from social duties that pressurize everyone in Japan.
What are your feelings upon reaching the ashram?
I see a good mixture of Indian and people from around the world. Spiritually, it seems open and welcoming to all kinds of people. I am also touched by the huge number of devotees and their devotion.
What is your gift to Amma on her birthday?
That my heart purely and sincerely joins her prayers for world peace.
Toshiaki Tabata, 19 (Japan)
You are for the first time here. Why have you come?
I want to practice Amma’s teachings in her own birthplace.
Have you seen Amma in Tokyo?
Yes, last May. It was the first time.
What are your impressions upon reaching here?
I am surprised by the crowds coming to meet Amma. In Japan you would never see anything like this.
Are you a student?
Yes, I am studying to become a social worker.
So what touches you more, Amma’s social work or her spiritual energy?
To do social work properly, it is very important to have a clear mind!
Would you like to come back and do social work here?
Yes, I am joining this the house-building project [Amrita Kuteeram] that is organized by the Ashram’s centre in Japan.
What would you like to offer to Amma on her birthday?
I want to offer my ego, so that she cleans my heart
Anything else you want to say?
Unfortunately, in Japan religious practices are not well perceived. I hope that Amma’s grace will make people more spiritual there.