4 June 2002, San Ramon, CA
Today was the first day of programs at Amma’s San Ramon ashram.
Before Amma began giving satsang this evening, She asked if it would be enough if She simply answered any questions Her children might have, rather than giving a discourse as She usually does at the beginning of a program. One might have thought that Amma’s children would jump at such an opportunity. And a few did. But the majority of the crowd seemed to want a traditional satsang. Amma feigned dismay, though of course we know that She is beyond preferences.
Laughing, She said that Her children have heard many spiritual discourses, and we already have an intellectual understanding of spirituality. Thus, She warned that anything She said would be a repetition of what we have already heard. Still, the majority seemed in favour of a satsang.
Remember that most of Amma’s Western children cannot understand a word She says. Amma speaks in Her native tongue Malayalam, and, here in the United States, Swamiji translates Her words into English, a language most of us can understand perfectly. Then we can laugh at Her jokes and meditate on Her teachings. And if we have seen Amma a number of times, as many of us have, it is a message we have heard, one way or another, many times. Being Truth, how much can Amma’s message change?
But there is another part of this process, beyond the translation, beyond words. Because Amma does talk to us Herself, even though we cannot understand. And for those few minutes, in between translations, we have nothing to do but listen to the sound of Her voice, speaking in a language we cannot understand. And some of us will watch Amma’s dynamic, charming expressions and Her animated gestures as She speaks, but some of us will close our eyes and just listen. And we are like new-born infants, who do not grasp the meaning of the words our Mother speaks to us, but we know that because She is speaking to us, She loves us. And the sound of Her voice, for those of us who do not understand Malayalam, conveys only one meaning: the fact of Her love.
And so when She asks us if we don’t want to hear the same things over again, many of us protest. Because many of us have not seen Her for months or even the best part of a year. And across those long, cold months of Her absence, it was Her voice that we missed, that we forgot how to hear in our own hearts. And so it is that we say, no Mother, tell it to us again. Say anything, Amma, but let us hear your voice.