(28 Aug '04)
28 August 2004, Amritapuri
Several thousand devotees came to Amritapuri for the traditional Onam festival. Amma sang and danced, gave darshan and served prasad lunch to more than 7000 people.
For ten days preceding the festival, students of Amrita Institutions who reside at the ashram made large flower mandalas at the base of the steps to Amma’s room. This morning, a mandala depicting the Amritavarsham50 logo was created—depicting Amma embracing the globe–next to a baskets of apples and bananas representing the harvest and a pot full of coins, representing prosperity.
A little after nine in the morning, Amma came down from Her room and blessed the mandala. After receiving a number of flower garlands, Amma made Her way to the auditorium, smiling brightly and holding out Her hands to for all to touch.
In Her satsang, Amma spoke of Onam as a fond remembrance of the days when human beings lived happily together, following the path of dharma. “Normally, in the rest of the year, human beings are always emitting the poison of hatred, anger and jealousy in the world. The Onam festival instills a sense of love, compassion and brotherhood and reduces the effect of the negative poison to a great extent. The story of King Mahabali conveys the importance of surrender.”
Then Amma sang “He Giridara Gopala,” warming up the thousands of people who had filled the hall to capacity. Afterwards, Amma stood up and called on all Her children to forget themselves and dance in the bliss of remembrance of the Lord. Amma took the bells in her hand, raised them above her head and set the rhythm of the song. Everybody in the hall stood up and started clapping their hands above their head in time with Her.
When Amma started singing, “Narayana Narayana Jay Govinda Hare,” She closed Her eyes and it was clear that She was following Her own advice. The whole auditorium enthusiastically emulated Her, dancing, clapping, and singing more and more enthusiastically. Finally Amma bent down, touched the ground and sat down. The music stopped and there was silence as all Amma’s children meditated on Her, who sat immersed in the bliss of the Lord. The entire hall kept silent in this magic moment. It lasted several minutes. When She opened Her eyes, She stood and moved to Her peetham to begin giving darshan
After darshan She walked through the throngs of devotees, who lovingly parted to make way for Her, to the specially prepared seat in the back of the hall. Gracing all who came to see their Mother on Onam with a full serving of rice, curry, vegetables, sambar and pasayam, the most cherished prasad was Her blessing smile and loving gaze.