(16 Jan '03)
16 Jan 2003, Bhavani River, Tamil Nadu
We left Chennai at 8:30 in the morning heading towards Coimbatore, where this three-week South Indian tour would come to an end. At 1:30 PM our party, consisting of six buses and two smaller vehicles, stopped and waited for Amma to join us for lunch. At three, a message came from Mother asking us not to wait for Her, but to eat and proceed with our journey. Even though Mother was still far behind, it was unusual for Her to make Her children sad by not being with them. But this time, She could afford to do that; She had a special surprise in store. She said she would meet us later, and She did catch up with us around six PM. We had a very nice stop by the road during which She asked and answered questions, and then distributed laddus as dark was settling down. When Mother stood up and walked towards Her vehicle, She said: “Next stop Bhavani!” From the beginning of the tour no one had dared to think about the possibility of stopping by the magical Bhavani river. It would have been too sad for one to expect such a precious event and then have those expectations denied.
When we reached Bhavani Village, it was already nine in the evening and the place was busy with pilgrims finishing their poori dinners and moving in groups towards their sleeping places. As each bus arrived, everyone rushed towards the door, jumping off in small groups between parking manoeuvres and running towards Mother, who was already by the banks of Her daughter… the river Bhavani.
Soon every single one of the 400 devotees and disciples were gathered around the Moon… Amma’s beautiful round and shining face. Up in the clear sky was another luminous one —and in its full shape too. But was it just a reflection?
A question addressed to Mother broke the silence: “Can Mother tell us about Her special relationship with the Bhavani river? Often when You are swimming in another river, You will mention this place and say: ‘Bhavani is sad!’. We also know that over the years You have lost many rudrakshas and malas while bathing here. And it seems that You always make it a point to stop here whenever You happen to be nearby.”
What will She answer? everyone wondered while staring at the smiling Moon. Or rather: How much will She say? When Mother said: “Yes, yes…” meaning that She was willing to satisfy the inquisitive hunger of Her children, the old-timers knew that they were in for a special treat. And it was to be…
“Amma sees everything as consciousness. Nothing is inert for Her. She converses with rivers, mountains, and trees… Amma’s relationship with this river goes back for so many years. A special intimate relationship has built up over those years.”
Translated by Swamiji, Amma’s words were picked up like pearls by the ears and hearts of all around Her. How much more will She say? To satisfy the desires of all, She continued:
“There are certain places, like this one, towards which Amma has always felt a strong pull. The subtle beings in this place call Amma and yearn to have Her with them. Just like the devotees in Chennai would have been sad if Amma passed through the city without stopping to see them, the subtle beings here would be sad if Amma passed near here without stopping.”
“This is the merging point of three sacred rivers: Bhavani, Cauvery and Amrita.” Which Amrita exactly, one was tempted to ask. But how could anyone dare to interrupt the flow of That River? “This is a sacred place; it is a place of pilgrimage where many devotees and sadhaks have made offerings and done spiritual practices, and it has been visited and blessed by many mahatmas.”
Mother was silent now for a while, as if to allow everyone’s mind and heart to imbibe deeper, like a dry sponge, the rich flow of liquid gems that She had offered…
Mother went on, expounding on the significance of worshipping the Mother: “According to the scriptures, the symbol of the Mother is worshipped in five forms: Bhumata (Mother Earth); Gomata (the Mother Cow); Gangamata (Mother Ganges, representing all rivers); Dehamata (one’s biological mother); and Viswamata (the Universal Mother).” Here, betraying Her true identity, the speaker named Herself last, one’s mind was happy to note …
Giving the examples of Mother Cow and Mother Earth, Mother explained that they are worshipped because, receiving so little, they give humanity so much. A cow eats only grass and fodder, yet gives milk. She mentioned that in some cultures, the cow even gives its own life. About Mother Earth, She said that Mother takes nothing from humanity, and yet provides everything, no matter how much humanity may abuse Her.
Another question was put to Mother: “Amma, You just said that You actually communicate with subtle beings. Can you please tell us what they say to you?” Would She just answer by laughing or say still more? We waited eagerly….
Amma replied: “How can one be asked to reveal the content of one’s private conversations with others? What Amma can say is that subtle beings are just like living beings. They have their own happiness and sorrow. They seek peace, eternal happiness, knowledge and yearn for liberation.”
Silence prevailed again. It was as if us mortals wanted to allow our brothers and sisters the subtler ones to enjoy too, some exclusive times with Amma. Yes, they were happy too, enjoying the Moon’s magical light as much as we did. Was the other moon, up there, a bit jealous? Maybe it’s to please it now that Amma started to sing softly…
Bhavani the river, subtle beings seeking peace, the other moon up there and us mortals have one same Mother… That night, She brought happiness and magic to the hearts of all. Can a Mother neglect any of Her children?