10-11 January, 2004 – Thiruvananthapuram
The three days of Thiruvananthapuram programs were attended by huge crowds, as always, and enjoyed the standard Brahmasthanam Festival fare — dawn to dusk archanas, planetary pujas each day to Mars, Rahu and Saturn respectively, and of course Amma’s divine satsang, bhajans and darshan.
Thiruvananthapuram is the capital city of Kerala, and so, in addition to the usual throngs of devotees, one naturally sees a high concentration of government officials, corporate leaders and similar VIP’s. A long-time devotee of Amma and prominent guest at the Amritavarsham50 Celebrations in Kochi this past September, the Hon. Chief Minister of Kerala Shri A.K. Antony, came for Amma’s darshan. Also present for Amma’s blessings and divine counsel were the Minister of Agriculture, Smt. K. R. Gauri, another Amritavarsham50 VIP, and the Royal Family of Thiruvananthapuram.
Chief Minister Antony spoke with Amma for a long time, and offered to donate land from the Kerala Government for building of free housing for the poor, under the M.A. Math’s Amrita Kuteeram project. Amma also discussed a plan with Agriculture Minister Smt. K R Gauri to use 30 acres of land near the Amritapuri ashram as a test site to develop medicinal plant cultivation and train people in new managing skills, all of which will be designed to modernize and rejuvenate Kerala’s agricultural technologies.
The local devotees really expressed their devotion, both in how they welcomed Amma so full of emotion, as well as in how dedicated they were in performing the immense task of coordinating all the seva for the huge programs. This willingness to spend three long days and nights sweating in the high temperature of both the sun and of the combined body heat of so many thousands, often forgoing food and sleep in the service of Amma, is always an incredibly inspiring sight. Many of the local devotees are affluent citizens with high profile careers in this major Kerala city. Yet here one can find these same people humbly and happily serving food to everyone from poor villagers to foreign devotees, or standing for hours in the hot and dusty aisles coordinating the darshan lines, in one way or another contributing their effort and attention to the smooth flow of these extremely crowded events.
Why would they or anyone do such things?
Meet Amma once with an open heart, and the question itself evaporates. Her absolute selflessness transforms us, and we gradually begin to experience the actual bliss that comes from serving others with real humility and love.
Teaching the above ideal through Her incomparable example, Amma gave darshan until 4.45 am this morning, embracing approximately 25,000 people in the past 24 hours.