(12 Feb '04)
Bharat Yatra 2004
Thursday 12 February 2004 – Kannur Public Programme
“What do a priest, a football player, an industrialist and a politician have in common?” It sounds like the setup to a good joke, but there is no punch line—simply another testament to Amma’s ability to bring disparate groups of people together, as this was the diverse collection of VIPs, devotees and well-wishers who sat side-by-side on the dais when Amma began Her public programme in Kannur. In turn, each addressed the sea of devotees assembled for Amma’s darshan; each talking of Amma’s immeasurable gifts to humanity.
It’s been almost two years since Amma has come to Kannur, a district in the northern part of Kerala that sees more than its share of strife. Her last visit was during the pre-monsoon heat of 2002, but that year the high temperatures finally broke upon Amma’s arrival, as unexpected rains poured down upon the stadium. What was most memorable about that program was not the heat nor the rain, but the devotees—who sat tight, covering themselves with whatever they could until the rain abated.
If it was the love of Amma’s children that stood out in 2002, it was Amma’s love for them that made the lasting impression in 2004. For after concluding Her 12-hour darshan at 8:30 in the morning, Amma was almost to Her camper when She happened to notice a few latecomers, who had not yet received Her blessings. As soon as She saw them and the tears in their eyes, She immediately took a seat on the doorstep of Her camper and resumed darshan there itself, embracing one and all as if She were still sitting on Her peetham. Soon, a queue formed and a couple of brahmacharis took up the task of guiding the devotees into Amma’s arms.
For those who’d been watching Amma give darshan all night long to some 30,000 people, it was almost too much. But Amma simply cannot put Herself first; it is impossible for Her.
Amma’s every thought is for the happiness of Her children. Amma even told one of the brahmacharis at Her side that a temporary shelter should be constructed to protect people from the quickly rising sun. With the queue all but finished, it was clearly more a teaching than an instruction: will the right hand stop tending to the left simply because it is tired? Only when we, too, are able to see others as extensions of our own Self will we be able to give so completely and without reserve. This is the real Vedanta—it is in Amma’s every embrace, every word, every step and every breath. It is the bridge between Her and us, and between us and each other.