(10 Dec '00)
10 December 2000, Amritapuri
Devi Bhava darshan took place in the new outdoor auditorium for the first time. The temple, which has been used since March 1993, is no longer large enough to accommodate the thousands who flock to Amritapuri on Devi Bhava days.
The new auditorium, which covers 40,000 square feet (3,600 square metres) and has no supporting pillars in the middle, is the largest of its kind in South India. Because the hall is without pillars, devotees can watch the Devi Bhava darshan with an unobstructed view. During the Devi Bhava, television screens were set up throughout the hall, allowing even those furthest away to have a close-up view of Mother.
Amma entered the hall just before 4:45 p.m. Before she stepped into the auditorium proper, she humbly reached down and touched the floor and then touched her hands to her head. At the start of her satsang, Amma asked everyone present to bless the new hall and pray that all who come there will experience peace and happiness.
During the Devi Bhava, Amma tirelessly received more than 8,000 of her children. Around 8:00 a.m., fifteen hours after entering the hall, as the darshan queue seemed to be coming to a close, Amma unexpectedly called the computer students for darshan. What a surprise blessing for those already wearing their school uniforms and about to leave for their classes at the computer institute across the backwaters! The students were visibly moved and deeply touched by Amma’s love for them. The Devi Bhava came to a close just after 9:00 a.m., with 50 annaprasam (feeding baby with first solid food), three weddings and a pada puja (the ceremonial worship of the Guru’s Feet). Just after the Devi Bhava, Amma announced that she was going to start using the auditorium for bhajans every evening as well.