(3 Oct '05)
3 October 2005, Amma leaving Amritapuri
Amma left the ashram for Her 2005 European Tour at 5:15 a.m. today. The ashram residents lined the path from Amma’s room to the beach road. But the path did not end there… even at that early hour it seemed the entire village was awake and standing in front of their homes with palms joined.
Lamps were lit in front of many houses and the entire household—mothers, fathers, children, grandparents—had already taken their bath and waited near the lamps for Amma to pass by. The mantra, “Om Amriteswaryai Namah” pulsed softly in tune with the waves crashing against the shore.
Amma’s car moved slowly along the road, stopping at each lit lamp. The villagers stretched out their hands and Amma pressed candies into them. After Amma passed, many of the villagers could be seen shedding tears. Some still chanted Amma’s name; others softly murmured, “She touched my hand…She gave me a sweet.” Others stood silently, motionlessly, blinking back tears.
Many people heard the mantras and ran straight from their beds in time to catch a precious glimpse of Amma, while others came straight from the bathroom, their clothes wet and hair still dripping…recalling the famous Amma story of Vidura’s wife running to catch a glimpse of Sri Krishna.
The villagers rushing to greet Amma in the car as their lamps keep burning by the road side.
It was not an ordinary scene for these parts. In earlier days, the villagers did not react much when Amma left the area. Regarding this transformation, a villager who works as a soldier in the army commented, “We all believed Kadalamma [Mother Sea] was our protector. But when the sea set out to destroy us, Amma protected us. Amma is greater than Kadalamma.”
It was the second time in recent days that the villagers had lined the streets with lamps lit for Amma; they did the same thing during Her 52nd birthday. (news)
Again, this was a departure from the past. This year was the first time they took Amma’s birthday as a holiday. None of the fishermen had gone out to sea that day. More than taking the day off, it signaled a marked difference in the villagers’ attitude towards Amma. After all that She has done for them in the wake of the devastating tsunami, it is no surprise that they have chosen to consider the day of Amma’s birth as a “holy day.”