New songs, ancient teachings

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s Bharata Yatra 2007

6 March — the dry bed of the Tungabhadra River, near NH-7, Andhra Pradesh

This time of the year, many of India’s rivers have run dry. And until the rains come in June, they will remain that way—vast no man’s lands of sand and cracked earth, pointlessly winding towards the sea. The Tungabhadra is one such currently un-mighty river. And Tuesday it served as the ideal place for Amma and the 425 disciples and devotees travelling along with her to stop for a few hours on their way from Bangalore to Hyderabad.
Amma making chai

Amma’s camper had been slightly ahead of the Ashram buses, and when everyone reached the riverbed, Amma was already seated on a on a mat in its middle. A small fire pit had been set up using rocks for a border and sticks for fuel. Amma was heating the water for everyone’s chai. As everyone approached, they gathered around Amma in a circle. The sun was setting in the west—its red glow illuminating the lorries and buses rolling by on the bridge above. The massive, completely exposed foundation towers supporting the bridge looked surreal from down on the river bed. The sounds of traffic mixed with the sounds of nature.

In order to get the fire going, Amma began to blow on it. Afterwards, she told one of the brahmacharinis sitting near her a piece of advice from her childhood: “When you blow on the fire, imagine that you are blowing on Devi’s feet and chant your mantra.”

As the water heated over the fire, Amma began singing bhajans in Telugu, Hindi and Punjabi—languages of places Amma would soon be giving darshan. In each place Amma visits, she always sings a few songs in the local language—whether its Tamil, German, Japanese or Swahili.

As with all the bhajans Amma sings, each contained a teaching, and two of the new songs enumerated the importance of shifting one’s focus from the sense objects to the root source of the bliss that one seems to draw from their attainment.

In the first bhajan, written in Telugu, Amma asked the bee, the cataka bird 1 and the swan, if the things they longer for—honey, rain and cool waters—would ever truly fulfil them. Amma sang:

makaranda madhurya muna – telenduku
malletotta cerenu bhramaramu
prema mudhuryamuna telenduku – amma
otiki ceranu numanam – edi
bhramaramu telusuko madhuramu

“The bumble bee has reached the lily garden to taste the sweet honey.
Similarly, my mind has reached the lap of my Mother in order to taste her divine love.
Oh, bumble bee, do you really know sweetness?”

The other song, written in Hindi, focused more directly on the perils associated with indiscriminately pursuing the fulfilment of one’s desires. As such, it directly addressed the mind, saying: Mana re seekh prabhu ka hona—”Oh, mind, learn to become the Lord’s.” Before singing the song, Amma commented that the words were particularly profound.

“Oh, mind, learn to become the Lord’s.
With Ganga waters of tears that overflow from the eyes,
ever wash the Lord’s feet.

“Regardless of how many sense objects you have accumulated,
not one has ever been of any use to you.
Each and every thing you considered dear
has caused you anguish.
You have wasted your entire life acquiring.
Now learn to lose.

“Your desires have now become a burden;
they are drawing lines of sorrow.
Why do you cry in bondage,
when it was you yourself who architected all your boundaries?
Where will you find liberation,
if you don’t stop sowing the seeds of action?”

In the bhajan’s final verse, Amma offered a way out of the seemingly inescapable and never-ending cycle of desire and action:

“See all actions in this world as His.
Meditate upon Him in all actions.
He is the one who creates and the one who destroys.
Time and space are His.”

And then finally came the fruit of such a vision:

“Each moment in this life is sahaja samaadhi 2.
Where then is waking and sleeping?”

By the time Amma finished singing, the chai was ready, the sun had set and everything was dark. Amma got back into her camper and continued heading north to Hyderabad. How fortunate everyone was to have her as their guide.


1A mythological bird that will only drink rainwater as it falls from the cloud.

2Total, natural and effortless absorption in the supreme truth that everything inside and out is nothing but pure blissful consciousness—regardless of whether one is sleeping, dreaming, walking or talking.

A sympathetic heart is a fountain showering contentment

Bharata Yatra 2007

4 March 2007 — Bangalore, Karnataka


On the first night of Amma’s two days of programs at her ashram in Bangalore, Sri. Ashok Kumar, Honourable Minister of Health for Karnataka, helped Amma distribute checks to a dozen or so new enrolees in the Amrita Nidhi Pension Program, as well as distribute sewing machines to 10 impoverished women.

At the start of the program, Ashok Kumar also read aloud a message from the Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri. H.D. Kumarswamy.

“A sympathetic heart is a fountain showering contentment,” the CM had written. “Just coming into contact with a smile that showers heavenly nectar helps transform countless people. I had always heard such things, but only when I saw Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi Devi did I understand it to be a veritable truth.”

“Amma is a great inspiration to mankind. For the spread of love, there is no bar or restriction in regard to caste, creed or country. According to Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, we are all like a string of pearls bound together on the thread of love.”

The CM then compared Amma to the 11th century mystic poet of Karnataka Sri Mahadeviyakka, writing how both mahatmas profess that everlasting peace can only come through love for mankind.



Amma celebrates Holi in Mysore

3 March 2007 — Bogadi, Mysore, Karnataka

During Amma’s first night of programs in Mysore, Sri. B.S. Yediyurappa, the Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, inaugurated the new Amrita Kripa Hospital in Rupanagar. Located a few kilometres from Amma’s ashram in Bogadi, the Amrita Kripa Hospital has 50 beds and will offer free treatment to the poor. It is equipped with X-ray facilities and a diagnostic laboratory.

Dr. Prem Nair, the medical director of the Amrita Institute of Medical Science (AIMS) in Cochin, showed the deputy CM AIMS’s “Mobile Telemedicine Unit,” a bus-sized ambulance with X-ray, scanning and diagnostic facilities and an ISRO-satellite connection to AIMS for consultations. During the CM’s tour of the Unit, he interacted with AIMS doctors via the satellite link.

Other program guests included Sri. G.T. Gowda, the Honourable Minister for Co-operation & District In-Charge, and Sri. D.T. Jaykumar, the Honourable Minister for Housing.

G.T. Gowda helped Amma distribute checks and certificates of enrolment for the Ashram’s Amrita Nidhi Pension Program. The program, which provides financial assistance for widows and disabled people, is being expanded by another 1,000 enrolees in the Mysore area.

D.T. Jayakumar distributed sewing machines to 10 impoverished women. The Ashram is giving 100 such machines away in the Mysore area in order to expand the financial horizons of the recipients.

At the beginning of the program, Amma’s Mysore devotees offered her with a citation of appreciation and devotion as well as a hand-carved sandalwood statue of Durga slaying Mahishasura. Durga in the form of Mahishasura Mardini is the protective goddess of the city. “Mysore” in fact is a corrupted and anglicized version of “Mahishuru,” meaning “the City of Mahisha.”

Amma’s Mysore Brahmasthanam Festival programs were technically on March 1st and 2nd, but as always Amma’s darshan did not conclude until early the following morning. The 3rd marked the advent of Holi, and Amma fully embraced the colourful holiday—smearing devotees cheeks with florescent paints and even spraying died water into the air out of big “water pumps” supplied by devotees.

In fact, the final 130 people to have Amma’s darshan in Mysore were from Japan and had never met her before. Members of the International Volunteer University Association (IVUSA) showed up towards the end of Amma’s darshan on their way to Nagapattinam, where they will spend their college vacation constructing tsunami-relief houses for the Ashram. IVUSA has been participating annual in the Ashram’s “homes for the homeless” project since 1998.

Amma was in full form when the IVUSA members arrived, joyously singing bhajans as she gave darshan—specifically her new favourite “Mata Rani” and “Rama Krishna Govinda.” As Amma and the devotees sang, Amma would call out, “Bolo Mata Rani Ki Jai!” and everyone would chant the response. It was during such moments that Amma also blast off her “water guns,” spraying long-time devotees and the newly arrived alike.

When darshan finished, Amma stood up and began to dance. It was the very picture of Holi— Amma’s white sari covered in colours, surrounded by dancing devotees. One devotee later commented, “Until now I did not know what heaven was.” Another said, “Until tonight I had only seen Amma dance in old videos. I never thought that I also would one day get my chance to dance with Amma.” And another, “Only now do I understand what the rasa-leela was like.” It was a day that the devotees of Mysore will never forget—a Holi spent with Krishna in the form of their beloved Amma.