Mind need maintenance; awareness is the alarm

6 – 7 July, Washington DC – USA Yatra 2011

Amma arrived in Washington DC, the capital city and political hub of the United States of America. She held programs over 2 days at the Hyatt Hotel and Convention Centre where thousands came to receive Her darshan.

Many came to enjoy Amma’s bhajans and were moved deeply by their darshan, experiencing the peace and bliss found in Her presence. The venue was filled to capacity for the Atma Puja which was lead by Amma on the final night, followed by Satsang in which Amma said: “A house or car needs maintenance throughout its lifetime; only then can we use it properly. The mind is our most valuable inner equipment. Does it not need constant maintenance? Only if it is maintained well can we use it whenever we need it. How can we maintain our mind well? We should always observe our thoughts and expectations. If we do this we will be able to nourish good thoughts and reject negative ones. Most houses have fire-alarms fitted in them; when the temperature level soars, the alarms ring, the fire engine arrives and does its best to rescue people. Awareness is the fire alarm of the mind. Now we have knowledge but no awareness. We should bring awareness into our minds.”

 

Preserve water, fuel and future of our children

2 – 4 Jul, New York – USA Yatra 2011

Amma arrived in the heart of New York city, also known as the Big Apple, where she held a one day program at the Roseland Ballroom followed by 2 days of programs at the Manhattan Center with the final day falling on the 4th of July, American Independence Day.

The public holiday was celebrated with much of the city gathering to watch the dramatic fireworks display over the water surrounding the island of Manhattan, the city that never sleeps.

Thousands came to receive Amma’s darshan, with many queuing for hours on the bustling sidewalks of 34th street.

Amma said in Her satsang: “Today we see how our fuel deposits are getting depleted; we see how our water-supply is decreasing. We had not planned for this to happen. If this continues, what will happen to our future generations? Merely earning money and creating children is not enough. We should be careful to preserve their future as well- it is each of our duty to preserve this world for our children, whether it is water, or anything else. We had not planned for this to happen. Amma knows that many of her children have started carpooling. It is essential to be more vigilant about this.”

Russell Brand, a famous British actor and comedian came to receive Amma’s darshan and said: “It’s no coincidence that She is called Amma, Mother, because I suppose for the simplicity of Her message of love, She offers a rebirth, a renewal.”

Renowned singer Ramesh Narayan, disciple of the world famous Hindustani musician Pandit Jasraj came to receive Amma’s blessings and sang a number of soul stirring bhajans during darshan.

Everything is revealed in a still mind

28 – 29 Jun, Chicago – USA YAtra 2011
Amma arrived in the city of Chicago to commence 2 days of public programs at the Westin Hotel and Convention Center.
Devotees came from far and wide to receive Her darshan and to celebrate the 25th year since her first tour of North America in the summer of 1987. The halls of the convention center were overflowing with devotees, many of whom had been waiting for over an year to see Amma again, many others who came to meet Her for the first time.
Amma said in Her satsang:
Just as food and sleep are essential for the body, a healthy diet of positive thought is necessary for the mind. If the brain commands the feet to stop when walking, the feet will stop; if it asks the hands to stop clapping, the hands stop. Similarly if we ask the mind to stop, will it stop? We should be able to stop the flow of thoughts in the mind- this is meditation. We do not try to still the mind. Everything is revealed in a still mind. To paint a picture that inspires the observer, to write a touching poem, to help a student concentrate on his studies for an exam, to help a scientist ponder the mysteries of the universe, this concentration is necessary.

Time lag between action and result leads to mistakes

25 – 26 Jun, Coralville Iowa – USA Yatra 2011

Amma arrived in Coralville, located in the heart of the mid-west state of Iowa to commence 2 days of public programs at the Marriott Convention Center where thousands gathered from across the country to receive Her blessing and guidance.

Those who came for Amma’s darshan were comforted and moved to tears. One devotee said: It’s quite remarkable to see what Her program has done, it was quite simple and joyous to be here. Another local devotee said: When you’re out there in the world working, and you’re looking around and seeing how things are so difficult for so many people, and how things are falling apart, and you search for right action and right behavior, the answer will come from Amma. If you come here you will get the answer.

Many children ask Amma, “Good actions give good results and evil actions give bad results. Although we realize this, why is it that we continue to commit mistakes?”
Amma: If we touch fire once, it burns us and it teaches us not to touch fire again. But even though we know that evil actions will give bad results, this lesson does not sink in and we continue to do wrong actions. The reason why it does not sink into our brain is because of the time lag between the action and its result. There is no time lag between touching fire and burning- so it is easy to connect the action to the result. But the course of karma is beyond the mind’s understanding. This is why the awareness of righteousness that the principle of karma teaches does not sink into our brains.

– Kannadi

Nature is doing a Tandava dance, create awareness

22 – 23 Jun,Dallas, TX — USA Yatra 2011
Amma held two days programs Addison, Texas at the Intercontinental Hotel and Convention Center.

Amma was welcomed to the city by Mayor Todd Meier who said: “Welcome, we’re so glad you’re here in Adison and thank you for connecting us to your world and to the world and letting us be a part of the wonderful work that you do. Thank you so much for being with us today.”

The local affiliate of the NBC TV Channel came to interview Amma about Her message to the world.
Amma said: “My life is my message. We are not isolated islands, we are connected to each other like links on a chain. Our actions influence others whether we are aware of it or not. We should not wait for others to change- we should change first. Today the world is on the verge of doing a Tandava* dance. In nature and elsewhere, there is an increase in Aveda – lack of knowledge. We should try to inculcate patience, love and awareness and try to do whatever we can for the world.”

Amma conducted the Atma Puja for world peace and harmony, devotees came together from across the south-western States and from around the world to participate in the ceremony.

Former acclaimed actress Divya Uni’s students performed a stunning dance for Amma during the Darshan.
 

* Tandava – usually refers to Lord Siva’s dance during the destruction of the creation

Tie the rope of love for God around our waist

17 – 20 Jun, Albuquerque, USA Yatra-2011

After concluding her LA programs, Amma inaugurated a the MA Centre in Redondo Beach in the South Bay region of greater Los Angeles. After satsang and bhajans Amma distributed Prasad to the devotees who had gathered for the event.

Amma then travelled 15 hours across the desert to the state of New Mexico where she held a a 3 day retreat and a one day public program attended by thousands in the city of Albuquerque.

“Worldly life is like going mountain-climbing. When we climb up a mountain, we tie a rope at the top of the mountain and one end around our waist and we climb up holding onto the rope so that we do not slip and fall. In the same way, if we tie the rope of love for God around our waist, problems in the external world will not make us weak. Understanding this, we should hold on to the Paramatman, the Supreme, and move ahead” said Amma in her satsang.

Famous American physicist and Nobel Prize winner Murray Gell-Mann came to receive Amma’s darshan.

Amma in San Ramon

2 – 8 Jun 2011, San Ramon, CA – 2011 USA Yatra
A seven day program was held at the MA Center, Amma’s ashram. Apart from daily meditation, satsang and bhajans a three day retreat was also held.
During a question – answer session one devotee asked Amma “why does Amma gets more beautiful and younger, year after year, while we get old and ugly, as years pass by?”. Amma explained that the beauty you see in Amma, is actually the reflection of the love you have for Amma.

Amma in Seattle

27 -30 May , Seattle, – USA Yatra 2011

Commencing her 25th tour of North America, Amma was welcomed to Seattle, also known as emerald city, by many of her American devotees.
At the Hyatt Regency Convention Center, representatives from the local Native American Indian community performed a number of songs for Amma, expressing the universal truth of all cultures and traditions.
Devotees from all over the North West of America came together to perform a dance celebrating Amma’s 25th year of the visit to the country.

Masala Dosa festival at Amritapuri

23 May 2011, Amritapuri

Amma’s US tour is about to start. Before every tour, Amma makes it a point to meet each and every Ashramite. Usually it takes more than 10-12 days of continuous Darshan for Amma to meet everyone and each day Amma would have to sit more than 15 hours, receiving one and all, listening patiently, giving instructions with cajoling words and directing the path to inner peace. On the penultimate day before the tour, Amma came out into the Kali temple and like any Satsang day, Amma started directing Seva and pinpointing the need of Sadhana to the ashram residents{news}. As Amma was leaving the temple, she announced that she would come back that evening to make and serve Dosa1 to all.

Amma making masala dosa

 

Amma had called the kitchen incharge some time earlier and had told him that some children had asked Amma for a dosa. The person first received the news without realising that Amma was serious on her plans. Amma then asked his estimates for the total number of people, logistics and time for making dosas for the entire Ashram. The kitchen incharge, realizing that Amma would really be making them, soon did his estimates. One may imagine the panic state of the kitchen incharge: a group of friends call and tell you they are coming to your place for dinner and that they need a specific menu and all that within two or three hours. Imagine the trepidation when that number is over 3000! The gas cylinders, dosa stoves, potato peeling and preparation of the masala, personnel to make dosas, batter flour, kitchen instruments and vessels, just to point a few.

They had initially planned Ghee roasts2. During the Satsang, Amma asked everyone what they would prefer and how much they would eat. To the question on what dosa they would prefer, someone said masala dosa3. Amma then asked how many dosas one would need. Many said one, some said two. So at 3 pm that day, Amma asked for masala (the spicy potato paste) that goes into the dosas to be prepared. She had estimated 3000 people. In less than 3 hours, both masala and the rice batter were kept ready.

There was a lot of excitement. The main bhajan hall already had 12 dosa stoves set up before the evening bhajans. People came and sat around them to attend the Bhajans. A 90-year old Ashram resident (a.k.a Pattiamma) had climbed up with Amma as Amma had come into the stage. As Amma entered the stage, Pattiamma had requested Amma to sing a particular song on Sri Lalita. Bhajans started and Amma’s singing took many into the earnest thoughts of unconditional joy. Amma paused the bhajans in between and asked for a microphone to be given to Pattiamma and asked her to sing a bhajan. Despite her struggle for breath, Pattiamma sang a beautiful song ‘Sivakamasundari Jagadamba’ in classical style calling out to the Divine Mother.

Amma making masala dosa

Amma’s mood and expression was so mesmerizing blissful and her eyes filled listening to Pattiamma. Immediately after that, responding to Pattiamma’s request, Amma then started singing a bhajan on Sri Lalita and after singing a few lines stopped while the music was still playing and said “Pattiamma had wanted a bhajan on Sri Lalita but it was not this one. I was enthralled in the words and bhava of her song, given her age, so I lost my mind”. Amma then started another beautiful bhajan on Lalitamba. After Arati, Amma walked right down the stage to the dosa stoves.

Amma started making Masala Dosas. What a sight! A small pan of batter, she would take and spread it thin on the hot plate, someone would sprinkle a bit of oil, another would place a bit of potato-masala in the center. Amma would then make another one just like that on the other side of the hot plate, pouring from the cup and spreading it slowly as someone would sprinkle oil and put some masala. By that time, the first dosa would be ready and Amma would take the dosa, roll it with the ladle and place it on an awaiting plate ready to be served. Someone tied a pink apron on Amma while she cooked.

She made many dosas. Amma’s handling the dosa batter, the drawing of a thin layer using the pouring cup and especially the way she rolled and ladled out the dosa seemed so uncanny and professional. On the contrary, Amma had mentioned while coming the ramp from the stage that she does not know how to make masala dosas. After making many dosas, Amma started serving them herself. Simultaneously boys and girls started making dosas in the other 12 stoves. On either side, one could notice several stoves and many ashramites making dosas. Some stoves had 2 dosas simultaneously, some others had 3 and some larger ones had upto 6 at the same time. With water sprinkled after every round, dosa stoves were creating sizzles of white vapour at random intervals. Plates were set on benches, curry ladled out and then the plates were passed to Amma.

One by one people came and got their share of Masala dosa from Amma. The whole hall had been full with visitors, devotees, students and Ashramites. Amma would ask for a show of hands to those who did not get their dosa and count them fast and send plates in that direction. Amma mentioned “Children eat well, need more take more, I want to see your stomachs full so I can be happy. If you eat, I will be full and happy tonight”. Amma said “We can sing bhajans after you all eat!”. Soon after serving all, Gita was chanted. It was so nice to also see Amma had joined us to taste the dosas. Two bramhacharins had made her big dosas. She took tiny bites relishing the taste that her children had given her from the same batter from which she had made for all her children. More than three thousand dosas were done. Amma happily said “In one hour we all did it”.

Amma then sang a beautiful bhajan “Bandalo Bandalo”. ‘Bandalo’ talks of the joy that a devotee experiences in the company and with the arrival of the Divine Mother (Devi). Following the beats, Amma asked everyone to clap hands with each other. Many smiles bloomed as the tune grew faster. Amma then requested everyone to pray for world peace and sang the song “Kushiomke Bahar” that ends with the words “Lokah Samasthah Sukhino Bhavatu” (May there be peace to everyone in the world).

Truly, it was a spiritually enthralling Masala dosa fest.

In a few hours, Amma would leave for the US tour, to spend the next 8 weeks with her children there.

— Kannadi

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1 Dosa – South Indian delicacy made from rice batter resembling a thin pancake

2 Ghee roast – Dosa made using clarified butter or ghee

3 Masala Dosa – Dosa with potato masala stuffing