Tales of Tsunami -1

Ashramites and devotees share their experiences of the tsunami in Amritapuri.
Love, Dharma & Samskara

When the flood struck, Damayanti Amma, Amma’s mother, was immediately taken across the jetty to the mainland. But when she reached the other side, she immediately realised the Suganandan Acchan, her husband, was still at the Ashram. “What? Acchan is still there?” she said. “How can you bring me and not Acchan? It is not right. It is my dharma to be with my husband. No, you take me back right now. I will not stay here without him.” Damayanti Amma was so adamant that Amma’s brothers and sisters had no choice but to take her back across the backwaters. There they found Acchan and together Amma’s parents returned to the mainland.
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Christie Nunn “Kripa” (19 years old), Fairfield, Iowa, USA

“I was watching from the dormitory window in the temple when the third wave hit, sending water gushing through the front gates. As soon as I realised that this was a serious situation, I rushed down to see Mother. As I followed Her instructions—first to go to the roof and then to go across the backwaters to the mainland—I couldn’t help but feel totally looked-after on every level, despite the grief, chaos and tension that was surrounding me. Throughout the entirety of my experience, I felt so cared for. I can only attribute this to Amma’s incredible shraddha [paying of intense attention to every detail].”

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Mehga, Amritesh & Joel

“When the water started filling the Ashram premises, I cried for Amma and the following days went in harmony and adjustment. Amma’s presence made the whole experience feel like prasad and gave me the feeling that we have nothing to worry about; Amma is with us.”

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Vimukta, Denmark

“On the 26th December, a person in me died: the one who thought she was in control of her own life. Amma saved the lives of 20,000 people in less than an hour. A thousand pranams to my beloved Amma.”

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Karuna Poole, Seattle, Washington, USA

“As I stood on the top of the temple and saw devotees standing on the balconies of all the building, what kept going through my head was, ‘She has built us Noah’s ark… She has built us Noah’s ark.’”

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Kripalu, France

“Amma constantly repeats: ‘My children, you must be like birds on a dry twig. Be happy, enjoy life, but remember that at any time the twig may break.’ When I witnessed the tidal wave, I really understood the power of this message.”

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Ramya Fennell, UK

“As we were evacuating, I kept hearing Mother’s words: ‘Live like a bird on a twig that might break any moment.’ In a flash, life had changed. It was all in God’s hands.’”

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Manueal Ceresola, Italy

“When the flood arrived, I was sitting next to Amma and I never felt in danger. We were advised to go to the roof of the temple. From there, I could see the work of Amma and of the swamis and brahmacharis as far as saving people and coordinating everything. We were quickly moved to a safe place, Amma’s Engineering School, and offered an excellent meal. Through the next days, support was good and we didn’t lack anything. When we finally came back to the Ashram, it was already in order. During all this coordination, Amma found the time to console the grieving families one by one, sharing their suffering. They were supported emotionally and materially.
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Millen, USA

“I am grateful to Amma who has given me the experience that bliss flows through all circumstances, even “disasters.” Never have I been more at peace.”

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Kalavati Yates, Nanaimo, BC, Canada

“It was six days after the flood during darshan that some of the pain and loss experienced by the villagers truly hit me. In front of me, a local man was telling Amma of his losses. I felt teary, then deeper and deeper sorrow. Five to 10 minutes must have passed as I choked back tears. Finally my turn to have a hug came and I was sobbing as Amma held me to Her breast. Later, crossing the backwaters, I was overcome with sorrow for the absence of fisherman busily heading out to sea in their boats and no nets dipping down to catch what they could.

“I am now working hard, scraping mud and washing and picking up garbage and doing anything else I can, falling exhausted into my Ashram bed at night. Grateful to be useful.”