5 March, Tanur, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2015
Amma drove directly to the Tanur ashram from Kozhikode program. The ashram is situated in an idyllic spot in the countryside where cows are raised. The devotees enthusiastically joined in to serve the prasad with Amma. Amma sang bhajans with them, one of which has a traditional style; “Elo, Elo.” The devotees, smiling ear to ear, clapped and danced along.
This is Amma’s second visit to Tanur, the program held at the Amrita Vidyalayam compound.
It is traditional to hold a procession as part of a religious festival and the devotees dressed as gods and godesses paraded through the town in honor of Amma’s visit. The costumes employed a folk art style, Teyyam, wherein the participants make their faces and body up and also hold a painted wooden background. The end result was a very convincing Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi.
Fireworks were set off and hundreds of devotees holding balloons released them into the air as Amma arrived on the stage.
Amma was welcomed onto the stage by the minister Anil Kumar, the local MLA Abdurahman Randathani and the famous chenda (drum) player, Mattannoor Shankara Kutty.
Amma offered lifelong pensions to poor women, and Vidyamritam scholarships for poor children. She also distributed vegetable seeds to encourage devotees to grow their own organic food.
Throughout the programme, students from different Amrita Vidyalayam schools presented cultural programs of dance, music and drama.
Even though Amma would arrive only at 6:00 in the evening, thousands had already arrived before 2:00 pm. They sat in their seats throughout the night, quietly and patiently waiting for their turn to receive Amma’s darshan.
It was noteworthy that all the students from the area had major exams on the following day. Usually parents will never take their children out the day before an exam, to avoid the children being tired and not being able to perform at their best. But the opposite was true at Amma’s program that day. Children and their parents would not miss Amma’s darshan and they came despite the exams the next day. Amma gave each child during their darshan a chocolate heart. It was highly unusual that Amma gives out chocolate hearts to so many, and in fact they ran out of the chocolate prasad! Many children asked for Amma’s blessings for their studies, and one could be sure that Amma blessed each of the children’s efforts and aspirations.
Sadhana Rana, from Mumbai, had flown down to specifically attend the Tanur program because she wanted to celebrate Holi with Amma. “I never miss celebrating Holi with Amma. I could not do that, I just had to come,” she said. “I hope Amma will play Holi with us!”
And her wish came true. At the end of darshan the following morning, Sadhana brought the colored powders and the water pistol and Amma lovingly threw the colors to all around. She gently applied the colors on the faces of the lucky childen next to the peetham and a few lucky adults! All the while Amma sang “Aiye Holi!”
It was a beautiful conclusion to Amma’s Tanur program. After nearly 16 hrs being continuously on the stage, when she left, she had painted the hearts of all those who came with Love.
Happy Holi to all.