Dancing our way into the New Year

01 Jan 2009

The calendar  year might have been about to change, but thankfully, Amma wasn’t. She was still doing what she has been doing Her entire life – giving darshan, pouring compassion and raining Love- as the new year approached.

Everyday is a celebration with Amma, but there are some days that are more special than others. People had gathered from all corners of the globe in unprecedented numbers to celebrate the New Year with Amma and pray for world peace and happiness.  Amma’s western and Indian children had put together a new year treat for everybody. This program auspiciously  commenced with  a classical dance presentation exuding the beauty of the traditional Indian art forms. A speech followed,  presented by young Amrita based on the message that the new year heralds, and how everyone, especially children, can imbibe the teachings of Amma and express them in their lives in this new year.

The ‘Fire Dance’ that ensued was stunning. The juggling act with the burning sticks brought everyone to their feet.  This was followed by a captivating group song rendered in different languages  by Amma’s western children. The song was an heartfelt prayer for world peace and happiness, interspersed with beautiful flute solos. This was a song about how life would become a celebration once we learn to love everyone and live together as one family. Though the message was  emphasized through gestures – no emphasis was  required  for the message to get through once  the tempo had picked up – it really did become a celebration as people could not help but get up and dance – in this celebration called life (with Amma).
By now, everybody was warmed up for the subsequent extravaganza. It was time for hip-hop!  It was time for us to showcase, hone (or just plain investigate) our hip-hop skills.  It was led by a German girl, who gave a crash(!) course to all present on the steps involved. The song chosen was Amma’s bhajan ‘There should be one day…’, but  remixed in hip-hop rhythm and matching  beats. After a couple of practice rounds – it was time to show off to  Amma the newly acquired expertise. And so it begun. It was a joy to see everyone participate with such childlike fervor. For many,  it was more of hop than hip, but still everyone, including Amma immensely enjoyed it.
Nursing  students of Amrita University arrived on the stage with months of practice behind them. They were here to present  a performance of ‘Jyotirlingam Mahatmayam‘ – depicting the glory of the 12 Jyotirlingams (sacred sites connected with Lord Shiva)  across India. It was a stunning performance replete with outstanding grace as the legend associated with  each of the Jyotirlingams was beautifully depicted in the group dance. The hard work and the practice that had gone behind the show was self evident.

Another traditional dance – but this time it was the Spanish traditional dance – the Flamenco! The flamboyantly graceful steps on the the catchy beat  captured all  hearts.

The mood changed to somberly devotional as Rohan, from USA, presented a version of “Stand by Me” and “You lift me up” in sonata. It was truly uplifting music for the soul – coming straight from the soul. Though the timbre might not have been as exquisite, still all hearts joined in the song with the poignant longing as theycould see Amma tirelessly continuing with the darshan – still lovingly there for everybody and still lovingly with everybody.

Soon the clock stuck twelve,  and  beginning the new year in the most auspicious manner –  Amma led everyone  in chanting  ‘Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu’. The hall resonated with this ancient mantra as Amma encouraged everybody to visualize the vibrations of peace spreading out into entire creation.
Amma in Her new year message expressed the need to pray for world peace in this age beset with selfishness – which is manifesting itself as violence, climate change and natural disasters  all around us. She said that it is the pollution of the mind that is the most destructive – and we have to begin clearing the clutter from there. She encouraged everyone to act with compassion and love – which alone can provide relief to the suffering humanity. She stressed the importance of living in the present, as it is the only moment we will ever have. Who else could be so convincing in giving this message than Amma – the very embodiment of Love and Compassion. {read more of Amma’s message}

As the message was finishing, the students of Amrita University were already warming up for the grand finale. As Amma called for the harmonium, everybody knew the time had arrived – the time to dance the way into the new year. And truly enough, She began singing the evergreen “Mata Rani”. The souls and the bodies knew no bounds as everyone joined in the dance, and the hall was commotion of flailing arms and hopping legs. The tempo reached a crescendo, and still it would not stop. Not that anybody wanted it to. Finally it did stop. But not the joy in the hearts of Ammas children lingered.

Having woken and opened everybody up, Amma  began the bhajan “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” to elucidiate that one needs to share this Joy that one feels to all the suffering people around. At the end of this soul stirring bhajan, Amma rounded off a perfect day for everyone by giving instructions to serve ‘payasam‘ (sweet pudding) to everybody.

Nothing can be sweeter than Amma’s Love. As each one delved into it, they  savored the moment – one can only try to contemplate the good fortune that they have been blessed with by being in the presence of Amma- a mother who would go to any lengths to create every resource  necessary for the  growth of Her children.  She uses every opportunity towards this end. Through these ‘celebrations’, She is trying to teach that Life is a celebration – only if one can allow it to be.One does not have to wait for these ‘special’ occasions for the joy that is inherent in each one us to manifest itself.  One just needs to be completely open to this moment because with Amma, each moment is special – each moment is a new beginning- beginning of the rest of each one’s life. May each one of  us make the best use of this precious opportunity to truly live that  peace and happiness that man has been searching for – not only on this new year eve but ever after.

Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu

– Sakshi

watch photos of New Year celebration here