5 May 2000, Amritapuri
At midday the temple bell rang three times, letting everyone know that Amma was about to come for meditation. From all directions, ashramites and visitors flocked to the temple hall to await Her arrival. Within a few minutes Amma entered. She sat down and, closing Her eyes, began to meditate. Some of those around Her meditated with their eyes closed; other were simply gazing at Her.
After some time, Amma got up and led the ashramites in turning around in a circle on the spot where they were standing. Amma asked us to imagine that we were circumambulating the form of God that is most dear to us, each time we made a turn. Amma then sat down to meditate again, and she advised people to stand up or walk if they feel sleepy during meditation. As the meditation was about to resume, it seemed that everyone wanted to keep their eyes open and enjoy the sight of Amma sitting in front of them.
Feeling Her children’s hearts, Amma started a game called antakshari In this game, each team sings a bhajan starting with the last syllable of the bhajan sung by the preceding team. The game goes on until one team is unable to come up with a song. Today’s game had the brahmacharis and the brahmacharinis in opposing teams, with Amma as the referee. She started the game by singing ‘Anandamrita Roopini Amme’. Amma clapped Her hands joyfully and sang with both groups. Everyone joined in whole-heartedly, and soon the game turned into a real bhajan session.
After singing for more than half an hour, Amma suddenly asked, “What is devotion?”
A swami sitting near Her answered: “Sitting near Amma and just looking at Her is devotion!”
When the answer didn’t satisfy Amma, he added, “To surrender to Amma is devotion. Where there is no ‘I’ only ‘You’ – that is devotion.” Amma considered this for a moment and then asked, “How do we remove the ego?” A brahmachari replied, “The ego is removed when our every action is performed as worship of God.”
Amma asked, “How does one get to that state?” A devotee replied, “By loving God with all our heart and soul.”
Amma was not satisfied and She repeated, “Yes, but how does one get there?” A western resident said, “Well, I don’t really know about these things, but I have faith that if we serve selflessly, Amma will lead us to the goal of prema bhakti [the highest form of love and devotion].”
Amma seemed quite pleased with the innocence and humility of the answers. The discussion concluded with the idea that pure devotion is nurtured by unshakable faith.