First Devi Bhava of the New Year

4 January 2004 — Amritapuri

As the large wooden doors rolled open and the sacred verses chanted, the many thousands present received a dense blast of the scent of flowers and camphor. As always this was mixed with another mysterious, divine fragrance that penetrates deeper, beyond the senses…

Before us appeared the heart-bursting vision of Amma in Devi Bhava, wearing a deep orange and gold sari. Amma sat, majesty incarnate, to continue receiving the unending stream of Her children.

Amma had come to the stage before 5 pm. After giving satsang, singing bhajans and giving darshan for over 17 hours, Amma finally stood at 10:15 am the following morning, with the conch shell trumpeting, the bell ringing and everyone singing “Vagadishvari Sarade.” Everyone cleared the stage except for about 15 people, to whom Amma gave new spiritual names, before finally stepping forward to shower flower petals upon as many who could get within range.