Playful darshan

Amma giving darshan in Australia

17 – 27 April 2001, Australia

In case you thought spirituality was only somber, reconsider. Observe Mother’s darshan programs, especially in the West, where smaller crowds allow time for Mother’s playfulness to surface even more than usual!

The first night after the group’s arrival in Australia, Mother had great fun talking about the adventures of the tour group with the Customs people at the airport. Because of Australia’s fragile ecosystem, immigration authorities must be extremely strict and thorough. One of Mother’s son’s forgot to mention that he had three carrots in his kit – “Organic carrots,” he was saying later, in explanation: such precious things!

He was held for questioning for three hours! Mother kept looking at him and laughing and saying, “Three carrots!” She pointed out that Lakshmi had declared a cake she was carrying for Mother, and they had let her through; perhaps people were meant to understand that cakes are better than carrots – even organic ones! One of the women in the group had not declared that she was bringing in “wood products”. It hadn’t occurred to her that the harmonium was of wood! Mother found that laughable, and there was a little discussion of keeping a harmonium in Australia for the future, to avoid complications at immigration.

There were times She would call the people traveling with Her (who otherwise don’t go) for darshan, and She would casually play with them. She would ask the Finnish boy to dance, and whether the music was “Nila Nila” (fast and frantic) or “Om Amriteshwaryai Namaha” (slow, soft and meditative), he would take his position, go almost into a trance, and improvise to the music

Sometimes She would be talking and laughing, teasing someone who wanted to become a brahmachari about how hard the life would be, or warning someone else about what foods are good to eat and what ones are not. “You sick?” She’d inquire, and then shake with laughter when a good number of hands would go up, admitting to stomach upset from all the rich foods.

People dance during Amma's programme in Australia

One night, just before the end of the tour, the girls traveling with Mother decided to perform a dance, which one of them, a classical Indian dancer had choreographed, to one of the newer bhajans. A space on the floor (where Mother could see) was cleared, the music started, and could you call them classical Indian rock stars? Mother risked falling out of Her chair, complete with some lucky person on Her lap, as She rolled from side to side, laughing and pointing.

The boys in the tour group, not to be left out, put together their own dance performance for the next night. As is often done for classical Indian dance, they first demonstrated each movement, “translating” it, so that the uninitiated could understand the story. Then the music burst forth, they danced with exuberant energy, and Mother was again at risk of falling from Her chair!

There were the babies whom She let play with Her nose ring, the two-year-old whose eyes would move unashamedly from Her Face to the tray of chocolates beside Her. To them She would offer a sweet – only to draw it back just as they reached, a game of laughter and frustration played just until it would have been too much for the youngster, and then She would relent, unwrap the sweet, and pop it into the open mouth. There were bigger children (say in their forties or fifties) who whispered to Mother that it was their birthday: She might stuff their ears with flower petals, shower petals over their heads, and make them bite into an apple of which She would then let go! They were reduced to grabbing it before it fell or else holding it with their teeth – such loss of dignity.

Mother has said that when She hugs us, She is trying to awaken the “motherhood” dormant within us, that loving, compassionate, patient Inner Mother that She says we all need to bring more to the surface. Men and women alike, She says, need to develop this quality. So Mother’s darshan has a very serious purpose; isn’t it lovely that serious needn’t be attended by somber?