Mother’s vacation

23 May, 2001

A Wednesday in the middle of May was the last day Mother gave public darshan at Amritapuri before this year’s Japan/USA Tour. That was the day She started at around ten and finished only at the end of evening bhajans. There was still a week left before Her departure.

What did She do with all that free time?

Here’s what: from about eight in the morning until four the next morning, people waited in small and quiet queues. Some of these formed at the bottom of Her steps, where on ordinary days She stops to play with Ram after bhajans; others formed on the bridge that connects the kitchen above Her room with the main ashram building’s fourth floor balcony. Slowly the people in these queues moved closer and closer to the door to Her room, and eventually each person would enter. These people were the ashram’s permanent residents: brahmacharinis, brahmacharis, householders, and westerners (the appellation given to all non-Indians, whether from California or from Japan or from Australia).

Imagine going into Her own room, finding Her sitting alone either in the white-covered chair, or on the edge of a cot, or maybe on the floor – waiting for you. Waiting to let you ask Her anything – whatever your heart has yearned to ask. Waiting to reassure you that while Her Body goes far away, She feels no sense of separation from you. Waiting to embrace you without the rush and press of someone holding and tipping your head just so (lest you inadvertently knock Her cheek – the one with the permanent bruise) and someone else already pulling you away so that the next person can be guided close. It’s just you and Mother, and after you leave you go somewhere alone so that you can be quiet and replay this remarkable event enough times to be sure it will never be lost from your memory.

When She’s away, you will have this to relive in your heart, again and again, helping in the loneliness. For unlike Mother, most of us haven’t reached that state of no sense of separation.

Is that all? For over a week, for twenty hours a day, She just sits and advises and comforts, teases and consoles, gives playful pinches and motherly hugs, to Her ashramite children?

No; somehow She is also fielding phone calls from all over the world; She’s making decisions; She is directing the schools and the hospitals and the orphanages; and on the side She’s reading urgent letters….

Twice She even managed to come for evening bhajans. (If She never left Her room, when could it be cleaned?) But playtime for Ram at the end of bhajans didn’t happen; it would have cost the time of at least four more private interviews, and there are only so many minutes in the day-and-night.

So that’s how Mother spent Her vacation.