The real thing

30July 2001,Amritapuri

Mother has been home barely a week, after Her six-week Japan/USA tour. Already She must have hugged nearly twenty thousand people. The very first day She was home – the sort of day when most of us would want to rest, unpack, get over jet lag, She came out and embraced many who had gathered to welcome Her home. In fact, for Her first two days at home the ashram was so crowded with visitors that it was only on the third day that She could offer darshan to the ashram residents.

Despite heavy rains, the ashram premises were teeming with devotees on both Saturday and Sunday, and Amma was out among Her children almost all the time: Saturday’s darshan drew a large crowd, of course, and Saturday evening’s bhajan saw the hall full. By Sunday the island’s roads near the ashram were lined on both sides with private cars, tourist vehicles, and buses, and all the parking lots were overflowing.

Mother came out early Sunday morning, arriving for darshan at ten minutes to ten, and staying until shortly after two. Then, again early, She was already in the large new outdoor auditorium at the south end of the temple before a quarter to five, for satsang, bhajans and then Devi Bhava. Count the hours, then, till seven-thirty the next morning – it comes to almost fifteen consecutive hours that She remained there with the eleven or twelve thousand who had come to welcome Amma back home.

This amazing degree of availability to Her children is, to many people, a sign that Amma is “the Real Thing”. A young man in Boston last month expressed the idea well. He described his long search for his Guru, for a true Mahatma. He had read books, searched the Internet, and done his own travelling in India, home of the Great Souls. He said that when he met Amma, while it was Her overflowing love that first drew his heart to Her, it was the fact that She spends almost all of Her waking hours with her devotees that was a deciding factor for him.

“The True Gurus,” he said, “rarely indulge in peaceful privacy. They are almost always WITH their devotees. After all, They have come for them, haven’t They?”