Laugh more!

20 February, Davangere to Hyderabad bus journey – Lunch stop

So far the trip from Davangere to Hyderabad has been our longest journey, approximately 24 hours. It was an exhausting journey, especially physically. The only thing that is keeping me from flying from city to city is the stops with Mother. These stops make the mental gymnastics and physical pain tolerable.

About five and a half hours into the 24-hour trip we stopped for lunch with Mother. She was waiting for us under a massive tree with branches that reached far out. It was able to comfortably shade all 400 of us. I was not there to see the mad rush of devotees racing to be the first to sit closest to Amma, but it became the first topic of discussion during our lunchtime satsang.

Amma with tour group

Swami Amritaswarupananda asked Amma “Is all the pushing and pulling out of love, or out of one’s ego to get the closest to you?” Mother answered Swamiji in Malayalam.  Westerners waited eagerly for Mother’s response to be translated into English.This was a question, which the majority of devotees wanted answered.

Swamiji translated Mother’s words saying “The girls would probably sit on mother if they could.” One brahmachari asked Mother if his pushing to always be by Amma’s side was inspired by devotion or ego. Mother then asked him to answer. He believed that if you go close to Amma just to sit and see Her, then it is not ego. Amma replied, “If it is out of love to get close to me then it is not ego.”

Amma then spoke about the true devotee’s love for the master. “If one loves a true master, this will mean sorrow. If we fall in love with the master it is like falling in love with the sun, or the moon. This is because the master does not belong to anyone. Due to our ego, we believe that Amma is only our own, and this will undoubtedly lead to sorrow on the outside, but inside it builds the fire of tapas (heat), which burns the ego. The master, or the Mahatma works with the seeker until his/her impurities are burned away.”

Amma continued saying, “When we fall in love with an Avatar we will go beyond the body consciousness. With this fire of love, we can cook sweet pudding to offer at the feet of the Supreme. However, the love we have for fleeting objects just keeps burning and no good comes of it. Outside love is attachment, internal love is detachment. Amma, however, is attached to Her children, but it is an internal attachment.”

Mother’s sweet words were followed by the chanting of the 15th Chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, which Amma always has us chant before eating. Then someone handed Mother a large plate of food, and She called us up individually to receive prasad.

Amma laughing

After we all took Mother’s prasad, one of the ashram residents did some humorous impersonations of other fellow residents. Mother was roaring with laughter at how the girl was imitating the characteristics of each person.

All laughed so hard, even those she was imitating were laughing.

When the laughing subsided one person said she did not think it was nice to make fun of others like this. Mother responded by saying, “Laughter is good for our hearts. That daughter’s intentions were not to make fun of those people, but to make us all laugh. Seriousness is a disease, and we should try to leave it and allow our selves to laugh more. Laughter is good for the health. People have a 500 kg weight in their bellies that is almost impossible to move. Laughing the way we did — from our hearts — is the best way to open up.”