25-26 March 2002, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia is a Muslim nation; Mother’s religion, She has said over and over, is simply Love. But She comes from a Hindu culture, and most people naturally see Her as Hindu. So there was a question in some minds: would Muslim Malaysia welcome Amma? It’s true that every year some four hundred Malaysians have been coming to Singapore to see Mother. But no one (except maybe Mother) could be sure what the response would be when She reversed the pattern and went to Malaysia to see Her children there.
This month, after two days’ programs in Singapore, Mother travelled five hours north to Kuala Lumpur. Two hours before the program was to begin, the problem—if that’s what it was —was evident: the huge convention hall leased for the evening was not big enough. Already the auditorium and balcony were completely full, and the lobby was crammed; down on the street, the crowds were still gathering. The weather was hot, humid, difficult. And while the hall itself was air conditioned, the crowds and their energy of eagerness taxed the system considerably. It would be a hard night.
And how could Mother make Her way through this throng? No one had anticipated wall-to-wall people! About twenty minutes before Mother’s scheduled arrival time, crowd control volunteers saw to it that everyone outside had tokens, and began urging the waiting masses: “Please sit down-then everyone will be able to see!” Miracle: people DID sit! A narrow passageway was formed, and when Mother’s elevator reached the lobby, to the sounds of temple drums and horns She was able to move slowly through the hundreds not yet even inside the auditorium.
Their patience and orderliness were rewarded by Her pausing along the route, reaching out, smiling, blessing, touching.
The program itself was of the form of all Her programs: formal greetings for dignitaries, speeches of welcome and introduction, Mother’s satsang, bhajans-and at last darshan. And all this time, out in the foyer and down below on the streets, those who could neither see nor hear waited.
The hours rolled by, and still hundreds pressed against the metal barriers. An exit route from the stage end of the hall had to be devised since there was no space through which those who had darshan could move out. Now and then, the door in the metal screen separating the foyer from the auditorium would be raised halfway and a few people could enter. But for those outside this partition, it was mostly hours of waiting. Hoping. Calling out: “Let us in!” “We want to see the Mother!”
In the far back of this hallway there stood a small table with a photo of Mother. Apparently oblivious to the crush, the heat, the pressures of the mass of people swirling around them, in this small area a few people sat silent, still, meditating before a picture of the saint they had come to meet. Perhaps they met Her first inside.
As fast as possible—after all, there were over nine thousand tokens issued, and each person was to be embraced before Mother would leave-Mother was hugging, listening, whispering endearments, handing prasad, and reaching out for Her next new child. For new they were, most of them-and that they waited so long, in such conditions, was a testimony to their intuition and their faith.
The next morning’s program began barely four hours after Mother left the first night’s program. It was a work day, and in expectation of a smaller crowd, a smaller hall had been booked. And yes, it was a smaller crowd-a mere seven or eight thousand! Again, long before the hall opened, queues were forming outside; long after the gates opened, the queue remained-in fact, two hours after Mother began hugging Her new children, the line of men and women and children, many holding umbrellas for shade from the sun, still stretched for a good half a kilometre down the highway.
Inside the compound, the queue snaked around, zigzagged through the dining area, finally found its way into the ground floor waiting area (a tad cooler). Concerned for Her children out in the sweltering heat, Mother insisted that chairs be taken outside and that more of the people waiting be led upstairs to the cooler balcony area as soon as space there became available.
Again She had to give Her hugs and blessings as quickly as possible, lest time not permit any of those waiting to reach Her. She managed. With that uncanny ability She has, Mother gauged exactly how quickly She had to proceed, and finished the last darshan before four-a good thing, since the hall had to be cleared and cleaned before the next program (and the next crowd of thousands) at 7:30 that same evening.
It seems Mother was indeed welcome in Malaysia.