Come running when the bell rings

14 April 2002, Amritapuri

On 13th April, Saturday, Amma made a surprise visit to the prayer hall at 5:00 a.m., as the morning archana was about to begin, to take the attendance of the ashramites taking part in the morning chanting. Later in the afternoon Amma came unannounced for the meditation. Normally, before Amma comes for meditation, the bell rings and the ashramites have to reach the hall immediately for meditation. After some time Amma comes down to sit with Her children. That day, on hearing the bell ringing for meditation many of the ashram residents thought that they could leisurely reach the hall as Amma will be arriving only some time later. But, to their great surprise, when they reached the hall, Amma was already there. She asked for the bell to be rung only after She was seated. Hence, She could catch the latecomers red handed.

Amma dancing on Onam

After everyone arrived, Amma explained how She had been observing the ashram residents all morning. She also said that when the temple bell rings, everyone should come to the prayer hall immediately and not wait until Amma arrives.

Perhaps Amma was giving the residents a warning that if they are not alert, they might soon miss something special.

On April 14th, the Vishu day, the Kerala New Year, thousands of devotees had gathered in the old temple hall for Amma’s darshan. But Amma suddenly started walking to the new hall, and the bell ringing just moments before She was to dance!

Devotees have been blessed to see Amma dance twice this year, first on the Onam day in August and then on the Krishna Jayanti day (Sri Krishna’s birthday) in September. So this time, many of the 7,000 people in attendance seemed to know what to expect, because when Amma stood at the front of the stage, immediately a round of applause spread through the crowd.

Amma dancing on Onam

“Imagine yourselves as Sri Krishna,” Amma said, “or think of yourself as a gopi dancing with Sri Krishna.” And with that the opening strains of the bhajan “Bolo Bolo Gokula Bala” began to issue forth from the harmonium. Amma closed Her eyes and a mirthful smile appeared on Her face. She began singing the bhajan, playing the cymbals and swaying blissfully to its tune. Soon She was engrossed in a totally sublime realm.

The crowd below Amma joined in the dancing and all were ecstatically clapping hands, their eyes fixed on the radiant image of Amma, lost to this world in Her precious and graceful dance.

As the tempo of the song reached the peak, Amma sat on the floor and was deep in meditation. For the next five minutes it seemed as if no one were breathing; the silence was so palpable. And then Amma opened Her eyes, took Her seat on Her peetham and started giving darshan.

When the bell rings, you should come running.