21 February 2003, Nagpur
The state of Maharashtra has an exalted history; as recently as the 13th century it was said that one could find a mahatma in every village in the state. The city of Nagpur, aside from being a major city of Maharashtra, is also the geographical heart of the nation. North and south, east and west, Nagpur is in the center of India. This lent a special significance to Amma’s programmes there. On the second night more than 20,000 came to hear Amma’s words, sing bhajans along with Her and finally fall into Her warm embrace. The people were very attentive to Amma’s satsang, and when She asked them to close their eyes in prayer, they also joined their palms above their heads. This sea of joined palms overhead was a beautiful evocation of the faith and devotion of the local people.
Amma ham na mamgte he tujse
Dhan or doulath, nahi jannath
Amma, ham to bas ithana hi mamgte he tujhe
Tere hath rakh de hamare mathe par.
The programme’s host spoke the following words in prayer: “Oh Amma, we have come to your court. We don’t ask anything of this world or of heaven, but one thing: That you always keep your hand on our heads. This is all we ask.” As the crowd repeated the words, many could be seen to be moved to tears. Seeing this, one felt that this was the prayer of the people of Nagpur, a prayer from the heart of India.
Dr. Shrikant Jichkar, who is listed in the Guinness book of world records as the politician with the most university degrees (24!) introduced Amma on the first evening as “God walking on Earth.” He had been a guest at the Geneva convention of women religious and spiritual leaders, and he spoke about how Her words and presence there had moved him deeply.
In his speech, he struck a comparison between the murthi (idol) in the temple and the holy river Ganga. About the murthi, he noted that one has to be clean before going to see it; that there is a distance between the devotee and the murthi; and that one cannot merge into the murthi. But the Ganga accepts everyone as he or she is, Herself cleaning the devotee; there is no distance between the water and the swimmer; and by submerging oneself, one can in effect merge with the river. Then he said that Amma is not like a murthi, but like the river Ganga, except that while the river Ganga is confined to its banks, Amma goes everywhere. In conclusion, he said that Amma is propagating the religion of Love throughout the world.
The mayor of Nagpur also attended, presenting Amma with a memento on behalf of the people of Nagpur.