Meditation on the Seashore

9 May 2003, Amritapuri

When Amma is at Amritapuri, the schedule for Friday is well known: Amma comes out at around 11 or 11:30 a.m. to the temple hall. She leads a short meditation, and then conducts a question-answer session during which She switches back and forth between being the questioner and the answerer. Everybody faithfully gathers in the temple hall to enjoy these precious moments.

Amma with ashramites by the seashore

From 10 a.m. last Friday morning Amma’s peetham was ready in the hall, surrounded by a multicolour carpet of asanas. Many people reserve a place to sit by leaving their meditation mats in the hall while they do seva elsewhere. A few of us were there, sitting in meditation, but most were finishing their seva in order to be free around 11, when Amma usually joins us. But 11 came, then 11:30, then 12, 12:30 then 12:50! Wasn’t Amma going to come out at all today? The bell announcing Her arrival didn’t ring, no messages had come, no information, not even a hint.

At 12:50 the news flashed in the temple and around the ashram: “Amma is at the beach. She is calling everybody for meditation there!” The usual rush and bustle, like baby chicks dashing after the mother hen, found everyone running towards the newly constructed Ayurveda building and the expanse of sandy beach between the building and the sea, dotted with newly planted coconut palms. Amma was on the top floor of the building, on a balcony facing the beach. Gazing at the ocean She was in a contemplative mood. She was told that some devotees had seen dolphins in the ocean two days back. Excitedly She had exclaimed, “Yes! They used to come in the old days when I was meditating here!” An eagle flew close to the balcony, then rushed towards the sea. “He is looking for food,” Amma commented.

Now, as everyone reached the beach-side building, Amma Herself placed Her chair in the middle of Her gathering children, choosing a spot under a high coconut tree.

After making sure that all Her children had come and were properly seated, Amma sat in meditation. With the sound of the waves breaking against the shore so nearby, Amma extended the meditation for longer than usual.

With the sound of the waves beating against the shore, and the coconut palms flapping in the wind, as one looked up at Amma’s countenance framed against the vast expanse of the sky above, one could not help but wonder that if there was heaven on earth, surely this was it. After the meditation, Amma asked Her children to elaborate on the difference between action that arose from the ego and action that came from self-confidence.

Many of Amma’s children replied. One of Her Western daughters said that if one could remain in the present moment and focused on the work one was doing, then that would qualify as action from self-confidence. If, on the other hand, one was focused on the results of the action while doing the work, then that was action arising from our ego. Another daughter added,
that when one was attuned to the self (with a small s), one’s actions would come from the ego. But when one was attuned to the Self (with a capital S), then the action would be from self-confidence. This was very difficult to achieve, but possible with Amma’s Grace, she noted. Amma seemed happy with the replies.

During the satsang which followed, Amma said that many complain to Her that their original zeal in sadhana has faded away with time. She responded that it is the duty of the devotee to keep the spirit of devotion alive, by praying and confiding in the Lord at all times in all situations, not only in difficult or exalted moods. Effort should be maintained continuously. If the doctor prescribes that you drink a large amount of water daily, you have to do it even when you are not thirsty.

Many of the ashramites keep careful notes of Amma’s Satsang, and while She is talking you can see their heads bent, pens leaping across the page in an effort to keep pace with the torrential flow of Amma’s wisdom. After she answers a question, Amma often says that Her answer is not complete, and She would like Her children to connect the points or complete the picture. Of course, we never feel that Amma has left anything unclear, but it is Her way of getting Her children to speak up. Today, in a show of humility and affection, Amma listened carefully to Her children.

It was nearing 3 p.m. Amma took the microphone and started singing “Bhajo Re Bhajo.” It created a wonderful ambience and soon everyone was clapping and singing in rapture. Was it because of the special natural surroundings, or due to the sadhana that Amma had performed in this very place? The fact is that that Friday afternoon on the beach had created a deep impact in the hearts of all, and a stronger echo in their souls. Will such a blessed moment’s come again? Will She call for meditation here more often? This is now a cherished desire in everyone’s hearts.