11 January, 2004 – Kanya Kumari
The stone idol of the Virgin Goddess Kanya Kumari Devi in Her temple at the southernmost tip of the blessed land of Bharata is standing in meditation, facing north and longing for oneness with Lord Shiva in Mount Kailash. This longing of the Goddess for spiritual union is expressed in its fulfilment with the mantra, Om Shiva-Shaktyaikya-Rupinyai Namah — Salutations to the Embodiment of Shiva and Shakti.
The virtual human form of Kanya Kumari, Amma, blessed this ancient holy city by the touch of Her feet on January 11th. A program was arranged on the sprawling and peaceful 100-acre campus of the famous Vivekananda Kendra, by the confluence of three seas: the Bay of Bengal in the East that carries with it the memory of Sri Ramakrishna & Sri Sharada Ma; the Indian Ocean to the South; and the Arabian Sea that washes the shores of Amritapuri.
In the evening when Amma arrived on stage, Her diamond nose-stud was shining as if brighter than ever, reminiscent of Her oneness with goddess Kanya Kumari, whose nose-stud’s radiance is said to have served as a lighthouse to travelling ships. Amma gave sweet smiles to Her eager children for a while before She closed Her eyes and sat in Self-absorption. The hosts sang the famous patriotic song Vande Mataram, which salutes the land of Bharata as the Mother. Amma appeared to be the embodiment of that very Mother awaited by Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Bankim Chandra, the author of Vande Mataram, and the other pioneers who initiated the spiritual renaissance of India.
The bhajans this evening seemed to soar high, as Amma sang, among other songs, ‘Devi Jaganmata’, which has the line, “Mari kumari Amma, enakkum vanduvaram taruvai” , which means, “O, Mother of Kanya Kumari, come, give us a boon!” Earlier at the inauguration of Amma’s program, Dr. P. Parameswaran, Director of the Vivekananda Kendra, observed Amma as one who is transforming Bharata into the spiritual world leader. Several spiritual and political personalities also participated in the function.
Amma’s program started on the evening of the 11th and ended around 9:30 am the following day. When Amma arose from Her darshan seat, the shoulder of Her white sari had turned dark from the faces of Her children that She had hugged all night. The end of darshan was only the beginning of yet another celebration: the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. Amma performed puja before his image, lighting the sacred lamp and leading the gathering in the chanting of shanti mantras. Afterwards, Swami Amritaswarupananda led the senior swamis of the Ashram to the Samadhi Sthal of Swami Vivekananda, where they garlanded his statue as a mark of reverence to him and his high ideals of spirituality and selfless service.
The day’s program was as symbolic as the confluence of the three seas. It was a coming together of three divine energies: Swami Vivekananda, Kanya Kumari and the Consciousness in Human form with the name of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.
Those devotees and ashramites who were fortunate enough to visit this very same Kanya Kumari 18 years ago in a small group with Amma, now stood witnessing Amma give the same love to the tens of thousands that had gathered from nearby towns and villages.
The symbolism of Kanya Kumari Devi’s nose ring serving as the guiding light for those at sea seems all the more meaningful when we watch Amma guiding us, lost as we are in the sea of ignorant worldliness. Every hug She gives is like a flash of light, reminding us of the right direction home.