Desharaksha puja in Azhikkal

Amma in Azhikkal Village, Alappad Panchayat, Kerala

16 February 2005 — Azhikkal Village, Alappad Panchayat, Kerala

After giving darshan in tsunami relief camps in Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, Amma travelled all night to reach the Ashram at around 8:00 in the morning on February 15. This morning—less than 24 hours later—She left for Sri Lanka, where She is to visit more tsunami-wrecked villages. But before going to the airport, Amma made one quick stop in Azhikkal, one of the villages sharing the peninsula with the Ashram.

Azhikkal was the hardest-hit village in all of Kerala, suffering 142 deaths during the tsunami. Villagers there were conducting a desharaksha homa for the future protection of the village.

When Amma arrived at the yagnashala, the priests worshipped Her with flower petals to the chanting of Mantra Pushpam. They then offered oblations to Amma’s feet. With the priests as well as the ashramites chanting sacred mantras, Amma lit the oil lamp, commencing the yagna. She then gave darshan to the priests as the ashramites chanted the Mahishasura Mardini stotram. (The priests will offer oblations into the flames of 21 homa kundas throughout the day.)

Speaking at the request of the priests, Amma said, “All children should live in harmony and peace. Our culture is deteriorating. We should imbibe the cultural values of our ancestors. We should reintroduce the practice of praying to God at dusk instead of watching T.V. at that time. “

Ten minutes later, Amma was heading down the road toward the airport in Trivandrum; the village children running to keep up with Her car.