A river darshan

19 December 2000, Calicut

Amma with devotees by the river

For several years, Mother and her tour group have stopped at a river on route to Mother’s yearly programme in Calicut, where they have meditated, had lunch, shared satsang and bathed in the water made sacred by Amma’s presence.

This year they did the same – but something was exceptionally different.

In the past, a few devotees have had the good fortune of being at the river when Mother arrived. This year, there were more than a few: a crowd of several hundred had gathered, and the river visit could almost be said to have become another tour programme! Seeing so many hot and hungry people gathered there in the afternoon sun, Mother called out, “Have you eaten, children?” Most had not, and Mother proceeded to serve lunch not only to those travelling with her, but also to the many devotees. The kitchen crew was concerned that there wasn’t even enough food for the people travelling with Mother; but Mother, serving every plate of food herself, somehow managed to feed not only the tour group but all of the devotees who had gathered as well.

After lunch, a few of the visitors joined Amma in the water: fully clothed, they waded into the river and made their way close to Mother. What a blessing to chant the Gayatri mantra and sing bhajans in the river with Mother! Afterwards, there were still so many devotees waiting for a glimpse of Mother that they formed a line (two or three people deep) stretching all the way from the water’s edge to Mother’s car – perhaps 200 metres. Along this line Mother moved slowly, caressing cheeks, listening to woes, smiling delightedly at people’s words of joy, kissing babies, and placing in each outstretched hand a packet of prasad: a sweet and a packet of vibhuti (sacred ash). With the aid of police vehicles, a path was cleared through the thronging crowd, and Mother’s car slowly made its way up the rocky road. Even then, devotees ran alongside, reaching out to touch the window against which Amma’s hand was pressed in loving benediction.