“Only My Mind is Different”

Amma cleaning up

Friday, 26 March — Durgapur, West Bengal — Bharata Yatra 2004

The program in Durgapur ended not long after sunrise. Soon the buses were all loaded and everyone was ready to go on to Kolkata.

Ever since darshan had ended, a group of about 100 devotees were waiting around Amma’s car, hoping to see Her off. Many of them held small red roses in their hands. They weren’t deterred by the heat, which, at around 40 degrees Celsius, was considerable.

Then just before 4:00, Amma came down from Her room. Seeing the Durgapur devotees waiting, She called them all to come into Her arms one more time. Then She got into the waiting car and road off.

Amma cleaning up

But then the car stopped, and Amma got out.”Why haven’t you cleaned this ground? You were free all afternoon. You could have easily cleared all the waste,” She asked. She was referring to the grounds of the Amrita Vidyalayam, where the program had been held. It was full of paper plates, plastic cups and other trash. Amma immediately started picking up, and told all of the brahmacharis to come and start cleaning. But, of course, everyone—the brahmacharinis, as well as the Western and Indian devotees—joined in.

Some of the devotees spent most of their time trying to prevent Amma from picking up trash Herself, but Amma would not be deterred. “My body is made of the same five elements as all of yours,” She said, scooping up a pile of rotting potato curry with Her bare hands. She then added softly, “Only my mind is different.”

With so many people helping, the grounds were clean within 15 minutes, and Amma was back in Her car, moving down the road.

The minds of Mahatmas are completely pure and detached. The minds of the rest of us are tainted with countless preconceptions and selfish desires; they are agitated and sluggish. This is why we are unable to perceive what Amma sees as plain as day: the inherent oneness of all creation. How to transform ourselves to that elevated state? As Amma frequently says, “Selfless service is the soap that purifies.”