Amma: the traffic light


Andhra Pradesh, Bharata Yatra 2004

Amma has been touring India for so long now. And over the years Amma’s children throughout the world have heard so many stories about Amma during the tours, so many fantastic stories like the time Amma went into samadhi in the freezing waters of the Haridwar Ganga; the time Amma paid a visit to Mayiyamma, the avadhuta of Kanyakumari; the time Amma made a pilgrimage to the Meenakshi temple in Madurai. But while the stories we’ve read are many, there are countless more that have only been archived in the hearts of the senior ashramites.

Here is one from Andra Pradesh that you might not know: The year is 1986 and Amma is visiting the city for the first time. The tour group is traveling together with Amma in a small van. In Nellore, as they cross the Krishna, one of the biggest rivers in India, a traffic jam suddenly brings all the cars on the bridge to a complete stop. Everyone waits—a half hour passes, then another, then another. Suddenly, without a word, Amma opens the door of the van and begins walking ahead, passing the seemingly endless queue of idling cars, trucks and buses.

Of course, some of Amma’s brahmacharis follow Her to make sure She is okay. Soon, they come to the source of the jam, a small accident—nothing serious. And what does Amma do? Wrapped in Her white sari and standing less than five-feet tall, She begins directing the traffic!

As one of Amma’s senior brahmacharis recounts, “With one hand, She commanded the line of trucks coming from the right to stop, and with the other, She waved ahead the trucks coming from the left. Then She switched. Amma guided traffic like this for some 20 to 30 minutes.”

Amma some times speaks of the Guru as a traffic light. So, even though today Amma is a state guest guided by police cars, She is still there standing on the road, giving us the right directions and indications, controlling the traffic of our minds, making sure we cross safely. Isn’t She?