Devi Press spiritual books


By Swamini Krishnamrita Prana

From Swamini's book Love Is the Answer, Chapter 6 – Fresh as a Daisy

“May the beauty you love be what you do.”   - Rumi

[This text is provided as a means to understand the magnitude of Amma's giving. For over 40 years she has been hugging 12 - 14 hours at a stretch and enduring great pain to her physical body from this. In the history of the planet, no one has ever endured so much physical suffering for our benefit. This text is chapter 6 of Swamini's book Love Is the Answer. Swamini has been Amma's close shadow and personal assistant for many years. She can always be seen walking with Amma and sitting behind her on the stage. - Ethan Walker]

Amma says that the Amritapuri ashram is like a hospital.  People come with a deficiency of vitamin L (love) and are in need of intensive care.  Amma is the ultimate doctor.  She can see right through us, deep into our souls, through all of the superficial layers of our existence.  Most people see only the outside, but Amma goes deeper than anyone, seeing right through to our very core.  She has an unlimited supply of vitamin L to distribute, which is exactly what She gives to whoever needs.  We are so fortunate when we have the opportunity to be in Her company and watch this flow of love and empathy taking place.

Sometimes I think about how much pain Amma has in Her body from giving darshan for such extremely long hours.  On some occasions She can barely bend Her neck or move Her body at all without it hurting.  At times like these I wonder how She will be able to embrace five people let alone a program full of 20,000 people!  Amma never thinks in this way.  She knows that She has the capacity to detach Herself from the mind/body connection; She is always able to find the strength to do anything that needs to be done to serve others.

On one occasion while driving to a large interstate program, Amma was in complete agony.  Every small movement hurt Her, so I could not imagine how She would be able to manage through the night with such a large crowd coming for darshan.  When Amma stepped up onto the stage, She wanted to bend down and prostrate like She always does at the beginning of programs, but because of the intense pain in Her neck, that was one movement She could not do.  Amma could not bend Her neck at all.  As She was about to try, I insisted, “No Amma! You don’t have to do that!  You can just put Your hands together in Pranam (respectful greeting).”

I felt like a bit of an idiot saying this to Her in front of everyone there (the disciple telling the Guru what to do!).  It was probably all captured on film, where I am holding Amma’s arm and trying to stop Her from prostrating.

Amma simply ignored me and proceeded to bow down like She always does.  Nobody seeing Her do that would have known that She had any pain in Her body at all.  She was just doing Her duty, forgetting about Herself and Her own health.

When Amma holds programs in the West, She keeps going late into the night, and I know that Her body must be in intense pain.  When there are two programs a day, darshan may commence at ten in the morning and go until after four in the afternoon, sometimes later, depending on the crowds.  By then Amma’s head is sometimes spinning from lack of food and water.  People watching will never really be able to understand because Amma does not want to make anyone sad by showing them how Her body actually feels.

The evening program begins about two hours later and goes late into the night, Amma often gives darshan until four or five in the morning.  She sits until every single person who wants to come to Her has received Her embrace.  She then has a short break in the early hours of the morning before starting darshan again at ten.  Around Amma, day turns into night, and night into day, as the programs merge into each other.  She never thinks of the effort She is constantly making for everyone, only of the difficulties people have in waiting for so long to see Her.

When village people come to the ashram in India and the crowd is not too large, Amma often gives extremely long darshans to them.  Once when Amma came back to Her room after finishing a long day, She admitted that Her body was hurting.  When I asked Her why She had given such long darshans to everyone, Amma replied that the bus fares had risen a lot.  She knows how much poor people sacrifice to come to Her.  There are villagers who have so little that they even have to borrow decent clothes from their neighbors to visit the ashram.  Amma said, “I just have to give something to them.  I have to talk to them because they understand the same language, and they have sacrificed so much to come here.”

Even if Amma is sick with a stomach problem or feeling nauseous, She has never cancelled a single program anywhere in the world for this reason.  If She has to be sick She may go into a side room to do that, wash Her mouth out and then return to giving darshan again.  No one even realizes that She is suffering.  At one point, Amma’s stomach muscles were so painfully contracted from sitting without moving for so long that She needed to wear a brace, but what did She do?  She immediately gave the brace away to a poor man who came for darshan and needed one.

Late at night, or rather through the night and into the early hours of the next morning, it can be noticed how Amma sometimes goes into another level of consciousness.  She lifts Her mind away from the exhausted state of Her body, laughing, giggling and completely slowing down, embracing each person longer than the previous one.  She never rushes at the end of a program, never tries to finish off quickly so that She can go and rest, like we would if we were in the same situation.

After Amma sat for fourteen hours one day during a South India tour, I was expecting that She would have tremendous pain in Her body at the end of the night.  When She got back to Her room instead of resting or eating, She met with people for another hour and a half.  She was offered coconut water, which She accepted but had no intention of drinking.  She held the large, full glass for at least twenty minutes until I finally took it from Her, belatedly realizing it must be quite heavy to hold.  She had accepted the glass simply because that is what She does.  She accepts everything, never wanting to reject anything or anyone.

I could only imagine how tired Her body must have been and the pain She must have had from sitting for the full day and night without moving.  I would have thought that after giving darshan for so many hours, She would be experiencing fatigue and intense muscle pain, especially in Her arms.  Instead, to my complete surprise, She waved Her arms around enthusiastically as she spoke.  The rest of us had already started to wilt, but Amma was as fresh as a daisy.  This is just the way Amma’s life flows.  Love sustains Her and allows Her to do the impossible.

If Amma’s body were a statue, it would have rusted away and turned to dust long ago.  How many people lay their hands on Amma’s legs, step on Her feet, grab at Her neck or yell in Her ear?  But with the grace of the Divine, Amma says She is able to continue giving darshan.  Amma experiences pain in Her own body so that ours can be lessened.  Such is the unfathomable love that a Satguru (true teacher) has for the world.  This principle is what Christians believe when they say that Jesus died for their sins.

A devotee once asked Amma if Her body really suffers or not.  They felt that it surely must with all that Amma has to go through, but this person was confused as Amma usually looks so happy.  Amma replied, “On the human level, the body suffers, but on my level, Never! You don’t worry my dear.”

A gift once given should never be taken back – She insists, “I gave myself as an offering to the world; I’m not going to take anything back to think about myself.”   Amma shows us the way.  She teaches us how to sacrifice for others by the example She sets in Her own life.  She always strives so hard to give the maximum in everything that She does.  When we have love in our heart, our striving to do something good becomes effortless and empowering.  Let us all pray that we might be able to absorb something good from Her, no matter how small it may be, to give back to society.

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