Seeing Amma

In this section we will discuss a number of points that are worthy of our consideration if we are to get the most out of our visit with Amma and also after we return home.

No Fear

It is normal to have some anxiety or fear when approaching Amma for the first time.  The author can categorically promise that when the hug comes, all fear will vanish.  The common feeling is that Amma loves us more than our own birth mother. We feel her unconditional love and we know she accepts us and loves us no matter what we have done in the past.

Stay As Long As You Can

It is difficult to discover Amma as the fountain of Divine Love that she is by going to just one program, getting one hug and then going home.  As we sit in Amma’s presence we are purified and clarified by her Shakti (Divine Energy).  We will then be able to ascend to the ecstatic heights that are the Amma experience.  From that vantage point, our view of Amma will deepen and expand greatly.  Our experience of the Divine in general will be magnified.

Stuff Comes Up

Many people experience past emotional pain rising up from their subconscious when they are in the intense Shakti (Divine Energy) of Amma.  This Shakti is like a stick that stirs up mud laying at the bottom of our psyche.  The key to this is in surrendering it all to Amma.  Be aware of it and ask Amma to take it.  Keep giving it to her.  Then it will be gone.  If this occurs, plough through it.  Don’t let it stop you.  The blessing of having this “stuff” come up for redemption, healing and purification is of immense value to us.

Not Worthy

Feelings of unworthiness are also quite common.  After a hug or two we will suddenly have the feeling that we are not worthy of Amma’s presence.  Don’t believe this.  Amma has addressed this issue specifically and reminds us that the past is a cancelled check.  She also says that if we were all perfect she would not have needed to come to this world.

The author knows a couple who went to see Amma for the first time in Santa Fe.  Let’s call them Marvin and Sally.  After a couple of hugs, Marvin was bitten with the not-worthy syndrome and decided he would not go up for any more hugs because, as he put it, he did not want to soil the Holy Mother’s presence with his miserable wretched self.

However, Sally was not having any of this and so she went for a hug without her partner.  At the hug, Amma gave Sally two chocolate candy kisses.  Normally, Amma gives each person one chocolate candy kiss.  Sitting down by Marvin, Sally exclaimed, “See Marvin!  Amma thinks you should have gotten a hug.  She gave me two chocolates!”

Marvin still could not overcome his self-loathing and would not believe what Sally was suggesting.  At the end of the program, an isle formed for Amma to walk down as she exited the tent.  Marvin was on the inside edge of this isle on his knees as Amma approached.  Coming to Marvin, she stopped, bent over, looked at him squarely and holding up two fingers said, “Two chocolates!”

Maya the Obstructer

Perhaps this is the most important item to understand.  It is being listed after the previous considerations because Maya often uses these other avenues to obstruct one’s ability to see Amma. We recall that when Buddha resolved to sit under the Bodhi Tree until he attained enlightenment, Mara the Tempter (Maya) presented him with powerful temptations hoping to persuade the Buddha to stop.

 

The truth that Amma is conveying to us is that we are all the one Self and that we should merge in that.  This Self is that about us which is aware.  We are that awareness itself.  In our minds there is a fictitious personality that we mistakenly consider to be our self.  It is identified with the body and the mind and it is through this identification that it is able to continue its charade.  This illusory appearance of “I” and “mine” is Maya.  We will call it “ego” for short.

Most everyone in the world suffers from this illusion or Maya.  In the absolute sense this is all the play of the Divine Mother and it is also Her play that some of us begin to awaken from this illusory dream.  The ego is, in a sense, real only because we grant it reality.  The actual true reality that is awareness (our true nature) illumines the mind and the ego.  Awareness is the air that fills the balloon called ego thus granting the ego the appearance of reality.

The egos of all the humans on earth are joined at a subconscious level in what Carl Jung called the Collective Unconscious.  Each ego is feeding and granting reality to every other ego by way of this inner connection.  We see this inner connectivity illustrated in the 100th monkey experiment.  A group of scientists taught monkeys on an island in the Pacific to wash their food.

By the time they had taught 100 monkeys to do this all the other monkeys began to do the same.  Even monkeys on nearby islands who had no contact at all with the scientists began doing this.  This ability of animals to learn from the experience of other animals via inner connectivity was further verified through extensive experimentation by biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, PhD.  Theoretical physicist David Bohm and Sheldrake published a dialogue in 1982 in which they compared Bohm’s “Implicate Order” to Sheldrake’s hypothesis. At a deep level we are all connected and we affect each other.

The pooling of all the human egos in the Collective Unconscious endeavors to maintain the illusion of the ego.  It is intelligent and will vigorously strive to prevent each of us from discarding our own ego and thus realizing the truth regarding who or what we really are.

Most people like their ego and don’t want to get rid of it.  They don’t want to wake up from the illusion that it is somehow our friend (the ego is not our amigo).  This exerts considerable force to counteract any persons who might be sending signals to the contrary into the Collective Unconscious.  So Maya maintains the illusion.  For those of us interested in stepping out of the matrix, this is important to understand.

Amma represents the opposite of Maya.  She is the dissolution of the ego.  Thus, the collective ego will conspire by all possible means to prevent Amma from waking us up.

Maya uses many tricks to deceive us.  Words do not exist to express the subtlety and cunning of Maya.  For example we make plans to go see Amma.  After some time, we are possessed by an obsessive thought that we can’t really afford this.  If we ignore this and go anyway, the thought will deflate and we will be scratching our heads amazed that our minds had made such an issue of it.

If “stuff” comes up from the quickening of Amma’s Shakti, Maya will try to capitalize on this and convince us that all this is only making us miserable and that we should flee for our lives.

If we harbor feelings of unworthiness, Maya will amplify this and attempt to convince us that we should stay away from Amma.

The author has, on numerous occasions through the years, convinced a friend to go see Amma only to have the trip scuttled.  For example, one of the friend’s long lost relatives, who has not been seen in 20 years, will call to say they are going to be in town on the exact weekend the friend was to spend with Amma.  It is uncanny how this happens!

Maya has also, from the very beginning, worked to oppose Amma directly.  Maya does this by influencing the minds of others.  In the biography we read the description of Amma’s early days and the relentless attacks by the Rationalists (a local group of atheists and non-believers who organized themselves to obstruct and oppose Amma).

They would loiter outside on the street cajoling and threatening others who wished to see Amma.  Wherever Amma went, they would yell vulgar insults from across the street and throw stones at her.  There were numerous attempts to kill her described in the biography.

Even as recently as a few years ago, someone rushed the stage where Amma was having a program waving a knife.  A devotee tackled the man and was himself stabbed but not fatally.

Forewarned is forearmed.  Be very watchful for Maya.  Maya doesn’t want you to see Amma because Amma means waking up.

When she is talking, it is not necessary to understand what she says – we just listen with our ears and your heart.

Every tiny thing a Mahatma does will impact us in a very positive way.  It is an extremely rare opportunity to sit in the presence of such a Master.

Avoid Distractions

There is some amount of time that Amma is not in the hall.  Remember we are trying to heat up our pot of water.  Even though the fire (Amma) is not present for these few hours, we should leave the lid on our pot to retain as much heat as possible.  This means eliminating distractions that absorb our attention and thereby dissipate our spiritual heat.

Try to avoid watching TV, excessive talking or reading newspapers.  Read spiritual books instead.  If this is not possible, try to keep the mind on Amma or God or any experiences we may have had.  Try to see God everywhere and in everything as we walk around.  Try to see God in everyone we meet.  Take a nature walk.  In this way we can be mobile but not dissipate our energy.  There is a time and a season to all things.  The time we are with Amma should be for that.

Bowing to Amma

It is common to see people bow to Amma.  In the east, it is traditional to bow to teachers, elders and so on.  This is not because Amma wants anyone to bow down to her.  Also you will notice when she comes into the hall, she will bow down to everyone as well.  Although Amma comes from a Hindu tradition, she does not consider herself to be Hindu.  When asked what her religion is, she says it is Love.

It Can Fade

Even if we have cosmic experiences in Amma’s presence, we will forget as the year goes by.  It is quite amazing how this can happen.  When the program is over we will be experiencing such a spiritual high.  Six months later we can only remember that we had a good time.  We are unable to feel our spiritual experiences.  We remember something about them but the intensity is not there.

One reason for this is that we have nothing in our everyday lives that corresponds to the states of spiritual elevation in Amma’s presence.  It is so unique.  In addition, the density and insensitivity of our psyche returns with time.  This can be held at bay somewhat if we try to do spiritual practices at home especially working with whatever experiences Amma has given us.  Nonetheless, when we go back to see Amma the next year we will be amazed when we are re-ignited.  We will be amazed that we could have gotten so far from the spiritual space we were in when we left Amma.

Keep It Going

Amma teaches by giving us direct experiences.  We take these home and meditate on them.  Each day try to remember the experience and what it felt like.  Over time, as we water the seeds Amma planted, our mind will become expansive and our hearts will be filled with love and bliss.

It is also good to read and reread the dialogue books about Amma such as theAwaken Children books.  In addition, books written by Amma’s close disciples are very inspiring.  Doing this allows us to maintain our connection with Amma.
The most potent means of maintaining connection is saying our mantra.

What to Wear

Out of respect for the Indian culture, modest dress is recommended. For example: tank tops, shorts, tight leggings and short skirts are not recommended. Casual is fine.  Blue jeans, T-shirts – no problem.

Take Refuge in Amma

The following is from the book Talks, volume 3 by Swami Paramatmananda, one of Amma’s senior swamis.

“We’ve taken refuge in a satguru (Self-realized soul), in Amma, a person who’s one with Brahman.  She says that anyone who makes that connection is looked after for eternity.  That’s the connection that we have to make, just one time.  Take refuge in Amma.  Then for all eternity, for all your future births, until you merge into your Self, Amma will be looking after you.  You don’t have to pray again and again, ‘O Amma, Amma please save me.  Did you hear me last time?  Just in case you didn’t hear me last time, I’m asking you this time again.  Shall I say it louder?  I cried only five minutes last time, I’ll cry ten minutes just in case.’  You don’t have to do that.  One time, just turn to Amma in your heart, one time say, ‘Amma, please save me, I take refuge in your.’  She’ll save you.  No doubt.  She’s given that assurance.

“Just like Lord Rama in Ramayana.  When Vibhishana, the brother of Rama’s own enemy Ravana, came and took refuge in Rama, Rama said, ‘This is My promise, that anybody who takes refuge in Me even once, from then onward he’s Mine, and I’ll look after him forever.’  So we need not concern ourselves about our life and death, the sufferings that we’re going to have to go through.  It’s all Amma’s Prasad (gift from the Divine).  We should accept it as such.  The painful things are prasad, the pleasant things also are prasad.

“Krishna liberated a whole group of kings.  They were suffering; they were going to be offered in a human sacrifice.  He liberated them and said to them, ‘Now you consider everything that happens to you in the future as My prasad.  Your death is My prasad, your sufferings are My prasad, your pleasures are My prasad.  Everything is my prasad.  That’s what you should think.  You do your sadhana (spiritual practice) and consider your life as My prasad, My gift.’  So try to hold onto that thought even if the place is shaking or whatever may happen, accept it all as Amma’s prasad.”

Spend as much time as possible in the hall

When we go see Amma for the first time or after a year of not seeing her, our consciousness becomes dense and dull.  It is our good fortune that simply sitting in Amma’s presence will begin to heat up our thick dark tarry psyche and as that happens our minds become more subtle.  However, once we tune in to the vibration of universal love, it can become very physical.  We may weep without understanding why and it is a joyous weeping.  We may often be surprised that we are crying and wonder what is the source of these tears.  This is common in Amma’s presence.

Often we will feel a pleasant warmth on our face and chest as we face Amma and this is intensified the closer we are to her.  Her energy becomes very palpable.  Think of ourselves as a pot of water and she is the fire on the stove.  We must leave the water on the stove a sufficient amount of time for it to heat up and begin to steam.  If we keep pulling it off the stove (various distractions) the heating will not occur.  So try to spend as much time as possible in the hall.  This experience is very light, joyous and over flowing with love.

Sit as Close to Amma as Possible

Get to the hall about an hour early and sit up close.  Amma’s Shakti is more palpable the closer you are to her physically.  If it is your first time to see Amma, there will be space reserved up front for you.

Try to Surrender

Getting the most out of our hug and visit with Amma is a factor of surrender.  When we go for a hug, Amma will pull our head onto her right shoulder.  It is best if we can just relax and let go completely of everything, trusting Amma to do what needs to be done for our wellbeing.  We become a ragdoll – a corpse – with no remaining will of our own.  Our ability to do this, in large part, is facilitated by having some semblance of innocence.  While this is not so easy to do because we have become “grownups” we can usually do this for the minute we are in Amma’s arms.  It helps to visualize ourselves as a 6 year old child.  Try to remember what it felt like to be a child.  This allows an openness to occur in us and that’s all Amma needs to help us.

Concentrate on Amma

If we have two tuning forks of the same note (for example the musical note of A or 440 cycles per second) we can make one of the tuning forks begin to vibrate and emit a tone simply by bringing the other vibrating tuning fork into its proximity.  We are the silent tuning fork and Amma is the eternally vibrating tuning fork.  Being in her presence will transmit profound cosmic vibrations to us even if we do not feel it at the time.  We will begin to vibrate with Amma.  There are several things we can do to enhance this effect.

Try to mediate on Amma.  Just watch her intently.  We will notice that she is always in a state of bliss.  Meditating on the form, the face, the movements and the voice of a Perfect Master is very purifying and liberating.  Her profound spiritual vibrations will affect us.  When she is talking, it is not necessary to understand what she says – we just listen with our ears and your heart.

Every tiny thing a Mahatma does will impact us in a very positive way.  It is an extremely rare opportunity to sit in the presence of such a Master.