The word darshan literally means “to see” and it is a ceremony where Amma (the Mother of Love) transmits her positive energy by hugging everyone who wants to be hugged; she is there from early morning until the last person is waiting – even if it takes 20 hours, no-one will be left out and everyone has a chance to meet her.
My room-mate woke me up at 5 am, since she is going to an early morning meditation course, then I fall back to sleep for another hour. After getting dressed, I walk downstairs and head over to the yoga course.
The yoga class lasts one hour and afterwards I am ready to enjoy a delicious breakfast: freshly made corn bread with some coffee. After breakfast, I sit down in the main hall, where there are already many people, waiting in line to meet the darshan. The hall is filling up faster than I can look. Amma is not there yet, but an audio and video recording of her teachings is being played. Everyone is listening to it vividly.
In the meantime, volunteers to my right are already preparing lunch, a small girl is grating cheese with her mum, and on my left, I see that a large school class of Indian kids has just arrived as well as a group of older Indian women.
I reflect and ask myself ‘Would something like this, where everyone respects and cares about each other, also be possible in the outside world?‘
After some time, Amma arrives and announces that after marrying two couples she will start to give the darshan. Since my train leaves at 5 pm and there are already many people in the queue in front of me, I really hope that it will all work out.
Amma started giving the darshan and there is a large screen showing her and every person she embraces. While I am waiting, the responsible person tells me to meditate and reflect about what’s going to happen. I start to do so but occasionally glance over to the screen. A few hours have passed and Amma is still sitting in the exact same position as before, she hasn‘t moved a single inch nor used the toilet or eaten anything. She has the same expression on her face as she had at the beginning, the friendly and warm look, a constantly smiling face, because her heart is smiling, and sparkling eyes, which express nothing but peace and love.
People bring flowers and sweets to praise her (in Indian culture it is a sign of respect to bring a small present when you visit someone), some break down into tears in front of her and others just won‘t stop hugging and kissing her. I can feel all the emotions around me, the atmosphere is incredible and just watching the screen makes me too very emotional…
The line in front of me is getting shorter and shorter and just before reaching the stage where Amma is sitting, they ask me to put away my bag and my phone for security reasons. After that I finally enter the stage, but even there there are still a lot of people waiting- it will take a couple more hours. I worry that I won’t be able to make it in time and therefore speak to one of the volunteers and tell her about my problem. She is so nice and friendly and makes some arrangements for me so that I can move up a couple of seats. I am so relieved!
It is almost my turn and I am starting to feel a little bit nervous, but I don‘t even know where this sudden feeling is coming from, it is almost as if I would have to pass an exam!
Now it’s my turn.
I kneel down in front of her and one of her helpers takes my arms and places them on the chair where Amma is sitting. Another helper presses me tightly against her chest and then Amma asks me which language I speak, I reply German and she whispers in my ear, saying : „Meine Liebe, meine Liebe (my dear, my dear)“.
I just wish I had had more time with her, since everything went so fast, but I do understand that there are so many people waiting to receive darshan, so unfortunately it is just not possible.
I am really glad that I was able to experience the ashram-life, even if it was just for a brief amount of time. It is an “ideal” world inside a world, almost like something unreal, a dream, a utopia. Stress, hectic, poverty, discrimination, fights, etc. are non-existent here; it is all about love, respect and caring for the person next to you, since we are all brothers and sisters.
Nobody is forced to work in the ashram, but because people receive what they are looking for and they are happy, they want to give back as much as they get out of it.
The moment I step outside, back into the real world, the rickshaw people are already waiting for their next customers, taking advantage of the isolated location of the ashram and charging way too much for the short distance until the train station…
|Darshan||Isabel Scharrer||CC BY-SA 4.0|