FrizzText’s A-Z photo challenge is now at “M“.
A month before I walked in Spain, the Divine Mother, the world-renowned Hindu spiritual leader Sri Karunamayi, blessed me and my pilgrimage on the Camino. This post is about that meeting.
Sri Karunamayi who is revered in India as an embodiment of divine motherly love, and affectionately called “Amma” [the Telugu word for “mother”] by her devotees has focused her life on the spiritual uplifting of humanity through meditation, knowledge, service, and selfless love.
She was born in South India in 1958 on the most auspicious holy day in India.
- In a prophecy by one of India’s most revered holy men, her mother was told she’d give birth to a divine child who would bring peace.
- Though she had never studied Sanskrit, she would often surprise her father with spontaneous insights into the inner spiritual meaning of the verses.
- When she was twenty-one she spent ten years in meditation seclusion in the remote and sacred Penusila Forest.
“Local villagers who spotted her sometimes mistook her for a statue, as they could not even detect the movement of breath in her perfectly still form.”
One of her favorite sayings is “If you take one step toward me, I will take a thousand steps toward you.”
I met the Divine Mother at a Spiritual Center in Pasadena in March 2012. We had to take off our shoes. Photography was not permitted.
The chapel was full, there were men, women and children in the audience most of them dressed in white, but as I didn’t know about the “wear white dress code” I wore a red tee-shirt and jeans. [It was acceptable as I was wearing “clean modest attire that covered the knees and shoulders.”]
Amma, began the ceremony by pouring a milk, ghee and honey mixture over a divine figurine (a murti), while chanting Sanskrit mantras.
As the offerings are gently poured over the murti, divine blessings radiate out towards all those present, providing protection, purification, and spiritual elevation.
The pouring of libations on a deity is called an abhisheka.
Amma spoke for about thirty-five minutes, and then she gave everyone in the audience their individual blessing. I had to wait almost two hours for my turn.
When I learned that she’d also bless a specific object, I took off the simple $8 green Chrysoprase stone I always wear and put it on the tray for her to bless it. I noticed that the people ahead of me placed holy statues, rosary beads and photos on their trays.
When its your turn to be blessed you silently kneel in front of Amma who is sitting up on a platform.
During our one-on-one time in her presence, we weren’t permitted to speak unless she asked us a question, and if she handed us anything we had to take it in our right hand.
It had been a long morning and I was tired when I received her blessing. I closed my eyes when she put her hand out to bless me, and felt the vibrations of her energy on my forehead. It was beautiful.
I made sure I took my necklace, and the card where I’d written my blessing request in my right hand.
She also gave me some gifts: a little plastic bag containing sacred ash which I was to place on my tongue every morning, and a picture of herself with the words to three mantras on the back (that we were to chant twenty-seven times a day “for our healing”)
[Full disclosure – I haven’t recited the chants or placed the ash on my tongue though I carried them with me when I walked on the Camino.]
When I looked up to thank her, I wasn’t surprised to see a layer of exhaustion in her eyes, so as well as sending my silent smile of thanks for her blessing and gifts, I used gestures to wordlessly let her know that I could see she was tired. She acknowledged my gesture with a nod of thanks, and our eyes locked in a woman-to-woman moment I’ll never forget.
When we left the chapel we were each given a little sip of the milk mixture – which was delicious – and two little silver foil packages of sacred ashes.
Through her international speeches and programs, Amma also raises money for her charities:
- The Sri Karunamayi Free Hospital provides free medical care to all who need it.
- She’s building houses for hundreds of people displaced from their ancestral lands when an artificial lake flooded their homes.
- She runs two primary schools in India which provide free schooling, books and uniforms to over 600 students.
- Because the people in South India are drinking water contaminated with excessive amounts of fluoride, the general population are suffering from dental and skeletal flourosis, kidney disorders, bone ailments, organ failure. Amma has built twelve water treatment facilities, four reverse Osmosis water treatment plants and eight more were due to open last year.
This video is a good introduction on Amma’s life and charities
For more information on Amma or to donate to one of her charities, please click here
Amma’s charitable projects offer life-saving help in a region where no other charities operate and where governmental assistance is nearly non-existent. These are truly forgotten people, but thanks to Amma, the villagers now have reason to hope.
She has already begun her 2013 tour of North America. Click here for the schedule.