7th December 2012 and 11th December 2012
“Keep ‘em guessing!” is one of the most often played sports of Mahatmas like Amma. Amma’s predictable schedule involves essentially some unpredictability. As long as it does not rain or there are no symptoms of a rainfall, Amma usually conducts her Monday and Friday evening Satsangs at the beach.
Most of brahmacharinis are adept at reserving sitting places as close to Amma as possible; they won’t take chances. So, they would keep spare ‘dhayan mats’ and spread them at closest distance to Ammas’ seat – one at Kali Temple, one at Main hall and one at the beach.
Amma’s plan would always be to upset their plans! On 7th December, when things were all looking normal for Amma to appear at the Beach and as many front-seaters found themselves comfortably positioned,
Amma came to main hall instead of beach, that too much earlier than her normal time! As the word spread, all those who were waiting at the beach packed off and came running to the main hall, only to see that all closest spaces are occupied by so many others!
Amma was visibly very happy! “Ah! I made you all run around quite a bit, no?” Amma was further commenting “One day, I was walking towards the beach for the Satsang; you know, what happened? Many brahmacharinis started running, even ignoring me and over-taking me to rush to the beach to fetch a front seat there!”
On umpteen occasions, Amma had criticized the front-seaters for audaciously reserving the front rows for themselves (there are a few who are so adamant not to settle for any other space at the back rows. So much is their magnetic attraction for Amma). Amma insists that while attraction to the Satguru’s physical body is desirable for a disciple at early stages, the disciple must however grow above it to higher levels; Guru is not restricted to the physical body alone and his/her Atman is all pervasive. Further, there is excessive possessiveness in this habit of trying to be closest to Amma always. You are denying opportunity for other devotees to enjoy the bliss of a closer physical proximity to Amma.
Amma has spoken harsh about it in the past; Amma has made fun of such individuals right in front of the gathering in the past; Amma has concocted Krishna-Gopika stories about the “mat reservation” matters in the past! Amma recently engaged a Brahmacharini to remove any reservation mats that are kept in advance but the owner not found seated there.
But all these are of no avail. No criticism, coaxing or advice was found to be too effective to eradicate the ‘reservation policy’ of (predominantly) brahmacharinis. ( To be fair, a few brahmacharis and house-holder devotees too are there in this addictive habit). So, Amma’s treatment to them nowadays is make them run around and lose their coveted seating positions!
On 11th December 2012 (Tuesday),Amma’s Tuesday Satsang and Prasad distribution was as usual expected to be at Kali Temple. It was customary to chant Lalitha Sahasranamam before Amma’s arrival. Amma mostly arrives at around 11:15 AM on such days.
And today, Amma decided to come early and that too, to the Main Hall. As per Amma's instructions, the preprations for shifting the venue to main hall began – that obviously made several people sitting at Kali temple restless!
The moment the news spread, a few inmates (including a senior brahmachari and several westerners) stopped the Sahasranama chanting, packed their things and started running to Main hall to fetch their seats, as usual, as close to Amma’s dais as possible! However, the majority rest was continuing with Shasranamam here at Kali Temple, but with their minds there at main hall! Once the chanting was over, all of them started rushing to the hall; Amma arrived there early.
Amma said subsequently in the hall: “It is customary that once an auspicious chanting of Sthotra is begun, it shall not be left in the middle. Even while reading Bhagavadam, there are stages of reading that need to be completed before ending a session; you cannot stop a story at a stage when an inauspicious event is being narrated; you have to close the reading till an auspicious event comes in the story line. Some of you people leave behind all such good habits and run just to fetch a seat closer to Amma! Where is your shraddha? Even before I started from my room, I told Lakshmi, ‘See, I am now going to main hall; these children will now stop chanting of the Sahasranamam and come running to the hall’; it is precisely what happened!”
What to do Amma? It is you who spread your all enchanting net of Maya and we invariably get caught into it!
We can only sing: “Matru vatsalyatthode Jagadambe rakshikkane….!”