After two days of travelling, we reached Peedam, which is a small village near Vellore in Tamil Nadu, south India. We entered the Ashram of Sri Sakthi Narayani Amma.
We travelled here with Edo and Jo, a lovely couple who are well known on the Kirtan circuit, and who will be appearing at our next Bodhi Festival in Newcastle at Easter this year.
Edo and Jo have been disciples of Amma for over 10 years. This is not Amma the hugging saint. In fact, this Divine Amma (which means Mother) is in the body of a man. When he was 16 Amma declared Her Divine presence in the world as Narayani, the Cosmic Mother. Since then Amma has manifested an astonishing array of projects for social good, and has performed many hours each day in pujas to Narayani on behalf of humanity. Amma as we discovered, is an Avatar, a real Divine manifestation, just like Krishna, Jesus, Rama. The energy was pure love, and it was mind blowing.
Amma has created a really beautiful Ashram complex. The crowning jewel of the Ashram is the Golden Temple. It is literally covered in gold, the roof, the walls, the interior, the entire thing. It sparkles in the sunlight, and in the night time it is lit with chandeliers which make it glow. It was awe inspiring, a Laxmi temple like no other I have ever seen. When we received our blessings there, the energy was so strong Shiva Kata Tjuta, who is usually pretty robust and used to strong energy, could not get up!
The golden temple is surrounded by a very large covered walkway in the shape of a 6 pointed star. One circumambulates the temple on the journey to see it. Park like gardens, small lakes and a back drop of picturesque mountains make this an ideal setting for the heavenly energy wafting out from the temple. Usually around 50,000 to 80,000 people per day visit this Temple.
Across the road is the original temple where Sri Sakthi Amma does daily pujas. If we thought the energy was strong at the Golden temple, that was nothing compared to what we felt when we encountered Sri Amma in the puja hall!
Sri Narayani Amma has established many humanitarian projects including schools, hospitals, feeding and water programs. They have employment and training programs for women and other social projects designed for various target groups who are most in need. All of this has been achieved in only 20 years.
The ashram has a wonderful dairy, where the cows listen to mantras all day, and are revered and loved, their milk feeding everyone in the ashram and people in several surrounding villages as well. Puja is done to the cows, revering them for their service to humanity, every day.
Sri Narayani also has two elephants, and the smaller one each morning leads the early morning procession around the star path to the Laxmi shrine within the Golden temple. We visited the senior elephant, who greeted each of us in turn by placing its trunk on our heads very gently, and scrutinizing us until we had to leave, whereupon it waved its ears at us and inclined its head to acknowledge we were going.
Next letter I will share with you some of our experiences in the energy of Amma, and then you may get the picture about why it is that I will be returning to be in this Divine presence as soon as I can.
I urge you to pray for the opportunity to be in the presence of the Divine and to know that each of us is in the process of realising the divinity that we perceived in Amma.