The Road to Mysore

March 21, 2009 Kamala Amma's Grace



Dearest Friends and Family,

Amma is now in Mysore. We remember our several travels on the road from Mananthavati to Mysore. The first year, I recall, we were told it was only two hours journey. But, lo! the ashram bus took over 6. Even now, I remember the tremendous heat in the bus…we were all crammed in. In those days, the brahmacharini’s rarely had actual seats, and suffered in the aisles, on top of luggage, or just plain standing packed together for hours and hours…often after being up all night, preparing foods, frying endless dosas over huge hot table size griddles, the gas fumes and flames right under their faces, etc. The bus exhaust fumes combined with the heat were nauseating. A very kind brahmacharini named Swati gave us lozenges for our throats, something for our motion sickness…little acts of kindness always smile in our hearts, isn’t it? reminds us, that our underlying reality is Love, known through respectful consideration of each other…Love and Joy are truly rare things on
this Earth…


There were wild rumors circulating in the bus…that Amma had stopped somewhere and was waiting for us…as such, the inching, groaning engine, and our seemingly incremental progress, was even more intolerable…At that time, were were not adjusted to patiently waiting out our perceptions of the inefficiencies of time around us, so we suffered much angst amongst ourselves, chaffing at the bit, wondering if we should just get out and walk….


For us, the first year tours were very challenging. In a large part it was a chance to practice ethical ‘bus behaviors’. We didn’t understand why those who had seats would not take turns sharing them with those who didn’t. We still don’t. We made it our personal policy on all tours to time share our seats, with those who had none…For this, we even received a fair amount of verbal abuse and once even actual threats. The children spent much of the travel times in the stairwell of the bus steps. Those first years, I was stronger, and gave up my seat for the tours as well. As a result, I recall very little of the outside scenery. Later, the children insisted I stay in the seat, but at least through their willingness to share, I continued to have that satisfaction. Getting off the bus was another experience. I don’t want to say more about it, but there is a good book that I think we can all profit in reading. Its called, ‘All I really need to know, I learned in
Kindergarten’ by Robert Fulgram.


Now, by God’s grace, there seems to have been an ‘evolution’ in compassion and people are more inclined as a whole to share with one another, whether or not one is Indian or Western, paying the fat rate or the thinner one…its all donation anyhow….that’s how one comes to understand it…ultimately, nothing is ours. Thankfully, whatever goes to Amma’s institutions, despite many problems, many many people are helped, and this is what we have to keep in mind. Institutions can have this great positive capacity, despite ALL.


There is a saying, that when the Guru comes, the Teachings are Sattvic, the Guru will be Rajasic, strenuously working, day and night, and the institution is Tamasic, clunking along behind the Guru. Its just natural, the people in the institutions are not the Guru, they are the ones seeking ethical reform in themselves, to get over our spiritual diseases. None have achieved it yet, we are all works in process and progress. By grace, the institutions bearing Amma’s name, can turn to her for guidance and problem solving, and in many cases, she is able to use them to help numerous others. Not only institutions using Amma’s name come to her for guidance, others do as well. Even political institutions. For an example, during the Tsunami, she used the Vishwa Vidya Peetham campus buildings in Clappana for housing and shelter, medical and cooking for about 10 thousand people in deep shock and trauma. I think the distinction is important to bear in mind, otherwise, one may feel


The road to Mysore from Manathavadi goes through the forest reserves of Wynad. Once I saw an elephant roaming freely, it was a thrilling sight. I would hear calls of ‘deer! peacock!’ but as the bus was jolting along, rarely caught sight of these… Often times, Amma would have the buses stop, and there would be a picnic in the woodsy area. It was always astounding to see Amma on these occasions. She would have been up all day and night, and have barely finished giving darshan to 20 to 40 thousand people, sometimes more, I don’t recall less since we have come, and she would still have on the clothes she was wearing during the maha yagna…the great sacridice, as yet not understood by humanity…

Amma is a constant demonstration as to the power of the mind, the power of living in the present moment. The immediate past, and seemingly its effects would melt off of her, and everyone would be joyously picnicking,as though she hadn’t just been up all night meeting 20 thousand plus people…

That, I suppose is the power of Now. She Lives Now, in the Now. Anni is now in NOW.


Sometimes the road to Mysore would be shorter, the bus more efficient, the travel time at night and therefore blessedly cooler…

I remember one year, Amma left without warning from Manathavadi for Mysore, from the stage. Everyone had expected her to go back to her room where a meal was waiting for her…we were happy she escaped the crowds…

It was amazing and amusing to see the panic that ensued, as everyone who could commandeered a vehicle, and charged after her…but, she got away that time…far from the maddening crowd…only the driver was with her…we of course, were and remain, nothing and nobody in the scene here, our roles are backdrop figures so, we waited for the buses, and got to Mysore well into the morning…

there, it was even more amusing to see the crowding that was going on in her house there…on the first floor, brahmacharis were sleeping on their sides, packed like sardines, all claiming their rights of access and closeness…or worse, perhaps feeling insecure without that proximity, while the spacious school, less than 100 meters away, stood in silent observance of the scene…


I don’t know, but we have never been into this type of behavior…I think there could be two reasons, 1. frankly, sour grapes. 2. a certain detachment from group consciousness, and subsequent group behaviors. This comes from our life experiences, backgrounds, etc. But, I think it is a quality worth nurturing and cultivating within oneself. It is the group, that conditions the soul, and it is the group conditioning, that is part of the outer peels of the onion, that must come off when trying to peel down to the self.

I remember once Amma said, “Before God, you have to be completely naked, you have to take off even your skin.’ Group acceptance relies upon silently and subtly agreed upon group behaviors, standards and expectations….its definitely the clothes. It can start positively or negatively in families.

The groups around Amma, are not Amma, and they certainly have developed their own little conditionings, whose in, out, OK, not, etc. I find it all very wearying, and don’t want to play. I am grateful to have studied anthropology, and one of the best courses I ever had was with Dr. Jane Goodall, called Monkeys, Apes and Humans.

well, enough. Amma is now in Mysore. I’ve got to take the mind back, off the tour onto the work here…Mysore is another story….

Loving You,

Kamala Aunty

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