Anni’s 21st Birthday and Abdu’l Baha

April 20, 2009 Kamala Amma's Grace

Dearest Friends and Family,

Today would be Anni’s 21st birthday. We are reviewing and adjusting, (in Link’s case, as he had made alot of picky-unni rules for himself) the vows we made last year on this day. This morning as we returned from our walk, we saw the morning star. We may have mentioned that Anni’s American Indian name, given to her by Kay Garland, of Chaplin, CT, when she was born is Morning Star. And so she was and is.

Lata just called, she is in Kochi, where she had gone to Amma’s programme. You all may recall, that last year on Anni’s birthday, she stepped in our room, and a beautiful song in the Sindhi language  popped into her head, which she began singing. We made a movie then of Jyoti Joy Joy, the sunbird who was staying with us, and put the music to it. It was for Amma, its called, ”How to Love a Bird.” We gave to to Lakshmi, who stays with Amma, but I don’t think Amma has seen it, or even knows about it. We may put it on You Tube, and give the address. Link is just now recording Lata on our tiny recorder, so we will have the tune to work with. Lata feels Anni gave her the song. Here are the lyucs, this ones in English:

Let me take a chance to fill my heart with Love for you
Let this not be my last chance
Let me take a chance to fill my heart with Love for You

We found some heartening things. One is a picture of the archetypal pati-vrata of Hindu lore, Damayanti, of Damayanti and Nala. The picture, painted by Raja Ravi Verma, is truly remarkable for its similarity to Anni. Here is the address:

When we found this picture a few months ago, we were amazed at how exactly like Anni it looked, like it would be Anni now, a little more grown up. The feet are hers, the hair, the face, the back curve, the elbows, arms, hands, the firm little chin and the feminine thoughtfulness and intelligence that the picture expresses. What is even more coincidentally amazing, is that while were were on the 2006 North India Yatra with Amma, after the last program in Kolkata we went to a khadi shop.   Anni picked out a sari of the exact same shade and style as the one in the picture. We had planned that she would go to AIMS and begin her medical studies. They have events where the girls wear saris, and we wanted her to have one. I was pleased with her personal choice, it was a very simple, hand-spun cotton sari, with traditional border…no design….The way this picture appeared to us, made us feel she is with us, and showing us how she is continuing to grow and progress….

Then, yesterday, I was looking at a book of Vignettes from the Life of Abdul-Baha, my beloved teacher of my early youth…I became acquainted with the Bahai teachings when I was around 12, and embraced them wholly… although my ecumenically minded parents felt I didn’t need to  formally subscribe to anything.  The Bahai Teachings are reflective of the very fine and high ancient culture of Persia, that has regrettably been almost decimated….Bahai’s now face tremendous persecution…The ethical teachings fo the Bahai faith are entirely congruent with Sanathana Dharma, or Hinduism. I feel that the culture that had organically evolved in Persia, ethically attributed to the teachings of Zoraster, was definitely, a child of India….the Zend-Avesta lists many of the attributes of God in much the same words as the Rig Veda. Homa is Soma, Surya is Hurya, and Yama is Yama.

The Bahai faith came up in 1863, with the appearance of the spiritual Master, Bah’u’allah. He was imprisoned for his beliefs, his son, Abdul Baha was born in prison, and was there until he was finally released at 65 years of age. The power of their spiritual Love for Truth was such that even though they were in prison in Akka, many people around the world came to know of them in a grassroots way, and some managed to visit them. Their spiritual nobility was such that the guards did not abuse them. When he was released, Abdul Baha went all around the world, letting people know about his father, the ideals and way of approaching life that he had learned from him.  He had become, by then, a spiritual Master himself, filled with the qualities that come from adherence to the ideals of Truth and Love – compassionate, wise, generous, noble, etc. He died long before I was born, but his ideals still inspired me greatly. There are several truly awesome temples of the faith, one in Wilmette, Illinois, one in Delhi.
The one in Delhi looks like a lotus opening…it is serenely beautiful… The basic tenants of the Bahai faith, for those interested, that its followers seek to manifest are:

One God, the oneness of mankind, the duty for each of us to make our own independent investigation of Truth, the common foundation of all religions, the necessity for the essential harmony of science and religion, the equality of men and women, the elimination of prejudice of all kinds, the need for unirversal compulsory education, a spiritual solution to our economic problems, a universal auxillary language, and universal peace upheld by a world government.

Here is the vignette:

Once a friend asked the Master, “How should one look forward to death?”
He replied,
“How does one look forward to the goal of any journey? With hope and with expectation. It is even so with the end of this earthly journey. In the next world, man will find himself freed from many of the disabilities under which he now suffers. Those who have passed on through death, have a sphere of their own, it is not removed from ours, their work, the work of the Kingdon, is ours, but it is sanctified from what we call ‘time and place’. Time with us is measured by the sun. When there is no more sunrise, and no more sunset, that kind of time does not exist for man. Those who have ascended have different attributes from those who are still on earth, yet there is no real separation.
In prayer, there is a mingling of station, a mingling of condition. Pray for them as they pray for you!”
from:Honnold, Annamarie [collected and edited by](1982)Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. George Ronald, Oxford, UK. page 132.

Our Amma has also spoken similarly, advising us to make friends with death, and that it is like a period at the end of a sentance then a new sentance begins, or like a new chapter in the book…clearly, nothing to fear… The most important thing is to live our lives here correctly, so that at that time we will feel no prick of conscience for omissions or evil actions performed.

Another friend, had an amazing experience of Anni, As I don’t have persmission to relate it yet, I will first secure that permission, then tell you. It all suffices to prove to us that our beloved Lives. Our Anni Lives. She is still working for the same boss we fancy ourselves to be working for….and that is of great joy and relief to me, for as a family, it was our greatest joy to clean and sweep any and all pathways that our Amma might walk down, to try to make things beautiful for her in whatever little way we could, so her heart, which bears all our burdens would feel a little lightness….a small smile…anyhow….so, our beloved Anni, is with us, and we, with her, continue our work in the same vein….

I just went out for fruits and cake, meeting quite a few of our ashram sisters. This year we are not undertaking any fasts or penances of that ilk…I don’t think my Anni wants us too… When I told one that today was Anni’s birthday, she said, “It is for all of us Anni’s birthday, our Anni’s birthday, she is in all our hearts.” Its times like these, that we are very grateful to live in the ashram, with a community of like-minded…perhaps not all like-minded, at least we are all like-angled about Amma, and its a relief to be able to live in the light of the ideal that she shows us…..

Loving you,
Kamala, Anni and Link
May you all have a blessed Anni Jayanti!

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