Grace Can Happen at Any Time

"Grace comes out of nowhere.
It can happen at any time,
any place."
~ Amma

This morning, I arose early and made my way to darshan with Amma, or Ammachi, as she is also known, because she happened to be in my neck of the woods, literally. Just about ten minutes away!

I got there early, to secure a good spot, and while I had to wait two hours for the start of darshan, I had received my hug an hour later.

The word "darshan" literally means sight, or visions of the Divine, which we, in turn receive, with devotion and reverence.

I first saw Amma in the year 2003, I believe. I went with some yoga friends from that time, including one who was in remission from lymphoma. The experience was incredible for me. I remember feeling like a bolt of electricity had run through me, and I could hardly walk afterward. This time, the experience was more subtle, and the sea of humanity was almost overwhelming for an introvert. Still, it was amazing to be in a place where everyone was smiling and so devoted, and it was good to run into some of my current friends and teachers as well!

While I waited in line, I listened to the woman behind me, carrying a baby that was only months old, recount her difficulty in becoming pregnant. She flew to see Amma, and when she received her hug, she asked to be blessed with a child. A year later, her son was born on exactly the day of the first anniversary of this blessing!

I watched this woman and her family approach Amma, who held and covered the little baby boy over and over again with her kisses. It was truly a moving scene.

I have now had darshan twice with Amma, and twice with Mother Meera. They are totally diametrically opposed experiences. Amma's darshan is noisy - there is a lot of chanting and talking, and when Amma hugs you, she chants into your ear. Mother Meera's darshan is in complete silence. You could hear a pin drop. And when she looks into your eyes, you feel that you have never been known or seen as completely as you are in that moment. Looking into her eyes, is like looking into the Eye of Eternity.

I have been blessed to have been able to have a glimpse of the Divine in so many ways in my life. Through Hindu saints, the Dalai Lama (who is also in town this week), previous Popes, and of course, the many saintly individuals who will never be publicly recognized, such as my grandmother. It doesn't matter. God is present everywhere, if one has the eyes to see, and the ears to hear!

And here are some uplifting and inspirational quotes from Amma to enjoy:

"Let us strive to reach a state in which we are able to see all beings on earth as part of our own Self. Amma

Real love is the complete absence of any negative feeling towards anyone. Amma

Whatever may be your offering, what pleases God is the attitude of your heart. Amma

In the presence of a great Master, the closed bud of your heart opens effortlessly. Amma

Love and unity and the very foundation of our existence. Amma

Think of everyone as your own Self, or see everyone as God and serve Him. Amma

Pray for the peace and welfare of one and all in this world. Amma

A true smile is something that originates in the heart. Amma

God's grace is the sunlight; it shines on all without discrimination. Amma

A truly spiritual person lives for the Truth and breathes for love. Amma

We should take every action as our worship. Amma

We should be able to experience God's presence everywhere. Amma

Love one another without expectations. Then there is no need to go anywhere in search of heaven. Amma

When you see life and all that life brings you as a precious gift, you will be able to say yest to everything." Amma


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