Amma: Sri Mata Amritanandamayi -  UK
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Diary Excerpt 8

September 2015 - UK devotees experience at the ashram

Visiting Amritapuri

I first met Amma in December 2014. I decided to go travelling to India for a few months on my own…something my heart was telling me to do. My friend Sarah suggested I go and stay in Amritapuri. I had mentioned I wanted to do some yoga and Sarah said they had some great yoga retreats in the Ashram.

I had known Sarah for a few years; we met whilst studying a photography degree together. I knew that she went to stay in Amritapuri every year for a month or two and she had always invited me to come and meet Amma in Alexandra Palace. But I had always politely declined. I thought what a nice thing for her, to have a spiritual teacher, but it was not something I was looking for.

I arrived in Amritapuri and everything changed :) Amma was singing Bhajan’s in the hall and the reception desk encouraged me to go as quickly as possible. So me and two other British girls who arrived at the same time dropped our bags off and headed down. We sat at the back of the hall on some available chairs and then slowly moved forward so we were sat on the floor. The Bhajan’s were full of emotion and devotion.

Over the next few days I had my first Darshan and began the Devi Namaskara yoga course. There were a few thousand people in the ashram, everywhere was busy and noisy but yet I had never felt so peaceful. We were encouraged to do Archana (chanting) every morning as part of our course and we did an hour of seva (selfless service) in the middle of a crammed schedule of yoga and meditation. It was exhausting but totally blissful.

There is an amazing energy in and around Amritapuri. When you have several thousand people living and working together, where there is no drinking alcohol, no taking dugs and no smoking. When these people are singing, doing yoga, carrying out seva (selfless service) and meditating and constantly encouraged by Amma to love and serve one another, the good energy spreads. It felt like my heart opened up in a way it had never done before. I felt a self-love and confidence I had never felt before, a peace I had never felt.

My friendship groups spend a lot of time in pubs, clubs and at parties. Which is fine and has been my London life for 15 years. But after my trip to India I wanted to connect to other Amma devotees, to meet other spiritual people, but also to connect to a community. I phoned Yamunah from the East London Satsang group and attended on a Saturday. It was exactly what I needed. It included chanting, Singing, meditation and eating!! Home cooked Indian food!! I met a new friend Ugne on my first visit. She had never met Amma before but was looking for more community/spiritual activities to do that was away from the London party scene. The Satsangs are full of devotion for Amma, which is beautiful, but they are also full of love and support of one another, a place of acceptance, of encouragement to spread more love, to do more seva, to help the wider community. It’s really a little dose of love and inspiration every time I go to a satsang and could not imagine my life without them now.

By Tania Olive

Amma walks to Azhikkal
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