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Sunday, November 27

Hara Om Shiva Om

This is perhaps the most beautiful rendering of a bhajan ever sung by Ammaji. Yet as you can see from the video she looks exhausted. And the people in the audience look somber and are meditating or praying rather than singing. I don't know what year she sang this but earlier in her mission Amma was taking on so many serious illnesses for people who came to her for help that she was sick all the time. Her disciples feared she would die.

Then, so the story goes, Sathya Sai Baba, who was fond of her, materialized a ring for her and after that her health improved.

I don't know whether she still takes on illnesses, which is supposed to be special grace; at least years ago she was doing it as a matter of course. In any event this particular performance is also an easily observed lesson, whatever your religion or religious sect. In sickness and health, and no matter how tired or upset or frightened you are, no matter how unworthy you feel, remember to call for help.

Readers who've been with this blog for years might recall my account of my encounters with a Whatnot who was possibly a card-carrying demon. Whatever it was, I who had always mocked the notion of supernatural evil, was scared out of my wits from one particular encounter in Nepal. I was also suffering physical shock and smoke inhalation from helping to put out a fire in a hotel that had been started by the Whatnot.

But there I was on a hotel rooftop, waiting, waiting, waiting, for the door to the hotel roof to open and there would be the Whatnot, hopping mad that I'd thwarted it by sounding the alarm about the fire.

I gathered enough of my wits to recall something that Sathya Sai Baba had said: If you can't call on God for help, call on me. If you can't call on me, then call on your mother and someone's mother will come rushing to your aid.

I couldn't call on God because I was an atheist at the time, and I couldn't call on Sai Baba because I was upset with him, and I couldn't call on my mother because we hadn't gotten along and besides she was dead. 

But finally I quavered, "O mother please help me." Then sobs tore from my chest.

Of course nothing would happen in response to my call, I thought bitterly. I'd just saved a hotel full of idiots and nearly killed myself waking the hotel watchmen. Story of my life. But what was I expecting to happen in the middle of nowhere outside Kathmandu in the wee hours of the morning, with the world still asleep?

I heard a rustling noise. I fought down the sobs and listened intently.

It was so large that at first I thought it was a cat. But it was a rat. A very pregnant rat. She'd laboriously climbed the vegetation growing on the wall opposite me. Then she ponderously made her way along the stringcourse until she was nearly opposite from where I was sitting. Then, taking up her post, she stayed with me all through the rest of that terrible night, until I was calm enough to return to my room.

Just before dawn I stood to thank her, then someone's mother retraced her hard journey.

Finally, and not to start a riot, but there is only one version of this particular bhajan performance on YouTube. I am grateful for the version but not the advertising for a religious order plastered across the top of it; if it shows on your browser it's easier to get rid of it at YouTube, if you don't use an ad-blocking program. Unfortunately there is no way that I can see to remove the small photo of Swami Vivekananda that is embedded in the video.  

And please no letters about this because I just might say in reply what I really think, and that wouldn't be a good thing. And yes, I know Ammaji is kind to the Ramakrishna people. She's kind to everyone. Unlike me. 

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