I still have the little yellow paper with the handwritten Malayalam word അമ്മ (mother) on it. I looked up the word in an online dictionary a couple of days after first meeting Amma, and those letters became sacred to me. I practiced the As and Ms over and over again, imagining that one day I would be able to understand Amma’s words, and with that, would be able to grasp more clearly the spiritual concepts Amma was conveying to us.
Finding a Malayalam class, however, was not easy. I found various books, apps, and other resources in my search for language learning tools, but the use of these tools yielded only limited results, as I was not able to ask any questions. I learned many words and various aspects of Malayalam grammar along the way but often didn’t know how to use them correctly.
Amma tells us that having a teacher is crucial in any learning process. Without a teacher, we may be able to learn various things but be unable to make sustained progress, because without a teacher, we likely won’t have a clear idea of what the end result of our learning process should be. We can study medicine on our own, but without being enrolled in medical school and learning from experienced physicians, we won’t actually become a doctor.
When I saw the first Malayalam class being offered through Amrita Virtual Academy, it felt like an answer to my prayers—and it truly was. That class, and the classes that followed, provided engaging and fun learning materials, with information on basic vocabulary and grammar as well as cultural and spiritual teachings that gradually allowed us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the language. With this knowledge, we learned not only how to ask our Malayalam teacher questions about these aspects, but also how to communicate with Amma. We learned to understand some of Amma’s words and teachings in Malayalam, and soon knew how to express basic ideas and verbalize questions to Amma.
The night I first met Amma, I was struck by the realization that in front of me was the first person I’d ever met who would be able to teach me something of lasting value in a way I’d be able to understand. I didn’t fully grasp the meaning of this, but I knew that understanding Amma’s words would change my life. Her words resonated with Divinity, and felt like stepping stones on the spiritual journey. These days, looking at my small yellow paper with the word അമ്മ (mother) fills me with great joy, as my Amrita Virtual Academy classes have helped me understand this word and many more. It also fills me with gratitude for the ways in which Amma answers our prayers, offering much more than our minds can envision.
Om Amriteswaryai Namaha,
Malayalam Student, Amrita Virtual Academy
To learn more about AVA’s beginning level Malayalam course,
Amritabhaasha: Communicate with Amma – Part 1, please visit: https://courses.amritavirtualacademy.com/courses/amritabhaasha-communicate-with-amma-part1-oct-2020