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.
Amma’s love for mankind expresses itself in everything she does, both tangibly and intangibly. During the pandemic when so many devotees could not be in Amma’s physical presence, among other things, Amma offered them the gift of Amrita Virtual Academy, through which all her children can both learn something new as well as connect to her, the embodiment of Saraswati Devi, the Goddess of Learning.
Amma’s children long to be able to speak a few words to her in Malayalam, the language of love incarnate. This adds a new depth and dimension to their relationship with her. When they go for Darshan, Amma takes the pains to ask each one of them what their native language is, and blesses them in that language.
Now, Amritabhaasha students look forward to reciprocating and being able to speak to Amma in her mother tongue when they see her next. In fact, many of them are already speaking to her in Malayalam in their hearts, during their daily prayers, and while practicing the course material. I am amazed by how much and how quickly they have picked up this admittedly difficult language in a relatively short period of time. Students have been writing dialogues and short essays in Malayalam, some of which we will be sharing on this blog.
All of this has happened only through Amma’s grace. From the first time when she touched and blessed one of the slides, to the time when I showed her the lessons, and she smiled as she listened to the audio–– all of us have felt her grace and abundance in so many ways since those initial moments. It is only this grace that has carried us through the various phases of designing, implementing and teaching the course.
Many students have shared that they feel deeply connected to Amma through the course. Like this, learning the language has become a labor of love, a Sadhana, moving from communication to communion with her. They say language builds bridges, and in Amma’s Love, learning Malayalam has become another way of connecting us Jivatmas to Amma, the Paramatma.
Amma knows all her children’s hearts. They don’t have to be long time devotees or impressive spiritual giants. I have an incident to share that proves the depth of her love and compassion.
Once we were in Toulon, France, where the crowds that come to see Amma are huge. After three days of non-stop Darshan, Devi Bhava was coming to an end. We were lined up on both sides of Amma’s path waiting for her to come. There was a young boy standing next to me who was doing crowd control seva. He told me how much he admired the tour staff. He felt sad that maybe he did not have as much dedication or devotion to Amma, and that it hurt him in his heart. He pressed his hand to his heart. I consoled him saying all of us are equally devoted and Amma knows his heart. A few minutes later, Amma came down the steps. It had been a very long hectic Devi Bhava and I was hoping she would just walk straight to her camper.
Of course I was wrong! Guess where she stopped? Right in front of that young boy standing next to me who had a pain in his heart. Her smiling brilliant radiant eyes looked at him full of compassion. She brought her right hand up to his heart, exactly where he had said there was a pain. Saying “Mone, mone”, she rubbed his heart for a while, gave him a hug and left. The boy stood there speechless. Tears of gratitude filled his eyes as he looked at me and said: “How does she do that? How did she know my heart was aching?” To an ordinary human being this may seem like a miracle, but for an Avatar like Amma who is One with all of creation, this is the only way it can be. All our thoughts run through her who is the Cosmic Self. And she blesses us with her love to heal the pain in our aching hearts.
( Mone – Son )
I bow down to Amma, offering my deep gratitude to Her for allowing us to have a glimpse of and experience the fullness of her Immaculate Love, which is the nature of the Self.