Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to heaven – that is how I remember the stairs leading up to Amma’s room at the Ashram in Amritapuri.

It was Thursday, the 1st of May 2014, and after a month-long wait the day had finally arrived to visit Amritapuri. I was not sure if I would get to see Amma since the public darshans were over and preparations for Amma’s tour of the U.S. had begun. Amma was on a quick tour of Kerala before leaving for the U.S. tour.

Amma was expected to return to the Ashram the same day that we were arriving there. I prayed that Amma would arrive after us so that we could catch a glimpse of her—and this led to feelings of guilt that I was wanting Amma to be late when she had spent the entire previous night giving darshan and probably needed to rest.

When we arrived we were told that Amma was expected by 5 p.m., as she was going to visit some of her devotee’s homes on her way back to the Amritapuri. This relieved me of the guilt and also gave me a ray of hope. My brother who was accompanying me had come to see Amma for the very first time.

We checked into our rooms and went down to the main hall and waited. I checked with a Swami and he asked us to wait near the stairs leading to Amma’s room at 4.30 p.m., as she was expected around 5 p.m.

Excitement starting building up with every passing moment and people could be seen walking briskly around and towards the area which enclosed Amma’s room. I looked at my watch, it was ten minutes to 5. As I looked on, people were now running towards Amma’s room.

I looked around and realised that my brother had gone to see the resident astrologer. I tried calling my brother frantically but he was not answering the phone. I tried a couple of times, but in vain. Then I started running towards Amma’s room, but the crowd had already built up and there was no way we could be in a prime spot to catch a good glimpse of Amma.

Finally my phone rang and I was screaming hysterically for my brother to come near Amma’s room. By the time he arrived, Amma’s van was already through the gate. A few devotees managed to follow the van—and then the gates shut right in our faces. My heart plunged into deep despair and I knew that there was no way we would be able to see Amma now. We tried desperately to catch a glimpse of her through the crack between the two gates. To our amazement the police constable manning the gate was more interested in doing that himself and he blocked us out completely.

We were losing all hope of seeing Amma. I was in a state of panic and I began to berate my brother for spoiling this great chance. I think Amma could hear me screaming at my brother and decided to save him from his plight. I went and pleaded with the Swami to open the gates again and he kindly agreed. The guard was asked to let us in, but when the gates opened the crowed flooded in and we were swept inside like pieces of wood floating in a gushing stream.

The air was filled with “Mata Rani Ki Jai!” and Amma began to climb the steps leading to her room after the ritual garlanding and welcome ceremony.

Amma was halfway up the stairs when I suddenly heard my brother call out “AMMA! AMMA!“ His cries came deep from the bottom of his heart. He was there to see Amma for the first time and all he could see now was Amma’s back turned to the crowd.

It is at this point that the amazing miracle occurred.

Amma heard his cries and turned around. She looked right into the crowd, and looked straight at my brother with a divine smile and her eyes filled with compassion. I could feel her heart melt at my brother’s cries.

With one look into the crowd she singled my brother out and asked him to come up to her, and she gave him his first ever darshan right there on the steps. I was overjoyed watching this divine spectacle right in front of my eyes, when suddenly she called me to come up too. The crowd parted for me and I too got my showering of love right there on the steps leading to heaven.

I was completely immersed in this divine experience and was in a state of bliss. Amma began to climb up and then she turned again and asked us to come up all the way to her room. I could not believe what was taking place; my mind was racing so fast.

As I charged up the stairs with a millions thoughts racing through my mind, I noticed the colour of the steps leading up to her room glowing fluorescent red, and I said to myself, These divine stairs lead to heaven right here on Earth.

As we knelt in the room before Amma, the first thing Amma said was, ‘’I am sorry you had to wait for me. I was not aware that you children were coming and I went to see some of my other children.” I was overcome with Amma’s total humility and felt so cherished.

What struck me was that though I didn’t know Malayalam, I could understand everything that Amma was saying in Malayalam. Amma was glowing with radiance and her sari shone as if it was radiating the glow of the full moon.

We were showered with Amma’s love and blessings, and as I bowed down and placed my head on her feet a sense of déjà vu overtook me, and I realised that I had done this exactly in a dream a couple of months earlier—and at that point my mind drifted into a state where I was not sure if I was awake or if I was still in that dream.

As I left the room and turned onto the steps, I could feel cool drops of rain falling on my face. This was Amma’s heavenly blessing pouring out in the form of rain. I looked up at the sky and thanked Amma for this rare blessing. By the time I reached the bottom of the steps the light drizzle had turned into a downpour and I stood there and let myself soak in the rain…. I had climbed the stairway to heaven, and I was soaking in bliss right there.