The play was as wonderful as I knew it would be. The audience was spellbound and tears flowed freely. Several days before, Amma told us that she would end darshan early so she could watch it with us. That was such a gift. It also meant that the play was on the main stage so everyone could see it well.
An article about the play and more pictures can be found here. Should you desire to, you can click on the gallery pictures below to see them in a bigger slide show format.
After the play, Amma gave her yearly Christmas message, focused primarily on prayer. That was followed by her leading three high energy bhajans (devotional songs), and then chanting of the “Lokha Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu” sloka (May all beings in the world be happy.). Afterwards, tray after tray of Christmas cake was brought to Amma. She blessed it and then distributed it to the large crowd of devotees. The play started at 9:30 and the evenings activities were over sometime after 1 a.m. Afterwards, Brahmachari Subhamrita (one of Amma’s monks) walked over to some of the cast and shared how much he liked the play. Before long a big group of the play participants had gathered and were celebrating and reminiscing about the experience. What a wonderful night it was.
Christmas Day, for me, was another day that turned out far different than the one I had “planned.” It started out normal enough. I got up and put on a new Punjabi outfit I had saved for Christmas. Then all of a sudden I felt a pain in my lower back. Oh, no. I’d had this experience at least three times before in my life. Once was when I picked up Sreejit when he was 2 years old, once when Chaitanya was 2 and once in Amritapuri, maybe 10 years ago. Before long I could hardly move and at one point couldn’t stand up. I got help from my kids and my friends and was able to get some medication. I was resolved to the fact I needed to stay in bed, but was concerned about my ability to at least get to the bathroom.
Before I say what happened next, let me give some history. Several months ago, in Seattle, I bought a standing computer desk. I loved it and realized it would be very nice to have one in my room in Amritapuri. It comes in a kit, so I knew it was a size and weight that would fit into my big suitcase. I bought another one and brought it to India with me. I was right, it has been very nice to have it here.
As I lay in my bed, wondering how I was going to get up, I realized the desk would make a perfect walker. It could be set for any height I wanted and it was on rollers! I tried it out and it worked great. I could put my weight on the desk and make it go wherever I wanted. I still stayed lying down most of the day, but I was able to move when I needed to. My back felt significantly better soon after I started using the walker.
There was to be a cast celebration at 2 on Christmas Day and I had really looked forward to participating in that, so felt sad that I would not be able to go. It was held in a building that is not far from mine, however, so I could at least hear the applause every now and then. As I write this now, I realize what a blessing it was that we had the impromptu celebration with the brahmachari the night before. I had my group celebration then!
It takes a lot to slow me down, but if that was the goal of this particular “lesson,” it certainly worked. I don’t know much about what happened on Christmas day other than it was another public darshan day. From my bed, I was also able to hear some of the Christmas carols that were sung. The one I heard the clearest was one of my favorites, “O Holy Night.”
It was a really nice Christmas for me. Even though it wasn’t the day I “wanted,” it was clearly the day I “needed.”