Ted Zeff (Dayalu) on Amma Transcript

Ted Zeff (Dayalu) on Amma Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done over 365 of them now and if this is new to you then go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P and look under the past interviews menu where you’ll find them all organized and categorized in various ways. If this is not new to you, you’re probably tired of hearing me say that. I say it every week. Batgap is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers and so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it there’s a donate button on every page of the site, a PayPal button. You may have noticed in my interviews that there’s a little picture of a woman with a garland around her neck sitting over my right shoulder and that’s Amma. Today’s guest is going to talk about Amma with me and I’ll have him explain who she is, but I just want to say that my wife Irene and I have been seeing Amma since 1999 and have benefited tremendously from our association with her. She really has had a profound effect on our lives. So I don’t think I’ve mentioned her in various interviews, but we’ve never really done an interview about her. So that’s what today’s interview is going to be about. And today’s guest Ted Zeff is highly qualified to tell us about Amma because he’s written three books about her. I was just reading the third entitled “Amma, Inspiring Experiences with the Divine Mother.” Ted lived in Amma’s ashram in San Ramon, California for about 25 years and has traveled all over the world with her. I think it was like what

Ted: 1988. 1988.

Rick: How did you meet her and who is she?

Ted: Well a friend of mine said, “Oh there’s a spiritual teacher coming from India,” and at that time in my life I was trying to meet all sorts of spiritual teachers and I just thought this was just another teacher from India. I didn’t realize she’s really the incarnation of the Divine Mother. And I remember I wanted to ask her a question because I was asking questions to all these spiritual teachers. And this was in San Francisco, it was very small programs in those days. The program had maybe 75 people there, nobody knew about Amma. And I went, I wanted to ask a question. They go, “Well you can only ask her a question in the mornings.” I said, “Well never mind, I won’t come back, I won’t see her in the morning.” So, I went up to get Darshan, which is the hug, the famous hug that Amma has hugged over 30 million people. And I got the hug and then I was getting up to leave and the Swami sitting next to her, this is called Big Swamiji, says, “Oh wait a minute, come back.” Amma says, “You have a question?” And so, I sat down and started asking her some spiritual questions about how to concentrate when I meditate. And also I go, “Wow, she could read my mind and she gave these amazing eloquent answers.” So, I came back the next day and I stayed with her since 1988. And a lot of people go see Amma and don’t have a clue who she is. “Oh, seems like a nice lady dressed in white who’s hugging some people.” But no one in a human body, the natural human body, could do what she does. I mean try having even for two hours one person after another falling on you and crying on you and holding them one after another. I mean, a human couldn’t do that. And on Devi Bhava, which he does all night long, it starts with a puja or ceremony around seven o’clock at night and then she starts the darshan, which is the hugging people, at around 8.30 and she’ll go on. I just noticed today she’s in Paris and Paris has huge programs and it ended at imagine she comes out at 7 and goes on to to drink anything, to go to the bathroom, to eat anything. And she said once that if her body was made out of steel it would have broken a long time ago. So that alone is a miracle that she can sit there for so many hours, not only hugging one person after another, but while she’s doing that she’s running a hundred different or more than a hundred different charities where they’ll put a cell phone next to her ear and she’ll direct people about how to help the poor in India in terms of the hospital she’s created and the orphanages. It’s just absolutely mind-boggling and then in the meantime, there’s also a question line where people are going up trying to ask her questions. So she’s the ultimate multitasker. Yeah, she really is. Incidentally I forgot to mention at the beginning that your spiritual name that Amma gave you is Dayalu, so some of your friends might know you as Dayalu. Maybe I’ll call you Ted for the sake of convenience during the interview, or Dayalu, I’ll go back and forth. So you mentioned several things during that, I just want to second the sentiment that you just expressed, which is that the longer you watch Amma, even in a single session, the more your jaw drops because you begin to realize that you’re seeing something quite extraordinary that you couldn’t imagine yourself being able to do, and then going on hour after hour. And I also just want to add that when I first heard about Amma, the hug thing, I thought, “Oh that’s cute, kind of touchy-feely or something.” There was that guy Leo Buscaglia who was really into hugging people and it’s really sweet. And so, I didn’t have a sense of the depth of it until I went and saw Amma and had that experience. And actually, sort of putting her arms around you and whispering something in your ears is more like just an external vehicle for what’s something that’s happening very profoundly on a deep level, where you kind of feel like she’s really connecting with you at the core of your being and pushing some buttons there, which are going to change the course of your life in some ways. I don’t know exactly what she’s doing, but maybe you can elaborate. But there’s a sense of a deep communion or connection or merging of souls or something, and you feel, at least I always feel, highly uplifted by the experience, profoundly so, and I really feel like it’s had a cumulative effect over the years that has really accelerated and safeguarded the course of my spiritual evolution. Maybe you could elaborate on some of that.

Ted: Well, my feeling is when she touches people, she’s awakening the Divine within you. And whether you go back to see her another time or you become a devotee and you see her regularly and you do the meditation and the archana, which is the repetition of the names of Amma and the Divine Mother, or you don’t do anything, she’s put a little spark of the Divine in your soul that will manifest, if not in this lifetime, in a future incarnation, if you have the belief that many people do, especially in the Hindu and Buddhist religion, that there’s more than one incarnation. And my feeling also is that it often says it’s a lot of times when you’re with her, there’s a lot of chaos around and so many thousands of people coming there. I mean in Europe, she’ll have instead of just like a few two, three thousand, like in America, she’ll have like ten, fifteen thousand. In India, she’ll have up to seventy-five, a hundred thousand. I mean it’s just mind-boggling. But what she’s doing is, her whole purpose is to awaken that Divinity within you, so that you will get to a place that you just realize the temporariness of this incarnation and you are trying to focus on developing your oneness with God, in whatever form that is. And she doesn’t try and change anyone. She has Buddhist monks, Catholic nuns, people from every religion come to see her, and yet she’s accepting everyone where they’re at, but she’s trying to help them go deeper into their own religion, their own sense of the Divine within them. And one of the techniques is, it’s kind of called rocks in a tumbler. So if you shake the rocks up enough, eventually the sharp edges will smooth out and become smooth. And I can absolutely say after living 20 years in her ashram, it works. And I just think of how I was when I first met her, not that I’m mature by any means, but the level of immaturity and attachments I had to things on a worldly level, whether they be physical objects or connections with people. Mine, mine, I wanted this, I wanted that. And I’m just noticing in my old age now, after living there 20 years, it’s like I’m very, very detached from the earth plane in terms of wanting anything. Not that I don’t get upset over things sometimes, but there’s been a profound effect not only with me, but every person I’ve seen who has lived in her ashram. The big one of course is Amrita Puri in India, in the state of Kerala in South India, where there are thousands and thousands of permanent residents or people who live in her ashram. She has ashrams in Europe, in Paris, Barcelona, there’s a new one in Holland, and the United States there’s more and more ashrams. I lived last year at the Chicago ashram which is huge, it’s going to be really big, but by living in her ashram there’s some profound change that happens for people in terms of letting go of the ego and opening to God, and it’s just amazing.

Rick: Yeah, it is. I mean I haven’t lived in her ashram, although I’ve lived in other ashrams, but there’s definitely that. I mean you know, yeah, even seeing her regularly, I mean since many people listening aren’t about to move to one of her ashrams just like that, but just coming and seeing her once or twice a year if you can, can have a profound influence, and you know if you are interested in the idea of ashram life, Amma’s ashrams either here and well wherever they exist might be a good thing to consider. The rocks and the tumbler principle meaning that you know you have a situation like that where you have all these people living under rather intense conditions and having to work and do this and that, and you know personalities can rub up against each other, and yet there’s this higher sort of higher principle at work where you’re all striving for God and so on, and so you kind of have to work things out and smooth things out and keep your eyes on that goal, and you just can’t exist in an atmosphere like that indefinitely and still hang on to all your individual idiosyncrasies, and they got to kind of smooth out over time.

Ted: By the way, I want to mention that for those who haven’t seen her or those who have seen her, very shortly she’ll be in the United States. She comes twice a year to the US. She does a tour of about I think it’s seven or eight cities in the United States and one in Canada in the summertime, and then in November she comes after her Europe tour and she’ll be in the San Francisco Bay Area November 25th to the 30th, and she’ll be in Detroit, Michigan I believe it’s the 20th to the find out more details about that. So you mentioned earlier that Amma is the Divine Mother and we’ve heard, you know, many people have heard the term the Divine Feminine, but we can’t just presume that we all have the same understanding of what that means, the Divine Mother. What does it mean to you? What do you think?

Ted: Well in most traditional Christianity or Judaism it’s always, “O Father thou art Father,” you know, in the masculine. And I remember I had another spiritual teacher before Amma who talked about saying that the mother is closer than the father and you can worship God as the mother, and that’s what she said is needed now. So she came, you know, these great beings like Krishna or Christ comes to the earth when it’s really needed and they really need the feminine, the feminine form of God now. And so that’s what she’s here for and that’s part of why she insists on hugging everyone because we’re all longing for that connection with the mother, and in this case the Divine Mother, so that form of God that’s of the feminine. Yeah, I remember there’s some quote from Amma, you can probably do it better, I think I even saw it in your book, but I’ve heard it over the years that you know everyone is craving love and never gets enough of it, some such thing, and that you know she just really wants to fulfill that need in people.

Ted: Yeah, not only fulfill that need in people but as I said earlier spark that longing for more than just the earth plane, a connection with your biological relatives, your spouse, your children, but going to the highest level because see one of the reasons when they ask Amma about how she can do what she does, she says where it’s like a river flowing, her love just is natural and it’s just a spontaneous outpouring of love, so where there’s love there’s no efforts and that’s why she’s able to do what she’s doing for hour after hour and she sees everyone who comes up to her as her own self because there’s no difference for her between anybody, there’s no ego there, there’s no separation and what causes all the pain is the ego, the sense that it’s I, mine, this is mine and I’m separate, but Amma is egoless and sees herself in all beings and how can we, she always says we can’t get to the feeling of that divine connection, that bliss of God if we think we’re separate and we think we have an ego, so that’s why breaking down the ego and helping let go of it and being more detached and one of the main ways in Amma’s teachings is through selfless service or seva of serving suffering humanity in whatever way possible and she also emphasizes that it’s easier in this day and age to have bhakti yoga which is opening your heart and so many of the songs, the bhajans, the singing is about just opening your heart to God, to the Divine Mother and just saying where are you that longing rather than the jnani which is more of the wisdom which is important but a lot of people can get stuck in thinking, so that’s why a lot of the emphasis is on selfless service or seva and bhakti yoga.

Rick: It’s interesting to note that when Amma comes into the hall every time, first thing she does is bow to the audience, head to the floor, so there’s this mutual sort of respect situation that she illustrates by doing that I think, it’s not like she’s placing herself above everyone, there’s a sort of a recognition of them, to me that symbolizes a recognition of our mutual unity and respect for one another. And she’ll also say when they ask her, “Oh people say you’re God in the bodies,” and she’ll just start laughing, I mean whenever she does anything it’s a hundred percent laughing, saying “I’m a crazy girl.” And another thing, if you haven’t met Ami yet, they’re wondering, there’s so many of these gurus that will charge like $10,000 and in two weekends you’ll be enlightened and they charge for every program. Another thing that you can see why she’s the real McCoy so to speak, is that she doesn’t charge a cent for the public programs and she only charges a little bit for the retreats, a very reasonable fee to cover the cost of the food or paying for the hotel. So the fact that when they say, “Well how much is it to see her?” It’s absolutely free. And even the people in India who are so poor, who are living on, I don’t know, like 500 rupees a day, they’ll still give like 20-30 rupees to Amma’s charities and every single penny or rupee in India goes 100% to help the poor. There’s no administration because it’s all volunteers. So you know that’s why I basically donate money, the only charity right now is to Amma’s organization, the MA Math, because you know every cent that you give is going to help you to feed the poor, go for the hospitals, for health care, for orphanages, for all of her multitude of charities.

Rick: Yeah, there is a tremendous amount accomplished. If you look on her website there’s a whole section itemizing all the things that are done. For instance, after the big tsunami that happened there about 10 years ago or so, there’s this huge drive to build homes for the people whose homes have been destroyed and I don’t know how many tens of thousands of homes were built and that’s just one example, there are a whole lot of other things. You know this point about Amma not getting tired because she’s kind of one with everyone or something. I was standing near her couch one time and a reporter was interviewing her and asking her about how she managed to do this without getting tired and she said, “Well you know,” she said, “if you work in a factory you get tired and you want to punch the clock and go home, but if you own the factory you just have a lot of energy, you can just keep going.” She said, “This is my factory.” I’m just kind of like, you know, I don’t even have to elaborate, you can get the feeling of what she was doing there with all these people. She felt like it was, yeah I won’t even elaborate, go ahead. Let’s get into some inspiring stories. There are a lot of interesting stories in your book and if you want we could use your table of contents as a guide for those stories or else you can just come out with anything that occurs to you as we go along. For instance, the first chapter is entitled “The Omniscient Guru” and maybe it’d be useful to address just for a second the whole notion of gurus, because there have been some gurus that have kind of given the word a bad name and a lot of people are leery of the whole notion of associating with a guru. So what would you say to dispel those doubts and then maybe we can get into some interesting little anecdotes that you write about.

Ted: Well as I said earlier, you know, if you’ve never met Amma or any spiritual teacher you should be skeptical at first, but once you spend time and you realize that this is an honest path, the spiritual teacher is here to help suffering humanity the way Christ was or the Buddha, then my opinion is to see other spiritual teachers, it’s like digging holes in different places, you’ll never get to the water, you know, if you’re digging for water. So but yeah, and it isn’t good that there’s been a lot of spiritual teachers, especially male spiritual teachers, who had scandals, sex scandals, etc., but just because you go to one doctor who’s bad doesn’t mean you don’t go see another doctor who’s good. So likewise, you need to just use your discrimination, but once you feel there’s a legitimate spiritual teacher that can help you on every level, especially your spiritual growth, then it’s important to stick with it and follow the teachings.

Rick: Yeah, and what do you feel about the idea of seeing a guru or teacher at all as opposed to somehow doing it on your own? What does Amma have to say about that?

Ted: You know, I actually asked Amma a question once about all the sincere people who are trying to do good in the world who don’t have a spiritual teacher, and she says, “Well yes, they’re growing spiritually, but it’s like a thousand or ten thousand times harder to reach the goal without a teacher.” It’s like, you know, if you’re going to go to medical school you need to learn from a doctor how to do a surgery. So likewise, trying to do it on your own, it’s virtually possible. You need someone to show you the way, someone who’s already there at that state of knowledge.

Rick: And when we say the goal, I presume we mean the goal of enlightenment or God-realization or something along those lines. I once asked Swamini Krishnamrita, Amma’s personal assistant attendant, about that, about whether there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of talk about enlightenment or awakening or whatnot in Amma’s circles. And you know, whereas back in those days I wasn’t interviewing people, but now I have been and many people report having had profound spiritual awakenings, some very abiding, that it’s not just a flash but something which shifts and lasts. And Krishnamrita said to me that she thought that enlightenment was very rare and that you could count people on the fingers of your hands in the world who are really enlightened, deserving of that term, but that many people might attain it as they die, and on their deathbed somehow there would be this great liberation. So, a lot of listeners to this show are interested in awakening or enlightenment or spiritual realization, and how would you address that point vis-a-vis Amma?

Ted: Well, I think Amma meets everyone where they’re at and I’d say way over 90% of the people who just stop by to see her are just curious and not really sincere, sincerely want enlightenment as their whole goal in life. But there is a lot of talk of enlightenment and reaching the goal of self-realization amongst the devotees, the sincere devotees like yourself who come back year after year, people who live in the ashrams. But initially it wouldn’t work I think if Amma started talking about enlightenment to an audience of several thousand people who aren’t even really aware of it. So, she tells a lot of her teachings or through stories about doing good and helping suffering people and ways to let go of the ego, so she meets everyone where they’re at.

Rick: Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean Christ kind of tried to do that too, you know, there was a famous “pearls before swine” comment and then he also talked about the parable of the sower throwing seeds on various kinds of soil and you know it’s not too common for the seeds to fall on the kind of soil where they’re really going to sprout and flourish. So you do get that sense with Amma that she’s trying to straddle a wide range of spiritual maturity in her presentation. And you know one cool thing about Amma, you could elaborate on this, is she’s so adaptable. I mean you see her, you watch her hugging, blessing, giving darshan to thousands of people throughout a day, and it’s not like by the end of the day she’s all tired out and getting bored with it. You know she could be hugging person number 2,000 and she seems just as enthusiastic and into it as she did on the first few. And there’s also this adaptability where she instantly conforms to each person’s situation, and I don’t want to make it sound like she’s unstable because she’s not, there’s this rock-solid presence. But you know she really tunes into each person and she may be shedding tears with one person and then a minute later laughing with another person. Maybe you could elaborate on that.

Ted: Exactly, I’ve seen it time and time again, where it’s almost shocking. I remember just about a year ago in Seattle, there was a little boy and his grandmother came up for darshan and the little boy’s mother died and the boy was just devastated and Amma was just crying, tears, holding them just like totally distraught, because don’t forget she’s seen herself in everyone and she’ll manifest, it’s called bhava, whatever form is needed at the time. So, in this particular case I mean she was just crying and holding that little boy and it was just so heart-wrenching and literally the next person coming up had some kind of funny balloon to give her and literally would go from crying these tears to just laughing heartily, jumping up and down in her seat. And only a great Mahatma, a self-realized being, could go from one to the other because there’s no ego with herself and holding on to it.

Rick: There’s no rigidity. There’s a metaphor that’s sometimes used in spiritual circles where it’s like someone who’s very ego-bound, it’s like stone and you make a mark in the stone and it’s hard to make, you can’t make a very deep one and yet it stays a long, long time. And then someone a little bit less ego-bound, it’s more like sand, you can more easily make a deeper mark, but you know the wind or the waves will wash that away pretty quickly. And then even less ego-bound, it’s more like water, you could pass your arm through it and yet it goes away right away. Or even more so like air or like space even, where there’s no limit to its depth and yet no impression or vasana we might say is left. So Amma seems like that, she seems like kind of a cosmic space which can contain everything and which fully commiserates with everyone and yet is not trapped or bound or restricted by any experience that she has.

Ted: Well in terms of stories, you know that’s what my book is about. Basically, since I met her in 1988 I’ve just been writing down different stories, things I’ve witnessed, but I actually don’t think I’m a very good writer, I’m good at recording the things. And actually there’s a funny story in my book about how many times Amma had me write and rewrite the book for I think it was eight, nine years. And then Brahmachari Satish who’s a renunciant living in India is the one, he’s a brilliant editor and he’s very knowledgeable about all the scriptures and he’s the one who really turned it into a good book. But at any rate in that first chapter I talk about we’re going back to Amma, the omnipresent guru, that she not only knows every thought when you go up for darshan, what’s going on in your mind, but she knows your past life, your future lives.

Rick: How do you know that?

Ted: Yeah, so people sometimes get a little afraid, she goes, “Oh she can read my mind.” It’s like, and she can, because she’s one with everyone, she’s one with you. Yeah, well that’s a good thing if you know that she has your best interest in mind and I’ve had that experience myself where she really knows and she gives you some little hint or something that sets you straight. Yeah, and one of the one who’s basically all, whose body and senses are for the good of the world constantly. Every thought she had is how she can help uplift suffering humanity. So anyway, some of the first stories I talk about is that, and people just are blown away about it, is that she can speak any language when she wants to. And they have an interpreter and she speaks Malayalam, but then there’s been case after case where she’ll speak the language of the person who’s up there. So one of the first stories is a story about a woman who came from Croatia, former Yugoslavia, one of the parts of former Yugoslavia to see Amma, and before she went to get Darshan she was devastated because I believe her husband and her parents were killed in the war and she went up and she said to the Swami, “Well I don’t think Amma could understand the pain I’m going through.” So she goes to get Darshan and she comes back and she just was crying and she said, “Amma sang to me in Croatian a lullaby that my mother used to sing to me as a little girl which is ‘Don’t be sad, life is nothing but a dream.'” I mean it’s just shocking. And then there’s another story after that about a woman from Brazil who only speaks Portuguese and the first time she met Amma she was just terrified because she had a congenital eye disease that usually you go blind by the time you’re in your 20s and she had a cousin who had it who went blind and she went up for Darshan, Amma never saw her before and Amma looks at her and says to her in Portuguese, “Don’t worry about your eyes, you’ll be fine.” And the same person actually was the first person who went to her medical school that Amma created, the AIMS Medical School in India in Kerala, Cochin, and she’s now a medical doctor practicing in the United States. I mean this case after case of how … I’ll tell you another little one about her …

Rick: Well we’re still on languages, let me just ask you a language question and then we can go on to the answer. Sure. And that is that I believe these things, I’ve seen enough amazing stuff with Amma to believe them, but a skeptical person who’s never met her might say, “Alright, well if that’s true why does she bother with a translator as she goes from country to country, why doesn’t she just give her talks in English or German or French or you know Spanish or whatever?” So, do you feel like this is something she can do in short spurts and really needs a translator for a big long talk or how do you explain that? You know it’s all called a Leela or like a divine play and that’s part of it. See in India where they speak her native tongue of Malayalam in Amrita Puri, it’s unbelievable because most of the people going up there will speak to her in their native language or she also speaks Tamil to people who talk to her in Tamil and it’s just like I mean it’s just overwhelming. So not only don’t you have an interpreter kind of have a question line and people you know to filter things out but every single person is crying out to her in their native language. So I think part of it is that it would be just too much and it’s kind of like..

Rick: What do you mean it would be too much?

Ted: It’d be like then everybody would be crying out to her in English all the time or if she’s in France in French and she could do it but it’s part of this whole like divine play is what I call it and it’s kind of like you have a computer and you can open the program when you want to but you don’t always open a certain program so when it’s really needed to see don’t forget her whole quest is to help bring people to God. So, if she, when it’s really needed, like this woman from Yugoslavia or the woman from Brazil it was like a real special moment but then again, these special moments wouldn’t be so special if she could do that plus it would just be I think if she started speaking in every country she went through every language it would be kind of like you know people would see it almost like some kind of show you know it would take it away from it’s like when she first started manifesting Krishna Bhava, she became one with Krishna and they say oh if you’re really something special like the skeptics were saying well then you know show us a miracle and she says well if I showed you a miracle you’d want another one and then another one and another one and I’m here to take away the illusion and you know not to give you more stuff to feed your mind and so she goes but this one time I will do a miracle and that’s when she had a bowl of water and she put her finger in it and it turned into payasam which is pudding from the local area and it was enough to feed the entire village or like the example of Dattan the leper which you can see in the movie Darshan if you’re skeptical you can actually download it from Netflix D-A-R-S-H-A-N and it’s a documentary about Amma and there’s scenes in the beginning of it of her, there’s a leper named Dattan who came to see her back in the mid body and it smelled terrible and pus was coming out and everybody kind of ran away and Dayamrita Swami said that’s what really convinced him when he witnessed that, when he witnessed her licking Dattan the leper’s wounds and healing the wounds on the body through her holy saliva. I mean come on folks.

Rick: Kind of a wild story.

Ted: Yeah so you know so we shouldn’t get caught up on like well if she could speak a language why isn’t she always speaking in these languages just look at the video of Dattan the leper and licking his wounds. I mean people were freaked out by it, some people actually got sick and passed out because it was unbelievable.

Rick: Don’t try this at home.

Ted: She’s only going to do it, but again she doesn’t do it all the time.

Rick: Yeah I was reading an article on the airplane coming back from California the other day about this guy who hit his head on the bottom of a swimming pool and got a severe concussion and shortly thereafter he began to be able to play beautiful classical music that he was composing on the fly and he could sit there for hours composing this stuff and he didn’t really have any musical training whatsoever. And then the article also mentioned some other instances like this kid that got hit in the head with a baseball and all of a sudden he could solve these complicated mathematical equations in his head. And so the article was saying how we’ve all heard of savants, you know, these are sort of like accidental savants, but we have tremendous capabilities, we all saw Rain Man, and yet they’re usually locked up. So it might be that someone like Amma has access to the much more vast potentials of the mind and of creativity as well as other fields of life and can actually access them at will, like you say, when it really serves a purpose, when there’s really a necessity.

Ted: Exactly.

Rick: Yeah.

Ted: I’ll give you another example. So a friend of mine had cancer and he was in the hospital getting chemotherapy when Amma was in the ashram in San Ramon and I was with him, it was just the two of us in the room, and he said to me, “Gosh, Amma doesn’t even know how much I’m suffering here.” And he actually got sick to his stomach and went to the bathroom and had thrown up. He came back into the room and says, “Oh, I feel a little bit better now,” because he was getting really nauseous from the chemo, but then he felt better when I left. The next day I went to the program and Amma never, maybe once or twice, has ever called me up, but she called me up and she said to me, my friend’s name was Shakti, and she says, “Oh, Shakti’s sick to his stomach yesterday but then felt better when you left.” It was like to let him know that she was right in the room aware of all his suffering and there’s case after case after case stories like that where Amma is omnipresent, she knows everything is happening everywhere. But she’ll, as you said, she’ll say it when it’s used in this case to uplift my friend who was in the hospital or the Yugoslavian woman, the Croatian woman or the Brazilian woman, she’s not going to go around doing it like 24/7, but only when it’s really needed to give that spiritual boost and faith.

Rick: Yeah, Irene once asked Amma a question at the Boston program about omniscience, and Irene you can correct me if I don’t get this right, but basically Amma said that she has that sort of omniscient quality with regard to people who are open to her, who are connected with her, and I would gather from that that she couldn’t necessarily tell you how many birds are in flight in the world right now or how many craters there are on the dark side of the moon or anything like that, but it wouldn’t be relevant or useful, but whatever she, to do so, but if she tunes in on someone or if someone is tuned in to her and connected with her, then that channel is open and useful information can come that is going to be helpful to that person. I; I think she said something like the door has to be open for Amma to pass through.

Rick: The door has to be open. I; Yeah, somewhat, there has to be some receptivity, you know, or need as Dayal was saying.

Rick: Yeah, like she doesn’t…

Rick: It’s grace, it just happens at times.

Ted: Yeah, I just give you another, it triggered a thought in my mind about, I coordinate the Prasad and Prasad is when after you get the hug there’s a line of people who take turns giving her a chocolate kiss, candy, and a flower petal, and for the Indian people they get a little packet of vibhoothi or holy ash, and so I was a Prasad coordinator in Devi Bhava, it was around 4.30 in the morning and we were running out of people to… Oh no, she called me and I said we were running out of people to give Prasad and she said, because I asked her, “Well, should people who weren’t on the list give Prasad?” And she goes, “Well, according to my calculations at 4.07 a.m. all 937 people should have given Prasad.” You know, I mean it’s like this, it was needed, the Divine Computer then, and you go to her and in the beginning of a program in each sitting you say how many people are eligible to give Prasad, and she does the calculation that says how much time they should give giving Prasad to Amma, so she’s, you know, it’s just amazing.

Rick: It is, yeah, I’ve seen that. What were you going to say, Irene? I; Oh, just that people wouldn’t understand what the Prasad means.

Rick: Oh, he kind of explained it. I; I mean, people come up for Darshan…

Rick: Oh, let me explain it because you’re not on the mic. You explain it, Ted, because you’re on the mic and you can explain it, you’re the Prasad coordinator. I mean, they get a little kiss and a thing.

Ted: A little chocolate kiss or a hard candy and a flower petal, and then the Indian folks in America or in Europe will also get a little packet of holy ash.

Rick: Right, after your Darshan. And the reason there’s somebody who needs to give her that is that she’s busy, you know, giving Darshan to all the people, and so, there’s some people sitting on the side and they have a tray of these things and they put the right… she just stretches her hand out, you put what she needs in her hand and then she can give it to the person. So, it just makes the whole thing roll along more efficiently.

Ted: And it gives people who are very close to her doing a lot of seva, selfless service, a chance to get near Amma.

Rick: Yeah, it’s a very nice experience. I’ve done it many times. Okay, so maybe we’ve covered the topic of omniscience, which was your first chapter thing. I mean, there’s more we can say about all these things, but we’ve covered some nice points. And if people have questions, we’ve got about 120 people on the live stream. It looks like you’re free to send them in. There’s a form at the bottom of the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com through which you can submit your questions. Let’s just go down the chapter titles and let you riff a little bit on each thing. The second chapter is “The Divine Qualities of a Mahatma.” What are those? And what is a Mahatma? Everybody knows what a Mahatma is, but you might as well elaborate.

Ted: Oh, I don’t know if many people know, unless you’re on a spiritual path. A Mahatma is a self-realized master. But first of all, I just want to say that I am definitely no authority on Amma or Amma’s spiritual path. I’m just someone who lived in her ashram, who wrote down stories. So, for any questions you really have about the spiritual questions concerning Amma or your own spirituality, you need to contact one of the brahmacharis, which is a renunciate, or one of the swamis. And so, you know, I’m not that knowledgeable, so I just want to say right off the bat, don’t quote me on anything. I’m just someone who’s like a secretary who wrote down some stories.

Rick: Yeah, well, but you’ve been around, so you’ve been there, done that, you know a lot about this stuff. So, we’ve got you right now, so maybe some other time I’ll interview one of those swamis. So, Mahatma, Atman is the self, and Maha means great, so it means a great soul, a great sage. We refer to Mahatma Gandhi, for instance. So, in Amma’s case, we’ve been talking a lot about her already, and we’ve enumerated some of her qualities. Are there any other qualities you’d like to touch upon?

Ted: I’d rather do it by sharing the story of qualities. So, for example, as I mentioned, she could sit for hours, like 12, 14 hours without eating anything. And she frequently doesn’t have time to eat. She’s busy traveling, going here and there, and the close devotees are always kind of nudging her to eat something, and she doesn’t have time. And one time, there’s one western swami named Swami Paramatmananda, who’s actually from Chicago. His name was Neil Rosner, and that’s a whole other story. He’s written several amazing books about Amma. He, at the age of 18, first went to Japan and then went to India and lived in Tiruvannamalai, Ramana Maharshi’s ashram, and then he came to Amma. But he tells a story how he was in Amrita Puri in the early days, I think it was even before she started coming on the US tour in ’88, maybe it was like ’86, and she hadn’t eaten for days. And he kept saying, “Please eat something,” and she refused. And she said, “Okay, give me a plate of food,” and he brought her a plate of food. She ate that and he said, “Give me another plate,” and he gave her another plate. He brought her like 10 plates of food she ate, then he had to go across this river called the Backwaters to the village of Vallikavu to get more food. And he was getting exhausted giving her one plate after another that she kept eating, and then finally he realized that a Mahatma like Amma, it doesn’t matter at all if she eats nothing or if she eats nonstop, because she’s not like a normal human being. And one of the names of Amma is the one whose stomach is full when her children, because she considered everyone to be her children, have their meals. So that’s just one little story about the quality of a Mahatma.

Rick: Yeah, there’s stories about Anandamayi-ma like that too, where she just ate a grain of rice or two a day or something like that for long periods, and then people would beg her to eat, and then she’d eat piles and piles, and it really didn’t make any difference one way or the other for her.

Ted: So another quality that I see over and over again, you hear stories, you know, so Amma’s traveling and it’s very stressful and going through, I’ve heard so many stories where they’re going through customs and they’ll stop her and stop the swamis, and she’ll just stand there totally detached, totally accepting it, and the other people are getting kind of upset, “Let us through, let us through.” And I remember one instance, it was in Iowa, you might have, you probably heard of the program because you’re from Iowa. And there was this really obnoxious lady who …

Rick: We’ve got a lot of those out here.

Ted: I don’t know about that, but this lady, she wasn’t an Amma devotee, it was her first time coming there, she goes and she gets darshan, she then grabs a camera and says, gives it to one of the swamis, says, “Take a picture of me with Amma.” And she sticks her head while Amma’s getting darshan and asks them to take the picture, and everyone was getting so upset, and Amma just went, “No, let her do it, it’s okay, it’s okay.” And then she wanted her camera back and she left. And it’s like everybody was outraged that she had the audacity to go up there, tell a swami, “Take my picture with Amma and me,” and Amma just went along with it and everyone else got upset except Amma. So she’s centered no matter what situation happens.

Rick: Yeah, she does. I; It’s a good story.

Rick: That was from Iowa. So here’s another chapter. This is a useful point actually, for spiritual seekers in general, whether or not they’re associated with Amma, and that is that obstacles help the devotees grow spiritually. We can talk about that for a bit.

Ted: Yeah, so in the traditional teachings, I think both in Buddhism and Hinduism, they talk about how the guru tells the disciple to build the hut and then tear it down, and build the hut and then tear it down, and build the hut and then tear it down, always creating obstacles. Because that’s how you can grow, is by learning detachment and just surrendering. And so, there’s just many stories. I alluded to it in terms of even writing this book. The first two books I wrote about Amma, the first one I think was in ’93 and the second one was in 2002, and this is before many people came to see her. And I remember I wrote the book and Amma said, “Have Swami Amrit Swaroopananda read it,” and he read it, and within a week or so he says, “Yeah, go ahead, have it printed.” And then the second one, I remember he apologized and he goes, “Oh, I’m sorry, it took a month to get back to you.” So thinking, “Okay, this is my third book, it will be the same,” and Amma says, “Talk to Swami.” So, to make a very long story of eight years or nine years short, I kept showing that book to different people and sending it to different people that Swami recommended read it. And they would say, “Well, it’s not like the first one and these changes and another one,” and then there was some Swami who was in the Himalayas trying to start a new ashram in North India, and it just kept going on and on like that to the point I got which is I didn’t want anything to do with the book. And I asked one of the Swamis who had written a book, I says, “I got some really good stories, do you want it for your book?” So he goes, “Oh yeah, I can maybe use it.” And so, I went to Amma and I says, “Amma, I don’t have to deal with the book anymore because one of the Swamis wants to use the stories.” She goes, “No, mother wants you to rewrite it and you’ll see it from a new perspective.” And she had me rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it to the point where at first it was like, “Oh, I wrote a book,” to the point where I didn’t want anything to do with it anymore, so I just said, “Well, whatever Amma wants.” And then finally this one brahmachari in India, Brahmachari Satish, did a magnificent job and then finally after a year later, oh, then it was finally supposed to get printed and then of course with Amma it was too late. I emailed the person at the printing press in India and he says, “Well, I need it right now.” I go, “Oh, I thought you didn’t need it for another month because I wanted one more person in America to edit it.” He goes, “So then I just said, ‘Never mind, it’s already been eight years, let’s wait another nine years.'” And then finally, the book came out very anticlimactic last June. So, kind of like, just always working on the devotees, the people who are devotees of Amma to just learn surrender. Yeah, I suppose that’s the ultimate value of obstacles, is that they teach us not to insist that things happen according to our own narrow timeline, you know. And by surrender I would interpret that to mean that there is a Divine will that is flowing if we can attune ourselves to it, and it’s sort of “Thy will be done, not mine.”

Ted: Exactly, and it helps you break down the ego too, so you become more detached. So, detachment and surrender, and this is what she works on people, and that’s one of the qualities of Mahatma, someone who’s not just giving the devotees things that will feed the ego, but things that will feed them God, the Divine.

Rick: And you know, the word “Mahatma” just jumped out at me again as you said it. You meet Amma and you really tune in and watch what she’s doing, and you’re just struck by the thought, “Wow, this is what a human being could become.” And this sort of phenomenon that I’m observing, it really gives me a different conception of what is possible, or how remarkable an embodied being can be. I don’t want to seem too, I don’t know, I’m not sure what the word is, but it puts the bar very high in terms of what spiritual evolution can be. I mean, I meet people sometimes who actually proclaim that they’re done with their spiritual evolution, they’ve arrived, and I think, “Really?” I mean, you don’t realize how profound it can become, what the possibilities are.

Ted: Exactly.

Rick: And I know Amma herself often says that it’s always good to have the attitude of a beginner, and in Zen there’s this saying, “Beginner’s mind.” And I think that’s valuable, I think no matter how spiritually advanced one may actually be, it’s a safeguard and perhaps even a characteristic of spiritual advancement to acknowledge that relative to what might be possible, one is a beginner.

Ted: Yes. Also, I just want to, before I forget, that the book “Amma, Inspired Experiences of the Divine Mother” by Ted Zeff Dayalu, if people are interested they could purchase it on Amazon or through the Amma.org bookstore.

Rick: Yeah, I’ll be linking to that from your page on Batgap. All righty.

Ted: You want to hear a really interesting story? Sure. This is one of my favorite ones. So, there’s a method of healing called the Rosen Method, and it was founded by Marian Rosen. And it’s a hands-on where it just changes the energy level where you become just more of a channel for the Divine energy. And I was blessed to have had sessions called the Rosen Method. And as I said, it was founded by a woman named Marian Rosen who passed away a few years ago at the age of 97. So, she was from Germany and she was Jewish and it was Kristallnacht, the night I think the Nazis broke all the glass in the Jewish stores and Jewish synagogues. And she was a little afraid and she looked up in the sky and she had a vision of a woman saying to her, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid.” And she said, “After that experience I had no fear.” And she bought a ticket …

Rick: This is in the 1930s or something?

Ted: This is 1938. Right. And then in early 1939 before Hitler closed the borders, she bought a ticket to leave Germany to flee because it’s gotten untenable there. She was actually trained as a physical therapist in Germany. And so, she bought a ticket and she went to the ship and they said the ticket was invalid. And so, she didn’t know what she was going to do and she met someone else and they were able to get on a motorbike and go through Europe. They made it, I think, to Poland and then got on a train, the Trans-Siberian Railway. They made it to Japan and then Japan she got on a ship to the United States. And again, she said she never felt any fear and on the Trans-Siberian Railway it was full of Russian soldiers at the time and it was really dangerous for a woman to be traveling, you know. And nothing ever happened to her. She felt she was always protected. So then flash forward from 1938 to 1987, the first time Amma came to America. She has a daughter whose spiritual name is Hari Sudha who’s helping arrange Amma’s visit and actually Amma stayed at her house. And when she saw Amma for the first time she looked at her and she goes, “Oh my God, that was the woman who came to me in 1938 in Germany who said, ‘Don’t be afraid.'” And then Amma talked to her not only in German but in her native dialect of German. And what’s so unbelievable about this story is that Amma manifested her body to protect Marian Rosen decades before Amma even manifested in the body.

Rick: Yeah, the implication of that to me is that Amma has a sort of an ongoing relationship with certain people that is timeless and that precedes her physical birth, which was what, 1955 or something?

Ted: 1953.

Rick: 1953. And it’s kind of inspiring. In fact, you might comment on this. I mean, I think Amma’s made comments about how her relationship with her devotees is ongoing and regardless of the birth or death of the body, she’s going to be there for you. Yeah, I think she said that people who were there in this life have been with her in previous births. And she said to me once, it was very touching, when my birth mother was still alive and going through … she had Alzheimer’s, it was very difficult, and I was telling Amma how difficult it was, and she basically says, “Don’t worry about her, I’m your mother for eternity.” So, that’s like, “Wow, she’s my mother for eternity, not just for this temporary life of a few years.”

Rick: Yeah, and I’m sure she didn’t mean, “Don’t worry about your mother,” or “Don’t take care of your mother,” or anything like that. It’s more like, “I’m here for the long haul.”

Ted: That was the point she was making.

Rick: Yeah. A question came in from a listener. He asked, or she asked, “If he asks Amma for clarity of mind, would Amma answer it?” It’s not clear in his asking this whether he means in person or as some kind of a prayer. And perhaps this could lead into a little bit of a discussion about how people pray to Amma and get results.

Ted: Yes, this is only my opinion and as I said before, I’m not a Swami or a Brahmachari, I don’t know very much, but my experience has been … I had people pray to Amma and have amazing results, but I’m the kind of person who’s very, maybe, right brain or left brain when you want the details.

Rick: Left brain.

Ted: Left brain oriented. Some people who’ve been with Amma for 25, 30 years have never asked her a question and they feel like they’re getting the answer, but I’m always the one who needs to go up for big baby. That’s me, “Amma, I have a pain right here, help me. What do I do about this?” If it’s a very important question about, “Should I relocate? Do you want to get married to this person? Do you want this job?” If it’s very, very important, although nowadays it seems like Amma is letting people decide more and more. She’ll say whatever you feel to do. But, I mean, another story popped in my mind about praying to Amma. So there was someone who had lived at the Ashram in San Ramon, she went to India, she married someone there, and then they moved to Germany. She and her husband had split up and she was wondering if she should go back to the United States or go to Germany, and she prayed to Amma. And then one day she was walking down the street in the city in Germany she was living in and she was like, “Everything just stopped, went into slow motion,” and she heard this voice saying, “Go back to America.” This was after praying to Amma. And then she said, “I don’t know, maybe it was just my mind thinking that was happening.” And then a few weeks later Amma was in the United States and she emailed a friend saying, “Can you ask Amma for me if I should go back to America?” And Amma’s response was, “I already told you the answer.” So, I hear many stories of people praying, someone had severe back pain and prayed to Amma and she felt like right after she prayed deeply to Amma the pain just went away. But it doesn’t always happen that way, and the other thing is about health issues is that Amma only intervenes if it’s God’s will. So frequently so many people come in, “Oh, my relative has this catastrophic disease,” or “I have this problem,” and she has healed people. I know several people who had catastrophic diseases, but it’s rare. It’s only if it’s God’s will. And even if she doesn’t heal you, when she can’t because it’s God’s will, then she will give you the strength to deal with it and actually, I have a companion who passed away of cancer, Nandita, two years ago at Christmas. I remember she says, “I don’t want to lie here for a year dying.” And she prayed to Amma that she just wouldn’t have to lie there a year dying. And it was amazing because Thanksgiving was her birthday exactly two years ago, November. And even though the cancer spread all over her body and they gave her a year to live, she was actually fine. It was bizarre. And then it was only a couple of weeks before she passed away on Christmas Day that the symptoms started getting worse and worse. And literally the week before she went to a potluck dinner and made a nut loaf. It’s amazing. And then literally a few days before she passed, the symptoms got worse, and even the days that she passed away, she got up Christmas morning and wanted to go to some kind of Christmas event, and then she got worse and then she passed away later. But this is how Amma works. It was grace, I think, from Amma that let her not have to lie around suffering for a year. She said, she prayed to Amma that she didn’t want that, being a burden on people.

Rick: That’s nice. And some people might say, “Well, that’s anecdotal and it could have happened that way anyway,” or whatever. But I think there’s really something healing and uplifting about having a devotional relationship with someone who’s worthy of that relationship, worthy of devotion. It nourishes the heart, it gives one faith, it sort of smooths the path of life. Anyway, that’s my feeling. Okay, so we have a bunch of other chapters in your book, and we don’t really have to go through them one by one and try to bring up stories. But I’ll just read them to you quickly, and why don’t you just interrupt? And if you feel like there’s a particular story that you’d like to tell around this or that chapter, let me know. We’ll go on a little bit longer and then we’ll wrap it up. One is, well, here’s a chapter about Amma helping to heal emotions. Anything you’d like to say about that?

Ted: So, it’s all, again, related to the stories about it. Well, she talks a lot about dealing with anger, and she really stresses how it hurts yourself if you’re angry, as well as the other person.

Rick: Yeah, she says it’s like holding a knife that doesn’t have a handle and it’s sharp on both ends. You know, you can hurt them, but you’re hurting yourself in the process.

Ted: So, a lot of what she talks about is in terms of healing disputes. I’ll tell you just actually one little story. When I was living in this little cottage in the ashram, there was someone who never did their dishes. They would leave dirty dishes in the sink, and I told the person about it. You know, everyone comes from a different background with different habits, and I remember thinking, “Oh, I know what I’ll do. I’ll take those dirty dishes and put it in front of the person’s door.” And then I went in and I meditated, and I actually prayed to Amma about it. I did the archana, which is repeating the names of the Divine Mother, and I heard this really clear voice that my ego did not want to hear, saying, “The highest thing to do is to do the dishes for the person.” And I really felt it was directly from Amma helping me let go of the anger, and I did the dishes for the person. And what could have gotten like a dispute of putting dirty dishes by someone’s door, Amma came through to me and says, “Just do the dishes.” So, she’s always stressing the devotees to go out of their way to be loving and kind instead of getting back and expressing anger. And it’s pretty amazing.

Rick: Yeah, and there was a cool story in your book about her getting angry at some guy and criticizing him for something that perhaps he didn’t even legitimately deserve to be criticized for, and him reacting, you know, blah, blah, blah. And then, you know, later on her doing the same thing and him having him matured spiritually to the point where he was just … he was in equanimity about it, you know. And then she commented, “Whoa, now see how much he’s grown,” you know.

Ted: Also, that story, let me tell you, is that as soon as the person left, when she went, “Why did you put this over here?” and all that, she turned to the other person and says, “I just didn’t see how he would react.”

Rick: Yeah.

Ted: So, she’s doing, she’s testing us all the time, and she’s doing things that can push our buttons to learn how to control that anger that’s within us.

Rick: Yeah. My former teacher once said, “Sometimes I’ll blow cold winds your way, sometimes I’ll blow warm winds, and in the end you’ll be weatherproof.”

Ted: Perfect.

Rick: Yeah. So, here’s a chapter on “Surrender the Present Moment,” and you know what comes to mind when I read that chapter title is when I see pictures of Amma, particularly in India, sitting on a stage, and there’s this sea of humanity out in front of her. And I think she’s going to have to hug every single one of those persons before the night is over, before the event is over. And before that, there’s going to be a talk and some bhajans and everything else. I think of myself in that position, if I were in it, feeling like I’m facing my crucifixion or something. I think, “My God, this is what I’m looking forward to for the next 18 hours or something.” But I get the feeling that one way Amma deals with it, aside from her vast capacity and kind of like solid as a rock establishment in Divine Consciousness and love, is that she is very much in the present moment. She’s not thinking, “Oh, how am I going to feel 12 hours from now?” It’s more like this moment, this moment, constantly in the present moment.

Ted: Exactly. People ask her sometimes, they want to go find out about their past lives or something like that, and she discourages it because she says, “What if you find out your current spouse in your life had killed you in a past life?” or something like that. And she goes, “The past is a cancelled check. We can’t do anything about it. The future, we don’t know what’s going to happen. The only thing we can change is the present moment.” So, she’s always telling little stories to help us be right here and now.

Rick: Yeah.

Ted:Be here now.

Rick: Good. Okay, so your next chapter is Chipping Away at the Ego, and we’ve already told some stories about how Amma does that. Anything else you care to add to that?

Ted: I don’t know if I should tell you this one’s a funny one, though.

Rick: Sure, people like funny ones.

Ted: So, as I said, I coordinate the prasad, and there’s a line of people going to Amma. So I had a position of the coordinator, like, “Oh, I thought I was something special coordinating this prasad.” And I also used to give announcements at the programs a long time ago, before I got kicked out of that job, probably. Anyway, so what happened was there was someone giving prasad to Amma. They’re handing her the chocolate kiss and the flower petal. And this person was a friend of mine, she has long hair, and somehow the hair got stuck in my fanny pack that I used to wear, in the zipper. And Swamiji saw me and he wanted me to make announcements, so he calls me to come on the stage. So I started to run on the stage and I hear this scream, and what happened was every time I moved the hair, she got pulled away from Amma, pulling her hair, and I turned around, and when I turned around, everybody was just laughing. It was hysterical, because I kept turning to see what was going on. Something was caught, and every time I did it, it was hurting this poor person, until I finally was able to extricate her hair from my fanny pack. So that was a great way for my ego to get chipped away, like, “Oh, I thought I was doing something important, going to give an announcement or coordinate this job.” Things like this happen around Amma.

Rick: Yeah, they do. Okay, so there’s a few more chapters in your book, but we should probably wrap it up. I just want to give you the opportunity to … anything else you feel like you’d like to say to people, either a story or just anything you’d like to say in general, that might inspire people to go and see Amma when they get the chance?

Ted: Well, I really believe that everybody comes to see Amma at the exact right time, and many devotees, including myself, for years have been pushing their relatives to see Amma, and they don’t want to come. Amma says, “Leave them alone. They’re getting the benefit anyway.” I don’t think I’ll tell the story because it’s a little too long, but it has to do with a relative of mine that was definitely helped. So Amma is helping your relatives through you, and that’s really important. But if you feel spiritually uplifted by some of the things we’ve talked about and you feel guided to see her, then by all means, come see her. If you don’t, that’s totally great, because I really believe that everyone comes at the right time. I must have done something good in a past life that had the good karma of meeting her back in ’88 when the crowds were still small, but at any rate, I just really feel that you come when it’s the right time and everyone’s coming at the right time. And don’t worry about, if you see Amma, don’t worry about bringing all your friends and bringing carloads of people to see her. Just focus on yourself, and if people want to come, great. If they don’t, they’re getting that divine energy of Amma through you.

Rick: Yeah, there’s a Bengali saying, “If no one comes on your call, then go ahead alone.” And I would recommend that if a person does go to see Amma, that they really focus in on it. I’ve heard people talk about working it out real efficiently so they can calculate when their darshan is going to be and get their darshan and then go shopping or go to a movie or something. That’s not the idea. The idea is to just settle into the atmosphere, and because something really profound happens, it’s not just the minute or so or two when you’re actually getting your darshan. The whole thing is a kind of a yajna, if you know that word. It’s a spiritual event that permeates, the atmosphere permeates into you the longer you sit in it.

Ted: And it is, just to add, it’s easy to get caught up in all the external stuff there because there’s a lot of talking and families and kids running around. Yeah, everything’s going on. So yeah, try and take advantage of it. Just sit quietly with your eyes closed and tune in. And after darshan, try and really, after Amma touches you, hugs you, try and sit quietly for as long as you can and feel that divine energy. And I just luckily had an experience in London a couple of weeks ago when she was there, of being able to sit near her after a darshan. Because a lot of times I’m busy doing other things, so I can’t sit so long, and I had a profound experience just feeling that energy coming in.

Rick: And if you get bored sitting with your eyes closed, sit and watch Amma with your eyes open, because it’s kind of fascinating to watch her do this.

Ted: It’s hard, actually, it’s hard to keep your eyes closed in her presence.

Rick: Yeah, it’s quite fascinating, the whole thing. So yeah, good. It’s like watching divinity in motion. And you don’t have to, I mean, we’ve been talking as sort of fellow devotees here, but you don’t have to be a devotee or have any particular belief in Amma or anything else. I mean, curiosity is a good enough reason to go. Just go and check it out, see if it resonates with you. I think maybe you’ll find that it does. All right, well thanks, Dayalu. This has been enjoyable. So let me just make some concluding remarks. This has been another in an ongoing series of interviews with and about spiritually awakening people. There are many, many of them, and if you go to www.batgap.com, look under “Past Interviews,” you’ll see them all organized. Check out the other menus. You can sign up for an audio podcast. You can see who’s scheduled under “Upcoming Interviews.” And there’s a “Donate” button, as I mentioned, and some resources that you might find useful under the “Resources” menu. So just explore the menus. There aren’t too many of them. It’ll only take you a few minutes to see what we’ve got, but there’s some useful stuff there. Oh, you can also sign up to be notified by email each time a new interview is posted, so you might want to do that. So thanks for listening or watching, and we will see you for the next one. And you’ll be very familiar with the guy who’s going to be in the next one. See you then.