Satsang With Ammachi—Part III, Mommy Sings
File under: Satsang Reports and Amma All-Over-The-Planet
The strains of the harmonium are joined by the tabla and other common kirtan instruments. The bhajan has begun. It’s standard call and response kirtan singing with Amma in the lead. Not the prettiest, yet not the lousiest voice to listen to. We imagine it’s nectar to the ears of the Ammabots, but then she could croak like a toad and they’d still think it was the music of celestial spheres.
9 songs are performed, all with cheesy Western synth lines added in addition to their traditional arrangements. This embellishment is more pollution than improvement to our ears, but it does make it sound a lot more like a Bollywood movie soundtrack. It almost seems hip, but the effect is ruined by the bad pop rock ballad-quality of the synth arrangement.
As the Ammabots sing, sway and dance, we’re tired, hungry and somewhat impatient. We watch as the hippie contingent begin to dance on the sidelines. We see two young lesbians holding hands with no apparent fear of judgment. A definite three-star moment for this satsang.
Some people dance with their palms raised and facing Amma. We imagine we see some looks of confusion. The milk infusion isn’t coming. Where’s the love, Amma? We smile inside at our little imaginary victory over the supercell of occluding ideology known as an Ammachi satsang.
Three video cameras capture all the blistering action on stage, which is lit by 19 halogen lamps overhead. We wonder if there’s any significance to the number. Given Amma’s penchant for superstition, we conclude there probably is. Plus, she looks that much more divine under that intense purplish-white light in her reflective all-white garb.
We quickly sneak a photograph of it all, although by the looks we're getting we suspect it's a no-no.
A quickening of the music brings an amplification of the hippies’ devotional displays. This results in a thumping of the floor and the disapproving stares of those seated near where hippies dance. One dreadlocked man is doing the Krishna: hands raised, palms limp, body slowly spinning, head hanging back just a little bit behind the waist.
But the whole thing is starting to look a lot more Vegas than Vrindaban to us. The Bollywood factor has intensified over the last 3 songs, and now Amma is singing a bhajan in Spanish in a nod to the local Hispanic population. Too bad there are only about 5 of them at the satsang. Most of those folk are down with the Pope around here, and he would definitely not approve of this.
By this time we are almost bored, which is a very rare thing in our lives. We decide to meditate a bit. Suddenly, the 19 mystical halogen lights go out. Another arati to Amma is performed, complete with more cheesy Western synth music, upping the Vegas-factor yet another two notches. But it appears the music is finally over. We look around and put the attrition rate at about 20%, but we’ve stuck it out. Having performed our tapas by enduring the bhajan, we are now certainly deserving of the hug soon to come.
Next: the extremely sweet (smelling) bosom of Amma.