I had asked what the significance of Onam is to some of my friends and they described it as being a lot like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve all rolled into one amazing day. Family and friends gather together. Amma described it as a celebration of human relationships. The word that sums it up for me is Unity. Thousands of people from Kerala and other parts of the world gathered together at the Ashram.
The festivities began at 9am. Amma gave a spiritual talk which I will try to find a copy of the words to share with you. It was a breathtaking speech. My eyes filled with tears and I hung on her every word. After the speech, we meditated and then sang spiritual songs. The energy was beautiful. When Amma started dancing was when I could no longer control my tears and let them pour down my face. Seeing her dance is the most beautiful sight. The only word I can use to describe it is Divine.
After the dancing, Amma started giving Darshan where she hugs all the people who have come from long distances to see her. Lunch followed and she passed out the food plate by plate to the huge crowd.
Later in the evening various groups performed for Amma, including a group I was blessed to be a part of. This was the third time I was given the opportunity to sing for Amma but it was the first time I was on the stage while she was in the audience. It was quite a role reversal. She is always the one on stage giving her love to all of us, so to be onstage and be able to offer her my voice was the best feeling in the world.
The night was not without its mishaps though. Shortly before going on stage curry was spilled all over my sparkly blue costume. I smelled like an Indian kitchen! Also, our mics were not handed out to the singers until the last minute so I started to feel a little frazzled. I took three deep breaths and reminded myself why I was on that stage, to offer my love and gratitude to Amma through my voice. I let my ego fall away and divine energy fill me up.
I don’t remember much of the performance. It felt like it was only seconds while it really was about 15 minutes. It always happens that way for me. When I truly let go and become a channel to something much bigger than greater than me, I lose track of space and time. I go into a trance like state and become an instrument of the Divine. It is the most amazing feeling.
All in all, my first Onam celebration was everything I imagined it to be and more. I am looking forward to coming back for this special holiday for years to come.