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How Amma cured the leper’s wounds

September 17
02:50 2010

Mata Amritanandmayi

At the age of 22, I was working in a bank in Southern Kerala and was not particularly interested in spirituality. I had grown up in a traditional Brahmin family but had never given religion or spirituality much thought.
One day a client at the bank came in and started talking to me about a young holy woman known as “Amma” who lived in a fishing village not far away. One night after work, on a whim, I decided to go and see her.

I wanted to be transferred to a bank in my hometown, and I thought that if, indeed, she was a saint, her blessing could help me reach my goal.

Amma was sitting inside a tiny temple. To my amazement, I saw that her manner of blessing people was to give them each a hug, one by one. When my turn came, I did the same as everyone else: I knelt in front of her and lay my head in her lap.

And then, as she embraced me, I spontaneously began to weep profusely. I had not cried since I was a schoolboy, yet in Amma’s arms, my cheeks were streaked with tears.

I had no idea what was happening to me. I thought, “There’s nothing wrong in my life; I’m not sad at all; so why am I crying?”
I felt as though my heart had completely opened -I felt totally vulnerable and yet, at the same time, utterly safe; I experienced a wonderful lightness of being. Though I had wanted to ask Amma for a blessing, I found that I could not say a word.

Something else happened that night that made an even deeper impression on me. The darshan was coming to an end, and the last person was called in.

A leper named Dattan entered the temple and went up to Amma. He had a particular kind of leprosy that made his body rupture in many places, with pus and blood oozing from the sores.

A strong stench was emanating from his wounds. Almost everyone in the temple looked horrified and totally disgusted. People held their noses with the edges of their clothes. Some of them, afraid that Dattan’s illness might be contagious, ran out of the temple.
I was considering doing the same, but something made me stay. What I witnessed then was beyond anything I could have imagined.

Without showing the slightest hesitation and with an expression of glowing compassion on her face, Amma made Dattan, who was kneeling in front of her, place his head in her lap, and she began to examine his wounds.

To my astonishment, Amma then sucked the pus from some of the wounds and spat it out into a bowl. Other wounds she licked and added her saliva. Seeing this, my head began to spin, and I thought I would faint.

A few others who were standing nearby closed their eyes, unable to take in the sight. Amma took almost 10 minutes to finish this task. She then applied some sacred ash on his body.

I thought, “Am I dreaming or is this really happening?” Here, I felt, was someone who surpassed even God in her love and compassion. A mother would hesitate to do such a thing for her own child, but here was one who did this to a leprous beggar!

I instinctively felt that the leper was safer with Amma than anywhere in the entire world. At that moment I decided that, come what may, I would always be with Amma; I would never leave her.

The next time I went to see Amma, she told me to sit close to her and meditate. I told her that I had never meditated in my entire life. She just smiled and said, “No problem. Just sit here and close your eyes.” I simply did what she told me to do. I closed my eyes and soon experienced a profound ineffable peace.

After what I thought was a few minutes I opened my eyes and discovered I had been sitting there for three hours! I thought something must be wrong with my watch and asked another person what the time was.

It was true that three hours had passed. Even afterward, I felt a sense of deep joy and contentment.

The 53rd birth anniversary of Mata Amritanandmayi will be celebrated on September 24

Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri

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