Felix Elmendorff (Germany)
An overview of the Felix’s Amritavarsham50 Youth Summit speech on Amma’s impact on his life.
“I like rap, and I’m a rapper. My friends and I have a lot of fun performing. There were situations when I was quite tempted to skip an Amma programme to rap and party with my friends, but somehow I couldn’t. I always changed my mind at the last minute. Amma is like a magnet; She keeps pulling me towards Her. When there is a chance, I have to see Her.
“I finished high school at 18, and I was quite happy about it, though this was one of Amma’s favorite topics. She always asked me ‘How are you doing in school?’ I always mumbled back, ‘Yeah, I’m OK,’ which actually meant, ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’ But Amma kept asking me year after year.
“When I was 18, I went with my mum to India, to Amma’s Amritapuri Ashram. Guess what Amma’s first question was? ‘How are you doing in school?’ This time I was quite happy to tell Her that I was finished with it. At first, Amma didn’t believe it, but then She started laughing. I thought She was happy that I had finally made it through.
“But I was wrong. During my six-month stay, She kept teasing me and told everybody around Her, ‘This boy is not going to school. Can you believe it?!’ This was followed by a hearty laugh. I knew that there was something in store for me!
“When I returned to Germany, I found a letter from the German government saying that I either had to join the army for a year or do civil service, like working in a hospital or an old-age home. Amma had taught me to pray for the happiness of the whole world. I couldn’t imagine myself doing that with a weapon in my hand, so I decided to do civil service.
“But I was sad that I would not able to see Amma during this time. Then the solution hit me: I knew that the German government allowed citizens to complete their civil service abroad. I asked Amma if I could serve at Her Ashram in India! Amma said I should try.
“It took me one year and nine months, toiling at many different unsatisfying jobs, to earn the money to come to India and live with Amma. I understand now why Amma found it funny that I didn’t want to go to school anymore. Without a complete education, I would never find a satisfying job.
“My friends used to laugh at me and tell me, ‘You’re never going make it to India again. Don’t be stupid!’ Sometimes I even asked myself, ‘Why didn’t I do my civil service in Germany? I would be finished by now!’ However, Amma had said I should try, so I kept my faith and reached my goal.
“I stayed in the Ashram for 20 months, helping sick and handicapped people and found out that I really liked the job. ‘It would be wonderful to earn a living helping such people,’ I thought. So, I asked Amma if I could go back to school to learn nursing. Amma gave me a long look—actually Her whole being was smiling at me—and She said, ‘Yes, Yes, Yes. Amma is very happy!’ She gave me an unforgettable darshan.”