Interviews – Pilmine Nga of Ensemble Pan-African

24 September 2003

"Amma helped me to be at peace with the African that I am. Amma and Africa go well together. Africa needs Amma." —Pilmine Nga

Ms. Pilmine Nga performed spiritual music from Cameroon and the Ivory Coast during Amritavarsham50 as part of Ensemble Pan-African. Here, the singer explains how she met Amma.

“I was in my house in Paris one Saturday morning. One of the most famous ladies in Africa was visiting in Paris. She called and asked what I was doing that day. I told her that my daughter was off school, so the caller suggested we go see an Indian saint who was in town. I called a friend who also has a daughter, and we both took our daughters to meet Amma. We were astounded by how many people there were from all over the world. We saw Amma giving darshan, so we took a darshan ticket. Mine was number 4008.

“We waited, happily, throughout Devi Bhava, until we could have darshan the next morning. We bought a book about Amma stories and returned home.

“When I was young, I dreamt that I had a guide. I saw a form of a lady in white clothes. I didn’t actually see a face. Only a form from the waist up. Now I know that form was Amma. Before I met Amma, I tried everything. I did yoga. I tried meditation. I read books about finding God. I have many books in my home. I tried to go to churches, but I left churches. I was searching for a guide, a Guru.

“After I got home, I was confused. My question was, ‘Why did I meet Amma now?’ My job is a singer and an actress. I have a home studio. I wanted to learn how to be a sound engineer in my home studio. I was looking in Paris for information on how to learn this field. I took a book to learn this information, and the book was about Karnatic music in South India. I looked at it and liked it but figured it wasn’t for me. However, I decided to keep it.

“When I got back two or three days later, I sent my C.V., photo and motivation to learn Karnatic music to the music school in India. In my motivation letter, I wrote that my dream while I was growing up in Africa was to come to India. They called me 10 days later and said they wanted to meet me. They accepted me in the program with 12 other people. I was the only African black.

“After accepting the position but before I left for India, I was in a play, since I am an actress. Two months went by. I had forgotten about Amma.

“I finally went to India in April 2002. Three days before I left, I found the papers I had received about Amma’s Ashram. Reading the information, I made a link between the place where the Karnatic school was and where the ashram was. I realized they were in the same state. I thought it was strange that they were both in Kerala.

“When I arrived in Cochin, I was no longer interested in the school but was much more interested in seeing Amma again. But I was obliged to follow the school program. As soon as I had a few days off, I took a taxi to the ashram. I was at the school, but I wasn’t very interested in it. It was just a reason to get me to Kerala and to Amma.

“The first time I went to the Ashram, I took at taxi from Fort Kochi in the evening because I couldn’t wait until daytime to get to Amma. The taxi driver didn’t know how to get to the Ashram. We had to keep stopping to ask directions. When I finally got there, everything was closed. An elderly Indian man went to find a Westerner, so I could have a room and sheets. I felt a little alone. The driver hadn’t spoken English.

“I spent the night, and then early morning I went to the Western coffee shop to find someone who could speak French or English. I was crying without knowing why. I met a French woman and was able to talk. I felt more reassured.

“Amma organized well. The next day I got Her darshan and a mantra. I had so many emotions without knowing why. Two days later, I went back to the school, and the next weekend, I went back to the Ashram. I had to return to the school. I had a contract.

“In May I went back to France. When Amma came to Paris during the European tour, I sang for Amma. I was in a French group for singing. I had written one song, and we sang that. Everyone got up, and Amma turned around to look. The others improvised with me. As soon as we finished, I ran out of the hall to take my daughter to school. Someone said, “Amma is calling.” She gave me darshan and asked when I had met Her the first time. She also told me that I have a nice voice and that I should sing.

“This year, I received a fax from the Math that said they appreciated when I sang and invited me to come to India for Amma’s birthday. Before I came here, I spent a day in Paris fundraising for Amma.

“Amma helped me to be at peace with the African that I am. Amma and Africa go well together. Africa needs Amma. For me, Amma is like Christ but a feminine Christ.”

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