18 December 2005 , Amritapuri
His Excellency the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, paid a visit to Amritapuri today. In the divine presence of Amma, His Excellency officially handed over 500 tsunami-relief houses constructed by the Ashram to the Honourable Minister of Revenue of Kerala, Sri. K.M. Mani.
In his speech, His Excellency said: “I have come to Amritapuri a number of times.
Amritapuri is the Land of Compassion, the Land of Love, the Land of Beauty. And definitely it is a place that will become a bridge for people of many faiths. And I wish you all the best: the opportunities that Amma is giving, the grace that Amma is giving and all the blessings that Amma is giving for the country and the people of this nation.”
“I am very happy to be in the Mata Amritanandamayi Math in the presence of Amma and participate in the inauguration function of 500 newly hundred houses for the tsunami-affected citizens in Kollam District. My greetings to Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi and other dignitaries on this occasion.”
“It is said that whenever difficult times and calamities occur, the leader will exactly be on the spot of event. It is a divine blessing.
When the tsunami occurred in the Kollam region on 26th Dec 2004, I saw Amma was in action in crucial time, helping the people all around her in that region. At Kollam Ashram, Amma acted with speed and took necessary measures to move all the people to the places of safety. Amma entered into the tsunami-affected areas while floodwater was still there and tried her best to rescue as many people as possible from the houses, under the trees, with her team of dedicated devotees. Amma made arrangements for food, shelter and clothing to all the people affected by tsunami. Amma announced the relief package for people affected by tsunami, not only in Kollam region, but also for all the areas in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Sri Lanka. Similarly, when Katrina hit New Orleans, Amma came to the rescue of the people there also and extended her helping hand spontaneously. It shows the magnanimous mind of Amma in removing the pain of the people irrespective of caste, creed, religion, region or nationality.”
The 500 houses handed over today by the President brings the total number of tsunami-relief houses completed by the Ashram thus far to 2000. The Ashram has 4200 more to build before it is finished.
Amma also spoke from the dais. Reflecting on how so many disparate groups of people had volunteered their services for the construction of the Math’s tsunami-relief homes, Amma said, “In this world where selfishness prevails, to see such selfless children is a delight for the eye. It is proof that the world has not totally forgotten the language of compassion and selflessness. It is through the mirror of selfless service that human beings are able to behold their own true beauty.”
In his Welcome Speech, Swami Amritaswarupananda said, “Here in Alappad Panchayat, Amma has looked after every aspect of the villager’s needs: from food, clothing and shelter… to physical and psychological healthcare… to education and employment opportunities… and much, much more. In fact, I really wonder if any other NGO in the world has ever provided such extensive and in-depth disaster relief—one that touches every aspect of the beneficiaries’ lives.”
On several occasions in the past His Excellency has addressed students of the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University, and not long after he took office, the President donated his first 10 month’s salary to Amma’s charitable activities in Rameshwaram.
Other dignitaries present for the occasion were the Honourable Minister of Labour, Sri. Babu Divakaran; the Honourable Minister of Fisheries, Sri. Dominic Presentation; and Advocate Rajan Babu, MLA.