Ms. Linda Evans

Ms. Linda Evans, American actress and environmental activist

“I think of all of these incredible qualities that we know that Amma is— the love, the compassion, the forgiveness, the patience—and I try to look at myself and say, ‘Linda, why aren’t you living that everyday?” —Linda Evans

“Learning Motherhood from Mother Nature.”

“Thank you. We are gathered at this conference to consider what we, as women and leaders can contribute at this crucial time in world history. Our choices are to look within and without: without, to see what most needs to be done; and within, to understand how we have contributed to those problems.

“Now, if their origin was within, then the solutions can only come from that same place. It is a great honour and a pleasure for me to be here with all of you today to celebrate Amma and Her extraordinary life.

“I went to AIMS Hospital and saw Her love in action. I saw how each person who worked there was just flowing with love, that service was a joy for them, and it was the first time in my life I didn’t want to leave a hospital.

“I think of all of these incredible qualities that we know that Amma is: the love, the compassion, the forgiveness, the patience, and I try to look at myself and say, ‘Linda, why aren’t you living that everyday? What is it in your life that stops you from being that?’
“I feel very fortunate to have the life that I have lived. I have experienced success, and wealth and fame. I have been loved by many people in the world, people that I didn’t even know, and still there was an emptiness in me—a longing for something that I didn’t understand. I learned that what I was looking for wasn’t outside of me but within me.

“Now, for the last 16 years I have had the greatest adventure of my life. And at last I found the peace and the love and the joy that I looked so hard for in the world. I learned that I had a choice. That if I ‘changed’ my mind, I could change my life. That by going inward, by meditating, by long contemplations, by being present and allowing, I found God—the God within me and you and all people. I feel that we are going nowhere if the inspiration for everything that we think and do does not come from the love of the God within us. We believe that our parents and our children and our husbands and our wives love us. But, in fact, these are not all different forms of love, but one love. What we see as different loves, such as a husband to a wife and a mother to a child, is only that one love as it is moulded to fit a particular relationship. But real love lies deeper than all relationships, no matter what shape or circumstances it it’s found and that is what the love of God is.

“Now the first person that needs love is ourselves. And if that’s not there, we project our unhappiness, our lack, our victimization out on to the world that we experience. And it colours everything we see and do. We pray and hope for the right job, or the right person to come into our lives to take away our sadness or our despair. But what is difficult to realise is that we can never magnetize that right person or situation, unless we ourselves become the magnet. Until we begin to see ourselves as wonderful, I cannot wish for a man or a woman or a child to take away my victimization. That joy will only come if I cease to be sad or I cease to be a victim.

“And we set up false standards for what we believe we ought to be, and then we hate ourselves when we don’t live up to them. We do the same thing when we idolize the impossibly beautiful thin young women on the cover of our magazines. Only one in 10,000 women can look that way. Even I had trouble living up to my image when I was on Dynasty. I found that the solution to all my problems was within me. I will fail if I try to save the world without first putting my own internal house in order.

“How many times did I want to love but I was resentful? Wanted to be patient, but was desperate? And couldn’t be compassionate because of my judgment? I have always believed in reincarnation and that every person comes back in a state of adversity set up by their soul. But our adversity wasn’t meant to define us. It was an opportunity to give us wisdom and compassion where there never was any. I realised that I was meant to let go of my anger and my resentments so that I could become free and allow myself new experiences. I learned that forgiveness started with me. That forgiveness is for our story to end, our past to end, our personal suffering to end, and that the way to end sorrow and victimization is to forgive—even if we have to forgive our abusers a million times. To forgive is to touch the soul of God.

“Now, once we see God in ourselves and everyone around us, we are no longer defined by our race, our caste, our colour or our creed. We think our uniqueness and our differences define us, so it’s hard for us to give those up. But when we do, we honor the core, the God in all people. Then we can no longer harm others or nature without harming ourselves.

“Now during the filming of Dynasty I was asked by President Reagan and then President Bush to be the spokesperson for a program called ‘Take Pride in America.’ It was a beautiful program that inspired men, and women and children to clean up the forests and the rivers and the parks. They were asked to see all of these natural resources as their home and to respect and honour them. For the five years that the program went on, millions of people made an enormous difference in the environment and in themselves.

“I grew up in the city; I have lived in cities all over the world, and now I am blessed to live in the middle of nature, and I love it—I love it, I honour it, and it honours and heals me. We cannot know that God is within us and not honour all of life; the earth, the trees and the animals are all God expressing.

“I am speaking today about how to awaken to the female aspects of forgiveness and love and compassion, and how it can alter all of life. Now, while these values have tended to be more associated with one gender, rather than another down through history they are in fact universal values that belonged to all people of all times, male and female, who have ever succeeded in making a difference. But what does it mean to awaken? Well, to me it means to take responsibility for your mind and its choices, and to decide to stop living in the past with all the negative emotional memories that support the very mind-set that you’re trying to get out of. To be present. To be the love. To be the compassion. To be the forgiveness until you can’t remember not being it. And to be patient, be patient if you don’t succeed right away. And love yourself on this journey. And remember not to judge your progress. We all need heroes, people like Amma, who remind us of how great we can be when we’ve forgotten. But we must always remember that the power is within us. In one minute, we can change our mind. In one minute, we can be our own hero. Thank you.”

Dr. Najma Heptulla

Dr. Najma Heptulla, Deputy Chairperson, Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament

“I have taken a vow that I will take the message of Amma to as many people I can.” -Dr. Najma Heptulla

“My obedience to Amma, my friends on the dais, my friends in this sea of humanity, which has come from around the world, from more than 100 countries, from far and near together here to celebrate this very auspicious occasion of the 50th birthday of Amma the Great.

“Half a century ago, in a small village in Kerala, a costal village, not very far from this place were we are sitting and meeting, a child, a girl-child, was born. Her parents did not know, the neighbors did not know, when they celebrated the birth of this baby, that one day She would become the embodiment of Motherhood, the embodiment of Universal Motherhood, our Great Amma.

“I am extremely happy to be here with you on this occasion. If I tell you how many miles I traveled, you won’t believe me because most of you would be thinking that I am coming from New Delhi, but no, I was in Berlin, inaugurating the cultural weeks of India. And when I heard the chanting of the Vedas here, it reminded me the day when I was sitting with Chancellor Shröder and listening to the chanting of the Vedic mantras by young girls like I heard today. This is the strength and the spirit of India. This is the strength and this spirit, which Amma has given in the form of chanting of these Vedic mantras on this auspicious day here.

“There could not have been a better topic and choice than to talk about peace and harmony and Universal Motherhood. Today, the world is divided into narrow fragments of hatred and suspicion. Today innocent people die for no fault of theirs. People – misguided men and women – carry guns and bombs to kill innocent people – men, women and children, for no reason. And there could be no better place but here at the feet of Amma and the blessings of Her to discuss about peace.

“Today, we heard Ms. King who is a victim of such violence. We heard from her the voice that is within her. She has gone through the same violence when her father was killed. It is such a coincidence that 10 days from now I would be in Houston releasing a book written in memory of two martyrs: Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. I was to go from Berlin directly to United States for my commitment there, but I could not; the call of Amma was so great that I said I will come here to Kerala, I will come here to all of you in paying my respects and tributes on this auspicious occasion of Her birth.

“In India, we have the ethos of respecting women, not only respecting women but worshipping women. Whether it is in the form of Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, we worship Her. Before any auspicious programme, any auspicious occasion, we worship Her. Whether it is Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, we worship Her. Whether it is Durga, the embodiment of shakti, of power, we worship Her. We worship them in the temples; we worship them in our home. But when it comes to an ordinary girl from a village or a town, whose name might be Saraswati, Lakshmi or Durga, we don’t treat her the way we treat the Goddess. The message of Amma is that every women, every girl, in a village, or in a town, should be given the same respect and honor and reverence that Indian ethos gives to Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga.

“Amma talks about the inner strength of women. Even when I say – and I quote from one of the sayings of Amma – ‘Even to incarnate, God needed a woman who went through all the pain and hardship of pregnancy and giving birth. Yet none considers the justice of women being ruled by men.’

“My friends, I see many of my brothers sitting before me. My colleague and my friend Mr. Raja Gopal is sitting with me, in front of me, with whom, as a Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, I work day after day in doing my duty. I am not here to divide the wedge more between men and women; I am here to bridge this gap. I am here to carry the message of Amma for bridging this gap between men and women. As Amma says, ‘More than half the world’s population is women. It is a great loss when women are denied the freedom to come forward and when they are denied the high status that should be theirs in society. When women are denied this, society loses their potential and contribution.’

“We come from a democratic country. Most of you, almost all of you, come from democratic countries. No democracy is complete, no democracy is equal, no democracy is functioning until and unless there is a rightful position for women. The democracy is only complete when it is inclusive, inclusive of all genders, participatory, when all the sections of society, including men and women, participate in it; interactive, when all the sections of the society, both men and women interact with each others. And that kind of a democracy we have in India, we want to have in India, and we want to have in the world – where people sit together and discuss the problems of society, of peace and progress and compassion without the divisions between men and women.

“No religion teaches violence, no religion teaches killing of innocent people – and I quote again from Amma, ‘No authentic religion belittles or denigrates women. For those who have realized God, there is no difference between men and women, male and female. The Realized Ones have equal vision. If anywhere in the world there exist rules and prevent women from enjoying their rightful freedom, rules that obstruct their progress in society, then those are not God’s commandments, but are born out of the selfishness of men.’

“The religions, whether it is Vedas or Koran, the teachings of Prophet Mohammed of Koran, the teaching of Jesus and Bible, the teaching of Moses and Torah – nobody says that you should discriminate from people to people, from gender to gender. And I will quote from Koran when it says, ‘My religion is with me’; your religion is for you; let us live together; let us exist together.’

“In India, in this ancient nation, we believe in the spirit and ethos of vasudaiva kutumbam: ‘The whole world is one big family.’ And I see today here in this big pandal [tent] that the world is really a one big community, a big family, where everybody has come today.

“What message should we take from here? What message should we take from here for us to carry forward the message of Amma. It was two years ago we started a campaign, ‘Yes for Children.’ And when I reached the United Nation for the special session on children, we had 98 million signatures for the ‘Yes for Children’ campaign. I call upon you today to take a vow on this auspicious day of Amma’s 50th birthday that we will take a message: ‘Yes for Women,’ ‘Yes for Universal Motherhood,’ and start a campaign and promise to meet here again next year to see, to evaluate how we have been able to fulfill our own commitments to ourselves for peace and dignity, for Universal Motherhood and harmony – how many people we converted to this message of Amma. This is what I feel. I have taken a vow that I will, from today onwards, today is the first day in the rest of my life, take the message of Amma to as many people I can. And I am sure all of you, if you take a vow today – I do not want you to raise your hands, I do not want you to get up and tell me, ‘yes, I agree with it,’ but you make a commitment to your own self that by this gathering over here, if we want to achieve anything, if we do not want to forget what we learned here, then we should make a vow to our own self, to our own conscious that we will light this candle – like we lighted this candle today, from path to path, from villages to villages, from home to home, throughout the world, the message ‘Yes for Amma’s Campaign for Universal Motherhood.’

“Thank you very much.”

Ms. Yolanda King

Ms. Yolanda King – Daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Directors Member, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change

“Mahatma Gandhi urged us to ‘be the change we wish to see in our world.’ Amma is the change She wishes to see in our world.” —Yolanda King

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

“We are all participants in the creation of the present and the future, whether we like it or not. Through silence or through our raised voices. Through work that activates and motivates or that which produces slumber. Whether we commit ourselves to what can be or passively accept what is—either way we go, all of us are participants.

“It is truly a joy for me to have this opportunity to share in this tremendous experience with those of us, those of you, who have chosen to participate in the creation of a better present and future.

“I had the blessed privilege and honour to meet Amma and receive darshan a few short months ago during Her U.S. Tour. It was a moment of transcendence for me, for I was able to grasp for the first time, the essence of true fulfilment and agape love. And so, I must first express my deepest gratitude to Amma for all that She have given to me personally, for all that She has given to all of us—indeed, for all that She has given to our planet. We are extraordinarily fortunate to be in this time and in this place with Her wondrously awesome spirit.

“What I cherish most about Amma is that She not only talks the talk and is an embodiment of unconditional love, but She expresses that love in action. She walks the talk. Mahatma Gandhi urged us to ‘be the change we wish to see in our world.’ Amma is the change She wishes to see in our world. She is a profound living example for all of us, and my prayer is that She will continue to be supported and strengthened as She inspires the best in all of us.

“And so, we come to this special morning and the launching of the Women’s Initiative. I am reminded of a poem written by poet Mari Evans.

“‘I am a woman, tall as a cypress
strong beyond all definition, still
defying place and time and circumstance
assailed, impervious, indestructible
Look upon me and be renewed.’”

“And, indeed, our world is in need of renewal. On a daily basis, we witness the violence, corruption, indifference. We watch the more-often-than-not painful twists and turns of history unfolding throughout the world. In the last century, technology has brought capabilities to us heretofore unimaginable. Sky-scraping buildings kiss the sun, majestic bridges and underwater tunnels cross the seas. Airplanes mock distance and time, moving people and products in unprecedented numbers. A global communications network allows us to pick up the telephone and almost instantly speak with people on the other side of the world. We fax and email internationally in a matter of moments. We have walked on the moon, photographed our solar system and sent radio messages to the edge of time. We have created technological miracles.

“And yet we do not have to look far to see that despite these achievements, the world is filled with discontent and unhappiness, with intolerance and frustration, with sickness, crime, violence and destruction. We have created guided missiles, but misguided men and women. Through technology we have made of the world a neighbourhood. The challenge remains to renew the world and make of it a sister- and a brotherhood.

“The reality today is the same as it was in 1964 when my father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. He said then—and it’s just as true today—’Although we have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the seas like fish, we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.’

“However, we do have choices. Amma has provided the vision magnificently. In Her acceptance speech of the 2002 Gandhi-King Award [for Non-violence], She presented the concept of Universal Motherhood. She said, and I quote, ‘Anyone—woman or man—who has the courage to overcome the limitations of the mind can attain the state of Universal Motherhood.’ She goes on to say, “The essence of Motherhood is not restricted to women who have given birth; it is a principle inherent to both women and men. It is an attitude of the mind. It is love—and that love is the very breath of life. No one would say, “I will only breathe when I am with my family and friends; I won’t breathe in front of my enemies.” Similarly, for those in whom Motherhood has awakened, love and compassion for everyone is as much a part of their being as breathing.’

“We women have a special and unique mission in life, a divine calling, you might say. We are naturally equipped for the job of renewing our world, of embracing our world. But we sometimes forget, and the societies from whence we come seldom take time to remind us, just how special and important we are. Our uniqueness as females among the human race is so basic, so utterly and fundamental, that we tend to let its importance slip away.

“In America, and I would imagine that it’s not too different in most countries, studies have shown that in elementary school, approximately 60 percent of young girls say they are happy with themselves. By the 10th grade, only 29 percent of us feel confident enough to say that. We look in the mirror and we see body parts—the face we’ve watched mature through the years, the ins and outs of a shape that we’ve grown accustomed to, two hands, two legs, two feet. The individual parts are so familiar that we rarely stop to think how sacred is the whole. Yes, sacred, for we are uniquely equipped for the special role of motherhood, uniquely able to link what was with what will be. We are the wellspring of life, and this fact makes us not only special—we’re downright miraculous! We are holy receptacles of a wondrous divinity and wombs for a world of love. Yet so many times we defer to others, undervaluing ourselves and failing to fulfil our potential. We hesitate to get out in front of people and issues, and our unique perspective goes missing from discussions where essential policies and significant decisions are made. There are times when our voice isn’t even heard at the kitchen table deciding our own family matters. We have to face it: sometimes, we women supply the very bricks that wall us in.

“The majestic poet Maya Angelou reminds us of our true calling as women. In one of her most famous poems, she describes women as ‘phenomenal.’ I would go further. I say we’re five-fold phenomenal. We are phenomenally invested with the abilities to heal ourselves and others that we don’t always realize. We are phenomenally gifted with a unique feminine grace that fosters peace among men. We are phenomenally lifted in order to soar to great heights as leaders and role models for our children. We are phenomenally destined to nurture growth in our homes, neighbourhoods and communities. And we are phenomenally created by God to hold the vision of peace and love and wholeness for all beings; this is the energy of Universal Motherhood that we as women bring to the planet. We are phenomenal.

“As women we must, as Amma charges us to do, ‘wake up and rise up,’ not with strife and discord—the chaotic ways that men have in the past chosen to bring change to our world, but with the soft yet strong, loving yet firm qualities of Universal Motherhood. We must give love a chance to change the world with patience, compassion and forgiveness, not threats and overbearing power—the eye-for-an-eye philosophy that, as Gandhi says, ‘leaves everybody blind.’ Women must rise up as women, not as ‘imitation men.’ We embody as our birthright the qualities and the tendencies that can make the world better not only for women but also enriching the lives of everyone, and enhancing our natural environment. It is time for us as women to bring our unique perspective to the forum of human affairs and to offer new leadership that opens the doors for new opportunities.

“Now, in order for women to take their rightful place in society, to play the role in life God has intended, there must be cooperation from our male counterparts. Men must come to realize that there is only so much that they can do to change the world without the unique and gifted perspective and insights of women. When all of us—women and men—come from a place of love, we automatically open up our hearts and we can each feel the principles of Universal Motherhood, we can feel the compassion and the unity. Men have to be willing to live from that heart space more often to help women to rise up and be women and not second-class citizens. Men who are brave enough and evolved enough to embrace the principles of Universal Motherhood make powerful allies. Together, we are an unstoppable force for peace.

“And so I invite you this morning to imagine a world where women and men alike recognize and internalise the qualities of Motherhood for the benefit of everyone. As Amma so beautifully captures it, ‘This love, this motherhood, is Divine Love—and that is God.’

“We are, indeed, a part of one big family, one interconnected whole, and as each of us, women and men, embrace the principles of Universal Motherhood and awaken to the deeper levels of love and compassion it offers, we will say yes to taking action. We will say yes to healing the pain and putting a stop to the suffering of women. We will say yes to the vision of a different kind of world, a better world. Peace is possible and now is the time!

“God bless you and thank you.”

Welcoming Speech by Swamini Krishnamrita Prana

Welcoming Speech of Women’s Initiative: Embracing Universal Motherhood for Peace & Harmony

“Amma has always lived Her life as a new kind of leader, whose life embodies Her values.” —Swamini Krishnamrita Prana

Delivered by Swamini Krishnamrita Prana
Mata Amritanandamayi Math

“Aum Amriteswaryai namah. My prostrations at the holy feet of Amma and to all of you here today. On behalf of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, we would like to welcome you to ‘Embracing Universal Motherhood for Peace & Harmony.’ We offer a very warm welcome to you all, warm in many ways.

“Amma has always lived Her life as a new kind of leader, whose life embodies Her values. She chose Her own path of service to humanity and to express Her unconditional love for all. She has committed to Her values uncompromisingly. Many, many people all around the world have benefited from Her choice to serve.

“Amma has shown us that every day we have the opportunity to care about the well being of others. Amma has called for the awakening of Universal Motherhood.
“We are honoured today to be joined by our 14 speakers who are also leaders who have worked hard in their own lives to serve and uplift positive human values. We look forward to hearing their personal words and incites about the values of Universal Motherhood. We are especially honoured to have with us the greatly respected Dr. Najma Heptulla, the Deputy Chairperson of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament. She will be presiding over our event today, and also Yolanda King, who will be delivering our Inaugural Address.

So now we would like to start the Inauguration.”

Women Beyond Borders

Women of India & Pakistan Embracing for Peace & Harmony

Embracing Universal Motherhood for Peace & Harmony

Amma’s unique expression of boundless compassion can never be bounded in by difficult circumstances or the borders of nations. She is the bridge that connects, that brings people together. Amma feels that Her children exist everywhere, like petals of a one-world flower. It was this vision of Amma’s that inspired “Women Beyond Borders,” a discussion between three women from India and three women from Pakistan during Amritavarsham50.

Participants from Pakistan: Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin, Ms. Nasira Iqbal and Ms. Begum Surayya Jabeen. From India: Dr. Poornima Advani, Smt. Mridula Sinha and Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan. Moderator: Dr. Shrikant Jichkar. M.A. Math representatives: Swamini Krishnamrita Prana, Bri. Abhirami, Ms. Bhavani Bijlani, Ms. Ramya Fennell, Ms. Versha Kaushal and Ms. Kamalam Demetrakopoulus.

Dr. Jichkar opened the meeting by describing Amma as unlimited bliss. He said that She is spreading love throughout the world, and wants selfless service to cross borders. “Amma gives energy to the moon; the moon becomes pervasive light all over the world and that moon is seva [selfless service],” said Dr. Jichkar.

The discussion among the women of India and Pakistan was an even exchange of wisdom, laughter and love for Amma. All agreed that we must go beyond what occurs on both sides and work together. Many needs for cross-border seva were discussed revolving around issues of common concern. These issues include working towards the elimination of child prostitution and child trafficking, assistance in the form of counseling for families in crisis and applying pressure on the media to end the objectification of women. Suggestions were made for cross-border networking between NGOs addressing women’s issues and governmental organizations.

Subtle problems and strategies were also discussed among the group. For example, it was suggested that everything starts with the family. So we have to ask ourselves basic questions like, “How are we treating our daughters in front of our sons? Our wives in front of our daughters?” The way families interact can be promoted through positive media images. Media can also be used to spread positive images of each country’s people to its neighbour to help establish empathy and respect for diversity.

After the meeting’s conclusion, Dr. Jichkar said that he felt overwhelmed by the motherhood expressed. “We have to go beyond the idea that motherhood is related to gender,” he said. “Universal motherhood is a balance of both.”

Women’s Initiative Programme Schedule

Embracing Universal Motherhood for Peace & Harmony

On 25 September 2003, distinguished social, spiritual, political and business, leaders gathered to highlight the need of awakening the qualities of motherhood in women, in men and in society as a whole. The focus of the Initiative was to bring the concept of Universal Motherhood, as lived and espoused by Amma, to a discussion of the present condition of women in society and to seek ways to apply the qualities of Motherhood to improving women’s status.

Compered by Ms. Neethi Ravindran

Inaugurated by Ms. Yolanda King
daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Board of Directors, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change

Presided over by Dr. Najma Heptulla
Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament

Part I — Towards a Deeper Understanding of Motherhood

Ms. Linda Evans
Actress and Environmental Activist
Topic: “Learning Motherhood from Mother Nature”
How Nature embodies the qualities of love, patience and compassion and teaches us ways to work towards a new world based on life-enhancing harmony.

Dr. K.S. Fathima Beevi
Member Syndicate, Mahatma Gandhi University
Topic: “Empowering Women Through Universal Motherhood’
How the Vedas and Upanishads endorse reverence for women and for the qualities of Motherhood.

Rabbi Leah Novick
Pathfinder of the Jewish Renewal Movement, U.S.A.
Topic: “The Feminine Face of God: Nurturing Its Reflection in Men and Women”
The alienation of the feminine face of God through gender-based oppressions, and how this divine feminine aspect might be called into our consciousness in the attempt to help us redress these oppressions and help men and women embrace and embody the qualities of the Divine Feminine.

Shri. P. Parameshwaran
Director, Bharatiya Vichara Kendra, Kerala, India
Topic: “Motherhood: The Mother & The Child of Spirituality”
How the qualities of Motherhood both support one’s spiritual development, and are natural results of spiritual development.

Part II — Exploring the Potential for Change

Prof. Mangalam Srinivasan
Special Advisor, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Topic: “Women in the Workplace: Increased Visibility Is Not Enough”
How women can achieve their full potential in work place without compromising on the essential qualities of motherhood.

Swamini Niranjanananda
Resident Acharya of the Chinmaya Mission
Topic: “Reinstating Women’s Roles in Religion”
How the Vedas have viewed the meaning and importance of the feminine, and the relevance of these views to roles for women in contemporary religion.

Dr. Poornima Advani
Chairperson, National Commission for Women
Topic: “Altering the Image of Women in the Minds of Abusers”
Alternative treatment for prisoners, including education and spiritual development as tools for transformation.

Smt. Mridula Sinha
Chairperson, Central Social Welfare Board, India
Topic: “Old Abuses, New Solutions”
Embracing the qualities of motherhood to overcome contemporary widespread abuse of young girls and women.

Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan
Founder and former academic director
Indira Gandhi National Centre of the Arts, New Delhi, India
Topic: “Reverence or Exploitation: Portrayals of Women in Classical Art & Modern Media”
How these portrayals reflect and affect the status and condition of women, and how to return to an attitude of reverence toward the feminine.

Part III — Healing the World Through Universal Motherhood

Shri. Joseph Pulikkunnel
Director, Indian Institute of Christian Studies
Christian reformer
Topic: “Adopting Universal Motherhood: An Opportunity for Men”
Explores the opportunities that a life embodying the qualities of Motherhood could open up for men, whether at home or in the workplace.

Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin
Sociologist, Muslim scholar
Director of Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs, London
Topic: “Men and Women as ‘Two Wings of a Bird’”
How the world would be impacted if men and women learn to function in partnership, and how this evolution can take place.

Ms. Dena Merriam
Vice-chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious & Spiritual Leaders

Part IV— Conclusion

“Amma’s Expression of Motherhood”
and Announcement of the Initiative’s Resolutions & Action Items
Swamini Krishnamrita Prana
Mata Amritanandamayi Math

Implementation of Resolutions and Action Items
A closed-door session led by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi
India’s Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development

CEO Summit List of Participants

List of Amritavarsham50 CEO Summit Participatants

From the United States

Mr. Gururaj Deshpande
Chairman, Sycamore Networks

Mr. Sabeer Bhatia
President/CEO, Navin Communications

Mr. B.V. Jagadeesh
President & CEO
Netscaler Inc.

Mr.Rajiv Dutta
eBay, Inc.

Mr. Anil Kripalani
Senior VP
Qualcomm Incorporated

Dr. Guru Parulkar
Program Director and Professor
NSF and Univ of California

Mr. Vinod Kumar Agarwal
President & CEO
Logic Vision, Inc.

Mr. Ajit Singh
President & CEO
Siemens Medical Solutions/Oncology Care System

Mr. Subrah S. Iyar
Chairman & CEO and Founder
WebEx Communications Inc,

Mr. Mohan Gyani
Office of Chairman & CEO
AT&T Wireless Services

Mr. CK Prahalad
Harvey C. Fruehauf Professor of Corporate Strategy
University of Michingan Business School

Mr. Sridar Iyengar
The Silicon Valley

Mr. Vyomesh Joshi
Executive Vice President, Imaging And Printing Group
Hewlett-Packard Company

Mr. Prem Jain
Senior VP, Routing Technology Group
Cisco Systems, Inc.

Mr. Sam Mathan
Amber Networks, Inc.

Mr. Kanwal Rekhi
President & CEO
Ensim Corporation

Mr. G.A. Menon
Multitech Systems, Ltd., Inc.

Mr. Sriram Viswanathan
Managing Director
Intel Corporation

Mr. Amit Shah
Managing Partner
Artiman Ventures

Mr.Venkatesh Shukla
FoundationForExcellence (

Mr. Mangalam Srinivasan
Harvard Fellow & Scholar, Director Satyam Computers
Board of Women and Public Policy, Kennedy School

Mr. Satish Tripathi
Dean and Johnson Professor of Engineering
University of California

Mr. Ajoy K. Bose
Chairman , President & CEO
Atrenta, Inc.

Mr. K.B. Chandrasekhar
Chairman & CEO
Jamcracker, Inc.

Mr. Anjani Jain
Vice Dean and Director, Graduate Division
The Wharton School

Mr. S. Somasegar
Windows Engineering Solutions and services Group

Mr. Kishore Kumar
President /CEO/Founder
Televital, Inc.

Mr. Jasbir Singh
President & CEO
Pronto Networks, Inc

Mr. Ajit Gupta
Founder/CEO/ President
Speedera Networks

Mr. Ajit Maira
Div. Sr. VP Office of CTO
Computers Accessories International, Inc.

Mr. Armeane M. Choksi
Rubicon Capital Investment

Dr. Makarand S. Jawadekar
A. Director, Pharmaceutical R&D/
Vice President/APAG

Mrs. Nirmal Jain
Jains Shoji

Mr. Tan Sri Datuk, Dr. Mohan, Dr. Mohan Swami JP
Executive Chairman
Chase Peranda Berhad

Mr. Alan (Buck) Buckmaster

Mr.Vishwanath Mishra
Venture Partner
Clearstone Venture

TiE SV Board Member
Venture Partner
Clearstone Venture Partners

Mr. Narayanan Ram
Founder President & CEO
SeelTFirst, Inc

From India

A. Ramakrishna, President (Operations) & Dy. M.D, Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

A. Sivathanu Pillai (Padma Shri)
CEO & MD, BrahMos, Distinguished Scientist & Chief Controller (R&D), DRDO

A.H. Kalro, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode

A.K. Saxena, MD, Hindustan Aeronauticals Ltd. (HAL)

A.P. Hinduja, Managing Partner, Hinduja Group of Companies

A.S. Menon, Senior General Manager, VSNL

Ajay G. Piramal, Chairman, Nicholas Piramal India Ltd.

Ajit Balakrishnan, Chairman & CEO,

Alka Umesh Zadgaonkar

Head, Applied Chemistry, G.H. Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur

Anjan Bose, MD, Datex-Ohmeda(India) Pvt. Ltd.

Arun Maira, Chairman, Boston Consulting Group (India) Pvt Ltd.

Aruna Sundarrajan, IT Secretary, Government of Kerala

Ashok Bakthavathsalam, Founder Director & MD, KG Information Systems Pvt Ltd.

Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor, IIT Madras

Aubin Kumar Das, CEO, Hinduja India

B.M. Hegde, Former VC, Manipal Academy of Higher Education

B.V. Kumar

Bahubali J. Desai
Senior Manager- PR, Nandy Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Ltd.

Br. Abhayamrita Chaitanya, COO, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham

Brijmohan Lall Munjal, Chairman, Hero Group of Companies

C. G. Krishnadas Nair (Padma Shri), Former Chairman, HAL & President, SIATI

C.P. Krishnan Nair, Chairman, The Leela Hotels

C.R. Muthukrishnan
Professor in IT and Software Engineering & Former Deputy Director, IIT Madras

Chetan Krishnaswamy, Head-Public Affairs (Southern Region), Intel India

D.Y Patil (Padma Shri)
Founder President & Chancellor

Padmashree Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth (Deemed University)

G. Bakthavatsalam, Chairman, K.G. Hospital And Post Graduate Medical Institute

G. Sivakumar

G.J. Nair, Head, Seismology Division, Bhaba Atomic Research Centre

G.K. Jayaram, Director, Infosys Leadership Institute, Infosys Technologies Ltd.

J. Sunder Rajan, Director – Sales, Philips Medical Systems India Pvt. Ltd.

Jairam Varadaraj, MD, ELGI Equipments Ltd.

Jose Dominic, MD, Casino Group of Hotels

K. Selvarajan, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon

K.R. Srivatsan, Director, IITM-Kerala

K.R.S. Murthy
Chairman, Board for IT Education Standards & Former Director, IIM-Bangaiore

K.S. Sundara Raman, MD, Bannari Infotech Pvt Ltd.

Ketan Sampat, President, Intel India

Kinji Saito, Director (Marketing & Sales), Maruthi Udyog Limited

Kochouseph Chittilappilly, MD, V-Guard Industries Pvt Ltd.

Krishnamurthy Chandra, CEO & Chairman, Mascon Global Limited

M. Manickam, Joint Managing Director, Sakthi Sugars Ltd.

M.N. Shivaram, President, Televital

M.S. Ramachandran, Chairman, IOC

Madhuri Thathachari
Founder & Managing Trustee, Bhramara Trust and Yatiraja Dvirepha Trust

Manpreet Singh Sidhu, MD, Apara Enterprise Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

N. Balakrishnan (Padma Shri), Divisional Chairman, IISC Bangalore

N.V.R. Nathan, Director, IILM Institute For Higher Education

P. Raja Mohan Rao, Head, United Telecoms Group of Companies (UTL)

P. Venkat Rangan
Vice Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Deemed University)

P.D. Patil, Trustee & Director, Dr. D.Y. Patil Prathishtan

P.H. Kurien, MD, KSIDC, Government of Kerala

P.P. Chhabria, Chairman, FINOLEX Cables Ltd.

P.V. Indiresan (Padma Bhushan)
Governing Council Member, TIFAC & Former Director, IIT Madras

Pradeep M.K. Bhaskaran, Managing Partner, Jaya Auto

Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre (AIMS)

R. Chellappan, MD, Numeric Power Systems Ltd.

R. Sasidaran, Hon. Secretary, CODISSIA

R.K. Krishna Kumar, Vice Chairman, Indian Hotels Co. Ltd.

Rajan Bharti Mittal, Joint Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises

Rajan Menon, Managing Partner, Khattar Wong & Partners

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Chairman & CEO, BPL Innovision Business Group

Rajindar Singh, Director – India Operations, Tyco Health Care India Pvt. Ltd.

Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, Dainik Bhaskar

Ron Gottsegen, Administrative Director
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre (AIMS)

S. Devarajan, VP & Head, Cisco Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd.

S. Nagarajan, Founder & COO, 24/7 Customer

S. Ramadorai, CEO, TCS

S.D. Shibulal, Co-founder & Member of Board, Infosys Technologies Ltd.

S.P. Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group of Companies

S.V. Arumugam, Director, Bannari Amman Education Trust, Sathyamangalam

S.V. Balasubramaniam
Chairman and Managing Director, Bannari Amman Sugars, Ltd.

Samir Palnikar, Wibhu Technologies

Sankaran P. Raghunathan
Prof. of International Business & Founder Chairman, Blueshift

Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman, Xansa India Ltd & President, TiE – New Delhi

Shanker Annaswamy, President & CEO, GE Medical Systems – South Asia

Shekhar Dasgupta, MD, Oracle India, Pvt., Ltd.

Srini Koppolu, MD, Microsoft India Development Center

Srinivasan Rangan, Associate Professor
Amrita Institute of Management, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham

Sriram Chandrasekar, COO, Dishnet DSL Ltd

T.K.A. Nair, Chairman
Public Enterprises Selection Board
Department of Personnel & Training, Govt. of India

Tee Narayanswami
Managing Partner, Bharat Electric Stampings & President, CODISSIA

Usha K. Mehta, Emeritus Scientist, Sugarcane Breeding Institute, ICAR

V. Lakshmi Narayanasamy, MD

Suguna Machine Works Pvt Ltd & Vice President, CODISSIA

V. Srinivasan, CEO, Dishnet DSL Ltd.

V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chairman, UGC

V.S. Somanath, Professor
Amrita Institute of Management, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham

Veena Singh, Chairperson, Task force on Promotion of Rural Industries

Venkat Panchpakesan, CEO, Yahoo Software Development India Pvt. Ltd.

Padma Shri Vijay P. Bhatkar, Chairman, Dishnet DSL Ltd.

Vishwanath D. Karad, President, World Peace Centre of MAEER’s MIT Pune, India

Von Wulfen, Executive Vice President, Medical Solutions Divison, Siemens Limited


PURA: Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas

President Kalam discussing “India 2020” during the summit.

One of the main components of Kalam’s “India 2020″ vision is “PURA: Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas.”

As more than two-thirds of India’s one-billion population live in rural areas, the president believes the country can only be transformed into a “developed” nation if those people are properly empowered. Currently, President Kalam says, rural India suffers from a lack of connectivity: physical connectivity (poor and insufficent roads), electronic conenctivity (unreliable and insufficient communications networks) and knowledge connectivity (lack of professional institutions and vocational training centres). He says that only when these three difficiencies are corrected will economic connectivity take place.

To facilitate rural India’s four-fold reconnection, the President has come up with a model for building and renovating rural communities called PURA (“providing urban amenities in rural areas”). The President’s habitat design aims at improving the quality of life in rural places and, at the same time, decongesting urban areas. “Instead of village population coming to urban areas,” he says, “the reverse phenomenon has to take place.”

According to President Kalam’s plan, the PURA communities must run as economically viable businesses financed and managed by entrepreneurs, local people and small-scale industrialists, as they involve education, health, power-generation, transport and management. “Government’s support should be in the form of empowering such management agencies, providing initial economic support and finding the right type of management structure and leaders to manage and maintain.”

Durga Michelle Morais

Durga Michelle Morais (Brazil)

“Thank you, Amma, for helping me see that nothing is impossible for anyone, no matter what problem they have.” —Durga Michelle Morais

Durga, who is from Brazil, was 22-years-old and studying to become a doctor at the Amma’s AIMS Medical College in Cochin at the time of Amritavarsham50.

In her speech, Durga explained how it had been Amma who’d, to her shock, encouraged her to study medicine at AIMS. Even though adjusting to India is not easy, she explained that Amma has helped her to feel that she really has a choice, and that becoming a doctor is as more about faith and effort than intelligence.

“During my first week of medical studies, I was really distraught,” she said. “I couldn’t understand my teachers, classmates or books. I just wanted to give up. So I decided to talk with Amma at the next chance I had back at the Amritapuri Ashram.

“A classmate translated a note detailing my situation for Amma. I was feeling so hopeless that I felt my heart was completely broken. Amma said that when She asked me to come [to study medicine in India], there was a purpose behind it, and that I could do it, but I had to believe it. While Amma was talking to the translator about my situation, I was thinking to myself that I was not intelligent enough to be a doctor.

Just then the translator relayed Amma’s message: ‘To be a doctor, intelligence alone is not enough; it requires making effort. You have to want this.’ Then Amma turned to me and said in English, ‘Try, try, you try. OK?’

“I would like to thank Amma for everything, even every obstacle, because the difficulties have helped me to see how capable I can be in every situation, and to see how strongly I can feel Her grace in my life when I surrender everything to Her. Thanks, Amma, for making me learn how to be self-confident, independent, strong and faithful. Thank you for helping me see that nothing is impossible for anyone, no matter what problem they have, when Your grace and blessings are behind them. I hope in five and one half years, when I receive my degree, that I will be able to offer my gratitude to Amma by serving the world through the medical profession. Your grace has helped me to see with my heart as well as my eyes. Amma, as You already know, I love You very much.”

Ramya Pradhan

Ramya Pradhan (India)

“My college is the temple of Amma. It is different from other educational institutions that are devoid of love and care.” – Ramya Pradhan

An overview of the engineering student from AITEC Bangalore’s Amritavarsham50 Youth Meet speech on Amma’s impact on her life.

“The campus, the teachers and the students of Amma’s institution stand apart from the rest of the professional colleges at Bangalore. We are free from the worldly worries under the big banner of Amma’s institution with its spiritual guidance, academic excellence and serene atmosphere. Our institution looks and feels like a temple of Amma.

“The ever-smiling portrait of Amma displayed prominently at the entrance pours out Amma’s love and blessing on everybody, guiding us, protecting us and encouraging us in all spheres of life.

“Here, we are cared for still as young children, with continuous guidance. Furthermore, we treat each other just like our own brothers and sisters.

“My college is the temple of Amma. It is different from other educational institutions that are devoid of love and care. Here everybody is cared for, loved and nurtured. We are taken to a higher level of understanding and taught to be better human beings and better citizens who can spread the message of peace, harmony and sustaining love—Amma’s unique message!”