Amma presents Gandhi-King award to Mwai Kibaki

23 October 2003 — Nairobi, Kenya

Her Holiness Sri Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) presented the prestigious Gandhi-King award for Non-Violence for the year 2003 to His Excellency the President of Kenya, Hon. Mwai Kibaki, today at the State House Gardens, Nairobi, Kenya.

Also present were the First Lady Her Excellency Mrs. Lucy Kibaki, the Honourable Vice President Mr. Moody Awori, the Honourable Minister Mr. Najib Balala, for Culture, Sports and Social Services and Bawa Jain, the Secretary General of the Millennium World Peace Summit. The Kenyan Cabinet members and many special invitees were also present on this momentous ocassion. The gathering was addressed by Amma, Mr. Balala, Mr. Jain, and His Excellency the President. Earlier in the morning Amma had a private meeting with the Honourable President at his residence.

Amma praised President Kibaki’s reforms and the introduction of free primary education in Her presentation address.

Accepting the award, Mr. Kibaki praised the World Movement for Non-Violence and the Millennium World Peace Summit for their role in the promotion of peace, and paid tribute to the previous award recipients, which include Amma, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former South African President Nelson Mandela and renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.

Dedicating this award to the people of Kenya, Mr. Kibaki said, “This award is in the spirit of the two greatest leaders of our times – Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King – who transcended what we think of as apolitical, civic, or spiritual leadership to become true leaders of people and examples to hearts, minds and souls worldwide.”

On Her arrival in Kenya on the 22nd, Amma was welcomed at the Nairobi airport by the Honorable Minister Najib Balala MP on behalf of the Kenyan government.

Africa receives IAM Meditation Technique®

October 2003, Nairobi
Just a few days before Amma came to Kenya to present the Gandhi-King Award to Mr. Mwai Kabaki, the President of Kenya, Amma held a one-day public darshan program. Afterwards, Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya, one of Amma’s senior brahmacharis, conducted the IAM Technique® meditation course in Nairobi. Here are some responses from the attendees:

“What a wonderful experience I had out of this meditation class!! I am sure this will change the course of my life and my perspective on living. I will definitely continue practicing this under the invisible guidance of AMMA.” – Savitri K.Krishnan

“The meditation technique was quite good and unique. This simple practice will help us progress with Amma’s grace. We seek your blessing Amma.” – Vijay Kumar Subramoniani

“I am extremely grateful to Amma for offering us this course and helping Her children to have a higher consciousness. The course has been extremely precise in its instructions and I have full faith that practiced with love and sincerity it will bring the results that Amma has intended them to have. The instructions have been well rooted in the course so that we do not have any problems going through them on our own. May this course reach everyone and help guide us to our true spiritual nature. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti”- Harish Rabadia

“Thank you Amma for this amazing gift. Thank you Amma for making me worthy of this gift. My personal outlook is that truly this technique will uplift society in however small/large a way depending upon my own effort. I have faith that by this technique, I will be able to cultivate peace in my personal life & strength and integrity on my worldly life. I wish to be a true lover of God by having compassion for others, understanding that devotion and selfless service are one, and seeing that it is one Pure Consciousness that pervades all. And in living a worthy life I wish to achieve moksha.” – Manfeet Kaur Kalsi

“The course was informative and interesting. The vibrations felt were good and we felt relaxed and peaceful. The illustrations used were good and the literature provided was sufficient. Swamiji’s relaxed and soothing method of instruction, clarification of doubts and answering questions raised by participants provided a peaceful and calm atmosphere. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this beautiful experience.” – Mrs. Vijay Kump

“I am really glad that I attended this course. I am very thankful to you for giving me this opportunity and I intend to practice meditation regularly.  Thank you” – Seshamni K.

“The programme was good and nice. I am happy and peaceful. It has changed my mind.” – Beatrice Imali

“Amma – thank you for offering us this wonderful meditation.” – Vijay B. Patel

“I like this course very much and I am so happy to be with you – THANK YOU. “— Champa

If wealthy make up their minds, could alleviate poverty

Question: Amma, you went through a lot of suffering in your childhood. When you see people suffering, do you remember those days?

Amma: Is there anyone who hasn’t suffered in his life? It is true that Amma had to go through many hardships in Her childhood. But she didn’t think of it as suffering. Amma’s mother, Dayamanti, fell ill and was unable to attend to the household chores. In those circumstances, Amma thought that if She took care of Her family, even if Her education had to be discontinued, it would allow her siblings to continue their schooling. Thus She stopped going to school and took upon Herself the whole burden of the domestic duties. She had to cook for the family, prepare tiffin boxes for Her brothers and sisters before they went to school, look after Her sick mother, do all the laundry, fetch grass for the cows, and look after all the goats, cows, ducks, and poultry. In this way She had to toil from four o’clock in the morning until midnight. It was through Her work that She came to know about the suffering and despair that exists in the world. For example, She had to visit about 50 houses everyday to collect tapioca peels for the cows. In one house everyone had more than enough food to eat, while in the neighbouring house, everyone was starving and the children were lying on the floor, weak and exhausted from lack of food. In one house, Amma heard the children praying for the longevity of their parents, while at the same time, the old woman in the house next door was neglected by her grown up children and had only stories of despair to tell. She would say, Look! No one cares about me! They throw me some food now and then as if I were a dog. No one washes my clothes. They just curse me and turn their backs on me.”

That woman had worked all her grownup life for the sake of her children. Her health had deteriorated because of all her hard work; and now, when she was old, emaciated and bedridden, no one bothered to take care of her. There was no one to give her a glass of water when she was thirsty. Amma brought her food from home and fed her many times.

Many elderly people are neglected in this way. Their sons and daughters, who as children prayed that their parents would live forever, now, when they are grownup and have families of their own to take care of, look upon their parents as a burden and a nuisance. They long to get rid of their aged parents, for they loved them only for as long as they could gain something from them. If someone has a cow, they love that cow because it gives them milk. But as soon as the cow stops giving milk, they get rid of it.

It was by observing these things that Amma came to understand that all worldly love is rooted in selfishness; people love each other only for the sake of their own selfish gains.

There was a pond close to Amma’s parental home. Amma would bring the aged grandmothers in the neighbourhood to this pond, where She bathed them and washed their clothes. She would also fetch food from home and feed the starving children. Her father didn’t like any of this. He scolded Her saying, “Why do you bring all these filthy urchins with runny noses here and give them things from the house?”

Thus it was through witnessing the suffering and the hardships people had to face that Amma learned about the nature of worldly life.

When poor people get sick, they visit government hospitals. They have to wait for hours in a queue to register their names. When they have finally been examined by a doctor and given a prescription, they have to worry about where to find the money to buy medicines. Amma has met many people in that situation. Most of the people in this neighbourhood can barely make two ends meet with the little they manage to earn each day. If they get sick or bedridden, they have no money for food or medicine. Amma as seen people who were writhing with pain but had no money for painkillers. Just one tablet would have sufficed to ease their pain, but they couldn’t afford it. Because of this they had to spend the whole day in extreme pain.

Amma has also seen a lot of children worrying because they didn’t have enough money to buy the paper on which to write their exams. She has seen people sewing buttons on their shirts with thorns. Thus Amma has seen and heard and experienced the suffering and hardships that people have to undergo in their lives. This knowledge prompted Her to look within. Everything in the world became Her Guru. Even a tiny ant was Her Guru.

Because Amma shared the sorrows and suffering of the poor when She was a child, She is now able to understand people’s pain and suffering, without them having to explain anything. Quite a lot of these people come to see Amma every day.

If Amma’s wealthy children made up their minds, they could alleviate the suffering of these people to a great extent. Amma would like to urge Her wealthy children to be compassionate and serve the people who are poor and suffering.

This is the same woman

11 – 12, October 2003,Helsinki,Finland

Amma’s visit to Helsinki, Finland, was the talk of the whole country, as thousands gathered for Her darshan at the Cable Hall. It was Amma’s fifth visit to this beautiful Scandinavian country.

On the morning of the first day’s programme, the Bishop of the Orthodox Church in Helsinki, Rev. Ambrosius, met Amma and got Her darshan. Rev. Ambrosius told Amma that he had visited the Orthodox Church in Kerala 10 years ago. He was happy to see how Amma received each and every person who came to Her with the same love and compassion; he was also pleased by the hug that Amma gave him.

The Cabinet Minister of Cultural Affairs in Finland, Ms. Tanja Karpela, also came to meet Amma during the first evening programme. She was full of bliss after Amma’s darshan, and was very impressed by the charitable activities that the ashram was carrying out worldwide.

Amma’s visit to Finland was reported on the Finnish TV’s main news and in the national newspapers, Helsingin Sanomat and Iltalehti, which have very wide circulation in this country.

During Amma’s visit, the translation of Judith Cornell’s biography of Amma into Finnish was also released.

The evening darshan during the second day went on until 5:00 am the next day. That afternoon, as Amma was entering the airport to board the plane for Barcelona, She was received by an airport officer who had a pen with Amma’s photo in his pocket. When asked, he said that he had really wanted to see Amma, but because of his official duties, he couldn’t make it for the programmes. His friend had given the pen as a souvenir and he cherished the gift. His face was beaming with a smile as he received Amma’s hug.

As Amma entered the aircraft, many of the passengers were reading the newspapers carrying big reports of Amma’s programmes. Seeing Amma, some of the passengers exclaimed, “This is the same woman.”

God is your only real relative

“One should have the conviction that God is one’s only real relative. Children, you should know that eventually all other relations and worldly objects will give nothing but sorrow. Let your bond be with God alone. This does not mean that you should abandon your wife and children, or that you should see them as strangers. Take good care of them, but know that the only lasting relative you have is God. All others will leave you today or tomorrow; therefore, always take refuge in Him. Think that the difficulties in life are for your own good, then there will be peace and bliss in the family.”

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“Don’t regret that you couldn’t become a brahmachari, or that you can’t be with Amma all the time. You children are all like the leaves on a plant. Some leaves are close to the flower, and others are far away from it, but all the leaves belong to the same plant. Likewise, all are Amma’s children; don’t doubt that one bit. Don’t feel sorry that you can’t enjoy Amma’s physical presence by not being with Her. You can also reach the ultimate goal some day.”

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If desires are not controlled, they will control you

“Children, this world is created by the Lord for you to enjoy. No spiritual Master or scriptural text has ever said that everyone should give up all kinds of worldly enjoyments and engage in constant remembrance of God. No one has said that everyone should change their residences and live in ashrams and become sannyasis. As Mother said before, there are people who can do it and who are determined to do it. Let them follow their path. But there is a way for others also to become closer to God. That is possible by slowly preparing the mind for that final leap while leading a normal life in this world.”

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Question: What is the way to overcome desires so that we householders can get closer to God?

Amma: The only way is to understand that each and every object that you desire is riddled with pain. If the desires are not controlled now, later they will control you, and eventually they will swallow you. Mother doesn’t say that you must give up all desires. You can enjoy them, but don’t think that this life is only for that. Strong determination is needed.

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“While driving one must obey traffic rules and regulations. If not, accidents will occur. Not only you, but others will suffer if an accident happens. Likewise, while driving the vehicle of life along the road of this world, you have to adhere to certain laws, certain do’s and don’ts. It is these rules and regulations that the Gurus and the scriptures talk about. If you follow them, you can avoid danger and will be safe both in your personal life and social life. However, conflicts and calamities will arise in both areas of your life if you break these rules and regulations through overindulgence and other undisciplined ways.

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Women and Men

“A woman should be respected and her feelings should be given proper consideration. Her maternal qualities should be recognised and she should be given a higher, well-deserved position in society, along with men. At the same time, she should know that the greatest gift God has bestowed on her is the gift of motherhood, the right to give birth and to raise a child with the proper care, love and affection. It is a unique gift, and it is hers alone.”

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“Why has God given women this wonderful gift? Because they alone have the capacity to express such qualities as love, compassion, caring and patience, in all its fullness and beauty. Every woman should know this and try to comprehend the significance of this blessing.”

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“In India men often think they have the right to control women, and that a woman should never be ahead of a man in any way. This is clearly the wrong attitude, which is due to the lack of proper understanding of the culture that was founded by the ancient saints and seers.”

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“It is mostly in Western society that women are forgetting their feminine qualities. In the name of equality, many women are disregarding this most priceless blessing they have been given. In the West, as opposed to Indian society, women are more aggressive and less yielding. As Western women try to catch up with men in all areas of life, they do not realise that they are sacrificing an essential part of their nature. The result of this is total chaos and confusion, both in the outer and inner life. Amma is not saying that a woman shouldn’t do the same things that men do — she can and she should, and women have an immense inner power — but it should never be done at the cost of sacrificing her essential being. Going against Nature is destructive; it is dangerous for the person in question as well as for society as a whole.”

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