Amma to visit Nagapattinam & Sri Lanka

Upon the invitation of the villagers, Amma will be visiting Nagapattinam and Karaikkal in Tamil Nadu which suffered the brunt of the recent tsunami, on the 13th and the 14th of February 2005.

Amma will be leaving for Sri Lanka on the 16th February and will initiate the ashram’s long term rehabilitation projects there, after which She shall be returning to Amritapuri.

Amma left Bangalore at 2.30pm on the 12th.

The Wisdom of Tsunami

12 February 2005 — Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, en route from Bangalore to Nagapattinam

“My house, my life, my belongings, my children—all disappeared in the blink of an eye,” Amma said. She was talking to Her disciples and devotees about the tsunami during a stop in Dharmapuri. Amma was going to the Nagapattinam district to give darshan at the tsunami-wrecked villages that the Ashram had adopted there.

Amma’s chair was in the middle of school basketball court, and all Her children were gathered around Her. The sun was setting—sandhya, night and day were coming together.

“What is the lesson we have to learn from this?” Amma suddenly asked. “How can we overcome such situations? How should we prepare to meet the future? What do we learn about the nature of the world? Why do such situations occur?” Amma’s children gave many answers; most pointed to the fact that life is a rare commodity and we should use it to spread some light and love to others.

After Amma’s children had expressed their ideas, Amma gave a reply of Her own. Her words were simple—they contained the very essence of spirituality, the very essence of Amma’s life.

“Unexpected situations like this teach us that nothing is really ours. We cling on to things and people, thinking of them as our own, but such situations reveal that nothing is ours; our very life is not ours to hold on to.

“Many people take a life-insurance policy to give some financial security to their near and dear ones. In taking the policy, they clearly indicate that they know their life is impermanent, but still everyone lives as if death were a very distant thing, something that will only come to others.

“When we see an accident on the road, right in front of our eyes, it serves to make us more alert. Such situations help generate an awareness within. Being in the realm of the mind and intellect, we need to develop this awareness. It shows us the way—how to go forward.

“It is like an alarm that wakes us up. There was a man who used to wake up at 8 a.m. each day. Once he had an interview at 10 a.m., but to get to the place where the interview was to be held he had to wake up at four. So he set an alarm and by doing so he was able to wake up at four. Similarly, such situations serve as an alarm to wake us up. Only if we develop this awareness and learn to accept the situations in life in the right light, will we able to progress towards our goal.

“We hold on to the idea of me and mine. Everybody says I have done this, I have done that, but where does this ‘I’ come from? We see the moon in the light of the moon. What we call our own is not really ours—what He gives, He takes away too. He gives, and we accept. And when He wishes He takes back… it is with this attitude that we should accept situations in life.

“Amma remembers the earthquake in Gujarat. Amma was very distraught seeing the devastation it had left in its wake; lives and property had been destroyed. But when Amma asked some of the local people how they were faring, they said that they were fine, for what God had given, He had taken away.

“On hearing the answer, Amma felt relieved, for She had been very sad thinking of their sorry plight. Most of the families had lost one or more members of their family. It was with a sad heart that I asked them of their situation. When they answered in this way, Amma too gained strength. From such situations we should gain awareness, so that we constantly remember, in each and every moment, that everything is temporal. We should also develop an attitude of welcoming whatever situation comes. Only if we think in this way can we move forward, for life will ever be presenting a mix of favourable and adverse situations.

“We should also use this as an opportunity to awaken the love and compassion within us.

“When we ourselves face sorrow, we should contemplate upon it and accept it. But if it is the sorrow of others, we should try to go to their level, understand the situation from their standpoint and try to see what we can do to relieve them. Our life is temporal. In the blink of an eye, the greatest of palaces and the loftiest of towers can be razed to the ground by the whims of nature. Human effort always has its limits. There are so many leading scientists throughout the world, but they were not able to predict the tsunami. And even if the could have predicted it, they would not have been able to stop it.

Effort always has its limits. It is grace alone that lends fulfillment to life. These situations teach us the limits of human effort and therefore to accept; they help us develop an attitude of surrender both within and without.

“At any moment death may come to us. Suppose you have a very dear friend who has been away for a long time and then he sends word that he is coming to visit you. You are overwhelmed with joy. You make all sorts of preparations—the house is decorated, delicious food is made—and you wait with love and joy… Children, meet each moment in your life as if it were this long-awaited friend. There is no guarantee to life. Live each moment in a way that so that it benefits others.

“Only the present moment is with us. We should make the most of it; we should try to awaken the divine within and in the lives of the victims of the tsunami, which are shrouded in darkness, we should light the lamp of solace and succour. That is our present duty. Pray with your hearts and serve with your hands. Because you really only look within yourself when you try to understand and share the sorrow of others. God is within all of us in seed form; it is the water of compassion that helps it sprout. It is only with this water that the seed can be made to sprout. The way to awaken to your own Self is compassion. We should try to awaken that within.”

-Sakshi

I am like a free-flowing river

“I look only at the hearts of my children. I am unconcerned about the social status or wealth of those who come to me. A mother never discriminates between her children in that way. Whenever a grief-stricken person comes to me, I feel compassion towards them. I feel their sorrow and suffering as my own. I always do my best to alleviate their suffering.”
–Amma

Question: Don’t you get tired giving darshan to the devotees for hours on end?

Amma: Where there is love, there is no tiredness. A mother can carry her baby for several hours continuously. She never feels it as a burden.

Question: In the early days you had to confront many obstacles and people were against you. Do you have anything to say about it?

Amma: I never considered it to be a serious matter. I was aware of the nature of the world. If a person knows that firecrackers are going to explode, when the explosion takes place the sound will not startle him. A person who knows how to swim in the sea will enjoy playing amidst the waves. He is never frightened. Similarly, as I was aware of the nature of the world, the obstacles didn’t mar my happiness. I felt that those who were against me were nothing but mirrors. They provided me with an opportunity to look into myself. That was my attitude towards them.

One complains only if one considers oneself to be the body. There is no scope for sorrow or resentment in the world of the Atman, i.e., when one’s real nature is understood. As I contemplated my true nature, I understood that I am not a stagnant pond but a free-flowing river. Many people come to the river. Some of them may suffer from diseases, while others are healthy; they drink from the river, bathe in it, wash their clothes or spit in it. Whichever way people may treat the river, it makes no difference to the river. It flows on as usual. Whether its water is used for worship or for washing clothes, the river seldom complains. It flows along, caressing and purifying those who enter it. But a pond is different. Pond water stagnates, becomes impure and a foul smell emanates from it.

Similarly, the opposition I met with, as well as the love I received, did not affect me in the least. None of it seemed important to me. Sorrow is experienced only when one identifies oneself with the body. In the realm of the Self, there is no place for such sorrow. No one is different from me. To me, the shortcomings of others are my own shortcomings. Therefore, those hardships didn’t seem like hardships to me. Some people may throw dirt at a tree, but the dirt turns into manure which helps the tree to grow. So, too, I converted every hardship into an aid for my spiritual quest. Everything was for the good.

On the banks of river Kaveri

8 February 2005 , en routeto Bangalore, Karnataka

On the way from Mysore to Bangalore, Amma decided to treat Her children to one more unforgettable moment. In the historic region of Srirangapattanam runs the sacred river Kaveri. It is a place that has been blessed by Amma’s presence many times in the past, yet every time with Her seems as new and exciting as the first. Soon after the ashramites and devotees arrived at the bank of the sacred river, they became immersed in the presence of its flowing waters, as they waited eagerly for Amma to arrive and make the moment complete.

Suddenly the word was out: “Amma is coming!” and everybody sprang up to receive Her as if they had been separated for a long time. In truth it had only been a few hours, but such is the force of love that the rational mind has to bow down to it.

Amma came and took Her place amidst Her darling children, enhancing the beauty of the ancient place even further with Her radiance. To everybody’s surprise Amma suggested that instead of the usual format of questions-and-answers, where Her children pose questions to Her and She answers them, that they ask questions to each other. For some time this format was followed but no immortal wisdom was to flow before Amma Herself spontaneously joined in. Who knows, maybe it was the ethereal natural beauty of this holy place that prompted Her to dwell for awhile on the relationship between man and nature. She said: “Man cannot exist without the trees, the animals, the sky and the earth. We are an integral part of nature. That is why in India we worship nature, trees, monkeys, etc. There are temples even for so called insignificant creatures like snakes. In Sanatana Dharma the Creator and Creation are not separate entities, they are one and the same. By worshiping Nature we are also protecting Her. We have to learn to live in tune with Nature again and to adjust spontaneously, otherwise like the dinosaurs in ancient times we also will become extinct.”

There was no better place to start putting this into practice than right then and there amidst the sacred scenery and Amma’s all embracing divine love, a love that truly encompasses all of creation. Looking at Her in the slowly descending twilight She looked like an incarnation of Bhumata, Mother Earth Herself.

Finally Amma burst into joyful song and Her children responded likewise with childlike glee. There was great mirth as one of the ashramites could not contain herself and started dancing rhythmically to Amma’s voice. No doubt it was slightly comical yet it was also a beautiful expression of innocence and natural joy of being alive on this beautiful planet.

Life with a spiritual master like Amma is truly a celebration. It is a celebration of life, love and unity.

As darkness descended, the gods must have been joyous to witness a scene that has repeated itself in this holy land countless times; that of the master and disciples enjoying communion amidst a grove of trees by a sacred river.

-Sakshi

Amma in Bangalore

 

Anticipation was in the air as the people of Bangalore were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their beloved Amma. On the dais was the honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri. Dharam Singh as well as the ex-Prime Minister of India Shri. Deva Gauda. The atmosphere was charged with excitement when the sound of the gong finally announced Amma’s arrival.In Her usual graceful way She brushed past eager devotees like a passing fragrance in the wind.

At the very beginning Amma requested the audience to stand up and pray for the tsunami victims. There was a feeling of unity in the hall as everybody poured out their heartfelt prayers. Both Mr. Singh and Mr. Deva Gauda gave speeches in which they lauded Amma and Her mission of love and compassion after which followed the inauguration of Amrita Sadana, Amma’s new old age care-home situated next to the ashram.

 

Once again a concrete expression of Amma’s divine grace, this time benefiting the elder portion of society.She is truly dedicated to uplifting all of society.No section is barred from Her embrace – an embrace that brings solace, spiritual upliftment and above all a sense of security that comes from the realization that God lives among us and that there is someone we can always trust and to whom we can unconditionally surrender to. What more can one want in life?

– Tulasi

Thankful devotees of Mysore

06 February 2005, Mysore

Due to Amma’s extensive work to relieve the suffering of the tsunami victims, many of the places She was to visit on Her annualmahayatra had to be cancelled. The cultured and devotional people of Mysore were thankful and happy that She graced them with a visit even in these difficult times.

They gave Her a most loving welcome. The programme at Amma’s Mysore Ashram was well attended and many dignitaries were present to laud Her example of love and service. Chief Guest was the honourable Justice S.R. Nayak of the High Court of Karnataka who said in his keynote: “Amma represents and reveals Universal Motherhood, infinite love, a reservoir of compassion and service to humankind.Her eternal charter—love and serve—should be the bija-mantra that the sinking boat of humankind should use to lift its troubled and traumatised self from the evils of distrust,hardness, violence and destruction.” Judging by the applause, the people of Mysore full-heartedly agreed.

The newest among Amma’s educational institutions is the Amrita Shikshana Mahavidyalaya, a teachers training institute. The new college was officially inaugurated by Sri. C.H. Vijayshankar, a sitting member of the Indian Parliament. The impressive new institute is situated just next to the beautiful and serene Mysore Ashram. Amma’s unique blend of spirituality, education and science will surely silence everyone who has said that spirituality is mere escapism. According to Amma, true spirituality is the capacity to face life with equanimity and strength of mind. Her ever-expanding mission is pure spiritual force in action to benefit all levels of society.

Afterward the inauguration, Amma delighted the Kannada-speaking audience by singing some newly practiced bhajans in that language. Amma’s beautiful voice blending with their native tongue held the entire crowd spellbound. As always,Amma’s love and grace find numerous ways to flow towards Her darling children.

 

Busy in the service of Her children

6 February 2005, On the road to Mysore.

Amma had come to the programme site in Kalpetta on the evening of the 4th at about 6:30 p.m. Now She was leaving for Mysore immediately after the programme at 10:30 a.m. on the morning of the 5th. On Her way, Amma visited a few houses and, by the time She left Kalpetta, it was around 12:30 p.m.

Amma was a state guest in Karnataka, so Amma’s camper was accompanied by a couple of police cars at all times. Throughout the journey, whenever the Ashram vehicles stopped—or even when they just slowed down—there were people who seemed to figure out that it was Amma’s entourage, and they would wave excitedly or call out.

At the Kerala-Karnataka border, even the check-post guards ran out to Amma’s vehicle hoping to get a glimpse of Her. One might think that Amma would be tired and would want to rest after meeting people all night long, hugging them, consoling them—but one would be wrong, for Amma stopped about 40 kilometres before Mysore and sang a few new bhajans in Kannada. She sang with zest and even humour, as She familiarised Herself with the unfamiliar words.

It was the first time Amma had stopped at this particular location—just by the side of the highway. Regardless, soon there were many people eagerly waiting for Amma’s darshan. Almost none of them had met Amma before. Amongst them were three tehsildars [top administrative officers in an administrative block called a tehsil], an assistant commissioner, and some others who had been waiting for Amma’s arrival for a couple of hours. He had a garland with him. Adorning Amma with the garland, he said, “I am happy to welcome You on behalf of the people of Nanjankode Village. Amma, Please bless us.”

Amma reached Mysore at 7:00 p.m., to be greeted by teeming masses of devotees. Amma still had had not had a moment’s rest since darshan started in Kalpetta—more than 24 hours before. But still She seemed reluctant to leave the presence of Her Mysore children, who had been waiting hours for Her arrival. Their love seemed to hold Her.

Eventually, Amma had an announcement made, explaining that She had to practice new bhajans in Kannada and had to brief the brahmacharini who would be translating Her satsang into the local language the next day. She asked the devotees if it would be okay if She were to bless some prasad and give it for distribution. The devotees joyously agreed. They had been waiting two years for Amma’s darshan, and now they were only too willing to wait a few more hours, happy to have been able to see Amma.

Soon after Amma reluctantly left the throng of devotees, one could hear the strains of new Kannada bhajans coming from Her room. Amma was resting in the only way She knows how—busy in the service of Her children.

—Kannadi

Shower on the mountain top: Amma in Kalpetta

4 February 2005 — Kalpetta, Kerala

“Each time Amma has come to Wayanad, She has been greeted by a shower, which is a sign of prosperity and fulfillment,” said Sri. K.K. Ramachandran, the Honourable Minister of Health of Kerala. He was speaking before the 20,000 people sitting through the light shower that had come over the Western Ghat Mountains just before Amma’s arrival at the programme site.

He was right. It usually does rain when Amma gives darshan in the Wayanad District. It even rained the very first time She came here, 12 years ago. At that time, the programme was quickly shifted to inside a nearby school. But today the rain quickly abated and didn’t cause any real problems. It had been two years since Amma had come to the northern Kerala district, and a little damp whether wasn’t going to stop the devotees from having Her darshan.

“Amma is a synonym for auspiciousness and prosperity,” Sri. Ramachandran continued. “Amma has initiated so many projects for helping the poor and needy and for spreading peace and harmony. She has achieved so much that now the whole world recognises and honours Her.It is a matter of pride to all of us Keralites.”

When the rain cleared, a cool breeze filled the night air, carrying Amma’s voice across the mountain-top town.

Amma’s voice was not the only one raised in song tonight. Sri. Girish Puthenchery, the famous film singer, welcomed Amma with a few lines of poetic verse upon Her arrival.

Before Amma began Her satsang, She stood up and asked everyone to join Her in praying for the peace of both those who had died in the recent tsunami, as well as for those they had left behind.

Tomorrow Amma and Her children will travel to Mysore, where She will give darshan for the next two days.

-Kannadi

Amma in Kalpetta

February 4 2005

Yesterday, Amma left Amritapuri for Her brief tour of Kalpetta, Mysore and Bangalore. This is the 12th time Amma has visited the district of Wayanad, where Kalpetta is located. Amma has a charitable hospital for tribals in Kalpetta. She arrived in the mountain-top town at 7:00 this morning.

When Amma left Amritapuri, a long line of villagers joined the students and ashramites in order to seek Her blessing as She left. As She pulled away, the villagers told Amma to come back soon. As Amma drove by them, She placed Her hands on the glass window of Her camper and the devotees and ashramites all did the same.

Among the people seeing Amma off was a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka. He had come to seek Amma’s blessings.

 

Build only 50 houses, says the Govt.

2 Feb 2005, Amritapuri

The State Government of Kerala is initially allowing the Ashram to rebuild only 50 houses in Alappad Panchayat. This is in response to the Ashram’s request to rebuild all of the more than 1,000 houses destroyed in the panchayat. The houses must be built to the government’s model, which is stated to be “disaster-resistant” and of a total of 430 square feet. The Ashram proposed to build two-story houses—so that people would not drown should high water come again—but the government’s plan is for single-floor houses.

Employment for youth
Amma today spoke with the 500 applicants for the driver’s training course being offered at the Ashram’s ITC school today. She then answered many of their questions and gave them darshan.

Medical camps
Since 27th Dec, doctors from Amrita Schools of Dentistry posted at the tsunami relief centres are conducting free dental camps. It was found that the prevalence of oral diseases is high among the affected people, mainly because of negligence of the oral hygiene.