It is a pleasure to honour Amma


26 November 2005, Michigan
At the beginning of the evening program, Michigan State Senator Gilda Jacobs honoured Amma with a citation that was read aloud: “Let it be known, that it is a pleasure, indeed, to honour Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known worldwide as Amma, for her service and dedication to humanity.

Presenting the honour, she continued reading, “For one week in November of 2005, Michigan will have the distinct privilege of adopting Amma as one of its own. Thousands of people will flock to Ann Arbor to meet and spend time with this tireless advocate of peace, unity and understanding.

“Amma’s community efforts have impacted the lives of millions of people. Her sacrifice and service have opened the hearts and calmed the minds, inspiring others to serve selflessly in their communities,” Ms. Jacobs quoted from the citation.

“In 2003, the Boston Globe said this of Amma: ‘A Hindu, she does not attempt to convert people of other religions. There are Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists in her crowds. If she has a dogma, it is simple: Love and serve one another.'”

Ms Jacobs further read, “Indeed, Amma’s contributions to charity seem to be without limit. In Michigan, she has been involved in Mother’s Kitchen, providing meals to the homeless; Circle of Love, a network providing assistance to the sick and disabled; Arbor Hospice; Freedom House; Habitat for Humanity and more.”

Upon finishing, Ms. Jacobs said, “In special tribute, therefore, this document is signed and dedicated to offer praise and appreciation to Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. May she know of our highest esteem for her contributions to a better world.” The citation was signed by the Governor of Michigan, Ms. Jennifer Granholm.

-Tulasi

Recognising their own strength

18 November 2005, Amritapuri

60 Women came to Amritapuri this past Friday to receive their diplomas after completing a 3-month special training course in embroidery, footwear, leather goods, and readymade garments manufacturing.  The event marked yet another milestone in the path envisioned by Amma in the wake of the Tsunami – creating self-reliant villages through the Matru Gramam Project.

Samples of the women’s efforts surrounded the gathering.  Colorful dresses and intricately embroidered cloths were displayed along with school uniforms, backpacks, pencil kits, purses, shawls, children’s clothing, and men’s and women’s footwear.   The high quality items were a testament to the women’s dedication and enthusiasm.

The women were selected to take this course because they had excelled in the basic training classes previously offered by the Ashram.  They are being encouraged to use their newly obtained skills to start their own businesses, form co-operatives, or seek outside employment.

Swami Jnanamritananda, who is heading the Matru Gramam Project, spoke to the women in words that reflected Amma’s goal to awaken the suppressed and hidden strengths in women:  ”Now is the time to move forward with the full confidence that not only can you support yourselves as individuals, you can support both your husband and children as well.    In today’s society, women are used to depending on their husbands for support.    You should recognize your own inner strengths and overcome this.”

Sabitha (age 30), Sumegha (22), and Subhi (26) were three of the women who received their diplomas in leather goods and footwear.  All had their homes destroyed in last December’s tsunami, and have been living in temporary shelters at Srayikkad.  With her newly obtained diploma, Sabitha is both excited and hopeful:  ”I hope to find a job now that I have the diploma to show that I have completed the necessary coursework and have the proper skills.”

Laiju (age 24) is equally enthusiastic:  ”I’m looking forward to starting a small cooperative with other women in the village so that we can bring more income to our families.  My husband’s fishing business was destroyed by the Tsunami and he is still unemployed.  The added income will help us make ends meet.”

Watching the women disperse, one could only imagine the new lives and livelihoods that will soon blossom as they head into the next chapter of their lives.

–Tulasi

Building an island of homes with Hearts

Building an Island of Homes with Hearts

18 November, Edachira, Alappad

On a small island about 4km north of Amritapuri, the Ashram is building 28 new Tsunami homes.  The island, known as Edachira, has no roads and is accessible only by boat.   This has proven to be a unique challenge for the villagers, Amrita University students, volunteers, and Ashramites who have been participating in the daily ‘Brick Seva.’
view of the ashram from edachira

First, all the construction materials – bricks, gravel, sand, etc… are brought to the edge of the backwaters along the mainland.   Then, everything is loaded into boats and transported to the island which is approximately 50 yards away.   During low tide, the boats, heavy with materials, are unable to come right up to the shoreline.  The volunteers must then go knee-deep into the waters to pass the materials to shore.  Once unloaded, the materials must still be transported to the actual construction sites.

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Come to know who you really are

16 November 2005 — Dublin International Airport, Ireland

The sun had not yet risen when Amma entered the Dublin Airport, but several of Amma’s devotees from Ireland were there waiting. They wanted to see her once more before her departure for America. The two days Amma had spent giving darshan in Dublin had not been enough. The sadness showed on their faces. In fact, dozens of Amma’s children from throughout Europe had come to see Amma off–some of whom had been traveling with Amma for the past six weeks. The look in their eyes was the same as that in the eyes of Amma’s Irish children: six weeks… it had not been enough.

Amma still had some time before she had to board her flight, so she sat down on one of the chairs in the airport’s waiting area. Her children sat at her feet. One lady from London, sitting directly in front of Amma, could not control her tears. When Amma saw her eyes filling, she pretended to be shocked, perhaps trying to get the lady to smile. For some time, everyone was silent. The feelings were beyond words, so Amma just gazed out at everyone, her reflection shining in each of her children’s eyes.

It was an Irish woman who spoke up. “Now that Amma is going way, what can we, Amma’s children do, to keep feeling close to Amma, to keep Amma in our heart, even when she is physically away from us?”

“Put in efforts to know who you really are,” Amma said. “When we look into a mirror, we do so to try to become someone else. But we need to look into our Self to see who we truly are. If we can come to know who we truly are, then we will always be with Amma.

“In the past there have been many problems in this country. Amma prays that no more come in the future. All of you should try to live in unity. The sun shines down, and its image reflects in a thousand different pots filled with water. The reflections are many, but they are each reflecting the same sun. Similarly, when we come to know who we truly are, we will see ourselves in all people. It is Amma’s prayer that you all succeed in this.”

The question had been about Amma’s Irish children, but Amma’s answer applied to her children from all over Europe, from all over the world. Only when we realize that our Self and Amma’s Self and the Self of all of humanity are one and the same, we will go beyond all suffering, all sorrow, all repulsion,  and all delusion.

-Kannadi

Sri Lanka updates

11 November 2005, Sri Lanka

Construction of Tsunami homes is progressing in the Eastern (Tamil) and Western (Sinhalese) Districts in Sri Lanka. The homes are being built according to government specifications. Each three story structure will have 12 apartments – four on each floor.

We want to thank you


5 – 7 November 2005 – Barcelona, Spain

On the shores of the Mediterranean, a sea of humanity gathered at the Mar Bella Sports Centre in Barcelona over the past three days.  The crowds were so large that each day the morning darshan lasted until 5pm and then when Amma would return just 2 hours later for the evening programmes, she would again sit until 4 or 5 in the morning.

On the first night of the programmes, Amma was officially welcomed to Spain by the Honourable Indian Ambassador, Smt. Suryakanthi Tripathi.  The ambassador flew in from Madrid, the Spanish capital, for the occasion and was overwhelmed by the crowd that had come to attend Amma’s programme.

After the official welcome by the ambassador, a young American ashramite that used to live in Spain spoke to the more than 5000 people gathered in the hall.  He reminded everyone that 2 years ago Amma made a quick but memorable visit to Barcelona to give the Keynote Address at The Parliament of the World’s Religions which in fact took place just down the beach from the darshan hall.

The ashramite explained that even though Amma was in Barcelona for less than 24 hours to attend the Parliament, she was able to leave such a lasting memory with thousands of people in attendance because of how much she was able to offer her children in such a short time; by not only speaking, but by also giving darshan and serving food to all those in attendance.

Each day because the evening darshan stretched into the wee hours of the morning, several groups of local devotees had the chance to perform for Amma.  Most of them were of the traditional bhajan variety, but there were a few that were quite eclectic.  Devotees shared their unique musical talents, that included ‘throat singing’ and playing such instruments as a nose flute, saw, didgeridoo, etc.  One such group wanted to find a quiet place to warm up before taking the stage to perform for Amma and ended up in the kitchen tent.  What started out as a improvisational tune up, turned into a lively dance party as all the kitchen sevaites started to move their feet and prepare the food to the beat of the music.

On the final morning of Amma’s visit to Barcelona, a delegation of Tibetan Lamas from, ‘Casa del Tibet’ came for darshan. One of them offered these words: “In today’s world in which we are living, we need to have a closer communication between all philosophies and religions.  We have to come together more and unite.  This is what is missing in the modern world…I am hoping and wishing for a long life for Amma and that she continues doing her work to bring about peace and happiness in this world…We want to thank you for all this work you are doing.”

-Kannadi

 

Amma in Toulon 2005

Amma visited Toulon, France from 4-6 November 2005

Bishop Vigile, Brother Martin and Sister Anne came from Monastere St. Michel du Var, an orthodox Christian monastery near Salernes, to have Amma’s darshan. Brother Martin said that he believes Amma is here to restore peace, love and other motherly qualities to mankind.

 

University of South France honors Amma

International Patron Mother

2 November 2005, Toulon, France

L’Universite du Sud ( University of South France) has honored Amma by appointing her as the ‘International Patron Mother’ for students participating in the newly created degree in  ‘Humanitarian Action and Rural Development.”   The students, delighted to have Amma as their patron Mother, clapped when they heard this news.

The title was bestowed upon Amma on November 2nd, 2005, during her visit to Toulon by Madame Martine Hardy, Director of the Common Services.

The University stated that the appointment is a ‘..tribute to Amma’s exemplary action.  It is in recognition of a woman who is dedicated her life to serving humanity and whose work has generated a vast amount of charitable activities.’

In an acceptance letter, Swami Amritaswarupananda, Vice Chairman Board of Trustees for the MA MATH, noted that Amma is very much pleased to see the University’s and Students’ efforts to initiate projects that are beneficial to third world countries.

Amma sent her best wishes for the success of all the University’s projects.

Located in Toulon, France, the university of over 10,000 students has a high number of successful graduates and is under the Ministry of Education and Research.

Cloths to Nagapattinam fire victims

1 November 2005, Nagapattinam.

Less than one year after the tsunami washed away countless lives and livelihoods, today, a fire broke out in one of the temporary government shelters in Nagapattinam, TN where tsunami victims were being housed. While no one was hurt, over 200 families lost all their belongings.

New saris, dhotis, undergarments, underwear, children’s clothing, cooking vessels, and other necessities have been sent tonight from Amritapuri to the victims which will help them resume their lives as soon as possible.  Amma’s compassion for the suffering of others continues to flow.

Celebration of Lights

1 November 2005, Amritapuri

Lights filled the evening skies as Ashramites in Amritapuri celebrated Deepavali.

Adults and small children waved sparklers and lit small oil lamps which decorated the Kalari.  Over at the boat jetty, students set of fireworks.

Some students from Amrita University in Amritapuri decided to celebrate Deepavali in a different way:  they traveled to Amma’s Orphanage in Parippally to spend time with the children there.   They had lunch, distributed sweets, and played games.   By nightfall, the children and students were dancing and singing together throughout the grounds.

The trip touched many hearts.  One student, Deepak, upon returning to Amritapuri, was moved to tears by the experience.  “The children are so nice in every aspect.  Many of us want to return again to celebrate Deepavali with them.  Even if we are placed in a job that is far away after our studies are completed, still we want to come back to Parippally.”