31 January 2006 — Pune, Maharashtra
On 31 January 2006, Amma was awarded the “Philosopher Saint Sri Jnaneshwara World Peace Prize 2006″ by the World Peace Centre (WPC), a Pune-based organization focused on bringing together the forces of science, philosophy and religion for world peace The award was officially presented by Padma Vibhusan Nirmala Deshpande, Raja Sabha MP during a ceremony in Jnaneshwari Hall in Pune.
Swami Amritaswarupananda accepted the award on Amma’s behalf and read a message from Amma to all those present at the ceremony. In Amma’s message she talked about the greatness of Sant Jnaneshwara, the 11th century Maharashtra saint in who’s name the award has been created. Amma said, “Jnaneshwar was truly a mahatma, great in every respect. He was a mahayogi, mahabhakta and a mahajnani [a great yogi, devotee and knower of Truth].
He brought the message of spirituality to the common man with words that were as sweet as nectar. His life and words remain an inspiration for people not only in Maharashtra, but for seekers all over the world.”
She also spoke about the greatness of mahatmas in general, specifically how, from the pinnacle of knowledge where they reside, they humbly come down to man’s level in order to uplift him: “The principle of the Paramatma is comparable to the snow-capped Himalayas. Even though snow is essentially water, people cannot drink it or bathe in it. However, when the snow melts owing to the heat of the sun and flows down as the Ganges, it benefits all. Some drink from that holy water and quench their thirst. Some bathe in it. Some swim and enjoy playing in it. Mahatmas are like the Ganges. It is through the mahatmas that people are able to experience the presence and grace of God. In their presence, people are able take a deep drink of divine bliss. They listen to their advice and become enlightened. The life and actions of mahatmas uplift the dharma and samskara [spiritual culture] of society.”
The prize Committee included Padma Vibhushan Dr. Raghunath A. Mashelkar [chairman]; Dr. Vishwanath D. Karad, the renowned educationalist and director of Maharashtra Institute of Technology [executive chairman]; Padma Vibhushan Dr. Mohan Dhariya, former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India; Padmashree Dr. Vijay P. Bhatkar, the renowned computer scientist; and Advocate Bhaskarrao E. Avhad.