Karunanidhi - Amma is a pearl among humans

Karunanidhi: Amma is a pearl among humans

Karunanidhi: “Amma is a Pearl among humans”
31 January — Nagapattanam, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2007


“The Tamil Nadu Government and its people are extremely happy at the way in which the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has gone about in wiping the tears from the eyes of those fishermen who lost their houses and belongings and even their families in the tsunami disaster of 2004,” said Dr. M. Karunanidhi, the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at the beginning of Amma’s program in Nagapattinam.

This was the third time that Amma had visited the tsunami-ravaged area—the first being in February of 2005, just two months after the disaster, and the second in December of that same year. In that time, the Math has completed 1,489 houses in the district.

Before Amma’s program, Karunanidhi visited one of the villages reconstructed by the Ashram. Mentioning this fact in his speech, the CM said, “The houses are so good that even I felt like asking for one for myself. The houses are so well-built and so planned that they have become a boon to the beneficiaries.”
amma and karunanidhi

Karunanidhi praised Amma’s wisdom, love, compassion and selfless service. “Amma, I understand, was born in a fishing village called Parayakadavu by the seaside in Kerala. What does the ocean wash up on its beaches? Pearls. Amma is a pearl among humans: the Pearl of Wisdom, the Pearl of Compassion, the Pearl of Selfless Service and the Pearl of Love.”


Karunanidhi then helped the Ashram distribute house keys to 10 recipients of the Ashram’s tsunami-rehabilitation program, as well as pensions and sewing machines to various impoverished people. The house keys were symbolic of 420 houses the Ashram has recently completed in Keezhe Pattinacherry. The pensions were representative of the Ashram extending its Amrita Nidhi Pension program by 100 people in the area. And the sewing machines stood for 100 such machines the Ashram has given away in order to help poor women expand their financial horizons.

After the public function, Amma gave satsang, led everyone in the singing of bhajans, and guiding everything through a meditation and manasa puja.

Amma then gave darshan throughout the night—the majority of those coming for her embrace so that once again have a roof over their head only due to Amma’s grace.


chennai bhajans

A Karnatic soundtrack for Amma s darshan

29 January  — Saligramam, Brahmasthana Temple, Chennai, Tamil Nadu -Bharata Yatra 2007


The world-famous violinist A. Kanya Kumari has played for Mata Amritanandamayi Devi in Chennai for the past four or five years now. Her white-painted violin cradled in the crook of her arm in the style of Karnatic violinists, she sits unassumingly somewhere on the back of the stage as Amma gives darshan. As she traverses the beats of K.V. Prasad’s mrdangam, her violin weeps one moment and dances the next. Her ability to express the longing of the human heart through sound is simply beyond words.

Watching Amma give darshan to the music of Kanya Kumari is like watching a sad and beautiful silent film for which the violinist is providing the score. As the people come in and out of Amma’s arms—the affluent and thriving, the sick and broken, the meditative and blissful—it all seems reflected in the violinist’s music. In fact, the music is a lot like Amma’s life—flowing around and over and through the various situations put before it.

Chennai {shtalapurana } is a centre for Karnatic music concerts, the classical music of southern India. As such, when Amma is in the city many musicians come for Amma’s darshan. This year brought renowned Karnatic singer T.N. Seshagopal and the pride of Kerala, K.S. Chitra. And Amma’s program in Shenoy Nagar, Chennai, on the 27th featured a performance by Sitarist Shivaramakrishna Rao and veena virtuoso Rajesh Vaidya.

Lalgudi G. Jayram, one of the all-time masters of Karnatic violin, also came to be blessed by Amma during her Brahmasthanam program on the 29th. His son, Lalgudi G.R.J. Krishnan, performed for Amma in the evening as well as a female veena player who is his disciple. Lalgudi’s son was accompanied by Gopalakrishnan on ghatam [clay pot]. One could see the bliss of the music reflected on Amma’s face as they played. As she gave darshan, Amma seemed to be savoring each note of the ragas being offered to her.

Lalgudi has had Amma’s darshan several times in the past and, he even performed for Amma in Amritapuri{news}. After that performance, he said, “Of all the concerts in my 65 years of performing, this was a different experience—today I completely forgot myself. Occasionally, when I play, forgetting myself happens, but never like today. Today it was especially magnificent. First we must forget ourselves, then the music naturally comes. When I play, I only want to offer it to God.”

In fact, Kanya Kumari was playing when Lalgudi Jayram took Amma’s darshan today in Chennai. Jayram was then led onto the ashram’s small dais to sit for some time in Amma’s presence. When the master walked near Kanya Kumari, she pranamed lightly to him, and then, when she finished the song, she got up, walked over to him and touched his feet.


At the end of darshan—around 6 a.m. on the 30th—Amma decided to provide her own darshan soundtrack. As she took the devotees one after another into her arms, she sang out in full joy—”Ramakrishna Govinda,” “Mata Rani” and “Lalitamba.” Amma was almost dancing as she sang, swaying to the rhythm and occasionally pointing with her index fingers up to the sky. As Lalgudi Jayram once said about Amma’s singing, “Most people usually sing for others’ applause, but we feel that Amma is singing to the Divine within Herself and also to each one of us personally.”

According to the Vedas, sound is the subtlest of the five senses. Therefore, its beauties are the deepest. But as proved in Emperor Akbar’s court1—and conversely in Amma’s Chennai ashram—the sweetness of music performed in devotion to God and offered at the feet of the mahatmas is unparalleled.


1 Akbar, the 16th century Mughal emperor, was a connoisseur of classical music. Learning that Tansen was the greatest living singer, he ordered him to come perform in his court. A devotee of the Lord, Tansen was not interested in singing for the emperor. But as the emperor was commanding him to come, he had to coalesce. But when Tansen sang for Akbar, the emperor was not so impressed. He asked Tansen why his singing had been so mediocre. Tansen replied, “Normally, I sing for God. But today I sang for you.”

Divinity in flesh and blood

Divinity in flesh and blood

27 January  — Chennai, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2007


“Humanity does not always have this opportunity to see divinity in flesh and blood. We are most blessed to see divinity in a human form right in front of us,” said the world-famous classical dancer Dr. Padma Subrahmaniam when welcoming Sri Mata Amritanandamyi Devi to Chennai. “Devotees come from all around the world to experience that unique motherly love that perhaps many of us don’t even experience at home with our own mothers. She gives you a loving kiss and hug like your own mother gave you when you were perhaps one or two years old. Such vatsalya [motherly love] is rarely expressed. She radiates divinity. She radiates love.”

More than 60,000 people came to Pachaiyappa’s College Grounds in Shenoy Nagar in order to experience that love, an area only a few kilometres from Chennai’s legendary Parthasarthi Temple and Mahabalipuram Temple. (This was the first of what would be two days of programs in Chennai for Amma. The second being on January 29th at Amma’s Ashram in Vadapalani.)

The campus grounds where Amma gave darshan were surrounded by lush trees, which were strewn with lights, glowing white in the dark.

In fact, the program began a few hours before Amma’s arrival, with a performance by Sitarist Shivaramakrishna Rao and veena virtuoso Rajesh Vaidya. The duo was accompanied by tabla, electronic drums, gatam and tavil. They played a fusion of Indian and Western music, including a powerful version of “Mahishasura Mardini Stotram.”

Aside from Dr. Subrahmaniam, Amma was joined on the dais by Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, the Honourable Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare; R. Velu, the Honourable Minister of State for Railways; and the Honourable Justice R. Balasubrahmanian.
amma distributing sewing machine

Minister Anbumani Ramadoss distributed checks to new enrolees in the Ashram’s Amrita Nidhi pension program. The widows and handicapped that received their checks onstage were representative of 2,000 such Chennai residents who have recently been added to the program.

On behalf of the Ashram, Minister Velu helped distribute sewing machines and scissors to impoverished women who have learned tailoring but who lack the money to purchase a machine themselves. They were representative of 100 such women in Chennai.


When he addressed the gathering, the minister expressed how even though this was his first meeting with Amma, she had already completely won him over with her irresistible warmth and love. “As soon as Amma looked at me, gave me a glance and a smile, I must say, I melted,” he said. The minister praised the Ashram’s humanitarian projects, saying, “Whenever man suffers due to natural calamities like earthquakes or tsunamis, Amma is there to lend a helping hand.  I asked Amma if She needed anything. Amma said ‘no’. This is probably the first time that nothing was needed from me during a programme.”

Minister Anbumani Ramadoss also lauded the Ashram’s tsunami relief work. “Amma’s help stood on par with that of the government,” he said. “That is something tremendous. We shall always be thankful for that.” He ended his speech by requesting Amma to help India in terms of AIDS awareness and female infanticide.

At 2:00 a.m, a large number of devotees were still waiting patiently for their turn in Amma’s arms, for their taste of the her infinite motherly love.




Living for others, hugging everyone with Love

Living for others, hugging everyone with Love

25 January — Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu -Bharata Yatra 2007


Tirchirapalli, or “Trichy,” is an ancient city, rich in temples, culture and history. The holy Kaveri River flows through the city, and many Tamil Saints have done austerities and composed devotional songs here. Tonight, with the advent of Amma’s first darshan in the city, yet another flower was added to the garland of the city’s illustrious heritage.

The program was held at National College Grounds, only four kilometers from Sri Raganatha Swami Temple, one of the largest temple complexes in the world.

Amma was joined on the dais by Sri. K.N. Nehru, the Minister of Transport of Tamil Nadu, and Smt. Charubala, the city’s mayor.

In his speech, K.N. Nehru said that the tsunami-relief houses constructed by Amma’s Ashram are the best in Tamil Nadu. He also requested Amma to initiate charitable projects in Trichy, specifically mentioning the city’s need for a hospital for the poor.

K.N. Nehru helped distribute pension checks to widows who have recently been enrolled in the Ashram’s Amrita Nidhi pension program.

“Amma is living for others, and that is why she is able to hug everyone with lots of love,” said Mayor Charubala. When the government takes up projects, it is out of a sense of duty. Amma is serving humanity out of love. It is only because of this that Amma is able to do such a large amount of service.”

The mayor distributed 10 sewing machines to poor women in Trichy in order to help expand their financial horizons. These were representative of 100 such machines that the Ashram has given away in the city.




Ethai Amman in Kovai

Ethai Amman in Kovai

21-23 January — Brahmasthanam Festival, Kovai, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu -Bharata Yatra 2007


Seventy kilometers north of Coimbatore, in the Nilgiris hill town of Ooty, resides a community of people known as the Badaga. The Badaga trace their ancestry back to Ethai Amman, a pious woman from Mysore who fled the city when a Muslim king wanted her as his prize. Theirs is a somewhat cloistered community, stretching across some 500 villages in the Nilgiri Hills, which make the border of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Badaga have their own customs, codes, traditions and language. Dharma, faith, compassion and service—these are the hallmarks of the Badaga. They will proudly tell you that one will not find a single beggar among their “brothers and sisters” and rarely are any of their children born handicapped. (They attribute both of these to their culture, which nurtures service-mindedness.)

Each year more and more Badagars make the pilgrimage to Kovai to have Amma’s darshan. This year nearly 600 participated in the Kovai Brahmasthanam Festival. It is their faith that Ethai Amman was in fact an incarnation of the Divine Mother, and that it is she who is once again with them in the form of Amma.

“Actually to us Amma looks like a Badagar,” says Smt. Sivagami R., a Badagar who serves as the primary in-charge of Amrita Vidyalayam Kovai. “The way she always pulls her sari over her head—Badaga women will only wear their saris like that. Traditionally, we will never pin the sari. Even Amma’s face resembles that of a Badagar.”

In fact, Amma has been known to the Badaga of Ooty for many years through the Ashram’s monthly spiritual magazine. “Many people there know Amma only as ‘Matruvani Amma,'” says Smt. Chitra Bheeman, another Badagar working at Kovai’s Amrita Vidyalayam. “Long back some Matruvani campaigners came and sold some lifetime subscriptions in our villages. These have always been circulated, and in this way the name came.”

A central element of Badaga culture is music and dance. When inspired, the Badaga will spontaneously begin improvising melodies and lyrics. “It is our way of expressing our fondness for someone,” explains Smt. Sivagami.

Their often-ecstatic music comes in the form of call-and-response, and some say the Badaga even have a form of telepathy, which enables them to improvise cohesively. The words and melodies are ever new, but the dance steps remain the same, regardless of the occasion. The Badaga sing and dance at weddings, births, funerals and nearly all other occasions.

For the past three or four years in Kovai, the Badaga have sung and danced for Amma. And this year was no exception. On the first night of darshan, they began around 1:00 a.m. and played on till Amma had embraced every last person.

The Badaga’s lead singer was a lady with a piercing voice who kept time with hand cymbals as she sang. The entire time, she barely ever opened her eyes. Watching her and the rest of the Badaga—and their slow, graceful, dream-like dance—Amma commented that it was as if they were meditating.

In fact, many of her lyrics were about Amma:

Amma, can you hear what we are saying?
Has it reached you?
You are the Great Giver.
We are spreading happiness
By singing about you.
Come running to us. Come running.

The music was an onslaught of drums and cymbals. It was an earthy, powerful and glorious ruckus to which the Badaga’s synchronized slow-motion dance served as a stirring and poignant counterpoint.


When Amma finished darshan at 3:00 a.m., the Badaga did not stop. With their music resonating all around her, Amma stood up on her peetham and pranamed. Then, just as Amma was about to step down and walk up to her room, she stopped and slowly began turning in a circle in imitation of the Badaga’s dance. As music, applause and ecstatic cries filled the chilly hillside air, Amma walked up to her room.

“For us that was the happiest moment,” Smt. Sivagami says of Amma’s short dance. “We felt that Amma was really one with our community.”

The Badaga sang and danced again on the last night of darshan for nearly three hours. Their devotion engulfed the entire program site. It was as if everyone was suddenly a Badaga. As Amma’s three days of programs in Kovai came to a close, one Badagar spoke over the sound system: “Amma, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for these past three days. You have awoken the glory of the old days. This is a moment our community will never forget.”





Worshipping man & nature in Ettimadai

Bharata Yatra 2007


24 January — Amrita University, Ettimadai, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

The sun had yet to rise when Amma reached the Coimbatore campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Located just outside a forest reserve at the base of the Nilgiri Hills, the 400-acre campus is one of the most breath-taking in India.

Amma had come at the request of devotees in order to bless the university’s new outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pool. It didn’t seem to matter to Amma that she had literally just finished three full days of darshan in Kovai, a town about 16 kilometres from the campus.

When Amma reached the water, the sky was still dark, and Amma was cast only in the soft glow of the pool lights. Amma knelt down and gathered some of the water in her cupped hands. It was a moment of silent worship—one who could truly see the divinity pervading the elements communing with them. Amma released the water back into the pool, and then slowly began performing pradakshina [reverent circumambulation] of the vast body of water.

When Amma finished blessing the pool, she was taken across campus to see some of the university’s dairy cows. At one point, Amma entered pen housing about 10 calves. In fact, when Amma walked in the calves scattered, but Amma quickly grabbed one black-and-white calf by the rope around its neck and pulled it to her. As Amma stroked the calf’s back, it quickly calmed down and clearly began relishing the affection being showered upon it. Amma gave the young cow a strong embrace and began repeatedly planting kisses all over its head. Then, with Amma’s mouth just inches from the calf’s, the calf stuck out its tongue and lapped at Amma’s face.

It was a lucky day for animals. The next creature to have Amma’s darshan was a tiny frog, which leapt onto the leg of one of Amma’s brahmacharis. He handed it to Amma, who kept it in her cupped hands like a small treasure. After a short time Amma said, “Oh, its family must be missing him. I should set him free,” and released it.


Amma then went to a small room the university has set up for her in a wooded area on campus. There, she called for the rest of the devotees and disciples accompanying her on her Bharata Yatra. When they arrived, Amma personally served each of them a plate of food. Was Amma’s attitude that of a mother, a guru or a devotee? With one like Amma, for whom the line between Creator and creation has been permanently blurred, it is hard to tell. Once when asked by a journalist whether a large group of devotees surrounding her were worshipping her, Amma responded, “No, it is the other way around. It is I who am a worshipping them.”
In India’s scriptures, five forms of worship are specified for man to regularly perform. The final two being Nru Yajña [worship of man] and Bhu Yajña [worship of nature]. Man is to perform these yajñas in order to purify his mind, so as to one day actually be able to see man and animals as God. How inspiring to watch one perform them who has already realized that supreme reality.




Innocence of a village

8 January – Kodungallur – Bharata Yatra 2007

Amma’s last visit to Kodungallur was back in 2001. Since then, the ashram has expanded quite a bit. A piece of land adjacent to the ashram has been acquired and a a temporary darshan hall has been erected there for use over the next three days.

During today’s evening satsang, Amma said that even though she has not physically been to Kodungallur for the past several years, she is always seeing the Kodungallur children in her heart. Amma went on to add that in Kodungallur the community has still been able to maintain the innocence of a village.

In a small function earlier in the evening, Municipal Chairman P.A. Gopi and Vice Chairman P.H Abdul Rasheed helped distribute sewing machines to several ladies, providing them with a means of self employment.

Amma will be blessing the innocent children of Kodungallur for the next two days of the Brahmastanam festival.



Where the government has stepped back Amma has stepped in

6 Jan — Kozhikode, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2007

Amma’s first visit to Kozhikode was at a devotee’s house back in 1984.  Since then, Amma’s public programmes have drawn huge crowds.

In 1993, the Brahmasthanam Temple was inaugurated and successive programmes have been held there. Kozhikode is Amma’s Vrindavan {news} – home to thousands of fervent and passionate devotees.  During the Brahmasthanam festivals, thousands of people would stand in line in the hot sun and cold nights with family members of all ages for hours to receive her trademark embrace. At least 1,70,000 people filled the Corporation Stadium this evening for Amma’s visit to Kozhikode.   The outdoor sport stadium setting and huge crowd immediately reminds one of Amritavarsham50 {news}. “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” and Bhakti Ta Jagadambei” were playing over the sound system just before Amma’s arrival.   Dancers and performers in Kavadi and Mohini Attam costumes entertained the crowd.  By 5 p.m., the stadium field was packed with people and the upper level seats were starting to fill up.

At approximately 6:00 p.m., Amma entered at the far side of the stadium.  As she walked across the field, dozens of devotees threw flower petals on the path.   One thousand colourful helium-filled balloons were released into the skies.

Renowned Cultural Icon Soorya Krishnamurty gave the Welcoming Speech and introduced Amma to the crowd: “Amma has shown through her life that concern for others is real culture, not music or dance or art.” UC Raman  MLA, assisted by ex-Minister Sujanapal and Managing Editor of Mathrubhumi daily PV Chandran,helped distribute pensions to the needy.  A total of 500 new recipients will receive pensions as a part of Amrita Nidhi. A.K. Balan, Minister for Electricity, helped distribute sewing machines to the unemployed.  A total of 50 new people will receive the machines.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Balan said,  “Amma directed religion and faith in God to the field of service.  Without encouraging blind superstition, Amma is teaching us to love one another.  During the time of the tsunami, Amma gave a perfect example of service.   In areas where the government has stepped back from the field of service, Amma has stepped in and brought solace to the people.” Sitting with Amma on stage were dignitaries from a cornucopia of fields representing politics, academics, and the arts.   They included: Kerala Forest Minister Binoy Viswam, Minister for Electricity A.K. Balan, Samutiri Sri PKS Raja, U.C. Raman local MLA, Advocate Sujanapal, Justice V.K. Eradi, Dr. Madhavan Kutty, M.G.S. Narayan – Historian, Sri Soorya Krishnamurty, Film star Actress Kaviyoor Ponnamma, and Film star Sri Balachandra Menon, Kerala Forest Minister Binoy Viswam addressed the gathered crowd:  “I am an atheist.   Here is this woman who is not making any claims about herself.   But I have seen this woman in action during the tsunami – how courageous and organized she was while serving the people. Amritanandamayi Devi is able to love everyone without distinguishing between those who ‘have’ and those who ‘have-not’. She is teaching the world service to humanity. Therefore I accept Amma. ”

Renowned Malayalam Actress Kaviyoor Ponnamma paid her tributes to Amma:  “Trying to say something about a Mother who showers goodness upon the world would be incomplete. I am not worthy to speak about her compassion and greatness.”  Ms. Ponnamma helped distribute certificates of recognition to the 10 best employees of Amrita Sree (Amrita Self Reliance Employment and Empowerment) –  a service project which manufactures and sells essential household items.

The group was inspired by Amma and provides a means of livelihood for the unemployed. Film star Balachandra Menon also spoke: “I first met Amma in 1988 and I have been reading Matruvani magazine regularly. The words reflect Amma’s simplicity.  They become a guru and guide in times of difficulty.” He also advised everyone to read Matruvani. After the ceremonies, Amma began giving darshan.  Students from the three Amrita vidyalayam schools in Kozhikode then presented a multi-act play about Kerala – “God’s Own Country”  – depicting scenes from the many religious festivals held in Kerala throughout the year.

Amma’s Darshan finished just after 3pm the next day. Amma had been sitting from 6pm to 3pm – 21 hours. 1,70,000 people had stayed through the windy cold night, and hot day sun. Smiling, she got up from the stage and into her van for the trip to Kodungallur.


A pilgrimage across the land revelling in light

4 January 2007 — Amritapuri

It began a few days ago, but today it is fully on. The brahmacharis who work in the bookstall are loading up all of their wares—pictures of Amma in all sizes, books… Loudspeaker after loudspeaker is being pulled out of the Sound System supply room… thousands of metal plates are being removed from the Kitchen Store and stuffed into burlap sacks. Everything has to be dusted off, sorted out and loaded into the Ashram lorries.

The supplies have been packed away for more than seven months, but now it is once again their time. In fact, for the next several months, Amma is going to be, more often than not, on the road. Tomorrow, half the Ashram will be packed up, put on wheels and driven almost 400 kilometres north to Kozhikode—the first stop of Bharata Yatra 2007.

Yatra is Sanskrit (and Malayalam) for “journey” or “pilgrimage.” Bharat is India’s true name—not the one given to it by invaders struggling to pronounce the Sanskrit word for a particular river. 1 Bharat means “to revel in light.”2 The Land Revelling in Light. In India’s scriptures, light is synonymous with knowledge, as both light and knowledge reveal things previously unknown. Bharat was a land of wisdom: physics, chemistry, medicine, astrology, mathematics… But Bharat’s wisdom does not stop there. It’s pinacle was and is Self Knowledge, the knowledge that illumines and reveals one’s true nature.

Tomorrow, the pilgrimage throughout Bharat begins once again—first Kozhikode and then Kodungallur. Ten days later, the second leg starts—Coimbatore, Trichy, Chennai, Nagapattanam, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari and Trivandrum. Surely there is more to come, but it has yet to be scheduled.

Indeed, Bharat is the Land Revelling in Light. Innumerable spiritual masters have taken birth and realized the Truth in this land. The soil itself is rich with the fruit of their tapas [austerities]—from Kanyakumari in the south, to the Himalaya and the Ganga in the North, to Assam in the east and Gujarat in the West3. Never forget the source of that light. The source is the mahatmas themselves. It is they who have made the holy places holy. It is they who are shining knowledge across the land. Amma’s 2007 Bharata Yatra is about to begin, banishing the shadows of ignorance like the rays of the sun, rising the land up to glory of its name.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

1The word “India” is derived from the River Indus and the valley around it. When foreign invaders came to India, they found a thriving Vedic civilization there, beginning with the valley surrounding the Sindhu River. However, they could not pronounce the letter “s” properly, and thus the Sindhu River became the “Indu River” to the invaders (possibly Alexander the Great’s Greek army in 325 B.C.E). From this, Indu came “India.” Later, when the Islamic invaders arrived, they called the Sindhu River the “Hindu” River, because the Sanskrit sound “s” converts to “h” in the Parsee language. Thus the people became known as “Hindus.”

2The roots of the Sanskrit word bharat are bha (light) and rat (delight, revel, immersed).

3In fact, this reflects the boundaries of present-day Bharat only. Originally, Bharat included all of present-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet.

Start working to realise your dreams

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s 2007 New Year’s Message

31 December 2006 – 1 January 2007 — Amritapuri

“We are entering the New Year with hearts filled with hope,” Amma said one hour into 2007. “Let us sincerely pray that this year—unlike in the past—we don’t have to witness any more wars, innocent people being killed due to terrorism or natural disasters. Collective prayers can make some difference.”

People from all around the world were visiting Amritapuri Ashram for the holidays, and as such Amma’s darshan had gone from 10 a.m. until 30 minutes before the New Year. After Amma embraced the last person at 11:30, she began watching cultural performances put on by devotees and ashram residents. At midnight itself, Amma led everyone in the chanting of Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu [news].

In her talk, Amma reflected on how, on the eve of a New Year, it is everyone’s habit to pray to God to fulfill their dreams. “It is good to cherish some dreams in regards to the future,” Amma told her children. “But we also need put in our own efforts in order to fulfill those dreams.”

Amma also spoke about how the New Year is a good time to take stock of our life and see if we are making progress or if we have strayed from our goal. Amma said. In fact, sometimes we have no clue as to where we are headed in life.

“The worst poverty one can face in this world is a poverty of love,” Amma said. “In a society where selfishness is on the rise, human beings have forgotten the language of sharing. This is the most horrible curse.” Amma then asked everyone who was in the habit of smoking cigarettes, regularly buying expensive clothes and other such luxurious items to consider cutting back and donating the money they would save to help the poor.

Making the point that it is only due to mankind’s greed that people are forced to starve in the world, Amma told an anecdote. It was about God making a New Year’s resolution to put an end to world hunger. The story ended with God failing, because no one was willing to distribute the abundance of food he had created.

“When a New Year approaches, we always reflect on the year gone past—both the good events and the bad ones,” Amma said. “As spiritual aspirants, we also need to introspect: What were our achievements? Where did we falter? We should not be egoistic about our achievements. We should draw inspiration from them. We should recognize our errors and then resolve to move ahead with more awareness.”

Amma concluded her talk by requesting her devotees to spend at least some time every day helping others. “It could be speaking kind, consoling words to those who are sad or attentively listening to someone’s problems,” Amma said. “It could be protecting Mother Nature or providing any other form of help. In this way, through good thoughts and through good actions, we should create positive vibrations in the world. Surely the darkness of selfishness and hatred will disappear. May my children become a lamp filling the world with the light of peace and love.”

Amma then sang three bhajans, beginning with “Hari Bol” and “Giridhari Gopala.” Her final bhajan was in English. The song—”Everyone in the World”—was very fitting for a night associated with dreams for the future, as it presented Amma’s dream.

Everyone in the world should sleep without fear,
at least for one night, sleep without fear.

Everyone in the world should eat to their fill,
at least for one day, eat to their fill

There should be one day when there is no violence,
no one is injured, no one is harmed.

All people young and old should serve the poor
and needy, at least for one day, serve selflessly.

This is my dream.
This is my prayer.
Love is the answer, love is the way.
Love is the answer, love is the way.