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From Chile with love

Amma in Santiago

Santiago, Chile — 25-30 July 2007

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Amma’s first ever trip to South America began in Santiago, Chile, a metropolis nestled in the beauty of the Andes Mountains.

Shortly after Amma’s arrival in Chile, she was officially welcomed at the Casa de Moneda Presidential Palace by no one other than the President of Chile herself, Michelle Bachelet. Bachelet (Chile’s first woman president) met with Amma for nearly 40 minutes, saying upon the beginning of their meeting that she also enjoys hugging people when she meets them, but that she did not have the stamina to hug stadiums full of people like Amma. “Though ‘Amma is not so much into religion, she is into humanism’ and that’s what attracted her to Amma and that she appreciated what Amma had been doing for the poor” said the President. Bachelet agreed with Amma that economic growth, though important for the country, was not enough, that people needed to have values and principles to ensure peace and happiness in society.

If there was any question regarding how a city that is 93 percent Christian (68.7 Catholic) would respond to Amma, it was answered the next morning. Almost as soon as the sun rose over the Andes, an enormous crowd began to descend upon the Espacio Riesco convention centre. The humongous hall was full well before Amma’s arrival, and when Amma did arrive, she was greeted by thunderous applause. In fact, for the next three days, every time Amma entered the hall, left the hall or finished singing a bhajan, the enormous applause followed.

It was clear that the people of Santiago saw in Amma what people have been seeing all across the world for the past 20 years now—a spiritual leader who is not here to change anyone’s religion but simply to lead them to Love, the common heart of all faiths.

“I kept forgetting that these people had never met Amma before,” commented one of the program’s organizers. “And they especially appreciated the many songs that Amma sang in their native Spanish.”

During the morning programs, Amma was surrounded by every major press agency in the country. Amma’s visit to Chile was truly a major news event, with reports even appearing in a few U.S. papers.

During the next three days, the crowds were so large that each program blended into the next with almost no break in between the morning and evening programs. The morning darshan would go from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and then evening programs from 7 p.m. till 6 a.m. The culmination of the crowd took place on Devi Bhava, when during the Atma Puja, the enormous hall was bursting at the seams with people. The queue for the puja had actually begun forming during the Amma’s morning darshan program. And during Bhava darshan, the line for mantras was almost as long as the darshan line—about 90 percent of the people who came for darshan requested Amma to initiate them into a mantra.

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The people of Chile also had the good fortune to have Amma in their presence for Guru Purnima, which took place the night of Devi Bhava. Near the end of the Devi Bhava program, Swami Amritaswarupananda gave a beautiful talk on the significance of the Guru and reminded everyone how fortunate we all are to have a satguru, a true mahatma, in our lives.

Before leaving Chile for Brazil, Amma met with several of the local devotees who’d helped organize the program. It was truly amazing that the programs had gone so smoothly when none of the people involved had ever organized a program before and the majority of volunteers had not even met Amma before. In fact, many of the volunteers had taken a week or more off work in order to dedicate themselves full time. Gazing lovingly into the eyes of her Santiago children, Amma asked, “How did you do it?”

Immediately one of them replied, “With love.”

Hearing this Amma nodded in approval and smiled saying, “That’s right, where there is love, anything is possible.”

—Kannadi

Polishing in Poland

Br. Shubamrita visited the beautiful Polish capitol city of Warsaw from July 2 to 4. Held in a school hall, near the centre of the city, the venue was packed to the capacity. People came from many other cities of Poland also, driving hours together.Poland is another country waiting eagerly for Amma’s visit.

Unique Achievement

First batch of Amrita Vidyalayam, Nigdi, Pune has secured 100% results in SSC Examination conducted by Maharashtra SSC Board.The students have come out with flying colors with 55% of them having distinction and 43% having first division. Out of 79 students who appeared for SSC Exam only one student has 2nd division.

Sawar Nilopher Raju with 92.76% and Mulay Radhika Prashant with 91.69% have topped the school.

The days of Amma the hugging saint in Iowa

2 -3 July 2007 — Coralville, Iowa, USA

Both the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, Patty Judge, and the Mayor of Coralville, Jim Fausett, were on hand to welcome Amma to the Iowa City suburb of Coralville Monday morning. The lieutenant governor praised Amma’s charitable work and the mayor read aloud a proclamation stating July 2nd and 3rd 2007 to officially be “‘The Days of Amma the Hugging Saint’ in the city of Coralville.”

“On behalf of Governor [Chet] Culver and the people of Iowa, I want to welcome Amma to Iowa City and to tell you how honoured we are to have you here,” said the Lieutenant Governor. “It is not often that we host someone of such international importance, especially someone who has done so much to bring the world together and to improve the lives of so many millions of people.

“Amma, through your mission you have provided millions of dollars in disaster relief, have built thousands of homes for Indian families, and helped people throughout South-eastern Asia live a longer, happier life. But your impact is felt far beyond the borders of your own country. Your mission work has inspired millions of people across the globe to do more for their communities and for their fellow citizens. You are a role model for everyone, including all of us here in Iowa.”

The Lieutenant Governor ended her welcoming speech by saying, “Your work has brought India and the world together. We are proud that you have brought your message of peace and togetherness to Iowa.”

Mayor Fausett spoke next. He said, “In the world today, we see so much violence and so much hate, that we tend to forget the love that is necessary in this world. So it is indeed a real pleasure for me to welcome Amma, who was and is still spreading that love and that honour that we can receive by loving others.”

The mayor then read the following proclamation of the city of Coralville: “Whereas, Amma is a renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader, whose sole mission is to love and serve one and all. And whereas, the greatest miracle that takes place in Amma’s presence occurs in the hearts of those who come to her. And whereas, Amma is the recipient of the prestigious Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence. And whereas, through the example of her own life of tireless service to humanity, Amma inspires her children to walk towards the goal of self-realization by serving the poor and the needy. And whereas, Amma has inspired many humanitarian activities that have drawn the attention of the world community. Now, therefore, be it resolved, that I, Mayor Jim L. Fausett, do hereby proclaim July 2nd and 3rd 2007 to be the ‘Days of Amma the Hugging Saint’ in the city of Coralville.”

—Tulasi