Amma is a blessing given by the Lord

“Amma is a blessing given by the Lord” – Bishop Thirumeni

29 August 2008 — Amritapuri

Most Revered Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom, Mar Thoma Metropolitan—affectionately known as ‘Thirumeni’—paid a visit to Amritapuri on Friday. The bishop took a tour of the ashram, participated in the evening bhajans and then met with Amma in her room.

Thirumeni is the longest-reigning bishop in India; it has been more than 55 years since his consecration. He is currently the senior Metropolitan Bishop of the Mar Thoma Church at Maramon, Kerala.”Offering praise to the Lord itself is the fulfillment of life,” Thirumeni said to Amma. “When I came here and participated in the bhajans, it was something like that. It is a great blessing. I am very happy. We are very thankful for all the charitable activities that you are undertaking throughout the world. May the Lord bless you. We all pray for this.”

“The thing that makes me happy is how Amma is able to see the whole world as a one family and protect and support them accordingly. It is a great thing! We are always reading in the newspapers about people fighting. Here, the whole world has come to Amma without seeing any differences of caste, creed, race or religion. It brings such a great joy to us. We consider Amma as a blessing given by the Lord to his world.“To be able to see you, to have your darshan, is also a great blessing. At this age of 90, I consider it a great blessing to see you. I thought that at the age of 90, everything was over. But meeting you has given me new experiences and a look into the future. And I am very happy.”

Thirumeni then praised the Ashram’s humanitarian works and social-welfare projects. “I am so happy about everything Amma is doing for this village,” he said. “When you see the villagers, they are so happy! I saw them on the way. I have even more to say about the hospital [AIMS] you are running in Cochin. It is a great blessing for all of India. My relatives have sought treatment there, were cured and returned home happily. So, we thank you for all these things. In the name of my jurisdiction [Tiruvella], we pray the Lord blesses you even more for the benefit of society.”

Thirumeni then spoke about Amrita Setu, the bridge Amma’s Ashram constructed connecting Alappad Panchayat with the mainland. “A bridge is something that connects two separated entities. The tsunami was as great destruction. But because of that destruction, Kerala has now got a beautiful bridge. Amma’s service is a blessing, even in the midst of calamity. That is the message of this beautiful bridge.” One of the fathers accompanying Thirumeni said that the bishop doesn’t believe that people should live cut off from the rest of the world, like separate islands. “When the top order comes and meets Amma, the followers also will come. That is why Thirumeni has come,” he said.

“Nowadays I am visiting all the ashrams and participating in their prayers,” Thirumeni said. “Through this I am trying to understand different ways of worship and ways of service. Through that I am trying to come closer to God.”

Amma was very delighted by the bishop’s expansive outlook. “Nowadays everyone is becoming more and more narrow,” Amma said. “Not everyone has such an expansive vision. Thirumeni’s expansive mind is a blessing. I am very happy about it.”

—Sakshi

Finding the balance in Life

On 22nd – 24th August 2008

The M.A. Center in Melbourne hosted AYUDH Australia’s first youth retreat by Bramachari Shantamrita Chaitanya. The theme of the retreat was “balance”.    It laid the foundation for lasting relationships, inspired vision and action.

Br. Shantamrita discussed balance; how one can apply this concept in everyday lives. He also talked about the importance of yagna, the sense of being selfless in our actions. ‘Be like the rain’ is the way of service, falls from the sky down to the dirty ground to offer some relief, without expectation of receiving anything in return. Every one was encouraged to follow Amma’s example of seeing Nature as our teacher and offer our lives accordingly. All were encouraged to try and do one thing each day to show gratitude and respect for Mother Nature, the sages of old and the present, the five elements, to ancestors, and humanity.

The principle of balance was explored through a variety of means including a discussion led by Br. Shantamrita on Ayurvedic principles for eating and combining foods to achieve balance and harmony, as well as sessions led by local devotees. These included a talk on the importance of keeping a balance between alkaline and acidic foods and how blood types affect the food we eat, and a yoga class helped to learn about the physical and mental balance.

AYUDH discussed the possible future activities. The importance of becoming educated about ways of achieving balance and sacrifice in the context of Nature, learning about energy efficiency practices, recycling and general environmental sustainability practices are the few things planned to do.

The youths planted shrubs at the M.A. Centre are located on beautiful land with plenty of open space, trees and native flora. They had games, bhajans and campfire.

The youths felt inspired, took a vow to implement the principles of balance and selflessness that had been discussed on retreat in their daily lives.
They were thankful to Amma for planting the seeds of inspiration in them and becoming a torch to carry Amma’s light in the world.

Sri Krishna: complete in all ways

24 August 2008 — Amritapuri

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“Speaking about Sri Krishna is like introducing one to one’s self,” Amma told the thousands of people gathered in Amritapuri to celebrate Krishna Jayanti. The day had been filled with festivities—Go Puja1 in the morning, a procession of young gopis, gopas, Radhas and Krishnas in the afternoon, uriyadi2 until the sun went down, and then Bala Gopala Puja to the recitation of the Srimad Bhagavatam4 until the midnight hour.

Once the midnight hour arrived, Amma began leading everyone is bhajans celebrating the Lord: “Agatanayi Agatanayi Vishnu Devan.”
In Amma’s satsang, which followed the bhajans, Amma stressed the infinite potential dormant in human beings and the power of their free will. “We can become like Sri Krishna; we can become like Kamsa,” Amma said. “We can become like Rama; we can also become like Ravana.”

Amma then spoke about the glory that was Sri Krishna. “Life is not mathematics, science, logic or philosophy,” Amma said. “It is a continuous flow of experience. We can transform our lives into an experience of spreading happiness to one and all. Sri Krishna’s life was the perfect example of this. If all our infinite, innate auspicious qualities were to take the form of a human being, the beautiful result would be Lord Krishna. He expressed the infinite power inherent in humankind to its fullness. It is for this reason that he is glorified as the Purnavatar—the complete incarnation of God. Sri Krishna was both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. He was human and yet not human. He was complete in all ways.”

Amma concluded her talk by stressing the importance of innocent love and faith, saying that their birth in the heart of the gopis was in fact a greater miracle than Krishna’s lifting of Govardhana Hill.

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“We need to transcend logic and firmly establish ourselves in innocent love and faith. We need to look at life through such eyes. Then all experiences will become blissful, like amrita [nectar]. That is the message of Lord Krishna’s life. … Sri Krishna’s words and actions demonstrated the different facets of life, the secrets of para-dharma and apara-dharma4 , and the subtleties of action, inaction and enlightened action. To understand Sri Krishna’s message, we need unwavering love, devotion and faith.”

Amma then sung led everyone in a blissful dance to the tune of  “Narayana Narayana Gopala Hare.”

Despite the late hour—nearly 2:00 am—Amma distributed payasam [rice pudding] to all those present.

—Kannadi


__________________________________________________
1 Traditional worship of cows.
2 Traditional ‘pot-breaking’ game played on Krishna Jayanti.
3 A Puranic text detailing incarnations of Lord Vishnu, including Sri Krishna
4 The supreme duty of Self-realization and regular duties of mankind.

Swami to visit Asia and S.America

Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri is to visit the following countries where he will be holding satangs, bhajans and IAM meditation classes in the following countries.

ASIA

Thailand- Bangkok,
September 4, 5- 5:30pm
September 6- 9am-1:30pm- IAM Course, 2:15pm Swamiji Q & A Session
Hindu Samaj, 137/1-2 Siriphongse Road, Sao Chinca, Bangkok- 10200
Contact:
Mr. Deepak- 08-18275933
Mr. Tan Ah Yaw- 08-75170683
Mr. Ramesh- 08-99035900
ammabkk@gmail.com

Hong Kong
September 7- 10:30am
Happy Valley Hindu Temple, 1 Wong Nei Chung Road, Hong Kong Island
September 21- 9am- IAM Course with Br. Shantamrita
Venues TBA
Contact:
Mr. KP Daswani- 9329-1931
Mr. Arunachalam- 9365-5081
Mr. Ram- 6050-9685
www.amma.hk

Indonesia- Medan
September 10- 7pm
Hindu Temple
September 11- 7pm
Yoga Life Studio
Contact:
Cameron-0812-699-2655
Deva- 0852-70700988
Aruna- 0813-9778-4090

Philippines- Manila
September 12- 6:30pm- Maha Sudharshan Homa-
145 10th St, New Manila, Quezon City
September 13- 1:30pm
Hindu Temple
September 14- 6am- Maha Ganapathy Homa
1 Banaba Circle, South Forbes (TBD)
September 14- 1:30pm
Hindu Temple
September 15, 16- 6:30pm- IAM Course with Br. Shantamrita
venue TBA
Contact:
Fritzi or Aka- 02-415-2403
www.ammaswamiinmanila.com

South America
Argentina- Buenos Aires
September 20, 21
Venue- To be announced
Contact:
4781-3448
centroamrita@yahoo.com.ar or www.centroamrita.com

Peru- Lima
September 23- 12:00pm
Centro de Estudio Orientales, Facultad de Humanidades, Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú, Av. Universitaria s/n, Fundo Pando
September 24- 7pm
Auditorio de la Universidad Wiener, Av. Pardo 650, Miraflores
Contact:
Enzo Trosso- 990371527
Dolly Lizarraga- 999411694
ammaperu@gmail.com

Brazil- Sao Paolo
September 26, 27
Venue- To be announced
Contact:
Gopikrishna- 11-5543-4088
www.ammabrasil.org

Brazil- Rio de Janeiro,
September 28- 6pm
Clube Fluminense, Rua Alvaro Chaves 41, Laranjeiras
Brazil- Araruama,
September 29- 6pm
Templo Amrita, Rua Simonides Nunes Almeida Filho, 296, Fonte Limpa, Araruama
Contact:
Aradhana- 22-2661-5986, 21-3521-8371, 21-8348-5237
www.ammabrasil.org

Chile- Concepcion,
October 1- 7pm
Venue –To be announced
Contact:
Matías- 56-9-577-6148
Vicky- 56-9-892-7273

Chile- Santiago,
October 2
Venue- To be announced
Contact:
56-2-785-5542
ammachile@gmail.com or www.ammachile.cl

To serve those needier than her

Camila

Italy — August 2008
Through her example, Amma has inspired countless people to give back to the world in whatever way they can. Some contribute through donating their resources, others by serving in Amma’s charitable projects and institutions. In this way, not only is the world benefitting, but so too the volunteers, whose minds are purified through their selfless actions.

Camilla, a 24-year-old woman from Italy, is one such person. She has spent a good part of the past two summers stringing rosewood beads into malas for sale during Amma’s annual European Tour. All the money raised, of course, goes to Amma’s charities. What makes Camilla different from the thousands of other volunteers is that she is suffering from spastic tetra paralysis. She may not be able to control her arms and legs very well, but she does have control over her will, and she says she wants to do something to help those who are needier than she.

Hand

Camilla is supervised in her service by her mother and two friends, performing her task with care and attention. As Amma says, “The devotee who offers the garland to the Lord is the first to smell the fragrance of its flowers.” While certainly the poor and needy will benefit by Camilla’s seva, she herself was the immediate beneficiary—a liberating sense of purpose and usefulness.In the beauty of Amma’s embrace, the suffering themselves are inspired to dry the tears of the suffering.

—Tulasi

Taking the Elderly for a Stroll

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Helsinki & Porvoo Finland

In the spring of 2008, Amma devotees in Helsinki began helping old people, taking residents of Kutaankartano, an old-age home, for fresh-air strolls.

“The permanent workers do a valuable and heavy job with a very small number of workers. The volunteer workers can ease the nurses’ workload,” says Sami Kurko, the devotee who came up with the idea.

The decision to take the residents for walks came after seeing a survey wherein it was shown that this was the primary desire of the elderly in the home. The majority of the residents at Kutaankartano are bound to wheelchairs. The devotees also spend time chatting as well.

08-old-finland

“The voluntary work is essential for us,” says Saara Sierilä, a city-worker put in charge of Kutaankartano’s volunteers. “It is a great joy and creates opportunities for the old people to get out from the ward.”

In May, devotees in Porvoo, Finland started visiting an old peoples’ home there as well.

– Das

The Oxford Shower Project

Central Oxford, England

Inspired by Amma’s vision of a world wherein everyone selflessly and compassionately serves their fellow man, devotees in England have begun running a public shower for the homeless in Central Oxford. Unlike in India, there are no temple ponds, rivers, or public taps were any one can bathe freely in England.

The idea of running a shower came when they approached Gatehouse, a local homeless organization, and asked them if there was any niche in their services that they could usefully fill. Gatehouse told them that a shower was lying idle in a church hall in central Oxford.

“A shower can mean so much if you are homeless. Finding a place to wash can be very difficult,” says Stuart Walters, one of the devotees helping with the service.

In the end, the devotees wound up running the shower in partnership with Gatehouse. The program began in January 2008.

The shower service provides free showers in a safe, clean and caring environment every Saturday between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. The shower is located in a small room with a wash basin and toilet. There is only one shower. Up to seven homeless people can be accommodated in the two hours they are open. The devotees provide towels, shower gel, a razor, tooth paste/tooth brushes and sanitary towels. They also offer tea and coffee and a snack pack, comprising a cheese roll, a banana, a bag of crisps, chocolate biscuit and a small bottle of juice.

Oxford’s homeless learn of the showers through flyers handed out at homeless centres, posters and word of mouth.

In the future, the devotees hope to also start providing new clothes and more food, as well as increase the number of days a week the shower is open.

“It is particularly rewarding to watch them after the shower,” says Walters. “They radiate freshness and smile after coming out newly washed. They are also very grateful. We have got to know quite a few regulars and this friendship is particularly rewarding.”

– Das

True Freedom is to remain our True Self

15 August 2008 — Amritapuri

In celebration of the 61st anniversary of India’s freedom, the students of Amrita University (Amritapuri campus) put on a series of dramas and dances inspired by India’s culture, history and current events. In the centre of the hall was a huge map of the Indian subcontinent outlined with the fires of small oil lamps. The students’ program culminated with a girl carrying the Indian flag to Amma, who stood serenely waving it as the students sang Vande Mataram. The whole crowd was waving small flags in rhythm with Amma.

Amma then spoke, saying that the love the students were showing for their motherland made her very happy. “May this love towards our motherland remain with you no matter where you find yourselves in the years to come,” Amma said.

Amma continued, “We should not only love and respect our own motherland, but the entire creation. The reason is: there is nothing that is not God. This is what India’s culture teaches us. This mental attitude itself is the path to true freedom. Through the example of their own lives, the rishis—who were embodiments of austerity, renunciation and universal love—revealed to us many great ideals. The true way of expressing our love and dedication towards our nation is imbibing these ideals and putting them into action in our own lives.”

Amma went on to speak about true freedom versus mere freedom of the body, saying that as long as one remains a slave of his negativities, one can never experience true freedom. “Our identification with our lower emotions is a much more oppressive and dangerous form of slavery than bondage on the physical level,” Amma said.

“Real freedom is the freedom to remain as our True Self, not the freedom to chase our likes and run from our dislikes” Amma continued.

“The word mama—‘mine’—is death; it is bondage,” Amma said. “The words na mama—‘not mine,’ but the Lord’s—are freedom and liberation. My children should remember this always.”

The program ended around 1 a.m., with Amma leading all the students in singing the bhajan “Mata Rani,” crying out “Mata Rani Ki Jai! Bharat Mata Ki Jai! Loka Mata Ki Jai!” over and over again.

—Kannadi

IAM & Satsangs in Lebanon

11 August 2008, Beirut, Lebanon

Since the beginning of May 2008, in the name of Amma, weekly satsangs had been taking place in Beirut. A multitude of general introductory meetings about Amma and Hinduism were also held in various parts of the country.

Apart from satsang, the other official activity held in Amma’s name in the country was IAM meditation classes.

Over the last 2 months, four IAM meditation classes were conducted in Lebanon, benefiting around 50 persons. The last class took place in the remote Hermel mountainous area, at an altitude of 2200 meters. The mountains, valleys and old trees there, offered a superb natural environment.

Zizette (50 years, computer programmer) is a regular to the satsangs and is practicing IAM daily.  “Amma’s presence, so nicely and so humbly introduced by her disciples, is a real blessing for all of Lebanon and a benediction to the world. I can feel my heart chakra turning fast and cannot act anymore but through this center that Amma’s teaching and energy activated so beautifully. With Amma’s spirit every moment is an experience towards liberation!”

Nisrine is a 30 years old teacher, who learned the IAM technique: “My life has been enlightened with Amma’s presence… I am visiting Amma’s websites regularly, and reading Amma’s books.”

Charbel (20 years old, student) has dedicated the last 3 issues of a newsletter he publishes, to Amma and Hinduism: “I found in Amma the living example of all the spiritual ideals and values I had known before. I am praying that she visits Lebanon soon.”

Guita (45 years old, Reiki healer in whose apartment the weekly satsangs are held): “I feel my house blessed to host Amma’s activities and spirit. I can strongly sense her wonderful energy all over the place. I love her photos! What a blessing!”

–Tulasi

Click here to see the pictures from IAM meditaton classes in Lebanon

If you like to take part in Amma’s activities in Lebanon, please email  Amma.lebanon{at}gmail.com