Vidyamritam extended to include HIV/AIDS orphans

21 September 2009 – Amritapuri

On 26 September 2009, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) will provide another 2,000 scholarships to impoverished children. The scholarships are part of the Vidyamritam program {news}, through which 30,000 children throughout India are already receiving such aid.

Vidyamritam was launched by MAM in September 2007 in order to help fight ‘farmer suicide,’ an epidemic plaguing India with increasing frequency, as drought, crop failure and debt become more and more common. Experts say that at least 160,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997, with 17,500 incidents between 2002 and 2006. Perhaps one of the most shocking statistics is one reported in the Vidarbha Region of Maharashtra, wherein, in 2006, 1,044 suicides were reported in the agricultural community—that is one death every eight hours.

Through Vidyamritam, MAM will ultimately pay for the education of 100,000 children living below the poverty line. The 2,000 scholarships will expand the current number of scholarships to a total of 32,000. The latest batch of beneficiaries not only includes children who have lost parents to farmer suicide, but also children whose parents have HIV/AIDS or have been otherwise orphaned.

The children (ages 10 to 15) receive a quarterly stipend until they finish their education. MAM volunteers regularly verify the children are continuing their educations and that the funds are being used either for school fees or supplies.

Reports show that farmers in India are committing suicide over debts as small as $300 U.S. As such, the Vidyamritam scholarships help keep children in school without adding to their parents’ sense of financial burden. Only if the children of such families receive proper educations will their families be freed from total dependence on agriculture as a source of income.

Vidyamritam is a permanent humanitarian program of MAM, with new students taking over the scholarships of graduates.

Beneficiaries are from the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.

As an extension of this project, MAM is conducting camps and programs for Vidyamritam beneficiaries in order to help inculcate values and a sense of empowerment. One such program—for 10,000 Vidyamritam beneficiaries—will be held at Amritapuri on 26 and 27 September.

Educational scholarships are also offered in Singapore {news} and  Nairobi {news}.

Sri Krishna jayanti celebration

11 Sep 2009, Amritapuri

Krishna Jayanti was celebrated in Amritapuri will a full day of festivities. Beginning early in the morning, special pujas were performed, including the go puja, in which all the ashram cows were worshipped as embodiments of the divine. A few hours later—led by dozens of Krishnas, Radhas and gopis of all ages—there was a grand procession through the ashram on to the Kuzhitura Sri Krishna Temple, two kilometers away. As the devotees walked, they sang lively, joyous bhajans.

In the afternoon, everyone gathered to watch and play uriyadi. The game emulates the mischief of young Krishna trying to break open the pots of butter, which the gopis had hung out of his reach. Amma joyously watched the games, laughing as children leaped and jumped in efforts to break open the pots. As dusk grew near and the games were winding to a close, Amma raised the spirits of the already lively crowd by spontaneously leading everyone in singing “Bolo Bolo Gokula Bala.”

Normally, in Amritapuri, the conclusion of bhajans marks the end of the day, but on this night the main event had yet to come. Just after 11:00 p.m. the doors to the main stage slowly opened to reveal a beautifully decorated scene with several images of Sri Krishna. The bhajan hall was packed and everyone sat enchanted for the next 45 minutes, listening to a reading of the Srimad Bhagavatam, while bala-gopala puja was simultaneously performed. As the midnight (the birth time of Krishna) approached, Amma arrived on the stage. Amma took her seat on the stage, seemingly engrossed by the beautiful recitation of the childhood lilas of Krishna. When the clock struck midnight, a small statue of baby Krishna was brought before Amma, so she could offer honey to the Lord, marking the moment of Krishna’s birth.

Amma then proceeded to singing several Krishna bhajans, including “Agatanayi,” “Nanda Gopan Tapamirunnu,” “Katti Tair Taram” and “Vande Nanda-Kumaram.” Finally, Amma asked everyone to stand, raise their arms skyward, forget all their troubles and blissfully dance. She then sang “Gopala Nacho Nacho.” Everyone danced as one—the song’s tempo went faster and faster. It was like rasa-lila. Thousands were dancing with Amma—together, yet alone.

Before chanting the peace prayer, Amma told everyone “God should take birth in our heart.” To end the celebration, Amma distributed payasam as prasad to one and all.

Amma’s 56th birthday celebrations

amma's 56 birthdayBlessed Self,

For the past 56 years now, the world has been blessed with the loving, compassionate touch of our beloved Amma.The number of hearts Amma has touched is impossible to say. Her tender embrace has literally consoled millions upon millions.

Each September 27 , the anniversary of Amma’s birth, the world over resounds with prayers of gratitude. We would like to extend to you a heartfelt invitation to participate in this year’s celebrations, which will be taking place on Saturday the 26   and Sunday the 27 of September in Amritapuri, Kollam District, Kerala.

Thousands of people from throughout the world make the pilgrimage to Amritapuri in order to be in Amma’s presence on this auspicious occasion. Furthermore, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math will take this opportunity to extend the reach of its charitable humanitarian services.
We sincerely hope you will be there.


September 26, 2009

  • Expansion of Vidyamritam Scholarship Program
  • Cultural Programs

September 27, 2009

  • Awarding of Amrita Keerti Puraskar
  • Free Marriage Ceremony for Impoverished Couples
  • Sri Guru Padapuja
  • Amma’s Birthday Address
  • Release of New Ashram Publications
  • Distribution of Free Clothing to the Poor
  • Amma’s Darshan
  • Cultural Programs

The news links

Prof. K.V. Dev to receive Amrita Keerti puraskar

56th Birthday preparations

The 56th Birthday Celebrations, Padapuja of Amma

Birthday celebration photos


Vidyamritam extended

Art competition for Vidyamritam recipients

Vidyamritam programme photo updates

Vidyamritam camp photo updates

Vidyamritam Competitions

Amma blesses Panmana ashram

9 September 2009 — Panmana, Kollam

At the invitation of the authorities of Panmana Ashram, Amma visited the samadhi site of Sri Chattambi Swami. The program was part of the 156th birthday celebrations of Sri Chattambi Swami, an influential and important spiritual master who took maha-samadhi in Panmana on 5 May 1924.

Amma was received with a purnakumbham by the sannyasins of Panmana Ashram, as well as those of other neighboring ashrams, including Swami Prajnananda, Swami Shankarananda, and Swami Kaivalyananda, the resident Vedantacharya of Amritapuri.

Amma was officially welcomed to Panmana by Swami Pranavananda, the ashram’s head sannyasin. Introducing Amma to the public, he thanked Amma for coming and blessing the occasion, he prayed that Amma return every year for the festivities.

In many ways, this was a historic occasion, similar to Amma’s visit of Sivagiri Math in Varkala in 2007 and her visit to the Brahmasvam Matham in Trissur in 2005.  As Sivagiri Matham has become the main ashram for the Ezhava community, and Brahmasvam Matham for Kerala Brahmins, so is Panmana for the Nayar community.

Before her satsang, Amma went to the samadhi mandapam of Chattambi Swami and offered her tributes.

In her satsang, Amma spoke about the necessity of vairagya [dispassion] in order to attain happiness in life. She also praised Chattambi Swami as the embodiment of renunciation, describing how—even though he did not wear ochre robes—he dedicated his life to helping others. “Chattambi Swami was a like a great doctor, helping to relieve Kerala society from immense pain,” Amma said. “During a time when caste and untouchability were at their peak, he proclaimed that the knowledge of the Vedas is everyone’s birthright, and he showed the Vedas themselves to be the authority for this statement. He was a towering temple of dharma and knowledge. He was a jivanmukta and a great pundit, whose voice ushered in a cultural renaissance in Kerala.”

Amma sang beautiful old melodious bhajans and gave darshan.

BABEL: the sacred yields of dreams

The myth of Babel took its roots in a dream: the common dream that men could contribute to something higher than themselves, their shared efforts could lead them to realms other than the usual ones. But in the myth, the attempt was solely based on man’s might, and it hence cut itself from divine grace. Men ceased to understand one another, suddenly facing the limits of their human condition. The endeavor failed.

BABEL is a youth initiative from GreenFriends of France. It proposed a path for reconnecting to Nature to youngsters using concrete projects. The main one was a bee sanctuary : a fully-ecology small temple with bees living inside the walls. From inside, one can see, hear and smell them in security through glasses and nests and meditate with them.

With the blessing of Amma when the BABEL project started in the French Ashram last year, it was grounded on a relationship of understanding of the deep meaning of things, trying to transcend the myth’s shortcomings. Bringing together youths from all walks of life, the BABEL project intended to initiate a shared enquiry of our relationship to Nature and life. It mingled different approaches, providing participants with philosophical discussions, artistic sessions and practical workshops.

BABEL – Bois, Abeilles et Biodiversité pour une Ecologie Local, (in English: wood, bees and biodiversity for a local ecology) is a project managed by youngsters of the GreenFriends organization in France. It also refers to the myth of the BABEL tower which teaches us that both effort and Grace are needed for a project to succeed.

The project is implemented in two ways:

1) Applying the Rameal Chipped Wood method, an ecological technique that restores damaged soils by a natural process like in forests. It is an example of ecosystem management through the life of micro-fauna and flora of the soil.

2) The building of a bee house, a mud and straw eco-house with an eco-green roof and walls inhabited by bee swarms. From inside the house one will be able to experience the presence of bees: to smell, see and hear them with the help of a glass system with micro-infiltration. It will be quite an original therapeutic place to connect with bees and more generally with nature. Another benefit is that the bees will keep the bee house at a comfortable temperature. They need to do this so that their young survive and the house will be warm in winter, cool in summer.

The BABEL project is supported by the ‘Youth in Action Program’ of the European Union.

view photos

Onam reminds us to become ‘One’

2 September 2009 – Amritapuri

“We all need to become one—this is the message Onam gives us,” Amma said in her annual Onam satsang. “It is from ‘one’ that we have all come, and it is back into that ‘one’ that we all must merge. This is the supreme goal of all of our lives. However, in our hectic schedules, we have forgotten this. The Upanishads say that forgetfulness is death. The message of many of our festivals is to remove this veil of forgetfulness. The festival that best reminds us of the message of oneness is Onam.”

The entire Amritapuri Darshan Hall was full of families of devotees who’d come to spend the Kerala holiday with Amma.

As part of her talk, Amma presented a unique interpretation of the Onam legend, taking the dwarf Vamana as the guru. “At a point in time during the maha-yaga—the great offering—that is life, God himself comes before us in the form of the guru and begs for alms,” Amma explained. “The guru humbly asks us for just three paces of land. ‘In the limitless kingdom of your mind, just give me a tiny place to sit,’ he says. If we wholeheartedly offer him this, then what happens? The very person whom we thought to be just an insignificant little fellow reveals his ishvara bhava—his total identification with God. The attitude ‘I’m so great!’ then disappears, and the awareness dawns that, before the guru, we are utterly insignificant. The head, which we egoistically held up so high, spontaneously bows down before the guru. Then what? In no time at all, thoughts of God completely consume our mind. We begin to see everything as God. We understand that everything is dependent upon God.”

Amma also explained how the tree swings traditional set up during Onam make for a good metaphor for life, demonstrating how after every rise there is a fall. “No matter how high we rise, we eventually have to come back down,” Amma said. “When we see everything in life as a game, we will be equally joyous when falling as we are when rising. If we can fully understand this—if we can see life as swinging on a swing—we will never fall apart when failure comes our way.”

After her satsang, Amma led everyone in a few bhajans and then personally handed all 10,000 people a plate of Ona-sadhya—the traditional Onam meal.


IAM meditation classes June-July 2009

Various IAM Meditation classes are taking place continuously in different parts of India and worldwide.

Here in India, amongst others, classes were conducted, in Hyderabad during the third week of June, at the Central Industrial Security Force, in Vellore on 14th – 16th July, and at the AIMS Hospital in the last week of July.

In Hyderabad, 3 different IAM classes, were conducted by Brahmachari Nijamritha Chaitanya. Around 50 devotees participated in the 2-day course held on 20th and 21st July. The participants shared that they felt closer to Amma learning and practicing the technique. Later, Nijamrita Chaitanya also conducted a 2-day Corporate IAM course for the engineers who study at AICT Hyderabad, and a Children IAM course for the students of Amrita Vidyalayam, during a 3-day children camp.

At the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) Regional Training Centre in Arakkonam, Vellore district, Tamil Nadu, Brahmachari Ajamritha Chaitanya led a 3-day IAM course from 14th to 16th July 2009.

A total of 305 personnel, including 20 officers, attended the course. Many of the participants came from various parts of South India for the course. The DIG in charge said that Amma was doing the greatest social service by distributing peace through the free meditation courses.

Students from a nearby Central School also attended the course.

At the AIMS Hospital, Brahmachari Yogamrita Chaitanya conducted a course for the 2009 batches of Medical School students, in the last week of July. Around 160 students attended the courses with great enthusiasm.

Classes were held in Barwah, Devali and Gaziabad by Brahmachari Vijayamrita Chaitanya for the jawans, officers and the other members of the families of the armed forces personnel during the months of June & July. The response to the classses was overwhelming. It was a fulfilling both for the instructors – who felt a sense of deep peace and fulfillment and a heightened awareness.

“After the two day IAM camp I was able to make out who amongst the Jawans had attended the camp and who had not – there was tranquility and the joy on the faces of those who had attended” – Sri. B.D. Sharma, Senior Commandant, CISF

“I attended the IAM camp so that I could have more concentration and awareness in the prayers that I used to do as per my Christian upbringing. Having attended the camp I am sure that doing IAM on a daily basis will definitely give me that.” – Joy, Jawan.

“I have been in CISF for 16 years. And in these 16 years this is the first time that I have been able to sleep well, without tension.” – Ram Gopal, Cisf Training Center, Mundali, Orissa

– KaliCharan

Europe Yatra dates for 2009

Amma’s 23rd annual  Europe Yatra will begin on 5 October 2009 in Helsinki, Finland and conclude on 13 November in Barcelona, Spain.

The programme dates:

5 – 6 October: Helsinki, Finland

8 – 10 October: Winterthur, Switzerland

13 – 15 October: ’s Hertogenbosch, Holland

17 – 19 October: Mannheim, Germany

21 – 23 October: London, England

25 – 27 October: Paris, France

29 – 31 October: Munich, Germany

2 – 4 November: Toulon, France

6 – 8 November: Milan, Italy

11 – 13 November: Barcelona, Spain
For more info visit

* Dates are subject to change.

The joy of gardening

August is the season when many youth from all over the world flock to Amritapuri to spend their holidays with Amma. It is a time for the youngsters to reflect about life in a deeper way, contribute to Amma’s charitable work and socialize with other like-minded youngsters. This year, AYUDH decided to make an effort and follow Amma’s advice to work on the preservation of Nature. The first initiative was to start a vegetable garden.

Twice a week aound 30 youngsters have been going to the ashram’s “Vrindavan” garden near the Ayurveda school to prepare vegetable beds, mix compost into the soil, plant medicinal trees and learn about organic gardening.

Along with the garden in Amritapuri, AYUDH has started cultivating food in Amma’s Centers in California, Michigan, Germany and France. Even youth who live in cities have made an effort to grow vegetables, in whatever space they have available. The AYUDH group in Austria for example has turned one of their members’ balcony into a field of pots, with tomatoes, zucchini and pepper sprouting up everywhere.


“GrowIn’ – One Seed at a Time” is the project title which the youth have given to their common effort to grow healthy, organic food, thus reducing pollution and becoming more independent from the international food market. Another objective of the project is to reconnect to Nature as the life giving principle. Even though all the youngsters have consumed countless of tomatoes in their lives – very few have ever experienced how much effort and time it takes to grow a tomato plant. People are used to getting their food from supermarket shelves – not from the soil. GrowIn’ wants to re-introduce the younger generation to the joy of gardening.

Finally, in a few weeks, the youth hope to harvest the tomatoes, corn, cucumber, beans, ladies finger, spinach and many more delicious, organic, vegetables at the “Vrindavan” Garden, offering the fruits of their efforts – literally – to Amma.

“Many of the plants die after they have shed their seeds. They sacrifice their own life in order to give birth to many more plants, thus sustaining the circle of life,” explained Lola, an ashram resident who has been working in the “Vrindavan” garden for two years, cultivating over 7,000 Tulasi plants and many fruit trees.

When they will go back to their home countries they will take with them not just the memory of spending beautiful days with Amma but also new knowledge to live a more sustainable and environmental friendly life.

– Das