Help for the fire devastated in Manila slum

Manila, Philippines

On 16 January 2010, a slum in Manila was ignited in a massive fire, killing a five-year-old girl, gutting over 500 shanties and leaving 4,000 people homeless.

Br. Shantamrita and other volunteers accompanied Phillippines Senator Jamby Madrigal to Paco, Metro-Manila, to provide badly needed relief for over 1,000 families who had lost their homes in a wide-spread and devastating fire a few days earlier.  The impoverished families were now rendered homeless.  The volunteers from Amma’s organization in the Philippines distributed sacks of rice and food in the emergency shelter and at the site of the fire as well.

While the team made their way through the narrow alleys and pathways, the children shouted “Bro!” to Br. Shantamrita, identifying him with the character in a Filipino soap opera series where a young boy would call upon Jesus to enable him to miraculously heal, addressing Jesus as “Bro”.  Apparently, Br. Shantamrita’s appearance and kind demeanor made an impression and reminded Manila’s less fortunate that miracles begin with small acts of kindness.

While distributing the relief packets, Senator Madrigal expressed, “It is always gratifying to feel a part of this human family. With Amma as everyone’s mother, all people become our ‘sis’ and ‘bro’ “.

–Tulasi

MAM to build over 800 houses for Karnataka flood victims

21 Jan 2010

Mata Amritanandamayi Math, under its rehabilitation project, ready to construct over 800 houses for the flood affected in North Karnataka.

MAM has started construction in four villages of Raichur District where devastation took place due to unprecedented rain from September 29 to October 4, 2009.

The villages, where the housing project has been taken up, were Kurvakuda, Manikigaddi, Kurvakala and Agrahara, located on an island on the river Krishna.

MAM is building over 800 houses on the mainland for relocation and rehabilitation of the villagers from the island to the mainland.

You may recollect that MAM has been extensively involved the relief work when the floods affected Karnataka and Andra Pradesh and had announced a 50-Cr relief package for the victims of this area.

-Das

Sankaracharya of Kanchi meets Amma

19 January 2010 — Amritapuri

His Holines Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swami–the 69th Sankaracharya1 of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, located in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu–visited Amritapuri Ashram today. The Kanchi Acharya met with Amma privately for 45 minutes before addressing the Amritapuri Ashram residents in the Main Hall for another 45 minutes. Upon his arrival in Amritapuri, he was welcomed with purna kumbham by Amma’s senior disciples Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri, Swami Turiyamritananda Puri and Swami Amritatmananda Puri, as well as the brahmacharis. There was also panchavadyam and talapoli in accordance with Kerala traditions.

In their private meeting, the Kanchi Acharya and Amma discussed Advaita and its practical application in society and day-to-day life. Amma gave him a rudraksha mala, which he immediately put around his neck.

Sitting aside Amma and addressing the ashram residents, he said, “Kerala is a holy land. It was in this land that pious Adi Shankaracharya took birth. Likewise many mahatmas have incarnated in this land. Sri Narayana Guru and Chattambi Swamigal incarnated in this land of Kerala. In this Kali Yuga, Mata Amritanandamayi is amongst us…. She is graciously guiding her devotees in the path of bhajans, devotion and service.”

The Kanchi Acharya said that he had been waiting a long time to meet Amma. “For many years now, I have been eagerly waiting to visit this sacred place,” he said. “Today I got the chance.”

Addressing the ashram residents, the Kanchi Acharya said, “All of you are indeed blessed and virtuous.” He went on to stress the importance of devotion to God and selfless service to society, saying that they were essential aspects of the spiritual path, purifying the mind. “[God] resides in the hearts of all the beings and governs them,” he said. “Yet, his true nature remains a mystery to all beings. In order to realize his true nature we need the attitude of service. The sutra: manava seva madhava seva–Service to man is service to God–becomes very relevant at that point. Doing service in a temple is important. Along with that, we need to love our fellow beings and serve them without any anger, hatred or jealousy. Service doesn’t merely indicate distributing money or food. Considering others with the attitude of love by itself is a great service. As this love develops, most of the problems that our society and humanity faces will vanish and people can live in peace and happiness.”

Continuing, he said, “It is true that we need to serve the needy. The affluent sections don’t need our service, per se, but they love and care. If we develop noble virtues such as love, compassion, devotion towards God, our life becomes complete. And the people around us will benefit as well.”

The Kanchi Acharya briefly stressed the importance of maintaining symbolic customs such as the application of sandal paste, kumkum and vibhuti upon the forehead. He said that these markings help man remember God  during their application and help others remember God when they see them. “So, along with our inner devotion, we also need to apply vibhuti or sandal paste to our forehead,” he said. “If we look at Amma, we see she is never without this.”

The  Kanchi Acharya concluded by saying, “The Lord has incarnated many times, and he has come down in the form of many mahatmas. The Lord functions through them and serves society. Thus, God blesses us to evolve in our lives.”

When he finished his talk, Amma asked the ashram residents to sing the Adi Sankaracharya hymn “Mahishasura Mardini Stotram” and to chant “Purusha Suktam.”

Before leaving, he offered his full support to Amma and expressed his willingness to cooperate with the Mata Amritanandamayi Math in the future.

–Sakshi

———

1 The parampara [lineage] of the Kanchi Kamakoti Matham is traced back to Adi Sankaracharya, with the first ashram incharge being Suresvaracharya Swami, one of Adi Sankara’s direct disciples. It believed that Adi Sankaracharya spent his final years in Kanchipuram.

Amma sends relief to Haiti

haiti earthquake15 January 2010

In response to the deepening crisis in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, Amma announced a plan to provide relief there. In the United States, volunteers based at M.A. Center are already rushing to assemble boxes of clothing and medical goods—surgical supplies, first aid kits,  and ambulatory aids like canes and walkers—for immediate shipment to Haiti.

Simultaneously, Amma has directed Br. Dayamrita Chaitanya to travel to Haiti with a small team of medical advisors to assess conditions on the ground. Br. Dayamrita’s team will explore avenues to make a meaningful long-term contribution to the recovery effort. 

In Amritapuri, Amma led several thousand people in a prayer for the peace of the departed souls, for those who have suffered injuries and devastating material losses, and for the mental strength and peace of mind of those who have lost their loved ones.

Google Map of Haiti

MA Center in Washington DC inaugurated

December 29th, 2009 was an auspicious day in the suburbs of Potomac, Maryland as the doors to the new Ashram opened. The 12,000 square foot house sits on 7.5 scenic and peaceful acres with sprawling green lawns and grand old trees.

Ceremonies began at daybreak with a homa led by Bri. Rema Devi, followed by archana, satsang, bhajans lead by Br. Dayamrita Chaitanya.  Ashramites from MA Center of Californina  along with hundreds of devotees were present.  There was a powerful feeling of excitement, devotion and gratitude to Amma for this Ashram.

Amma first came to the Washington DC area in 1987, when only a very small number of people in the area knew about her.  Like bees to honey, the number of her devotees has grown exponentially.  Many of the devotees who first met Amma during her 1987 visit felt emotional and blissful seeing this physical manifestation of Amma’s blessings.

Satsang members from near and far celebrated this event with joy and reverence knowing how an Ashram will make a real difference in their lives– a place to gather and pray with unity and love and to serve the world.

-Das

Sw. Amritaswarupanda to visit Kuwait and Dubai

Swami Amritaswarupanda to visit Kuwait and Dubai for ten days. He will hold satsangs and bhajans and meditation classes during his visit to these countries.
Kuwait – Jan 12 – 16
12 Jan 6 -9 pm Balakendram Children Program @ Salmiya
14 Jan 6 – 9 pm Public program @ Salmiya
15 Jan 6 – 9 pm Public program @ Abu Halifa
16 Jan 6 – 9 pm Public program @ Abassiya

contact – P. Madhavan Kutty, Phone: (00965) 4806475, Fax : (00965) 4806475, Mobile: 00965 9540511 & 00965 6529617

Dubai – Jan 17 – 23

17  Jan 7.30 – 10 @ Astoria Hotel, Bur Dubai
18  Jan 7.30 – 10 @ Astoria Hotel, Bur Dubai
19 Jan 5.00 pm @ NMC Hall Abu Dhabi
20  Jan 7.30 – 10 @ Astoria Hotel, Bur Dubai
21  Jan 7.30 – 11 @Amrita Dhow, Yatra, Dubai
22  Jan 3.30 – 6.30 @ Sindhi Ceremonial Hall, Bur Dubai
23 Jan            Retreat

Contact: Jeyaram S., Phone: Office: +971 4333 8880, Home +971 42 868 388