Bringing Ammas message to South America

March 2010- South America

On March 4th Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri arrived in South America to begin a three nation tour.  Swami’s tour began in Caracas, Venezuela at the northern extreme of the continent.  The programs there were held in the UNESCO headquarters in Caracas, the ‘Monumento de la Paz’ or ‘Monument of Peace,’ a very unique building, designed to be a visual symbol of tolerance and peace. The first program was well attended with more than 300 people packing the colonnaded main auditorium.  The program ended with a very enthusiastic question and answer session in which people continuously expressed their gratitude for having learned more about Amma and her teachings and also their desire to bring Amma to their country.  The following day, more than 150 people participated in an IAM technique class.
From Venezuela Swami traveled south to Lima, Peru, where two days of programs were held in a beautiful hall overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  More than 1000 people attended the lively programs over both days.  On his last day in Peru, Swami was invited to address a meeting of business executives at the ‘Club de Empresariales’.  Swami shared how Amma’s teachings can help them not only become better managers, but how they can come to manage their own minds.

To conclude the tour, Swami flew over the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rainforest and the vast open pampas landing on the Atlantic coast of Brazil, visiting Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro and Araruama.
During the two days of programs in Sao Paolo, attendees brought donations for the victims of the ongoing flooding in the area. The local satsang group from Santa Catarina has been providing continuing relief service to the victims for the past year.  Swami led everyone in a special prayer for those affected by the floods.

The following day Swami held a program overlooking the famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.  It has been almost three years since Amma’s first and only visit to this city. During Swami’s question and answer session the main query all wanted answered was, “When is Amma coming back?”

The final program of Swami’s South America tour took place in the same location of Swami’s first visit to the continent 12 years back, at the Templo Amrita in Araruama, Brazil, about two hours outside of Rio.  In the peaceful countryside, Swami guided the attendees in a puja for peace and prosperity.

Since Amma’s visit in 2007, her children here in South America have been praying for Amma’s prompt return,to bless their continent once again.  Swami’s visit helped intensify those prayers .

– Das

A Vasanth in Vasanth Kunj

10 -11 March, Vasanth Kunj, New Delhi — Bharata Yatra 2010

The second half of Amma’s Delhi programs were held at the beautiful Ashram venue in Vasant Kunj. With the Bramasthanam Temple at the venue and the beautiful natural surroundings close by, the atmosphere itself seemed spiritually vibrant. The majestic birds of Lord Subrahmanian, peacocks, seemed to welcome all the guests and devotees by their unusual cry.

Since the very first day of the program, the local youth,  as part of AYUDH-Delhi, were very active, setting up stalls selling delicacies to help raise funds for Amma’s charitable projects. At night, the temperature would drop down to below 16 degrees, and many people could be seen wrapped up in shawls and sweaters and woolen caps.

The Bramasthanam temple was decorated with strings of yellow marigold and bouquets of white flowers. Homa and puja were conducted all around the auspicious timings and arati bells would chime in harmony. Amma’s two-day program consisted of both morning and evening programs of bhajans, Satsang, guided meditation. Of course, Amma also gave darshan to everyone who had came.

Many people participated in the special pujas conducted during the occasion. There were lines queuing even as the puja started and had to be accommodated at every corner of the Bramasthanam.

Many dignitaries visited Amma during these two days, including the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, various government officials. Vidya Balan, a film celebrity, also visited Amma during the program.

After darshan was finished, Amma renewed the festive mood by singing three bhajans, concluding with an exciting version of the Punjabi bhajan “Mata Rani.” As Amma’s hands went up, smiles grew bigger. And when Amma shouted “Mata Rani ki!” the crowd unanimously cheered in response “Jai.” When Amma walked back to her room at 5:30 a.m., many devotees who had tears in their eyes—a mixture of joy, of gratefulness and the pain of already missing Amma more than they had imagined possible.

-Tulasi

A colorful flowerful Holi

7 March, Jaipur– Bharata Yatra 2010

With Amma, celebration of colors is a daily event and every day is a holi. It is up to us to make the best of this daily celebration. That was exactly what happened at Jaipur. The house where Amma stayed  became a place for Holi  celebration. When Amma was starting out to Delhi from Jaipur, around 70 members of the family gathered around her. They requested to sing and play holi with her. Amma was asked to sit on a chair. There was singing already in the air, energized with the accompaniment of dolaks and manjeera (kaimani).

With the full spirit of celebration, the girls around Amma started dancing to the tunes of ‘radhe radhe radhe’. The mother of the house, a very elderly lady, joined the festivities to the thrill of everyone around by coming to the forefront, dancing in front of Amma and then holding Amma’s hands as she danced to the tune.

As the girls danced and swirled around, Amma asked for manjeera and started playing it, leading the festivities.  As the tempo increased, devotees  started showering colorful flowers on Amma, coloring the area yellow, rose, dark yellow. Amma was enjoying every minute of it as the cheer grew louder. The cheer became shouts of “holi, holi, holi”.  The owner of the house and his daughter started dancing, holding Amma’s hands, reminding us all of the beautiful play between Lord Krishna and the gopis.

As the event calmed down, more flowers showered on Amma and added colorful beauty. This very family had celebrated Holi with Amma some years ago. But this year, the day with Amma became their Holi.

–Kannadi

AYUDH Minnesota serves poor

14 March 2010

On Sunday, March 14th 2010, AYUDH Minnesota members gathered at the RMHC for the fifth service activity. We prepared a full course Indian meal and served it to 100 of the House’s inmates. The RMHC houses poor people from various countries who come to the USA for surgeries, treatment of disabilities, etc. They are provided with three meals a day and comfortable shelter and financial support for treatments, during their stay.

 

Amma to start an orphanage in Haiti

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Br. Dayamrita with orphanage children of Haiti

9 March 2010, San Ramon, USA
Amma is starting an orphanage in Haiti in order to care of children who lost their relatives in the earthquake of 12 January 2010.
A four-story house rented in Laboulle, a suburb in the hills outside of Port-au-Prince, which is in the process  of being converted into an orphanage. The orphanage will initially assume care for 25 orphaned children.

Reports say that after the earthquake Haiti is now home to nearly one-million orphaned children.

Other Haiti relief-and-rehabilitation work includes the shipment of a container of medical supplies, which was sent two weeks following the disaster.  The supplies included assorted medications, surgical equipment, feeding and drainage tubes, assorted wound-care supplies, diagnostic supplies,     syringes, needles, sheets and blankets, drapes, tents, sleeping bags, face masks, obstetric and infant-care supplies, wheelchairs, crutches, braces, splints, protein powders, saline solution and disinfectants.

orphanage-haiti

Br. Dayamrita with orphanage children of Haiti

Orphanage in Haiti will be its third such institution; the others being Amrita Niketan in Kerala, India (1989) and Amrita Watoto Boma in Nairobi(2009).

The new orphanage in Haiti is being developed specifically through the Mata Amritanandamayi Center’s Health Care Charities, Inc., and the Amma Foundation of Canada.

— Das

Grace of a traffic jam

This incident happened during Amma’s visit to Mumbai this year on the Bharata Yatra 2010.

It was the first day in Mumbai, Amma was on her way to the public program in Sivaji Park. There were few vehicles following Amma’s car. Very close to the venue, vehicles got held up in a traffic jam.  Amma stepped out of the car and got in to the camper which was right next to the car. Just then, a middle aged lady standing on the pavement of the road holding the hand of a twelve year old girl, came rushing towards the camper. A devotee escorting Amma’s vehicles stepped out and requested the lady to move back to the pavement. The lady walked back very dejected.

The traffic jam cleared momentarily and the vehicles moved ahead of the junction on to the opposite lane for another stop. Now, Amma stepped out of the camper and again got in to the car, got caught in very slow moving traffic.

This lady now walked across the junction and tried to approach Amma’s car from behind. The same devotee again rushed out to stop her before she got to the car. He stopped her out of sight of Amma and tried to console her saying she could get darshan in a few hours if she came to the program venue.  Suddenly, Amma lowered the window glass of the car and motioned to the devotee. He ran to the window and then turned around and called the lady saying Amma is asking for her.

Amma stopped the car,  gave the lady and her daughter a long hug, kisses and prasad through the car window. The lady came back, tears streaming down her cheeks.

She thanked the devotee and said, “I have never met Amma before. It was just today that I happened to see a road-side banner announcing Amma’s visit to Mumbai and I realized she is a spiritual master. When I saw Amma step out of the car, I recognized her as the same person I saw in the picture on the banner.

The truth is that I just stepped out for a walk out of the hospital, where my husband is lying in bed in comatose, and my young son is admitted in the intensive care unit awaiting a kidney transplant. I was in deep distress. I didn’t know what to do. When I saw Amma step out of that car, I just broke down weeping, I know not why”.

But Mother knows … right?

–Kannadi

Sw.Ramakrishnanda’s visit to Indonesia

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26-28 February 2010, Indonesia

Swami Ramakrishnananda visited Indonesia for the second time and Jakarta for the first time and held four programs in just three days in late February. The programs were amongst a series of talks on “Success and Spirituality”, which delved into the problem of why worldly success does not necessarily lead to true success, contentment and happiness. The talks also set out to redefine the concept of success in the tradition of Great Masters from various religious traditions around the world.

The first program held at the Mangala Vinayak or Ganesh Temple in Cikini, Jakarta was on the topic of “How Masters See the World”. After the talk a lively Q-and-A session was held and bhajans sang.

The second talk on “Developing wisdom to handle day to day problems” was held at the Bikram Yoga Studio and gave the audience practical tips and practices for living life successfully day to day.

Last program was held at the Hotel Intercontinental Mid-Plaza on the topic of “Achieving true success”.

A traditional Indian dance was performed that brought extra color to the program.

Swamiji was invited to be a special guest speaker at a large Saraswati Puja at the main Hindu Temple Complex in Jakarta, Pura Aditya Rawa Mangun. Here he addressed hundreds of Indonesian Hindu youth on the topic of Saraswati and the importance living by the principles of Sanatana Dharma. Indonesia’s Hindus who are a minority, number over 10 million in population. These Balinese Hindus were thrilled to have  Swamiji as a special guest from India.

-Tulasi

Empower Women through Self Confidence

8 March , Mayur Vihar, New Delhi — Bharata Yatra 2010

Amma started her programs in Delhi in one of the capitol’s new suburbs on the west bank of the holy Yamuna River, not far from where Lord Krishna used to dance with the Gopis.  The entry to the venue was a temporary Rajasthani monument.  The stage had six massive pillars.  The crowd did everything possible to catch a glimpse of Amma as she walked to the stage.  She sat in front of an arch decorated with flowers with thousands of crystals giving off a red hue.

Amma was welcomed by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Smt. Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Guest during the function.

After a prayer that was sung by some of the Vidyalayam students, she assisted Amma to gave away 100 Vidyamritam Scholarships to poor students. As the girls received Amma’s blessing, the Chief Minister made it an effort to humbly bend down to Amma’s feet with each of the envelopes that contained a scholarship. “These girls are really blessed with these grants and I wanted to do an extra prayer for each one, hoping that it would bring an even greater blessing to all of them,” said Sheila Dikshit.

Amma commemorated Women’s Day in her address: “Even if women are socially and financially empowered, for their full potential to be realized, it is very important that they believe in themselves. It will be difficult for a dancer to dance on a stage that is continuously shaking. In a similar way, for women to achieve true success, the foundation should be self-confidence.”

The Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri Shashi Tharoor gave away 50 “AmritaNidhi” Pension Schemes for women.  “It is a great honor to be in the presence of the Mother and to greet you all on (International) Women’s Day.” He stressed the importance of educating women as one of the most important ways to uplift society. ‘When you educate a boy, you educate a person and that is good, but when you educate a girl, you educate a family and you transform a community. That is why it is so precious that under Mata Amritanandamayi’s blessings so many scholarships, bursaries and awards are given to girls today. These girls will have a much greater future now because of the education they will get. Let us celebrate this special day, let us never forget the benevolence, the kindness and the love that Amma fills us with by Her own presence.”

Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Smt. D. Purendeshwari, said there was no better way to celebrate this Women’s Day then to be in the presence of Amma. “If we look at her name: Mata Amritanandamayi, she who is filled with the nectar of eternal bliss, we can ask ,’How is she filled? It is because she is affectionate, she is giving and She is caring. So ultimately the happiness is in the giving. That is what we can all learn from. Amma is reaching out to the most marginalised sections, to people who are in need. The good work that Amma is doing is blessing our country. We here should all feel proud that we belong to a country we call Bharat, in whose soil sages and saints have taken birth, all who have spread one message: Love all. As long as we have people like Amma, we don’t need to worry much about our country.’ The minister then honored the women by giving away “Amritashree” to 5 women Self Help Groups.

The other Guests during the functions were Sri Amrish Singh Gautam, MLA and Deputy Speaker of Delhi Assembly, Shri Dineshchandra, Mahamantri of International Council – Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

Amma personally blessed thousands of people from all walks of life, during the night-long programme.

— Kannadi

Never-ending river of love flows in Jaipur

Jaipur, March 6th, 2010

Amma was welcomed with a colorful celebration at her public program in Jaipur. Buses full of devotees from nearby towns arrived in the pink city to participate in Amma’s satsang, bhajan, dhyan and darshan.

The backdrop of the stage showed a beautiful collage of Rajasthani impressions: Camels, women in folklore costumes, scenes of dance, traditional artwork and of course – Amma’s smiling picture.

Several dignitaries shared the dias with Amma: Honorable Smt. Prabha Rao, governor of Rajasthan, Sri Mahesh Joshi, member of parliament Jaipur, Sri. Brij Kishore Sharma, Transport Minister, Rajasthan, Sri. Jitendra Singh, Energy Minister, Rajasthan, Sri. Ghanshyam Tiwari, Deputy Leader of the opposition party, Rajasthan Vidhana Sabha and Smt. Jyoti Khandelwal, Mayor of Jaipur.

As part of MAM’s Vidyamritam project, 50 scholarships were given away to poor children.

Mayor Smt. Jyoti Khandelwal greeted Amma with the words: “I pray to Amma that her never-ending river of love flows in Jaipur, that it may flood everyone with immense delight and joy. May we be able to imbibe a part of the love that she shows to the poor and needy and spread it to others as well. Jaipur has always been known as ‘chotta-Kashi’ (little Kashi). God has always expressed his presence here through people like Amma, who is amongst us now.”

Energy Minister of Rajasthan, Sri Jitendra Singh, added: “May the nectarous voice of Amma bring rain to this desert of Rajasthan and peace to our heart.”

The Governor of Rajasthan, Prabha Rao, addressed the audience by saying: “We, the people of Bharat (India), are blessed to have been associated with so many saints and mahatmas over the ages. I have had the privilege of meeting Amma once before in Washim, and from seeing the service she has rendered there, I have realized that great souls like her are rare and few. Only through them can the whole world experience true peace and harmony.”

— Dev

Amma in Amdavad

3 March, Education Society Ground, Drive-in-Road, Amdavad, Gujarat — Bharata Yatra 2010
The crowd that comes to see Amma in the Gujarat capital wears some of the most colorful fabrics on this Bharata Yatra. Big white turbans and brightly painted dresses show a proud people — the tradition of India’s many cultures is evident. Amma arrived just after sunset. The car drove to the lotus shaped mandapam where the devotees were ready to garland Her and to perform the pada puja to welcome Amma.

The backdrop on the stage captured elements of the Amritapuri temple giving the simple message that Amma’s temple is everywhere and that it is up to us to build our own Amritapuri wherever we are.

The mayor of Amdavad, Mr Kanaji Thakore, welcomed Amma to Amdavad recalling the vast relief effort and rehabilitation in the Bhuj area in this state after the devastating earthquake of 2001.

The benefactors of the three villages that Amma rebuilt also came to the program. The men wore traditional white pants and turbans, and the women wore black dresses with colorful patchwork, displaying their traditional outlook on life. These proud people have come to see Amma in Amdavad ever since they met her during the relief operation. For them she is their savior, the amazing Hindu who built them new houses and a mosques after they had been destroyed.

Amma distributed scholarships to 100 poor students of the city. Together with Kanaji Thakore, senior IAS officers from the state government including K Kailashnathan, RM Patel, and Anuradha Mall were present at the function. Three Gujarati books based on Amma’s address were released at the function.

The Amrita Vidyalayam school that opened here in 2002 has grown fast and is now hosting 1500 children and students in 11 standards. They come from all kind of backgrounds and classes. The children performed traditional and modern dances during the program representing the great culture of India, starting off with a young boy doing a classical Bharata Natyam dance representing Lord Krishna. Next a group danced on Amma’s desire “Everyone in the world should sleep without fear…” Rajastani traditional dance followed by Punjabi Bhangara dance, Goanese carnival, and Kalbelia tribal dance showed off the talents of the children in colorful performances.

As the night wore on and morning came, Amma kept giving her loving darshan to all who came. At the end of the program the teachers and the devotees started singing and dancing on the stage in ‘Garbha’ – the traditional Gujarati style of dance. It was daylight and almost seven in the morning when Amma took the microphone and started singing ‘Meeti Madhuree’, an enchanting song about Krishna. The devotees clapped and danced while Amma sang.

– Dev