Like a tree in the sun

26 April, Palakkad, Kerala — Bharata Yatra 2010

Amma’s third program of this month’s yatra was in Palakkad. The devotees were thrilled to see Amma, this being the one day of the year that Amma gives darshan in their hometown. There was supposed to be two days of programs, but as there was an all-state strike, it was not possible to have a second day. As the devotees came in increasing numbers, so was the temperature, the heat scorching everyone at above 40 degrees C. However, everyone was willing to withstand the extreme weather in order to get a moment close with Amma, to unburden their sorrows to her. There is an old verse in Sanskrit, ‘giving shade to others, while standing themselves in the scorching sun, giving fruits to others, Mahatmas are like trees*.’ Amma personified this saying, offering herself to the thousands who came for relief from problems, or those who came out of spiritual curiosity.

Students from the Palakkad Amrita Vidyalayam performed a variety of cultural dances during the darshan. Amma gave satsang, bhajans, and led a meditation in both the morning and evening. At the end of the darshan, Amma sang three bhajans. As Amma was leaving, a strong downpour started, bringing a coolness to the scorched earth. It was just like how Amma showered her love and compassion in the hearts of the devotees.

— Kannadi

——

* छायाम् अन्यस्य कुर्वन्ति स्वयम् तिष्टन्ति आतपे
फलान्यपि परार्थाय वृक्षाः इव सत्पुरुषाः॥

Be near Amma, be like Hanuman

19 April, Trissur, Kerala — Bharata yatra 2010

The day before the program in Trissur, Amma came to the roof of the Amrita Vidyalayam at around sunset. It wasn’t long before all the devotees and residents swarmed around Amma, like bees around a flower. After meditation, Amma asked the devotees to share a joke or experience related to spirituality.

One Western devotee said, ‘More than anything else, I want to be close to your physical presence. But even when you are physically away, I still enjoy the beauty of your presence. Your jokes and your smiles give me so much energy. Whatever you do, you do it so well. I am grateful to you.’

After this, one brahmacharin spoke, “Seeing you after so many days, my emotions have exploded. I don’t know what to say. Your physical presence is very important to me. I feel like a dead log of wood when you are away, nothing happens – no meditation, no work, no seva. I’m like a dead person. Your presence makes a big difference. I am sure that you know the heart of your children. It’s very difficult when you’re not around. When you are there, it’s wonderful. My spirituality has been just to sit at your feet, just looking at you, doing nothing. Looking at you and being with you is the best credit I have. I haven’t done anything to come to the ashram. I know that you will say to see Amma inside and feel the presence within. We are so foolish and not in a state to feel your presence inside. Amma knows this. I request you to make us worthy of feeling your presence all the time.’

‘Shower your grace upon all your children, so that we will feel your presence wherever you are. Unfortunately, I cannot always feel your presence. At times, it’s very difficult to be away from you, and I’m sure that everyone else feels the same way. Being in your presence is the greatest blessing.’

Amma: ‘Is it not enough that you stay with your birth mother?’ (doesn’t she give you love?)

Brahmacharin: ‘That is not even an iota of your love.’

Amma – ‘Are you here to realize this five foot body? Is it not to realize the Consciousness that pervades the entire universe?’

Br. – ‘Personally, I have no idea of spirituality. I just came here to be with you. I will live and die for you.’

‘The birth mother has a particular importance. But we know Amma is not the physical body. We are not loving you just for your body. It is because of your love and compassion. The birth mother doesn’t have selfless love; there is some expectation. But all these years, I have seen that no matter what I have to offer, you never expected anything from me. That is true love, which is God’s love. No mother can give love like that. You are not just a biological mother; you are much more than that. I don’t have words to say what I feel.’

Amma – ‘Isn’t Amma the mother of all these children? If you just look at this body, will you not get sorrowful? If you become so attached to Amma’s physical form, will that not bring sorrow to you?

Br.: ‘It’s OK.’ (everyone laughs)

Amma: ‘You won’t always have Amma’s presence, and so you’ll always be sorrowful.

Br. : ‘It’s not a problem.’

Amma: ‘If you find sweetness in that separation, then it’s OK. If you don’t get Amma according to your expectations, then you will have sorrow. Then you may go away from Amma. If you only depend on Amma externally, you may go away from Amma. You may not get me as you expect always. The sorrow will then turn into anger. Then you will become more distant from Amma, and your true Self. You will go away from your goal.’

‘If you are understanding the principle of the Guru, then the pain of separation from the Guru actually takes you to the Goal. If you are going forwards while understanding that Principle, then you won’t collapse.’

‘Take the pearl for example. It is said that a grain of sand enters into the oyster and makes it irritated. Out of that irritation, the body of the oyster reacts. It undergoes a lot of pain, but it is later transformed into a pearl. This is what people used to say.’

‘Separation is a pain, but that pain is converted into a pearl if it is with understanding of the Guru principle, then what you ultimately receive is Self Realization. But for many, the pain becomes anger, and then they find fault with Amma and the ashram. It can lead to that. If you don’t have a vision based on the Guru principle, then there’s a big chance to fall. You may even feel that Amma is partial. You may feel, ‘Amma doesn’t love me, she loves the other person more, she is partial, etc.’

Brahmacharin: ‘Please bless us so that we don’t have any such thoughts. I want to love all of your children. In fact, I can even give darshan. (everyone rolling with laughter) I don’t know whether Hanuman or the gopis had such thoughts.

Amma: ‘Yes, yes, they had these kinds of thoughts, but Hanuman’s attitude was different. The gopis and Hanuman also had this kind of feeling.’

Brahmacharin: ‘Then it’s OK, no problem.’ (everyone laughs)

Amma- ‘There is a story about Hanuman. Once, all of the devotees of Lord Rama became jealous of Hanuman, as Hanuman was always near Rama. They held a meeting and decided to write up all the services for Lord Rama. They then divided these jobs among themselves, purposely leaving out Hanuman. Finally, Hanuman came to know of this. He said, ‘there is one service that is not on the list, and I would like to do it.’

‘What is that?’ asked the devotees. ‘I would like to snap my fingers near Rama’s mouth when he yawns (to prevent him from locking his jaw).’ The other devotees felt this to be a very insignificant job, so they agreed.

After some days, they found that Hanuman was always near Rama. When asked why he was always near, he said, ‘We cannot know when exactly Rama may yawn. Therefore, I have to be near at all times; in the bedroom, in the bathroom, everywhere.’

So this story shows Hanuman’s attachment and love for the form of Lord Rama. But Hanuman also had an understanding of Rama’s true nature. He is quoted as saying in one verse, ‘When I consider myself as the body, I am your servant. When I consider myself as the individual soul, then I am a portion of you. When I consider myself as the Self (the supreme Consciousness), then I and You are one.*’

There is another story of Hanuman, that shows his resolute faith in his Lord, Rama. Once, Rama had resolved to punish a certain king. This king went to Hanuman for protection. Hanuman wasn’t aware of Rama’s intention, so he promised to protect the king against anyone.

Finally, Rama came to the king in order to punish him. As Hanuman was bound by his promise, he stood in front of the king, offering protection. When Hanuman refused to get out of the way, Rama became angered and took out his bow. He shot arrows at Hanuman.

However, Hanuman didn’t fight back. He closed his eyes, folded his palms together, and chanted Rama’s name with devotion. The arrows transformed into flowers and found their way to Rama’s feet.

Amma said about the story, ‘Mahatmas have come to enact a play so that the devotees can get a proper understanding. Rama was a Jnani, so he would’ve known the situation. To show an example to the world, Rama may have created the situation. Hanuman may have not known, but Rama knew. To show the people Hanuman’s devotion, Rama may have arranged such a situation. So-called devotees will complain, ‘if Rama is omniscient, why did he make such a promise?’ Such a devotee might even leave Rama, but Hanuman didn’t leave.’

‘In the case of Hanuman, he had this understanding. You should understand that. There are both aspects: serving Rama physically and having firm understanding internally. If you don’t have that kind of understanding… you will have sorrow, you will not be able to be a good example, and it will lead you to danger.’

— Sakshi

*The Sanskrit verse is;
‘dehabuddhya tu-dasoham, jivabuddhya tvad-amshakah,
atmabuddhya tvam evaham, iti me nishcita matih.’

देहबुद्ध्या तु दासोहम् जीवबुद्ध्या त्वदंशकः
आत्म बुद्ध्या त्वमेवाहम् इति मे निश्चिता मतिः

Wonderful celebration in Kochi

23 – 24 April, Kochi, Kerala — Bharata Yatra 2010

After Trissur, Amma gave two days of programs at the Brahmasthanam temple in Kochi.

Kochi is home to many of Amma’s institutions, including the AIMS super-specialty hospital and School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, School of Business,  School of Arts and Commerce, School of Visual Media & Mass Communication and the Amrita Vidyalayam. Many of the students and staff were eagerly awaiting Amma’s arrival the evening before. Actually, the month had been extremely hot, and as soon as Amma reached the premises, a small drizzle turned into a downpour. It was like a shower of grace for the devotees as they bunched together to get a glimpse of Amma as she walked to her room. As she looked down from the balcony on the devotees, they were singing and dancing in bliss, despite the downpour.

Before each program, the female students of  Amrita University chanted Vedic mantras as Amma approached the stage. All the students participated in various ways to help the devotees who came to see Amma. Some brought water during the programs, others served food, and others helped to collect and clean the plates during meals. The local devotees also helped out with a lot of enthusiasm. They formed lines for washing plates, singing bhajans and clapping as they worked. The devotion was very strongly felt in all the local devotees.

Amma gave both a morning and evening program on both days. In her satsang, Amma talked about ways to live a happy life. One of the points of the satsang was, ‘Happiness and love are not separate emotions. If one is absent, then the other will also be absent. If you are not happy, then you cannot be loving. We have to find the happiness within.’

As part of the evening program, numerous charity events took place. Youths representing a nearby village, Ezhikkara, gave a pledge in the presence of Amma.   They said that they understand the negative effects of alcohol and drug abuse and promised to not be deluded into the use of such intoxicants. They took an oath to make their village intoxicant-free within the next 5 years.
Scholarships to 200 students were distributed as part of the ashram’s ‘Vidyamritam’ free scholarship program. Pensions were also distributed to about 30 impoverished people from the area, as part of the ashram’s ‘Amrita Nidhi’ pension program. A High Court Justice and the Mayor of the city of Kochi helped to distribute the pensions and scholarships.
Many devotees participated in the evening Shani Puja, led by Amma. At the end of Darshan at about 6.45 am, Amma sang a Bengali bhajan – Kota tumi Jonani and rocked the stage. It was such a wonderful joyous moment and Amma was calling out ‘Maha Kali Ki Jai’.

-Kannadi

Amma in Trissur

20 -21 April, Trissur — Bharata Yatra 2010

In the two days of the annual Brahmasthanam festival in Trissur, thousands of devotees came to receive Amma’s embrace, hear her soothing words and soul-stirring bhajans, and partake in the group puja functions. As the sun above pounded down heat on everyone, Amma showered the coolness and sweetness of her presence in everyone’s heart.

Amma sang many old bhajans along with a few newer ones. Her satsang stressed values in society, the importance of dispassion, and warned of Kerala’s dependence on intoxicants.

Amma’s humanitarian efforts played a part in the programs. During the evening program the first night, scholarships were awarded to dozens of children. This was part of the ashram’s ‘Vidyamritam’, which seeks to relieve growing suicide rates in Kerala by providing free educational scholarships to the poor.

Working capital was also distributed to several members of the ‘Amrita self help’ group. This charity seeks to train and enable the women and poor villagers in a trade, by which they may become self-sufficient.

The children of Amrita Vidyalayam school displayed Trissur’s rich cultural heritage with dances, dramas, and speeches by young students.

– Kannadi

Amma in Singapore

15 – 17 April, Singapore

for Peace
Amma graced the people of Singapore with Her presence April 15-17, 2010.  At the first evening program, Mr. Terrence Lee, Secretary-General, Loyang Tua Pek Kong, welcomed Amma to Singapore at the Chinese Taosist Temple (Amma laid the first brick for this relocated Temple in 2006).

The launch of the partnership with the Singapore Red Cross was also launched by the President of the Singapore Red Cross, Mr. Tee Tua Ba, at the program. And Mr. Tee Tua Ba  launched the commemorative book of Amma’s late father, Mr. Sugunanandan Edamannel, titled “My Daughter, My Mother”.

On the second day morning program, Honorary Secretary of The Inter-Religious Organization of Singapore and the Representative of the Muslim faith, Mr. Ameerali, garlanded Amma. The different religion representatives presented a short prayer for World Peace in the presence of Amma. The faiths included Muslim, Christian, Taoist, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Jain, Bahai, Hindu and Sikh.

On the second day evening, Mrs. Kirtida Mekani, Executive Committee Member of the Garden City Fund under the auspices of Singapore National Parks Board (Governmental), came to accept the tree sapling (which will be planted on Earth Day, 22nd April) on the occasion of the donation of 50 tree saplings by the Amriteshwaryai Society.  Deserving students of three secondary schools  also received bursaries worth $150 Singapore Dollars each to help pay part of the fees of their National Exams.

USA Canada Yatra 2010 of Amma

Buffalo
May 25 State University of New York, Buffalo honoring Amma with an honorary doctorate in humane letters

(This is a ticketed event with a limited number of seats open to the general public.  These tickets (which are free of charge) will be available from the University at Buffalo website sometime after May 1 and will be mailed on a first-come first-served basis as seats are available)

Seattle

May 28 morning & evening – Public program

May 29 -31 – Retreat

San Ramon
Jun 3 -9 Public program
Jun 10-12 retreat

Los Angeles
Jun 14-15 public program
Jun 16-18 retreat

Albequerque
Jun 20 eve & 21 Public program
Jun 22-24 Retreat

Dallas
Jun 27 -28 – Public program

Chicago
Jun 30 – Jul 1,2 Public program

New York
Jul 4-6 Public program

Washington DC
Jul 9 -11 Public program

Boston
Jul 13 Public program
Jul 14-16 Retreat

Toronto, Canada
Jul 19 Public program
Jul 20 -22 retreat

Japan program will follow after this. Yet to announce the dates.

Amma in Sydney

12 – 13 April Sydney, Austalia

Over the last 2 weeks Amma has been travelling extensively throughout Australia conducting programs and puja’s for world peace and harmony in the cities of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.

In Sydney, Amma was welcomed by Amit Dasgupta The Consul General of India and Ms Lee Rhiannon – Greens Party MP in New South Wales Upper House of Parliament who addressed the crowd present.  “The spiritual strength and the beauty, the aid programs and the incredible hard work of Amma bring us all together in a beautiful show of unity, and strength. Amma intimately understands the connections between our shared environment and our social justice, Im privileged to present one of our awards, The Greens New South Wales proudly acknowledges Amma for her outstanding contributions to further humanitarian and environmental issues and on behalf of the Greens I would like you to join me in congratulating Amma for this award which I would like to now present to her. ”

Amma held two days program at Sydney Boys High School,  New South Wales, with Satsang, Bhajan, Darshan and a Devi Bhavadarshan.

Amma to visit Central Kerala

Bharata Yatra 2010

Amma to visit 4 cities in Central Kerala, will hold satsang, bhajan & darshan

April 20-21
Trissur Brhmasthanam Festival
M.A.M. Trissur, Amrita Nagar, Ayyanthole, Panchikkal
Trissur, Kerala, India
Phone: 0487-2362700

April 23-24
Kochi Brahmasthanam Festival

M.A.M. Ernakulam, Kunnumpuram (NH 17) Edappally North P.O,
Ernakulam, Kochi 682024 Kerala
Phone: 0484 2800682

April 26-27
Palakkad Brahmasthanam Festival

M.A.M. Palakkad, Amrita Nagar, Puthur
Palakkad 678001 Kerala
Phone: 0491-2535 011

May 8
Kottayam

Police parade ground
Kottayam