57th Birthday celebrations of Amma

Amma’s birthday celebration began at five in the morning with Mahaganapati Homam performed by Surya Kaladi Jayasuryan Bhattatiripad. This was followed by the chanting of the Lalita Sahasranama for world peace. Tens of thousands of devotees participated in the archana. The birthday celebration was officially inaugurated at 7:30 a.m. with the lighting of a lamp by Swami Turiyamritananda Puri. Swami Amritaswarupananda then delivered a discourse on Amma’s life and teachings.

At 9:00 a.m., Amma was welcomed onto the stage by mohini-attam dancers, students of Amrita School of Medicine. A massive crowd was in attendance, filling the hall constructed on the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham grounds and spilling out throughout the campus.

Led by Swami Amritaswarupananda, Amma’s pada puja was performed to the chanting of Guru Gita and then Amma’s 108 names. Amma’s senior disciples then garlanded Amma.

Amma then delivered her birthday address, which was translated by Swamiji into English.

Upon the conclusion of the address, Swami Amritaswarupananda then warmly welcomed the distinguished guests. Welcoming the guest on the dais Swamiji said, “The eyes of the world are on Amma today, and what does Amma do? She redirects our gaze to the poor and needy, to the suffering and downtrodden, to the sick and hopeless. She redirects our gaze to the widows, the handicapped, and the impoverished. In fact this is part of Amma’s birthday message. It is a teaching: Birth—true birth—takes place only when we place others before ourselves. This is Amma’s message: Take the whole world into your heart and become free.”


Dr. N.P. Unni, former Vice-Chancellor of the Sri Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, Kerala, was bestowed with the 2010 Amrita Keerti Puraskar. Sriprakash Jaiswal, Union Minister of State for Coal, Statistics & Programme Implementation presented Dr. Unni with the award. In his acceptance speech Dr. Unni said, “I am vowing that my life will be dedicated to spiritual progress and for that I seek Amma’s guidance.”

Several new projects and initiatives were then launched by the ashram.

AmritaSREE Suraksha is a group venture between AmritaSREE of MAM and the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Union minister Gurudas Kamat handed out the cheque on behalf of MAM to LIC Div. Manager Doraisamy who then handed over the policy to Ranganathan, the coordinator of AmritaSREE. Through this program MAM will organize the provision of life and accident insurance policies to all AmritaSREE self-help-group members and their families—a total of 100,000 families.

The Amrita Nidhi welfare pension scheme was expanded and Union Minister K.V. Thomas and Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy distributed checks to the new beneficiaries. MAM also increased the pension stipend for all beneficiaries.

500 new students were enrolled into the Vidyamritam scholarship program and their initial awards were distributed by C. Divakaran, Kerala State Minister, and G. Babuprasad, MLA Haripad.

A Malayalam version of Amma’s biography written by American journalist Judith Cornell, Amma: Healing the Heart of the World, which is being published by Mathrubhumi Books was released by Mar Geevargese Koorlose Thirumeni of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church.

A new publishing house, Amrita Books was launched, aiming to bring books about Amma’s life and teachings to bookstores throughout India. The first two titles released were Amma’s biography, and ‘From Amma’s Heart’, a collection of Amma’s conversations with devotees, both written by Swami Amritaswarupananda, The books will be available through Higgin Bothams bookstores.

A recent cyclone took the lives of four local fishermen from the Alappad Panchayat. MAM enrolled the families of these four fishermen with pensions of Rs. 1,000 a month. The pension stipends were presented to family members by SNDP Yogam President Vellapally Netashan.

Swami Prakashananda, the President of Sivagiri Math, then presented the first copy of the Matruvani Birthday Supplement to Swami Prananvananda Teerthapada, the President of Panmana Ashram.

It was a historic day for Amma’s website, with the official launch of the Ashram’s website in nine Indian languages: Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Marati, Kannada, Telugu, Punjabi, Bengali and Sanskrit. The new website — www.amrita.in — will ensure that Indians throughout the world can learn about Amma and her teachings in the their mother tongue. The sites were officially launched by Bishop Mar Crisostem Metropolitan of the Marthoma Church.

Students of Amrita University, Amrita Vidyalayam and members of AYUDH took an oath promising to help keep India clean and protect the environment. The local youth pledged to avoid intoxicants like drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Both pledges were lead by Swami Amritaswarupananda.

The distinguished guests then spoke a few words offering their tributes to Amma.

Amma conducted the marriage of 54 impoverished couples in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony, with MAM assuming all expenses.

As the darshan began, prizes were awarded for the Matruvani Pracharaks who gathered the most subscriptions throughout the year. All the devotees in attendance where then offered Anna danam (free food). As of 3 a.m. in the morning, Amma is still continuing Darshan.

Globalization fails to connect our hearts and minds

27 Sep 2010, Amritapuri

Delivering her 57th Birthday Address, Amma spoke about how despite the connectivity created via globalization, the world is still suffering. “Where have we gone wrong?” Amma asked those assembled. “By connecting the external aspects, the entire world is being reduced to a small village. However we’ve failed to pay enough attention to uniting the inner aspects, to connecting all of our hearts and minds.” Amma also spoke on the importance of cultivating respect for Mother Nature, the perils of alcohol and drug abuse, the need for abidance in dharma, the role of meditation and many other topics.

At the conclusion of her address, Amma spoke about India’s problem with pollution and litter. She said, “India is an atomic power. India is scientifically and economically advancing. Many reports say India is poised to be the third largest power in the world by 2025. But in terms of cleanliness, we still are in diapers.” Amma then announced that MAM is ready to take responsibility for construction of toilets in government schools and public areas. Amma said that with the support of the state governments {news}, MAM would start this project in Kerala and then move on to other states throughout the country.

Amma said she wanted devotees to form committees to take responsibility for cleaning their locality, approximately one committee for every two kilometres. “A chain of such committees could really bring about a massive transformation,” she said. “These committees should ensure their localities have trashcans in various places as well as signs telling people not to throw trash on the roadside or to spit. The waste should be collected regularly and properly disposed of.” Amma also said she would like to provide one million reusable handkerchiefs to school children, requesting them to use these for spitting. She said that in this way many diseases could be prevented from spreading.” All with thunderous applause welcomed Amma’s speech.

A beautiful birthday eve

26 Sep 2010, Amritapuri
Hundreds and thousands of devotees congregated at Amritapuri ashram on the eve of Amma’s birthday. Amma gave darshan at the ashram hall which was fully decorated with lights of love. Amma also led a soul-stirring Bhajan session.

The highlight of the the day’s celebrations was the starting of the cultural programs in the evening which had the audience in raptures. Popular playback singers Biju Narayanan and Manjari enthralled the audience with devotional songs. This was a followed by a visual treat with dance performances from various campuses of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. The dances were a mix of classical and fusion art forms.

– Tulasi

Dr. N.P. Unni to receive Amrita Keerti

23 Sep 2010, Amriapuri

On 27th September, the birthday of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Dr. N.P. Unni will be awarded the Amrita Keerti Puraskar for his vast and important contributions to the cultural, spiritual and philosophical literature of India. The award comprises a cash prize of Rs. 123,456, an idol of Saraswati Devi crafted by the artist Nambootiri and a Certificate of Commendation from the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM).

MAM first began presenting the Amrita Keerti Puraskar in 2001.

Dr. N.P. Unni, former Vice-Chancellor of the Sri Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, Kerala (1996 – 2000), has made vast and important contributions to the cultural, spiritual and philosophical literature of India. He has further contributed to the preservation of India’s culture through his role as professor and lecturer in various governmental and non-governmental educational institutions, including Sri Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in Kalady and the University of Kerala, among others.

Dr. Unni is currently the author of 38 books in English, including critical analyses and commentaries of Sanskrit drama, scriptures and kshetra tantra vidya, as well as translations of classical Sanskrit literature and commentary. He has also translated numerous upanishads and puranas into Malayalam. He has contributed more than 150 papers to Indological journals, etc., and as served as a PhD advisor and mentor to dozens of Indian and foreign scholars.

MAM to take up cleaning of schools and public place

Amritapuri, September 22nd, 2010

amma cleaningAmma (Mata Amritanandamayi Devi) said that the Mata Amritanandamayi Math is ready to take up the responsibility of cleaning schools and public places all over India if it has the support and co-operation of state governments and other organizations. “It is said that India is growing, that it is developing. However, in matters of environmental cleanliness and hygiene, we are lagging behind a lot. The lack of cleanliness in our roads and public bathrooms and toilets is proof of this,” said Amma.

Western countries maintain high standards of cleanliness on roads, in public places as well as in public bathrooms and toilets. In contrast, the standard of cleanliness in roads and public toilets in India is appalling. It has become a habit for people to urinate by roadsides and to spit on public roads and pavements. Even if there are waste bins present, they are not in the habit of disposing litter and food waste in these bins; they discard them by the side of the road or even in the middle of the road. Environmental cleanliness and hygiene are a part of development and cultural refinement. For this to happen, we need to plan widespread awareness campaigns. We should mount enough signboards on environmental cleanliness in public places, bus stands and roadsides.

Amma also stressed that the sincere support and co-operation of the television and print media are vital for the success of this mission. She said that the MAM is ready to construct public toilets in schools and public places if state governments, school management committees and local people collaborate.

This project will be implemented through proper blueprints, planning and the co-operation of students and the general public.

This project will be initiated in Kerala. Thereafter, it will be implemented gradually in other states of India.

— Kannadi

Amritapuri is gearing up for Ammas 57th Birthday

Amritapuri is gearing up for the 57th Birthday Celebrations of Her Holiness Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.

The Birthday celebrations will be held at the premises of the Amritapuri campus of the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. The celebrations will start at 5.00 a.m. on September 27th, with a Lalita Sahasranam Archana.

The highlights of the morning program are as follows:

  • Pada Puja by Amma’s sannyasi disciples.
  • Amma’s Birthday Discourse.
  • Awarding of the Amrita Keerti Puraskar to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Vedic learning, Vedic literature.
  • Inauguration of new Insurance Protection Scheme for Amrita Self-Help Groups.
  • Pensions to new ‘Amrita Nidhi’ beneficiaries.
  • Distribution of ‘Vidyamritam’ Scholarships to students.
  • Distribution of clothes to 25,000 women from impoverished families.
  • Mass Marriage Ceremony. The Math will also be giving the couples wedding clothes, ornaments and financial aid.
  • Release of books and special commemorative Matruvani publication.
  • Inauguration of the Ashram’s website in nine Indian languages, (Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Bengali & Sanskrit).

Gita and Games

A five day workshop titled ‘Gita and Games’ was conduted at Amritapuri in the second week of September.

The workshop aimed at learning the spiritual teachings of the Bhagavad Gita through self-reflective games, discussions, and lectures.

Participants engaged in dialogues about the theory and practical aspects of the Gita, and how to apply the teachings to their family, work, relationships, and spiritual practices. They also discussed how Amma’s teachings relate to the message of Sri Krishna in the Gita.

Over 30 students from all walks of life discussed and shared their experiences and study of spirituality with the group, bringing a synergy of viewpoints and energy.

– Tulasi

Amrita clinic in Sivakasi

29 Aug 2010, Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu
Amrita Clinic, a free medical dispensary was started functioning at the Anbu Illam premises in Sivakasi. Sri KKSR Ramachandran, Minister of Tamil Nadu, inaugurated the clinic in the presence of Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri. A lot of local villagers will be benefited from clinic.

Vrindavan and Krishna: Celebrating Janmashtami at Amritapuri

1 Aug 2010, Amritapuri

This year’s Janmashtami was quintessential Amritapuri, alive with love, light and song. From early in the morning, bhajans could be heard throughout the ashram grounds. There were several processions with many of the youngest of the ashram residents dressed up as little Krishnas and Radhas, with special costumes and peacock feathers.

At 4:00 p.m. Amma came and sat amidst all the ashram residents to watch the uriyadi–the traditional pot-breaking game. Before it begun, a small skit presenting the Life of Lord Krishna was enacted by the university students. In uriyadi, children jump to try and hit and break clay pots as water is splashed in their faces. When someone succeed, Amma and everyone else would cheer.

At the end of the games, Amma sang a few bhajans, calling out to Krishna. The ashram turned into a Vrindavan, with Amma enchanting all the gopis and gopas with her song. Longing looks in faces wanting to see a glimpse of that joy-giving Amma, rows of bramhacharis swaying to the music, little cheerful toddlers, students and parents enthralled–it was a beautiful session. Amma later led the main bhajans in the big hall, extolling the presence of the divine and enlivening the Life of Lord Krishna through her love-filled songs.

Around 11:30 p.m., Amma returned to the stage to renew the celebrations once again. There was a reading of the Bhagavtam and a puja, which culminated exactly at midnight, the moment of Krisna’s birth. Amma then gave a satsang reminding us that life itself should be a celebration{news}.

The most heart-rending part of Sri Krishna Janmashtami was Amma’s soulful bhajans, especially “Radhe Govinda Gopi Gopala.” Krishna Janmashtami with Amma was truly special, reminding everyone that Amritapuri is a modern-day Vrindavan, a place where every song is heard and every soul shines as one.

– Tulasi

Amma watching Uriyadi

click to enlarge

Make your heart a Vrindavan

Sri Krishna Jayanti is the day when the consciousness that pervades the universe incarnated as Lord Krishna, the embodiment of beauty that had the power to attract all beings in creation. Perhaps Sri Krishna’s personality is the greatest that humankind has ever seen. His life and teachings were significant back then, are significant now and will remain so forever. Regardless of time or place, Sri Krishna’s life and teachings will always set an example for everyone, regardless of who they are or their culture. Even after a thousand years, nothing can take away from the glory and importance of Sri Krishna. In every sense of the word, Sri Krishna is a vishva-vidyalayam—an international university, as it were… a universal abode of knowledge. Sri Krishna shows us the way to completely accept the world, our allotted role in life and the various situations that arise. That is the reason why everyone takes so much inspiration from his life.

Moksha—eternal liberation from sorrow—is not something attained after death in some other world. It is something to be understood and experienced while living here in this world. Sri Krishna taught this principle through the example of his life.

Discontentment is the real poverty; contentment the real prosperity. This is one of the important teachings Lord Krishna taught to humankind. From the moment of his birth, till the time he ascended to heaven, his life saw one trial after another. However this had no effect on his happiness or contentment in anyway. The ever-smiling face of Sri Krishna was the indicator of his inner experience of perfect contentment.
An ordinary actor confines his performance to a small stage. But for Sri Krishna, the entire world was a stage. The various characters he played, with their various costumes, kept changing, but Sri Krishna excelled nonetheless, abiding firm in the awareness that “None of these roles are my true nature. I am the supreme consciousness.” In this way, he made his own life, as well as the lives of those around him, a celebration.

(Excerpts from Amma’s Sri Krishna Jayanthi message 2010, Amritapuri)