Amma in Hyderabad

26 – 27 Jan, Hyderabad – Bharata Yatra 2013

Amma held a two days Brahmasthanam festival at her ashram in Hyderabad. Large crowds turned out each day for the weekend programs. During the programs, Vidyamritam scholarship was given to 1400 local youth and more than 100 Amrita Nidhi pensions to local women in need.

Amma’s words were translated into the local language of Telugu. To the delight of the locals, she also sang many bhajans and led them through the manasa puja in Telugu.

At the end of the last evening program Amma led all in singing and clapping each other. Then next day Amma and tour group continued on to Bengaluru and the next stop on the tour.

-Kannadi

Amma in Vishakhapatinam

23 Jan, Vishakahapatinam, Andra Pradesh – Bharata Yatra 2013

Amma held a program for the first time in Vishakh even though she has visited the place several times.

The program took place in the evening at the A.S. Raja College grounds. The ex Mayor of Vishakh, D V Subha Rao officially welcomed Amma by saying,  “Amma is the mother of universe, the very embodiment of love”.

Vidyamritam scholarships for the economically marginalized children were distributed to 100 beneficiaries as well 100 pensions as part of the Amrita Nidhi, scheme for poor and widowed women.

Ammas satsang was translated into Telugu, the local language by Br Srinivas. People were absorbed in Amma’s satsang, hearing Amma speak for the first time and showing their appreciation by clapping throughout.

Amma’s darshan lasted the whole night and finished near 9am the next morning.  As soon as darshan finished Amma and the tour group headed inland to Hyderabad for the next stop on the tour.

-Kannadi

Amma in Bhuvaneswar, Odisha

21 Jan, Bhuvaneswar, Odisha – Bharata Yatra 2013

After the final program in Kolkata, Amma travelled south down to East coast of India and held her first ever programs in the state of Odisha.  Amma and the tour group all stayed at the brand new Amrita Vidyalayam in Bhuvaneshwar, that will start holding classes in the coming months.  Upon arrival to the school Amma served prasad dinner to all the local devotees and the rest of the tour group.

The following evening Amma held a public program at the Janta Maidan.  Many senior Ministers of the State shared the dais with Amma and officially welcomed her to their state, including the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, The King of Puri Gajapati Dibya Singh.  Navin Patnaik addressed the crowd, welcoming Amma to the land of Jagannath by saying that Amma is an inspiration to all of us.  Additionally the Deputy Director of Indian Institute of Technology School of Electrical Sciences Prof Ganapati Panda, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra and Centurion University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Ardhendu Mauli Mohanty were also on the dais to welcome Amma.

The Chief Minister helped extend the Vidyamritam program by distributing scholarships to 100 local poor students and 100 widows were also given monthly pensions as part of the Amrita Nidhi program.

Upon starting Amma’s satsang the audience began cheering and it was translated into Odia.

Amma also sang many bhajans in Odia as well as leading people in Manasa Puja in Odia.

Once darshan started, there were several hours of spectacular cultural performances.  The first was a Badya Taranga, percussion performance, by guru Dhaneswar Swain & his troupe of artists. Then there was an incredible performance by a classical Odissi dance, Jatayu Moksha by Guru Ratikanta Mahapatra & Sujataa Mahapatra.  The next dance was a Nava Rasa by Guru Smt Aruna Mohanthy and the dancers of the Odisha Dance Academy. The final dances were both Gotipua dances (in which boys dance in girls costumes) by Guru Bijay Kumar Shaoo and the dancers of Naxatra Gurukul; and finally by Guru Birabara Sahoo the dancers of the Konarak Natya Mandap.

The darshan ended at 7 a.m the next morning and then Amma and the group started straight away for the next stop on the tour to Vishakahpatinam.

-Kannadi

amma cleaning

Cleaning Kolkata streets at night

20 Jan 2013, Kolkata, Bharata Yatra 2013

After sitting for almost 12 hours of continuous darshan during the last day of programs in Calcutta {news}, Amma still wanted to do more for her children.

During the darshan, at about 6:00pm, she announced that the road had to be cleaned and in this way the ABC would be launched in Calcutta. She sent brahmacharis to inspect the area that was to be cleaned and procure the necessary equipment for the cleaning operation.

So immediately after darshan at 11 pm, getting up from the stage Amma walked down the long driveway out to Budge Budge Trunk Road, the busy street that passes in front of the ashram. Along with 800 odd devotees, Amma then spent the next three hours cleaning 3km of the road outside the ashram. Amma herself donned gloves and a mask and got right into the filth that had accumulated over the years along the roadside. The devotees fanned out along the roadside picking up garbage of all shapes, sizes and smells and bagged it all up for collection. After raking, shoveling and scraping up the trash from the pavement for three hours, Amma then walked the entire 3km stretch of the road to observe all the devotees hard at work and show her appreciation for their efforts. On her way back to the ashram a large lorry arrived to collect all the bags of trash that had been collected.

Throughout the night, many local residents were roused from their slumber by the laughter and joy with which complete strangers from all over the world were cleaning their neighborhood. Many opened their doors and came out with stunned looks on their faces see what this strange celebration was that was taking place outside in the cold night. The stunned police who came to escort Amma was also helpful in directing the busy traffic on the road. The next morning when Amma and the tour group left for Odisha and the next stop on the tour, the road was completely spotless.

Since its launch, the Amala Bharatam project has held large clean up drives all over India. Several State governments across India have pledged their support for the Campaign and have sponsored clean up drivers in their states.{read more on ABC}

– Kannadi

Amma in Kolkata

18 – 19 Jan, Kolkata Brahmastanam Festival – Bharata Yatra 2013

After traveling for three days from Delhi over a distance of more than 1500km, Amma finally arrived in Kolkata. Upon arriving in the ashram there, Amma served prasad dinner to all the local volunteers and the tour group. Amma sat and sang bhajans and shared jokes with everyone.

Sri. Partha Chatterjee, the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Govt. of West Bengal officially welcomed Amma to Kolkata during the first evening program. He also helped extend the Vidyamritam and Amrita Nidhi programs by distributing 100 scholarships and 100 monthly pensions to local students and women in need.

A-View for West Bengal schools was launched by Sekhar Chowdhury, Director of IIM Kolkata, and Professor Arunashish Acharya of Jadhavpur University.

Amma delighted all the local devotees by singing many bhajans in Bengali, and even conducted some of the manasa puja in Bengali.

During Amma’s darshan students and staff of Amrita Vidyalayam presented cultural programs.

After the end of the two day program, as soon as darshan ended, Amma led everyone in a late night Amala Bharatam seva and cleaned up 3km of the road just in front of the ashram {news}.
-Kannadi

kumbh mela

Amma at Maha Kumbh Mela

16 Jan, Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, Uttarpradesh – Bharata Yatra 2013

After her programs in Delhi {news}, Amma and the tour group travelled more than 1500km over three days to the next stop on the tour in Calcutta. On the first day, Amma travelled by road with the group passing through Vrindavan and ending a long day of driving in Fatehpur. When the group arrived late at night Amma sat and had dinner with everyone. The next day the group would be passing through Allahabad, where the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela is currently being held. This Maha Kumbh happens one every 12 years. The local organizers who were hosting Amma and the group in Fatehpur invited Amma to come to Kumbh Mela. Amma then asked her children who were all sitting around to raise their hands if they were interested to go to Kumbh Mela. Almost all raised their hands.

Amma asked the devotees to explain about the significance of Kumbh Mela. The Maha Kumbh Mela is believed to be the largest religious gathering on earth. A lot of Sadhus and Mahatmas grace the occassion with their presence. The event is expected to attract more than 100 million people over 55 days.

Ganga is love, pure love. No one will ask how a mother’s milk tastes; its pure. – Amma

To everyone’s surprise, Amma told the group she would like to stop there the next day. So early the next morning the group left at 5am and headed out to Sangam. Just after 8:30am all 10 tour buses and the rest of the ashram vehicles arrived to the Mela and got down for a morning bath at the Triveni Sangam. Before arriving to the river banks Amma took a walk around the Sangam (the temporary tent metropolis set up to house all the pilgrims). The news spread quickly that Amma was there and people started coming for Amma’s darshan.

Amma entered the chilly waters of the Ganga with the rest of the group and led everyone in chanting the Gayatri mantra several times and then immersing themselves completely under water. Then all the tour group lined up one by one in the water and slowly moved towards Amma. When they reached her, she dunked each person under water and all popped up very quickly a few feet away after the icy bath with a big laugh and smile on their face.
After everyone’s refreshing bath all re-boarded the buses and continued the journey onwards to Calcutta.

This is the first time Amma is visiting a Kumbh Mela festival.

There were several reporters and live TV channels stationed in Kubh Mela. One of these reporters approached Amma and asked what she felt after her bath. Amma said “Ganga is love, pure love. No one will ask how a mother’s milk tastes; its pure.”

 

– Kannadi

Amma in New Delhi

13 – 14 January, New Delh, Bharata Yatra 2013

After the programs ended early in the morning in Mumbai, Amma flew the same day to Delhi. The next day after arriving, Amma served prasad to all the local devotees at Amrita Vidyalayam. She also sang bhajans and shared jokes to the delight of all the locals.

The next day Amma addressed the Swami Vivekananda 150th Birthday celebrations {news} at Siri Fort. The following day, Amma visited Old Delhi and just in front of the Red Fort she participated with other dignitaries to flag off of the Shobayatra {news}.

During the 4 days stay at Delhi, Amma met The President of India Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Also Amma met with several dignitaries, including LK Adwani, Motilal Vora, AK Antony, Bhupendar Sing Hooda, India’s best known photographer Raghu Rai, Sonal Mansing, Dr Ram Avatar Sharma, and many other government officials.

Amma also held two days of public programs in the Delhi Ashram. Amma usually comes to Delhi a few months later in the year, so this year it was very cold, in the middle of Indian winter. The morning program, which included Amma’s satsang, bhajans and darshan continued till after midnight on both days.

At the end of the program on the second day Amma sang ‘Ela Pula Elo’, a Kerala folksong while everyone clapped along and danced all their worries away.

-Kannadi

amma at redfort

Amma graces the Vivekananda procession at Red Fort

12 Jan, Red Fort, New Delhi – Bharata Yatra 2013

Early in the morning of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birthday, at a gathering of more than fifteen thousand, Amma arrived to a special venue erected just in front of the famous and historic Red Fort in the heart of Delhi. Amma shared the dais with many of the same dignitaries and Swamis that participated in the program the evening before in Siri Fort {news}. With the dramatic backdrop of the Fort and India’s tri-colour flag flying high above, Amma’s message was read in Hindi by Br. Shubamrita.

All had assembled at the Red Fort to flag off a procession celebrating the birth of Swami Vivekananda. Hundreds of children dressed as Swami Vivekananda led the procession and before the started, they came to Amma seeking her blessings.

-Kannadi

vivekananda speech

Re-awaken values, transform internally

150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

11 January, Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi – Bharata Yatra 2013 Amma inaugurated the Swami Vivekananda Sarda Shati Samaroh, the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. In her speech, Amma said “We have learned to fly like birds and swim like fish, but we have forgotten to how to walk and live like human beings. Today we have knowledge, but no awareness. We have information, but no discriminative thinking.”

Addressing the gathering of political leaders, religious leaders and other prominent figures in Delhi society, Amma stressed the need for India to live their lives based on the traditional values of which Swami Vivekananda was an embodiment: “In truth, many of the challenges faced by Sanatana Dharma have been self-created. We can blame others and point out the impact of globalization, foreign rule and other factors—and, perhaps, they can be blamed to a certain extent—but they are not the primary cause. The primary cause is our carelessness: we have failed to cherish and protect the invaluable wealth that is this culture.”

Furthermore Amma said that only a reawakening of values would avert future incidents like the one that took place recently in Delhi: “When our children are young and impressionable, mothers need to firmly tell their daughters, ‘You should be courageous. Never let anyone push you down. You should develop strength of heart.’ Similarly parents should teach their sons both the need to protect and to respect women. These days many men are like one-way roads; they need to become like highways, allowing women to also move forward alongside them. The government can change as many laws as it wants and make sentences for sex-offenders as strong as it wants, but unless we raise our children with these values, no real change will ever take place.”

Reflecting on Swami Vivekananda’s legacy, Amma said: “Even after another 150 years, the life and message of Swami Vivekananda will continue to carry the same significance as they do now. His life and his message will continue to inspire people because Swami Vivekananda was an individual whose character was a perfect blend of mental purity and vitality. His words have the power to awaken the spiritual potential inherent in humankind, the power to set it ablaze, and the power to raise those flames to the intensity of a forest fire. If Swami Vivekananda’s words are contemplated upon, they can help inspire a peaceful yet powerful spiritual revolution. Not an external revolution but an internal one—a transformation based on values.”

Amma shared the dais with many other great spiritual personalities and sadhus, including, Dr. Pranav Pandya, the head of the Gayatri Parivar; Acharya Lokesh Muni, a Jain Monk; Swami Ritambarananda of Sri Narayana Dharma Samgh; Swami Nikhilananda of Chinmaya Mission, and Mohan Bhagat. The other dignitaries also addressed the audience, giving inspiring speeches drawing from the life of Swami Vivekananda.

Before the program, Amma was welcomed to the venue by the organizers and many dignitaries had a chance to meet Amma before coming to the dais.

The program was officially started with Shanti mantra – Om Sahanavavatu. Amma was then introduced to the gathering by P Parameswaran, the director of Bharateeya Vichara Kendra. P Parameswaran addressed the crowd borrowing from Vivekananda’s words, ‘Bharat Jago, Viswa Jagavo’ – ‘Awake India, Enlighten the World’ expressing that this is the aim of these year long celebrations.

Amma addressed the audience in Malayalam and then she paused every few minutes to allow Swamiji to translate Amma’s words into English. Amma’s speech concluded to a thunderous standing ovation and before leaving the venue Amma briefly gave darshan some guests on hand, including LK Advani, and Nithin Gadkari.

The next day early morning Amma arrived at the Redfort to flag off the procession {news}. Amma is the president of this Samaroah, which will have programs throughout the country during the entire year.

-Kannadi

 

Amma in Mumbai

Jan 7-8, Mumbai, Maharasthra – Bharata Yatra 2013

After the Pune programs, Amma travelled to her ashram in Nerul, Navi Mumbai. There she held two days of programs on the 7th and 8th of January.  A large crowd of devotees were on hand waiting to welcome Amma back to Mumbai.

During the first evening program Amma was officially welcomed to the dais by Bollywood actor Chandrachur Singh, State Minister Ganesh Naik, former justice of Maharasthra high court, Radhakrishnan, amongst others.  With the help of the dignitaries on hand, Amma then distributed 100 pensions as part of the Amrita Nidhi program to local women in need. Then 100 scholarships as part of the Vidyamritam program to local children.

At the end of darshan on the last evening, Amma sang Tannana Tannane and another Kerala folk song. After the programs in Mumbai Amma continued on to Delhi for the next programs on the tour.