Bharata Yatra 2013 – March-April

Amma to visit cities of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the coming months of March & April.

March 29–30 Ernakulam  Brahmasthanam Festival
Kunnumpuram (NH 17) Edappally North P.O, Ernakulam, Kochi 682024 Kerala
Phone: 0484 2800682 {map}

April 01–02 Trissur,  Brahmasthanam Festival
Amrita Nagar, Ayyanthole, Panchikkal, Trissur, Kerala
Phone: 0487-2362700 {map}

April 04–05 Palakkad Brahmasthanam Festival
Amrita Nagar, Puthur, Palakkad 678001 Kerala
Phone: 0491-2535 011 {map}

April 07–08 Coimbatore Brahmasthanam Festival
Ramasamy Nagar, Ext-2, Nallampalayam Rd., Ganapaty P.O., Coimbatore 641 006 Tamil Nadu, {map}
Phone: (0422)- 2535258 and +919791785121, Fax: (0422) 856274

April 10    Kambam, Theni,Tamil Nadu.
Venue: TKS Garden, Opposite Kambam Natarajan Kalyana Mandapam, Kambam-Kumali highway
Phone 9994730058, 9488145022, 9965582827
Public Program {map}

April 12–13 Madurai Brahmasthanam Festival
Moolakarai, Tirupparankundaram Road, Pasumalai P.O., Madurai 625005 Tamil Nadu,
Phone: (0452) 2370 800, {map}

April 15    Puducherry Public Program
Venue: Helipad ground, Opposite Airport
Contact 9443460378, 9345450781, 9344510695 {map}

April 18–19 Chennai Brahmasthanam Festival
132, Arcot Road, Virugambakkam (Near Avichi School), Chennai-600 092,
Phone: (0442) 376 4063, Fax: (044) 2376 2315, {map}

April 21     Kanyakumari Public Program {map}
Venue: Amrita Vidyalayam School campus, Amritapuram, Saravanan Theri, Kanya Kumari
Contact – 9486970009, 9488272070

April 23–24 Tiruvananthapuram  Brahmasthanam Festival
Amrita Nagar, Kaimanam, Thiruvananthapuram 695018, Kerala
Phone: 0471- 2490140 {map}

April 25 Back to Amritapuri

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unscrewing our laziness

8 Feb, Kannur, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

If one looks at the schedule of Amma’s Brahmastanam programs, one might think that they all follow the same pattern and are rather identical. However, if one takes a closer look, one can see that Amma makes sure that each one of these festivals has a special flavor added to them. Some are more sweet, some more spicy and others rather intoxicating. Just like how there can be no identical flowers in God’s creation, each temple festival unfolds as a unique and beautiful mandala of love that stays as an unforgettable experience in the memories of local devotees and Amma’s tour group alike.

During the first program day in Kannur,  {news} Amma remarked that she couldn’t see the people sitting in the back of the venue and that they couldn’t see her. She then asked for this area of the hall to be raised, so that Amma and the devotees could see each other. This meant, not for the next year when Amma would visit Kannur, but for the program the following day! Being a weekend, this seemed like a “mission impossible”. However, if Amma said so – there must be a way. So the brahmacharis whom Amma had deployed with the work contemplated several options: To raise the area with sand would require 300 truckloads to be delivered immediately – impossible! Then someone had the idea to bring in benches from Amma’s schools nearby and place them tightly next to each other in order to create a platform. But after calculating this, this option was also unrealistic: 1500 benches would be required – much more than available from all of Amma’s Amrita Vidyalayams close by. Next idea: place a smaller number of benches with gaps in between and then cover them with sheets of plywood – this option seemed doable! Immediately a plywood company was contacted – in the middle of the night – and asked for help. Given the urgency of the matter, the company diverted two truckloads of plywood, which were actually intended for another customer, to the Brahmastanam temple site with no delay. Later on, those sheets could be used for construction at the University, Amritapuri Campus.  During the next ten hours of intensive work the benches were placed across the whole back area of the venue and the plywood sheets were screwed on top – success! The platform created in this way was about one meter high and allowed devotees a direct view of Amma on the stage the next day.

At 10 pm as Amma’s darshan continued, Amma decided that it was time for the platforms to be dismantled and that all her children should help with the seva.

An announcement was made in Malayalam and English and soon the whole back side of the darshan hall was buzzing with activity: the young and old, male and female, Indian and Western children all joined in the task, full of enthusiasm. It looked like someone had stirred up a nest of ants dressed in white, carrying things here, there, and everywhere!

Since only one drill was available, the work-flow had to be arranged in a very efficient way, allowing a smooth and quick dismantling. The task was beautifully choreographed: Each plywood sheet was fixed with four screws to the benches, which took 12 seconds to unscrew. While the drill was still in action people were already holding on to the benches underneath, ready to pull them out as soon as they became loose. The unscrewed plywood was immediately lifted and piled up close by.

Screws and sheets were literally flying through the air. The whole thing seemed like someone was pressing the fast-forward button on a DVD player. But despite the intense heat, moisture and dust, happy faces could be seen everywhere. To add more sweetness to the experience, Amma soon sent a whole lot of unniappams to be distributed as prasad amongst the hard-working devotees. With incredible speed, skill and joy the work that would normally have taken a whole day was completed in less than one hour. Just one word of Amma had been enough to bring all of us into action, accomplishing the task full of dedication, love and the feeling of oneness.

The magic of Amma always works, no matter where and under which circumstances. But what the divine master really aims for is not just to make us unscrew the plywood, but to unscrew our laziness; not just to dismantle the platforms made of benches and sheets, but to take apart the structure of our ego, which consists of our likes and dislikes. Nowhere can one experience a master at work as in Ammas presence. Like this, Amma turned the Kannur Brahmastanam festival into yet another opportunity for her children to put into practice her teaching of selfless service. As Amma says, “My children, it is better to wear away then to rust away.”

– Nath

Haritamritam, organic farming project inaugurated

10,000 people to cultivate organic vegetables in 1,000 acres
22 Feb 2013, Amritapuri, Kollam

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated Haritamritam, a new humanitarian initiative of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math today in Amritapuri Ashram in the presence of Amma. Haritamritam is an initiative to promote organic farming in the state.

haritamritam

The Math is becoming a role-model for society
Inaugurating the initiative, the Chief Minister said “The social-service activities executed by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math are always conceived with foresight: its cleaning of public places, its tsunami relief-and-rehabilitation program, etc. In my personal perception, it has not been through words, but through action, that Amma has been able to bring about so much transformation. Today, with Haritamritam, a new chapter in the math’s humanitarian initiative. Haritamritam marks an inspiring step for organic farming—a move in the right direction. Assisting these 10,000 people to cultivating organic vegetables on 1,000 acres, the Math is becoming a role-model for society.”

Through Haritamritam, MAM is promoting vegetable cultivation. This will be initiated via Amrita SREE self-help-groups members. More than 10,000 Amrita SREE members from Kollam and Alappuzha will be growing vegetables on their own land. A total of 1,000 acres of land—comprising individual plots ranging from one cent to one acre—have been earmarked for Harithamritam’s first phase.

harita3

For good health and to restore the harmony in nature

Explaining about the initiative Amma said, “The goal of ‘Haritamritam’ is to sustain the tradition of organic farming and to revive the culture of growing vegetables that one consumes, without using chemicals and pesticides. Everyone should be able to eat vegetables grown organically at least once in a week. The state of agriculture in Kerala is such that even the vegetables and flowers used for ‘Vishu kanni’ come from other states.”

Amma’s words were full of optimism and hope. “Even if a person is able to do organic farming in one cent of land, it is a big step in restoring the lost harmony of nature. We have not inherited the land from our ancestors; we have borrowed it from our children. We have to return this land to the coming generations without allowing even the slightest damage to happen to it” said Amma in her benedictory address.  “May this ‘Haritamritam’ scheme bring about an awakening and enthusiasm in all to strive for good health and to restore the harmony in nature” Amma said.

harita2

MAM is distributing free seeds to all the participants, and is arranging training and demonstration classes by traditional farmers and agriculturalists adept in organic farming.

An instruction booklet prepared by retired agricultural officer TS Viswan—who has dedicated his retired years to promoting organic farming—is also being distributed.

Since 2005, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) has put more than 100,000 women into more than 6,000 AmritaSREE self-help groups.

– Kannadi

Amma in Kodungallur

18 February, Kodungallur, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

For the final stop on the 2013 Indian tour, Amma made her 25th visit to her ashram in Kodungallur.  This is the site of Amma’s first Brahmasthanam temple and before beginning her darshan, Amma made a special announcement on the mic briefly explaining the history behind it all.  She explained how the previous family who owned the land approached Amma and offered it to her and requested her to build a temple on the site. They told Amma how for countless years the land was the starting place for the annual procession leading to the local Devi Temple. And after their insistence Amma accepted the land and in 1987 the first Brahmasthanam Pratistha was performed.  Amma then said that it was the love of her children that has drawn her back there so many times since then.

Throughout the day, students and teachers of Amrita Vidyalayam presented different dances to Amma to celebrate the occasion.

Before darshan started, Amma distributed pensions as part of the Amrita Nidhi program and seeds to cultivate organic farming.  Additionally participants of Amrita Sree groups were given working capital.

At the end of darshan Amma sang Tanana Tanana and Mayaji while everyone danced, completely rocking the hall, while it was pouring rain.  It was 6.45 in the morning by the time Amma finally left the stage, and travelled back to Amritapuri to conclude the tour.

-Kannadi

Amma in Talassery

13 Feb, Talassery, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

On 12th February, when Amma reached the Talassery ashram, she was welcomed by devotees, eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of her, before next day’s programs. The scenes of her arrival and the love of the devotees was very touching to witness as always. Amma slowly made her way to her room surrounded by the crowd of adoring hearts.

Few moments later she emerged out and went straight to the roof where she had invited all the devotees and the tour group for a dinner/bhajan time. Plates were passed around by Amma, while she was simultaneously giving directions to create space for everyone to fit in the place. After dinner, Amma sang bhajans, then she asked for ashramites to tell jokes and make everyone enjoy a moment of laughter and lightness.

It was passed 10pm when this memorable and precious time took end, with Amma commenting on various practical spiritual topics. As Amma headed for her room, everyone left the roof with happy and fulfilled faces and hearts.

Next day morning, Amma came to the stage around 11am. An Indian Olympian athlete PT Usha and R Arunachalam, Mahe State Administrator, were invited to the stage, as Amma distributed Amrita Nidhi pensions. Seeds to cultivate organic farming were also distributed to devotees.
Amma lead a beautiful bhajan session, followed by a satsang, meditation and prayers. Darshan went on throughout the afternoon, evening and passed midnight, ending around 3.30 am.

The children from Amrita Vidyalayam offered many dancing performances.

-Kannadi

Amma in Kozhikode

15 February, Kozhikode, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

When Amma arrived in Kozhikode there was an enormous crowd waiting to greet her.  Traditional drums were being played and the crowd loudly chanted as Amma walked through the throng of devotees, touching their hands as she moved. Some were in wonder, some were in tears, some were screaming Amma’s name and some were silent.  To everyone’s surprise rather than going to her room, Amma asked all the people to assemble in the hall and proceeded to distribute dinner to the over 3000 people that were there to welcome her.

During the two days of programs there was a huge turnout of people for darshan. On both days Amma sang bhajans, gave satsang and led all in meditation on the stage decorated with a beautiful golden border adorned with peacock feathers.

On the first day Amma extended the Amrita Nidhi pension program to local ladies and distributed seeds to promote organic farming.

At the end of darshan on the final day, Amma sang Tanana Tanana and Mayyaji Menu.  At 5am while Amma sang the entire hall was still packed full of clapping and cheering devotees, soaking up the last minutes of their time with Amma.

– Kannadi

 

Amma in Mangalore

10-11 February, Mangalore, Karnataka – Bharata Yatra 2013

After the programs in Kannur, Amma held the final programs of the tour outside of Kerala, heading north once more and crossing the border into Karnataka.  She arrived to Mangalore in the evening and was received by a throng of devotees singing  ‘Bandalo Bandalo Hridayeswari’ (Come, Come, Goddess of our hearts).  Amma called all the local devotees and the tour group up to the roof of the Amrita Vidyalayam school building and served prasad, shared satsang and sang bhajans under the starry night sky.

During the next two days large crowds came for Amma’s darshan, to hear Amma sing many bhajans in the local Kannada and Tulu languages and lead all in the Manasa Puja in Kannada.

Each day as Amma made her way to the stage she was greeted by children dressed in folk costumes performing traditional dances. The program venue, starting at the path from Amma’s room to the stage was decorated very beautifully with a very  artistic touch.

To begin the first day’s program, Amma helped launch a campaign against the use of plastic bags and distributed cloth gunny bags to several local dignitaries on the dais. Mangalore has been very active in the ABC program, regularly holding clean up drives around their city. Additionally a few hundred Vidyamritam scholarships and Amrita Nidhi pensions were distributed to local people in need.

During the darshan, the local Amrita Vidyalayam students presented several cultural dances including ‘Kamsale,’ a dance in honor of Lord Siva from northern Karnataka involving acrobatics, and playing bells.

Although the external atmosphere was dusty, hot and humid, the hearts of the devotees were light, warm and cool. Amma ended the final program by singing Tanana Tanana and at the request of all the devotees shouting in unison, Bandalo Bandalo.  Singing with them the same song they welcomed Amma with two days prior and leaving them with a sweet memory in their heart.

-Kannadi

Amma in Kannur

7-8 Feb, Kannur, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

After 6 weeks of traveling all over India, Amma finally returned to Kerala with her program in the hills of Mananthavady. After that the tour group zig zagged down the hills and held a two day Brahmasthanam festival in Kannur. Upon her arrival Amma served prasad dinner to all the local devotees who were waiting to greet her.

During the programs Amma extended the ashram’s pension and scholarship programs to local women and students in need. Additionally Amma offered financial assistance to victims of the Chala gas tragedy.

Throughout the programs student volunteers of local Amrita Vidyalayam schools could be seen all over the ashram doing service, including serving water to the devotees waiting for their darshan in the extremely hot and humid weather. The students also found time to perform various cultural programs during Amma’s darshan. Amma held satsang and bhajans on both days in the morning before she started darshan.

At the end of darshan on the final night Amma sang ‘Bandalo’ and ‘Mayyaji’. The next day Amma and the group headed north again and left Kerala, for the next program in Mangalore, Karnataka.
– Kannadi

A surge of Love and shower of Compassion

Amma in Mananthavady

5 Feb Manathavady, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

On the way from Mysore, Amma and the tour group stopped just outside Bandipur National Park for tea. Bandipur is a protected wildlife sanctuary home to tigers, leopards, elephants and other wildlife. Amma sat with everyone in a clearing and held satsang and sang bhajans, and gave many the opportunity to share their experiences from the tour. After the stop, the road to Mananthavady traversed the national park and people were treated with sightings of wild elephants, monkeys, herds of spotted deer, and peacocks.

Upon her arrival to Mananthavady, large crowds of devotees were lined up to greet Amma. Some were cheering, some were crying, some were singing Amma Amma Taye, while Amma slowly made her way and gracefully look at each one of them as she made her way to her room. Before going to her room she looked down from her balcony and showered flower petals on those down below as they sang to her. Its was a beautiful moment to see, a surge of love in the hearts of the devotees and a shower of compassion from Amma.

The Mananthavady Ashram is located high in the forested hills of Kerala. Amma held a one day program with satsang, bhajans and darshan. As an extension of the Amritanidi program, pensions were distributed. The emotion and gratitude of the recipients was very touching to see as many of them were in tears when they received their pension from Amma.

During darshan the students of Amrita Vidyalayam presented several different cultural programs. Their portrayal of the Ramayana epic was exceptional.

The simplicity and innocence of the local devotees and the beautiful mountain climate made Amma’s visit a memorable one.
– Kannadi

Amma in Mysore

2-3 Feb, Mysore, Karnataka – Bharata Yatra 2013

On the way from Bengaluru to Mysore, Amma stopped at Caveri river in Sri Rangapanttinam.  Amma sat on the banks of the river with the tour group and led all in meditation as the sun set.  The setting was beautiful and picturesque, as all sat on the temple steps under the shade of large trees gazing at the flowing river and large flocks of migrating birds flying over head.  Amma gave satsang and  reminded everyone about the purpose of life and traveling on such a yatra. Many shared their experiences from the tour and the transformation that has taken place in them. After that, Amma sang bhajans and served dinner to everyone before finally finishing the journey to Mysore.

When Amma arrived at Mysore, she was given a warm welcome by a throng of cheering devotees.

The following two days, Amma held a Brahmasthanam festival.

Amma was officially welcomed to Mysore by the District In-Charge Minister S.A. Ramdas, the chief priests of the Sri Chamundeshwari temple atop Chamundi Hill, Nagendra Dikshit and Shashishekhar Dikshit.

A telemedicine unit was launched at the Amritakripa hospital in Mysore by Minister S.A. Ramdas. ISRO officer VV Bhat was also present on the occasion. With this telemedicine unit, the hospital will be connected to AIMS {news} and will be able to the deliver the modern medical facilites to the patients of Mysore.

Mayor Rajeshwari Puttaswamy and Deputy Mayor Mahadevappa also shared the stage with Amma.

The stage was decorated with traditional folk art of Karnataka in beautiful colors and sketches. Amma’s charitable activities were also portrayed on the walls through this artwork.

Various cultural programs by the students of Amrita University were presented during the programs.  Near the end of darshan three pet parrots were brought to Amma, and spent the rest of the night sitting on her shoulders. The last people to come for darshan were some local ladies who brought Amma different grains on woven winnowing trays as on offering to Nava Durga.  Amma playfully mixed all the grains together on the trays with ghee and sugar with her own hands and made a unique mixture that was then distributed to everyone in the hall.

At the very end Amma sang ‘Matarani’ and the program ended around 4am.

– Kannadi