Amma in Triruvananthapuram

23-24 April, Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

When Amma arrived at her Brahmasthanam and Ashram in Kaimanam, Thiruvananthapuram on the evening of the 22nd April, lamps had been lit all along the roadside leading to the ashram, creating a welcoming and beautiful path for Amma.

Amma addressing the gathering

Upon arrival, Amma served Prasad to the devotees and conversed with them.
The following day, on the first morning of Amma’s programmes, Amma was presented with the first-ever Vishwaretna Award by the Maharaja of Travancore, on behalf of the Hindu Parliament. Presenting the award, to overwhelming applause the head of Travancore’s royal family indicated that this was one of the most fulfilling moments of his life.
After the award ceremony, Kerala’s Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan presented organic seeds and fertilizers to 500 people as part of M.A. Math’s new Haritamritam program, aimed at encouraging households around the state of Kerala to take up organic gardening and organic farming, thereby promoting health and vitality as well as a renewed appreciation and reverence for nature.

During the program, Assembly Speaker G. Karthikeyan said that Amma was a refuge to the world suffering from all ills.

The devotees were largely sheltered from the blazing summer sun as Amma took care to make sure that shelters were erected throughout the ashram, creating nearly unbroken shade for all her children.
Addressing the devotees, Amma emphasized the need for protecting environment. She exhorted the authorities to restart the ‘Sevanavaaram,’ a week-long cleaning programme taken up by schoolchildren.

distribution of seeds for organic farming

“Nature, which once blessed us with resources, is now in a state of devastation. We have destroyed our nature by 40 per cent within a span of 25 years,” she said.
On the last day, Amma sang bhajan ‘Elappula Elo’ with her children. The ladies dressed in silk sari danced beautifully to the tune  of Amma. “It was like so many  Devis’ (goddesses) dancing. You all danced naturally in union. It was very good” said Amma on the mike about the dance. The darshan came to a close after 3:00 in the morning, bringing Amma’s 2013 South Indian Yatra to a joyful, sweet denouement.

– Tulasi

Vishwaretna puraskar presented to Amma by Hindu Parliament

23 April, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

During Amma’s visit to her ashram in Kaimanam, Thiruvananthapuram, Shri Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the Maharaja of Travancore and head of the Travancore royal family, presented Amma with the first-ever Vishwaretna Puraskar (Gem of the World Award), bestowed by newly constituted Hindu Parliament.

Viswaretna puraskar

Several officials of the Parliament were on hand to share their reflections in giving the award. The stage was also populated with a wide-ranging constellation of government officials and other dignitaries, including Assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan, Health Minister VS Sivakumar, Sri Ramakrishna Math (Trivandrum) President Swami Lokahitananda, SNDP General Secretary Vellappilly Nateshan and many representatives from different social organizations around the state.

Hindu Parliament General Secretary EP Sugatan explained, “The Hindu Parliament is a congregation of 108 organisations of different strata of the society. Our aim is to initiate a new renaissance in Kerala in the light of Amma’s life and teaching. Amma doesn’t need any award. God doesn’t need an award. By giving the award, in fact it is we who are honoured. The need of society now is brotherhood, love and spirituality. This movement aims to take steps in the light of spirituality. Just by going to the temple, one cannot become spiritual—this we have realized. With Amma’s blessing, the Hindu Parliament wants to go forward, taking all the strata of the society, all lower and upper castes, bringing all along for the renaissance.”

Hindu Parliament President Shankaran Kutty Nair said, “Hindus believe that Vishnu is sustainer of the world. Here in front of us is an incarnation who preserves and sustains individuals in their day-to-day life. Whomsoever comes for a job, for a house, to cure a disease … Amma is the only answer; not the government. She has been active for the last 36 years, providing anything and everything for the society—we can’t measure it all. Providing relief to the common man, who with loneliness, mental problems, other problems, approaches Amma to get satisfaction. This is the justification for presenting the Vishwaratna Puraskar to Amma.”

the Maharaj and Amma

And in presenting Amma with the award, the head of Travancore’s royal family Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma offered only the highest praise for Amma. “Amma is trying to show the path for us to go in dharma, to go in peace. She is showing us the path for our action, for our mind, and in the soul. In trying to talk about her compassion, I am speechless. This small offering (the award), Amma has accepted. I have not received more joy, happiness and peace than this before. Whatever we hear from Amma here today should not go in one ear and out the other, but go into our head, and into our heart. We should meditate on it, accepting Amma’s thoughts, becoming Amma’s disciples and servants. Let us strive to take Bharat (India) forward and forward. I am praying to Amma in this way.”

After being offered the award, Amma bowed in front of the award trophy. Swami Amritaswarupananda spoke on behalf of Amma, saying, “Amma offers this award to her children.”

– Sakshi

Amma in Kannyakumari

21 April, Kannya Kumari – Bharata Yatra 2013

On Amma’s fourth visit to Kanyakumari (India’s southern cape), her public program was held on the grounds on the recently completed Amrita Vidyalayam. This expansive, beautiful school joins the constellation of Amma’s 56 primary and secondary schools throughout India dedicated to inculcating timeless spiritual values in India’s youth while imparting a top-class academic education – education for living, and education for life.

devotees who came to attend Amma's program

Swami Jagadeeswarananda of Sivananda Ashram, Vivekananda Kendra Vice President Nivedita as well as MLA Pon Radhakrishnanan, Swami Chaitanyananda of Vellimalai Ashram, the District Magistrate and others shared the dais with Amma.

In his remarks, Swami Chaitanyananda said, “Out of compassion, Amma travels around the world, blessing all of us.

Mata ca parvati devi
pita devo maheswara
bandhava shiva bhakta ca
swadesho bhuvanatrayam.

(“Parvati is the Mother, Shiva is the father, the relatives are Shiva’s devotees, the native place is all the three worlds”). I am remembering this sloka by Shankaracharya. When I studied that I realised that it will be possible only if you live in the highest plane of consciousness. Now as Parvati Devi, Amma has come bless all of us.
happy darshan
MLA Pon Radhakrishnan shared, “30 years ago, my father met Amma in a function. People were coming to her and get blessings. At that time I thought egoistically, ‘Why we should get the blessings of a human being?’ Two years later I was introduced to Amma. When I met her I was crying and crying. Amma asked me why. ‘Amma, please protect the children of Kanyakumari’ is the alms that I begged.”

Amma answered his prayer, proceeding to embrace the children of Kanyakumari one by one. Despite the massive size of the crowd, the assembled devotees were remarkably peaceful – as if they knew that Kanyakumari herself was among them — having reached her, they were in no rush to go anywhere. They listened closely to her satsang and bhajans, and waited patiently to receive her darshan all through the night.

Her darshan went on until 9:30 am the following morning.

– Kannadi

Amma will sleep when you have all awakened

18-19 April, Chennai – Bharata Yatra 2013

On arrival in Chennai, Amma continued the tradition of the tour, serving Prasad to the assembled devotees, as well as sharing jokes, spiritual stories, and practical advice with them. To the delight of the devotees, Amma made several comments in their mother tongue of Tamil as well.

One devotee asked Amma, “Whenever I come to the ashram, you are sitting like this amongst your devotees, smiling and giving darshan. Amma, when do you sleep?”

Amma replied simply, “When you have all awakened, Amma will sleep.”

Continuing a second tradition that has unfolded on this tour, Amma gave many practical instructions to the brahmacharis in charge on how to make adjustments to the programme venue in order to accommodate more devotees and make them more comfortable. In the case of the Chennai ashram, an old bookstall structure was demolished over night in order to make space for more of Amma’s children to sit in the shade and participate in her programme.

During Amma’s programmes in Chennai, His Excellency the Governor of Nagaland, Dr Ashwini Kumar met Amma and participated at the 23rd Annual celebrations of the Chennai Brahmasthanam.

Speaking on the occasion, he said, “This is a very special day for two reasons- firstly today is Ramanavami and we are very lucky have Amma’s darshan. Secondly my wife and I have had the good fortune to garland Amma on your behalf and present a shawl on behalf of the people of Nagaland. It was many years ago, that I had first read about the charitable work being done by her. Two decades later I have had the good fortune to meet her today. The enormous charitable work done by Amma is appreciated world over. It was rightly said by the noble laureate Mohammed Yunus that Amma has done more work than many governments have ever done for their people. Her contribution is enormous.”

Various renowned Karnatic musicians like   Dr R Ganeshan, Mahesh Vinayakram, Neyveli Santhana Gopalan, Malgudi Subha Umayalapuram Sivaraman (Mridamgam), Lalgudi GJR Krishnan (Violin),  N Ravikran (Chitra Veena), Uma Shankar and team (Ghatam), Anuradha Sriram & Sriram Parashuram (Hindusthani calassical), Udayalur Kalyanaraman (Sampradhaya bhajan) performed for Amma as she gave darshan.

“It is believed that Nandikesha plays Mridangam in front of Lord Shiva and Parvati. I feel like the same when I play in front of Parashakti, our Amma. I would like to come and play for Amma’s 60th Birthday. Amma, please bless my family and my art and all of us” said Umalaylpuram Shivaraman on the mike after his 30 minute performance on Mridangam.

During the two-day celebrations Amma gave darshan to countless people who gathered despite the sweltering heat in Chennai. For nearly 48 hours continuously, the Chennai ashram was packed to overflowing with Amma’s children who patiently bore the crowds and the heat in order to enjoy a few moments in her arms and imbibe her divine energy. Amma’s children know the secret to true happiness, as taught by Amma – air-condition the mind, taking refuge in the shade of Amma’s blissful presence.

Darshan ended after 5:00 in the morning as Amma concluded her darshan by singing joyfully amidst her children.

– Kannadi

Amma in Puducherry

15 April, Puducherry, Bharata Yatra 2013

En route to Puducherry, Amma had stopped by the road to gather with the tour group. As the 14th of April was Vishu, the New Year according to the calendar of Kerala, Amma wanted members of the group to share their perspective on the meaning and importance of Vishu and its associated traditions. Specially mentioned was the tradition of the parents ensuring that the children’s first sight when they open their eyes that morning is an image of Lord Krishna along with different fruits and vegetables. Next to the image of the lord will be placed a mirror, symbolizing the fundamental principle of Sanatana Dharma that the Creator and creation are one and the same – that God dwells within each of us.

This was Amma’s third visit to Puducherry. She was returning after four years, and the throngs of devotees gathered hours before her arrival, eager to welcome her back. Less than 500 square kilometers in size, Puducherry is also home to a large number of French expatriates. As such there were many French people and other foreigners among the devotees who came for Amma’s darshan.

Near the sea, the relatively cooler climate was also a breath of fresh air for the tour group after the blistering heat of Madurai.

As part of the programme, Amma expanded the Amrita Nidhi pension project to benefit widows, the differently abled and others living in poverty in Puducherry. For them and all the devotees gathered for Amma’s programme, it was an auspicious start to the New Year indeed.

The darshan finally ended after 8:00 am the next day, and Amma and the tour group moved on to Chennai.

– Kannadi

Amma in Madurai

12 – 13 April, Madurai, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2013

Organizers of Amma’s programs are typically preoccupied by the same question. The question is always “Where?” Where we can we fit all these people? Because Amma’s programs never get smaller. And no matter the size of your venue, Amma’s program will ultimately outgrow it.

Recognizing that Amma’s following has long since outgrown the capacity of the Madurai Ashram’s prayer hall, the local devotees came up with a unique, outside-the-box solution to this ever-present challenge – they realized that the hall was far too small. But just behind the ashram, just near the Brahmasthanam Temple, was nice, wide access road. So, they approached the local government authorities, and requested permission to borrow the road for two days. Permission was granted, and a large pandal was constructed over the road itself – proving once again that wherever Amma holds a program becomes  a temple; it becomes hallowed ground.

Amma, too, found a way to be sure that the original temple hall was still blessed by her presence – on the evening of her arrival, she served Prasad, sang bhajans and shared a satsang from inside the original hall. When it overflowed with people, she invited them up onto the balcony overlooking the hall, so that everyone could share time inside the prayer hall with Amma in a more informal setting. Each time Amma arrives at a city on this tour, she has been hosting these informal gatherings with her children. They have the flavour of a family get-together, and ultimately, that’s what they are; a mother gathering her flock.

That evening, after serving prasad to her children, Amma started singing a bhajan. Just then two cute toddlers came to Amma and started dancing in front of her. Then, mid-dance, one of the children began to try to climb up into Amma’s lap. Amma was sitting on a chair, so it was not easy for him to climb up. Slowly but surely, though, he made his way on to her lap. Seeing him perched in Amma’s lap, the other toddler started climbing up as well. Amma started laughing along with all the others, and continued to sing uninterrupted.. once the second toddlers had also made her way onto Amma’s lap, Amma started sharing her mic with the little ones – it was a touching, multi-layered sight, carrying reflections of innocence, Amma’s ability to keep multi-task naturally and joyfully, and simultaneous awaken devotion in the hearts of all.

The two days of programs in Madurai ended after midnight on the second day with Amma singing ‘Elappula elo’, to the delight of all her gathered children. Joy and peace permeated the air in the temple on the road.

– Kannadi

The spring has already arrived in Kambam

10 April, Kambam, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2013

It was Amma’s first visit to Kambam, a small town located in the Theni District of Tamil Nadu. Not far from Kerala’s Idukki district and Periyar river, Kambam is a valley surrounded by hills, in which agricultural activities is the main resource.

The name Kambam has derived from the famous temple of Lord Narayana (Cumbaraya Perumal) around which the town has been built.

Amma’s visit was a big event for all the people of Kambam, from early afternoon they started flocking to the outdoor program venue, with their families and children. When Amma reaches around 6:30pm, there was a sea of humanity gathered at the place. It was a delight to witness the innocence and devotion of this crowd.

Brief ceremonies were conducted on the stage in the presence of Swami Omkarananda and MLA Ramakrishnan. In his remarks, Swami Omkarananda of Chitbhavananda Ashram, Teni commented, “I welcome Amma who is the embodiment of Parashakti to Theni district. Many mahatmas are born in this country. They go beyond all the obstacles and they remove the problems of the people. Like the spring season, mahatmas bring happiness and joy to the people. The spring season is about to come but for you all the spring has already arrived in the form of Amma. I pray to Amma that may this spring season be permanent in your life.”

In his remarks, MLA Ramakrishnan shared, “Kambam is blessed today since Amma’s holy feet have touched this land. Not only this land but also the air, flowers, trees and the human beings are also sanctified by Amma’s visit to Kambam today. I welcome Amma with all my heart to this town.”

After the official function, Amma sang beautiful bhajans followed by a satsang translated by Swami Ramakrishnananda, and a meditation guided by Amma herself using the Tamil language!

When darshan started a huge crowd was facing Amma and the stage. She literally started ‘swimming in the sea of people’…, Her loving, blessing and hugging covered the whole night, up till around 9:45am the next morning!

Simultaneously, all night long, various traditional dances and performances, particular to the area, were held on the stage.

As soon as Amma finished darshan and left the stage, she gave instructions for the 600 members of her accompanying traveling ashram to pack and move to the next city– Madurai.

– Tulasi

Amma in Coimbatore

7 – 8 April, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2013

On the first day of the programs official ceremonies were conducted as Amma reached the stage in Coimbatore.

Tamil Nadu State Agriculture Minister S. Damodaran released the book, Spirituality and India in Tamil. Tamil Nadu MLAs, T. Malaravan and Arukutty Gounder released the souvenir of the Brahmasthanam Celebration.

Bhajans, Amma’s satsang, guided meditation and prayers followed before Amma started giving darshan to one and all. The manasapuja was lead by Amma in Tamil.

On both evenings of the Coimbatore programs, devotees from Ooty shared traditional dances to the tune of songs to the Divine Mother, delighting one and all. Students of Amrita Instituions also presented various cultural programs.

The next day, Amma’s darshan finished at 4:30 am with Amma extending her time of presence on the stage to sing sprightly bhajans with one and all. Happiness and joy filled the hearts of all.

If the Brahmasthanam festival held in Ernakulam 10 days earlier had an AIMS family flavour, the one in Coimbatore had surely an Amrita Institutes flavour…

Like it had been for the previous 3 stops of the Bharata Yatra, upon her arrival Amma went straight to the unfinished stage as soon as she reached the place. Food was served to all present. Behind Amma two crews of plate fillers worked at super speed to have the plates ready for Amma to pass on to the public. After the prayers and while all started eating the delicious Prasad dinner, Amma offered the chance for the people present to share their feelings and stories. This ended with beautiful bhajans led by Amma.

– Tulasi

 

Amma in Palakkad

4-5 April, Palakkad, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

On the first day of the Brahmasthanam festival, the guests of honor on the stage were Indira, District Judge, MP Dinesh Superintendent of Police, Indira Krishna Kumar PMG.

Amrita Nidhi pensions were handed over to new recipients, as well as seeds for organic farming under the Haritamritam programme. This was followed by bhajans, guided meditation, a satsang by Amma and prayers.

On the second day, darshan ended at 4am, with Amma singing enthusiastic bhajans to the great delight of the devotees.

Earlier as soon as Amma reached Palakkad, she walked to the stage and she started passing out prasad dinner plates for all those present. During this long process, using the microphone, she was talking to everyone, giving advice and instructions, and inviting the devotees to share their feelings and stories over the microphone. Afterwards, Amma led everyone in enthusiastic bhajans.
– Tulasi

Swami Amritaswarupananda to visit UAE

Swami Amritaswarupanada Puri to visit Bahrain, Kuwait and Dubai from 9th to 20th April.

Bahrain
Priyadarsini Auditorium, South Park Restaurant
9th April 2013 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
10th April 2013 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Kuwait
11th April 2013 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Indian Community Senior School, Salmiya

12th April 2013 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Salah Sheikh Bader Ahmed, Malik Al Sabah Hall, Abu Halifa

Dubai
14th April 2013 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
JSS Private School, Al Safa, Dubai

15th April 2013 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
JSS Private School, Al Safa, Dubai

16th April 2013, 5 p.m. onwards
Foodlands Banquet Hall, Abu Dhabi

17th April 2013, 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
JSS Private School, Al Safa, Dubai

18th April 2013, 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
JSS Private School, Al Safa, Dubai

19th April 2013, 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
JSS International School, Al Barsha, Dubai

20th April 2013, 8 a.m. onwards
Retreat