Amma has learned directly from God through serving others

29 – 30 April – Trissur, Kerala — Bharata Yatra 2014

Following her departure from Kochi, Amma visited eight houses on her way to Trissur, spending time with each family, before arriving finally at the destination of her next program at around 8:30pm in the evening. Amma was formally welcomed to Trissur by the head priest of Guruvayoor* temple Chennas Dineshan Nambootirippad.

Immediately afterwards, Amma proceeded to the stage where she sang two bhajans and, to the delight of the large crowd of devotee volunteers, served a prasad dinner to one and all.

The program commenced the following day with 55 poor people receiving their first of many pension checks—they have been enrolled in Amrita Nidhi, lifetime financial aid program, which currently benefits more than 69,000 people in poverty. India’s head of the Assyrian Church of the East, His Grace Dr. Mar Aprem Mooken Metropolitan helped Amma to hand over the pension checks to the recipients. Speaking on the occasion, he said:

“Working for the welfare of the society is the goal of people like us. This is what Jesus Christ has taught us; therefore we care for others. By imbibing the message of God and serving others, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi has been blessed by God. Amma’s message of peace has travelled all around the world. Where there are problems and difficulties, we should bring peace – this is God’s desire. Amma is a great person who is working day and night in order to bring God’s desire into fruition.

“I have read one of Amma’s books – her language is so simple. Through her words – even though she has not studied at Oxford or Cambridge – she is conveying the message of goodness to society. She has imbibed God’s message and is giving goodness to humanity. I’ve gleaned this through reading her words and listening to her talks. I’ve gained my knowledge from studying at universities, but Amma’s education has been different – she has learned directly from God through serving others.

“The wealth she receives is used for the welfare of others. I came here to participate in the activities that are being conducted for the welfare of others. It is rare to find someone who works for the welfare of society. Most people live for themselves. May we all be able to come out of our selfishness and work together for the welfare of society.”


Inspired by Amma’s message of living in harmony with nature, a group of 10th standard students from the Amrita Vidyalayam, Trissur had been growing crops locally using organic farming methods. They had recently cultivated organic rice on a small plot of land near to the school. Hari Krishnan, Adarsh, Rohit, Siddarth, Jaya Sudha, Arjun, Sri Lakshmi and Partha Sarathi presented Amma with the harvest during darshan. It took them 110 days to grow and harvest the rice using traditional methods that they had learned from local farmers.

“I am very happy to do the cultivation. Through the process I myself benefit and so does society as a whole,” said Jaya Sudha. “Cultivation is better than studies, you can connect with nature” comments Siddarth. But Hari Krishnan is convinced “You cannot put education aside, education and cultivation has to go hand in hand.”

On both program days, Amma sang bhajans and gave satsang, before giving darshan to all those present. Despite the oppressive heat of day the crowds were large and darshan continued late into the night and into the early hours of the next day. Each evening brought relief with a cool rain, calling to mind the refreshing breeze of inner peace that so many experience in Amma’s presence.

– Kannadi

*Famous Sri Krishna temple in central Kerala

Spirit of Sacrifice and Service celebrated with Love

26 – 27 April, Ernakulam Brahmasthanam, Kochi – Bharata Yatra 2014

Despite soaring temperatures, many thousands turned out for Amma’s two-day Brahmasthanam Festival at Kochi.

Amma addressing the gathering

Amma gave talks on both days, led bhajans and then gave darshan throughout the day and deep into the night. On the second day of the programs, the darshan ended only around 4 in the morning the following day, with Amma having been on the stage for 18 hours continuously.

Addressing the assembled crowd in her talk, Amma said that selfless service is the way to God. “The idea of selflessness makes our acts perfect. Humankind will have greater solidarity if we agree to live according to the principles of sharing and caring,” she said.

On the first day of the programs, Amma was presented with the Pandit Karuppan Award. Pandit Karuppan was a 20th century scholar and a social reformer known as the Lincoln of Kerala. The award was presented by Moopil Swamiyar, the spiritual head of the Trissur Brahmaswom Matham. The award was given to Amma for her dedication, sacrifice and outstanding contributions to society. {read more}


Amma distributing the health care card, Ernakulam District Collector MG Rajamanickam (green shirt) helps the process

Amma has always said that serving the poor is the true worship of God. That’s why each of Amma’s spiritual programs marks and expansion of her humanitarian aid projects. This program was no exception; on the second day of programs, Amma inaugurated a new medical aid initiative. 500 low-income families living in the vicinity of Amrita Hospital have been given free medical cards. These cards guarantee free medical care for all members of the household, benefiting more than 2,500 people. These families will receive both outpatient and inpatient care free of charge.

The community of devotees and volunteers in Kochi is particularly service-oriented. A group of Amrita University students recently pooled their pocket money and used it to pay for the digging and installation of a well, providing drinking water for remote village of tribal people in the Wayanad District of Kerala. The students had seen the plight of the people while serving in medical outreach initiatives and decided to do what they could to help them. When the students shared this news with Amma, she was moved by their spirit of sacrifice and told them that the Ashram would match their efforts by providing wells to two more villages in the same tribal region.


Ernakulam for Amma's program

Devotees chanting Santhi Mantras during Amma’s program. Click on the image to enlarge

Overall the mood in Kochi was one of celebration, with the devotees and volunteers patiently bearing the heat and the crowds. The night she arrived, Amma served prasad dinner to all the local volunteers, who had been working hard to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all who would attend Amma’s program over the weekend. And they would continue to serve throughout the weekend… wherever one looked, one could see volunteers distributing water, erecting shades, putting out more chairs… On both evenings, as Amma left the stage and walked along the balcony overlooking the university campus to her room, the mood was jubilant as the crowd roared with appreciation and delight. In Kochi as much as anywhere, it is clear that people take the love and inspiration they receive from Amma and use it fuel purposeful lives marked by selflessness, devotion, and values. We imagine that nothing pleases Amma more.

– Tulasi

Watch video of Amma’s arrival:

Pandit Karuppan Award for Amma

26 Apr 2014, Kochi Brahamasthanam Festival

Amma was presented with the Pandit Karuppan Award at her program in Kochi today. The award was presented by Moopil Swamiyar Shankarananda Brahmananda Bhooti, the spiritual head of the Trissur Brahmaswom Matham, an Ashram in the lineage of Adi Sankaracharya dedicated to the propagation of Vedic knowledge. The award was given to Amma for her dedication, sacrifice and outstanding contributions to society.


The award is given by Pandit Karuppan Vichara Vedi, an organization named for Pandit Karuppan, a 20th century poet, Sanskrit scholar and social reformer. Hailing from the fishing community, Karuppan is considered the first human rights activist of his era. He fought successfully on behalf of the so-called untouchables, dedicating his life for their empowerment, education, and protection under the law. It is a tribute to the success of his legacy that the Brahmin community have elected to present an award in his name. In presenting the award to Amma – herself not belonging to any lineage and hailing from what has been historically viewed as a low caste – the Brahmin community is indicating its acceptance of the principle that divinity is inherent in all human beings, regardless of caste or gender.

Amma graciously accepted the award, humbly offering it to her children. The award was accompanied by a cash prize, which Amma returned to the Pandit Karuppan Vichara Vedi, asking them to use it to continue their work for society.

Official guests who were on hand for the presentation of the award also included Brahmasri Raman Namboodiripad and Brahmasri Narayanan Bhattatiripad, renowned experts in Samaveda and Rig Veda, respectively and the organisers of Pandit Karuppan Vichara Vedi.

On this occasion, Amma also blessed the release of a new book on the life and work of Pandit Karuppan.

As late renowned Kerala poet K.V. Dev said, “This is a country where people have misused caste and religion, hurling thorns at one another over the ages. Even today, that situation prevails. But my Amma is challenging that society with her love.”

“ജാതിക്കുശുന്പിന്റെ നാടാണ് ജാതിയെ പൂജിച്ചു പൂജിച്ചു മുള്ളുവാരി
ഇന്നുമാമുള്ളിൽ മദിക്കുന്ന ജാതിയെ വെല്ലുന്ന സ്നേഹമാണെന്റെയമ്മ.”

– Kannadi

AYUDH Portugal brings HOPE to care homes

During AYUDH’s 2013 youth summit in Germany “Our World, Our Vision, Our Future,” a group of young people were introduced to playing harp as a means of therapy. At the conclusion of the camp, two youth were awarded a harp with the idea that it would be used by them to play at care-homes in their country throughout the year. This is part of AYUDH’s new “HOPE—Harps of Peace” program, mentored by the world-renowned harpist and founder and director of the International Harp Therapy Program, Christina Tourin.


In March 2014, members of AYUDH visited two care-homes for elderly people in the Lisbon area in order to brighten up their day with the soothing harp sounds and their youthful vibrancy. They brought the harp, as well as some other instruments, including a guitar, hang drum.

At one nursing home, the group spent time speaking with some elderly ladies, getting to know them and listening to their stories. They visited many bedridden people who often get only one or two visitors a year, playing music, singing and talking. In one house, they were attended the birthday party of a lady who just turned 101.


One lady they visited had recently suffered a stroke. She could not move or talk. Blinking was her only means of communication. “As soon as she saw us, she opened her eyes wide, trying to see what all instruments we had brought,” recollects one of the AYUDH members. “As we played, she started moving her head, trying to somehow get up. Her mouth started to move a little and she made a little sound like, ‘Ah!’ It was an incredible moment for all of us! Even the staff of the care-home were amazed. We all felt such compassion and love in the room. Remembering it gives me a very warm feeling in my heart!”

– Dass

What is Sakshi Bhava?

Friday, 18 April 2014 – Amritapuri
Seashore Meditation and Question & Answer

Question: Amma, what is sakshi bhava [witness attitude]? Is it no emotions? No sadness, no happiness? Or is it constant bliss? Once, some time back, I was depressed, and then I didn’t really feel anything. In a way, it was like being a witness, but I don’t think that is meant by sakshi bhava. So, what is it, Amma? Is it that you don’t feel anything, don’t care about anything but, yet, still, somehow feel happy? Amma, could you please explain?


Amma: When you become sugar, then there is nothing but sweetness. Likewise, in true sakshi bhava, there is bliss alone.

It’s not that emotions don’t come, they will be there, but you see them, as if from a distance, and they don’t affect you. So, when anger begins rising up in you, you are able to see it very clearly. You witness it and this helps you to remain calm and not translate that emotion into action. Reflecting on the truth that we are not the body or the mind but are the atma [the true self], we can use our viveka [discrimination] to reject that emotion as baseless.

Witnessing like this and keeping our distance from our emotions, is for our own safety. Visiting a zoo and seeing the animals in their cages is a blissful experience. But if you open the door the cage and let the animals out their cages it will be disastrous. It is the same with the mind.

When you understand the nature of the world and its objects, you will see things and remain detached, like a witness, and accept them. For example, a crow may evacuate upon us, but we don’t get angry at the crow. You just go wash your dress and move forward.

Children, in deep sleep, we are in a state of bliss. Sakshi bhava is that same state, yet we are fully awake. In deep sleep, there is no “I,” no “mine.” It’s only when we wake up that all these things come: “my bed,” “my sandals,” “my pen,” “my clothes”… It is when we are overpowered by these “I” and “mine” thoughts that is the source of all discord. In sakshi bhava, you are able to see that this “I” and “mine” have no real substance. Thus, you always remain peaceful. When you understand that there is nothing other than you, there is no scope for disturbance. At present we are totally identified with our individual mind. We need to expand: from the individual mind, to the societal mind, to the mind of the entire universe. You may feel as if you are just a seed, but understand that there is a tree dormant in every seed. Realize that and become the tree.

In sakshi bhava, it is not that there are no thoughts or emotions. Just as there are waves in the ocean, there will be thoughts in the mind. But since you know how to swim, you are able to get in the water and blissfully move about them.


We must always have a place for others in our heart

16 April 2014, Ashramam, Kollam
Amma was invited to light the lamp and inaugurate this year’s Kollam Pooram, a massive annual temple festival hosted by the Sree Krishna temple, Asramam. Attended by a large number of people, the festival is marked by delightful spectacles including elephants colourfully decorated with rapidly inter-changing ceremonial umbrellas (kudamattom), traditional drumbeats (melam) and pyrotechnics.

With throngs of participants looking on, Amma lit the ceremonial lamp and gave the benedictory address. In her speech, she said, “Amma is really happy to participate in the Pooram celebrations. The people of Kollam forgetting all differences and working together with love, understanding and faith is what makes this celebration so special. May this attitude be also reflected in each of your actions in your day-to-day life. In this way, not only this day but each day of your life will become a celebration.”

In her 15-minute address, Amma stressed the importance of cultivating a vision rooted in spiritual understanding and universal values. She also talked about the importance of seeing God everywhere, and the way that will translate into a compassionate attitude and a life filled with divine grace. “Temples are places where we can feel the presence of God. That’s good, but it is not enough just to see God in the temple – we have to see God in every aspect of Creation.” Amma continued, “We must always have a place for others in our heart. In fact, it is this compassion that makes us receptive to the factor of divine grace in our life.”

On her way to the festival, Amma visited the Sree Krishna temple proper and spent some time there. The festival itself is held at the Asramam Maidanam, one of the biggest festival grounds in Kerala. The massive crowd of festival participants was framed by 15 elephants in full regalia on either side, representing the nearby Ganesha and Devi temples.

This is a historic occasion. Amma is attending this kind of festival for the first time. The people of Kollam and the festival organizers expressed their sincere gratitude for Amma’s presence, and their hope that with her blessings, the Pooram festival will become an international event for peace and harmony.

– Kannadi

Vishukkani – Even in the midst of difficult times, happiness can be found

15 April 2014, Amritapuri

Excerpted from Amma’s message during the occasion of the Vishu Celebrations at Amritapuri

Vishu is a festival that is deeply connected to our culture and to nature. When we hear the word Vishu, what first come to mind are images of the golden kanikkonna flower and vishukkani. The importance placed on taking in the darshan (vision) of vishukkani—the traditional cornucopia of Vishu—upon waking Vishu morning symbolizes the importance of entering the new year seeing goodness and thinking good thoughts. Whatever activity commences with the remembrance of God will be auspicious. Taking in vishukkani upon waking helps us begin the new year with the darshan of God and nature.


The belief is that this auspicious vision will bear fruit that will stay with us throughout the year. Even in the drought and heat of the summer, nature is able to bring forth golden kannikonna flowers. This is nature’s teaching to us: Even in the midst of difficult times, happiness can be found.

On Vishu morning, in every house, the mothers and grandmothers go to each room and wake up the children and other family members. They cover their eyes and lead them to the altar room. When everyone is standing before the image of the Lord, they remove their hands. The children open their eyes and behold the beautiful form of the Lord and the different facets of the vishukkani. Their hearts fill with devotion and enthusiasm. That is like a deposit that they then can draw upon throughout the year.

Another meaning of the word Vishu is “being equal.” Vishu takes place when day and night have the same duration. Thus, it symbolizes how we should be able to accept both joyful and difficult circumstances with mental equanimity. Ordinary people become egoistic in success and lose strength when painful experiences occur. The reason we lose our mental strength is our failure to put God first in our life; these days, our first priority is the external.


Life can bring us any kind of experience at any time. It can be criticism; it can be praise. It can be joyful circumstances; it can be sorrowful ones. It can be success; it can be failure. Anything can come at any moment. This is what life is. If we are to face these varied experiences with equanimity, then we should be prepared to give up our likes and dislikes.

When difficult times come, some people take solace in thinking that they are reaping the fruit of selfish actions that they have performed in the past. This is a good attitude. Another practical approach is to accept all of our experiences as God’s prasad. To cultivate this attitude, we must first see all of our actions as offerings to God. When we surrender all of our actions to Him, we will then start being able to accept everything that comes to us in life as prasad in return. Then we will be able to see all experiences equally, transcending attachment and aversion.

The greatest jail is our ego. Currently we are imprisoned in this self-created jail. A bird in a golden cage—provided with all types of food and toys—is still deprived of the all-expansive sky. Children, let us try to come out of this jail called the ego.

Vishu is an occasion to remember how important it is to love and serve the Creator through the creation. My children, strive for this. We should also love nature. There is so much pollution in the atmosphere today. In the olden days, when someone had a wound, they would apply cow dung to it to help it heal more quickly. If we were to do this today, the wound would only become infected. What once was medicine has today become poison. Our air, our water, our food—everything has become polluted. When you chop down a tree without a true necessity, you are, in fact, building your own coffin.

Let us use our time in a manner that is beneficial for ourselves and others. Let us try to do what we can. Let us reach out to nature and our fellow human beings. May we help make this world a tree full of flowers of happiness and fruits of peace. May every day in your life be filled with the joy and auspiciousness of Vishu.


Sri Rama is an excellent role model of dharma and values

Amma’s message on Sri Rama Navami

Children, when adharma is at its peak and dharma is disappearing, avataras take birth to uphold dharma. Thousands of years ago, Sri Rama, who was born on the ninth day of the month Chaitra, is believed to be dharma itself in a human form.


Avataras teach humankind through the example of their life. Therefore, they will have limitations; they may have to pass through tests and obstacles, just like other people. Through this, they teach us not how to avoid problems, but how to safeguard our ideals and values when we find ourselves in the midst of problems. They show us how to face life’s tests with mental peace and equanimity. Through this, others find the inspiration to move forward along the path of dharma.

Many ask, “If Rama was the all-knowing Lord, why did he chase after the golden deer? Didn’t he realize it was Mareecha’s illusion? It was because of this that Ravana was able to kidnap Seeta.” Understanding human nature, Sri Rama chose to take birth as a human being. Thus, like other humans, he displayed a mix of knowledge and ignorance, strength and weakness. Once a game begins, we cannot just change the rules in the middle.

This reminds me of a story: A prince was playing Hide & Seek with his friends inside the palace gardens. The prince was totally and blissfully immersed in the game. Forgetting everything else, he was intent on finding his friends. Despite searching intensely, the prince was unable to locate even one of them. A servant who had been watching the children play asked the prince, “Why are you going through so much trouble to find your friends? If you order them to come before you, won’t they all come out of hiding?” Hearing this, the prince looked at the servant with sympathy and said, “If I do that, what fun would be left in the game?”

Like all humans, we can see joy, sorrow, hardships, problems and limitations in the lives of mahatmas. They behave like this so that others can come closer and establish relationships with them on a personal level. In truth, defeating adharma is not the foremost priority of avataras. Their primary goal is to nurture devotion in the hearts of humankind. They attract people through their captivating leelas.

Since our childhood, our life has been founded on relationships. Our first relationship was with our mother. Then with our father. Then with our siblings, friends, coworkers and acquaintances. Thus, for us, who are predisposed to forming such relationships, building a relationship with God and worshipping Him is natural. This is how Sri Rama and Sri Krishna earned their place in the hearts of humankind. Through them, a culture of devotion has grown in the world.

There is a lesson for us to learn in how Sri Rama willingly faced every situation that arose in his life. How should an individual behave towards his parents, his siblings, his friends? How should a leader behave towards his followers? How to stand firm in the face of moral trials? All these can be learnt from the life of Sri Rama. Sri Rama did not become overjoyed when he learnt that he was to be crowned successor to the throne. Similarly, when he lost the throne, he did not fall into despair. Moreover, Sri Rama only had love and respect for Kaikeyi—the cause of his exile. Thus, Sri Rama is an excellent role model of dharma and values for us to emulate in life.

Spiritual practices set you free

Monday, 7 April 2014, Amritapuri, Seashore Meditation and Question & Answer

Question: Amma, how can I have self-discipline without being too hard on myself?

Amma: Daughter, if you have the desire to build a house, what will you do? You will think about how you want it to look, you will sit with the architect, do all the planning and build it. Won’t you? It’s no different when you have the desire to know the Self. When the desire to know the Self arises, you will start doing all the things that are required to attain that goal and start avoiding all the things that will take you away from it. The more love you develop for the goal and the more you understand the need for the various disciplines and spiritual practices, the easier it will be to adhere to those disciplines and practices. The love for the goal is like the petrol in your tank. It is what gives enthusiasm, energy and vitality in your practices.


Sometimes when the mother or father needs to do some work, they cannot keep their eye completely on their child. So, then, they may give him some crayons or some toys. This way the child can continue to play but the mother knows where he is and what he is doing. The mother knows the child is safe. Similarly, it is the mind’s nature to be active. The point of doing spiritual practices is not to limit our freedom, but to give the mind an activity that helps it and protects it.

When we fly, the stewardess will make us wear our seatbelt. She has nothing to gain by that. She is not doing it to torture us. She is doing it for our safety and protection. Similarly, at first, adhering to spiritual disciplines may seem to take away our freedom, but really it is taking us to freedom—true freedom. When we study the scriptures, we will develop the right attitude towards such disciplines. We will understand the need for them in order to attain our goal. We will understand that they are not for God’s benefit or the guru’s benefit, but for our benefit. The more we understand the benefit derived from them, the more inspiration and enthusiasm we will have to do them.

In order to make sure they are adequately prepared for their exams, many students will make a timetable. It is helpful for spiritual aspirants to do the same thing. You have a goal – to know your True Self. You know certain things need to be done in order to attain that goal. How much spiritual practices you do and how strict you are in doing them—that is your choice. But once you have decided what you want to do, making a timetable and adhering to it as much as possible is a practical way to help you achieve your goal.

If you really have real control over your mind—the same level of control you have to the television when you have the remote control in your hand—then there is no need to do any spiritual practices. But most of our minds are not like this. They are more like old cars; there is a big gap between the time we hit the brakes and when we actually stop. In fact, we usually stop only after we’ve had an accident. We may want to show someone love, but we are not able to do so.

Don’t feel sad that you cannot be as disciplined as you would like to be. Do what you can. Don’t be sad about what you are not able to do. Don’t push yourself too hard. Don’t suppress or judge yourself. Give the body the food and sleep it needs. There is nothing wrong in that. But don’t overly pamper yourself either. There may be lapses in your discipline. We may fall down. But we shouldn’t allow it to make us feel frustrated. When you fall down, instead of lying there on the ground thinking how comfortable it is, remind yourself of your goal. Get back up and keep moving forward. Never accept defeat.

Amma’s Japan – American Yatra 2014

Tokyo – May 19-21
TRC Tokyo Ryutsu Center
Second Exhibition Hall F
6-1-1 Heiwajima, Ota-ku, Tokyo

19 May (Mon) Morning Program: 11:00
20 May (Tue) Morning Program: 10:00 & Evening Program: 18:30
21 May (Wed) Morning Program: 10:00 & Evening Program: 18:30

North American program dates – 2014 Summer

Seattle, Washington
May 23 Public Program: Morning and Evening
May 24 – 26 Retreat
May 26 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

San Ramon, California
May 28 Public Program: 11 am – 5 pm
May 29 – May 31 Public Programs Morning and Evening
May 31 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)
June 2 Evening Public Program (Tentative)
June 3 Public Programs Morning and Evening
June 4 – 6 Retreat
June 6 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

Los Angeles, California
June 8 Public Program: 11 am – 5 pm
June 9 Public Program: Morning and Evening
June 10 – 12: Retreat
June 12 Evening Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

Santa Fe, New Mexico
June 15 Public Program: Morning and Evening
June 16 – 18 Retreat
June 18 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

Dallas, Texas
June 20 – 21 Public Program: Morning and Evening
June 21 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

Chicago, Illinois
June 23 Public Program: 11 am – 5 pm
June 24 – 25 Public Program: Morning and Evening
June 25 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

Boston, Massachusetts
June 27 Public Program Evening Only
June 28 – 29 Public Program Morning and Evening
June 29 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

Washington, D.C
July 1-2 Public Program: Morning and Evening
July 2 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

New York, New York
July 5 Public Program: 11 am – 5 pm
July 6 – 7 Public Program: Morning and Evening
July 7 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)

Toronto, Ontario (Dates Tentative)
July 10 Public Program: Morning and Evening
July 11 – 13 Retreat
July 13 Evening: Atma Puja Ceremony for World Peace (Public)