16-unsesco-f

UNESCO Chair for Amrita University

26 Sep 2016, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 63 celebrations

The Government of India’s Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar announced the establishment of a UNESCO Chair for Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment at our own Amrita University. The Chair will focus on mapping vulnerabilities of women for a holistic approach to designing necessary solutions.

Said Prakash Javadekar: “Nothing is more noble than creating centres of excellence in education, and Amrita University is among the best in the country. The UNESCO Chair for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment will play a vital role in future. It takes care of all the millennium development goals, as they are directly or indirectly linked to the health, welfare and upliftment of women, be it maternal health, education, sanitation or infant mortality.

“The British were not interested in the empowerment of the country. They were interested to create a cadre of obedient officers and not uplift the education of the poor and underprivileged. After independence, the country has taken education to all houses, and achieved 98 percent enrollments in primary care. We have achieved expansion, now we have to receive quality education. That equality can be brought by Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, which is the focus of Amma’s new initiative with the UNESCO Chair on Women Empowerment and Gender Equality . As a HRD minister, it will be my duty to help good universities such as Amrita University, and it will be given boost for the future.

“Education is not a political agenda. Education is neither Left, Right or Centre. Education will be the top priority of our nation and I hope Amma will guide us. And we are all here to celebrate, to get blessings , and to give our pranams to Amma because she is the embodiment of love, compassion and humanity.

“Looking at the institutes which she has created in her birthplace, I can only say Brahma created this Sristhi, but you created another Srishti here. Nothing is more noble than creating centers of education. And you have created one, and today I am very happy to launch and declare the UNESCO chair. This is a very unique chair – it takes care of all women empowerment goals accepted by the UN. If a man is taught, one is taught, but if a woman is taught, the entire family and society is taught, because she is mother to all. When we teach women, this takes care of universal primary care education, lowers infant mortality, improve health, lowers possibility of contracting HIV.

“All religions teach respect, culture of live and let live, non-violence, truth. If people become religious, they will follow this noble path. I am happy as HRD minister and it will be my duty to help good universities like the one you have created. We are all creating a system where good universities have more autonomy and less regulation” said the Minister announcing the UNESCO Chair for Amrita University.

 

16-oasu

The last moments from Amritavarsham63 Celebrations

28 Sep 2016, Amritapuri –  Amritavarsham 63 Celebrations

After staying for 25 hours and 25 minutes on the stage, Amma left the Amritavarsham63 venue and headed back to the ashram. What generous and precious moments she had offered yet again to the tens of thousands that gathered on this blessed occasion!

Amma took the a car to the boat-jetty where a boat was waiting for her to cross the backwaters. Coming down from the boat, she walked to her parents house to meet her old mother.

It was past 11am, when Amma was back to her room after giving one last beaming loving smile to her children with full of energy. And she is 63!

 

2016sep28-dyn-4170

 

2016sep28-dyn-4176

 

photo-28-09-2016-10-43-37

 

16-lastmoments3

16-gadgil-f

Amma has set an example of selfless service and unconditional love

27 Sep 2016, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham celebrations

Mr Nitin Gadkari Union Minister for Transport while participating in the launch of premier charitable projects of the MAM said that Amma has set an example of selfless service and unconditional love. In our culture it has been said that our real dharma is seva for the poor and underprivileged.

 

On her birthday I will like to pray for her good health and also inspire all of us to contribute to the welfare of society through good deeds.. I would also like to seek her blessings on this august occasion.

 

The wonderful work done by Amma in creating facilities for sanitation, toilets, hospitals for the poor is commendable. Similarly science and technology is the key to future development. Amma has effectively used Science and Technology for societal benefit, as serving humanity has been Amma’s mission.

 

16-bhagawat-f

Amma manifests the eternal message of Bharat

27 Sep 2016, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 63 , Amma’s birthday celebrations

Sri Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swaymsevak Sangh participated in the brithday celebrations and and spoke these words.

* Many ages ago, the young Sant Gyaneswar of Maharashtra who had written a commentary on Bhagwad Geeta asked his guru for a boon- “Every where in the world, there are realised souls who are in constant touch with Reality,should be available to all common people at all times”. When we see life of Amma we see that the boon has now been granted.

* Our ancient scriptures state that the universe runs on dharma which has 4 components- Truth,Compassion, Purity and Tapas. For us common people we need an example of such behaviour.

* In Tetrayuga we had Lord Rama as an embodiment of Dharma in human body. In India we still have the tradition of such evolved persons being a leading light for society. We are looking uo to Amma as she has realised the Truth of real existence. Her humanitarian activities embody the highest form of Compassion. Likewise when you are around Amma you experience Purity. And for us she is performing Tapas relentessly.

* We are very lucky people as we have met Amma who embodies all the 4 elements. Whenever we come in the vicinity of Amma all worries leave us, we become tension free and blissful. And even our thoughts become pure. This is my experience.

* The eternal message of Bharat has been that in Solitude we should Realise and in Multitude we should Serve without any discrimination. This is very difficult, but Amma makes that happen. She is freely available to all

* Amma is practising real Dharma and doesnt need our blessings.–but what else can we offer to her. I pray that she instills in us at least a particle of the 4 components of Dharma

 

16-talk-f

Mankind has become a walking disaster, instead create ripples of Compassion

27 Sep 2016, Amritapuri, – Amritavarsham celebrations

Excerpts from Amma’s Birthday message

Taking more and wasting it is Adharma

“Environmental protection is one of the greatest issues mankind faces today. If only we would walk along the path shown by our ancestors, we could easily find solutions to the problems we are facing in this area. In the past, our ancestors didn’t need to ‘try to protect Nature’ because their very lives themselves protected Nature. Environmental protection was inherent in their very lifestyle, worship and cultural customs. Reverence and respect towards all creatures and creation was an integral part of their life. It was ingrained in them that they should take only what was needed from Nature, without exploiting and destroying Her. But in today’s world, we see humans taking from Nature and their fellow human beings without any limit. Moreover, they often destroy them at the same time. Taking more and wasting it is Adharma. Both, a Rs. 1,000 watch and a Rs. 100,000 watch would show the same time. But if we can be content with the Rs. 1,000 watch, we can use the rest of the money for the poor and needy.”

 

16-talk1

The plague of terrorism:

“Terrorism has become one of humanity’s foremost problems, robbing society of its peace,” she said. “Statistics show that around 1,200 large-scale terrorist attacks have taken place in various parts of the world in 2016 alone. Today our waking reality is worse than our most terrifying nightmare.”
“Natural disasters may not be under our control,” Amma added, “but we do have some technology that can signal us as they are approaching. However, science has yet to be able to invent a device that can detect the disasters man carries in his mind. Today mankind has become a walking disaster!”

16-talk2

Ripples of Compassion:

“God is the indivisible oneness devoid of all boundaries or separation. Mother Nature, the atmosphere, the birds and other animals, the plants and trees—each and every atom in them is overflowing with this divine power. God is fully present in all that is sentient and insentient. When we fully understand this truth, we can do nothing but love ourselves as well as everyone around us. The first ripple of love emerges from within us. When a pebble is dropped into a still pond, the first little ripple forms around the pebble itself. Gradually the circle of that ripple expands and expands until it reaches the shore. In the same way, love should start within. If we are able to purify the love inherent in us, it will gradually expand to encompass the world.”

16-modi-amma-f

Devotion to God and dedication to the poor is the message of AMMA – Narendra Modi

27 Sep 2016, Amritapuri – Amritavarhasm 63 celebrations

Prime Minister Narenda Modi gave his speech during the occasion of Amritavarhasm 63 via video conferencing. Salient points are listed below.

*On this pious and sacred occasion, I offer my deep regards to Amma. I also pray to the Almighty to give long life, and good health to Amma. She is the guiding light for millions of devotees. Not only that, she has become the synonym of life for many devotees. Like a real Maa, she nurtures her devotees through direct and indirect acts; visible and invisible hands. I am very fortunate to be among those who have been receiving Amma’s blessings and unconditional love.

* Three years ago I had the opportunity to visit Amma on her 60th birthday celebrations Though today I am not so lucky as to be able to greet her in person, I am delighted to see her through technology.
* India is the land of such saints who have seen God in everything that can be seen. Mankind is prominent among those things. That is why service to mankind has become their main motto. Even in her childhood Amma was fond of giving her own food to others. Serving the old and the aged, and helping the needy have been her childhood passions. Also, she worshipped Lord Krishna in her childhood.

* These two qualities have been her strength. Devotion to God and dedication to the poor is thus the message that I have personally taken from my association with Amma. Millions of devotees from all over the world also believe in the same.

* I am aware of the social and charitable works done by various institutions and programmes run by Amma. She is always keen to help the world’s poor in meeting their five basic needs: food, shelter, health care, education, and livelihood.
* The work done and the donations given by the Ashram for Water, Sanitation, Education and Health has been commendable.
* Amma’s initiative in building toilets has been a great help in our Swach Bharat programme. Amma has pledged to contribute 100-crore rupees towards sanitation efforts in Kerala. This pledge includes the construction of 15,000 toilets for the poor. Today, I am informed that throughout the State, Amma’s ashram has already completed construction of 2,000 toilets.
* One year ago, Amma generously donated 100-crore rupees to the Namami Gange programme.
*I am also aware of Amma’s helping hands to mitigate the sufferings in the aftermath of natural disasters. It is also heartening to note that the researchers at Amrita University are innovating new approaches to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
* At the end, I would like to convey my sincere thanks for giving me the opportunity of joining the celebrations. Once again I express my deep regards to Amma.
16-varsham-f

Photo updates on 26th – Amritavarsham 63

Photo updates of the program held on 25th and 26th in connection with Amritavarhsam 63 celebrations

 

16-ocean-f

Mr Prakash Javadekar inaugurated OceanNet

26 Sep 2016, Amritapuri – Amritavasham 63 Celebrations

OceanNet is an Amrita University project offering internet connectivity for fishermen at sea to help them stay safe and provides connectivity up to 60 km -45 kilometres beyond the range of cell-phone towers.  Each boat’s coordinates, speed, course is tracked on a land-based server. SOS calls are also supported. The system will be a Godsend for commercial fishermen who regularly spend five to seven consecutive days outside the Internet range.

Amrita OceanNet will put an end to the frustrations associated with the inability to communicate one’s location and physical-emotional conditions to relatives while at sea. Through this government authorities will be able to disseminate disaster-warning messages to all the fishing vessels.

Dr. Maneesha Sudheer, Director of Amrita Centre for Wireless Networks & Applications said the idea for Amrita OceanNet came directly from Amma. In 2010, a fishing boat in the Arabian Sea collided with a ship. Several people were injured and killed; some were never found. Saddened by this disaster, Amma asked Dr. Maneesha to develop a system to communicate, in real-time, the alerts, disaster warnings, etc. to the fishing vessels.

Amrita OceanNet comprises an onshore base-station with Internet connectivity that boosts Internet signals. This boosted signal is then captured by fishing vessels that are equipped with a low-cost Amrita OceanNet receiver-broadcaster system. In turn, these Amrita OceanNet-equipped vessels also become broadcasters. In this way, the Internet signal — through multiple boat-to-boat hops — can extend 60 km beyond the shoreline. A Wi-Fi network is provided aboard the fishing vessel to which the fishermen connect using their smart phones.

Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of HRD while inaugurating Amrita OceanNet, in the presence of Amma, spoke Live using Ocean Net to Dhanesh, who was at that time on his boat in the Arabian Sea . Javadekar said: “Hello Dhanesh, you are 60 kms away in the ocean, but you are very close to Amma’s heart and you will always be protected by Amma”.

“Amma has brought a great service to the fisherman and the country through Ocean Net, who could not connect with anybody, once they ventured into the seas. In fact now our fishermen will become our Coast Guards, and can even inform our real Coast Guards about any suspicious movements or threats from the enemy coming to attack our country through the high seas.

“God creates, in ages, a guru like Amma,and we are here to get her blessings. Today I am blessed since I am participating in a very noble cause” said the Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.

 

16-onam-f

Try to make our circle of compassion larger and more expansive

14 September 2016 — Onam Celebrations at Amritapuri Ashram

(Amma’s message on the occasion of Onam festival)

Amma is extremely happy to see all of you have gathered here to celebrate Thiruvonam with Amma. It shows the bond you have with Amma. May this bond and love be always there between all of you as well. It is said that the relative of a devotee is another devotee alone. It is this message of unity and love that Thiruvonam brings to us.

Onam presents a role model of the relationship between the government and the governed. Mahabali desired nothing but the welfare of his subjects. His people, too, loved their king. The festival of Onam presents the bond between them—their unity, love and equality—before our eyes. How should rulers be? How should citizens be? Onam presents a perfect ideal of this, which is essential in today’s world.

Onam is the celebration of human relationships. It is the time when relationships among family members, friends and relatives get strengthened. We live in an age where all human bonds have become weak. Husbands and wives are becoming estranged from one another. Mother-child relationships, father-child relationships, teacher-student relationships and relationships between neighbours are all becoming weaker. Onam comes to us bearing the message of reviving these relationships and strengthening them. Onam becomes Onam only when this is achieved.

However, Onam is not a celebration of human relationships alone. It is also a celebration of the bond between Nature and humankind. Beyond that, it is also a celebration of the bond between God and humanity. What sets Onam apart from other celebrations is its completeness. Onam is a festival that includes all aspects of life. Children, women, young people, and the elderly all have their respective roles in the festival. The celebration is relevant at the family level as well as at the societal level. Similarly, it also impacts our immediate surrounds, Nature as a whole, as well as our own bodies and minds. Onam is also the festival of cultural values and art forms.

Moreover, Onam is the story of the transformation that came over Emperor Mahabali. Although a righteous king, Bali took great pride in his own abilities and good qualities. When his guru, Sukracharya, warned him that Vamana—the dwarf boy who stood before him—was in reality Lord Vishnu, a battle ensued within him. Either adhere to truth and lose his all his name and position or try to safeguard his name and position by turning his back on truth. Mahabali chose the former path. It was the path of renunciation.

In the end, when the dwarf Vamana grew in size and measured the earth and the heavens in two strides, Mahabali’s pride crumbled to pieces. In order to keep his word and uphold the truth, he surrendered his own self. However, that defeat became his success. It is Nature’s infallible law that he who renounces everything achieves everything. Mahabali became like gold that has been purified by fire. He rose to becoming purnam—whole—and attained immortal fame.

The battle that arose in Mahabali’s heart takes place within every human being as the battle between good and evil, the battle between positive and negative emotions, the battle between selfishness and selflessness. Those who choose the path of righteousness are fortunate. Mahabali’s story is a message to the modern man who prides himself on his own abilities, yet staggers without answers when faced with life’s challenges.

Mahabali was an asura—a member of a race of demons. Prahlada was also an asura. Vibhishana was a rakshasa—a different type of demon. Regardless all three became perfect beings. This proves that goodness exists within all of us, and if we try, we can awaken it.

Today we judge people as great or otherwise based on the wealth they possess or their fame or position in society. Once these are lost, their “greatness” is also lost. This is the law of the world. But this is not true in spirituality. One becomes great only when one loses their identity with “I” and “mine” and the resulting attachments. This is when man becomes God. When Mahabali surrendered everything to the omnipresent Vishnu Consciousness, he transcended the boundaries of “I” and “mine” and attained the Supreme. This is the principle behind the story.

Discernment is the “switch” that turns on the light of knowledge.

Mahabali’s reign marked a golden era where people didn’t tell lies and there was no deceit or slander. However, today, the situation is the complete opposite. The age we live in seems to have only one slogan, “My own happiness! My own gain!” This attitude will only lead us to darkness and sorrow. There is a belief that King Mahabali visits his subjects on Thiruvonam and enquires about their welfare. The real principle behind this belief is that we should awaken from our stupor of selfishness and view the world around us through the eyes of Mahabali. It is the little acts of love and respect that we show towards our fellow beings that fill our lives with joy. When each one of us thinks what we can do to make others happy, then naturally our hearts will fill with joy. This was all Mahabali really wished for. He just wanted to his subjects experience peace, prosperity, happiness and contentment. He never wished anything for himself. Mahabali’s vision for his subjects was like a mahatma’s vision for the world as a whole. It was a vision devoid of selfishness.

There is a lesson to be learned from each and every experience in life. But we need sraddha and viveka—attentiveness and discernment—to be able to recognise the lessons life is trying to teach us. Discernment is the “switch” that turns on the light of knowledge. Those with discernment are able to understand the message behind each positive and negative experience in life and accept everything that comes their way with a smile.

For Onam we have the tradition of wearing new clothes. Along with that, let us adopt the tradition of making new decisions that are for social good. Children, you enjoy traditional Onam songs and games for Onam. Make this joy permanent by learning to live a life founded on spiritual principles. For Onam, we compete to make the largest and most beautiful pookkalams. At the same time, let us also make a floral design in our heart using flowers of love, flowers of patience, flowers of self-sacrifice and flowers of humility. Let us try to make our circle of compassion larger and more expansive. If we do this, we can make life itself a huge Onam celebration.

-Excerpts from Amma’s Thiruvonam Message

16-coconut-f

Tender Coconut, Tender Heart: A Lifetime With Amma

Sati, an elderly woman who lives just north of the Ashram, comes regularly for darshan. She never comes empty-handed. Each time, Sati brings a tender coconut to offer to Amma, often along with a piece of cake or some homemade food.

16-coconut

Sati has a beautiful relationship with Amma. At more than 70 years old, she has known Amma since they were both children, and witnessed firsthand Amma’s childhood leelas, including the time Amma lay on top of a six-foot banyan plant, and the time she transformed water into milk and panchamritam.

When Sati brings the coconut to Amma, she lies on Amma’s lap, pleading with Amma to drink the coconut milk, making sure that Amma finishes completely. Sati won’t allow anyone to touch her, or take the coconut away from Amma’s hand. Sometimes Sati feeds Amma herself.

But Sati brings more than food to Amma – lying in Amma’s lap, she sings to Amma – compositions of her own making. Every night before she goes to bed, Sati composes these lines for Amma. Here is one such verse:

സ്നേഹത്തിൽ നിന്നുദിക്കുന്നു – അമ്മ
സ്നേഹത്താൽ വൃദ്ധി തേടുന്നു
സ്നേഹതം താൻ ശക്തി ജഗത്തിൽ – അമ്മ
സ്വയം സ്നേഹം താൻ ആനന്ദമാർക്കും

Rises from love – Amma
With love she grows
Love is the power in the world
Amma is love and bliss for everyone

Listen to Sati singing these lines…

 

Amma has helped Sati on several occasions throughout her life. When Sati was pregnant for the fourth time, Amma personally took Sati to the hospital in Chavara.

Sati is one of the rare villagers who has always understood Amma’s greatness. Her pure love and faith is something one needs to see with one’s own eyes. If you are around, watch her next time when she offers her coconut to Amma.

 
-Sakshi