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Indelible Footprints in the Heart: Amma’s 2015 Christmas Message

December 25, 2015 – Amritapuri Ashram

Christmas awakens vibration of goodness, hope and compassion in the human heart, just as the birth anniversaries of other great incarnations and realized beings do. This day reminds us of what it is that that the human heart should be comprised—not with selfishness and hatred, but with devotion to God and love towards our fellow beings. Our thoughts and actions should become so permeated with goodness that they come to illuminate the divinity that resides within us. Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Buddha and Jesus Christ lived on this earth thousands of years ago, but they have left their indelible footprints in human hearts. If we wish to reach the shores of everlasting peace and happiness, all we have to do is follow the path they showed us.

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Footprints imprinted upon the earth are soon to fade and disappear, but footprints formed in the heart remain. This is why we remember the lives of mahatmas long after they leave their physical bodies. Their lives and teachings are very practical; they serve to remind us about the purpose of human life. Their lives were not for themselves, but for the good of the world. When we remember their lives, it awakens our own innate goodness. It helps us to become compassionate towards our fellow beings; it helps us to overcome selfishness and anger. We find ourselves aspiring to become more loving. It prompts us to repent when we become angry—to pray for the ability to forgive.

One may ask, “Don’t we also remember people those who did evil deeds?” Yes, but when we think of them, we are not uplifted as we are when we remember those who were embodiments of goodness. Thinking of the lives of mahatmas is like visiting a perfume factory. Your clothes become fragrant without any effort. Dwelling upon the lives of the wicked, on the other hand, is like visiting a charcoal factory; our clothes become sooty even if we don’t touch the charcoal directly.

Throughout his life Jesus Christ demonstrated deep compassion and humility. Normally people respect others only if they belong to a reputed family. Otherwise they will not give them much respect. We see others through the lens of our ego. However, in spirituality, we accept others with out any preconceived notions. Wherever there is goodness, we need to accept it. That is what great masters teach us.
Not only that, Jesus did not live like a king, as many expected him to, but as one among the people, as the servant of all. Therefore, he was easily accessible to the poor and deprived. However high our status in life is, we should have the expansiveness to see everyone as equal. That, in fact, is an exalted state. If we cannot attain it, then at least we should be able to be able to view them without anger and hatred. We live in times when mutual brotherhood is lost and everyone is thinking of what one can grab from the other. It may be hard to see everyone as equal, but when we understand spirituality, we will be able to achieve this vision.

Currently, we depend on others for our happiness. Because of that dependency, we are losing the experience of true freedom. We miss the experience of knowing our True Self because of this attachment to the ego. No matter how hard we row a boat that is tied to the shore, it will not move forward one inch. Similarly if we want to move forward in spirituality, we need to renounce the notions of “I” and “mine.” We need to understand that we are just instruments in the hands of the Divine, and that it is the Divine power that is allowing us to do things.

We can control things only to some extent. Beyond that it is Divine grace that makes things happen. We need to put in efforts with an attitude of surrender. Even when we win a competition, we need to bend our head and bow down to receive the medal. Humility is the key that opens the heart.

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The goal of every mahatma’s life is to guide others to find the heaven within themselves. They show us that good actions bring us closer to God. Through his life, Jesus Christ taught the world that society rewards a spiritual seeker only with a crown of thorns. All mahatmas have had to face many challenges throughout their life, but because they had the experience of the Truth, nothing could stop them.

If you are a smoker, give your family the present of quitting smoking this Christmas. With the money that you save by giving up this habit, you can help a needy person. It also protects your health. If you are an alcoholic, get help to stop in the name of love for your family. The family will be so happy and your health will not deteriorate as well. If you are an overeater, stop eating excess food and start the habit of eating lesser portions of more nutritious food. This will make us less dull and improve our health.

Such presents that come out of sacrifice bring unending joy. Amma does not say that we should not send greeting cards and gifts or do other such things. It may give our loved ones fond memories. But the real gifts are the actions we do that truly benefit others. This is the right way to celebrate Christmas.

Celebrations like Christmas are also a wake-up call to those who do not know the goal of human life. From the point of view of the ancient sages of India, all are children of God. The guru’s voice wakes up the disciple who is in deep winter hibernation. What does the voice say? “This is the birth of a new age! You should be its creators. Hence, awake, arise! Joyfully shoulder the bundle of sacrifice and surrender! This bundle is not a burden. Rather, it will give us wings to fly high into the world of the soul, the True Self.”

May the spirit of Christmas inspire my children to fly high into the world of peace and joy. May grace bless you always.

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Amma in Michigan

20-24 Nov, Detroit, Michigan – America Yatra 2015

Amma held two days of public programs followed by a Retreat and Devi Bhava at the Detroit Marriott Hotel at the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

The first evening program ended at 3:30am with Amma dancing to a traditional Baduga melody. At the end of the second full day program, Amma sang “Aya He Sahara Jagam” and, just before leaving the stage, danced once again to the delight of everyone.

During the retreat, regional satsangs presented various dance performances, one of which sang the praises of Lord Ganesh. Another group performed a traditional Hebrew dance to a song which included the sanskrit prayer ‘Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu’. Children from the regional balakendra also sang and performed traditional Indian dances.

A light dusting of snow fell overnight and on the day off, many children ventured outside in the cold breeze to gather what snow they could to make snow balls.

On the final evening, more than 50 children sat on stage near Amma as she led everyone in the Atma Puja ceremony for World Peace.

 

Amma wore a beautiful soft pink lavender and sky blue sari for Devi Bhava. The programs ended just after 8am the next day when Amma left the stage and departed for her return flight to Amritapuri.

-Kannadi

 

 

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Amma in Sanramon

14-18 November, San Ramon, California – America Yatra 2015

Amma held two days of public programs followed by a Retreat and Devi Bhava at her San Ramon Ashram in California.

Amma began the programs by asking the assembled crowd to sit in silence and pray for the peace of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks in Paris and in Lebanon, and for those who have been devastated by the sudden loss of their loved ones. She has also called upon all her admirers in Paris and the surrounding area to donate blood for the surviving victims.

Darshan: Amma is caressing the legs of a sick person

Satsang groups from around the San Francisco Bay Area sang bhajans throughout the afternoon on the first day which went from 11am for 13 hours continuously.  At the end, Amma sang Aya He Sahara and, as Amma has been doing throughout the European Tour, she enthralled the crowd by gracefully dancing to a traditional Baduga melody. Rain began just after Amma left the hall and continued overnight, ending just before the morning programs were to begin.

The second day fell on a Sunday with both a morning and evening program. In the evening, Br. Dayamrita gave satang followed by Amma’s bhajans and darshan. During the evening program, Amma gave instructions for the railings along the balcony to be painted the same color as the columns in the hall. Immediately after Amma finished darshan, preparations began. Devotees worked from early morning through lunch laying tarp, taping off edges, and painting. Few dozens of  people eagerly joined in this special seva and work was finished by mid-afternoon – giving plenty of time for the paint to dry before the first evening retreat program began.

Bhajans in San Ramon – Mata Rani Ki… Jai

A number of cultural programs were performed during the retreat. A string trio entertained the gathered crowd with selections from Handel’s Water Music. They were followed by local devotees dancing to one of Amma’s new bhajans – Mariamma (Samayapurattale). The beautifully choreographed steps embodied the words of the bhajan which praise Devi.
Throughout the programs, Amma’s Greenfriends Farm had a table just outside the Snackshop where they sold delicious fresh fruits, dried apples and persimmons, and jams made with fruits grown in Amma’s Orchard at San Ramon.

Amma wore a beautiful purple sari for Devi Bhava. Devi Bhava ended at approx. 8:30am the next day. Everyone rested before heading to the airport to catch their flights to the next program Detroit.

-Kannadi

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Diwali gift of Love in London

10-11 November, London – Europe Yatra 2015

It was a beautiful Diwali gift for Amma’s children in the United Kingdom as she arrived at the Alexandra Palace for a two-day programme held on November 10 and 11, 2015.

Welcoming Amma to London, Baroness Sandip Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development and a member of the House of Lords said, “So close to Diwali what better a gift can we ask for than to be in the presence of somebody who only knows how to teach love. In a world where we are completely in turmoil with conflict and pain, Amma, you bring hope and wisdom. Many of us will leave here today knowing that we can also take away a little bit of what it takes to make a better world.” Also present was renowned film maker Shekhar Kapur who said, “How can you say a few words about Amma? Actually, it is better to say nothing because Amma is everything, and then she is nothing because she can become nothing whenever she wants. There is no description that anybody has ever been able to find for the description of the infinite except to say is that ‘it is.’So all I can say about Amma is that, “Amma is… Amma is love..”

Baroness Verma also released the first copy of the English version of the book; “Amma’s Pearls of Wisdom” which is a collection of Amma’s beautiful quotes for 365 days in a year and handed over the first copy of the book to Shekhar Kapur. The Ambassador of Mexico to the United Kingdom, Diego Gomez Pickering, was also present on the occassion and also invited Amma to visit Mexico.

Devotees thronged the venue from all parts of the United Kingdom on both the program days.

During Amma’s darshans, there was a whole range of cultural programs ranging from Indian classical music, Taiko drumming from Japan, Western classical to pop music, which really added to the celebration. The devotees of Amma in the United Kingdom also presented a beautiful ‘Ras Garba’dance of Gujarat to the accompaniment of Amma’s bhajans.

The stage was lit with lights for the Diwali celebration, and Amma reminded Her children, “Just like these lamps lit on the stage, if we can light the lamp of faith and love in our hearts and walk forward together, then we definitely can dispel the darkness that we see around and bring about a change in society.

-Kannadi

 

 

 

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Amma is the greatest Mahatma to have ever graced our planet

6-8 Nov, Milan, Italay – Europe Yatra 2015

A beautiful spring-like weather welcomed Amma for 3 days at Busto Arsizio, the small town located 30 km North of city of Milan, where Amma holds her programs since 2012, when she visits Italy.
The very pleasant sunny and warm weather encouraged devotees and interested people from all the parts of Europe to come to the programs with warm and happy hearts. Large crowds filled the many connected halls at the MalpensaFiere site, and outside.

Welcoming Amma were the Mayor of Busto Arsizio, Gianluigi Farioli, His Excellency Mr Basant K Gupta, the Ambassador of India in Italy, and the very famous Italian singer and composer Maestro Franco Battiato.

In his welcoming speech, Mayor Farioli thanked Amma for her presence and for the contribution in supporting the project ‘Rete Lavoro’to be initiated by the Municipality of Busto Arsizio providing community benefiting jobs for jobless people. Mayor Farioli said: “Busto Arsizio is known for its traditional foggy climate, but when Amma comes, she transforms it into a warm place, filling the hearts of everyone with lots of love. Thank you Amma! You are always welcome here.”

His Excellency Mr Basant K Gupta, who had traveled all the way from Rome with his family said: “Amma is not only a great Mahatma on Earth today, she is in fact the greatest Mahatma to have ever graced our planet!”

Notable presences at the programs were those of film director Anna Agnelli, daughter of Umberto Agnelli, and Tracy Chaplin the grandson of the legendary Charlie Chaplin.

Amma’s visit enjoyed a large media coverage. Rai TV interviewed Amma during darshan. Journalists from the Corriere della Sera also had the opportunity to interview Amma extensively on the last day of the programs. On the evening of the 5th, Brahmachari Shubamrita Chaitanya was hosted at the famous radio station ‘Radio Deejay’by the very popular quirky media personality La Pina, during her daily program ‘Pinocchio’, which runs at the peak evening rush hours. La Pina came for Amma’s darshan on the next day, and was charmed by Amma’s presence and loving energy.

When Amma ended the Devi Bhava at 10.30am on Monday 9th November, the hall was still full of devotees eager to get more and more of Amma’s blessings.

– Kannadi

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Amma in Toulon

2-4 Nov, Toulon, France – Europe Yatra 2015

Scenes from the Zenith Omega arena in Toulon, Southern France. For three days and nights, the packed stadium was transformed into a temple of hope, love and light as tens of thousands passed through Amma’s arms, meditated together and prayed in unison as one heart and one mind for world peace.

 

 

 

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Seeking the warmth of Love in freezing temperatures

30- 31st October, Finland – Europe Yatra 2015
After three days of programs in Holland, Amma next travelled to Helsinki, Finland as part of her 2015 European tour. On the first evening of Amma’s program in the Vantaa Energia Areena, the occasion was honored by Ambassador of India to Finland and a renowned Finnish TV personality and wellness coach Kirsi Salo.

They both addressed the gathering briefly. Ambassador Sharma mentioned: “Amma, it means Mother. Mother is the most precious gift for every human being. We must learn from Amma, how to give. And we will get only when we learn how to give. We should shower love on others and affection on others. And whatever material gains we get, we should share with others. This is the message of Amma.”

Kirsi Salo also spoke during the occasion: “Amma opens our hearts, and wherever she goes, peace, harmony, acceptance and love arises and I want to thank her for that. I’m sure that this state of peace and harmony can continue in all places, regardless the environment. We can walk out in the world and feel that we all have one little Amma inside our hearts and we can see all the people through those eyes of love. The natural state of human beings and the universe is love and every one of us can bring it out to the world. Thank you Amma.”

After that former Olympic Swimmer Matti Rajakylä gave a talk of his experience with Amma and how Amma has inspired his life: “It was six years ago after my first darshan I sat on this same stage next to Amma, and realised one thing: “Everything I tried to look for in life, achieved or was trying to achieve in my career or outside of my career is only based on one basic need: LOVE. Love in it’s purest form. Love that brings fulfilment. Love that brings contentment and perfect peace. Love that doesn’t ask for anything. Now I’m sitting next to a person, who is embodying that Love.”

People from all over northern Europe (Amma’s satsang was displayed in Polish, Russian, Danish and Finnish) braved the freezing temperatures outside to come meet Amma. Inside the hall there was nothing but warmth as everyone happily left after receiving Amma’s embrace.

Amma next travels on to the south of France for the next stop on the tour in Toulon, France.

-Kannadi

 

 

 

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Amma is a great cultural ambassador and a great humanitarian

26-28 October, Houten, Netherland – Europe Yatra 2015

The sixth stop in Amma’s 2015 Europe Yatra was Houten, Netherlands, Amma’s 16th visit to the country. Amma came right after her first program in MA Center Germany. In the two days before her arrival, many volunteers had been busy building up the Expo for Amma’s visit and received Amma enthusiastically. Amma took the elevator to the first floor and was soon standing on the glass balcony where she gazed lovingly at the hundreds of volunteers and the tour group standing on the ground floor below. When everybody thought that Amma would go to her room to get some rest, she had different plans. She came down to serve supper to the local and international volunteers, meditated and sang with everybody. It was a sight to see to a small green lovebird sitting on Amma’s shoulder for a long time, as She sang and meditated.

On Tuesday evening October 27, Amma was welcomed to Houten by the Ambassador of India, J.S. Mukul, the President of VU University of Amsterdam, Prof. Dr. Jaap Winter, and Lucia Rijker, 6-time World Champion in boxing and kickboxing, actress, and coach (featured in the photo below).

The Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr. J.S. Mukul, welcomed Amma with the following words: “Amma is truly a great cultural ambassador and a great humanitarian. This is the biggest gathering that I have seen in Netherlands after taking charge as the Ambassador here. I am looking forward to more and more visits from Amma to the Netherlands.”

Professor Jaap Winter, President of the VU University of Amsterdam, welcomed Amma with a delegation of 14 professors from the university spoke the following words: “You might wonder why the head of a university would visit an event like this. This spring, together with a large delegation from the VU went to India. We visited many universities, spoke to numerous people, but the visit and the conversations that moved us the most was the visit to our colleagues at Amrita University. Amrita University has shown us that, as a university, you really can have the goal and the mission to contribute to a better world through science, education and research. We are proud of our connection to Amrita University, and happy that we have now also gotten to know Amma personally. We would love to continue this connection and collaboration. We have invited Amma to come and speak at our university the next time she is in the Netherlands.”

On her way out of the hall after the first day programme, Amma discovered a beautiful table full of the first harvest from the garden of Amma’s Center in Netherlands. Devotees working in the garden had set up a table with vegetables and fruits that had been harvested from the garden that morning, as well as jam and chutneys made with the harvest. Amma always teaches the importance of producing our own food and loving and respecting nature. The first harvest of the Amma Center in Holland was a testament to this, and consisted of beets, three types of kale, carrots, potatoes, green salad, beautiful wildflowers, chestnuts and much more. Amma stood at the table for some time, interacting with the volunteers and encouraging them to keep growing.

After three days of packed programmes in Netherlands, Amma left for her next stop of the tour – Helsinki, Finland.

-Kannadi

 

 

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Amma will inspire us all

22-24 October, MA Center Germany – Europe Yatra 2015

For the first time ever, Amma held a programme at MA Center Germany.

It so happened that the programme started on the auspicious day of Vijayadasami. On this day, while giving darshan, Amma did not forget to initiate Her children in India into letters through a webcast.

The darshan hall was packed with devotees on all the three days as people came from all parts of Germany and the surrounding countries.

Rebecca Horn, the world renowned visual artist, was among the dignitaries who came to see Amma.

It had been the dream of many devotees in Germany to finally welcome Amma in her own center. For years, the residents and other well wishers of Amma had been engaged in planning all logistics and constructing a brand new event hall, with the capacity to host 2,500 people. It had indeed been a challenge to create the right infrastructure for a large international event like Amma’s programme to be hosted in the small town Brombachtal. 600 volunteers from across Europe came to help make this dream a reality.

Many aspects required specific solutions, for example the parking: due to restrictions in parking slots, a car-sharing system had to be implemented, transporting people from the neraby town Michelstadt, where the main parking facilities were located. The system worked perfectly well and many people even remarked what a nice opportunity ot was to get to know other devotees of Amma during their shared car ride to the center.

The mayor of Brombachtal, Mr. Willi Kredel, welcomed Amma to his village: “I have to say: Wow! We don’t have something like this every day. It makes me proud and happy to have Amma here, such an extraordinary benefactor of human kind. If we look at all the humanitarian activities such as hospitals, orphanages, disaster relief….the list is endless we need to bow down in honor and respect. I am delighted to have her here in my province.
I would also like to congratulate the organizers of this event. To be honest, we were a little worried. But now when we see everything so planned and organized perfectly, I really would like to compliment the organization. Thank you very much.”

Since 2005, MA Center Germany hosts the annual AYUDH youth summit, where young people from all over the world get together, discuss and take local action to address global issues of concern to them. As part of the summit, AYUDH collaborates with the municipality of Michelstadt to implement at least one regional service project every year. In this way, a mutually enriching relationship between MA Center and the city of Michelstadt has developed over the years, introducing many people in the region to the humanitarian work and message of Amma.

The mayor of Michelstadt, Mr. Stephan Kelbert, remarked: “I am deeply moved by my experience today. As Mayors we have to face a lot of challenges during the year. But we are also lucky to have such occasions where we have the pleasure to welcome and meet Amma.

I also express gratitude for all the beautiful moments I have experienced already while collaborating with Amma’s Youth Organization AYUDH. I really look forward to collaborate and host many more events together in the future.

In Michelstadt since 2 weeks they have a refugee camp for 1000 refugees. And people here have been welcoming to them in the same spirit as Amma does. She is such a great example. She welcomes everyone with a smile, kindness and with humaneness. Many of the refugees lost everything and need our help now. And we need all the energy and power to do that. I am sure Amma will inspire us all to get that energy.”

At the end of the programme, Amma said to all the devotees: “All of you have worked so hard to organize this programme and to get the facilities ready to receive people. Amma bows down in front of your spirit of dedication and sacrifice.”

As Amma left the hall, one could see the eyes of Her children filled with tears of gratitude.

– Das

 

 

 

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Amma is the person who has touched my life the most

18-20 Oct, Paris – Europe Yatra 2015

The fourth stop on Amma’s 2015 European Yatra was in Cergy-Pontoise (near Paris, France). Every year on this tour some of the biggest crowds turn out in this city and this year was no different. Massive crowds came every day and filled the large hall awaiting their chance to spend a few moments in Amma’s arms. Amongst those who came to meet Amma were Academy Award-winning film director Claude Lelouch and renowned actress Elsa Zylberstein.

On the 2nd evening of programs, a new book of Amma’s quotations entitled “Pearls of Wisdom,” published by Paris-based publisher Les Editions Points was released. The French edition is entitled, “Tout Est En Vous.”

Releasing the book, Mr. Lelouch remarked, “This book is a pure marvel – to be read over the course of a year; every day you’ll savor Amma’s teachings, her observations, her generosity and her infinite goodness.” He continued, “Amma is probably the person who has touched my life the most. [Meeting Amma] has given me even more pleasure than winning the Oscars or the Palme d’Or.”

Mr. Lelouch’s upcoming film “Un Plus Une” co-stars acclaimed actor Jean Dujardin and Ms. Zylberstein and features Amma as herself, when the lead characters’journey culminates in a meeting with Amma.

Elsa Zylberstein also explained how she was transformed by her encounter with Amma: ”This meeting was beyond the extraordinary. It carried a message of tolerance, faith and understanding. In the world we live in today, I believe it’s vital to focus our attention in this way and this is what Amma transmits. She has been with me ever since I met her.”

All three days Amma gave darshan all day and all night into the early hours of following morning. The final program ended at 10am the day after it began, with Amma sitting until she had embraced each and every last person that came for the program.