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What is Her plan, no one knows

31 March, Kishangargh, Rajasthan – Bharata Yatra 2016

The trip from Amdavad to Jaipur was very arduous as it traversed kilometer after kilometer of an extremely hot and desolate landscape. Amma and the group left before dawn but as soon as the sun rose, it was impossible to escape its scorching rays, with temperatures passing 38 degrees C (100 F) all day.

Before the trip Amma expressed her desire to stop and have lunch somewhere with the group along the way, but due to some miscommunication, the vehicles in the tour caravan got split up and took different routes. Both were travelling on parallel roads to the Jaipur. When it was lunch time, Amma and the tour group were very far from each other and it wasn’t until 4pm that everyone was reunited on the road just after Krishanghard!

The next challenge was trying to find a place in the shade for everyone to stop and eat and get some relief from the heat. A small dhaba (roadside eatery) that had clearly seen better days, was selected because it had a small veranda, a garden and some grass where everyone could squeeze in to the shade and have lunch with Amma.

The owner of this establishment and her family were overjoyed to welcome Amma and the group, and let everyone use their place for the picnic; until this point she had only seen Amma on television.

After Amma served food to everyone, had a Q & A session and sang bhajans, the lady who owned the dhaba wanted to speak a few words. She took the microphone and shared her personal story of how her restaurant had once served award winning food and been a thriving business, but that recently it had fallen on hard times. First her husband passed away, and they had to close down for three years. Just three months ago she decided to start it back up again, but it was not doing good. That morning her son tried to reason with her that they should give up on the business and sell it, but she wanted to keep trying to make it work. Finally after her children’s persistence she said she would agree to shut it down unless she received a sign to keep it open…and now after Amma’s visit she knew it was the sign she was waiting for and was thrilled Amma had asked to stop there with the tour group and bless the place. Before Amma left, she invited Amma to come inside the hotel, which Amma obliged and blessed her.

All were very touched to hear her share her personal story with tears in her eyes and see how even though they may have suffered in the journey’s heat waiting to have their picnic, it ended up being in the perfect place at the perfect time.

-Kannadi

 

 

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Walking form of God: Amma in Jaipur

1 April, Jaipur, Rajasthan – Bharata Yatra 2016

After her program in Amdavad, Amma held a one day public program at the Tagore School Grounds in Jaipur. It was Amma’s first visit to the city since 2011 and a second time at the same grounds.
During darshan many were requesting Amma to come back every year and soon start an ashram center here.

Harirampur is one of the villages where MAM has also supplied potable water {news}. The head of the village came with his wife to thank Amma for all she has done for them. When they approached Amma they very humbly sat down in front of Amma as they would do in their village home, with so much innocence (and cuteness). Amma was very touched by their humility.

Harirampur villagers thanking Amma

Upon her arrival to the city, Amma visited the same house that hosted her on her previous visit. That time in 2006, Amma’s visit coincided with Holi and the family was blessed to play Holi with Amma in their own home {news}. Remembering that first Holi celebration with Amma, they again welcomed with festive Holi songs and showering flower petals, while singing ‘Holi! Holi!..’

During her visit to the city, a man was brought to Amma for darshan by his mother. The man has been suffering from liver cancer for the past two and a half years. His cancer had now progressed to the last stage and his leg had become extremely swollen. His mother was was overcome with grief sharing their plight with Amma and humbly requesting Amma’s blessings for her son.

The following evening Amma was welcomed to the stage by PP Choudhary, Member of Parliament, who said, “Amma is a walking form of God.”

Amma giving saplings to Harirampur villagers

Amma distributed saplings to villagers of Harirampur as part of the AmritaServe. The villagers also brought Amma seeds and grains that they have grown organically in their village.

Amma then addressed the crowd and delivered her satsang which was translated into Hindi. Amma also sang bhajans in Marwadi and led a guided meditation and manasa puja in Hindi before giving darshan to everyone that came. For both satsang and bhajans people were listening very attentively and clapping enthusiastically.
After darshan ended early the following morning, Amma and the tour group travelled to Delhi for the next stop on the tour.

-Kannadi

 

 

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Celebration continues: Amma in Amdavad

29 March, Ahmedabad, Gujarat – Bharata Yatra 2016

Amma held an evening program at the Ahmedabad Education Society Ground.
Several local dignitaries were on hand to welcome Amma to Gujarat including: Minister for Transport, Water Resources, Labour Employment Vijay Ramaiklal Rupani; Dharmendra Bhavani, Central Secretary VHP; Raman B Padiyar Head of VHP S.Gujarat; Manas Shankar Ray, Principal Commissioner, Income Tax; RS Sodhi, MD of AMUL; and Rajnikant Mohanlal Patel, MLA.

When Amma stopped for an evening bhajans and dinner enroute to Amdavad

The villagers of Nani Borvai, one of the villages adopted under AmritaSeRVe project, were given saplings promoting the planting of more trees in the villages. They also brought organic vegetables they grew in their village to give to Amma. Many of them were in tears as they were meeting Amma personally for the first time.

Amma gave satsang, sang bhajans and led everyone in guided meditation. She also instructed everyone in the Manasa Puja in the local language of Gujarati as well as singing many bhajans as well in the local tongue.

Throughout the night, local Amrita Vidyalayam children presented different cultural programs throughout the night.

Amongst the thousands who came for Amma’s darshan, there were a few new people who were shedding tears, overcome with emotion upon meeting Amma for the fist time. They told Amma they just need devotion and dispassion. A few of them even asked Amma to be their guru and received a mantra from her.

The darshan came to an end at 7.37 am the next day morning.

Nani Borvai villagers with organic products

Before the departure to the next city for the program, Amma and the group spent a day in the garden at the Amrita Vidyalayam campus. Once the scorching sun set, Amma came and sat on the grass with everyone, where she distributed dinner prasad, sang bhajans and held a Q & A session. At the end, Amma sang a joyous Gujarati song, which brought almost everyone to their feet and all began to dance in joy.

Amma continues to shower joy and make a celebration wherever she goes… and the journey continues now to the next city – Jaipur.

– Kannadi

 

 

 

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Joyous celebrations: Amma in Mumbai

26-27 March, Mumbai, Maharashtra – BharataYatra 2016

Amma came to Mumbai a few hours after celebrating Holi in Pune. Since its only a short drive from Pune to Mumbai and technically it was still Holi upon her arrival, Amma fulfilled the wishes of all the Mumbai devotees by playing Holi with them as well. After serving dinner to everyone, Amma sang a rocking new Holi song, ‘Holi Ye Ayi Rangoon’ that had the whole hall jumping. When the song reached its crescendo, everyone was chanting ‘Radhe Radhe Radhe!’ and all were swaying and dancing, lost in the spirit of love. Amma took everyone to a different realm. Then when the song ended she began to spray colored water and throw colored powder all around. Devotees were cheering and laughing as they got to play Holi with their krishna, surely making it the most memorable Holi for everyone present. For those traveling with Amma, they were amazed at their good fortune to get to play Holi twice with Amma in the same day!

Over the following two days, Amma conducted her normal Brahmastham programs of satsang, bhajans and darshan. During these days, so many dignitaries came to meet Amma while she was in the city, including: The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Phadnavis; Minister of heavy industries Anant Geete; Political leader Raj Thackeray several Judges of the Mumbai High Court; Bollywood actress Shriya Saran; Sudha Chandran; Navya Nayar film director Anjali Menon; and Singer Udit Narayan.

Sudhakar S Sonawane, the Mayor Navi Mumbai welcomed Amma officially to the stage and appreciated her effort in serving humanity. He mentioned that in every field: construction of free houses, education for poor, medical assistance to the needy, disaster relief, etc. Amma’s contributions are of a very high standard and that no government organization is able to provide such high standard facilities.

Mandatai Mhatre, MLA Belapur,  requested everyone present at the program to contribute their might and work for few hours each week with Amma in her endeavor of serving needy to make India a great country.

Vidya Thakur, Minister for Women & Child Welfare requested Amma to help to tackle problems in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha & Latur regions which were recently affected by severe draught. She also requested Amma to empower women in these regions.

Sanjay Kulkarni, Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University which is a 158 year old institution, told the audience that he was very much impressed with the achievements of Amrita University and its influence in the international arena, even though it is only 13 years old. He expressed his interest to work with Amrita University in specific areas which will help the humanity.

Amma gave 200 tree saplings to the villagers of Ransai which is one of the 101 villages adopted by MAM under AmritaSerVe project. Amma gave three keys of the houses built for the villagers and also distributed sarees to hundreds of villagers from Ransai. Upon receiving these gifts from Amma, they said, “We the villagers of Ransai are so grateful. Earlier there was no one for us. Now we know that we can go to Amma if we face problems. There have been so many changes in our lives after Amma adopted our village. Amma, you want us to become self-reliant. We promise you Amma that we will do our best.”

Finally when the last program ended early in the morning, the day after Amma came to the stage for darshan, Amma sang a new Punjabi bhajan. She brought an end to the Mumbai programs, the same way it all began when Amma arrived, with a joyous celebration.

– Kannadi

 

 

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Paint your body and mind with colours of Love

21-22 March, Pune – BharataYatra 2016

After a very long ride from Hyderabad, Amma was welcomed by devotees when she reached Pune at 5:30am in the early morning.

Over the next two days, Amma held two days program at the Pune ashram where she was welcomed by Padmashree Vijay Bhatkar, who said, “To see how God walks, how he talks, how he looks, how he blesses, God’s attributes, all of it we are able to experience on a physical level when we come to Amma. And so we call Amma “Jagadamba.” We are very fortunate to have Amma’s darshan and embrace. I consider myself to very fortunate to get an embrace from God Herself.”

Amma’s satsang was translated into Marathi and Amma lead the Manasa Puja and meditation in Hindi. Amma also sang bhajans each day and sat all day until late night giving darshan to everyone.

During darshan, Amrita Vidyalayam students presented different cultural programs. Several well known local performers came to share their talents including, Nanda Kishore who did a Kathak dance, Rajkumar Barsjikar sang bhajans, and Sambaji Shinde presented a Gondel (traditional Maharashrta folk bhajans usually sung only in Devi temples)

At the end of darshan on the second day, Amma was dressed up as Saint Jnaneswar by a family of devotees. Another family, dressed as Gopis, proceeded to dress up Amma as Sri Krishna and brought curd in mud pot and invited Amma to break the pot and distribute the curd. The festive mood on in the hall reached a climax when the last family came for darshan brought color powders for Holi. Someone smeared some colors on Amma’s face, and then she was given water balloons. Amma delighted everyone when she started throwing the balloons at all the devotees crowded around her and everyone burst into laughter as the balloons broke and doused them with colored water. Next Amma started spraying water with a water pistol on all around her.

Then finally a tray of powdered colors: pink, yellow, green, red, blue etc was passed to Amma and no sooner did the colors begin to fly all over. All were cheering, laughing and shouting with Amma… all were covered in colors. Amma decided to add more colors to everyone’s mind as she ended the night by leading a new rocking Holi bhajan. As the tempo reached its high point, the chant ‘Radhe Radhe Radhe’ reverberated through the hall… until finally at the crescendo, Amma raised her hand and yelled out, ‘Hari Boooool’… the celebration of Holi started and the programs in Pune came to an end.

The next morning Amma and the group proceeded to Mumbai where another set of devotees was waiting to play Holi with her… to be continued…

– Kannadi

 

 

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Let our lives become an offering: Amma in Hyderabad

18-19 March, Hyderabad – BharataYatra 2016

After her programs in Bengaluru, Amma traveled east and held a two day Brahmasthanam festival in the scorching heat (topping 40-46 degrees daily) of Hyderabad, where she gave satsang, sang bhajans, led manasa puja and meditation instructing everyone in the local Telugu language.

 

Addressing the gathering, Amma said, “Let our lives become an offering that alleviates the pain of the suffering people. To be compassionate towards the poor, one does not need a lot of wealth or a very high position in society. A kind word, a compassionate glance, a small favor all these can bring light into their lives and into ours as well. It is not what we received, but what we were able to give, that determines the value of our life. If we have been able to bring happiness to a soul even for a minute, it is a great achievement in itself.”

 

 

During the function, Amma distributed more than 200 saplings to the devotees encouraging them to plant more trees, restoring the harmony of nature. She kissed each sapling before she handed it over to each devotee causing them to beam with joy as they received it.

A senior women police officer who came to meet Amma asked a question, “All day I am meeting people who are creating troubles in the society. So after some time its difficult to be centered. Since the field is mostly dominated by masculine energy I find it difficult to maintain my feminine qualities.” Amma responded, “Daughter, you have been entrusted with the duty of maintaining the garden. It’s true a gardner will not be enjoying the beauty of garden but more focused on worms and insects that may destroy the beauty of garden. She has to remove them then, and only then will the plants be healthy, bloom and bear fruits. Amma understands in most of the cases the officials are put in a frame, and not able to work freely, and sometimes are not able to act according to dharma because of the pressure from the top… Daughter, understand your roles – when you are in the office, be an officer, in the home be a mother, a wife etc. Learn to shift your roles according to the situation.”

 

During darshan the crowd was delighted by several impressive cultural performances including one from the Yadava community who presented an Oggu Dolu dance, which they usually present only in temples. Additionally the local children of the Amrita Vidyalayam presented several different programs.

On the second and final day, Amma finished darshan at 3.20 am and sang two joyous bhajans before finally leaving the stage. A few hours later, Amma and the group were on the road again…this time to Pune for the next stop on tour and to celebrate Holi.

– Kannadi

 

 

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This world is a priceless garden: Amma in Bengaluru

14-15 March, Bengaluru – BharataYatra 2016

After a long drive from Amritapuri, Amma arrived in the early morning to the Bengaluru ashram. Even though it was nearly 3am there was still a large group of enthusiastic devotees, cheering and welcoming Amma upon her arrival with chants of ‘Mata Rani Ki.’

Over the next two days Amma conducted a Brahmasthanam festival, giving satsang, singing bhajans and leading all in guided meditation and manasa puja in Kannada, the local language. Amma also gave darshan all day till early the next morning on both days of programs.

There were several noted dignitaries who shared the dias with Amma on the occasion, including: SK Mukherjee, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court; HK Patil, Minsiter for Rural Development; and Santosh Hegde, Retd Supreme Court Judge and ex- Lokayuktha. Santosh Hegde expressed his appreciation of Amma’s commendable work in the education and the health sector. Addressing the gathering he said that Amma is not only a spiritual Guru but also a role model in serving the poor and needy. He told the audience that he felt blessed by meeting her. CN Balakrishna, MLA from Shravanbelagola who spoke was telling how Amma is like a light that has come to illuminate people’s lives.

During her own talk to the gathering, Amma said “This world is a priceless garden with which God has blessed humankind and other beings. He has provided all the required resources and wealth for all of us to live healthy, happy and peaceful lives. We, whom God blessed with discernment and knowledge, have to admit that we have betrayed God’s trust. Other species, despite lacking the discriminative power of humans, have remained rooted in dharma and have not ignored God’s instructions. Nevertheless, they are finding themselves the victims of human cruelty. “What possible change can my efforts make in this situation?” If we can light the lamp of faith and love in our hearts and walk forward together, then we definitely can bring about a change in society”

During darshan one girl asked Amma, “Sometimes people around me try to poison my mind. At such times, I doubt my devotion towards you, Amma. How to stay connected to you?”

Amma replied “Amma is not a person, but the principle. She is within you. Invoke that principle. Kaikeyi loved Rama so much, but a few minutes with Manthara spoiled her mind. Try to avoid bad company and be in good company always,” reminding her of the story from the Ramayana.

Amma added that, “If you draw a line and someone criticizes that it is small, then they should draw something bigger next to it to demonstrate their point. Loving Amma is showing compassion to all,” as the girl listened with awe and tear-filled eyes, feeling blessed.

Amritavidyalayam and Amrita University students presented different cultural programs on both days of the programs. Each day Amritavidyalayam students welcomed Amma to the stage with the chants of Vedic hymns and during the day one could see the students actively involved in the seva activities of the program.

At the end of darshan on the second night Amma sang a joyous bhajan ending the festival at 3.15 am.

– Kannadi

 

 

 

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Amma at the Bhavani river 2016

12 March, Bhavani, Tamil Nadu – Bharata Yatra 2016

On the way to Bangaluru, Amma and the group stopped at the Bhavani river. Meditation, Satsang, Bhajans and the dinner were also served by Amma. Answering a question Amma reminded the need to preserve nature and environments and the necessary efforts to bring awareness among people.

 

 

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Mantra given by a Satguru is always safe for us: Amma on Mantra japa

Amritapuri – 4 December 2015

During a question-and-answer session in Amritapuri, Amma was asked about the best way to chant one’s mantra.

QUESTION: Amma, I like to chant my mantra aloud. I feel a lot of love and devotion and enthusiasm when I do that. But when I do the same by just moving my lips (without any external sound), I don’t get the same amount of concentration and I don’t feel the same amount of love and enthusiasm. Since you are my Guru, I would like to guide me as to which is the best way to chant my mantra.

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Amma: “When we chant slokas (hymns or prayers), we can surely chant them aloud there is no harm in it. But when we are chanting mantras that have bijaksharas (seed sound syllables), then it is advised not to chant such mantras aloud. It is better to chant such mantras by merely moving the lips (with no external sound).

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“Suppose you are alone at home, then you can surely chant your mantra aloud. There is no harm in it. Or you can close your prayer room and chant it aloud. Suppose you are living alone, and there is nobody else listening to you, then also, you can chant the mantra aloud. For some people, that may give more concentration. Some students love to read their lessons aloud, whereas some like to read it silently without making any sound. Some get better concentration when they read it silently. It varies from person to person. In general, if there are people around you, then it is better to chant the mantra by just moving your lips in the initial stages [later, one will not find it necessary to move the lips but can just chant the mantra inwardly].

Adhikari-bheda for Mantra japa

“In olden days, the Guru wouldn’t give mantra initiation so easily. They would go by Adhikari-bheda before initiating them into a mantra. That is, they would see if the disciple was prepared to take up the practice of mantra japa. Some children have a talent for singing from a very young age. Once they are trained by a music teacher, they can easily become an accomplished singer. But with Amma, when it comes to mantra initiation, she has never looked into the adhikari bheda – otherwise none of us would be here in the ashram [everyone laughs]. Amma gives mantra initiation to whoever asks for it, with the hope that at least that person will chant this mantra for some time, if not forever. In that way, there will be at least some benefit. That is all Amma cares for.

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Power of Bijakshara

“When Amma gives a mantra which has a bijakshara, then there are certain instructions that need to be followed along with it. A mantra with a bijakshara has to be heard from the Guru’s mouth directly. One has to be initiated by the Guru. That is what in fact brings about a change, a transformation in the disciple.

“Here (in India), a little of yogurt is added into milk at night, and by morning the milk becomes fermented and is transformed into yogurt. Similarly, when you get a mantra from a Guru, it is like adding yogurt into normal milk. When you don’t get it from the Guru and you try to do it on your own, then it is like milk converting into yogurt by adding some other materials for fermentation; in such cases, the quality of the yogurt may be less.

“We all have the Truth in us, but we are not able to see it because our minds are contaminated. When we say, “water is hot,” the heat can be of various degrees. It can be 10 degrees, 20 degrees, 30 degrees, or even 100 degrees boiling water. In 10 degrees, the micro-organisms may still be active, but as the temperature increases, the amount of micro-organisms decreases. A real Guru is completely pure, 100% pure, and thus whatever comes from Him has the power to create a transformation in the disciple as well. When a Satguru gives a mantra, he or she is infusing his/her energy into us, and that can create a change from within us.

Enthusiasm & practice

“In the initial stages of our sadhana (spiritual practices), we feel a lot of enthusiasm. At the same time there are certain do’s and don’t’s which we need to follow, so that we are able to stay focused on the spiritual path. Let us say you are the owner of a new vehicle and you start driving it. Initially you may not be able to drive it in high speed because there is a speed lock. Only after driving it for a given amount of kilometres can you really take it to a higher speed. If you have a mixi (grinding machine used in kitchen), and you continuously keep the mixi on, the motor is going to burn out. You have to switch off the mixi once in a while, so that the coil of the mixi is not burnt. Those who have the understanding of spirituality, who have read spiritual books and have proper guidance – such people know about all the precautions to be taken, but others surely should not go too overboard without taking the right precautions. A health tonic has a certain prescribed dosage beyond which it can be quite harmful, and the dosage is different for children and different for adults. If you gulp down the whole bottle of tonic thinking it is tasty, then instead of doing good it will only cause you harm. Similarly, when doing spiritual practices like meditation, you may be very enthusiastic about it, and you may think, “Let me meditate for hours together.” Now, if you are not really ready to meditate for hours together, then doing so can lead to many problems. Your head can get heated, you may not get proper sleep, your digestion can be affected, etc. For some people, such uncontrolled spiritual practices can even lead to depression and similar unhealthy conditions. So one must approach meditation in a very progressive way – slowly and steadily.

“One should increase practices little by little, and not do too much straight away. In the initial phases, it is good to meditate for 20 minutes or for half an hour. Once you are comfortable with it, then you can consider increasing it slowly. One should not force the mind into meditation for hours together . It has to be done gradually. When we start doing our practices, it is important to have the right guidance. Those who don’t have samskara (spiritual culture) absolutely need this guidance from a Guru. It is like a student doing practicum in the laboratory. The student needs to have the professor nearby, instructing the student on how to use the chemicals, how to conduct the experiment in the right way, and what the precautions are that need to be taken. The Guru guides us as to what should not be done initially, and what can be done in the initial stages. The Satguru knows what is the best for the disciple and advises each one accordingly.

Gurumantra from a Satguru

“When a Satguru gives a mantra, it is always safe for us. It is like a fragile item such as glass that is shipped with proper packaging around it. Even if such a package falls down, the item inside won’t break, because of the proper packaging. A mantra from a Guru is like that – it is always safe. Taking mantra from the Guru-mukha (uttered from Guru’s mouth) with bijaakshara, is like getting a package that is properly wrapped, and even if it falls down, it will not break. Getting such a mantra from some other source is like having a very fragile object which, when it falls down, will crack into pieces because it doesn’t have any protection around it. That is why a bijaakshara mantra should always be taken from a Satguru, if one wants it to have the proper effect.””

 

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Shivaratri is a celebration of sacrifice

7 March 2016, Amritapuri

Shivaratri was celebrated in the Ashram with lot of devotion and faith. Amma held an additional midnight bhajan session and sang many Shiva bhajans. She asked every one to stand up and dance to the tune of “Shiva Shiva Shambo, Hara Hara Hara Shambo…”. Amma also danced to the tune of Baduga music and danced with the little ones on the stage.

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In her Shivaratri message Amma said” Shivaratri is a celebration of sacrifice, dispassion and renunciation. Shivaratri teaches us to abandon all other thoughts in contemplation of God, and to realize the ultimate purpose of human life.

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“Human beings are very attached to food and sleep. We will never give them up that easily. Only when we are attached to a higher love will we be ready to give up food and sleep. On Sivaratri day, we try to awaken this higher love for the Supreme within, thus observing a fast, and keeping vigil at night. Let Divine grace take us beyond all sense of duality and make us one with the Supreme.

“The real consecration of God should take place in our heart. It is not enough if it is done outside. Our mind should become pure. It should become filled with love and devotion. It should become one-pointed and filled with awareness. Our mind should become a fertile soil in which all virtues can grow. If this happens, God will automatically shine within.

 

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“May the light of  knowledge dispel the darkness of ignorance in everyone. May all my children gain the awareness of unity and become beneficial to the world. Instead of thinking what we have gained, let us think what we can give. Only when we give to the society, do we really gain. The one who removes thorns from others path, spreads flowers in his own path. Let the flowers of selflessness bloom in my children. May Grace protect us all. ” Amma concluded.

The ecstatic bhajans of Amma set the mood of the bhajans for the rest of the night, keeping awake and waiting for the Lord to shine within.

-Kannadi