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Amma in Munich

10-12 October, Munich, Germany – Europe Yatra 2015

The second stop on Amma’s European Yatra was Munich, Germany. Immediately after the end of the final program in Barcelona, Amma and the group travelled more than 1300km across Europe from the Iberian peninsula to the heart of Bavaria. Even though Amma arrived and the group arrived late at night, a few hours later everything was being set up for the next program that morning.

For the last several years Amma’s Munich programs have taken place in the Kulturhalle Zenith. Each day large crowds are delighted to watch Amma descend to the stage to start the day’s program along a high balcony that runs the length of the hall and early in the morning the following day, watch Amma ascend out of the hall along the same balcony. Each day Amma would arrive to the sounds of traditional Bavarian music played by local devotees dressed in ‘lederhosen’ and leave dancing to the beat of the Baduga music that has become the anthem for this tour.

On the second evening Amma was welcomed to Munich by Franziska Buch, well known, award winning German film director and screenwriter. Her work focus is on family and children and she is best known for her very successful children’s movies. Like “Emil und die Detektive” or “Bibi Bloxberg”.

The final evening program finished at 8:14am the following day whereby Amma and the tour group continued to the next stop of the tour in Switzerland.

see more photos…

 

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Planting Trees in the Desert: Meditation and Service at the prison in Barcelona

Inspired by Amma’s example, our volunteers working out of Barcelona, Spain have been running an outreach program with the nearby Quatre Camins prison for the past three years. The outreach is led by social worker Amparo Saavedra, who says that she wanted to find ways to incorporate everything she has learned from Amma about peace and love for the last 15 years into her work at Quatre Camins. Three years ago, Amparo asked Amma to bring meditation to the prison. Amma sent volunteer meditation instructors Cristina Rodriguez and Marta Griso, who have been visiting the prison and conducting classes and Amma’s IAM Meditation technique regularly ever since. The feedback from the prisoners is that the meditation is making a big impact on their lives—they credit the practice with helping to clear their minds and soothe their hearts. But meditation is not for everyone. That’s why 18 months ago, our volunteers started a garden at the prison called “Amma’s Garden” where the more action-oriented prisoners can learn to grow their own vegetables and enjoy being in nature. A number of the prisoners also spend two Sundays a month engaged in service activities at the Amma Center of Spain.

Prisoners with Amma

Prisoners with Amma

Finally, the prisoners are fundraising to help children with cancer. They raise money by making and selling bracelets and also by collecting bottle caps, which are sold to the recycling center. The prisoners have placed collection points in key locations throughout the prison, and over time have gotten all the prisoners in the habit of saving their bottle caps and dropping them in the collection points. The friends and families of the prisoners, and even the prison social workers and some of the other prison staff also bring their bottle caps from home and drop them in the collection points. One beautiful thing that has come out of this practice is that many different groups of prisoners within the prison are committed to collecting the caps. This has created a bridge between groups that would otherwise not have any common ground. The cap collection program was designed to engage the majority of the prison population, to create an easy positive practice for those who might not be receptive to more structured or involved service activities. When they hear that they can help children with cancer just by changing the place they put their used bottle caps, they easily agree. One of our volunteers explained that these things are like a small point of light for the prisoners, a simple and achievable act of compassion that opens their hearts and bring positive change into other parts of their lives as well.

Help children with cancer just by changing the place they put their used bottle caps, they easily agree.

During Amma’s most recent visit to Granollers, Spain, ten prisoners who have been participating in Embracing the World’s programs at the Quatre Camins prison received permission to spend the day at Amma’s program, doing service in support of the program and getting the opportunity to meet Amma personally. Upon receiving Amma’s embrace, one prisoner commented on how Amma received everyone, regardless of how they look. He felt that Amma only saw the goodness of his heart, describing Amma’s embrace as a priceless experience that opened his heart. Another commented that there are no words to describe Amma, stating that you have to experience her presence to understand it. Another stated that Amma can change the hate and war in the world through her infinite love, and that the greatest lesson he has learned from Amma is that you should hug more, and express your feelings more.

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Moving forward, our volunteers plan to create a program to help newly released prisoners integrate back into society with support. For many, leaving prison can be a very difficult experience. Without the amenities and support of the prison, it can be very difficult to integrate back into society. The volunteers are working to expand the meditation courses for newly released prisoners as well.

About the work of the volunteers at the Quatre Camins prison, Amma commented, “Amma is very, very happy that her daughters go out into the world to serve. When we die, the body rots and the only thing left is what we have done for others. It is like planting a flower or a tree in the desert. At least that much beauty or shade it will bring to the desert. Amma is very happy with her daughters.”

On the day they came to see Amma, the prisoners also brought a poem they had written for Amma, as well as a beautiful wooden altar carved by one of the inmates. The poem read:

Amma, you heard your children cry out,
Our hearts torn between good and bad,
Crushed under the terrible weight of hatred,
Until you arrived.

You, with your loving hugs filling us with love,
A love called freedom.
Freedom for those enclosed within prisons of brick,
we also are prisoners imprisoned within our own minds.

Inside our hearts with your gentle gaze
You summoned up an Ashram of serene protection,
and from that moment on,
we have been happily distracted.

Travelling with you through your world of compassion
is a dream come true, a serene refuge,
At your side we feel fulfilled.

 

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Turning into smiling ones, reflecting the joy of the moment

4 October 2015, Amritapuri

The day Amma would leave for the Europe tour, she came to the Kali Temple around 11 am and the for the next 3 hours, meditated, answered questions, gave advice, cracked jokes, gave a couple thousand people Prasad lunch, gave a quick darshan and finished off by singing and dancing her new signature Baduga dance. Infact Amma was dancing in many times when she is serving lunch prasad to the residents. Sad faces thinking of Amma’s impending departure turned to smiling ones reflecting the sheer joy of the moment. After few hours Amma left Amritapuri for Europe Yatra 2015.

baduga dance
happy amritapuri

 

baduga dance

 

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It is the message of peace, equality and unity

October 6-8, Barcelona, Spain – Europe Yatra 2015

On all the three days huge crowds lined up around the block for their chance to meet Amma. Many were coming to meet Amma for the first time but others, like the Mayor, the Honorable Josep Mayoral, have been coming yearly to welcome Amma.

Granollers, Spain, has been hit hard by the economic crisis. There are 5,000 unemployed adults in the city, and half of them don’t have access to any form of government aid. For the third year in a row, Embracing the World is sponsoring 50 underprivileged children who are unable to afford school cafeteria and transportation as well as medical care and after school programs. Mr Mayoral accepted the donation and thanked Amma for her support of the less fortunate members of their community. He shared his thoughts with the gathered assembly “It is the message of peace, equality and unity, and she gave us this help that we deeply appreciate and that it is used so all this children can continue with all their activities like any other children in the city.”

Several other dignitaries from local and state government offices came to officially welcome Amma to the region, over the 3 days.

The final evening program of Devi Bhava lasted all night and finally ended at 9am.

Amma and the tour group then travelled to Munich, Germany for the next stop on the tour.

– Kannadi

 

 

sari distribution

Surgeries & transplants, Boats and Saris for the poor

27 Sep 2015 Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62, Amma’s Birthday Celebrations

During the past 20 years, the Amrita Institute of Medical Science in Kochi and the other healthcare institutions of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math have provided 100 percent free care to more than 30 lakh [three million] patients at a value of more than Rs. 400 crore [60 million US dollars].

Amrita Hospital presented another 375 beneficiaries with certificates for totally free surgeries: 200 totally free heart surgeries, 150 totally free brain surgeries and 25 totally free kidney transplants. Certificates for these surgeries were given by: S. Gurumoorthy, renowned economist and writer, Jagadambika Pal, MP, Uttara Pradesh, Richard Hay, MP Thalassery, Kerala, and Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP Karnataka

O. Raja Gopal, former Central Minister, gave certificates for 13 new boats to their owners whos boats were tragically destroyed.

Checks worth one lakhs each were given out to the wifes of fishermen who lost their husbands at sea.

On the occasion 400,000 saris to the poor women were also distributed. First 50 saris given out by Amma.

 

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Amritavarsham62 – celebrations will continue

27-28 Sep 2015 Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62 , Amma’s Birthday Celebrations

After all the charitable announcements and official stage functions wrapped up Amma began to embrace each and every person that came to the program. Afternoon stretched into evening, evening into night and then night into morning and still the people kept coming. All throughout, there were different cultural performances including a full range of dance and musical styles.

Embrace: one of those last people in the Darshan line on 28th morning.

Embrace: one of those last people in the Darshan line. Darshan over at 11.am.

Around 10am it seemed the darshan was finally coming to an end but Amma noticed some groups of students out in the crowd that had not yet had Amma’s darshan. Amma took a microphone and told anyone that had not yet had darshan to come join the line. So just when it looked like it was almost over another several hundred people came running to join the line. Tears filled the eyes of many of the people who Amma called for darshan as they were overcome with emotion, feeling the compassion that compelled Amma to sit another hour for them.

As the darshan was wrapping up many people in the crowd began dancing to the Baduga music that was being played on the sound system. Amma herself joined in and in her own graceful way, mimicked the gestures of the dancers.

At 11am Amma finally embraced the last person, a full 26 hours after arriving on the stage and began to make her way back to the ashram. During the short boat ride back to the ashram Amma was told a group of villagers somehow had missed their chance for darshan. Immediately Amma asked them to be brought to the ashram. Amma awaited their arrival and proceeded to give them all darshan standing by the boat jetty, making sure not a single person missed their chance to meet her. After making her way to her room through throngs of people, Amma finally walked up her steps close to 12 noon. Before entering her room Amma turned back and flashed a loving smile to all present.

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Amritavarsham 62 is over. But the celebrations will continue in the hearts of her children for ever.

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Free marriages at Amritavarsham

27 Sep 2015 Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62 , Amma’s Birthday Celebrations

Each year on Amma’s birthday, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math helps couples having financial difficulty to have a traditional Indian wedding by providing all the requisite clothing, gold jewellery and feast, etc.

Sri. Ashok Singhalji, former president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Sri. Vellapalli Natesan, the General Secretary of the SNDP Yogam, helped to give away the gold wedding jewellery to the women.

 

 

 

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130 houses and 2 intermediate colleges

27 Sep 2015 Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62 , Amma’s Birthday Celebrations

Over the past two decades, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has built more than 45,000 homes for the homeless in more than 75 locations throughout India. Today, the Math extended this program by presenting keys to 130 homes and two inter-colleges in various locations throughout India.

Keys were given by: Sripad Yasso Naikji, Minister of AYUSH, Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways, N Shakthan, Speaker of the Kerala Assembly and Ramlalji, the National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

amrita varsham

External success is impermanent, we need inner victory

27 Sep 2015, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham, Amma’s 62nd Birthday celebrations

Early this morning the stage was filled with traditional Kerala dancers in full regalia as well as ladies dressed up in the traditional costumes from all 29 states of India to welcome Amma. The loud, Panchari Melam, traditional music of Kerala created festive mood and a celebration in the hearts of everyone.

Upon Amma’s arrival on the stage, Swami Amritaswarupananda performed the Pada Puja while everyone chanted the Guru Gita. He then garlanded Amma with a beautiful red, pink and white mala, and lead the archana on behalf of all the devotees. The hall was reverberating with the chanting of Aum Amriteswaryai Namah.

After the Pada Puja, Amma lead a prayer for peace and harmony; praying for the peace of the departed souls of those who lost their lives in the recent Haj stampede, and for everyone to open their hearts to the plight of the refugees who have fled their homelands due to war and crisis.

Amma then gave her birthday speech, saying that India was suffering from a split personality–success when it comes to technological advancement and failure in terms of poverty, illiteracy, health sanitation and crimes against women. However, she said the condition could be remedied if the nation overcame segregationist attitudes and worked in unity.

“A split personality is never a sign of sound health,” Amma said. “If we want to see India become powerful and healthy again, we need to merge these two faces into one beautiful face.”

“If we can bring our collective knowledge, compassion and talent together, it will not be so long before we see India rising and thriving with peace, harmony and prosperity,” she said. “When this dream of India burns in us so strongly that not even a single Indian wants to sleep until it’s realized, then it will become a reality.”

“External success is impermanent. Along with external success, we need inner victory- victory over our mind and senses.”

“It is said that 22,000 children are dying daily due to poverty. We hear about such deaths so regularly that our ears have become desensitized. We say, “So sad,” but we forget it later. Just words of sympathy are not what is needed for the world. What we need are hands that are ready to serve selflessly.”

Amma ended her talk by asking everyone to stand and chant Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, once again praying for world peace.

With the help of several dignitaries on the dais, Amma then proceeded with the inauguration of numerous charitable initiatives for the poor in areas including healthcare and housing, as well as the provision of clothing, potable water and electricity.

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100 Crore commitment to sanitation in Kerala

27 Sep 2015, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62 celebrations

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Amma added to her Rs. 100-crore donation to the Namami Gange campaign by making a pledge that MAM will dedicate a value of Rs. 100-crore in toilet construction and other sanitation efforts. A plaque commemorating the pledge was given by Amma to Sri. Ooomen Chandy, Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala during Amritavarsham celebrations.

Oommen Chandy, thanked Amma for her Rs. 100-crore commitment to building toilets and other sanitation projects in Kerala, saying, “Amma has removed the pain of thousands of people. She has contributed Rs. 100 crore to the poorest people—those who cannot even afford a toilet. She is one of the greatest people to ever serve Kerala society.”