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Onam celebrations at Amritapuri

4-14 Sep 2016, Onam celebrations, Amritapuri

For each of the 10 days of the annual Onam festival, ashram residents as well as students took turns making beautiful big pookkalams (floral designs) at the foot of the steps to Amma’s room. Each day when Amma came out for darshan, she would stand there for some time, bow to the pookkalam and comment about the beauty of the work–for it was not possible to say which was more beautiful.

On the final day of the Onam festival, Amma was welcomed by Panchavadyam – traditional Kerala drums – to the stage. After Amma gave her Onam message {news} , she sang two bhajans,(Bandalo Bandlo and Radhe Govinda Gopi Gopala) and asked everyone to clap and dance along with her. At the end Amma danced to the tune of Baduga music.

After giving darshan for a short time, she started giving OnaSadya – the traditional Onam feast – to all those present. Last but certainly not least to receive her OnaSadya was Lakshmi–the ashram elephant, who was fed by Amma herself. Amma gave Lakshmi giant rice balls, payasam, pappadam, and avil one by one, as well as banana clusters. Then Lakshmi played her favourite game – she was given buckets of water, from which she sprayed water on all those assembled, giving those nearby quite a bath.

That evening, Amma sang bhajans, transporting all into a realm beyond.

After dinner, ashramites staged a number of performances, including dances and dramas, for the delight of all. Amma sat for all the performances along with the rest of the ashram residents and visitors. By midnight, Amma sang “Love is the way” in English and the crescendo – “Aya he sara jaha yaham”. With prayers for peace of the whole world, this year’s Onam celebrations came to an end.
-Kannadi

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Swami Ramakrishnananda in South America

Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri spent the past few weeks touring South America, conducting programs in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. In each city that Swami visited, large crowds filled every hall. It was incredibly inspiring to see the devotion and enthusiasm of those that attended. Even though it has been more than 9 years since Amma made her one and only visit to South America. The love of the devotees there made it feel like Amma never left them.

Lima, Peru: Swami was welcomed by the Ambassador of Peru and Bolivia, His Excellency Sandeep Chakravorty. The next three days program included IAM course, the first ever Homa conducted in Lima and Swami’s satsang, bhajans and mediation.

Chile: The programs were held in the cities of Viña del Mar and Santiago. Many familiar faces were in attendance eager to listen to Swami’s satsang. In his talk Swami reminded everyone that, “In our family lives and work lives, when we run into adversity, if we think how Amma would respond, it will really be just like living all the time with the master. It will help us cultivate an incredible amount of awareness, which is essential for our spiritual growth. And furthermore, the world will benefit as well.”

A Puja for world peace and prosperity was conducted in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In Brazil Swami visited a total of four cities: Sao Paolo, Curitiba, Araruama and Rio de Janeiro. The lively Brazilian spirit was present in all of Swami’s programs where big crowds enthusiastically participated in every part of his program. Everywhere Swami went in Brazil, everyone was asking the same question “When is Amma coming back to Brazil?” Of course only Amma can answer that question, but Swami reminded everyone if they sincerely tune in to Amma she is already here with them.

– Das

 

 

 

 

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Sri Krishna Jayanthi at Amritapuri

24 Aug 2016, Amritapuri
The festivities began at 7:30 in the morning with a special procession from the Ashram’s cowshed to the front steps of the Kali Temple where the Go Puja was performed showing reverence to all cows. A large number of Ashramites, devotees and visitors took part in the procession and puja, singing Krishna bhajans, clapping hands and dancing. The cows were beautifully decorated as were the children living at Amritapuri who were all dressed up like little Krishnas and gopis!

In the afternoon, after the procession from Kuzhithura Sri Krishna Temple, everyone gathered in front of the Kali Temple, where Amma joined at approximately 4.30pm. She had been giving darshan from 11am till 3pm. Taking her seat on the steps of the Temple, Amma watched children play Uriyadi – a game where they try to break a pot of clay with a stick in remembrance of Krishna’s escapades of stealing pots of butter. First the little children tried their luck, followed by those a bit bigger, then by Amrita University students. Amma watched the fun, laughing often and pointing out the most adorable scenes. As the games were ending, Amma sang two joyful Krishna songs (Radhe Govinda Gopi Gopala, Narayana Narayana jaya Govind hare) for a long time, waving her arms with joy and looking at the sky.

 

After the games, Mother immediately headed to the main hall for the evening bhajans filled with Krishna bhajans. Dinner followed, and everyone was excited with anticipation of the special program that was still in store for the day. At about 11:30pm, Amma returned to the beautifully decorated stage where a reading of the Srimad Bhagavatam was taking place, along with the special Balagopala Puja honouring the birth of Krishna. The stage was decorated with many beautiful Krishna statues, oil lamps, garlands and trays of flowers.

At the stroke of midnight, Amma started singing special Krishna bhajans. She sang Agatanayi Agatani, and two others, clapping her hands, smiling and creating a lively and playful atmosphere. Amma then delivered her message {news} which included a beautiful presentation of the essence of Krishna’s life, teachings and practical guidance for our lives and struggles.
After the address, Amma sang 2 more bhajans, asking all those present to stand and wave their arms in joy to the tune of ‘Bolo bolo gokula pala’. She then led everyone in chanting Lokah Samastha Sukino Bhavantu – the prayer for universal peace. At around 1:30am, Amma began distributing sweet payasam Prasad. She handed a cup of the blessed gift to every single person. At 2:10am, after making sure that everyone had received Prasad, she headed back to her room … one more Sri Krishna Jayanthi with Amma to cherish for years to come.

– Kannadi

 

 

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Vavu Bali, paying homage to ancestors

2 Aug 2016, Amritapuri

2000 participants from around the globe gathered in Amritapuri to pay homage to their ancestors by participating in the Karkidaka Vavu Bali ritual.

Vavu Bali is a Hindu custom where a special puja is performed on riverbanks and beaches on the no moon (Amavasya) that falls during the month of Karkitakam – the last month of the Malayalam calendar (July-August). During the ritual, participants wear a sacred ring (pavithram) made of dharba (a grass) and make an offering of sesame seeds, cheroola (a herb), cooked rice, and water placed on a banana leaf into a nearby body of water.

Brahmacharis from the Ashram led the instructions in many local and foreign languages. The first part of the ritual was performed in the Main Hall in the Ashram, after which participants gathered at the beach to offer the items on the banana leaf to the ocean.

Everyone expressed their gratitude towards their departed ancestors, and prayed for their wellbeing and spiritual progress.

This ceremony is considered as a part of Pitru Yajna (sacrifice for parents) – one of the Pancha-mahayagnas (5 sacrifices) all Hindus has to perform as part of a Dharmic life.

 

 

New Year celebrations at Amritapuri 2016

1 January, 2016 – Amritapuri

Thousands of people filled the main hall in Amritapuri to welcome 2016 in the presence of our Divine Mother.

As darshan was finishing, a number of cultural performances entertained the gathered crowd who had come from all parts of India and the world. There were traditional Indian dances followed by a rap session praising Amma. A dozen or so young resident children danced to the Baduga dance bringing joy to all.

Darshan finished, and as midnight approached, Amma returned to the stage and led everyone in chanting Lokah Samastha Sukino Bhavantu.

In her New Year’s address, Amma acknowledged the many tragic natural and man-made events of the past year and praised the response to the recent flooding in Chennai. She stressed the importance of caring for Mother Nature, giving examples of how we can all make an effort to help. Amma then expressed her hope and prayers for the success of efforts to solve global climate change as put forth during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this past November.

After her speech {news}, Amma sang “Kushiyom Ki Bahar” followed by “Bandalo Bandalo”. The contrast of the melancholy, yet hopeful tune of Kuishiyom Ki against the hand-clapping and uplifting melody of Bandalo gave hope and joy for the New Year.

Amma then stood up, and her peetham was moved back to make way as she danced to the traditional Baduga song. As she gracefully moved in time to the rhythmic beats, she playfully encouraged all to join in. A few devotees on stage joyfully started dancing, and Amma even tried to get a few small toddlers to participate. Everyone clapped their hands and danced in bliss.

As the music and dancing came to an end, payasam was distributed to everyone – with Amma herself pouring each glass. After enjoying the sweet prasad, Amma returned to her room, and everyone went to bed with a smile on their face.

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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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Opportunity to serve is like winning a lottery

1 Sep 2015, Amritapuri

Chair Cleaning Seva

Normally when Amma arrives on the stage for bhajans, she immediately starts singing. But today she made the following announcement before she started, “A lot of the chairs in the hall need to be cleaned. Everyone should try to clean two chairs.”

 

So all throughout bhajans everyone kept in the mind the need to make themselves available for that seva later…at some point…maybe tomorrow…maybe the next day…but no one thought that for Amma, action goes along with words and right away!

As soon as bhajans were over, on her way to her room, Amma walked straight to the stacks of unused chairs at the back of the hall and started on her own to take the chairs down individually and pass them on to whoever was nearby. It took time for everyone to understand what was happening and what they were supposed to do with the chairs. But soon enough, buckets with water and soap showed up at the scene and were passed on. Following Amma’s lead, the seva started and quickly took over the whole hall! After taking down the chairs from the stacks, Amma took a bucket, a brush and soap and started scrubbing a chair. She stayed focused on the work, while she gave directions to the hundreds of devotees, students and Ashram residents who joined in.

The work went on well past midnight, filling up almost all the hall with chair cleaning. Everyone joined in, including small children and the elderly as well, singing bhajans to keep the enthusiasm and good spirits up. During the previous day’s satsang Amma was saying that we should never miss any opportunity to serve; that it is like winning the lottery. So how fortunate were all of us to be given such a memorable opportunity to serve and be happy, offered by Amma!

-Kannadi

 

Watch slideshow

 

 

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Homage to the ancestors – more than a thanks giving

14 August 2015, Amritapuri

A mass ceremony was conducted at Amritapuri this morning. Vavu Bali, as it is locally known, is a traditional ritual where oblations are offered to departed ancestors. The ceremony is performed on Amavasi (new moon) in the Hindu month of Karkidaka.

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About 1500 devotees personally participated in this special Yagna, joined by thousands of others present at the ashram. Swami Turyamritananda lit the lamp to start the event, and various ceremonies were performed simultaneously in the Ashram’s Main Bhajan Hall and the Kali Temple, by Brahmacharis Tapasyamrita Chaitanya, Gurudas Chaitanya, and Shraddhamrita Chaitanya.

During the pujas, sweet rice was offered to all the departed souls, including forefathers and friends, as well as to animals and trees, along with the chanting of sacred mantras and prayers.

Step by step puja instructions were translated simultaneously into different international languages, allowing devotees from various parts of the world to participate.

After the conclusion of the ceremonies, the participants walked in a procession towards the shore to personally consign their offerings to the ocean. In this action, the fish in the ocean are also fed. Tharpanam, a ritualistic offering with water was also performed for the devatas (deities), rishis, and ancestors.

The ceremonies started at 7am and went on till around noon.

 

 

Later in the day, after the meditation session with Amma, one of the international devotees thanked all those who helped to conduct the Vavu Bali ceremony. In response Amma said, “We always have a thought of only getting, never of giving to others. We grew up because our parents have been giving to us. Now whatever we may give, we cannot repay for what they have given us. Through this ritual, we are showing our respect, out gratitude, towards our departed ancestors. Giving verbal thanks only remains as words, and doesn’t get translated into action. By partaking in this ritual, we are performing action – spending some time for others, spending some money for them, and chanting mantras. We therefore get purified, creating positive vibrations.

The people who have died might have taken a new birth or attained moksha. Even the remote villagers get their mail properly if the address is correct. You are even able to call him by dialing the correct mobile number. Or if the email id is correct, it will reach him wherever he is. Similarly, if your sankalpa is pure, when making offerings towards departed souls, the result will reach him/her even if he has taken another birth. In addition, we also get the benefit of the mantras and the good actions we do.

Actually, we have to show our gratitude to our parents when they are alive. This ritual is part of Sanatana Dharma, which believes in the rebirth. Whether you believe in this or not, whether they are reborn or not, we get a punya (merit) for the actions we do.

vavubali

For each action there are two types of results. Drushta Phalam and Adrusthta Phalam – the seen and the unseen results. When we feed a hungry orphan, we feel the joy when we see him enjoying the food we have offered – that is drushta phalam. The result is visible. By giving food we get some punya – merit. That is the unseen result, adrusthta phalam. If you are a sadhak, all that you are doing is done selflessly, the whole world will benefit.”

Stating the example of some of the ashramites, Amma concluded, “If there is a Sannyasi in a family, three generations before and four generations in the future will receive the merit of his Sannyas.”

– Kannadi

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Purnamritananda addressed Sekaa Teruna Teruni

24 June 2015, Tampaksiring, Bali

Swami Purnamritananda addressed the Sekaa Teruna Teruni (Young Generation Organization)of Tampaksiring subdistrict in Bali. This event was held in The Soekarno Center Museum whic was initiated by Dr. Arya Wedakarna who is the owner of this museuman and an Indonesian senator.

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Swami led the group to in a prayer and then into satsang talking about the importance of self-confidence to reach success. He also conducted a meditation training program with his music of flute.

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– Sookshma