Love, light, compassion, fragrance and beauty fill your heart

Amritapuri, New Year eve 2011
The dawn of 2011 was celebrated in grandeur with Amma here at Amritapuri. In addition to Indian devotees, more than 1500 visitors from abroad had flown in to be with Amma for the new year. The evening hall was packed and every corner had people from various regions and languages. One family had even driven all the way across Europe and middle-east to reach Amritapuri by road. Immediately after evening bhajans, the hall was rearranged with Amma’s seat in the center. At 10, cultural programs commenced the celebrations. It was raining heavily outside.

Ganesha Vandana, a Bharat Natyam dance was the first of the performances. Student groups of Amrita University presented a skit on “Amala Bharatam”- Amma’s recent India clean-up initiative. A rap song, themed “Lokah Samasthah Sukino Bhavantu” was performed by Ayudh UK. The next dance was by Gauri, a tiny tot who enthralled the audience with her exquisite Bharata Natyam dance. After the performance, Amma took her on her lap and asked a few questions; the shy Gauri flashed a smile that lighted up everyone watching the scene. The last two performances included a symphony of English songs followed by a dance themed on Hanuman Chalisa.

It was 11:52pm and Amma started her satsang, “Rather than giving a message, Amma would like to pray for World peace and happiness”. Amma wished her children to always remain happy. “May love, light, compassion, fragrance and beauty fill your heart in this new year”, Amma concluded.

She sang the bhajan “Kushiyon ki bahar”, a song that talks of continued happiness in life, ending with the phrase “Om Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu – May all beings be happy”. As Amma chanted “Lokah Samastha”, the whole hall repeated it. As the chants continued, tears swelled in Amma’s eyes. Amma then asked all her children to forget everything and sing with joy and with a mood of celebration. As it finished, she raised her hands and hailed “Mata Rani ki” and whole hall resounded with a loud “Jai”. Amma’s raised hands were met with everyone raising theirs and the wave of open palms prayed for world peace and happiness.

Akshara Puja by Lovers of Sanskrit

15 Oct 2010, Amritapuri

In connection with the Navaratri celebrations, a Bharati Puja program was arranged for Sanskrit students and Sanskrit lovers, in the ashram.


The map of India was drawn with rice powder, denoting 51 shakti peethas, each represented by a lamp and an alphabet. With the offering of flame and flowers, Devi was worshipped. About 400 people participated. Mrs. Vandana Nandakumar, a full time honourary worker of Vishva Sanskrita Pratishthan, spoke on the importance of Sanskrit language.

Festival of joy starts again at Amritapuri

2 Aug 2010, Amritapuri


Amma is the source of ultimate happiness and to many here at Amritapuri, Amma’s presence itself is an event of Joy. Amma reached Ashram completing the long US-Japan yatra yesterday. Amma’s arrival at Ashram was a sight of bliss. Archana had just finished and as if prayers were responded immediately, Amma’s camper pulled in through the Ashram gates. “Amma Amma” – was all one could hear. Policing staff could do little to hold the eager crowd from crowding and falling on her. Amma was as always smiling and her eyes seemed searching and looking at all around while saying “Children Children”. Amma had gone into her room and as the crowd was dispersing, lo suddenly she came to a window. She looked endearingly at one and all as if her glances had missed someone. It was as if she wanted us all more than we would dream wanting to be with her. Ashram was in perfect bliss, enthralled by that glanced and by the presence that personified Love.

Amma came to the stage for bhajans the same evening. Many visitors have come from afar and Amma’s bhajans reflected the loving glance that made us all feel wanted, more than ever.

– Kannadi

Arial photos of the Ashram

29 Dec 2009, Amritapuri
Many changes have taken place at the Ashram over the past two years. The pond next to Amma’s house has been filled in, and there is now an open field leading to the beach. To the south, a new two-story building houses the new full color printing press. The Juice Stall and Indian Canteen have moved to where the old cow shed was, and there is also a new Student’s Canteen to the east of the hall. This fall, the Main Hall received a brand new bright red roof.


Pongal at the Ashram

15 Jan 2008, Amritapuri

Pongal was celebrated in the Ashram. Amma distributed payasam to all the residents in the afternoon.
The day on which the sun begins to move northwards is called ‘Makar Shankranti’.  In Tamil Nadu this festival is called the Pongal.


Pongal ushers in the New Year in Tamil Nadu. Newly-harvested grains are cooked for the first time on that day. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home. The poor are fed and clothed. On the next day, the cow is worshipped, and birds and animals are fed. Its called Mattu pongal.

What Amma says on Pongal

“For me there is no creator and creations. Like the ocean and the waves, they are all one and the same. God is in the people or in the world, and the world is in the people. It is love that transforms into worship. Even nature is part of God. That is why we have temples even for insignificant creatures such as lizards, trees and poisonous snakes. We have ‘Mattu Pongal’, we worship the cattle. We need them for cultivation. It is a form of thanksgiving to the entire creation as that is the power that sustains life.”



Meaning of Pongal

from the archive article

…. During Satsang on the rooftop of Amma’s Madurai ashram last night, Amma told of how over the three days of Pongal a different aspect of the Divine in Nature is worshipped, partly with the symbolic offering of payasam (sweet rice pudding).

The first day the Sun is worshipped as the embodiment and source of Life-Force, without which we could not be. Payasam is offered to the sun seeking his blessings, and then eaten as prasad; the second day, animals are venerated, usually through the worship of a representative cow, which again is offered sweet payasam; the third day sees the family relations worshipped, of course through more offering of payasam, and, more importantly, through the coming together of family members. If there have been arguments or miscommunications in the family, this is the day when the air is cleared and hearts are opened. It can be a very healing time, restoring a deep relationship with the Universe, Mother Nature and one another. Through this festival, the Creation is recognized as the miraculous divine blessing it truly is.

Amma also explained an interesting point about the intelligence behind this kind of worship, saying that it is not superstitious, but in fact very practical. During this particular festival for example, the tradition of cooking payasam and allowing it to boil over is observed all over South India. This overflowing of sweetness represents the Prema (Divine Love) that should overflow from our hearts towards all of Creation. Amma continued with a remarkable point. She said that the steam rising from the rice, jaggery, cardamom and other spices being boiled in so many households and mixed with the smoke from the firewood traditionally used, actually creates a special medicinal combination that has a very beneficial effect on the atmosphere. The collective observance of this and similar practices has a positive effect on both the ‘mental environment’, as well as the weather, climate and harmony of Nature in general. This is just one aspect of the subtle wisdom underlying these simple, elegant customs.


Weaving waste into wealth

28 August 2007 — Amritapuri


When Amma came to the temple for Meditation Day on Tuesday, a small purse and hand-fan were waiting for her on her peetham. After sitting down, Amma placed the purse’s strap over her shoulder and began fanning herself, beaming a smile as if she were modelling some of the most glamorous apparel in the world. Amma then showed everyone how the blade of the fan was made from chocolate-bar wrappers and how the purse had been woven from strips of disregarded plastic. Amma then asked the people who’d made the items to stand up. Two ashram residents rose to their feet—one from India and one from the West.
amma holding a plastic fan

“Amma is very pleased by these children’s efforts to create wealth from waste,” Amma said. “You make think it is only a small gesture, but through this the hearts of the individuals blossom and then others are inspired to follow. This can lead to significant changes in society.”

Amma then went on to explain how plastic, although cheap, is non-biodegradable. “This is one way to fight this problem,” Amma said.

Amma said that in general she was very pleased with how her children from the West are taking to heart and putting into practice her teachings of the importance of re-establishing the harmony between man and nature. Amma went on to give the example of how many devotees in America have formed car-pool groups in order to reduce the amount of cars they use to get back and forth from work. “In this way, they reduce the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere, reduce the money they spend on gas, reduce the use of gas, and reduce traffic,” Amma said.

One of the main weavers was an ashram resident from America named Meenamba. She says she was inspired to start the weaving project after one of Amma’s programs in Mumbai. When the program ended, local children came and began culling through the trash for hard-plastic bottles and clean paper. She learned that the children get about 50 rupees for each a bag they fill with plastic bottles and a few rupees per kilogram for paper. But the soft plastic (candy wrappers, etc.) wasn’t recycled in any way—just burned. Meenamba wanted to come up with a way that the poor trash-pickers could earn more money as well as help the environment. Eventually the idea of using the soft plastic as a weaving material dawned to her.


When Meenamba returned to Amritapuri, she started collecting various types of disregarded plastic—plastic bags, chocolate wrappers, plastic twine, laundry-soap packets, old banners advertising Ashram programs. She then sanitized all the materials by washing it and soaking it in EM (Effective Micro-organisms). When that was finished, all that was left to do was to cut it into strips and weave it. To do this, she learned a number of weaving techniques, including methods from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Japan and Bavaria.

So far Meenamba and the others have made an assortment of items, including a pair of sandals and an asana for Amma. Some of the other things they have made include cell-phone cases and carry bags.


Amma is back home

3 December 2006, Amritapuri

Amma returned to Amritapuri this afternoon at 4:47pm after her two month tour of Europe and the US.

Hundreds of eager Ashramites, visitors and students lined the Ashram grounds, hoping to get a glimpse of Amma as her car made its way to her accommodations. Some had not seen Amma in months, others had come from the US or Europe where they had just seen her – still thirsty for her love.

As the car slowly inched forward, window down, Amma extended her hand out to touch those of her children When the car came to a stop in front of Amma’s room, a hundred or more people were gathered – some of whom had been waiting for hours. As Amma headed up the stairs, she jokingly asked those who had forgotten to eat, or had fallen asleep while waiting to raise their hands. Many did. After a few laughs, she blew kisses at everyone, then headed up to her room. A few moments later, Amma reappeared at her window – lovingly glancing down upon her children who had missed her so much. She glanced around, waved her hands, smiled, then closed the curtains. Our beloved Amma is back home.


Anytime, anywhere… anything is possible for Amma

4 October 2006, 4:45 am, Amritapuri

3:30 a.m.: The bell rings for archana, a little earlier than usual. Some ashram residents haven’t slept, as they have been helping out with last-minute packing for the tour. The other sleepyheads were keeping awake in anticipation of Amma’s early-morning departure.

4:45 a.m.: The bell rings thrice, a clear indication that Amma is coming out.

The morning archana is just over, but not the mahishasura mardhini stotram. The boys postpone the stotram. The girls zip through it at super-fast speed. Everyone gathers around Amma’s car. All eyes are on the steps leading to Amma’s room, anticipating her arrival.

Suddenly, a message arrives. Amma is calling everyone to the temple.

O my God! We run into the temple. As the steps of the spiral staircase are narrow, many take the other ways to the hall. Why did Amma go to the hall? What is she going to do? A thousand questions.

Amma is sitting on her wooden cot, like she usually does on Tuesdays. Surprise, surprise! She asks for a mike. She is going to talk… no, she is going to conduct a meeting! How could it be? She had spent so much time with us at the swimming pool the evening before, pushing us into the water, joking with us, singing and sharing stories from her childhood. She could have held the meeting yesterday. Why now?

This is what makes Amma unique, inimitable, more beautiful and wonderful than anything in the world—her spontaneity.

Amma starts inquiring about the housing projects and the status of the tsunami-related works in Tamil Nadu and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. She poses a variety of questions: Should the timber be procured from Kerala, Tamil Nadu or Kolkata? Isn’t it more economical to make windows and doors here and then transport them to Chennai by truck, to be then shipped to the Andamans? Anyway the timber should come from Kerala.* Suppose a truck can carry 10 tons, how many finished doors and windows can be transported in one truck? Are there any additional transportation costs involved? She tells a brahmachari to check out the timber prices and labour rates in Tamil Nadu and Kolkata.

Amma asks whether the electrical-wiring work in the new houses is finished. She finds out that it isn’t. She entrusts the work to a brahmachari.

She tells another brahmachari to talk to government officials in Tamil Nadu where, in some areas, land hasn’t been identified by the government for the tsunami houses it wants the ashram to build.

Amma then turns her attention to the Amrita Vidyalayam schools. The increasing number of new admissions means a whole lot of work to be done in a short period. It means more classrooms, more labs, etc in each school. Also, there is maintenance work in the old buildings and construction work in the new ones… in Perumbavoor, Trivandrum, Kolkata, Bombay, Hyderabad, Tiruvalla… Amma summoned the brahmacharinis in charge to confirm what needed to be done by the end of the year. Do what needs to be done now, and postpone the less pressing works, she said. Amma also assigned brahmacharis to take charge of the construction work in about 30 schools.

The printing press received her attention next, and after that the Ayurveda section. Amma also spoke to the brahmacharis and brahmacharinis translating ashram publications; to those going to hold satsangs outside of Kerala; and to those teaching and/or working at our schools and colleges. Amma also delegated some brahmacharis to work in newly set-up branch ashrams.

Amma insisted that everyone should attend the Bhagavad Gita class, and that this should not affect the regular work they do in the ashram or school. If necessary, they should work extra hours in the evening to make up for any lag in the work.

Amma didn’t forget to give some motherly scolding to some brahmacharis for the mistakes they had made in their seva. She reminded them that work done without shraddha [attentiveness] is adharma [unrighteous].

Just when everyone thought that the meeting was about to end, Amma asked, Who doesn’t have any work? Everyone smiled. A few nervously stood up. Amma gently advised them to help whenever and wherever work needs to be done urgently.

What one sees in Amma is the manifestation of outstanding managerial skills: resource management, quick decision making, fund management, HR administration, time management, productivity, superb communication skills, and more than anything else, the ability to harness all of them to a common goal: loka sevanam [service of humanity].

Those who were expecting Amma to talk about ‘spiritual’ matters during those early hours would have been surprised—she seemed to be talking about worldly matters. But for Amma, there is nothing worldly. Nothing is mithya [unreal]. As far as Amma is concerned, ‘Ishavaasyamidam sarvam’ [‘Everything is divine, real’].

Before leaving, Amma sang ‘Mukunda murari gopala.’ It was a bitter-sweet moment: there was so much joy being with Amma, and yet, everyone felt sad, thinking that Amma was about to leave. Before getting up, Amma asked all her children to bless her two-month tour of Europe and the U.S.

The ashram residents lined up on one side: the side where Amma sat in the car. Everyone stood with palms joined together prayerfully: in devotion to Amma and with prayers.

What a great fortune and blessing it is to have such a Mother and Guru!


Ashram alive again

30 July 2006, Amritapuri

Amma returned to Amritapuri on Sunday, July 30th, 2006, after the recent Japan-North America yatra. She arrived at about 10:45 a.m., bringing smiles, laughter and tears of joy to the faces of Her children who had gathered to welcome Amma.

In the throng of devotees were freshmen of the Amrita University (Amritapuri campus), who had just started their first semester. To the uninitiated among them, the sight of the crowd’s ardent devotion may have been a wonder. It proved infectious. Many of them asked, “When can we meet Amma? When can we get Her darshan?” The students, who were from various parts of India, craned their necks to catch a glimpse of their beloved Amma. Many voices, from many directions, called out “Amma! Amma!”

Amma, beaming with loving compassion, looked left, right, in front, behind and even above, for there were people crammed on the balcony above and lining the spiral staircase near Amma’s room too. After spending some time chatting with Her children and cracking jokes, Amma walked back to Her room.

Amritapuri had come alive again!


Amma’s darshan in Amritapuri will start from 5th Saturday August 2006 onwards.