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Guru Purnima in Amritapuri

12 July 2014, Amritapuri
In Amritapuri Guru Purnima was celebrated. Under the leadership of Swami Turiyamritananda, Guru Paduka puja was conducted. Archana, Bhajans, Arati, and Satsang followed.

MA Center opens in Los Angeles

Redondo Beach, California
Two hundred honored guests, including state and local officials gathered on January 21st for the official ribbon cutting ceremony to inaugurate the MA Center LA, located at 128 South Catalina Avenue. The new community center is part of the United Nations affiliated NGO, Embracing the World (ETW), a charitable outreach organization founded by Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, the celebrated spiritual leader and humanitarian.

MA Center LA inauguration

A welcome letter from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was presented stating, “I applaud Amma and her team for bringing their programs and philanthropic services to our area.”

Other fifteen commendations were presented to the MA Center community by the officials of the city and around.

Ron Gottsegen, president of the MA Center LA, expressed his appreciation at the gathering, saying “Our work is only just beginning…now it is up to us, from this beautiful home, to serve the people who need our help.”

MA Center LA inauguration

A newly refurbished art deco landmark, the MA Center LA (128 S. Catalina Avenue) is one of the oldest buildings in Redondo Beach. MA Center LA aims to become a vibrant hub for advancing humanitarian activities and community service throughout Southern California.

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Amma’s message of Love and Peace reaches Serbia

On 24th November 2013 Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya visited Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It was the first time a representative of Amma was holding a public programme in this Balkan country. The event was organized by the India-Serbia Friendship Society and was held in “Kulturni Centar”, a former synagogue and cultural center right in the center of town. A packed audience attended Br. Shubamrita’s talk, devotional singing and meditation with rapt attention. It was especially so inspiring to see large number of youngsters in the audience, expressing their interest in cultural exchange and personal empowerment.

 


Br. Shubamrita’s talk highlighted on the ways to find the treasure of infinite peace and love within. His witty and lively presentation, filled with incidents from Amma’s life and experiences around Amma, immediately struck a chord with the audience. Once could also see many eyes moist with tears watching the introductory video of Embracing the World, which was translated into the Serbian language.

While meeting people after the event, one of the participants of the programme said to Br. Shubamrita, “Many people in this country are suffering due to the wounds of years of war and conflict that this country has gone through. Amma’s message of love, compassion and forgiveness means a lot for the people here. Just hearing about Amma gives us such peace. I can’t imagine what we will feel when we see her with our eyes.”

As Br. Shubamrita left Belgrade for Moscow, he carried with him so many messages for Amma, asking her to visit Serbia as soon as possible, and thanking her for all that she was doing to spread the message of love and compassion in the world.

 

Swimming and the Dosa festival with Amma

14 May 2013, Amritapuri

These were the last two days before Amma’s Japan-America yatra. Amma came yesterday for Tuesday satsang and mentioned that she would come to the swimming pool in the evening, feed everyone Masala Dosas and mangoes.

in the pool

Blissfully beautiful

Later that evening, as promised, Amma came to the pool soon after the bhajans. Amma spent the first one and half hours with Ashram girls. As the girls enjoyed the presence of Amma with them, there were cries of yearning from boys outside “Amme.. Ammme”. As soon as the girls session ended, boys started trickling in. Amma sat at the deep end of the pool and each one got a chance to be nudged into the waters by Amma. With a unique smile, Amma would sweetly ask if each one knew swimming and for those who did not, request a safety ring and keep her bramhacharis ready while she would shove them one by one. She would playfully tease them, evoking peals of laughter from all around. Amma would keep a watchful eye on each person as they dove into the pool, making sure they he would come up and make it safely to touch the side of the pool.

Amma asked for a ganjira and started singing bhajans. Her voice overshot the sounds of her children and “He Giridhara Gopala” rang through the night air of Amritapuri.

After everyone getting a chance to swim, Amma was alone in the water- swimming and floating in the pool for a while. Her legs were in padmasana, hands were holding mudras with only her forehead, eyes, nose and a small part of her chin above water. All were silent, as lights danced on the ripples of the pool. A gentle breeze caressed every one and Amma was in samadhi. It was blissfully beautiful.

After swimming, Amma went back to her room leaving the whole ashram awake, happy and relaxed, remembering her beautiful presence.

Dosa Fest

15 May 2013
The last evening before the US tour was the second annual super-special Dosa festival.

Even during Bhajans several dosa grills had started sizzling. Amma jokingly started saying “How can the mind be focused (on bhajans) when the smells and sizzling sounds rise on either sides”, as dosas were being made. And between each round of dosas water was used to clean the big grills causing clouds of steam to rise all around the hall. As soon as bhajans ended, Amma climbed down the stage and the Dosa fest began.

Amma made dosas with care and then with her own unique style, initiated the distribution process. Amma started serving hot Masala dosas with spicy chick pea curry and freshly cut yellow mangoes from Ettimadai. After most of the devotees were served, Amma insisted everyone to take a second portion: “Children, take a second dosa, or cut one in half and share. Don’t worry, we will make more for you. Amma felt all of you should be given a full mango but the person in charge of the kitchen was concerned for the numbers, so he sliced them up, but at least that makes it easy to eat. There is lots more, Please help yourselves!”. Amma then said “may all children be happy in body and mind, may all those here and everywhere be well. Go on eat!”. Saying so, Amma took a bite of dosa after chanting the Bramharpanam mantra. Two very big dosas were made for Amma one from girls side and one from boys. Amma took pieces from each and then distributed the rest to everyone.

As stomachs filled, Amma passed the microphone around and asked for people to share jokes. Amma would add spiritual insight into each joke, adding wisdom to the humor.

Amma then sang “Maiyyaji me ne tu chahdi’ – Mother I am yearning for you – with a lot of shouts of “oho”, “aha” and ended with “Mata rani ki.. jai”.

Amma then left early in the pre-dawn hours for her two month long Japan-America yatra.

To Amma, there are no limits. She goes every extra mile to make her children happy. Look at this – an ordinary evening she converted in to a big celebration, made masala dosa and distributed it hot to over 3000 people in an hour and twenty minutes, filled the session with satsang, jokes and bhajans!!

Are you looking for miracles? This was one.

– Sakshi

Swimming beyond

18 May 2012, Amritapuri

A few days ago, Amma had indicated that she would stay with her children at the swimming pool. The Darshan on Thursday finished late at 6:30 am after Amma having sat 21 hours, on Friday. So few assumed Amma would come to the pool. But just after Bhajans, around 8:30 pm, Amma came to the swimming pool. The first session was with the girls and the second was with the boys.

Sitting at the deep-end of the pool, Amma would push swimmers into the water after spending a loving few seconds with each one. To some, she would ask if they knew swimming. To others, it varied from jokes to spiritual insights. Amma would cheer like a little child as she would receive a splash of water. For every person, she checked if they knew swimming, would ask for the protective ring and would ask trained swimmers to hold as she would nudge them lovingly. Even some senior Swamis dived getting a loving nudge from Amma. The whole swimming pool area was surrounded by smiling faces. At the end Amma sang a bhajan “He giridhara gopala.” She asked all to take a dip in the pool chanting “Ma” and come up with chanting “Om”. Amma left the pool at quarter-past eleven, she touched everyone as she walked. Ashram elephants, Ram and Lakshmi even enjoyed the thrill as Amma fed them on her way back to the room.
– Kannadi

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If one women can create such and incredible enterprise…

9-16 April 2012, Nairobi, Kenya
Brahmachari Shubamrita visited Kenya and held public programme at Oshwal Community Center, Nairobi. He gave a talk entitled “Happines is a Decision” , Bhajans and a guided meditation which was well attended by members of the African, Asian and International communities.

The guest of honor, H.E. Konrad Paulsen, ambassador of Chile to Kenya, addressed the gathering, saying: “Seeing Amma’s vast range of charitable projects one should ask oneself – if one woman can create such an incredible enterprise and serve people in need, how much more could our governments do. I was in Puerto Rico at the time when the Hurricane Katrina struck and here is an organization from India that gives one million dollars to the richest country in the world to help in the disaster relief – I found that really incredible.” {news}

 
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During his stay Br. Shubamrita also gave motivational talks to the employees of Techno Steel Industries and Alpharama, held meditation sessions and attended a fundraiser golf-tournament at Sigona Golf Club, Nairobi.

Br. Shubamrita also launched a new vocational training programme {news} and spent time with the children at Amrita Watoto Boma {news}.

– Das

 

Drenched in Love, filled with laughter

16 Mar 2012, Amritapuri

It was a nice sunny day at Amritapuri and everyone was waiting on the beach for Amma to come for the usual meditation and Q&A session that is always held on Monday and Friday evenings.

A little after 5pm Amma arrived on the beach and shortly after that the meditation started. As the light of meditation and love grew brighter within the hearts of those meditating, slowly dark clouds started gathering in the skies above and the outside became darker.

Just as meditation was about to end a light spattering of drops fell. Amma opened her eyes as more drops came falling down… There was oohing and laughter in anticipation of what Mother would do. Amma as usual was smiling.

The rains were slowly growing heavier. Amma asked everyone if they would like to go back or stay on the beach….

Everyone answered – STAY HERE!!!! So all stayed put at the beach..

Many tried to hold umbrellas over Amma but Amma wouldn’t allow it as her children were getting wet. Tumban the ashram dog, as usual was lying next to Amma on the peetham. Amma was trying to protect him with her sari, though all the time she herself was getting wet! She asked for one of the umbrellas which people had unsuccessfully tried to hold over her and she herself held it over Tumban to protect him from the rain. Tumban did not seem to be enjoying the rain quite as much as Amma’s other children and in time went away for drier grounds. Amma held a beach umbrella over all the little children who surrounded Her, like a mother hen holding her wings over her chicks to protect them.

Amma said that in her childhood she would run out with the other children and play in the rain. She said that if the rain got any heavier then all of us could have a bath together.

As people continued to try to hold an umbrella over her head, Amma got up so that nobody would be able to do so. The water streaming down her face washed her sandal and kumkum tilak down her smiling face. Ultimately she sat down and started singing “He Giridhara Gopala” in an ecstatic mood. After that she sang “Bandalo Bandalo” and made everyone clap each other’s hands during the singing… All the while she covered up her microphone with her sari so that it wouldn’t get wet.

Everyone was full of joy and laughter and grateful to be in this miraculously transformed scene with Amma.

After the bhajans were over Amma asked if we should do a Q&A session, everyone laughed and Amma decided that we should pass around the microphone and tell some spiritual jokes. Amma said she loves to hear her children’s laughter, and to her it’s like the blossoming of beautiful flowers. Amma told the first joke, which set everybody laughing and then she encouraged others to come up with jokes of their own.

Three other people told short jokes. The rain began to lessen as Amma started giving darshan to the new people who had just arrived on the beach… a large canopy on four posts was set up over the people coming to Amma for darshan. Slowly the rain grew heavier again as Amma finished darshan. Amma went to her room and appeared again in a short while for bhajans.

The strains of “Shyama Sundara Madna Mohana Radhe Gopal” spread the divine vibrations of Her voice throughout Amritapuri.

Normally if we were caught outdoors in a downpour we would be miserable and would maybe even blame the Gods for the weather! But with Amma it is the very opposite – each moment with Her is a celebration and it does not depend on what is happening outside.

– Sakshi

Brick-moving with Amma is heart-moving

17 Feb 2012, Amritapuri

I was wrong! “She doesn’t do it anymore,” I had said.

Not long ago, I was telling a newcomer to the ashram how it used to be ‘in the old days‘:
“Amma used to come out at night and help with whatever work there was to be done–carrying bags of sand from the beach to fill in a swampy area, or lifting slabs and chunks of broken concrete to clear a space for new construction, or sorting through garbage that had piled up “out of sight” behind huts (not out of sight of the One Who Sees All, though!).

But she doesn’t any more. With all the institutions to oversee, and the growing crowds to give darshan to, there’s no time. And besides, with all the people here, it would be such a hectic scene!”

The newcomer said, “Oh, you’re so lucky–I wish I could have experienced Amma that way!”

On Friday night, just as dinner was ending, the bell rang three times–what? But Amma has already gone to her room! What’s this? Another archana? (Lots of extra archanas here lately, for the benefit of Nature and World Peace).

But no—everyone rushing in the direction of the beach, but stopping short of there. A huge load of bricks had been delivered in the area where new accommodations are being built, and Amma wanted these bricks moved closer to where they were needed.

Or was it just that she wanted exercise, for herself, for all of us?

For quite some time, Amma has been telling us all that we need to take better care of our bodies. Get some exercise. Do yoga. Don’t just sit!

Well, whether the goal was getting the bricks into place, or giving us all some exercise, it was achieved. In about 40 minutes, the mountain of bricks had been moved, carried in stacks from two to maybe six or eight, depending on the strength of the individual ‘porter’. No forklifts, no wheelbarrows–just like the old days: each one doing what she or he could, and there was something to do for anyone who showed up!

Of course, the most popular thing to do was to watch Amma–whose clasping of bricks to her chest was reminiscent of her holding one of us in her darshan embrace–but she was adamant: “No Looking!” she called out a few times–as if people could resist looking when the all-attractive one was passing by with her load of bricks! The way to get a look was to participate in the work, so hundreds of people were suddenly brick-carriers. Just like Amma, they would go to the original stack, hold out their arms, someone there would load them to the limit they indicated, and then they’d turn away and carry their loads to the destination, where someone else would accept and stack the delivery.

Those who are concerned about “Amma’s body” were anxious. Amma would say. “Not heavy. No problem.”

Back and forth she marched, with someone holding a light for her path, someone else calling out “Move, move! Amma’s coming!” For somehow, the various routes from the starting pile to the destinations were clear and easy, one line headed one way, the other another way–but Amma’s route always got crowded with all who couldn’t make themselves obey the “Don’t look!” injunction, and with people who’d just arrived, and didn’t know what was going on, and on suddenly seeing Amma would be startled, and gape. Amma would laugh, enjoying their surprise as much as they did!

Yes, the bricks needed to be moved, and she wanted exercise, but Amma always does more than one thing at a time: so every few minutes her route would change—not just because the old one had become too cramped with onlookers, but in order to give a gift to those who were working on a different route–suddenly, they who’d stayed away and ‘on task’ found in their midst Amma! So along with the stated goals of brick-moving and body-moving, there was the other one Amma’s always engaged in: heart-moving.

When the job was done and no more bricks remained to be moved, after handing over her last load, Amma kept on walking to her room. Finished? Not at all–still more joy to be offered: she sang a few lines, and danced along, elbows pointed, body moving in time, face bright with playful joy.

Up the steps to her room now–she turns, says “Hard to know whether there were more people or more bricks!”, and goes to her room.

Finished.

No!

She comes to her window, and starts pushing bags of treats out the window–banana chips, crisps and more–, letting them fall to the eager hands below, where they are torn open and the contents handed around to all her children.

“Children share amongst yourselves!” heard Amma’s voice was heard clearly despite the din.

With Amma, enough is never enough; she’s always giving more.

-J