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}



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.



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.


Diwali in Manila

26 Oct 2011, Manila
Shantamrita lead the lively bhajans and Atmapuja.
People offered flower petals to each one’s deity in the puja. They enjoyed an intimate moment bathing in the light during the arati.
Sacred lights of Diwali were arranged beautifully for the evening satsang after the Puja.

Manasa Puja
Manasa Puja
Manasa Puja
Diwali lights

Potting of Tree Saplings

24 October 2011, La Mesa Eco Park, Manila

Amma Center Manila gets down to work. Participants begin by reconnecting with the earth as they pot some soil in preparation for planting tree saplings.


A ranger from La Mesa Eco Park demonstrated planting in preparation for the ceremonial tree planting that was done by Br. Shantamrita with Amma Center Manila members: Senator Jamby Madrigal-Valade and her husband Eric Valade.

planting saplings

Amma Center Manila donates a 50,000 Philippine Peso check to La Mesa Eco Park.


South America waiting for the shower of Amma’s blessings

19 September – 1st October, 2011 – South America

During the past 2 weeks Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri travelled across South America visiting Peru, Brazil and Chile.

Lima, Peru

Swami conducted 3 days of programs throughout the capital city of Peru. While in Lima Swami met with several government officials, including: Hilaria Supa, the Peruvian representative of the Andean Parliament, the Vice Minister of Intercultural Affairs, Mr Clemente Otta and Manpreet Vohra the Ambassador of India to Peru, who all expressed a keen interest in bringing Amma back to South America.

Additionally there an IAM class was held.


Sao Paolo, Brazil
Two days of programs were held at the beautiful Espaço Singular hall. From there Swami travelled up the coast to Rio de Janeiro at had a program at the Forte do Leme military base at the end of Copacabana beach. At Templo Amrita in the town of Araruama and conducted a ceremony for world peace and prosperity. The next day on September 27th, Swami returned to Rio to celebrate Amma’s birthday with a lively bhajans session with all the Brazilian devotees.

From the Atlantic coast of the continent Swami then held his next program in Viña del Mar, Chile overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the campus of the Universidad del Mar. The program hall was packed to capacity by an enthusiastic crowd. Swami’s final program of the tour was held at the foot of the majestic Andes mountains in Santiago, Chile. There was no need for Swami to remind the crowd that this was the place, in 2007, where Amma first set foot on South American soil, as many in attendance had been there to have Amma’s darshan five years earlier. Swami ended his last satsang by voicing the desire of all those who had attended his programs during the trip and praying that Amma may soon return to shower her blessings on South America.


Balancing Life in Hong Kong

September 8th – 11th 2011, Hong Kong

Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri conducted three days of programs in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s sole Hindu Temple is located in the Happy Valley. The temple had a crowd of more than 200 to attend Swami Ramakrishnananda’s talk. After the talk, Swamiji began leading bhajans, with songs such as Dayakaro Tum, Git Nahi etc. One elderly gentlemen who was playing cymbals, came to Swamiji afterwards apologizing to him as had had been overcome by a feeling of the divine presence and was not able to continue playing the cymbals during the bhajans.

Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya led an IAM meditation retreat for students who were natives of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Mainland China in a beautiful complex in Hong Kong. People of all walks of life attended retreat.

Later, several hundred attendees participated in Swami Ramakrishnananda’s satsangs, IAM Meditation techniques by Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya, and two presentations made at the Cathay Pacific corporate headquarters. Swami Ramakrishnananda gave talks about Wisdom and Balance in Daily Life. Following his talk, Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya gave a short demonstration of the IAM Technique. His presentation included a detailed comparison of IAM’s benefits to the ones described by ancient Chinese scriptures.


Amma playing with Lakshmi

The elephant Lakshmi was waiting by Amma’s house after bhajans to be fed and played with by Amma. When Amma was about to come around the corner Lakshmi felt it and began trumpeting in excitement.
In the meantime a lot of ashram residents & visitors where gathered as well to enjoy the rare occasion and secretly hoping of getting sprayed with water by Lakshmi at the end.

Amma fed Lakshmi balls of rice & bananas. Lakshmi was thoroughly enjoying it! Once in a while Amma teased Lakshmi by rubbing jaggery rice ball on Lakshmi’s tongue and pulling away and hiding it behind her back. Lakshmi would try to find it, with a smile on her face each time.

It was a great scene to watch! Sometimes Lakshmi would make some sounds as she was enjoying the sacred prasad given by Amma. When she was done eating there were a few pieces of food laying on the floor that Lakshmi spilled. Amma made her eat it, up to the last crumb. Amma is even teaching the elephants not to waste food.

After Lakshmi ate, a pot of water was brought in and she was drinking it happily. Out of the previous experiences of the Ashram residents they knew that Lakshmi would spray the people with water… Every time she lowered her trunk in the pot with water you could hear them oooohhhhh… and Lakshmi would drink it.. The tension was slowly building till she finally decided to bless everyone with water! Many people got wet but they loved every drop of it.

Lakshmi was really enjoying the whole thing. The whole time she had a huge smile on her face and was even playing with Amma by moving her trunk filled with water to Amma for a moment, but Amma told her not to spray Her but the other people.

When Amma was about to walk to her room Lakshmi prostrated to Amma.

Another glorious moment with Amma that will surely stay locked in the hearts of all people present.

– Kannadi

Spiritual investment will never go waste

23 May 2011,  Amritpauri

Every year before the USA yatra, Amma holds a meeting for all the ashramites. This is the time of the year when she shares her vision on the working of the institutions, point out shortcomings, suggesting the modus operandi we need to pursue and tips on sadhana. This year also was not different.

Meeting with Amma

The bell rang three times. Every one ran to the Kali temple. Within few miniutes Amma arrived through the balcony. She took the mic “All those who are looking after institutions, schools please stand up.” Scanning over the assembled, she said “Where are the others? Not all are here – I am going to mark them absent.” She sounded like a strict teacher.

She continued asking for the requirements concerning schools/institutions for the coming academic year. “You have to give me proper lists of requirements – with exact numbers of where you need it and its justfication. Even if you give me a list, I won’t give you straight away what you ask for. It has to be a clear detailed list. Otherwise if you are given without any proper justification, then there might not be proper accountability. You might waste and misuse. And you will come up with the same list again next year” said Amma with a smile. She was pointing out our need for awareness. “You should make enquiries about such things in other institutions also. What sort of user – computer ratios do they have? Teachers are supposed to be aware of and be thorough with what they are teaching. They should not have to rely only on computers.” Amma cautioned.

“You are all spiritual aspirants. We should have awareness in all that we do. Only then does karma become karma yoga. Strive to seek that awareness from me.” Amma started explaining about the subtle principles of spiritual life and its application.

Daily practice

“Discipline helps good thoughts and qualities to develop, which in turn leads to Shraddha or awareness in action. For one who has Shraddha, everything becomes Puja (worship). Nothing will be wasted, everything will be practical” Amma said.

“To control the mind, discipline is needed. We need to meditate, do japa, do seva. Only one who has a strong grounding in the Shastras (scriptures) can survive without this.”

“Meditate in the morning. Go for your seva after that. Read books and make notes. What is the use of showing light to a blind person! You have to awaken yourself. Only then will you have that yearning.”

Amma then started explaing how daily discipline can help us in our life quoting from her own life experiences.

“Because we had that sort of discipline during childhood – at dusk we would wash our hands and feet, light the lamp and pray. We would also place a pot of water in front of the lamp for God, so that God could wash his feet if he comes to our house! People had such innocent faith then. During prayers and bhajans, we would have to sit with folded hands as a mark of devotion and respect. Even now if I am not able to come for bhajans I sit with the tambura and sing bhajans in the room itself. Even when I had throat problems, I do still sing.”

Irrespective of the situation, you will be able to pursue your practice if you had an early discipline. To drive this point Amma quoted “When Damayanti Amma’s father died – she sat by the body and did Hari Nama Kirtanam1 – because as per her schedule it was time to do so. She used to chant the Hari Nama Kirtnam every morning.”

Mantra Japa

“During Archana, you can either chant or keep silence and imagine that you are doing an abhisheka2 with flowers to God, flowing from head to feet – that way you will be able to visualise the whole form. Archana – can be chanted together but should be in synchrony – with the same speed and shruthi3.” Amma pointed out.

Amma started explaing how practically we should live a spiritual life. “You can chant wherever you are. You can look at the sky as you travel and look into the skies and persieve the ‘Ishta devata’4 is moving with you. While travelling by road, you can imagine Devi driving in a chariot/car ahead of you. While cooking you can see Devi’s face in the fire as you blow. So you can do anything and everything anywhere with the remembrance of God.”

Intensity to know

“I am very sad when I do not see such an attitude in my children. You should have that intensity, but many of you seem to lack it. Most of you are like an ordinary bus. That goes so slow, stopping here and there again and again. Moreover, you keep on loading the bus with each and everything you see at every stop till the bus breaks down and you lose everything. Then you wait for the next bus.”

“Make a resolve; That we should reach a particular place by a particular time. It is only then that we will have the urgency to reach our destination. We should have the yearning and the Jijnasa- the desire to know” Amma inspired everyone.

Narrating the story of Kaikeyi and Manthara from Ramayana, “If within the mind, some gossip and slander finds root, God leaves, Devil will rule the mind.” Amma warned.

Center of Love

“Without a center you cannot draw a circle. Without that center of love, there won’t be fulfilment to life. That is what makes life full. Doing actions as an offering to God is karma yoga. Here, in the ashram you can do this very easily – you can think that you are doing it for Amma. Remember that Amma has offered herself to the world. Amma is always in Atma-bhava, in the state of Self. She is your Atma; She is not different from you. So if you do actions with that attitude, then it is the Self offering it to the Self.”

Attachment to the Guru

Explaing the attachment towards Guru, Amma said “Your attachment to Amma or God is like attachment to river Ganga. It will purify everything. Attachment to the world is like being attached to a dirty sewer. It will lead to many diseases.”

Cleaning the mind

Amma insisted on being selfless and performing action with that attitude. “Nishkama karma – selfless service will surely benefit us. It is like strewing seeds and moving on. You should not think that you have attained nothing, being in this spiritual path. For there is nothing to be attained. Everything is inside. We should be thinking on what we are able to do, what we are able to give to the society. That gives antahkarana shuddhi – purification of inner instruments. It is then that the gaps within us will be filled. If we do a business and lose, we lose everything. But here when you turn and look you will see a beautiful garden.”

Explaining that our spiritual investment will never go waste, but stay like gold and will benefit others, Amma said “When you pray or do japa or dhyana – it is like watering the root of a tree – you do not have to water all the leaves or flowers and such. Here in the ashram there are many brahmacharies from the same family – it is because there was a Sannyasi in their family earlier. Because of that, the samskara is still alive in their family.”

Quoting the stories of Upanishads where disciple offered himself to save the crops from flood, and the disciple boy who was asked to look after the cows, Amma said, “We should have an attitude of acceptance. We should not be perturbed when we lose position. Have the attitude of Saranagati5 to the Guru. It is invaluable.”

Selfessness is the key

Amma reinforced the attitude that we need to have as a sadhak. “When we do actions selflessly, our mind clears up the dirt and the dust, our ego, and we are able to see the Atma within. It is to clean the mind, that we are doing all this – to see our Selves. When the mind is clear, God will be revealed within.”

Amma was putting across the highest principles of spirituality and its practical execution in simple words. “We can serve everybody seeing God in all. That is Sanatana Dharma.” Amma concluded.

— Sakshi

— — — —

1 – Hari Nama Kirtanam, Ezhuthachan’s poetic composition of vedantic principles which people used to chant everyday as a prayer. Consisting 66 stanzas, each stanza starts in a descending alphabetic order with a malayalam character.

2 – Abhisheka, also called Abhishekam, is the prayer ritual where one pours libations on the form of the deity being worshipped, amidst the chanting of mantras. Amma indicated the mental action of throwing a flower in prayerful obeisance with the flower falling from head to foot, so one can visualize the form.

3. Sruti commonly refers to musical pitch.

4. ‘Ishta Devata’ refers to one’s favourite form of worship.

5. Saranagati – Complete surrender.