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Youth wise beyond their years, meet wisdom from beyond

Amritam 2007 — Personality Development Camp

11 May — Amritapuri

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On Friday, Amma held a second question-and-answer session with the children participating in the Amritam ’07 Personality Development Camp.

Before Amma began answering the children’s questions, she told them all that she expects to see some change in them after their completion of the five-day camp.

“After participating in this camp, there should be a change,” Amma said. “When you go home, hug your mother and give her a kiss. Hug your father and give him a kiss also. Touch their feet. You asked so many good questions! You are such good children.”

Amma also mentioned how she had learned that one child in the camp had spent their pocket money on new clothing for his mother and father. “This makes Amma so happy,” Amma said. “Usually children only do such things when they are older and have a good job.”

Amma then told the children a story about Yudhishthira from the Mahabharata, wherein the young prince shows how he did not learn his lessons mechanically, but imbibed them and put them into practice as well.

“We have to look into our self, look into our own weaknesses,” Amma told the kids. “You should remember that ‘I am a child, but I’m still a part of society.’ Eat when you need to eat. Do everything—playing, watching TV, etc.—in moderation.”

Next Amma gave the children some instructions to help them cultivate a love for Mother Nature and to help them see the sentience of all living things. “Each of you should plant 10 banana trees and look after them,” Amma said. “If there is no courtyard around your house, you can grow vegetables in a pot on your terrace. Water them daily and give them a kiss. All of you should be able to generate at least one month’s worth of vegetables every year from your own plants. You should also plant tulasi [sacred basil] in front of your house. Water it and give it a kiss every day as well. Tulasi and peepul trees have a special energy around them. Every day you should reverently circumambulate the plant.”

Amma also talked about how actions are made positive or negative by the motivation behind them. “With a pen, you can write beautiful poetry or abuse someone. With fire, you can burn down a house or cook food,” Amma said.

Amma then explained to the children how, for success in life, three factors need to come into alignment: proper effort, proper time and grace.

“You are healthy today, but you may fall sick tomorrow. So study well now. Try to do as many good things as possible. Try to learn to laugh at your own foolishness,” Amma said.

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Amma ended by explaining to the children how important it is to cultivate good values, saying how without values even if we are skillful, no one will look up to us or respect us. She cited as examples Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight boxing champion who disgraced himself towards the end of his career by biting off the ear of one of his opponents, as well as cricket stars who threw games for money; who loves money more than their mother land.

“Mistakes may happen, but you should repent and resolve not to repeat them,” Amma said.

Once again, the children demonstrated their precocity and thirst for knowledge, posing questions on topics from the annihilation of the ego to burning social issues. Some questions included: “Why are Hindus allowed in churches but non-Hindus not allowed in certain temples?”; “What is life: reality or maya?”; “How can we transcend the ego.”; “I don’t want to know what I did in past life; I want to know what I should do in this life.”; “Why does Amma touch the broomadhya [point between the eyebrows] to some people when she gives them darshan?”; “Amma, the whole world worships You? How does this make you feel?”And one girl asked Amma to say something to both the boys and the girls regarding India’s child-trafficking problem.

The session ended with a request by the children for Amma to sing the bhajan “Mata Rani.” Amma acquiesced and soon the entire bhajan hall was clapping hands and dancing to Amma’s song.

—Sakshi

Questioning children can eradicate poverty

Amritam 2007 — Personality Development Camp

8 May — Amritapuri

“What is the meaning of ‘Om’?”, “Why must devotees of God still face sorrow?”, “Was the tsunami a punishment sent by God?”, “Amma, when you were a little girl and your parents beat you, what were your thoughts?” These were some of the questions put forth to Amma by the 2,500 children currently attending the Amritam 2007 Personality Development Camp, taking place in Amritapuri from May 7th – 12th.

One question put forth by a young girl was: “Around us we see so many people with tears. What can we do to help them?”

“For now, you should study,” Amma said, implying that the knowledge they accumulate now would help them attain serve the world more effectively in the future.

Amma then went on to explain to the children—who range from age 10 to 17—just how difficult life is for the villagers in various parts of India. Amma even shared with them the reality of how some children do not even have enough money to buy the paper upon which to write their school exams. “So don’t waste anything,” Amma said. “Don’t live extravagantly. Reduce the number of sets of clothing you buy each year to two. Control your chocolate habits. Save that money for the service. When you have to travel distance less than three kilometres, try to ride a bicycle or walk. This will both be good for your health as well as for Mother Nature.”

Amma then told the children that if they were able to make such changes in their lives that it would similarly influence their classmates. Amma said that if such awareness and compassion could be awoken in just 50 children, they could easily come together to sponsor the educations of two poor children with the money they saved.

“There are people who die at the age of 40 due to kidney failure,” Amma said. “But if someone were to have helped them with the hospital fees they could have lived on till 80. Maybe that person was the sole breadwinner for his family… When such a person dies at 40 are we not responsible for the 40 years of life he has lost?”

“We are all like links one the same chain,” Amma said. “If questioning children like you are there, we can eradicate poverty. There are many poor people in our country, but there are many extremely rich people as well. If the rich people were to set aside a portion of their wealth, poverty could be totally eradicated. May you all have such hearts.”

After her question-and-answer session with the children, Amma gave served them all lunch as prasad.

Other activities scheduled for the children during the five-day-long camp include yoga classes, IAM Meditation classes, acting classes, music and drawing classes, the telling of Puranic stories and talks by Amma’s swamis.

—Sakshi