Be Joyful, Alert, Smiling and Compassionate

January 1, 2016 — Amritapuri (An excerpt from Amma’s 2016 New Year’s Message)

Another new year is here. When a child is born into a family, it makes everyone happy, but at the same time, it also makes everyone alert. The parents will be careful that the child doesn’t fall down. They will make sure that its clothes and surroundings are clean and properly dusted. They will watch the child’s each and every movement. With each day of the child’s growth, the family is filled with joy and delight. They eagerly watch as the child attempts to stand up and walk.​They soon begin looking​expectantly forward for the child to speak. This is how we should welcome the new year—with joy and alertness, living its every moment completely.

When each new year is born, our heart becomes​ filled with hope that the future has good times in store for us and that things will change for the better. However, things may not always happen as we expect. We may have to face obstacles and hardships. Spirituality teaches us to face everything with a smile. For one who knows swimming, the sea waves are delightful. Whereas for one who cannot swim, the sea and its waves are terrifying; one might even drown. Similarly, what helps us face the ups and downs of life are proper knowledge and the proper attitude.​ ​The smile that blossoms on our lips is God’s signature on our face. We should not permit sorrow or anger to wipe it off. My children should always have the awareness to sustain that smile and have faith in God.​​


Amma talking on New Year’s Eve

Looking back at the year gone by, there have been many traumatizing events. Extremely cruel terrorist attacks in different parts of the world that claimed numerous lives, the heart-breaking refugee crises, earthquakes, disastrous floods in Chennai were some of them. In Chennai, people went happily to bed at night, and by morning the water had risen and washed away everything they had. This is the nature of life. That doesn’t mean we should not put in any effort. We need to do everything possible to avert such natural tragedies.

However, even in the midst of disasters like the Chennai floods, there was a silver lining–the men and women who forgot themselves and risked their own lives to wipe the tears and save the lives of others. They thought beyond barriers of caste, religion, and nationality. They showed us that compassionate people have not become extinct–that ​the ​language of selfless service continues to be spoken here. This inspires us with hope. Let us pray that the lamp of compassion continues to burn brightly in the at least some human hearts.


Amma talking on New Year’s Eve

Natural disasters like the floods in Chennai warn us about how alert we need to be when it comes to protecting Nature’s harmony. Today we are seriously worried about global warming and its effects. If global temperatures continue to increase, the result will be disastrous. The planet earth may continue to exist, but not a single member of the human race will survive. In December, the leaders of 195 countries signed an agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference [COP 21] in Paris. Let us hope and pray that their efforts to solve global climate change are successful and that their decisions come to fruition.

If things continue to deteriorates they are, then by 2020 or 2022, the earth’s temperature will be soaring. We all know about the depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere and the ozone hole.

This year, let us put in more effort to plant trees and to do organic farming. It would be great if each household were to make their own compost. Even those who live in flats can collect the food waste in a separate container and make compost from it. They can also grow vegetables and trees in either buckets or plastic drums or pots.

Carpooling should be encouraged more. The numbers of vehicles on the road have increased, leading to more atmospheric pollution. If there are five people working in the same office, or in the same area, they can use one car instead of five. People can split the cost of the fuel. Thus, carpooling will help us to reduce our diesel expenses and reduce atmospheric pollution as well. It will also​ ​reduce the time it takes to reach our destination, as the number of vehicles on the road will decrease. Moreover, with the money saved, many poor people can be helped.

Normally we make a New Year’s resolution, but then, within a few days, we break it. For example, let’s say we made a resolution to stop smoking. First, we don’t inform anyone of our resolution because we think that it will be embarrassing if we cannot follow through. It is easy for this resolution to fail. Almost 99 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. On the other hand, if we had informed our friends and relatives of our decision, our chances of success would have been at least 10​ ​percent. If we also were to join an​ ​ex-smoker’s support group, our​ ​probability of success would leap even higher. Good company helps us to withstand the lure of temptations. Therefore, my children should try to cultivate good friendships

As far as spiritual aspirants are concerned, New Year’s is an opportunity to introspect, do some self-evaluation, and see how​ ​much further we have moved along the spiritual path. We have a long way to go and very little time remaining.

When compassion enters our actions, its waves begin to influence others as well. Such actions enable us to receive God’s grace. A mind that does not swell in arrogance at success, a mind that does not falter at failure, a mind that delights in giving, a mind that accepts criticism gracefully–we all should have such a mind. Those who have such a mind​ ​can never fail. And even if they do, those failures will not affect them within. The external situation may not always be favorable, but they will never internalize their disappointments or failures. They will be grateful towards everything in life. They will be true to their conscience.


New Year celebrations at Amritapuri Ashram

Even the longest journey starts with the first small step. Let each of us welcome the New Year by starting to make small changes in our life. If each of us can do this–who knows–it may mark the beginning of a new age altogether! Let us surrender it to the Paramatman and move forward together with one mind towards a single goal.

Amma wishes all her children a very Happy New Year!​


May the New Year lead to the birth of a new individual and a new society

New Year, Sunday, 00.10 am, 1 January 2012 – Amritapuri

“May our lives and the lives of all beings be pervaded with goodness. This is Amma’s prayer on this occasion. May the divine power to effect positive change – both in ourselves and in the world – awaken in Amma’s children. Amma’s prayer is that this New Year may lead to the birth of a new individual and a new society.


“New Year is an auspicious moment wherein people try to correct all the mistakes they made the previous year and try to overcome their laziness. Interest in and enthusiasm for a new beginning is awaken. Many make New Year’s resolutions. They try to start new habits. Many begin keeping a diary. However, if we look at that diary six months later, we will see that entries were made only for the first two weeks – maximum, three months. This is what we see in many people’s lives. We don’t have the ability to persist with good things. Sustained efforts are always appreciated. For example, someone who has served the army or any other organization for many years is always honored by that organization. But we don’t persevere with our good actions and promises. Many start doing yoga, but then, two or three days later, they quit. Many children start practicing meditation with a lot of enthusiasm, but after a couple months they stop.

“We should not delay in doing good actions. Our mind is constantly changing. We need constant awareness and conscious effort to speak good words, perform good actions, and to practice patience and compassion. Such actions slowly turn into habits, which eventually become spontaneous. Such habits bring success in life.

“Human beings have been given total freedom to write what they wish upon the pages of life. God has given us the pen and paper, but He will never tell us what to write. He will only show us how to write. He will keep giving us hints. He has left what we write on the pages of life up to us. We have the freedom. If we want, we can write letters of goodness, love and beauty. We can also write letters of evil hatred, and ugliness. God will keep giving us hints regarding the respective results of goodness and evil. During the course of 2011, humanity has received so many such hints.

“Natural disaster, social conflicts and economic crises are spoiling the sleep of countless people throughout the world. Fear and anxiety are hunting the minds of humanity with more and more intensity every day. Because of humanity’s indiscriminate actions, Nature has lost its harmony. The air, the water and earth have become full of poison. Nature – which was once like a kamadhenu, the wish-fulfilling cow-has dried up. The oil supply is rapidly decreasing. The food supply is dwindling. Potable water and pure air are becoming scarce. Where did we go wrong? The real mistake we committed lays in our inability to differentiate between requirements and luxuries.

“If our current generation could reinstate such an awareness of Dharma, then poverty and starvation would vanish like a bad dream.

“The New Year reminds us about the flow of time. Just as water drips, drop by drop, out of a cracked vessel, so too is our lifespan diminishing, minute by minute. As human beings, the most precious treasure we have in this world is time. Anything lost can be found again-except for time. Understanding this, we should live with awareness, every moment. We should also remember that each tick of the clock is really a footstep of Death, who is coming closer every moment.

“Whatever we see, hear or experience in the world is ephemeral. We need to find the eternal substratum of everything, which is the Atma. Then we will understand that no one in this world is different from us.

“Whether we laugh or cry, the days are going to pass by nonetheless. So why didn’t we choose to laugh? Laughter is the music of the soul. We should not laugh, seeing the faults in others. Let us see good in everyone and share good thoughts, words and actions. Let us also try to laugh, seeing our shortcomings and drawbacks.

“Many children tell Amma that the world is going to end in 2012. Amma doesn’t feel this will happen. There may be some incidents in some parts of the world. If we look at the earth, if we look at the water, if we look at the air, if we look at Nature, if we look at human beings, we can see that all in a state of agitation. This agitation is bound to echo like thunder somewhere in the world in one form or another. Anyway, death is an inevitable part of life. It can happen anytime, anywhere. But just as we start writing a new sentence after making the period mark, so too the end of one life just marks the beginning of another. But we should not live in fear. Instead, we need to cultivate the attitude of acceptance. Our attitude should be “Whatever happens I will remain strong, courageous and happy.” Living in fear is like lying on top of a bomb; we will never be able to sleep peacefully. But again, Amma does not see anything very serious happening. Tragedies are always taking place everywhere in the world. Even today, don’t we see accidents while we are travelling? Don’t we hear about airplane crashes? Floods, earthquakes, cyclones and tsunamis are regularly occurring. Wherever we may be, let us be happy and develop faith in the True Self. Let us perform good actions.

“Worms take birth, procreate and die. Animals do the same. If human beings also live like this what then is the difference between us and other beings? What message do we leave for the world? Through their selfless actions, mahatmas live forever. Even if we are unable to contribute to the extent they do, let us try at least a little but to see what we can do for others. Even if just one tree is able to grow in a desert, at least that much shade is created. If just one flower blossoms, at least there is that much beauty. We may not be able to read under the light of a zero-watt bulb, but when a number of such bulbs shine together, we will be able to properly see. Similarly, through unity we can achieve so much. The world is like a lake that cannot be cleaned by just one person. However, if everyone does his part, we can clean it together. Let us not be lazy. Let us try to do what we can. In this way, we will definitely achieve what we need to.

“Like any other decision, happiness is also a decision-a firm decision that “Whatever happens, I will be happy. I will be strong. I am never alone. The Paramatman is always with me.” May my children have the necessary mental strength, enthusiasm and self-confidence. May divine grace be there for all of my children.”

Excerpts from Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s New Year’s Message 2012

New Year Eve of 2012

New Year’s Eve, Saturday, 31 December 2011 – Amritapuri

New Year’s Eve was celebrated in Amritapuri. Remnants of Cyclone Thane had drenched the Ashram with heavy rains from early morning through midday. But by dinner, the rains had subsided.

Amma arrived for darshan at 11am. At about 9pm, the cultural performances began while Amma was still giving darshan on stage. First was a wonderful Indian dance by two young girls of about 8 yrs old. They were followed by a French boy who was juggling an hour-glass shaped object on a string tied to two sticks held in each hand. Indian resident children next put on a play based on Amma’s teachings. Amrita University students came next, entertaining the crowd with bhajans. The last performance was a colorful dance performed by women from around the world.

There was a broadcast of Amma’s New Year’s message followed by a translation. Amma said “May our lives and the lives of all beings be pervaded with goodness. This is Amma’s prayer on this occasion. May the divine power to effect positive change – both in ourselves and in the world – be awoken in Amma’s children. Amma’s prayer is that this New Year may lead to the birth of a new individual and a new society.” Read New Year’s message

After the talk, Amma asked everyone to chant Lokah Samastah Sukinau Bhavantu 18 times. Amma then blessed full bowls of Hershey Kisses and told everyone to take just one. As darshan appeared to be ending, the musicians who had been playing for the performances started to play Bara Gopala Bala. Amma took the microphone and began singing. Within moments, small circles of dancers had formed at the base of the stage: boys on the left, girls on the right. Jumping up and down, hands waiving in the air, their ecstatic joy was catching. Throughout the hall, more people began dancing, inspired by Amma’s voice and the increasing rhythm.  This continued for some time until the music eventually subsided. Then, much to everyone’s joy, Amma started singing Mata Rani. Within an instant, those who were still in their seats rose to their feet and joined in the dance. On and on it went with the hall erupting in Ki Jai!!!s over and over again until the roof was nearly blown off the hall.  So much joy was there.

After the Ki Jai!!!s subsided, Amma asked everyone to pray for peace and happiness in the world.  Amma began singing Kushiyom Ki Bahar – the English translation appearing on the big screens in the hall. What had been joy and elation turned to solemnity as everyone repeated ‘Lokah Samastah Sukinau Bhavantu’ at the end. Silence descended over the crowd. Everyone was left to reflect on Amma’s New Year’s message, the sweet taste of chocolate, and the wish for all beings in all worlds to be happy.

– Tulasi


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.

Make your life a celebration

Thousands of people gathered in the Ashram Main hall on New Year’s Eve with Amma to welcome 2010.   The celebrations began at 11pm with a series of cultural performances.  A group of children began with a song “I am the light of the world, I am wonderful, I am beautiful…”  The second performance was a monologue in Sanskrit by an Amrita University student on the benefits of advances in technology vs. advances in human relationships and compassion.

Next a spectacular fire dance and juggling performance entertained the gathering followed by a traditional Indian dance, a classical piano solo, and a short play put on by children.  The cultural performances ended with a beautiful rendition of one of Bach’s violin concertos.

As the hour of midnight approached,  Amma asked all to pray for world peace and then led everyone in chanting ‘Lokah Samastah Sukinau Bhavantu.’  After the changing Amma gave her New Year’s message during which she explained the true meaning of celebration.

“Celebration is forgetting oneself. It is an attitude. We need to have good control over the mind for that. The thought that ‘I am limited individual’, ‘I am this body’ will not help up us to forget our self.  The faith that the self in me and the the consciousness behind the universe is the one and the same is the basis of the celebration. ” Amma said.

“Just by the clock striking at 12.00 on 31st December, our life is not going to be celebration. For that our mind should be filled with love and compassion. When love and compassion fills our heart you find newness in every moment, you never get bored, always enthusiastic, always happy and life always become a celebration. ” Amma elaborated.

“We take various vows on New Year but how deep is it? We have to evaluate.” Amma asked everyone to introspect. “We have the ability to overcome our negativities. We sincerely have to try” she encouraged.

“We are not isolated islands. We are like a ring in the chain, connected to each other. Don’t expect others to change first, if we change ourselves others will also change,” Amma reminded every one.

Amma then led all in singing Khol Darwaza which ended with all chanting ‘Jai Mata Di’. Louder and louder, as it grew, everyone echoed Amma’s chanting, throwing their hands up in the air.  At the end, Amma said, “Amma’s heartfelt prayer is that everyone should be able to laugh and be joyful like small children and may divine grace bless us for that. May the darkness be completely eliminated and may the pure light of God shine.”  Amma asked everyone to raise their hands with their open-palms and shake them while responding to ‘Mata Rani Ki’ with a “Jai”.

And the celebration continued.

– Sree

Overcome the times of trouble with Spiritual strength

Excerpts from Amma’s 2009 New Year message

1 January 2009 — Amritapuri

Amma leading peace prayerThousands of devotees from around India and the world came to Amritapuri in order to begin 2009 with the auspicious start of being in Amma’s presence. As Amma gave darshan, they offered performances from their various cultural heritages—including a flamenco dance from Spain, Bharata Natyam from India and a modern dance set to a soulful rendition of Amma’s English bhajan ‘Everyone in the World.’

When midnight struck, Amma immediately led everyone in several minutes of chanting the ashram’s mula-mantra: Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu—‘May all beings in the world be happy.”

Then came Amma’s New Year’s address. “The year 2009 is taking birth in the midst of many different challenges,” Amma began. “On this occasion, there are so many nascent problems upon which we need to deeply contemplate.” Amma went on to mention the economic crisis, war, global warming, terrorism, increase of mental problems, the neglecting of the elderly and the deterioration of families.

“In fact, the most serious problem facing the world today is the pollution of the human mind and the increase in selfishness and cruelty.” Amma said. “This is the root of all the others problems facing the world today. Everything in the world is changing—with one exception: our negative mental state! Our personality is a reflection of our mind. The ability of human beings to rise up to a situation and act is slowly disappearing. In the name of stability and competition, mankind is allowing their lives to be led by hatred, revenge and stubbornness.”

Amma told the devotees that she felt if people took the necessary steps, moving forward with awareness and discrimination, that the various problems the world is facing could be mitigated. But she lamented the fact that human beings are losing their ability to stand up and face challenges and to follow through acting with determination.

It is only through spirituality, Amma said, that we can develop the strength that will empower us to face all the challenges life brings our way.

“In life, things rarely happen according to our expectations. This is why it is very important to develop the attitude of surrender to God. This will also help us to live in the present moment. If we learn to live in the present moment, we will be able to cheerfully accept any circumstance we may have to face in life.

“Only the present moment is in our hands. So, we must live in it joyfully, with alertness. It is said that the lifespan of a butterfly is only a few days to a week. Yet how joyously it flies around! It spreads delight and happiness to everyone. Our lives should become like this.”

“We should make sure that the flame of compassion in our hearts doesn’t become extinguished.”

“Only a person who has known hunger will understand the pangs of hunger in another person. Only a person who has carried a heavy load will understand the strain of carrying heavy weights. If each of us really wanted to, we could make a big difference in the world. The benefit of all the good actions that we perform with a selfless attitude will definitely come back to us.”

“We should develop a mind devoid of egoism—a mind that doesn’t fall apart in failure, a mind that finds joy in giving and accepts adversity with love. Such a mind will never experience sorrow.”

Amma concluded with a prayer: “May all our thoughts, words and actions benefit both others as well as ourselves. On this New Year’s Day, let us pray that our lives become like incense sticks, spreading a beautiful fragrance to the lives of one and all.”

Amma then led everyone in two bhajans—“Mata Rani” and “Kushiyonki.” The latter was an ecstatic celebration of life, the former a compassionate prayer—attitudes to cultivate in 2009.


watch the phtos here

Dancing our way into the New Year

01 Jan 2009

The calendar  year might have been about to change, but thankfully, Amma wasn’t. She was still doing what she has been doing Her entire life – giving darshan, pouring compassion and raining Love- as the new year approached.

Everyday is a celebration with Amma, but there are some days that are more special than others. People had gathered from all corners of the globe in unprecedented numbers to celebrate the New Year with Amma and pray for world peace and happiness.  Amma’s western and Indian children had put together a new year treat for everybody. This program auspiciously  commenced with  a classical dance presentation exuding the beauty of the traditional Indian art forms. A speech followed,  presented by young Amrita based on the message that the new year heralds, and how everyone, especially children, can imbibe the teachings of Amma and express them in their lives in this new year.

The ‘Fire Dance’ that ensued was stunning. The juggling act with the burning sticks brought everyone to their feet.  This was followed by a captivating group song rendered in different languages  by Amma’s western children. The song was an heartfelt prayer for world peace and happiness, interspersed with beautiful flute solos. This was a song about how life would become a celebration once we learn to love everyone and live together as one family. Though the message was  emphasized through gestures – no emphasis was  required  for the message to get through once  the tempo had picked up – it really did become a celebration as people could not help but get up and dance – in this celebration called life (with Amma).
By now, everybody was warmed up for the subsequent extravaganza. It was time for hip-hop!  It was time for us to showcase, hone (or just plain investigate) our hip-hop skills.  It was led by a German girl, who gave a crash(!) course to all present on the steps involved. The song chosen was Amma’s bhajan ‘There should be one day…’, but  remixed in hip-hop rhythm and matching  beats. After a couple of practice rounds – it was time to show off to  Amma the newly acquired expertise. And so it begun. It was a joy to see everyone participate with such childlike fervor. For many,  it was more of hop than hip, but still everyone, including Amma immensely enjoyed it.
Nursing  students of Amrita University arrived on the stage with months of practice behind them. They were here to present  a performance of ‘Jyotirlingam Mahatmayam‘ – depicting the glory of the 12 Jyotirlingams (sacred sites connected with Lord Shiva)  across India. It was a stunning performance replete with outstanding grace as the legend associated with  each of the Jyotirlingams was beautifully depicted in the group dance. The hard work and the practice that had gone behind the show was self evident.

Another traditional dance – but this time it was the Spanish traditional dance – the Flamenco! The flamboyantly graceful steps on the the catchy beat  captured all  hearts.

The mood changed to somberly devotional as Rohan, from USA, presented a version of “Stand by Me” and “You lift me up” in sonata. It was truly uplifting music for the soul – coming straight from the soul. Though the timbre might not have been as exquisite, still all hearts joined in the song with the poignant longing as theycould see Amma tirelessly continuing with the darshan – still lovingly there for everybody and still lovingly with everybody.

Soon the clock stuck twelve,  and  beginning the new year in the most auspicious manner –  Amma led everyone  in chanting  ‘Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu’. The hall resonated with this ancient mantra as Amma encouraged everybody to visualize the vibrations of peace spreading out into entire creation.
Amma in Her new year message expressed the need to pray for world peace in this age beset with selfishness – which is manifesting itself as violence, climate change and natural disasters  all around us. She said that it is the pollution of the mind that is the most destructive – and we have to begin clearing the clutter from there. She encouraged everyone to act with compassion and love – which alone can provide relief to the suffering humanity. She stressed the importance of living in the present, as it is the only moment we will ever have. Who else could be so convincing in giving this message than Amma – the very embodiment of Love and Compassion. {read more of Amma’s message}

As the message was finishing, the students of Amrita University were already warming up for the grand finale. As Amma called for the harmonium, everybody knew the time had arrived – the time to dance the way into the new year. And truly enough, She began singing the evergreen “Mata Rani”. The souls and the bodies knew no bounds as everyone joined in the dance, and the hall was commotion of flailing arms and hopping legs. The tempo reached a crescendo, and still it would not stop. Not that anybody wanted it to. Finally it did stop. But not the joy in the hearts of Ammas children lingered.

Having woken and opened everybody up, Amma  began the bhajan “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” to elucidiate that one needs to share this Joy that one feels to all the suffering people around. At the end of this soul stirring bhajan, Amma rounded off a perfect day for everyone by giving instructions to serve ‘payasam‘ (sweet pudding) to everybody.

Nothing can be sweeter than Amma’s Love. As each one delved into it, they  savored the moment – one can only try to contemplate the good fortune that they have been blessed with by being in the presence of Amma- a mother who would go to any lengths to create every resource  necessary for the  growth of Her children.  She uses every opportunity towards this end. Through these ‘celebrations’, She is trying to teach that Life is a celebration – only if one can allow it to be.One does not have to wait for these ‘special’ occasions for the joy that is inherent in each one us to manifest itself.  One just needs to be completely open to this moment because with Amma, each moment is special – each moment is a new beginning- beginning of the rest of each one’s life. May each one of  us make the best use of this precious opportunity to truly live that  peace and happiness that man has been searching for – not only on this new year eve but ever after.

Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu

– Sakshi

watch photos of New Year celebration here

“Imagine the sun rising in your heart”: 2006 begins in celebration

Midnight, 1 January 2006 —Amritapuri

When the clock struck midnight, Amma had been giving darshan for more than 13 hours. The New Year’s Eve dances and other cultural performances had taken place at Amma’s side. Darshan finished almost exactly with the beginning of 2006.

The thousands of devotees  from all over the world who had come to Amritapuri to celebrate broke into applause. Amma led everyone in prayer:

Bhakti ta, Jagadambe
Prema ta, Jagadambe
Vishvasam tannenne rakshikyu, Jagadambe

[Mother of the Universe, give me devotion. Mother, give me Love. Protect me, Mother, through giving me faith.]

Amma then led everyone in chanting Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. For five-minutes straight, the bhajan hall was filled with the resonation of the divine mantra wishing for the happiness of the entire world.

In the silence created, Amma then led everyone in the following visualization: “Imagine the sun rising in your heart. Imagine all the flower buds blossoming into beautiful flowers. There are many butterflies blissfully flying about, drinking the nectar of the flowers. Now, imagine the hearts of all beings in the world becoming filled with love, peace and happiness.”

Then Amma gave a message to all her children, in which she reflected on all the tragedies of past and asked everyone to pray for those who died or suffered due to those tragedies.

“We are entering the New Year with the hope that this year will be different and much better,” Amma said. “We hope that this coming year will bring a new dawn—one wherein we will wake to the laughter of children and the chirping of birds, instead of to the crying of children and old people and the sound of gunfire. But there is no point in just hoping. Just by the turning of a number, nothing really changes. For the fulfillment of our hopes, effort should also be there.”

Amma then stood up, called for her kai-manis (hand bells) and—to the bhajan “Bhajore Bhajo Krishna Hare Ram”—blissfully danced.

“When you dance, try to lose yourself in it,” Amma said. “Imagine that the entire creation is blissfully joining you in the dance.”

And thus 2006 was begun in celebration.




Another New Year with Amma

1 January, 2004

Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. This is the prayer that is chanted in Amritapuri, and by Amma’s devotees around the world, as the clock strikes midnight each New Year’s Day. The collective effect of many thousands one-pointedly chanting this powerful prayer for the peace and happiness of all beings everywhere serves to help purify the atmosphere, contributing positive vibrations to a world all too accustomed to its own negativity.

The ashram residents and visitors sat chanting the sacred mantra around Amma’s chair in the large hall, and Amma joined them just before midnight. Then, leading the prayer while the world entered the new year, Amma gave us the priceless blessing of inaugurating this year in a most auspicious way — by praying for the welfare of others.

Amma was quick to remind us, however, that although the numbers of the year are changing, if we don’t change internally, then there is no real meaning in saying it’s a ‘new’ year. Amma said that the real change has to take place within us, by uprooting our latent negativities and cultivating positive qualities. This in turn will have the natural effect of changing the world for the better.

Amma asked Her children to offer their thoughts on how we can contribute to the upliftment of the world in this New Year. Many heartfelt responses were given, but most shared a common element: that we all strive to practice Amma’s teachings on Love, Compassion and Selflessness, as this is the surest way to peace and happiness for all. One devotee asked that we all be as willing to serve each other as we are to serve Amma, and another added to this saying that his wish is to learn to see Amma in all, so that he doesn’t have to always come to Amritapuri for Amma’s darshan!

Many devotees shared touching personal stories. One person from Mumbai told how he had been meaning to come see Amma for many years, but never did. He had planned to spend this New Year as always with friends, but at the last minute had an insight into the meaningless of that type of ‘ happiness’ and felt a deep urge to seek the source of true peace. So, he immediately caught a train and came to Amritapuri to see Amma — without luggage or even changing his clothes!

Another devotee from Calcutta drew laughs and applause as he took the mic, saying, “I’m sorry, but I’ll be taking up a lot of Amma’s time now, because the chance to speak directly to Amma in this way is a once in a lifetime opportunity.” He told how his family had been trying to get him to meet Amma for a long time, but he persistently declared to them that, ‘That’s your thing, not mine!” But, this past year when Amma visited his family’s home, they finally persuaded him to at least come just to see Amma. He hesitantly agreed, but said that when Amma stepped out of the car and Her eyes met his, he felt a deep surge of love and ended up staying for the whole three days that Amma was there, unable to tear himself away! Now, he said, he had the great blessing of speaking directly with Amma, and tearfully pleaded, “Amma, never leave this child alone! Always be with me, Amma!”

One devotee said that she thought the quickest way toward world peace was for more people to meet Amma, and a young girl approached and explained that this was her first time meeting Amma, saying it was a major turning point for her and she was now dedicated to the spiritual life. Another young girl who had just met Amma for the first time this day came up and spoke a few words, taking the mic nervously. She said that before today, she was too shy even to speak to two people at once… and now she was addressing Amma and a crowd of hundreds! She said that she didn’t know how she was able to, and that it was Amma’s grace that gave her the courage. Her mother then spoke, saying that she was so happy to see her daughter speaking so confidently, and attributed it to her faith in Amma. She prayed that this faith and devotion last forever in her daughter’s heart.

One of Amma’s engineering college student said that he made so many mistakes in the past year, and prayed that he may not repeat them. Amma really liked this simple but wise answer and clapped happily. Two other devotees spontaneously offered songs to Amma, and many others offered tearful expressions of gratitude, one after another declaring that it is by living the life that Amma is teaching that we can find true lasting peace and happiness. After listening to all of Her children, Amma enjoined everyone to chant the Mahishasuramardini slokas to the great Goddess of protection, Durga.

In Amma’s New Year message, Amma called upon us to pray for suffering humanity, particularly the victims of the recent devastating earthquake in Iran. Amma said that we should send our heartfelt prayers to the survivors, that their wounds, inner as well as outer, be healed quickly, and for those that have passed on, that their souls may rest in peace.

With such intimate guidance from a great spiritual Master like Amma, we have only to listen to Her words with our heart and live Her words with a simple faith. Then will each moment be new, all bliss be ours, and an enduring peace be upon the earth.

Happy New Year to all of Amma’s children, from Amritapuri!