Rise Arjuna: Awake, Arise and Seize the Future

15 June 2013, Tabanan, Bali
The Youth Forum is dedicated to the empowerment of youth in Tabanan, a regency of Bali had a program with Swami Purnamritananda. The theme of the event which Swami graced was “Rise Arjuna: Awake, Arise and Seize the Future”.

 

Surpi, who organized the event, said in her opening speech that the youth worried about their future and wanted guidance and inspiration. Surpi described Amma as “Active Spirituality”, spirituality that does valuable work. She told the youth how lucky they were to have Swamiji, Amma’s disciple, amidst them, to share his valuable thoughts of Amma’s teachings with them.

Color the World with Love

Our World Our Vision Our Future

The ninth European AYUDH Youth Initiative  was conducted from July13th – 20th, 2013 at MA Center Germany, Brombachtal. More than 200 young people between the ages of 15 and 30 participated in the week long camp. For the first time participants from Greece, Denmark and Lebanon took part in the initiative, making it a total of 21 nationalities present.  The initiative included youth from: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, UK, Ireland, Greece, Slovenia, Poland, India, Singapore, USA, Canada, and Lebanon.

“Our World -Our Vision- Our Future” was the theme for this year’s camp. The participants were invited to reflect upon their ambitions and dreams. Interactive talks and workshops by renowned personalities from the fields of spirituality, politics, music, dance, theatre, and media inspired the youth to define their personal vision and take practical steps to reach their goals.

Inspiring talks

Kirty Matabadal, the current Youth Ambassador to the UN (Netherlands) addressed the conference. The feedback that she had collected from the AYUDH participants last year was included in her speech which she gave in front of the UN General Assembly in New York on 8th Oct 2012. This time she challenged participants to debate about the future of the planet in regards to food security: “Today there are 7 billion people on this planet. We produce food for 12 billion people, 1 billion is facing starvation and 1,5 billion are obese. Where do we go wrong?” The answers by the youth ranged from sustainable education for children, awareness campaigns to localized food production. These ideas will be presented at the conference ‘Eat2Feed’ with the Dutch Foreign Minister, organized on World Food Day 2013.

Jani Toivola, a Member of Parliament from Finland, shared his experiences of growing up as a person with African roots in a society that was almost exclusively fair-skinned. Jani told about the misunderstandings, discrimination and fear he faced as a child. Through self-acceptance and tolerance he gained the strength to overcome these obstacles and become a successful actor and later politician in Finland. As a member of parliament Jani today campaigns for minority and immigrant rights, youth employment and development aid.

Laura Schneider, an actress and singer from Germany reminded the youth that our vision of success should not only include our personal gain: “I reached my goal of being an actress….”  she said, “but what really matters is the intention behind your vision. If you’re intention is ‘me, me, me’ – I am not sure about that. But if you’re intention is for the benefits of all beings – miracles are going to happen. Doors are going to open. My life is a living proof that is possible.”

A completely different angle on following one’s vision was given by Aart Huijg (Netherlands), who cycled 34,000 kilometers from the North- to the South Pole: “I took the decision to take this 620 day long trip simply for one reason – because I knew that I could! I knew that anything was possible if only I believed in myself.” Aart faced many adverse situations, physical exhaustion and survived on just 5 Euro per day – enough to eat, but not enough to pay for a smartphone!

Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya encouraged the youth to become responsible leaders, practicing the three “R”s: Respect for Self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all our actions. Br. Shubamrita stressed the importance of Compassionate Leadership in the present times to bring about a change in the world. The best example for which is our beloved Amma. He said, “It is easy to keep discussing for days together about the present condition of the world and blame everybody for it. But Amma has a different approach. She does not just talk about it but tries to do something about it. She also tries to make everyone ask himself or herself, ‘What I am doing to make the situation better?’”

Bri. Dipamrita Chaitanya outlined how an optimistic vision of life can greatly enhance our level of happiness, contentment and health. Her talk was interspersed with interesting anecdotes and inspiring videos.

 

15 workshops

In the afternoons participants could choose between a diverse range of workshops: Finding flow in everyday life (psychology), story-telling & improv-theatre, youth-IAM meditation, yoga & chanting, tai chi & healthy nutrition, singing, improv-dance, 5-rhythms-dance, communicating with the horses, building a labyrinth, and artwork.

The photography workshop collected thousands of stunning photos. One workshop group built a labyrinth out of sand and stone in the garden of MA Center. The labyrinth, which was designed after the model of the ancient labyrinth of Chartres, France, has been used in many ancient cultures around the world as a tool for finding one’s personal vision and path in life.

An exclusive harp playing workshop was led by Christina Tourin, an internationally renowned harp player and pioneer in harp-therapy. The workshop participants gave a concert at the local old age home, sharing the gift of music with the elderly residents. Christina Tourin also gifted two harps to participants of her workshop, who will continue the visits of old-age homes in Portugal and Austria.

 

Building a barefoot-path

As every year, AYUDH also wants to make a contribution to the local surroundings. Therefore one workshop group built a barefoot path in the garden of the social care-center in Michelstadt. The bare-footpath is made up with natural materials and is open to people of all ages to train their sense of touch. Stephan Kelbert, the Mayor of Michelstadt, praised the youth’s contribution and hard work while inaugurating it on July 19th.

Sustainability campaign in schools

At least one youth from every nation participated in the In-Deed workshop, which trained them as coaches in sustainable development. Once the youth are back in their home countries they will visit schools and child-care centers to teach the children how to save water, grow their own organic food and protect biodiversity. Upon completing the school visits, participants will be awarded with the “Youth Pass”, a certificate by the European Commission for Education and Culture. “Youth Pass” certifies non-formal learning in the youth field and is acknowledged as part of the professional career of the youth throughout Europe.

Turning the vision within

Sessions of meditation, yoga, tai chi and bhajans, were held everyday and allowed the youth to turn their vision within and integrate the diverse impressions of the day. After dinner, the youth were invited to take part in interactive sessions led by Br. Shubamrita and Bri. Dipamrita to reflect upon their values, personal strengths and the impact they want to have in the world. The brilliant and very mature comments sparked a lively dialogue and ended the day in a reflective mode.

Art-project

The youth undertook a huge group-art-project to literally “color the world with love.” The continents of the world were cut out in wooden pieces, which were then colored with the handprints of each and every participant. In the end, a unique mosaic of colors and shapes were created – a testimony of the youth’s willingness to work with their hands and hearts towards creating a beautiful and colorful world.

Summer festival

The grand conclusion of the week was a summer festival on the eve of Friday 19th July, during which each workshop presented the results of their group work. The diverse range of presentations gave an impressive demonstration of AYUDH’s talent and creativity.

After the show, everyone proceeded to the inauguration of the labyrinth at MA Center. Under the light of the rising moon the youth enjoyed an exclusive classical concert with harp, flute and soprano. In this mystical atmosphere 300 candles were lit, which were then carried by the youth to a nearby lake, where they were set afloat onto the water. During the procession the youth sang the prayer “Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” – praying for all beings in creation to be peaceful and happy.

– Dass

 

Family Camp at the Amma Center, Switzerland

On a weekend in June, over twenty children and teenagers participated in the Family Camp 2013 of the Swiss Amma Center in Flaach.

The theme of the camp was “Man and Nature in Harmony” with a special emphasis on water.

The children and teenagers participated, according to their age, in different workshops centered on the five virtues: Truth, Peace, Love, Non-Violence and Right Action.

The two following days started with the Amrita-Yoga and IAM Meditation.

One of the many highlights of the weekend was the wonderful guided tour through the nature sanctuary “Thurauen” on Sunday morning, where everybody learned about the animals in the water and also had a lot of fun making their own boats made from materials found at the sanctuary: wood, reeds, etc.

In the afternoon there were theatre and painting workshops, an IAM Refresher course and games for the small children. The day ended a huge bonfire and the sending small hot air balloons into the moonlit night sky while everybody chanted “Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”.

On Monday the retreat came to an end with the children each promising to do one good deed a day, as well as with dancing and singing together and presenting the theatre scenes all children had prepared. During the whole camp the children also had bhajan class and led their own bhajan sessions each evening.

It was a wonderful weekend, where learning and fun were closely linked and where surely every child or teenager could return home with precious experiences in his heart.

World Hindu Summit 2013 Bali

Swami Purnamritananda participated in the  World Hindu Summit of 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. The agenda of the  World Hindu Summit of 2013 is to establish the World Hindu Parisad or Assembly, developing its constitution, structure, office bearers, etc. The highlight of the opening ceremony was a very grand performance put up by the Balinese, representing the story of how spiritual harmony amongst the various religions was achieved in Bali by the power of Trimurti.

Among the important guests that came to welcome were the Head of the Indonesian Hindu Parisad, Dr I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana; the Head of the Indonesian Ashram Association, Prabu Adi Purusa; the Head of the Bali Ashram Association, Acarya Yogananda; the Chairman of the World Hindu Summit, Professor Made Bhakta; and the Chairman of the World Hindu Summit Committee, Dr. Made Sad Guna.

Later Swami had a meeting with  Dr. Arya Wedakarna – Director of Sukarno Centre, Chancellor of Mahendradatta University.

 

May this award spread goodness and peace

27 Sep 2012, Amritapuri – 59th B’day Celebrations

As part of Amma’s 59th birthday celebrations, the 2012 Amrita Keerti Puraskar for excellence in Indian cultural literature was bestowed upon C. Radhakrishnan by P.J. Kurian, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, in Amma’s presence.

In his address  Kurien said, “Amma is the essence of Indian culture.  Amma gives unlimited love and compassion to the downtrodden and needy. Amma’s compassion transcends all national boundaries. That compassion flows like the Ganga. There are no boundaries of caste, religion or nation. She loves all of humankind as one. Amma’s inner power is divine. The love that she showers upon us is also divine. I pray that this compassion is able to flow constantly without any obstruction.”

Accepting Amritakeerti award, C. Radhakrishnan said, “Seeing Amma’s compassion and love, people are naturally drawn to Amma. May her wellspring of compassion and love continue for ages. I have received many awards, but this is the first time I am receiving an award in the esteemed company of such great Sannyasis. This award is not mine; it is for translating the great text of the Bhagavad-Gita and novel about the father of Malayalam. These works spread goodness and peace. Perhaps that is what this award should be giving here.”

2012 Amritakeerti Puraskar to C.Radhakrishnan

In conjunction with the 59th birthday celebrations of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, the 2012 Amritakeerti Puraskar will be awarded to renowned writer and film director C. Radhakrishnan.

The award comes with a cash prize of Rs. 1,23,456, a statuette created by sculptor Namboodiri and a citation. C. Radhakrishnan will be presented the award on September 27th, 2011, in Amritapuri, during Amma’s birthday celebration.

Along with his lifetime contribution to Malayalam literature, MAM is specifically bestowing the award upon C. Radhakrishnan for his 2011 commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita—Geeta Darshanam [“The Vision of the Geeta”]. MAM would also like to specifically acknowledge his 2005 novel Theekkadal Kadanhu Thirumadhuram [“Churning the Ocean of Fire”], which tells the story of Thunjath Ezhuthacchan, the father of Malayalam.

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AYUDH Youth Exchange USA 2012: The Joy of Giving

11-12 August 2012, MA Center, Washington DC
The third annual East Coast AYUDH Youth Exchange, held in M.A. Center in Washington D.C. Thirty four youth from around the United States to come together for this year’s theme of ‘The Joy of Giving’ fostered a transformative weekend of discussion, selfless service, and prayer.

 
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As the sun rose on the horizon, participants began the first day preparing lunch for a local shelter in Bethesda, Maryland.  Everyone’s personal touch added to the splendor of the scrumptious meal. Thereafter a hike alongside the exquisite Potomac River at the nearby Great Falls Park posed a time for connection with nature.   Inward reflection as well as conversation and getting to know one another passed the hour.

During the afternoon’s question and answer session, Br. Dayamrita touched upon an array of topics.  Inquires varied from basic techniques for overcoming stage fright to more complex issues of karmic unfolding during adverse circumstances.  Learning to keep a balance in all endeavors was a central theme.  Participants then shared personal experiences.  Exchanging thoughts and ideas revitalized the group to continue their charitable work.  Creativity came to life as participants each created their unique AYUDH shirt using spray paint.  In the evening, a heart-stirring bhajan session concluded the day with remembrance of the divine.  Musical talent filled the room as Sonia Patel sang ‘Every One in the World,’ an English song highlighting Amma’s dream for a peaceful world.   Interactive theater games ended the long day on a light-hearted note.

The following morning’s activities began with a thought-provoking discussion led by Br. Dayamrita.  Approaches to dealing with societal pressures affecting today’s youth were considered.  Participants debated on how to live in the world as members of society whilst holding on to spiritual values.   After the bhajan class  the group divided into several smaller ones, each composed a paragraph around this year’s theme for AYUDH.  What resulted was a melodious, multilingual conglomeration of voices, instruments, and styles centralized around ‘The Joy of Giving’.

As a finale to the retreat, all traveled to the Potomac Valley Nursing and Wellness Center to perform for the elderly residents. The group had prepared a collection of songs and dances.  As faces filled with smiles, participants shared their numerous talents.  Raju Mishra performed a Bollywood fusion dance.   Tom Marino choreographed an AYUDH group song.  One resident was inspired to participate by singing the 1934 classic, ‘Blue Moon’ for everyone.   As some were fighting to hold back their tears, others joyously joined in the celebration  – with goals set and hearts opened.

 

The Joy of Giving

AYUDH Europe’s 8th Youth Initiative, 15 – 21 July 2012, MA Center, Germany

The 8th European AYUDH Youth Initiative was an unique gathering where participants came from all parts of the continent and even from far off countries like Japan, Ukraine and the United States – 200 youth from 15 countries – came together at the MA Center Germany. The theme of this year was ‘The Joy of Giving.’ The youth focused on how they can use their personal talents and potential for the benefit of society and the environment. Each youth chose one workshop for the duration of the whole week. The workshops were designed to help the youth deepen their understanding of the three main topics of the initiative: ‘Give to Yourself’, ‘Give to Society’ and ‘Give to Nature.’

Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique for Youth taught the participants the simple yet effective meditation technique that can help them to be more balanced, focused and creative in their studies, work and personal life.

Workshps
A psychology workshop introduced the ‘Flow’ phenomena, which helps one to be more efficient, happy and relaxed in one’s work.

The singing, dancing and artwork workshops offered the chance to explore and express creative potential. All songs were written and composed by the participants themselves, ranging from Rap to Jazz to folk music. In two acting workshops the youth developed their improvisation & storytelling skills, while also learning about the discipline of acting.

Practical activities and the insight of a great workshop leader introduced the permaculture group to an alternative sustainable way to work with nature
A body work workshop introduced youth to simple and effective techniques for increased relaxation.

Motivational Talks
Each day a renowned speaker inspired the youth with motivational talks, using examples from their own lives. The speakers included Kirsi Ranto, pop-singer from Finland, Krisztina Peremartoni, who was the lead actress of the Hungarian National Theatre for 25 years, who talked to the participants of how singing and acting can also be used to help society and stressed on how much a refined character is important in remaining successful. Kirty Matabadal, UN Ambassador for Youth from the Netherlands shared her aspirations, tasks and responsibilities as UN ambassador with the youth.

The camp also had a very special visit from world-renowned German artist Rebecca Horn. Accompanied by Hayden Chisholm, a musician and composer from New Zealand, the evening began with the screening of the film made by her titled ‘Moon Mirror Journey’. The youngsters experienced the palpable atmosphere created by each piece, including ‘Jungle of Light’, the installation dedicated to Amma. In her speech, Rebecca Horn encouraged the youth to go back to their roots, value their cultural heritage and spread their love in society.

The talks by Br. Shubamrita on ‘Giving to Society’ and Bri. Dipamrita on ‘Giving to Nature’ highlighted on how everybody has the potential to create change in the world and in the restoring harmony between human beings and nature – in big and small ways.

Walk for Education
On the third day of the retreat, the youth took part in a charity walk ‘Walk for Education’ in the picturesque city of Michelstadt.

Back home, each participant had worked for raising awareness and funds for the walk, directed towards helping ‘Embracing the World’ in their educational projects for children. To support the youth in their cause and inform the public, the local bank “Volksbank Odenwald” hosted a one month video and photo exhibition about the educational initiatives of “Embracing the World”.

Along the way, the youth visited an old age home and spent a few hours with the residents there. Some young people visited room-bound elderly people and distributed some gifts hand-made by the participants. The Portuguese group played and sang for the elderly people in their rooms. Afterwards, Spanish TV comedian Antonio Jose Garcia del Valle entertained the residents and youth with a medley of popular songs and skits, bringing both tears and laughter to everyone’s face.

Dil Se De
On the penultimate day afternoon, the youngsters shared the ‘Joy of Giving’ through a multi-cultural youth street theatre performance. All topics explored during the week like benefits of meditation, protecting Mother Nature, conserving water and energy, relaxation techniques, etc, were translated into music, dance and drama. The performance culminated in a 200 strong dance troupe to this year’s theme song ‘Dil Se De’ [video]. Passers-by were impressed by the young people’s talents and sincere concern for environmental and social issues.

Candle Ceremony
Artist Gabriele von Lutzau, visited the M.A. Center to inaugurate a cast of the peace dove carved during the previous year. Each participant joined in the universal peace prayer ‘Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu’ and carried a candle to the nearby lake and gently placed it on the waters. It was a beautiful sight to see the 200 lighted candles, floating on the surface of water, with the atmosphere reverberating with the chants for world peace. The serene atmosphere created by the candle ceremony continued into a special exclusive concert with Kirsi Ranto and Antonio Jose Garcia del Valle. Other AYUDH participants shared their musical talents and an overwhelming feeling of pure joy was experienced by all.

On the final day, the Mayor of Brombachtal, Mr. Willi Kredel thanked the youth for travelling to the local region and mentioned how inspired he is by all that AYUDH does. As in previous years, the event was supported by the ‘Youth in Action’ programme of the EU and the city of Michelstadt.

Implementation
Throughout the week, the youth had drafted follow-up ‘Joy of Giving’ projects for implementation in their home countries. Each young person left for home with their hearts filled with fulfillment, happiness and enthusiasm to continue ‘Giving,’ which is such an important part of Amma’s life and teachings.

 

Retreat for children and teenagers

M.A. Centre, Switzerland

The second retreat for children and teenagers took place on a weekend in march with beautiful sunny spring weather. The motto of the weekend was “Nature and humans in tune with each other”. There were separate workshops for children and teenagers as well as some common happenings.

Children leaning about nature

On Saturday morning both groups were working on “values”. The teenagers read Amma’s new year’s message and openly discussed values like discipline, contemplation, forgiveness and non-violence. They then received a diary, which they decorated lovingly while chanting.

In the afternoon the participants could choose between “building of a hotel for bees” or learning the IAM-Meditation for children. All children who were at the required age of 10 or older and did not know this meditation opted for it. They worked with great enthusiasm and sincerity. The other group got instr

uction in building, sawing and drilling to build beautiful bee-hotels.

After bhajans and dinner everybody went to the local meadows, where two biologists of the
centre for nature gave a very informative guided tour on frog’s migration. Frogs spawn at their native place and have to walk many miles in order to get there – this might result in the deaths of many frogs, if they have to cross roads. Everybody learned a lot about life and habits of frogs and toads and could even hold them in their hands!

Participants of the camp

After the morning ritual and the IAM meditation the next morning the building of the bees’ hotels continued. Then the children could play in nature and the teenagers could take part in a surprise walk in the forest.

The weekend was concluded with bhajan-singing and a puja after lunch. Everybody left enriched and happy after a fulfilling retreat.

Christmas carol of Swiss Bala Kendra

The Bala Kendra (children’s group) in Switzerland (Kindertreff Ziegelhütte) sang and played Christmas carols for elderly people in a retirement home near the Amma Center in Germany. The old people were very moved by the concert and applauded enthusiastically at the end. They very much appreciated, that these young people came to sweeten their holiday season. It was an inspiring experience for all of them.

Carol
Swiss children
Old people