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.


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.



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.

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.

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.

Swiss children
Old people

New service initiatives on 58th birthday of Amma

Each year on Amma’s birthday, Mata Amritanandamayi Math inaugurates new charities, expands existing ones and releases a number of new publications. There was a formal public function for this as part of the birthday celebrations.

Many dignitaries were there for the function. They include: His Excellency Sri. K. Sankaranarayanan, the Governor of Maharashtra; Sri. Vilasrao Deshmukh, Honourable Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences; Sri. K.C. Venugopal, Honourable Union Minister of State for Power; Sri. Vishnupada Rai, MP, Andaman Islands; Sri. N. Peethambara Kurup, MP, Kollam; Philipose Mar Chrysostam, the senior Metropolitan Bishop of the Mar Thoma Church; Swami Prakashananda, Head of Sivagiri Ashram; Swami Pranavananda Teerthapada, Head of Panmana Ashram; Sheikh Aly N’Daw, the President of the International Sufi School in Senegal; Sri. M.P. Veerendrakumar, Managing Director of Mathrubhumi; and Sri. O. Rajagopal, former minister, amongst others.

Swami Amritaswarupananda formally welcomed all of them.

“For most people, birthdays are a holiday—a day we stop everything and allow the world to worship us. We become ‘king for a day.’ Our spouse and children do special things for us. We get presents. A feast is prepared. Perhaps we don’t even go to work. We stay home and relax. Very often, if someone asks us to help them on this day, we say, ‘Please, not today. It’s my birthday.’ But for Amma, this is yet another day to selflessly serve the world, just as she does seven every other day.” said in his welcome speech.

Two new projects

Two new projects were lauched on this occasion. Free Tuition Program by Sri. Vilasrao Deshmukh, the Honorable Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences and Amrita Santvanam by His Excellency K.Sankaranarayanan, the Governor of Maharashtra.

Ongoing projects

Amrita Nidhi pension program – providing widows and other disadvantaged individuals with monthly pension checks was extended to another 5,000 beneficiaries throughout India. The checks were officially presented to 25 beneficiaries by Sri. N. Peethambara Kurup, MP.

As part of AmritaSREE Suraksha – a joint venture between the Mata Amritanandamayi Math and the Life Insurance Corporation of India – 3,000 scholarships to children of members of AmritaSREE (Self Reliance Economic Empowerment) self-help groups were distributed by Sri. K.C. Venugopal, Honorable Union Minister of State for Power.

The Vidyamritam Scholarship Program, was also extended. Sri. Vilasrao Deshmukh distributed the scholarships to 25 students, representing the 5,000 new beneficiaries.

Book releases:

MAM Mission Trusts following books was released by Sheyl Al N’Daw, the President of the International School of Sufis, Senegal.

Amrita Darshanam, a collection of Amma’s sayings
Nectar of Wisdom, a compilation of teachings by Amma
Varaprasadam, a collection of poetry by Swami Turiyamritananda Puri
Blesssed Life by Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri (Malayalam translation)
Torrential Love by Swamini Krishnamrita Prana (Malayalam translation)
Random Reflections, a collection of poetry by Evoor G. Madhavan Nair

Amrita Books was launched on Amma’s 57th birthday in order to ensure books of about Amma and her teachings are available in books stores in India. Its four books were released on this occasion.

Amma: The Life of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi – in Hindi, Kannada and Telugu.
From Amma’s Heart – in Kannada

Matruvani Birthday Souvenir by Swami Prakashananda, the head of Sivagiri Ashram.

Amma’s Advice: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, a coffee-table book by Konarak publications  by His Grace Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostam Mar Thoma Metropolitan.

Amrita Keerti

This year’s Amrita Keerti Puraskar went to Sri. Veerendrakumar, the managing director of Mathrubhumi, in recognition of his philosophical travel memoir, Haimavatabhuvil.

Veerendrakumar was presented with the customary cash award of Rs. 1,23,456, a statuette created by sculptor Namboodiri, as well as a citation were presented by His Excellency Sri. K. Sankaranarayanan, the Governor of Maharashtra.

After receiving the award, Veerendrakumar addressed the gathering, saying that Amma has symbolized the true message of unconditional compassion. He also said that he considers the award as a blessing, not just an award, and considers himself a very fortunate person for receiving it upon Amma’s birthday. “India exists not on its military strength. It has survived through the centuries by drawing strength and inspiration from its spiritually-oriented culture. Through Amma’s spiritual guidance and acts of charity transcending national borders she helped humanity experience love, mercy and grace in a world of hard realities.”

In his address, Venugopal said, “Amritapuri has been transformed into a center not for just spiritual pursuits, but has become a nerve-centre for human welfare across the world—be it natural calamities across the world or a wide range of programs aimed at the poor, cutting across barriers of color, caste and creed.”

Amma also conducted a mass marriage for the underprivileged couples.


AYUDH participates in inter-religious peace prayer

12 September 2011 – Munich

AYUDH was invited by the catholic church to co-facilitate the inter-religious peace prayer. They also joined dialogue-groups to discuss ways to peace within a multicultural society. The youth read out from Amma’s teachings, sang the bhajan “Everyone in the world” and prayed “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.”


In a church centre in the Munich neighbourhood Haidhausen, about 120 representatives of various religions came together at an inter-religious youth meeting and collective prayer for peace.

Through the International Peace Meeting, the hosts, the congregation Sant´Egidio and the archdiocese of Munich and Freising discussed topics about living together with different religions and cultures.


Before the communal peace prayer, the individual religions prayed in accordance to their respective traditions, lit a peace candle together and placed flowers in a vase to create a colorful bouquet. Afterwards, the participants met for a dialogue where representatives of the different religions shared their own views and perspectives on ways of being in the world in respect to peace.

“In everyday religion, normally we don’t meet like this, rather everyone prays in their own way. This meeting offered the opportunity to get a taste of the different traditions, to discover what they have in common, and to remove prejudices. The building blocks of religion should be used to build bridges rather than walls” commented a participant, Nath Hirsch from AYUDH

– Das

Reaching new heights by AYUDH of USA

August 12-14, 2011 M.A. Center, Washington, DC.

Under the guidance of Br. Dayamrita Chaitanya, forty youth came together for the second annual AYUDH East Coast Youth Exchange for the theme ‘Reaching New Heights’. The zealous youth from across the United States and Canada gathered at the picturesque ashram to share ideas, pray together, and join hands in performing selfless service.


The participants arose early the first morning to cook and serve lunch for the Bethesda Cares shelter in Maryland. Apart from the joy of partaking in teamwork to churn out a meal within an hour, some participants remarked that it was their first time serving at a shelter, and it was a transformative experience. “It was eye-opening to see firsthand how others appreciated so dearly what many of us take for granted every day,” commented Amit Sookdeo.


In a question-and-answer session with Br. Dayamrita, participants learned how to handle stress, especially with demanding academic curricula.

One of the retreat’s highlights was the screening of Bag-It, a documentary highlighting the gross waste of plastic and the subsequent effects on our ecosystems. Inspired by AYUDH members’ service projects around the world, the Amrita University students’ efforts to clean roadside trash in India, and Amma’s message that “Nature is our Mother,” the participants each pledged to make one change in their lives. The pledges ranged from carrying reusable bags to the grocery store to growing plants in one’s backyard, stopping the personal purchase of plastic water bottles to serving at a homeless shelter twice a month, and even recommending a composting system for one’s college dining hall to wasting less water on a daily basis.

“Even though we pledged to do simple things like grow plants in our house or be more conscious about the environment, these little actions will add up in the end and we will see genuine change,” said Jaya Vallis.

The rain cleared up the evening, as AYUDH members swam in the Ashram’s pool, played tennis and basketball, enjoyed a slip-and-slide, and roasted marshmallows in a bonfire.

The following day, participants were treated to a lively bhajan class on the song “Akhilandeshwari Ambe,” involving a conglomeration of instruments, music styles, a rap, and singing variations between boys and girls. AYUDH had a satsang with Swami Amritaswarupananda via webcast from Amritapuri, who gave the camp members a guide to reach new heights and embrace what he coined the Law of Grace. He also spoke of how love is a product of Amma’s grace, the elimination of emotional distress, and the three C’s: Calmness, Cheerfulness, and Confidence.


The final event of the retreat was one that had many participants fighting back tears. AYUDH had the opportunity to do a one-hour performance before the elderly residents of the Potomac Valley Nursing and Wellness Center. Titled “East Meets West,” the performance had a medley of songs and dances, such as “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Hari Pancha, “Kal Ho Na Ho” by Amritesh Thoppil, “My Favorite Things” on saxophone by Karthik Krishnan, and a Wushu martial arts demonstration by Poorna Sreekumar.

Several AYUDH members from DC choreographed and performed a fusion dance with raas, bhangra, Bollywood, and hip-hop, followed by an interactive “Lean on Me” led by Tom Marino for which all of AYUDH and many of the Center’s residents sang along. Throughout the entire set, several residents in the front row displayed their enthusiasm by clapping and laughing aloud at the jokes. The most memorable part was a spontaneous, heartwarming rendition of “Amazing Grace” by Fran, a care home resident who sung in her church choir from the age of two.

Said Tom Marino, “This lesson was made tangible at our visit to the nursing home: At first I was nervous and doubtful. Through Grace, the three C’s gradually replaced my distress. The result was love, which had saturated the entire hall and is still present in my heart.” After spending some time with the residents who expressed their appreciation for the performance and after promising to come back soon, AYUDH members wheeled residents back to their rooms and returned to the DC Ashram, invigorated and touched by the bliss received in performing seva.


– KaliDas

Teen Retreat at MA Center, Germany

The first Teen-Retreat for children between the ages of 12-15 took place at the M.A. Center, Germany, on July 1.-3, 2011.

The participants came to gel as a group through various team building activities such as group discussions, mural painting, music, etc. The mornings started with meditation. They were given the chance to express themselves creatively; they made their own picture-frames and paintings.

The participants also came up with a new song which was tuned with the participation of all. This powerful song accompanied the entire retreat and brought out the strength and enthusiasm of the young group.

On Saturday, the teens had a question and answer session over webcast with Br. Shubamrita. The teens also presented their song. Their honest and innocent questions were very interesting and thought provoking.

Great was the enthusiasm for the Teen-Retreat. The teens left saying that they would want a longer camp next year!

– Tulasi