Praying for the departed in tsunami

11 Mar 2012, Amritapuri
Today marks the one year anniversary of the Japanese Tsunami. Near the beginning of darshan, just after the morning archana, Amma asked all to take a moment and remember the tragedy. She said, “This is the time the Japanese tsunami happened, so for all the souls of the departed and for the harmony of nature we should pray, pray with your heart, Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu.” Amma continued by saying, “Nature is very agitated. It is as if Mother Nature is surrounded by people holding her at gunpoint. Nature, human beings, everything is disturbed both inside and outside. Let us all pray that everyone may live in peace and there be no more tragedies.” Amma then led everyone in chanting Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu.
– Kannadi

One Million to Japan tsunami children’s education fund

16 September 2011, Sendai, Japan

Embracing the World (ETW), the international organization of Mata Amritanandamayi Math, formally presented its donation of US $1,000,000 to Yoshihiro Murai, the Governor of Miyagi, Japan. This money will be used for Miagi children’s education fund. The donation is part of Ashram’s Japan Tsunami relief and rehabilitation work. Amma had announced this amount during her visit to Japan in the month of July {news}.

ETW was represented by its Indian General Secretary, Swami Purnamritananda, as well as the Country Director of ETW Japan, Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya handed over the money to the Governor.

Mentioning the potential for various relief measures, ETW’s representatives expressed their ongoing commitment to the reconstruction work in the region. Governor Murai responded by saying, “We are deeply grateful for your support… Embracing the World is a world-renowned NGO. Thus I hope that you will use your international network to keep people all over the world informed of the disaster conditions here, so they will remember in the future.”

Also in attendance was Indian Embassy Tokyo’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Sanjay Panda along with the other ETW volunteers.

Just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in March, ETW dispatched a team of volunteers to Miyagi to determine the scope of the disaster and distribute relief supplies. Food and relief supplies were distributed at Kotodai Park. The volunteers have continued to return to the area to provide aid and help with the relief work in Ishinomaki and Kesennuma.

Since 1990, Amma has been coming to Japan every year to conduct programs in cities such as Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, and Sapporo. Swami Purnamritananda has been visiting Sendai for the last ten years, offering bhajan and spiritual talks.

– Kalidas

Accept the situation, develop faith, move forward

Amma consoling a refugee at the campAmma visits tsunami relief camps in Japan

25 July, Tokyo

During the programs in Tokyo, many people from tsunami-affected areas came to seek solace and guidance from Amma. A number of them wept in her arms as they shared their grief with her. People expressed their concern over radiation threats. Some of them were anxious to know if their children and the next generation of their family members would be safe with the radiation and constant natural calamities that haunt Japan. Seeing the grief and the pain of the people, Amma decided to visit the disaster area and one of the relief camps.

After the program in Tokyo ended at 5:30 am Amma immediately left for one of the relief camps in Tagajo Sports Complex, 500 kms away. This place is currently utilised as a relief center for the displaced members of the community.

Amma was taken on a tour of the complex, and shown how the cardboard divided cubicles provided for the temporary housing of the over 200 residents.

Amma addressed the refugee residents, with the following words of inspiration, “You have just been through painful experiences, and you have yet to come out of that shock. The situation is such that no words can give you peace. Amma is here just to part take in the grief that you are going through. There are certain situations in life where you cannot do anything but accept. This is one of those situations. If you ask a musician where the music is coming from, he would say ‘its from my fingers, or from my throat, or from my heart’. If you operate the finger, the throat or the heart you will not find music. Actually music is coming from beyond. We have to understand the limitations of our actions, and the place of God’s Grace in our life. Keeping faith in that power, my children, pray for the Grace. Like any other decision, happiness is also a decision. Have a resolve, let any thing happen, I will be happy, I will be courageous. Without losing the self-confidence or faith in God, move forward”.

After a few minutes of silent meditation, Amma led the group in chanting prayers for the departed.

Amma embraced and consoled each resident, offering them Her shoulder on which they unburdened their sorrows. Amma’s face reflected their grief; tears were flowing from their eyes and also from hers. Knowing that the residents had lost everything, Amma presented household items for their material support to help improve their life at the center.

Amma offering prayers and flowers at the sea

Amma also visited the worst hit areas of Shichigahama coastal region. In some places there was complete destruction, in others one could still faintly make out the foundations of a houses where neighbourhoods once stood.

At the Shichigahama beach area, looking out at the Pacific Ocean, Amma called on all to pray for peace and for harmony in nature. She then led the group in prayers for peace, chanting Aum Shanti, Shanti, Shanti nine times, and Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu three times.

Amma offered a bouquet of flowers to the ocean, wading a few inches in, paying Her respects to it as well. She stood gazing out at the horizon for some time, then encouraged all the members of the group to follow by offering their flowers.

The pink blossoms were drawn out to sea along with everyone’s prayers for peace.

Amma announces one million for Japan tsunami relief

Tokyo, Japan, July 23

Amma announced a donation of one million US dollars towards the relief and rehabilitation of Japanese disaster victims, particularly for the education of children who lost both their parents in the devastating March 11 tsunami.

The donation will be made by Mata Amritanandamayi Center (MA Center) USA along with Amma’s global charitable network, known as ‘Embracing The World.’

The announcement was made at a crowded public program in the Grand Ballroom of Garden City Shinagawa.  Mr. Keiki Soma,representative of the Miyagi Governor also Deputy Director of the Miyagi Prefectural Government Office was present on this occasion.

You may recollect that ( read blog ) Amma’s volunteers have been actively participating in the relief work from March 13, just two days after the earthquake and tsunami. Their activities included cleaning rubble and debris from houses and agricultural land, assisting the elderly and children at relief camps, distribution of food, household utensils, medicine and other daily necessities. In addition to providing the essentials, the volunteers provided spiritual and psychological counselling to the local people in the tsunami affected areas.

Prayer circles for Japan

Amritapuri

Since first day after the earthquake in Japan, there were prayer circles for the victims every day. Daily after the evening bhajans, all have been chanting 108 ‘Lokah Samastha’ mantra sitting around the map of Japan with lamps lit around it.

Sixth Tsunami Baby Arrives

24 December 2008 — Amritapuri

After the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, several women from the villages surrounding Amritapuri came to Amma telling of a peculiar and tragic plight. Not only had they lost their children in the disaster, they were also unable to have more, as they had long back opted to undergo tubal ligation as a form of birth control. Moved by their situation, Amma sponsored tubal-ligation reversal surgeries for anyone interested {news}.

In the end, six women underwent the rare procedure. First baby was born in Sep 2006 {news}. Today the final couple—Appu and Luna of Parayakkadavu—brought their new baby for Amma’s darshan. The baby was just 11 weeks old. He was born one month premature, but was healthy and happy when placed today for the first time in Amma’s arms. Amma named him Krishnanunni.

The names of Luna and Appu’s children that drown on 26 December 2004 were Akhil, 8, and Akhila, 11.

Speaking with ashram residents, Luna said, “I feel somewhat assuaged. We lost two. At least we got one back.”

Appu said, “It was Amma who was ready to give life to those who lost it. It was Amma who sent us to the various doctors and hospitals. It was Amma who encouraged us. She assured us we would succeed. It was her prayer that made it all happen. All the women sent for this procedure in the end bore children. So we believe it was Amma’s sankalpa that made it happen.”

—Tulasi

Father Mother Place Child1 Child2 Dob Star Lost1 Lost2
Pradeep (34) Asha (27) Azheekkal Amritesh (M) 14Apr2007 Karthika Pratibha (10F) Kripa (6F)
Sreejith Liji (29) Azheekkal Eknath (M) AmritaKripa (F) 30Oct2006 Swathi Alishjith (8F) Kalidas (4M)
Baby (28) Priya (25) Azheekkal Aparna (F) 13Sep2006 Kiran (4.5M) Kingini(1.5F)
Paul (36) Lini (28) Azheekkal Alwin (M) Atul (M) 31Mar2007 Prince (2.5M) Nikhil (0.1M)
Surajit (42) Sarita (30) Srayikkad Aditya (M) Gayatri (F) 1Jun2008 Bharani Unni (1.5M)
Appu Luna Prayakadav Krishnanunni (M) Oct2008 Akhila (11F) Akhil (8M)

Watch the photos of tsunami babies here

Amma gives away tsunami houses in Andaman

Port Blair, Andaman — 24 March 2008
When the tsunami hit the Andaman-Nicobar Islands, nearly 10,000 houses were destroyed. On March 24, Amma flew the 1255 kilometers from Kolkata in order to bless the people there with her darshan and to distribute the keys to 50 tsunami-relief homes constructed by the Ashram. The program was held in Bambooflat, South Andaman. Houses were constructed both there and in Austinabad.

andaman

A symbolic key to the houses was blessed by Amma and then handed over to Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, M.A.A. Fatmi. The key was then received on behalf of the Andaman & Nicobar Administration jointly by the acting chief secretary, Arvind Ray, IAS, and the commissioner of R&R, Dharam Pal, IAS.

Another 150 homes are still in construction. They will be finished by the end of April.

Amma’s program was the largest gathering in the history of the Andaman Islands. More than 15,000 people gathered, with the grounds overflowing, even before Amma’s arrival.

– Tulasi

Two More ‘Tsunami Babies’ on the Way

13 January 2007 — Amritapuri

Another one of the tsunami victims who underwent fallopian-tubal-ligation reversal is pregnant with twins. Sarita, 30, came to Amritapuri for Amma’s darshan this morning and informed Amma of her condition. She has just completed her first trimester. Sarita will be the fifth such woman to deliver, bringing the total of “tsunami babies” up to eight.

“I lost one child, but now God is giving me two,” said Sarita. “I am praying that they will be healthy and happy.”

Sarita is married to Surajit, a pujari in a Devi temple in Aiyiram Tenga, Kollam District. At the time of the tsunami, they were living in Srayikkad, Alappad Panchayat, Kollam District. Their house was partially destroyed, and one of their two children, Unni, drowned. He was literally washed out of Sarita’s arms. Their eldest son, Nath, now 8 years old, survived. He is currently studying at Amrita Vidyalayam in Putiyakav.

After the tsunami, Sarita and Surajit built a home in Clappana, as Sarita and Nath could not sleep properly on the Alappad seashore, due to fear. Their official tsunami-relief house was allocated by the Kerala Government to an NGO other than the Ashram. It has yet to be completed.

Prior to Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004, Sarita and the four other mothers had undergone sterilization surgeries as a form of contraception. When they lost children in the disaster, Amma offered them the opportunity to have those surgeries reversed at Amrita Hospital in Cochin, {news} with the Ashram covering all the costs.

—Kannadi

Two years after the Tsunami

26 December 2006 — Amritapuri

At 8:00 a.m. all the ashram residents rose from their meditations and walked to the kalari, where they were each handed a flower. Then, in a single-file line, they walked out of the Ashram, toward Azhikkal, the village in Alappad Panchayat where 42 people were cremated a few days after the 2004 tsunami. The day marked the second anniversary of the tragedy.

It was a silent walk, a meditative one—the cool breeze of morning still in the air. Every so often, the ashramites would pass a family offering prayers for the souls of a departed loved one at small temporary shrines. When this occurred, one of the brahmacharis would invariably leave the line and offer his flower at the foot of their memorial.

When they reached Azhikkal, the ashramites circumambulated the cremation site and then did the same at the nearby tsunami monument—a permanent statue formed from black sand, symbolising Mother Land praying to Mother Sea to maintain her boundaries. There, the ashramites offered their flowers, pranamed and began silently walked back to Amritapuri.

It wasn’t long after everyone reached the ashram that Amma came down for meditation and satsang. At this time, Amma asked everyone to spend one minute in prayer for the peace of those who had died two years earlier, as well as for harmony between man and Nature.

—Kannadi

Before, then and after Tsunami

20 December 2006, Amritapuri

Below is a photo history of the backwaters before, during, and after the tsunami. All the photos were taken from the top of the flats.

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The first photo is from 2002. You can see AICT (Amrita Institute of Computer Technology) on the mainland side.

The swirls in the water in the second photo are the effects of the tsunami rushing into the backwaters (taken 26 December 2004). The Ashram boat had been spun around by the force. At the time, no one knew what had happened. In the background are the rising buildings for Amrita University’s new Engineering campus.

The last photo, from 19 December 2006, shows the newly completed Amrita Setu – connecting the Alappad island with the mainland and standing as a testament to Amma’s love and compassion for the local villagers.

– Kannadi