Amma’s Women Empowerment Project is Role Model for Entire World says U.N.

3 May 2014 – Amritapuri Ashram

More than 1,500 women from various parts of India poured into Amritapuri for the two-day event “A Celebration of Empowerment.” This was the capstone event of AMMACHI Labs’ Women Empowerment project, co-funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and Amrita University. The participants all shared one thing in common: they were graduates of AMMACHI Labs’ unique computerized vocational education and life-enrichment education courses.

Video: Amma talks about the plight of women and relates a heartrending true story that illustrates why programs like AMMACHI Labs’ Women Empowerment project are so important. This project successfully trained more than 3,000 women with vocational and life skills in less than 18 months.

The chief guests of the celebration, who graced the dias along with Amma, were Her Excellency the Governor of Kerala Smt. Sheila Dikshit; the Head of the United Nations in India, Ms. Lise Grande; and renowned film actor Kunchacko Boban.

Ms. Grande praised the AMMACHI Labs’ Women Empowerment project, saying, “[The United Nations] scours the world looking for the best projects, the most innovative projects, the projects which will have the highest impact. The one we’ve chosen for India is this project, and we chose it because AMMACHI Labs is the most creative way of empowering women. Of all of the projects which the UN funds around the world, this is the one dearest to our heart. It’s the one were most proud of. And it’s the one that we intend to take to the rest of the world so that they can learn from what you have achieved.”

Over a span of 18 months, 3,136 women were trained via 28 of Ammachi Labs’ Women Empowerment Centers across Kerala and Tamil Nadu, both permanent and mobile. In the process, they set up 30 Self Help Groups, seven small businesses, and earned a collective income of more than one million rupees [Rs. 10 lakhs] within 3 months of completing the course. Courses included plumbing, fabric-painting and jewelry-making. Furthermore, the graduates also led more than 70 community awareness and action campaigns, ranging from alcohol abuse to environmental protection.

“Empowerment to us is more than mere economic success. The goal is to equip women with an enhanced ability to participate in the democratic process and increased capacity to make decisions at the individual, family and community levels,” said Director of AMMACHI Labs, Professor Bhavani. “Economic and socio-economic empowerment of women were achieved simultaneously through the delivery of AMMACHI Labs’ cVET and LEE program, both tailored to the participant’s specific needs.”

Governor Dikshit praised Amma as both a humanitarian and a spiritual leader. “Amma, in the spirit with which she works—with love and compassion and an ever-smiling face—gives us all the courage to stand up and live by the ideals that she has taught us. … My congratulations and grateful thanks to her for having given confidence and equality to our women.”

Both UN Representative Grande and Governor Dikshit, together with Amma, then awarded prizes to 23 women who’s AMMACHI Labs’ Self-Help Groups have excelled since their training.

Award-winning actor Kunchacko Boban offered his support of the project and said, “Women Empowerment … is something the Mata Amritanandamayi Math understands, not just in words, but in deeds.”

The program concluded with a short talk by Amma. “Today is a day of joy and satisfaction,” Amma said. “Women face many difficulties and challenges in daily life. It is good if we can help inspire them. The difficulties that the common woman faces in her family and social life are not small. There are economic problems, family problems, safety problems… For women in such circumstances to be able to find a profession and thereby stand on their own two feet comes as a great source of relief for them. That said, even then, problems persist—problems at home, problems with their children, problems at work… When these combine, it can be a tremendous weight to bear. When such women are provided with self-confidence, training and wise-counseling, their lives develop new meaning. In reality, the key to woman’s liberty lies in her own hands. In order to realize this, women need determination, forbearance and constant effort. On our part, we need to provide them with a little encouragement and guidance. If provided with the right opportunities, any woman can become a role-model for society.”

Amma then gave darshan to all the women and to their families. These ladies had put up stalls in the ashram to showcase their achievements. The stalls contained artwork, jewelry, painted fabrics, bags, pillows and other products they had produced. But when visiting the stalls, nothing shined brighter than the confident smiles on the faces of the Women Empowerment graduates.

– Kannadi

Amrita SeRVe centre launched in Wayanad

Amrita SeRVe was inaugurated on January 13th, 2014, at Valaramkunnu Tribal colony in Wayanad district of Kerala. Amrita SeRVe, will implement a comprehensive series of welfare projects intended to improve the infrastructure, education and basic facilities in communities enabling them to become self-reliant role-model villages.


Under the auspices of the project, the General Secretary of MAM Swami Poornamritananda Puri, launched Amrita RITE, a tablet enhanced literacy program and free tuition center. The project co-ordinator from CREATE introduced the tablet aided literacy applications to the tribal community. Children and adults wholeheartedly participated and were excited to have a hands-on opportunity with the interactive user interface.


Swami Poornamritananda launching the program in a tribal colony

Amrita Live-in-Labs would help awaken compassion in the youth

Amrita University launched a pioneering experiential learning programme  – ‘Amrita Live-in-Labs’ – that encourages the youth to live and experience the problems in the country’s villages.

The scheme envisages students of Amrita as well as international students from some of the best universities of the world to live in Indian villages for six months to understand the rural population’s problems in areas that include health, hygiene, energy, water, waste and environment. It also aims to define projects that seek to address the problems, devise solutions, implement, test and eventually demonstrate innovative solutions.


The idea behind the Amrita Live-in-Labs came from the address Amma gave at the 150th birthday celebrations of Swami Vivekananda at Delhi in Jan 2013. In her inaugural address Amma had suggested a way to ensure that at least one child from every family served in rural areas for one year after their graduation. She also recommended government funds for such a programme, saying the initiative would help awaken compassion in the youth besides uplift the poor and ensure a holistic growth of the nation.

As part of the Amrita Live-in-Labs programme, Amrita University signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with University of California (UC), San Diego, to enhance research and student exchanges. The signatories included UC Executive Vice Chancellor Dr Suresh Subramani and Amrita University Vice Chancellor Dr P Venkat Rangan.

Others present at the function included Michelle L. Hermas, Director, International Affairs UC; Dr. Maneesha V. Ramesh, Director, Amrita Center for International Programs, its Co-Director Dr. Krishnashree Achuthan, Mr. P. Manoj, Program Manager, Amrita Center for International Programs.

The MoU will also facilitate exchanges of faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, joint research projects and publications, virtual labs, exchanges of publications, materials, and information; and special short-term programs.

Amrita Live-in-Labs was inaugurated during Amritavarsham60, Amma’s 60th birthday celebrations.


Panel discussion at the Center for Spiritual Studies

25 Sep 2013, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham60 Celebrations

As part of the inauguration of the Amrita Center for Spiritual Studies, a select panel of Amma’s Senior disciples were invited to speak about her life and teachings at the Amrita University, Amritapuri campus, on September 25th, 2013. The session commenced with the lead speaker, Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri.


Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri spoke about Amma as a Satguru or a true master and why She is “qualified” to address many of the current global problems affecting society today. He stated that “only the manufacturer knows how to fix a car, not the driver, no matter how competent the driver may be in using the car.” Thus, “only the Creator knows what we need and what is best for us.”Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri also stated that Amma has “merged with that all powerful Brahman” or Universal Consciousness.


Swami Amritageetananda Puri gave a brief synopsis of Vedanta and how Amma is the embodiment of its most essential principle – the “ability to see the all-pervading Consciousness in everyone and everywhere.”Swami Armitageetananda Puri further explained that Amma sees everything as an “extension of herself.” She does not feel anything or anyone is different from her. “Amma is Pure Consciousness both within and without”, he stated, “She is a perfect Avatar and have the ability to be a uniting and motivating force for the entire world.”


Swami Amritageetananda Puri explained that a Satguru, such as Amma, is “an independent being whose happiness does not depend on any external object or force and within whom infinite peace and joy exist perpetually.” He also stated that unlike other Gurus, Amma has always been readily available and accessible to people, regardless of their class, race, religion, or nationality.


Other panel speakers included Swamini Krishnamrita Prana, Brahmachari Dayamritra Chaitanya, and Brahmachari Shivamrita Chaitanya. All panellists spoke of Amma’s compassion and how it is unconditional and without restriction or hesitation. They emphasized that Amma seeks to awaken the divinity that exists within all of us which currently remains dormant. All of Amma’s disciples who spoke, however, agreed that no matter how much they talked about Amma or tried to explain Amma’s nature, their words would be “limited”, for Amma “is beyond thought and speech” and cannot be comprehended by the finite human mind.


The Amrita Center for Spiritual Studies was launched to help strengthen and preserve India’s vibrant and eclectic cultural and spiritual tradition. It will focus on providing a platform for intense academic research and study by offering post-graduate and PhD programs.

– Soumya


Answers that are not in science should be searched in spirituality

12 Aug 2013, Amritapuri

Amma meets Scientists from International Conference on Biotechnology for Innovative Applications

A group of 100 scientists from all over the world including India, USA, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Russia, UK, and Australia had come to Amritapuri to participate at the International Conference on Biotechnology for Innovative Applications.

The conference, called Amrita Bio Quest 2013, was hosted by Amrita University’s School of Biotechnology at Amritapuri from August 10-14, 2013.

Amma met these scientists and had a very important discussion on various aspects of Biotechnology and Biosciences touching today’s pertinent societal needs.

A professor from National Brain Research Center asked about how modern stressful living can be studied while focusing on values and spiritual principles. Amma opinioned that medicine is absolutely necessary. Amma insisted education for life and education for a living are both needed. Education for living can come from traditional schooling while education for life, which is knowing how to control one’s emotions and develop values is also needed along with it- one conditioning the external world via science and another conditioning the inner world via spiritual sciences; both are important. Amma said “Even the Vedas insist on medicine, in fact Ayurveda is part of Vedas. It is said that Lord Vishnu incarnated as Danwanthari Murthy (Lord of Medicine) and shared the knowledge of medicine.”

Medicine in the past has become poisonous
Amma however indicated that the human body had become weaker and the atmosphere is also getting more polluted. She explained that treatment of Tuberculosis used to be around 6 months in the past but today even after an year of treatment, the disease still might not be fully cured. Amma said, applying cow-dung to open wounds used to be medicine in the past but today cuts would become septic wounds if cow-dung were to be used. So things have changed and what was medicine in the past has become poisonous now. We are increasing the intensity and dosage of medicine today. More chemicals are being added and side-effects are also increasing.

Work together for the cause
Amma suggested the idea of different branches of medicine – Allopathy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Yoga all working together to form a holistic approach for the betterment of the society. Amma acknowledged that many of those present in the meeting were great contributors to science and asked them to be alert and aware of the external and internal world and to work together for the cause could help the world.

Be natural 50% and be modern 50%

Prof. Suresh Subramani of UCSD then asked about recombinant DNA and genetically modified organisms. His question was whether we were disrespecting the species by altering its DNA even though it could have huge applications in terms of reducing poverty due to high yield, disease resistance etc.

Amma answered by saying with increasing human population and to avoid deaths due to poverty, such applications are being seen as solutions. However, while we make such seeds we need to add chemicals to make them grow and they will not grow naturally like in the past. Amma indicated that older, more natural seeds were the best but we cannot discard the new system either. With the help of modern seeds, some poverty related deaths have been reduced. Amma said it may not be possible to completely discard old or new methods, but rather an approach using 50% traditional methods, 50% new methods could be used. Modern seeds do not adapt to old fertilizers and natural seeds do not match well with new fertilizers. In fact Amma had tested the effects and found productivity was greatly reduced for new seeds with older fertilizers. Amma’s view is to focus on both appeasing hunger and promoting good health via both old and new systems. Amma said, to her, everything is significant and nothing should be discarded. “The old system was the best but to match today’s world adopting modern techniques may be needed.”


Medical system needs to be studied from its own standpoint
A professor from Turkey asked about the role of citizens in science and extending science beyond scientists.

Amma felt scientists should provide awareness of the pros and cons of science to citizens. Amma is not sure how successful it would be if citizens could make decision on scientific questions. The best for science may be when scientists discuss and approach the problems. Amma indicated the public’s opinion for cloning helped guide a former President of USA and that even Amma had sent an opinion. Amma felt scientists may not approve the role of citizen’s in making decisions for scientists. She used the example of Homeopathy, Allopathic and Ayurveda physicians being constantly in debate when it comes to treatment. Amma then talked about how each medical system needs to be studied from its own standpoint and yet the commonness needs to be sought. Amma insisted that sharing their discoveries and knowledge with society is very important.

There is nothing to be rejected
A question was posed to Amma as to what should be avoided in science. Amma answered that there was nothing to be discarded. Amma used the example of an aircraft engine and a screw. Both the screw and engine have their importance. Amma said, “Missing a vital screw would also make the aircraft unfit. Like that, everything has its place. What we see as useless grass may actual be highly medicinal. Some people drink wheat-grass juices as a health drink. Our ancestors used to do the same except today we give a modern name to it. Seeing this from a spiritual perspective, it is called Love. In Love, there is nothing to be rejected. Every being has a special quality”. Amma used the example of a dog, which many people may see as a useless animal. But where investigative officers may fail to catch a criminal, dogs can succeed. “Answers that are not in science should be searched in spirituality and those not in spirituality must be searched within science,” Amma said.

Most speakers commented on how a blend of dedication, selfless service and Love had transformed their visit to Amritapuri. It was their first time to see Amma’s message of Love, starting with her life and dedication.

– Kannadi

bioquest conference

Amrita Spandanam: a real-time monitoring of cardiac patients

In order to help people with cardiac conditions avail of real-time, ECG-monitoring without hospitalization, Amrita WNA has designed a prototype for a low-cost, low-power, wearable ECG-monitoring device called Amrita Spandanam.

Amrita Spandanam will allow postoperative cardiac patients as well as people with cardiac conditions to avoid hospitalization for the sake of continuous vital-parameter monitoring.

Amrita Spandanam, which can be worn either as a necklace or as a belt, continuously monitors and analyzes a patient’s ECG. The ECG data is sent wirelessly, in real-time, to the patient’s cardiologist/doctor, with alerts if a patient seems to require examination. Doctors can avail of the live-feed through their mobile phone, making monitoring possible even when both the patient and the doctor are mobile.

According to Dr. Maneesha Sudheer, the head of Amrita WNA, “When discussing potential wireless R&D projects, Amma would lament the number of poor people she has seen die from cardiac conditions in their 40s and 50s. She told me, ‘It is science’s responsibility to give such people the 30 or 40 years back by which their lives are being cut short and help them to lead full, productive lives.’ It was with this end in mind that we started working on an affordable wearable wireless system for real-time monitoring of cardiac patients.”

The Amrita Spandanam prototype has been designed so that the data will also be automatically logged into Hospital Information System at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi.

The Amrita Spandanam prototype will be unveiled on September 26, 2013, at Amritavarsham60—The 60th Birthday Celebrations of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma.

Safety for women, Security for mentally challenged; a device by Amrita

appsHow can anyone live in fear? Most women are victimized for no fault of their own unable to travel and perform mundane activities. In discussions with Amrita University’s Centre for Cyber Security, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma), stressed the need for developing technology to protect and make Indian women feel more safe.

According to Dr. Krishnashree Achuthan, the director of Amrita University’s Centre for Cyber Security Systems & Networks, “Amma told us that we should try to develop a device that women can wear secretly through which they can alert the police and family members if they become in danger. With Amma’s directive in mind, we came designed the Amrita Personal Safety System (APSS).”

The Amrita Personal safety system (APSS) device is wearable devices that will never make a women feel all alone anywhere anymore! This device will empower women to trigger communication with family and police when in distress. The device will remain inconspicuous to the offender and yet easily triggerable by the victim with multiple options to ensure stealthy and secure communication. With the ability to record conversations, and communicate immediately by the press of a button or using sms and voice calls to multiple destinations, this device also offers automated information on nearest police station, hospitals, fire stations to the victim to get immediate help. The device will also have ability to video tape events in the near future. The device is designed to function even in rural areas where the speed of the communication is very minimal. Also this device combines many location aware technologies intelligently, to be able to work in indoor and outdoor environments with minimal power consumption.

This customizable device developed by Amrita’s Centre for Cyber Security provides flexibility in design for wearability, and integrates over 15 features pertaining to safety and security of women and other potential victims.
This device can also be used as a safety device for mentally challenged citizens and children with many functionalities to quickly identify their whereabouts amongst other functions.

The APSS  will be dedicated to society during Amritavarsham60 —The 60th Birthday Celebrations of Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.

AMMACHI Labs to setup vocational institutes in 101 villages

AMMACHI Labs to setup vocational institutes in 101 villages whcih would be adopted by MAM. The institutes would be centred around Computerized Vocational & Education Training (cVET) and Life-Enrichment Education (LEE) systems developed and managed by AMMACHI Labs.

AMMACHI Labs has already provided training to more than 1,000 women in fields such as plumbing through haptics technology, mobile teaching labs and other programmes. “

“AMMACHI Labs has always had a special focus on training women because research shows that woman are more likely than men to use money earned for the upliftment of the family,” said Bhavani Bijalani, director of the Labs.

AMMACHI Labs is one of the R&D departments at Amrita University.


500 times more efficient solar cell powered tablets for rural education

Amrita has developed a unique tablet-based multimedia learning programme for the education in villages. “It takes into account the learning needs of multi-grade rural students and is exclusively designed for the tablet format, taking into considering its screen size and low processing power” explained Raghu Raman, the director of Amrita University’s Centre for Research in Advanced Technologies for Education (CREATE).

Raghu Raman said that the learning programme is designed to work where there is little or no Internet connectivity, and that, in the first phase, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages will be supported.

Amrita Center for Nano sciences & Molecular Medicine has developed integrated nano material-based solar cells and batteries that are 500 times more efficient than the existing technology and have much larger power densities, and that this technology would be used to help power tablets used in the villages.

Amrita Vidyalayam Davengere won the International Science Fair award

aiswaryaThe students from Amrita Vidyalayam, Davangere– Nayana KR and Aishwarya CA of Class 10–  have won Fourth Grand Award in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair 2013 held at Arizona, USA. They won the prize in Mathematical Science Category for their experiment – Dissection of square into ‘N’ congruent squares.

The fair was from May 12 to 17.

There were 1600 participants from 70 countries of 9 students representing India.