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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.​​

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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.

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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.

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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!​

 

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Indelible Footprints in the Heart: Amma’s 2015 Christmas Message

December 25, 2015 – Amritapuri Ashram

Christmas awakens vibration of goodness, hope and compassion in the human heart, just as the birth anniversaries of other great incarnations and realized beings do. This day reminds us of what it is that that the human heart should be comprised—not with selfishness and hatred, but with devotion to God and love towards our fellow beings. Our thoughts and actions should become so permeated with goodness that they come to illuminate the divinity that resides within us. Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Buddha and Jesus Christ lived on this earth thousands of years ago, but they have left their indelible footprints in human hearts. If we wish to reach the shores of everlasting peace and happiness, all we have to do is follow the path they showed us.

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Footprints imprinted upon the earth are soon to fade and disappear, but footprints formed in the heart remain. This is why we remember the lives of mahatmas long after they leave their physical bodies. Their lives and teachings are very practical; they serve to remind us about the purpose of human life. Their lives were not for themselves, but for the good of the world. When we remember their lives, it awakens our own innate goodness. It helps us to become compassionate towards our fellow beings; it helps us to overcome selfishness and anger. We find ourselves aspiring to become more loving. It prompts us to repent when we become angry—to pray for the ability to forgive.

One may ask, “Don’t we also remember people those who did evil deeds?” Yes, but when we think of them, we are not uplifted as we are when we remember those who were embodiments of goodness. Thinking of the lives of mahatmas is like visiting a perfume factory. Your clothes become fragrant without any effort. Dwelling upon the lives of the wicked, on the other hand, is like visiting a charcoal factory; our clothes become sooty even if we don’t touch the charcoal directly.

Throughout his life Jesus Christ demonstrated deep compassion and humility. Normally people respect others only if they belong to a reputed family. Otherwise they will not give them much respect. We see others through the lens of our ego. However, in spirituality, we accept others with out any preconceived notions. Wherever there is goodness, we need to accept it. That is what great masters teach us.
Not only that, Jesus did not live like a king, as many expected him to, but as one among the people, as the servant of all. Therefore, he was easily accessible to the poor and deprived. However high our status in life is, we should have the expansiveness to see everyone as equal. That, in fact, is an exalted state. If we cannot attain it, then at least we should be able to be able to view them without anger and hatred. We live in times when mutual brotherhood is lost and everyone is thinking of what one can grab from the other. It may be hard to see everyone as equal, but when we understand spirituality, we will be able to achieve this vision.

Currently, we depend on others for our happiness. Because of that dependency, we are losing the experience of true freedom. We miss the experience of knowing our True Self because of this attachment to the ego. No matter how hard we row a boat that is tied to the shore, it will not move forward one inch. Similarly if we want to move forward in spirituality, we need to renounce the notions of “I” and “mine.” We need to understand that we are just instruments in the hands of the Divine, and that it is the Divine power that is allowing us to do things.

We can control things only to some extent. Beyond that it is Divine grace that makes things happen. We need to put in efforts with an attitude of surrender. Even when we win a competition, we need to bend our head and bow down to receive the medal. Humility is the key that opens the heart.

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The goal of every mahatma’s life is to guide others to find the heaven within themselves. They show us that good actions bring us closer to God. Through his life, Jesus Christ taught the world that society rewards a spiritual seeker only with a crown of thorns. All mahatmas have had to face many challenges throughout their life, but because they had the experience of the Truth, nothing could stop them.

If you are a smoker, give your family the present of quitting smoking this Christmas. With the money that you save by giving up this habit, you can help a needy person. It also protects your health. If you are an alcoholic, get help to stop in the name of love for your family. The family will be so happy and your health will not deteriorate as well. If you are an overeater, stop eating excess food and start the habit of eating lesser portions of more nutritious food. This will make us less dull and improve our health.

Such presents that come out of sacrifice bring unending joy. Amma does not say that we should not send greeting cards and gifts or do other such things. It may give our loved ones fond memories. But the real gifts are the actions we do that truly benefit others. This is the right way to celebrate Christmas.

Celebrations like Christmas are also a wake-up call to those who do not know the goal of human life. From the point of view of the ancient sages of India, all are children of God. The guru’s voice wakes up the disciple who is in deep winter hibernation. What does the voice say? “This is the birth of a new age! You should be its creators. Hence, awake, arise! Joyfully shoulder the bundle of sacrifice and surrender! This bundle is not a burden. Rather, it will give us wings to fly high into the world of the soul, the True Self.”

May the spirit of Christmas inspire my children to fly high into the world of peace and joy. May grace bless you always.

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Tokyo Navaratri Festival

25 Oct 2015, Tokyo, Japan

The traditional Indian festival of Navaratri was celebrated with a one-day retreat led by Swami Poornamritananda.

Just before the ceremony, participants offered various tools, equipment, and utensils in front of goddess Saraswati as part of Ayudha puja. In the morning, everyone participated in a Saraswati puja guided by Swamiji.
After the puja, adults and children alike celebrated Vijayadashami. Everybody became like small children while learning how to write ‘Hari Sri’ in Sanskrit letters. The focus and concentration was palpable as it seemed everyone forgot everything else. The hall was filled with pure energy and happy faces were everywhere.


In the afternoon, there were culture programs including Indian dancing and singing.

 

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Surgeries & transplants, Boats and Saris for the poor

27 Sep 2015 Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62, Amma’s Birthday Celebrations

During the past 20 years, the Amrita Institute of Medical Science in Kochi and the other healthcare institutions of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math have provided 100 percent free care to more than 30 lakh [three million] patients at a value of more than Rs. 400 crore [60 million US dollars].

Amrita Hospital presented another 375 beneficiaries with certificates for totally free surgeries: 200 totally free heart surgeries, 150 totally free brain surgeries and 25 totally free kidney transplants. Certificates for these surgeries were given by: S. Gurumoorthy, renowned economist and writer, Jagadambika Pal, MP, Uttara Pradesh, Richard Hay, MP Thalassery, Kerala, and Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP Karnataka

O. Raja Gopal, former Central Minister, gave certificates for 13 new boats to their owners whos boats were tragically destroyed.

Checks worth one lakhs each were given out to the wifes of fishermen who lost their husbands at sea.

On the occasion 400,000 saris to the poor women were also distributed. First 50 saris given out by Amma.

 

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Amritavarsham62 – celebrations will continue

27-28 Sep 2015 Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62 , Amma’s Birthday Celebrations

After all the charitable announcements and official stage functions wrapped up Amma began to embrace each and every person that came to the program. Afternoon stretched into evening, evening into night and then night into morning and still the people kept coming. All throughout, there were different cultural performances including a full range of dance and musical styles.

Embrace: one of those last people in the Darshan line on 28th morning.

Embrace: one of those last people in the Darshan line. Darshan over at 11.am.

Around 10am it seemed the darshan was finally coming to an end but Amma noticed some groups of students out in the crowd that had not yet had Amma’s darshan. Amma took a microphone and told anyone that had not yet had darshan to come join the line. So just when it looked like it was almost over another several hundred people came running to join the line. Tears filled the eyes of many of the people who Amma called for darshan as they were overcome with emotion, feeling the compassion that compelled Amma to sit another hour for them.

As the darshan was wrapping up many people in the crowd began dancing to the Baduga music that was being played on the sound system. Amma herself joined in and in her own graceful way, mimicked the gestures of the dancers.

At 11am Amma finally embraced the last person, a full 26 hours after arriving on the stage and began to make her way back to the ashram. During the short boat ride back to the ashram Amma was told a group of villagers somehow had missed their chance for darshan. Immediately Amma asked them to be brought to the ashram. Amma awaited their arrival and proceeded to give them all darshan standing by the boat jetty, making sure not a single person missed their chance to meet her. After making her way to her room through throngs of people, Amma finally walked up her steps close to 12 noon. Before entering her room Amma turned back and flashed a loving smile to all present.

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Amritavarsham 62 is over. But the celebrations will continue in the hearts of her children for ever.

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130 houses and 2 intermediate colleges

27 Sep 2015 Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62 , Amma’s Birthday Celebrations

Over the past two decades, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has built more than 45,000 homes for the homeless in more than 75 locations throughout India. Today, the Math extended this program by presenting keys to 130 homes and two inter-colleges in various locations throughout India.

Keys were given by: Sripad Yasso Naikji, Minister of AYUSH, Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways, N Shakthan, Speaker of the Kerala Assembly and Ramlalji, the National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

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External success is impermanent, we need inner victory

27 Sep 2015, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham, Amma’s 62nd Birthday celebrations

Early this morning the stage was filled with traditional Kerala dancers in full regalia as well as ladies dressed up in the traditional costumes from all 29 states of India to welcome Amma. The loud, Panchari Melam, traditional music of Kerala created festive mood and a celebration in the hearts of everyone.

Upon Amma’s arrival on the stage, Swami Amritaswarupananda performed the Pada Puja while everyone chanted the Guru Gita. He then garlanded Amma with a beautiful red, pink and white mala, and lead the archana on behalf of all the devotees. The hall was reverberating with the chanting of Aum Amriteswaryai Namah.

After the Pada Puja, Amma lead a prayer for peace and harmony; praying for the peace of the departed souls of those who lost their lives in the recent Haj stampede, and for everyone to open their hearts to the plight of the refugees who have fled their homelands due to war and crisis.

Amma then gave her birthday speech, saying that India was suffering from a split personality–success when it comes to technological advancement and failure in terms of poverty, illiteracy, health sanitation and crimes against women. However, she said the condition could be remedied if the nation overcame segregationist attitudes and worked in unity.

“A split personality is never a sign of sound health,” Amma said. “If we want to see India become powerful and healthy again, we need to merge these two faces into one beautiful face.”

“If we can bring our collective knowledge, compassion and talent together, it will not be so long before we see India rising and thriving with peace, harmony and prosperity,” she said. “When this dream of India burns in us so strongly that not even a single Indian wants to sleep until it’s realized, then it will become a reality.”

“External success is impermanent. Along with external success, we need inner victory- victory over our mind and senses.”

“It is said that 22,000 children are dying daily due to poverty. We hear about such deaths so regularly that our ears have become desensitized. We say, “So sad,” but we forget it later. Just words of sympathy are not what is needed for the world. What we need are hands that are ready to serve selflessly.”

Amma ended her talk by asking everyone to stand and chant Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, once again praying for world peace.

With the help of several dignitaries on the dais, Amma then proceeded with the inauguration of numerous charitable initiatives for the poor in areas including healthcare and housing, as well as the provision of clothing, potable water and electricity.

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100 Crore commitment to sanitation in Kerala

27 Sep 2015, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham 62 celebrations

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Amma added to her Rs. 100-crore donation to the Namami Gange campaign by making a pledge that MAM will dedicate a value of Rs. 100-crore in toilet construction and other sanitation efforts. A plaque commemorating the pledge was given by Amma to Sri. Ooomen Chandy, Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala during Amritavarsham celebrations.

Oommen Chandy, thanked Amma for her Rs. 100-crore commitment to building toilets and other sanitation projects in Kerala, saying, “Amma has removed the pain of thousands of people. She has contributed Rs. 100 crore to the poorest people—those who cannot even afford a toilet. She is one of the greatest people to ever serve Kerala society.”

 

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Amritavarsham photo updates

Photo Updates of Amritavarsham

watch live updates.. http://e.amritapuri.org/live/av62/

 

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Amritapuri has become Vrindavan on Sri Krishna Jayanthi

SriKrishna Jayanthi

5 September 2015 – Krishna’s Birthday Celebrations at Amritapuri

On the heels of a wonderful Onam celebration, just a week later the ashram was again in a festive mood for Krishna Jayanti. The day’s celebrations started at 7.30am with a cow procession from the kitchen area towards the front steps of the Kali Temple. A GoPuja (cow worship ritual) was performed there to the ashram cows, all adorned in beautiful colors. They were also offered fruits by devotees and children dressed like little Krishnas & Gopis.

As it was a Saturday, Amma came out to the main hall to give regular darshan at 11am. She finished early though in order to join the special traditional Uriyadi games in front of the Kali Temple.

A procession, singing the name of the Lord, coming from Sri Krishna  temple at Kuzhithura joined the celebrations in front of the Kali temple at the Ashram.  Amma enjoyed watching the children and youngsters dance & try their luck to break swinging pots, reminiscent of little Krishna’s escapades stealing pots of butter. This was followed by joyful Krishna bhajans led by Amma, surrounded by all the little Krishna’s of Amritapuri.

Straight from bhajans on the steps of the temple, at 6.30pm Amma joined the daily evening bhajans session in the main hall, till 8pm.

At 11:30pm, Amma came back to the hall to listen to the traditional reading of the Srimad Bhagavatam. The stage was adorned with beautiful Krishna statues, oil lamps, garlands, trays of flowers, and the hall was filled with devotees and ashramites. While the Bhagavatam was being read, a special puja honoring the birth of Lord Krishna was also taking place on the stage.

At the stroke of midnight, bells announced the advent of the divine moment: Lord Krishna’s birth! Amma sang one bhajan before her message for the occasion was shown on the big screen {Read Amma’s Message full}.  Speaking on the occassion she said: “Even though it has been 5,000 years since the Lord incarnated on earth, his presence continues to shine in the culture and everyday life of the people of our land. The magnetism of the Lord’s leelas and the relevance of his teachings have not diminished with time. Through his life, Sri Krishna revealed the infinite power of the universe in all its completeness. This is the reason we hail him as a purna avatara—a full incarnation. ” {Read Amma’s Message full }.

After the message, Amma led a special Krishna bhajan session. She asked people to stand, clap their hands and dance forgetting all their worries. The hall swayed with Amma as she was singing in joy.

Later, Amma gave a prasad of payasam to all those present, bringing a sweet end to the day’s festivities at almost 2am in the morning.

– Sundar