May the New Year lead to the birth of a new individual and a new society

New Year, Sunday, 00.10 am, 1 January 2012 – Amritapuri

“May our lives and the lives of all beings be pervaded with goodness. This is Amma’s prayer on this occasion. May the divine power to effect positive change – both in ourselves and in the world – awaken in Amma’s children. Amma’s prayer is that this New Year may lead to the birth of a new individual and a new society.

 

“New Year is an auspicious moment wherein people try to correct all the mistakes they made the previous year and try to overcome their laziness. Interest in and enthusiasm for a new beginning is awaken. Many make New Year’s resolutions. They try to start new habits. Many begin keeping a diary. However, if we look at that diary six months later, we will see that entries were made only for the first two weeks – maximum, three months. This is what we see in many people’s lives. We don’t have the ability to persist with good things. Sustained efforts are always appreciated. For example, someone who has served the army or any other organization for many years is always honored by that organization. But we don’t persevere with our good actions and promises. Many start doing yoga, but then, two or three days later, they quit. Many children start practicing meditation with a lot of enthusiasm, but after a couple months they stop.

“We should not delay in doing good actions. Our mind is constantly changing. We need constant awareness and conscious effort to speak good words, perform good actions, and to practice patience and compassion. Such actions slowly turn into habits, which eventually become spontaneous. Such habits bring success in life.

“Human beings have been given total freedom to write what they wish upon the pages of life. God has given us the pen and paper, but He will never tell us what to write. He will only show us how to write. He will keep giving us hints. He has left what we write on the pages of life up to us. We have the freedom. If we want, we can write letters of goodness, love and beauty. We can also write letters of evil hatred, and ugliness. God will keep giving us hints regarding the respective results of goodness and evil. During the course of 2011, humanity has received so many such hints.

“Natural disaster, social conflicts and economic crises are spoiling the sleep of countless people throughout the world. Fear and anxiety are hunting the minds of humanity with more and more intensity every day. Because of humanity’s indiscriminate actions, Nature has lost its harmony. The air, the water and earth have become full of poison. Nature – which was once like a kamadhenu, the wish-fulfilling cow-has dried up. The oil supply is rapidly decreasing. The food supply is dwindling. Potable water and pure air are becoming scarce. Where did we go wrong? The real mistake we committed lays in our inability to differentiate between requirements and luxuries.

“If our current generation could reinstate such an awareness of Dharma, then poverty and starvation would vanish like a bad dream.

“The New Year reminds us about the flow of time. Just as water drips, drop by drop, out of a cracked vessel, so too is our lifespan diminishing, minute by minute. As human beings, the most precious treasure we have in this world is time. Anything lost can be found again-except for time. Understanding this, we should live with awareness, every moment. We should also remember that each tick of the clock is really a footstep of Death, who is coming closer every moment.

“Whatever we see, hear or experience in the world is ephemeral. We need to find the eternal substratum of everything, which is the Atma. Then we will understand that no one in this world is different from us.

“Whether we laugh or cry, the days are going to pass by nonetheless. So why didn’t we choose to laugh? Laughter is the music of the soul. We should not laugh, seeing the faults in others. Let us see good in everyone and share good thoughts, words and actions. Let us also try to laugh, seeing our shortcomings and drawbacks.

“Many children tell Amma that the world is going to end in 2012. Amma doesn’t feel this will happen. There may be some incidents in some parts of the world. If we look at the earth, if we look at the water, if we look at the air, if we look at Nature, if we look at human beings, we can see that all in a state of agitation. This agitation is bound to echo like thunder somewhere in the world in one form or another. Anyway, death is an inevitable part of life. It can happen anytime, anywhere. But just as we start writing a new sentence after making the period mark, so too the end of one life just marks the beginning of another. But we should not live in fear. Instead, we need to cultivate the attitude of acceptance. Our attitude should be “Whatever happens I will remain strong, courageous and happy.” Living in fear is like lying on top of a bomb; we will never be able to sleep peacefully. But again, Amma does not see anything very serious happening. Tragedies are always taking place everywhere in the world. Even today, don’t we see accidents while we are travelling? Don’t we hear about airplane crashes? Floods, earthquakes, cyclones and tsunamis are regularly occurring. Wherever we may be, let us be happy and develop faith in the True Self. Let us perform good actions.

“Worms take birth, procreate and die. Animals do the same. If human beings also live like this what then is the difference between us and other beings? What message do we leave for the world? Through their selfless actions, mahatmas live forever. Even if we are unable to contribute to the extent they do, let us try at least a little but to see what we can do for others. Even if just one tree is able to grow in a desert, at least that much shade is created. If just one flower blossoms, at least there is that much beauty. We may not be able to read under the light of a zero-watt bulb, but when a number of such bulbs shine together, we will be able to properly see. Similarly, through unity we can achieve so much. The world is like a lake that cannot be cleaned by just one person. However, if everyone does his part, we can clean it together. Let us not be lazy. Let us try to do what we can. In this way, we will definitely achieve what we need to.

“Like any other decision, happiness is also a decision-a firm decision that “Whatever happens, I will be happy. I will be strong. I am never alone. The Paramatman is always with me.” May my children have the necessary mental strength, enthusiasm and self-confidence. May divine grace be there for all of my children.”

Excerpts from Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s New Year’s Message 2012

Show enthusiasm to practice the teaching of Mahatmas

December 24th, Christmas Eve, Amritapuri

Christmas Eve was celebrated this past Saturday with Amma giving darshan on stage in the Main Hall throughout the day and well past midnight. Thousands of devotees from across India and around the world had come to Amritapuri on their holiday break to be with Amma during this special time of year.

In the middle of the main hall, a makeshift stage had been erected. In what has become an annual event, International guests and residents were going to perform a play. For the past month, they had been rehearsing practically every day for the chance to perform for Amma. Huge screens were set up so that everyone could see, with the words translated into Malayalam.

Just after 9pm, the Christmas play began, ‘A Revelation.’ The play followed the life of Mr. Joe Egoman, who had been spending his entire life in the full clutches of his self image and ego.  Eventually he was fortunate enough to meet Amma and try and turn his life around.

 

Shortly after midnight, Amma’s Christmas message was broadcasted on the large screen while Amma was giving darshan on the stage. Amma said, “There is one thing Amma feels it is important to emphasise:In the same way you celebrate the birthdays of these Mahatmas, with so much care and enthusiasm, you should demonstrate the same care and enthusiasm in putting into practice their teachings in each and every moment of your life. It is said that Christ resurrected three days after he was crucified. The body is comprised of the five elements. It can be cut, injured and destroyed by weapons. However, just like Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: ‘The Atma or the self cannot be cut by weapons. Fire cannot burn it. Water cannot wet it. The wind cannot dry it. ”It was never born and never dies. It is eternal and indestructible. ‘” Christ’s body was crucified. but his had no effect upon the Atma. If we understand that ‘My nature is that of Atma’, then there is no death.

The message was translated in to English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Finnish.

Afterwards, trays of Christmas cake were brought up to Amma for her to bless. The cake prasad was then distributed to everyone.

Darshan ended around 3am Christmas morning.

-Sri

To win the competition of Life remain within the boundaries of Dharma

Onam celebration with Amma in Amritapuri

Friday, 9 September 2011, Amritapuri

As always the Onam festivities began early in the morning in Amritapuri. The Pookkalam, Nirapara, Nila Vilakku, as well as hanging cluster bunches of bananas decorated the verandah in front of Amma’s room. At 9:30 am Amma was led into the large hall by Panchavadyam musicians from her orphanage in Paripally. Amma gave her Onam message to the packed hall of devotees who had come from all over India and the world to celebrate the occasion.

In her Onam message Amma said “Just as sweetness cannot be separated from honey, just as the beauty cannot be separated from the rainbow, Onam cannot be separated from a Malayali’s heart.

What is the message of Onam? This is an occasion to think about that as well. Are we getting closer to the values and principles for which Onam stands? Or is it that, with every Onam, we are drifting further and further away from them? Each one of us should introspect and ask ourselves these questions.

Onam is not merely nostalgia for a prosperous era. Onam’s message is that of ‘Nara’ rising to become ‘Narayana’—of human beings rising up to become one with God. Onam is a declaration of the truth that one who surrenders everything attains everything. In Onam, we find the message of sacrifice. We find the message of rising from selfishness to selflessness. We find the message of rising from ego to humility. Onam is a call to bring back the times when truth, dharma, love, equality, charity and compassion prevailed.

During Onam there are many pookkalam competitions. Each team will make a decoration using flowers of different colors. Each color represents a different goal in life—gaining wealth, enjoying pleasure, etc. But in order for the design to be beautiful and win the competition, the flowers must be kept within the boundaries of the circle. The boundary represents dharma. In order to win the competition of life, all of our goals and pleasures need to remain within the boundarites of dharma. Then life will be beautiful and full of happiness” Amma reminded everyone.

Then Amma led everyone in the hall to a very lively rendition of Bara Gopala Bala. After that, Amma stood up from her peetham and asked everyone else to stand as well and forget themselves in the moment. Then Amma led everyone in singing and dancing to ‘Radhe Govinda Gopi Gopala’.

Amma gave darshan while pot after pot of rice, sambar, avil curry, papadam, and payasam was positioned near the stage. Once all was in place, Amma began to distribute the traditional Ona-Sadhya to one and all. Amma personally served each and every one of the many thousands of people who had … even the biggest ashram resident at the end; once Amma had served all the visitors and residents she came down from the stage and playfully served Lakshmi the ashram elephant her share of Ona-Sadhya.

After the evening bhajans, all gathered again in the hall to enjoy various cultural performances that had been prepared for the occasion. Amma and all the devotees took in the variety of dances, dramas and musical performances, performed by the university students and ashram residents alike. Adding flavour to the celebration, there was a tug-of-war – first between Lakshmi and the ashram residents, then between the boys and girls. Even though the game tug-of-war is a traditional part of the Onam festivities, it was the first time that this was introduced at the ashram.

Just after midnight, once the performances and games had come to an end, Amma sang a joyous rendition of ‘Bandhalo’. As a final touch, Amma surprised everyone by distributing ice cream to everyone in the hall. It was a fitting end to the occasion—symbolic of the sweetness pervading the entire day and the Onam festival as a whole, and a reminder that it is the universal values we all share that lend sweetness and beauty to life.

– Kannadi

When compassion takes birth, Sri Krishna is born

 Sri Krishna’s Birthday Celebrations

21 August 2011, Amritapuri

At 4.50 am, on the Krishna Janmashtami day, the bhajan hall was echoing with the mantras of Lalita Sahasranama. The adjacent Kalari, filled with white smoke from the Homa Kunda. The celebrations of Lord Krishna’s birth had begun in the charged atmosphere of Amritapuri ashram.

To celebrate Krishna Jayanti with Amma, devotees poured into Amritapuri from the different corners of India and abroad. Because it was Krishna Jayanti, there was a full day of activities planned: Amma came and gave Darshan to her children, till about 3.00 pm, then the Nagara Sankirtan procession started at 3.00, ending at about 4.00 pm, with hundreds of devotees, ashramites and dozens of young Krishnas and Radhas all dressed up to participate in the procession chanting with fervor the divine names of the Lord.

The open ground on the west side of the ashram was all set to host the anticipated “Uriyadi” (the traditional cowherds’ game of breaking curd-pots, reminiscent of Krishna’s childhood pranks of stealing butter and curd stored in pots hung from the ceilings of houses). Just as Amma came out heavy rain began to fall, but Amma wouldn’t let that dampen the spirit of the gathering, and spontaneously shifted the venue to the bhajan hall, with the main stage serving as the venue of Uriyadi.

Amma sat on the stage was surrounded by countless little Krishnas with as many of as possible trying to occupying Amma’s lap.

In between Amma’s concerned voice could be heard asking everyone to dry their heads from the rain, so they wouldn’t catch cold! And of course there was laughter all around when an infant Krishna in Amma’s arms, suddenly remembered its mother and started crying loudly. As the kids finished the “first stage” Uriyadi, and the rain had stopped, and Amma asked everyone to go back to the open grounds which was now totally muddy. No one seemed to care as they stood in the mud, in puddles, on the available chairs and tables and some even in the trees; their eyes all riveted on Amma. The grounds had become Vrindavan, full of fun, excitement, and enthusiastic bhajans all lead by Amma.

After the Uriyadi, Amma, was back again for the regular evening bhajans which began with, “Hare Krishna shaure, vibho vishva murte, mukunda murare, yashoda ke pyare” in praise of child Krishna. But the final act was yet to come! At about 11.30 at night, for the fourth time in the day, Amma, returned to the stage where the Bala Gopala Puja and the reading of the Srimad Bhagavatam were taking place.
At midnight, exactly at the time of Krishna’s birth, Amma delivered her message on the life and values of Krishna. Amma narrated the story of a Gopi named Neeraja’s who exemplified Krishna’s message, “When compassion takes birth in our heart, Sri Krishna is born within us.”

Then as she does for every Krishna Jayanti, in a very blissful mood Amma sang several Krishna bhajans and finally asked all the devotees to stand up, put aside all their inhibitions and worries, and forget everything, and dance in bliss and ecstasy. Amma then lead the bhajan ‘Hari Bol Hari Bol Hari Hari Bol,’ while the whole hall erupted in dance.

Then Amma distributed payasam to all the devotees. One could hear Amma repeatedly asking for devotees who hadn’t received the payasam to raise their hands. Only after making sure that every one of her children had received the payasam did she go back to her room. It was past 1.30am and another memorable moments were archived in the hearts of devotees.

– Tulasi

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Amma in Pune

3 – 4 March, Pune, Maharashtra – Bharata Yatra 2011

Amma’s programs in Pune were full of local flavor – Amma sang many bhajans in Marathi; some original and some classic bhajans that had been translated from the original Malayalam so that they could more easily touch the devotees’s hearts. However the devotees seemed most touched by Amma’s efforts to speak to them in a language they could understand. When she began the Manasa Puja in Hindi, saying, “Peeth bilkul seedha rakh te huye ankhen bandh karen,” or “Sit with your spine straight, and close your eyes,” the crowd broke into applause and cheers before settling down into the guided meditation, which Amma led entirely in Hindi.

 

As part of the first evening’s public program, more than 25 widows and other disadvantaged women, as well as an elderly blind man, were enrolled in the Amrita Nidhi Lifetime Pension program.

After receiving the pension, some of the recipients shared their thoughts. Ms. Pawar Vijaya Suresh commented, “I am very poor. I am not able to work. Now that I am getting this pension, I will be able to afford to eat two meals a day.” Ms. Kantabai More shared, “Nobody is there to look after me, so I have been staying with my daughter. This pension will really help me.” The blind man, Mr. Deepak Mhaske told a heart-wrenching story: “I used to have a job, but 12 years ago some acid splashed into my eyes in the factory where I worked and I lost my vision. My wife works as a housemaid but she doesn’t earn much. We have one son, studying in the 8th grade. This pension will help us to pay his expenses and keep him in school.” And Ms. Anandmaa Prakash Raj said, “I just want to thank Amma for giving me this pension. And to receive it in person—for so many years I have been waiting for Amma’s darshan. Now I am finally happy.”

The Amrita Nidhi program is currently providing more than 50,000 widows and disabled people with lifetime pensions, with a goal to ultimately provide 100,000 pensions throughout India.

The 3rd of March was Sivaratri, and the Pune devotees were delighted to have Amma there to celebrate the festival day with them.
Amma reminded the devotees in her satsang that “God is always within us, awake all the time. But because we are in deep sleep, we are not able to feel His presence within. Sivaratri is a day when at least once in a year we try to sacrifice sleep and food and try to keep our minds focussed on the Lord. But keeping vigil the whole night just does not mean keeping the eyes open. We need to develop awareness in every thought, word and deed. Through this awareness, ignorance disappears. Darkness is not a thing that can be removed. When you bring in light, it disappears automatically. In a similar way, as awareness deepens, ignorance has to disappear.”

Amma sang several Siva bhajans during the evening bhajan session before starting the darshan, and for the rest of the night and on into the morning the swamis and later Western devotees sang different renditions of Om Namah Sivaya.

Amma launched launched the Amala Bharatam Campaign in Pune as part of her program, calling on all those present to take it upon themselves to make India clean and beautiful again and distributing to handkerchief to all the students of Amrita Vidyalayam and all other children attending the program as well. The students enthusiastically answered the call, and they could be seen not only on the program ground but also in the surrounding area, picking up trash and sweeping the streets with smiling faces.

The following dignitaries shared the dais with Amma during her programs in Pune: Pune Collector Sri. Chandrakanth Dalvi; Sri. Yogesh Bahal, Mayor of Pimpri Chinchwad; Dr. P Vijay Bhatkar, Chairman, ETH Research Labs; Professor Viswanath Karad, Director, MIT – Pune; and Sri. Laxman Jagtap, MLA. Many other politicians, educationalists, entrepreneurs and scientists came to meet Amma during her two days in Pune.

At the end of the program, Amma sang the new Punjabi bhajan, Mere Mujhe Me to the delight of all.

– Kannadi

Love, light, compassion, fragrance and beauty fill your heart

Amritapuri, New Year eve 2011
The dawn of 2011 was celebrated in grandeur with Amma here at Amritapuri. In addition to Indian devotees, more than 1500 visitors from abroad had flown in to be with Amma for the new year. The evening hall was packed and every corner had people from various regions and languages. One family had even driven all the way across Europe and middle-east to reach Amritapuri by road. Immediately after evening bhajans, the hall was rearranged with Amma’s seat in the center. At 10, cultural programs commenced the celebrations. It was raining heavily outside.

Ganesha Vandana, a Bharat Natyam dance was the first of the performances. Student groups of Amrita University presented a skit on “Amala Bharatam”- Amma’s recent India clean-up initiative. A rap song, themed “Lokah Samasthah Sukino Bhavantu” was performed by Ayudh UK. The next dance was by Gauri, a tiny tot who enthralled the audience with her exquisite Bharata Natyam dance. After the performance, Amma took her on her lap and asked a few questions; the shy Gauri flashed a smile that lighted up everyone watching the scene. The last two performances included a symphony of English songs followed by a dance themed on Hanuman Chalisa.

It was 11:52pm and Amma started her satsang, “Rather than giving a message, Amma would like to pray for World peace and happiness”. Amma wished her children to always remain happy. “May love, light, compassion, fragrance and beauty fill your heart in this new year”, Amma concluded.

She sang the bhajan “Kushiyon ki bahar”, a song that talks of continued happiness in life, ending with the phrase “Om Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu – May all beings be happy”. As Amma chanted “Lokah Samastha”, the whole hall repeated it. As the chants continued, tears swelled in Amma’s eyes. Amma then asked all her children to forget everything and sing with joy and with a mood of celebration. As it finished, she raised her hands and hailed “Mata Rani ki” and whole hall resounded with a loud “Jai”. Amma’s raised hands were met with everyone raising theirs and the wave of open palms prayed for world peace and happiness.

Know yourself is the message of spirituality

(Excerpts from Amma’s Christmas message, 24 Dec 2010, Amritapuri)

“Whenever celebrations and holy days take place, Amma gives a message. However, in reality, these messages are not different; they are all one. Their essence is one. Although religions are many, spirituality has only one message. It is just that this message is presented in different ways.

“If you want to put it in phrase, this message is “Know yourself.” This is the supreme message. This message is not only relevant on the spiritual path. Regardless of our chosen field of action, if we want to attain results, we should first know our own sakti—our own power. We should know both our strengths and our weaknesses. This is one level of “knowing one’s self.” However to understand one’s self merely at the level of the mind is not the peak of self knowledge. For this, we need to go deeper. Because in knowing ourselves at the level of the mind, we neither come to perceive all of our strengths and weaknesses, nor are we able to completely transcend them. On the other hand, the message given to us by the scriptures is: “You are neither weak nor incapable. You are the source of unlimited power.” This is the supreme reality. Understanding this truth is the goal of life. This is the one message that the rishis and gurus have been giving to humankind in various ways according to the time in which they lived.

MAM ready to start cleaning efforts

Amritapuri, September 29th, 2010
Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi Devi) announced that, as part of its environmental cleaning efforts, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) is ready to start work immediately on constructing toilets and installing trash cans in government schools and along roads. Government schools that lack sufficient toilet facilities can apply to the MAM right away. However, along with the application, there should be official documentation from the government indicating that it has no objection. In order to build urinals along roads, there needs to be official government sanction.

clean-india

The MAM is also considering steps that need to be taken in order to immediately install trash cans every two kilometres along roads. The MAM will also lead the efforts to mount awareness campaigns on keeping our highways and other roads clean and litter-free. Devotees, other individuals or organizations who are keen to participate in the cleaning efforts should contact the MAM, and a representative from the MAM will get in touch with them.

Amma also said that expert committees will be formed to study how best we can clean the highways from Trivandrum to Kasargode, and keep public places clean. “Our lack of cleanliness should never again become a cause for international embarrassment. We should consider the task of keeping our homes, environment and public places clean a sacred duty. Just as we eat and sleep, keeping our environment clean should become part of our daily lives. If we do not bathe every day, perspiration and dirt will make the body malodorous. Just as we bathe daily in order to keep our bodies clean, and just as we use perfumes, we should ensure that we maintain the cleanliness of our roads and public places, which are parts of our country’s body. All of us should take a vow to do this. If the people, government and other organizations work together, our sacred endeavour will certainly bear fruit,” said Amma.

Amma also said that similar efforts will be launched in Tamil Nadu before long.

– Kannadi

Globalization fails to connect our hearts and minds

27 Sep 2010, Amritapuri

clean-india

 

Delivering her 57th Birthday Address, Amma spoke about how despite the connectivity created via globalization, the world is still suffering. “Where have we gone wrong?” Amma asked those assembled. “By connecting the external aspects, the entire world is being reduced to a small village. However we’ve failed to pay enough attention to uniting the inner aspects, to connecting all of our hearts and minds.” Amma also spoke on the importance of cultivating respect for Mother Nature, the perils of alcohol and drug abuse, the need for abidance in dharma, the role of meditation and many other topics.

At the conclusion of her address, Amma spoke about India’s problem with pollution and litter. She said, “India is an atomic power. India is scientifically and economically advancing. Many reports say India is poised to be the third largest power in the world by 2025. But in terms of cleanliness, we still are in diapers.” Amma then announced that MAM is ready to take responsibility for construction of toilets in government schools and public areas. Amma said that with the support of the state governments {news}, MAM would start this project in Kerala and then move on to other states throughout the country.

Amma said she wanted devotees to form committees to take responsibility for cleaning their locality, approximately one committee for every two kilometres. “A chain of such committees could really bring about a massive transformation,” she said. “These committees should ensure their localities have trashcans in various places as well as signs telling people not to throw trash on the roadside or to spit. The waste should be collected regularly and properly disposed of.” Amma also said she would like to provide one million reusable handkerchiefs to school children, requesting them to use these for spitting. She said that in this way many diseases could be prevented from spreading.” All with thunderous applause welcomed Amma’s speech.

Make your heart a Vrindavan

Sri Krishna Jayanti is the day when the consciousness that pervades the universe incarnated as Lord Krishna, the embodiment of beauty that had the power to attract all beings in creation. Perhaps Sri Krishna’s personality is the greatest that humankind has ever seen. His life and teachings were significant back then, are significant now and will remain so forever. Regardless of time or place, Sri Krishna’s life and teachings will always set an example for everyone, regardless of who they are or their culture. Even after a thousand years, nothing can take away from the glory and importance of Sri Krishna. In every sense of the word, Sri Krishna is a vishva-vidyalayam—an international university, as it were… a universal abode of knowledge. Sri Krishna shows us the way to completely accept the world, our allotted role in life and the various situations that arise. That is the reason why everyone takes so much inspiration from his life.

Moksha—eternal liberation from sorrow—is not something attained after death in some other world. It is something to be understood and experienced while living here in this world. Sri Krishna taught this principle through the example of his life.

Discontentment is the real poverty; contentment the real prosperity. This is one of the important teachings Lord Krishna taught to humankind. From the moment of his birth, till the time he ascended to heaven, his life saw one trial after another. However this had no effect on his happiness or contentment in anyway. The ever-smiling face of Sri Krishna was the indicator of his inner experience of perfect contentment.
An ordinary actor confines his performance to a small stage. But for Sri Krishna, the entire world was a stage. The various characters he played, with their various costumes, kept changing, but Sri Krishna excelled nonetheless, abiding firm in the awareness that “None of these roles are my true nature. I am the supreme consciousness.” In this way, he made his own life, as well as the lives of those around him, a celebration.

(Excerpts from Amma’s Sri Krishna Jayanthi message 2010, Amritapuri)