2015 vishuthaineetam

Vrukshakkani and Vishuthaineettam instead of Vishukkani and Vishukkaineettam

Vishu is a festival specific to Kerala and to Malayalees, and it symbolizes the age-old bond with Nature. The highlights of Vishu are known as Vishukkani and Vishukkaineettam.

As part of this year’s upcoming festival of Vishu, Amma has launched two initiatives to help foster love for nature in the hearts of the younger generations, and to teach them to protect and preserve nature. These initiatives are known as Vrukshakkani and Vishuthaineettam, as they augment the existing highlights of Vishu.


Vishukkani is the first darshan (sight) the members of each household will have after waking up on the day of Vishu. A picture of Lord Sri Krishna and an abundant display of fruits and vegetables form the main part of the Vishukkani. Traditionally, the parents blindfold the children or cover their eyes and lead them in front of the Vishukkani altar, to guarantee that this is the first thing they see on Vishu. This year, Amma is asking everyone to add one more item to the Vishukkani altar: a few seedlings of any tree or vegetable—hence the name Vrukshakkani.

The tradition of Vishukkaineettam is a gift, usually money, which the elders give to the young members of the family on that day. But this year, Amma is asking the elders to gift the seedlings kept in the Vishukkani to the younger ones so that they will plant it and nurture them. This will be known as Vishuthaineettam.


This is a special moment in the history of Vishu. If enough people would incorporate these new traditions, it will allow the festival of Vishu to help imprint a deep bond with and love and concern for nature in the coming generations. This kind of fundamental shift in humanity’s attitude toward nature (from exploitation to loving protection) is essential in order to preserve nature’s harmony and a safe place for human beings to call home.


This years Vishu falls on 15th April.



italy tree

600 trees planted in Buccinasco, Milan

Inspired by Amma’s message to save the planet, Italian devotee volunteers took to planting 600 trees in a town near Milan in Northern Italy.

In one of her talks, Amma said “There is an inseparable bond between man and nature. For man, there cannot be an existence removed from nature. However, because of his thoughtless actions, the equilibrium in nature is getting disturbed; the pulse of human life is becoming erratic, too. ..We cannot delay anymore. We must make the right decisions and embark on the right course of actions.”

Taking Amma’s message to the heart, the volunteers took to action. Caring not for rain or snow on a rainy day, volunteers put into action an InDeed initiative of planting more than 600 trees in Buccinasco, a town near Milan.

2015 vegetation

Organic vegetable garden at Amrita University

Encouraged by Amma’s message that everyone should be able to eat vegetables grown organically at least once in a week, the college students at Amrita University’s Amritapuri campus have started an organic vegetable garden using natural methods of cultivation. The garden is flourishing with the growth of colorful, delicious produce, including spinach, okra, tomatoes, tapioca, green chilies, cauliflower, pumpkins, and bananas. The students take turns coming every day to water and tend to the plants, with Wednesdays set aside for all the students to work together. When a plant begins to produce fruits or vegetables, the students are always keen to offer these first gifts of nature to Amma.

Let the Birds Also Benefit
Amma herself has played a prominent role throughout the evolution of the garden – from the time she blessed the first seeds to be sown, up until now – as she continues to answer the students’ questions. Recently, a few students asked Amma how to address a consistent problem they have been facing – the birds in the nearby area had taken to eating the tomatoes even before they were plucked. Amma beautifully replied, “It’s alright; let the birds also benefit from the garden. In fact, we should be giving them the tomatoes first. Aren’t they also a part of the same nature that we are trying to reconnect with?”

With their continued determination and enthusiasm, the students plan to expand the garden to accommodate a larger variety of fresh produce, with a long-term goal of making the Amritapuri campus 100% organic.

– Narada

Amritapuri Ashram has gone organic


When organic vegetables are being presented to Amma

From roof-top terraces to the alleyways around buildings, organic vegetable gardens can be found in every spare space around Amritapuri after Amma stressed the importance of avoiding chemically treated food where possible.

Vegetables include okra, tomatoes, pumpkin, beans, chillis, red spinach, eggplant, cabbage and onions are being lovingly grown without the use of pesticides for Amma’s Tuesday prasad lunch.
“Amma said to bring back the ancient culture of agriculture which is organic,” said Br. Gurudas who is in charge of overseeing the project. “At Amritapuri, Amma’s devotees started growing organic food for Amma’s Tuesday prasad lunch.”

Amma’s Grace Gardens, located 10 minutes from Amritapuri, started in April but was producing organic vegetables by May for the Tuesday prasad lunch.

“The garden is just under one acre in size but will be expanded to grow more vegetables,” said Akhilesh who assists Br. Gurudas with the project.

Land has also been acquired with the goal of growing enough vegetables to supply all the needs of the ashram in the near future. “We have started a big farm in Kalady, Kerala where we have planted 10,000 plantains as well as hundreds of tapioca and other vegetables. We also have established a farm in Komban in Tamil Nadu where we have 6,000 coconut trees, 20,000 banana trees, plantains and other vegetables. In the near future, we plan to provide all of the vegetables needed for serving food at Amritapuri – pure, organic food within one to two years’ time,” said Br. Gurudas.

And the result?
“When Amma sees the organic vegetables that have been grown, she gets a big smile on her face.”

Car-free day for a greener tomorrow

Amrita University observed ‘Car-Free Day’ on 22nd September 2014 at its Amritapuri Campus with a bicycle rally and a 10KM road run. Over 800 students and 200 faculties volunteered, took leadership for the campaign which started at 8:30 a.m from Karunagappally to Amritapuri.


The highlight of the day is that no one would come to the campus by private car or bike on that day. Day scholars shall avail of public transport facilities or use bicycles to reach the campus.


The objective of the Campaign is to promote the use of public transportation, car sharing and emission–free vehicles as an effort to address the crisis of environmental pollution. Contributing towards a ‘Greener Tomorrow’ is drawn inspiration from Amma’s words on our duties and responsibilities towards the protection and preservation of our Mother Nature.



Amrita University observes ‘World Car Free Day’

World Car Free Day was observed by Amrita Sanjeevani, the seva organization at Amrita University, Amritapuri Campus. The objective was to promote the use of public transportation and emission–free vehicles in an effort to address the crisis of environmental pollution.

The entire Amritapuri Campus (over 800 students and 200 faculty members) showed their support by participating in a Cycle Rally and a 10km Fun Run from Karunagapally to Amritapuri. R. Kannan of the National Football Team and Sri. Akhin GS of the National Volleyball team inaugurated the campaign.

The event had the full support and co-operation of the public and showed that our society cares for its future. Participants left knowing that their efforts had inspired others.

Plant for the Future: Permaculture seminar for adults and children

Amma encourages us that we should re-learn to grow our own vegetables.  Teaching this knowledge to our children certainly has a great influence on our future. Amma Center, Switzerland held a seminar this summer to do just that.  This seminar followed permaculture principles taught by Anselm Ibing and Nirmala Iser. An enthusiastic crowd of interested adults and inspired children learned in theory and practice, what is meant by Permaculture and how it can become a part of our lives. With ideal weather, the adults and children learned how to create a flower bed, how to plant the flower seeds; how to make compost and worm compost; how to build shelters for bats, how to build wind turbines for the expulsion of rodents in the garden and how the rain water on the property can used better.


All participants were able to go home satisfied and inspired. And the Amma Center now has a new compost, worm compost, bat houses and many windmills in the garden.



Waste Management at Amritavarsham60

28 Sep 2013, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham60 Celebrations

Volunteers from around the world came together at Amritavarsham60 to help manage the waste from the huge crowds that descended on Amritapuri. Helpers from as far away as the USA, Italy, Finland and France toiled with Amrita University students and locals to sort rubbish and compost food leftovers from the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the program.

Mahita Goris heading the Amritapuri Waste Management said it was a big team effort.

Volunteers carrying the trash cans

“Workers from many countries volunteered to help,” she said. “One hundred people were working every day at the waste management center at the Ashram in shifts ranging from two hours to eight hours, from 7am to 7pm. We also had 250 students from Amrita University on the ground at the site.”

Four vehicles worked full-time transporting the waste. General waste for recycling was transported back to the Ashram for sorting, however, thirty male volunteers from Kozhikode helped to pick up food waste, which was then deposited at the new Eco Village located near Amrita University.

“One of the biggest achievements of the team was that one third of the entire waste from Amritavarsham60 was composted at the new Eco Village, which is located near the site of the birthday,” Mahita said. “This is a great result for such a large event.”

The volunteers at the Ashram continue to sort trash one week after the birthday, sorting an average of 40 x 120 litre bins of plastic and 30 x 120 litre of paper every day.

“The efforts continue!,” Mahita smiled.

– Lasita

Bottle garden, an innovation for recycling and gardening

On Amma’s 59th birthday celebrations in September 2012, the InDeed Campaign for Nature was launched. This is an online campaign to inspire people to pledge to take any one of six steps to help restore nature’s harmony. Many students made pledges to conserve water, grow organic vegetables, reduce their carbon footprint and more.

In order to keep their commitments, a group of Amrita University students created a unique “hanging bottle garden” – a hanging flower garden using recycled bottles as receptacles for the flowers. The bottle garden is a 36-meter stretch of Jasmine, Lantana, Browallia, Lily,  Tabernaemontana, Duranta, many types of Portulaca grandiflora (table rose), Ixora Miniature, and Springaria – all flourishing in recycled bottles hanging neatly in 4 rows and 48 columns long the walls near the mess hall in Amrita University’s Amritapuri campus. “We are very happy that we could do something which Amma likes and want us to do along with our studies.” says Trayesh, a first year student of enginering.

This beautiful garden is the result of the tireless efforts of students who served an hour every week for a moth in December 2012.

“We are proud of ourselves for doing something to love and preserve nature. I am really satisfied and happy seeing the bottle garden in the campus now” says Keerthi, another first year student.

Serve an Hour

The Amritapuri campus offers a 6-month ‘Serve an Hour’ course focusing on developing an attitude of selfless service among Amrita students.  The course emphasizes student learning through hands-on service projects.  The course also offers opportunities for students to collaborate in creative learning opportunities with students at government schools in rural areas through school visits and educational outreach activities.

Last semester, after a brainstorming session, one team of students decided to design and install a hanging flower garden on campus.

First, they collected the empty bottles from the recycling center. They now had to cut the bottles, drill holes, paint them, hang them in rows, and fill them with potting mixture in order to make them ready for planting. They worked with their faculty advisor and decided to pool in the efforts of all the students taking the Serve-an-Hour course. Making a list of supplies, developing a budget, deciding on the design for the flower garden, contacting the nursery for saplings and getting the saplings to campus – all this was part of the process but the team finally had everything together.

“We never thought that it would be one of the most wonderful experiences we would have at Amrita.   It was nice to involve in some work which help to prevent pollution and preserve nature.”  said Aswathy Nair one of the student volunteers of this InDeed campaign.

– Das

Haritamritam, organic farming project inaugurated

10,000 people to cultivate organic vegetables in 1,000 acres
22 Feb 2013, Amritapuri, Kollam

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated Haritamritam, a new humanitarian initiative of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math today in Amritapuri Ashram in the presence of Amma. Haritamritam is an initiative to promote organic farming in the state.


The Math is becoming a role-model for society
Inaugurating the initiative, the Chief Minister said “The social-service activities executed by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math are always conceived with foresight: its cleaning of public places, its tsunami relief-and-rehabilitation program, etc. In my personal perception, it has not been through words, but through action, that Amma has been able to bring about so much transformation. Today, with Haritamritam, a new chapter in the math’s humanitarian initiative. Haritamritam marks an inspiring step for organic farming—a move in the right direction. Assisting these 10,000 people to cultivating organic vegetables on 1,000 acres, the Math is becoming a role-model for society.”

Through Haritamritam, MAM is promoting vegetable cultivation. This will be initiated via Amrita SREE self-help-groups members. More than 10,000 Amrita SREE members from Kollam and Alappuzha will be growing vegetables on their own land. A total of 1,000 acres of land—comprising individual plots ranging from one cent to one acre—have been earmarked for Harithamritam’s first phase.


For good health and to restore the harmony in nature

Explaining about the initiative Amma said, “The goal of ‘Haritamritam’ is to sustain the tradition of organic farming and to revive the culture of growing vegetables that one consumes, without using chemicals and pesticides. Everyone should be able to eat vegetables grown organically at least once in a week. The state of agriculture in Kerala is such that even the vegetables and flowers used for ‘Vishu kanni’ come from other states.”

Amma’s words were full of optimism and hope. “Even if a person is able to do organic farming in one cent of land, it is a big step in restoring the lost harmony of nature. We have not inherited the land from our ancestors; we have borrowed it from our children. We have to return this land to the coming generations without allowing even the slightest damage to happen to it” said Amma in her benedictory address.  “May this ‘Haritamritam’ scheme bring about an awakening and enthusiasm in all to strive for good health and to restore the harmony in nature” Amma said.


MAM is distributing free seeds to all the participants, and is arranging training and demonstration classes by traditional farmers and agriculturalists adept in organic farming.

An instruction booklet prepared by retired agricultural officer TS Viswan—who has dedicated his retired years to promoting organic farming—is also being distributed.

Since 2005, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) has put more than 100,000 women into more than 6,000 AmritaSREE self-help groups.

– Kannadi