Clean up along the Suva sea beach

29 Jan 2012, Fiji

The first of Amma Fiji’s Green Friends initiative in 2012 was a beach clean up along the Suva Sea Wall. Over 30 participants, including expats and locals of all ages participated. Everybody worked cheerfully and even few people passing by joined in the cleaning work.

The group picked up hundreds of plastic bags and bottles, pieces of foam, and even some tires. Some of the rubbish had been there a long time as it was a real struggle to dig it out.

In the end, around 60 bags of garbage was picked up, and they managed to clean two beaches in two hours.

Inspired by Amma’s words, “It is our Dharma to take care of Nature”, Amma Fiji is planning to do other Green Friends activities throughout the year, such as holding workshops on composting and recycling waste.

Cleaning Manila Paco Market

27 Oct 2011, Manila

The Manila satsang group visited the Estero de Paco Manila & Segregation Bin Making, Activity Center, Paco Market.

The banks of the newly rehabilitated estero of Pasig is home to hundreds of families living in slums around downtown Manila, next to the Paco Market.

The satsang group was guided by the community leaders in building structures to hold the recycling bins. They proudly finished the new recycling bins to be distributed amongst the city residents to help keep their surroundings clean and green.

‘You may recollect what this river used to be like,’ said Mayor Lim, standing next to a bleak reminder of what the estero looked like, engulfed with garbage before the clean up. The cleanup drive was spearheaded by ABS CBN Foundation’s Pasig River Cleanup Project.

Potting of Tree Saplings

Potting plants
Potting the plants

24 October 2011, La Mesa Eco Park, Manila

Amma Center Manila gets down to work. Participants begin by reconnecting with the earth as they pot some soil in preparation for planting tree saplings.

A ranger from La Mesa Eco Park demonstrated planting in preparation for the ceremonial tree planting that was done by Br. Shantamrita with Amma Center Manila members: Senator Jamby Madrigal-Valade and her husband Eric Valade.

Amma Center Manila donates a 50,000 Philippine Peso check to La Mesa Eco Park.


planting saplings

Conserving the present, celebrating the future

Celebrating Earth Day in Delhi

22 April 2011

It was in the background of one of the worst natural disasters – the earthquake and tsunami in Japan – that this year’s Earth day arrived on the 22nd of April. This calamity of unprecedented magnitude lent added relevance and significance to this year’s Earth Day. Ayudh Delhi felt that it was high time that awareness about ever deteriorating environmental condition should be brought home to all, so as to save Earth, our ONLY home. Hence, replicating the activity undertaken during Earth Day last year, another awareness campaign about the state of our Earth and the various ways in which each individual can bring about improvement in environment was done.

The venue for this awareness campaign was Dilli Haat at INA on Aurobindo Marg, a place known as a confluence of various cultural traditions and handicrafts from different parts of the country. A large crowd of knowledgeable and passionate visitors coupled with the ambience of the place and the idea itself contributed to a truly memorable and rewarding evening.

The state of our earth was put across in the shape of a dry and barren tree atop a famished earth. People were asked to contribute their ideas, which could liven up this dying earth. The ideas were pinned up to the tree in the form of green leaves. People came in droves to contribute their ideas and suggestions. Within a few hours itself, the tree which had looked so barren in the beginning was fluttering with the green leaves of hope.

Another initiative was to get a signed commitment from the people to take up at least one of the three very simple acts to bring about a significant improvement in environmental condition. The commitments were “To save Water”, “To switch off electricity when not required” and “To turn off the engines of vehicles when at the red lights”. The response was seen to be believed. The Big Banner hosting these 3 commitments ran out of space for people to sign on in no time. People assured us that the commitment that they have done here is meant to be followed in true letter and spirit.

If the above two activities were well received, the crown jewel was the Tulsi distribution. As an extension of the Tulsi distribution done at the time of Amma’s visit to Delhi in mid-March this year, Ayudh distributed around 1000 tulsi saplings free of cost to the visitors at Dilli Haat. People were really happy to get the sapling. They assured us that they would take good care of it and nourish it with all their love and warmth. Hence it was another step in Amma’s vision of the plantation drive, in which Amma wants people to take up the responsibility to plant saplings and nurture them.

The significant lesson these activities brought home to us was that people clearly understood the deteriorating environmental condition that we are in right now, and voluntary initiatives to spread the message to save the Earth would be wholeheartedly welcomed. Obviously, there is need is to organize such initiatives so that like- minded people can come together and get to know that there are many who share their concern and that they are not alone in the fight to save the nature. This in turn would give them hope to continue their efforts at making the world a better place to live in.

– Dass

Amma in Hyderabad

27 – 28 February , Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh – Bharata Yatra 2011

Amma’s return to Hyderabad was marked by a significant expansion of her ongoing humanitarian projects—shortly after her first evening program began, a seemingly never-ending line of children flowed across the stage, standing in line patiently to receive a hug and a kiss from Amma, and another gift as well—a scholarship check. But in fact the children on the stage were representative of a crowd too massive to accommodate on stage during the evening program; waiting in the wings were more than 1,000 children who would receive checks that night, away from the spotlight but under the loving care and watchful eye of Amma’s volunteers. Each of the children would receive Amma’s darshan during the course of the evening, and they left the grounds of Amma’s ashram clutching their memory of their personal moments with Amma in one hand, and a ticket to a brighter future in the other.

Anita, who is currently studying the 8th standard has been a beneficiary of the Vidyamritam program for the past 3 years. She expressed her gratitude to Amma and told how with her scholarship she can buy books and pay her school fees. She shared how her parents are very poor and without this scholarship would not be able to complete her studies. She hopes one day to become an IAS (India Administrative Services) officer and wants to be able to help people like Amma does.

Mahesh, another recipient of a Vidyamritam scholarship, shared that both his parents died and he lives with his grandparents. He said, “I am very grateful and i am able to study because of this scholarship. I hope Amma is able to help more kids like me.”

Amma also took the occasion to launch the Amala Bharatam Campaign in Hyderabad, and each of the students of Amrita Vidyalayam school here received handkerchiefs which they were encouraged to use instead of spitting on the ground. The students, and the entire assembled crowd, received a personal demonstration from Amma on how she envisions using the handkerchief in a sanitary and sustained fashion, carefully folding it over after use.

After her satsang, Amma personally led the manasa puja in Telugu, and sang quite a few bhajans in Telugu as well—to the delight of the devotees of Hyderabad.

In the evening, during the darshan, the children of Amrita Vidyalayam put on various cultural performances. In addition, a group of tribal performers from Bhadrachalam staged a koya dance. Also, Sri. Samala Venu, renowned magician and hypnotist, performed some magic tricks to the delight of onlookers. Having dedicated his performance to Amma, he appeared to magically transform a long black shawl into brightly colored shawl bearing all the hues of the rainbow. Mr Venu, said that this represented the same magic trick Amma performs on each person who comes to her, transforming the darkness of their sorrow into a rainbow of peace and bliss.

The following dignitaries shared the dais with Amma: Sri. Chandravadhan, IAS Officer and Commissioner, Ayush; Minister for Textiles Sri. Shankar Rao; Former Minister Sri. Govardhan Reddy; and Smt. Ritha Chandrachud, Operations Head of the renowned Dr. Reddy’s Hospital.

Also on this occasion, Swami Purnamritanandaji’s book, Unforgettable Memories, was released in Telugu under the name Amrita Smrutulu.

At the end of the last darshan Amma led everyone in a joyous rendition of Devi Devi Devi in Telugu.

– Kannadi

Fourth Sunday, Clean Sunday

As part of the Amala Bharatam Campaign (ABC), the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has decided to observe the fourth Sunday of every month as Cleaning Day with a view to making India litter-free. It is hoped that on this day, everyone will set aside at least one hour to cleaning their surroundings.

As a start, on November 28th, the fourth Sunday of the month, one lakh families in Kerala will spend an hour cleaning the area around their houses and the nearby public areas.

In addition, public places will be cleaned with the help of the general public and the co-operation of the local administration. District-level taluk organizations will lead the cleaning efforts, and arrange for the plastic waste collected during the cleaning to be sent to recycling centres. On the fourth Sundays in the coming months, ABC volunteers will rope in their neighbours to form family-based units for waste disposal activities. As part of ABC, they will be given training in vegetable farming using compost made from waste collected from houses.

It is hoped that everyone in Kerala will participate in the ‘Fourth Sunday, Clean Sunday’ scheme, regardless of caste, creed or political affiliation. The service and co-operation of the business and industrial communities are especially crucial in this cleanliness drive. It is hoped that proprietors and employees of their companies will spend at least a few hours on the fourth Sunday of every month in clearing the waste from the area around their companies’ premises.

Seed Bank in Paris

24 – 26 October, Paris, France – Europe Yatra 2010
From the Netherlands Amma’s European Yatra moved on to the capital of France, Paris for the next 3 days of programs.

Green Friends France and AYUDH presented seeds for vegetables and flowers to Amma, which they had cultivated during “The Experience Week,” a summer workshop at the French Ashram. Because seeds in general are getting weaker and weaker due to the chemical farming, Amma asked to produce seeds using traditional methods and native varieties of seeds and then store them in a seed bank in the French Ashram.

The French devotees celebrated Amma’s visit with a diversity of cultural performances. Famous French actress and singer Véronique Jeannot was amongst the many thousands of people who came to receive Amma’s blessings.

Cleanliness drive to usher in Kerala s 54th Birth Anniversary

Amritapuri, October 25th, 2010

MAM is to launch a cleanliness drive throughout Kerala on November 1, to create social awareness about humanity’s debt to earth and nature. Polluting earth is equal to injecting poison into one’s blood. The lullaby that we sing to Mother Earth—our foster mother, to whom we are as indebted as to our birth mother—should not be a swan song.

Kerala state’s 54th Birthday celebrations will coincide with the completion of the cleaning of more than 54 public places in Kerala’s 14 districts on October 31st. This cleaning will be undertaken by Amala Bharatam Campaign (ABC) volunteers, supported by the public. It is hoped that this initial phase of will act as an impetus to further propagate ABC in the days to come.

The MAM proposed to take up new practical initiatives to clean India, promote health through hygiene and properly dispose waste and make people awre of the need to maintain environmental cleanliness through this ABC.

Cleaning the surroundings, cleaning the mind

3 Oct 2010, Tokyo, Japan

Every year, Amma’s Japanese devotees in Tokyo celebrate Amma’s Birthday with great festivity and ceremony. This year, however, they decided to add a new twist – cleaning up a public park. Ironically coinciding with Amma’s birthday message {news} about cleaning one’s community.

The cleanup took place in Toyama Park of Shinjuku Ward, in downtown Tokyo. About 20 people participated in the morning session, which started with a brief talk by Br. Shantamrita on “Man and Nature.”

In a short while, the devotees had collected enough garbage from the park premises to fill many trash bags. The most common items of litter were cigarette butts, candy wrappers and empty cans/bottles. The participants enjoyed the occasion so thoroughly, they decided to make it a regular activity and scheduled monthly park cleanups to put into practice Amma’s teachings.

Embracing Amma’s recent message about environmental cleaning efforts, the devotees plan to conduct a campaign to raise awareness of how we can minimize our impact on nature by adopting eco-friendly household practices and waste management.

The afternoon program consisted of the more traditional Birthday Celebrations. Br. Shantamrita started by giving a talk on how Amma sees the interconnectedness of life, showing compassion not only to human beings, but also to Mother Nature. He then began the abhishekham to Amma’s silver padukas, while the devotees in attendance chanted Guru Stotra, Guru Paduka Stotra and Durga Suktam. Each program attendee was given the opportunity to perform abhishekham, as well. All were encouraged to remember the symbolism of the ceremony while participating – we are offering our respects to the padukam as a symbol of our respect for the lofty principles embodied in Amma’s life.
As the abhishekham continued, the devotees sang bhajans full of devotion and love. After the conclusion of the ceremony, the devotees remained in the hall to watch videos of Amma. Especially engrossing was the new Japanese version of Amma’s charitable activities – Stories From The Field.

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.

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