APJ-Kalam with Amma

APJ Abdul Kalam had only goodness in his heart: Amma sends a condolence message

Amma sends a condolence message on the demise of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was a personification of goodness. He looked at the world with the vision of a Rishi. He was an exemplary scientist, a lover of humankind and a visionary. He blended together his scientific knowledge and love for humanity. He taught youngsters to dream high and have the confidence to realize them. He bridged the gap between the ruling authorities and the common man.


Amma has met Dr. Kalam many times and has had long discussions with him. He came to Amritapuri the first time when he had visited the University campus to give a lecture to the students.

When Amma enquired about his dreams, he said that he wanted to interact with at least one hundred thousand students. He wanted to convey to them that the future of the country will be molded by their dreams. During the Amritavarsham 50 celebrations, Amma kept a day exclusively for the Youth and Dr. Kalam addressed them and inspired them.

Wherever he went he was able to interact with the student community and the youth and awaken their morale. This proves that Divine Grace will sure fulfill any selfless desire that we have.

He had the heart and the tenderness of a poet. A true scientist sees creation with wonder and the innocence of a child. In the case of Dr. Kalam this was true to the word. In front of knowledge and learning he was always humble and he always had the attitude of a beginner. May be this was the reason why he was so different from the others.

He visited Amma in Amritapuri when he was the Honourable President of India and invited Amma to the Rashtrapati Bhavan as well. Walking in the gardens of the President’s palace for a long time with Amma, he kept talking about the stories of every plant, flower and petal like a child. He shared his dreams about the country. He also expressed his anxiety about the children and the younger generation of India. He discussed the ways of how to inspire them to tread the right path in life.

He had only goodness in his heart. His physical presence is not with us any more. Dr. Kalam is not somebody who can be confined to the pages of history just as one of the former Presidents of the Nation. His high thinking and his pure lifestyle will always inspire us and will keep spreading fragrance all around.

Harmony among cultures

28 May 2011, Slovenia

Br. Shubamrita was invited as a guest speaker at the university of Maribor, Slovenia.
His talk was held as part of a Cultural Festival and Symposium, entitled HARMONY AMONG CULTURES – Paths to Intercultural Dialogue. The Conference was organized by the University of Maribor, Faculty of Arts, the Center for Intercultural Cooperation with Coutries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, the UNESCO and the Embassy of India.

In his talk, Br. Shubamrita vividly described how eastern and western philosophies can compliment each other to create greater harmony and understanding amongst cultures. He outlined how Amma’s life and teachings stand as an example of true inter-religious dialogue and respect for all traditions and faiths.

Prof. Dragan Potocnik, main organizer of the event, remarked after the speech that Br. Shubamrita’s talk marked for him the highlight of the cultural festival and was hopefully the starting point for further collaborations in the field of education and culture.

With the message of Compassion at University of Lusofona

The Department of Religions and Oriental Studies, University of Lusofona at Lisbon, Portugal invited Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya for a lecture on April 12, 2011. The topic of the lecture was ‘Religion and Compassion’ and was well attended by students and faculty members. Br. Shubamrita spoke about the emphasis of compassion in all the world religions and how important it is to go into the essence of all religions and put it into practice rather than getting stuck in the external aspects. He quoted many examples from Amma’s life, whose message of love and compassion has transcended all barriers of religion, language or nationality.

Amma and Tumban, the ashram dog

There have been many unusual animals in the annals of Amritapuri. Amma’s sadhana days featured many helpful creatures such as: the eagle that dropped food before her when she was meditating; the dog that brought untouched food packets to her in his mouth; the cow that would break its ropes to give her milk. Many other unusual denizens of the animal kingdom have shown up in Amritapuri over the years. Temple going peacocks, bhajan going crows, friendly serpents, young elephants, a couple of monkeys, veggie burger loving eagles, unusual rats, various cats and dogs.

For years, a red dog named Kaiser protected the ashram from all unsavory characters whether two legged or four legged. Woe to the person who crossed the ashram boundary drunk or with ill intent. In a crowd of thousands Kaiser would trot straight to that person and stand before them barking and barring their way.


After Kaiser’s demise, there was a vacancy in this position for a couple of years. One day, a young multi-coloured dog who had been around for sometime, showed up in front of Amma during a cremation ceremony. He drew Amma’s attention, so she called him to her. He immediately obliged and came to sit right next to her. She was told that his name was Tumban (meaning “Abundance”), and started to use it when calling him. Since then he came into the limelight. He became the designated official ashram dog and was given a collar*, baths and flea powder.

Tumban takes his duties seriously and he patrols the ashram boundaries as Kaiser had done, apprehending questionable characters-whether animal or human and meeting vehicles arriving in the middle of the night. When visitors arrive at the ashram, late night, Tumban greets them, and walks with them to the accommodation office, then to the assigned building. He just stops short of carrying the luggage…

Tumban often shows up at the beach for meditation and lies in front of Amma, motionless, paws stretched forward on the sand in a kind of pranam or prayer. Sometimes Amma will ask him if he came to meditate and invite him to come closer. Thus, he began to “meditate” on the peetham next to Amma. He even had his own asana -the small piece of material for sitting.


Often, during darshan, Tumban comes to Amma: she greets him and feeds him. He’ll then lie there next to her for a while. Amazingly, Tumban never accepts any food from anyone except Amma herself or the person assigned for feeding him… His favorite food? Chappatis with butter!

Tumban definitely enjoys a very special relation with Amma. When darshan ends and Amma stands up, one can see him rushing towards her in the midst of the crowds to accompany her to her room.  He is said to get jealous if Amma showers more attention on the little kids that get next to her too…

One night at bhajan, Tumban appeared on the ramp below the stage. He walked back and forth in front of Amma wagging his tail. Finally, he stopped in front of her and looked at her expectantly, his tail oscillating rapidly. She smiled at him, and motioned him to come on stage. In one graceful leap, he landed at her feet and curled up. Amma told everyone how well behaved and correct his behavior was. He had waited for an invitation before presuming to come on stage!

When Swamiji placed Amma’s songbook on the music stand next to him, Tumban lost his composure and looking around, jumped back off the stage. Everyone groaned. It had been so cute to see him there.

Later in the bhajan, Tumban returned, jumped back up and took his place. This time he stayed for the rest of bhajans. In fact, he didn’t even move during arathi. He was not disturbed by the revolving flame. When Amma showered flower petals on the brahmachari doing the arati, a few petals fell on him, and he remained curled up at Amma’s feet. The light of the flame was flickering on his smooth coat. Was he awake or in the midst of a beautiful dream? When arathi is done to Amma, in a sense, it is also done to the One, to all Creation. Although one does not normally do arathi to dogs, it seemed totally right to watch this other form of creation receiving arathi along with Amma!

Tumban is an ideal ashramite, combining sincerity and regularity to the spiritual routine of the ashram, obedience and devotion to the Guru. He comes regularly to morning archana, alternating between the women’s side and the men’s side, as the groups do archana separately. He unfailingly attends the Upanishad classes and Ramayana discussions in the temple; participates in the meditation every Tuesday, and sometimes even goes up for his Prasad lunch. Tumban also attends the webcasts of Amma’s Devi Bhava when she is on tour! He has been supplied with his own asana for all these occasions. Amma has praised Tumban for being detached and devoted to the ashram and ashram dharma.


A brahmachari related how on Onam day, for some reason, Tumban wouldn’t allow a devotee to perform the padapuja on stage. He simply lied down in front of Amma, in complete pranam, blocked the devotee way by repeatedly stretching his body before the puja items, refusing to leave the place… But, when Amma asked him to move aside, Tumban immediately obeyed!

One day, a bigger dog showed up in the big hall for archana. He refused to give any attention to Tumban’s barking, and was lying down on a bunch of asanas close to the stage… Tumban was very alarmed, but was scared to face the stronger and bold invader. He must have thought well of the best tactic to follow to chase him away and soon he was ready for action: he quietly trolled towards the dog, reached him and peed in his ear (!)… before running away, obviously satisfied with his deed. This was enough to ruin the invader’s plans of feeling home, so he left the hall a bit dazzled by what had just happened to him… He was back next day, did the same thing, received the same special Tumban treatment, and never returned again!

There are too many stories about Tumban to recount in one post. Many ashram residents have their little stories with him, like coming to greet you and cuddle if you were away for a while and just returned, waking you up by scratching on your door, if you are a regular archana person and one day fail to be in your usual place on time, etc.

Some enjoy wondering about Tumban’s background, his past life, what he had done to achieve such an envious position in the ashram, etc. But our job is not to worry about who Tumban IS, but to find out who WE are! That is the reason and goal for our human birth, and even animals are willing to give us a boost on our quest and inspire us with their relationship with Amma.

— Sakshi

*in general, dogs are discouraged at the ashram due to fear of disease and the problems they have created in the crowds.

If Amma did not exist, society itself would disappear

27 September 2010, Amritapuri, 57th Birthday celebrations of Amma

Bishop Mar Chrysostem Tirumeni inaugurated the official Indian website of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math www.amrita.in. This new website will have pages in nine Indian languages—Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali and Sanskrit.

Speaking after the inauguration Bishop Mar Chrysostem commented that Amma has done 100 years of work in her 57 years, and that she was a divine being, a goddess. “There is a book in English—’Small is beautiful.’ Amma, too, can similarly be considered as one who turns the ordinary into something extraordinary. She has, in her grasp, all the wisdom needed to make an ordinary person extraordinary.”

In his humorous speech, the bishop noted that Amma was not like him. “People like us just talk. Amma does more than she talks.” He said that he has one request for Amma: she should change the location of her ashram every six months; then, the whole of Kerala will become developed. “To those who say that society is declining, what I have to say is that if Amma did not exist, society itself would disappear!”

Gita and Games

A five day workshop titled ‘Gita and Games’ was conduted at Amritapuri in the second week of September.

The workshop aimed at learning the spiritual teachings of the Bhagavad Gita through self-reflective games, discussions, and lectures.

Participants engaged in dialogues about the theory and practical aspects of the Gita, and how to apply the teachings to their family, work, relationships, and spiritual practices. They also discussed how Amma’s teachings relate to the message of Sri Krishna in the Gita.

Over 30 students from all walks of life discussed and shared their experiences and study of spirituality with the group, bringing a synergy of viewpoints and energy.

– Tulasi

Amma in Trissur

20 -21 April, Trissur — Bharata Yatra 2010

In the two days of the annual Brahmasthanam festival in Trissur, thousands of devotees came to receive Amma’s embrace, hear her soothing words and soul-stirring bhajans, and partake in the group puja functions. As the sun above pounded down heat on everyone, Amma showered the coolness and sweetness of her presence in everyone’s heart.

Amma sang many old bhajans along with a few newer ones. Her satsang stressed values in society, the importance of dispassion, and warned of Kerala’s dependence on intoxicants.

Amma’s humanitarian efforts played a part in the programs. During the evening program the first night, scholarships were awarded to dozens of children. This was part of the ashram’s ‘Vidyamritam’, which seeks to relieve growing suicide rates in Kerala by providing free educational scholarships to the poor.

Working capital was also distributed to several members of the ‘Amrita self help’ group. This charity seeks to train and enable the women and poor villagers in a trade, by which they may become self-sufficient.

The children of Amrita Vidyalayam school displayed Trissur’s rich cultural heritage with dances, dramas, and speeches by young students.

– Kannadi

Ammas father passed away

22 March 2010, Amritapuri

Mr. Sugunanandan Edamannel, Amma’s father—Sugunacchan, passed away this morning at 10:30 a.m. due to cardiac arrest at his residence in Amritapuri.


Sugunacchan was like the pillar of the Ashram.  He loved the ashramites as if they were his own children and saw Amma as his Guru and God.

Acchan* was a man of great will power, who would always follow his word, and a firm believer in the principle of contentment. It was Acchan’s policy to always give if someone asked, without reservation. Many people in the village used to seek his assistance and advice.

He was a natural leader and was respected by all—as a businessman, as a builder of fishing boats, and as a human being. He continued working into his 80s.

It is well documented that it took time for Acchan to accept that his daughter was a Jnani. In response to the odd and often rebellious behavior Amma would demonstrate in her youth, Acchan would often reprimand her as any father would. At times, he would spank Amma. A few years back, a devotee who had read about such incidents scolded Acchan for his attempts at disciplining Amma. Acchan replied, “Didn’t Yashoda tied up Krishna? Didn’t Rama’s mother send him to the forest? Why? Because nobody told them that their child was God. Similarly, nobody told me that my child is God.”

Acchan was a treasure trove of stories about the divine plays of Amma’s life, many of which are not as of yet recorded in any books. In the past several years, Acchan regularly took special occasions, such as Guru Purnima, to tell such stories to ashram residents and visitors. In 2004, during one such talk, he told of a family pilgrimage to the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. Acchan said that as soon as Amma saw the murti, she entered a divine mood. Soon, Amma began to dance. It created a real stir, and soon many people gathered around. When the pujari in the sanctum sanctorum saw the commotion, Acchan said, he seemed to immediately recognize that this young girl was not a regular devotee, but an embodiment of the Divine Mother. He immediately removed one of the garlands from Meenakshi Devi, came out of the inner temple and placed it around Amma’s neck. The whole scene was almost too much for Acchan, who told everyone that he resolved then and there not to bring Amma to temples any more.

Didn’t Yashoda tied up Krishna? Didn’t Rama’s mother send him to the forest? Why? Because nobody told them that their child was God. Similarly, nobody told me that my child is God. – Sugunanandan

In 2007, on Guru Purnima, Acchan again addressed the ashram residents. “I am happy seeing all this,” he said, reflecting on his lifetime of witnessing the purana of Amma’s life unfold. “Damayanti Amma and I consider it a great fortune that we have been able to witness all this.”

With Suganacchan’s passing, the world lost a man who was a direct and intimate witness to the miracle of Amma’s early years.

Acchan suffered a heart attack in 2005 and he was under medication. In 2009 he was fitted with a pacemaker and was placed under regular medical supervision. A brahmachari had been serving as a 24-hour attendant for him for the past couple of years.

Acchan is survived by his wife, Damayanti Amma (75),  and eight children.


* Acchan means father

Amma on Lord Shiva

This is a select collection of sayings on Lord Shiva taken from Amma’s messages, talks and books.


Some believe that Lord Shiva is at Kashi alone or Lord Krishna is only in Brindavan. Dear children, do not think that God is confined to the four walls of a temple or a place. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. He can assume any form of His choice.


If our beloved deity is Krishna, we should be able to behold Krishna everywhere, in every temple whether it is Lord Shiva’s temple or Devi’s temple. Children, do not think that Shiva might be angry if we don’t worship Him in a Shiva temple or that the Divine Mother will withhold Her blessings if we don’t praise Her while going to a Devi temple. One and the same person is called ‘husband’ by the wife, ‘father’ by the son and ‘brother’ by the sister. The person sees no change even if other people address him differently. Each of us sees God in a particular form and name Him according to our innate tendencies and imagination.


The image of Shiva represents that non-dual aspect of the Supreme that purifies aspirants of their sins and bestows renunciation and discrimination.


The Shiva represents the aspect of Brahman, which cleanses us of all impurities. Brahman alone can remove all our impurities. In the Puranic story, it was Shiva who took the prarabdhas of others and swallowed them Himself. Shiva is the divine filter that receives the prarabdhas and impurities of the people, thereby making them pure.


Devotee of Lord Shiva

Ravana was a devotee of Lord Shiva, but his devotion was only a means to increase his material power. The spiritual aspect was totally missing in him. In other words, he had no renunciation. He was intensely desirous of accumulating, possessing and enjoying as much as he could. Although he was strong and courageous, he had no love or compassion. Just like any other dictator, he was a power-monger, a person who cared only about himself and his own security. His power, which he derived from the Lord, made him so egotistic and blind that he even tried to lift Mount Kailas, Lord Shiva’s abode.

Without renunciation and humility one cannot be content. A true devotee has both of these qualities. A person who lacks renunciation and humility can never be content because he still craves material prosperity. His desires are countless and insatiable. He is never satisfied with what he has. Instead he thinks about accumulating more wealth, more money, a bigger house, a better car, more and more comfort.


Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva create, nourish and destroy desires respectively. Man creates and nourishes desires but does not destroy them. Children, destruction of desire is what is needed.


Amma likes the Lord of Death more than Lord Shiva. Isn’t it because of their fear of death that people call out to Shiva? Otherwise who would take refuge in Shiva?

****** *

Shiva’s third eye is the eye of jnana, supreme knowledge.

****** *
Ganga & Shiva

Modern science has proven that the river Ganges has the power to destroy germs. Likewise, there is a Ganges within us which has the power to purify our mind. That is why it is said that Ganges flows from the head of Lord Shiva. When we reach perfection through meditation, we become Him, the possessor of Ambrosia. The pure Ganges rises up from within. That is what is depicted as the Goddess Ganga hiding in the matted hair of Lord Shiva. Goddess Ganga represents the Kundalini Shakti and its endless flow is the flow of the Ganges. From Lord Shiva, the Perfect One, it flows pervading everything and purifies the whole universe.


The Creation
Children, vibration arose in Brahman from Primordial Resolve. From this came the three gunas (qualities), sattva, rajas and tamas. These three are represented as the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. All these are within oneself. What we see existing in the Universe in truth exists within.


Before creation, Shakti (the Primordial Nature, Cosmic Energy) heard an ethereal voice. It said, “There is only sorrow in creation. You should not try to do it.” It was the voice of Shiva (Pure Consciousness). Shakti replied, “No, it needs to be done.”

After creation, Shiva, the Pure Consciousness aspect, moved away. He went and hid. In reality, He has nothing to do with all these things happening around. Later, Shakti went running to Him, complaining, “I have no peace. Look here, the children are scolding Me. They blame Me for everything. Nobody takes care of Me.”
Shiva said, “Hadn’t I told you at that very same time that it was going to be like this and that you should not pursue that (creation)? Now you created an uproar, having pursued that. Aren’t you the one who is responsible for all this that has happened? There was no problem when it was I alone, was there?”


Can Lord Shiva be called “Mother”?
Amma: Yes, of course, He can be called so. It is said that the “I” has become the father, mother, child, brother, sister and all. Everything is Him alone. You call Him, giving any name. One will say “palu,” another will say “milk,” and yet another will say something else. Whatever the name, there is no difference either in the color or taste of the milk. God can be called both as Father and Mother. You were told that He is the Father, weren’t you? He is the real Father who disciplines you by removing the ego and correcting you, and He is also the real Mother who looks after and protects you lovingly, compassionately and affectionately. Both are two different facets of the same God. Both aspects are unique. That is what manifests through a Perfect Master (Satguru), the perfect balance of both Divine Fatherhood and Motherhood. Everything is pervaded by the Supreme Self. He who has realized this can manifest any aspect at any time by Self-will.


Why the Shiva linga

We can not understand why some people ridicule and insult the divine symbols and images in Hindu faith. The Shiva linga is not a symbol of one particular religion; it actually stands for a scientific principle.
Today scientists say that the universe is egg-shaped. In India, for thousands of years, the universe was referred to as Brahmandam, meaning the ‘great egg.’ Brahman means the absolute greatest.  The Shiva linga is a microcosm of that vast cosmic egg. When we worship the Shiva linga, we are, in fact, worshipping the entire universe as the Auspicious Form and as the Divine Consciousness, This is not the worship of a God who sits somewhere beyond the sky. This teaches us that any selfless service rendered to the universe, including to all living beings, is worship of Shiva.

Absolute Reality, is the Source and Support of everything. It is devoid of attributes, qualities, and form. How can the attributeless be described? In this difficult context, the sages found a symbol to represent that initial stage between Brahman and creation: the Shiva linga. It signifies the creation of the universe out of Brahman. The Shiva linga is the symbol the Rishis used to reveal the truth they experienced in a way ordinary people could understand.

lingaThe word Shiva means “auspicious”. Auspiciousness doesn’t have a form. By worshipping the Shiva linga, which is a symbol of auspiciousness, the worshipper receives that which is auspiciousness.


The meaning of linga is not phallus; for not even fools would pray to a male’s sexual organs for protection!

Q: Some people describe the Shiva linga as obscene. Is there any basis for this?
Amma: My children, people talk that way only because they do not understand the principle behind the Shiva linga. Each individual sees either good or bad in everything depending on that person’s inner tendencies.
Shiva burnt Kama ( lust and desires) with his third eye. In that state of Supreme Bliss, there is no female and male, mine and yours. Shiva linga helps us grasp this principle and frees us from lust. That is why the Shiva linga is worshipped by both men and women, the old and the young, the Brahman and the outcaste.

Q: It is said that Shiva dwells in funeral grounds. What is the meaning of this?
Amma: Desire is the cause of suffering. At the cremation grounds, the body with all its material desires are reduced to ashes. And there, where desires are absent and there is no body consciousness, Lord Shiva dances in bliss. That is why he is called the resident of the cremation grounds. The meaning of this is not that bliss comes to us only after death. Everything is within us. We and the universe are one. We are automatically filled with bliss, when in the fire of Self-awareness the attachment to the body dies.

Shiva’s body is decorated with ashes from the funeral pyres. This is the symbol of having conquered all desires.


Tantric Sadhana

Tantric sadhana is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted paths. In the name of tantric sadhana people start drinking, engaging in sex and other licentious and irresponsible behavior. They say that they are offering it to the Divine Mother, but ultimately such people get totally carried away by such indulgence. Their ignorance about real sadhana becomes denser and denser, and so they argue that whatever they do is correct.

What is involved in tantric worship is an offering. The fact is, the principle behind the worship is what is to be offered. This offering is not external; it is internal. You offer your individuality, or your ego, to the Divine. Furthermore, the references to sexual union in the worship are not to be taken as something to be done by a male person and a female person. It is the final union, the union of the jivatman (individual self) and the Paramatman (the Supreme Self). It is symbolic. It symbolizes the union or the integration of the feminine and masculine qualities – the union of Purusha and Prakriti, the merging of the mind into the Supreme Reality. It is the attainment of a perfect balance between the inner and outer natures of the sadhak. It is the experiencing of and becoming established in All-Pervasiveness, which ensues from the union of Shiva and Shakti.

In that state the sadhak transcends everything and merges with the Supreme Principle. That Supreme Oneness is the meaning of sexual union in tantric puja.

This union of Shiva (Supreme Consciousness) and Shakti (Primordial Energy) happens when the sadhak’s purified semen, which has transformed into ojas (pure vital energy) reaches the top of the head where the thousand petalled lotus is located. The use of sexual imagery as symbolic imagery in tantric sadhana is an external, figurative depiction of this inner transformation. Sexual union is the closest symbol that can give the idea about this eternal union of Shiva and Shakti. Both aspects, Supreme Consciousness and Primordial Energy are within us.

All human beings are sexual, and therefore, all are familiar with the experience of sexual desire, the longing for union with the opposite sex. Thus by employing something that everybody can understand, that is, the terms and symbols of sexual union, to express the essential quality and process of eternal union, the sages have tried to give us an idea of the process of inner union. But human minds are so crude and lowly that they misinterpret the whole thing and bring it all down to a vulgar level, misusing it or using it as an excuse for licentious behavior and illicit actions that can cause harm to others as well as themselves. Tantric sadhana must not be practiced without the guidance of a Perfect Master.

When a man and a woman move forward together with love, mutual understanding, and a willingness to be flexible to the other’s needs, what develops is not equality between them, but union—the union of Shiva and Shakti. That is the world of joy. The man and the woman become one, forgetting all differences.

Finding inner silence in Botswana

Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya visited Gabarone, Botswana from February 2 to 4th 2009.
A public programme was held at the residence of a devotee on the 3rd evening. Br. Shubamrita addressed the gathering on the topic- “Finding the Inner Silence”. Among the guests who attended the programme was Mr. V.N. Hade, Indian High Commissioner to Botswana.

On the 4th evening, Br. Shubamrita held a refresher course for all the IAM Meditation practitioners in Botswana.

During his stay, the GABZ Radio station conducted a half an hour interview with Br. Shubamrita on the topic – “Spirituality and Health.”

– Das