Amma did what the government could not

26 September 2005 — Alappad Panchayat, Kollam District, Kerala

On 26 December 2004, they lost everything. For generations their families have been maintained through fishing. Never did they dream that in one day their means to that income could literally be washed away. But that’s exactly what happened when the tsunami wrecked their fishing boat and nets.

After the tsunami, Thankan, Dushadhan, Senan, Vimalan, Bose and Krishnan were left with no resources or recourse whatsoever for gainful employment. “We first turned to the government, but their priorities were not clear,” said Thankan. “Many voluntary agencies promised to help, but none kept their promises. Finally when we met Amma, she assured us she would help. We don’t have any words to thank Amma, because Amma did what even the government could not do.”

“Amma has been giving to all without any favouritism,” said Bose. “She is giving to the really needy, whereas we are not sure whether the government aid has gone to the right people.”

Tomorrow, on Amma’s birthday, this team of six fishermen will be given a fully equipped motorised fishing boat and new nets. In fact, a total of 150 fishing boats will be handed over to tsunami-affected fishermen during Amma’s birthday.

When asked if they had decided upon a name for their new boat, the team members smiled and hinted that it would be “Amriteswari.”

—Tulasi

Birthday guests from around the world

26 September 2005 — Amritapuri

From all the parts of the world, they came to celebrate Amma’s birthday—from Europe, North and South America, Japan, Australia, the Middle East, and of course from India itself…. We had a short chat with a couple from Peru, a Malayali living in Dubai, a lady from Poland, two young girls from Germany, a devotee from India and two people from Japan…
Here is what they had to say:

Cesar Ricardo Sarmiento Mendoza, 53, & Rita Cecilia Vergara Ponciano, 43 (Peru)

Is this the first time you’ve come to Amritapuri?
Cesar: Yes! We arrived yesterday! We are a married couple and have a daughter and two grandchildren!

How and when did you hear about Amma?
Cesar: Last year. Some friends in Peru told us about her.

Are you here for Amma’s Birthday?
Rita: Yes, we are staying in Amritapuri for six days.

What is your impression after reaching here?
Cesar: This place is immense. The crowds are impressive! I can also strongly feel the divine grace.

Did you already meet Amma?
Rita: Yes! We had our first darshan yesterday!

How was it?
Cesar: What an extraordinary force! I felt clearly a pulse of expansive energy from Amma’s heart. When she hugged me, She said in my ear, special divine words. It was a unique life experience. I felt her energy enter me.

What touches you the most about Amma?
Rita: She is a pure manifestation of the Divine. What a wonderful experience Amma’s darshan was! I could feel the pure love coming from her heart and filling me!

Jayaram, 53 (Indian living in Dubai)

How long have you known Amma?
I heard about her 14 years ago and met her for the first time 12 years ago.

When did you first come to Amritapuri?
It was in 1994. And this is third time that I have had the good fortune to attend in her birthday celebrations.

What is your impression when you see these big crowds?
By seeing this and coming from the world, I can sense the transformation that Amma makes within each one. When in her proximity, the love within each one overcomes the hatred.

What would you like to offer to Amma on this occasion?
Whatever I could offer materially is anyway already hers. What I would like to offer is my mind. I would like to put my soul in her hands!

Vasuda, 41 (Poland)

For how long have you known Amma?
I met her for the first time in 1997.

When did you come here for the first time?
In 1998, but it is the first time that I am here for Amma’s birthday.

As a person from Poland, is there any particular service that you are doing at the Ashram?
I work in the Information Centre, and in addition to the Polish language I know some Russian and some Czech…. so when people come from those countries, I can speak to them and help them.

What is your feeling, witnessing all the preparations for Amma’s birthday?
It is overwhelming! The crowds are enormous! I’m happy that so many people come to participate in the event. It was also very beautiful in the morning to listen to the archanas.

What will you do tomorrow?
Like everyone, I will attend the padapuja and the ceremonies. I will do my normal daily seva and do some extra seva that is needed as well.

What is your feeling regarding this extra seva?
It’s great to serve all these people. Many could be new or feel lost. I’m very happy if I can help in any possible way! I’m also so impressed by this whole organisation. It is done so well!

What would you like to offer to Amma on her birthday?
My pure heart! But… she has to help me purify it first.

Anything else you want to add?
I want to thank Amma for bringing me here and offering me this wonderful chance to live in her ashram and in her presence.

Sneha, 14, and Valsala, 12 (Germany)

Is this the first birthday of Amma’s that you have attended?
No, we were here in 1998, when we were seven and five!

What do you remember from that year?
Sneha: I remember the big crowds and the padapuja! I also remember that the birthday programs were held in this hall, but the hall was smaller then.
Valsala: I remember the children I used to play with. I remember going for darshan with them in the very beginning. I also remember being stuck in the crowd, not seeing my mother and crying until she came!

Why did you come here?
Valsala: I like it. It feels like home.
Sneha: I want to live here for a while. Valsala, our parents and I are here for a few months. I want to see Amma a lot!

Why do you want to see Amma?
Valsala: She is like my mother! She gives love to everyone and everyone feels her love! She hugs us and cares for us.
Sneha: Amma is like my mother! Everybody likes his or her mother, no? Amma is so special!

What would be your gift for Amma on her birthday?
Valsala: I started preparing it. I am stitching a big heart with a rainbow. I’ll put Krishna there too.

Is there anything else you would like to offer to Amma?
Valsala: Anything! My heart, love…

A. Sushil Kumar, 52 (India)

When did you meet Amma for the first time?
In 2000, and it changed my life. After that I asked Amma if I could leave my job and come work in her institutions. Last year, it finally happened. I resigned and joined Amrita University in Ettimadai. I am the Dean of the School of Business.

Have you attended Amma’s birthday before?
Yes, I have attended it each year since 2000.

What is your impression when seeing such a big crowd?
Well, previously, I had seen that only in Disney Land ! Now it is common to see it around Amma.

But there are big crowds in India usually.
Not this big! And anyway this crowd has a unique quality in that it is serene. Usually when you see such a crowd, you have fear. But this crowd doesn’t bring fear. Even in the night, it is safe for women and children.

What do you feel like offering to Amma for her birthday?
I have a strong desire to put all the knowledge and qualifications that life has offered me at Amma’s feet!

Hiromi Yamaguchi, 31 (Japan)

Is it the first time you’ve come to the Ashram?
Yes, we are a group of six Japanese people coming here for the first time and staying for five days.

Why are you here?
I am here to see Amma in India. I have seen her for the last five years in Tokyo when she visits Japan.

What are your impressions after reaching here?
I feel light. Free from social duties that pressurize everyone in Japan.

What are your feelings upon reaching the ashram?
I see a good mixture of Indian and people from around the world. Spiritually, it seems open and welcoming to all kinds of people. I am also touched by the huge number of devotees and their devotion.

What is your gift to Amma on her birthday?
That my heart purely and sincerely joins her prayers for world peace.

Toshiaki Tabata, 19 (Japan)

You are for the first time here. Why have you come?
I want to practice Amma’s teachings in her own birthplace.

Have you seen Amma in Tokyo?
Yes, last May. It was the first time.

What are your impressions upon reaching here?
I am surprised by the crowds coming to meet Amma. In Japan you would never see anything like this.

Are you a student?
Yes, I am studying to become a social worker.

So what touches you more, Amma’s social work or her spiritual energy?
To do social work properly, it is very important to have a clear mind!

Would you like to come back and do social work here?
Yes, I am joining this the house-building project [Amrita Kuteeram] that is organized by the Ashram’s centre in Japan.

What would you like to offer to Amma on her birthday?
I want to offer my ego, so that she cleans my heart

Anything else you want to say?
Unfortunately, in Japan religious practices are not well perceived. I hope that Amma’s grace will make people more spiritual there.

Amma is applying the real communist principles

26 September 2005 — Amritapuri

Sri. Devakumar is a member of Kerala’s Legislative Assembly and is a leader of the CPIM (Communist Party of India, Marxist). Speaking before the Assembly, Sr. Devakumar strongly supported Amma’s social-welfare projects, particularly in regard to the Ashram’s tsunami-relief work. He was one of thousands of people who came to Amritapuri in order to celebrate Amma’s birthday.

What is your impression when you see such big crowd?
This gathering of Amma’s devotees and other people is very precious. Because it is spiritual, but at the same time there is no differentiation between religions. All are equal here.

How do you evaluate Amma’s social work?
It is very much needed, specifically the tsunami work and educational activities.

Anything special happened to you today?
Yes, when I met Amma in her room, she knew that I had diabetes, so she used some blood-sugar-testing equipment and checked my blood herself! It was 162. After that, when I was offered juice, Amma told me not to take it… like a real mother! She really cares for everyone like a real mother.

What would like to offer her on her birthday?
I wish her a long life. I believe that Amma is applying the real communist principles.

But as a communist leader, you must have had a negative opinion about her in the beginning?
That all changed when I saw how her work and how helpful and needed it is for the poor people. I know the places where she is giving help and, as a representative of the people, I know the needs of the people there.

—Tulasi

Transcribed from press conference at Amritapuri

September 23rd 2005, Amritapuri

Q: Was the UN recognition of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math as an NGO because of its tsunami relief work? What is the implication of this recognition?

AMMA: No, the UN recognition was accorded on the basis of all the humanitarian work that the M.A. Math has done so far. With this recognition, the UN may entrust the Math with projects in the future. The Ashram would also be able to share its views with the UN members, and participate in UN forums.

Q: How many tsunami-relief houses has the Math finished building so far?

AMMA: We have finished 1,200 houses, and the piling for another 1,000 houses is going on. On September 27th, we will be handing over 550 houses to the beneficiaries. We have already completed and handed over 150 houses. We first finished building houses in Ernakulam, then in Aleppey, and then in Kollam. In Tamil Nadu, we have finished building houses in Nagapattinam and Kanyakumari, and have already handed them over.

Q: How long did it take the Math to build these 1,200 houses?

AMMA: For the tsunami-resistant houses, which need good piling, we took about three to four months.

Q: How long will it take to finish the houses?

AMMA: We should finish within another three to four months.

Q: There is a perception that some government agencies did not cooperate with the Math. Are you happy with the government’s attitude?

AMMA: Amma has nothing against the government. She does not pay much attention to what the government does or says. She concentrates on what she can do for society.

Just after the tsunami struck, Amma walked four kilometres to participate in the moksha deepam, a day to pray for the departed souls, to assess the situation, to see how much damage the tsunami had done, the evaluate the impact of the waves, how the houses had been washed away by the waves. Amma had to study so many minute details so that she could do justice to the work she was about to undertake. At that time, the government came up with a plan, meant for the tsunami-affected in Cochin. It did not have a staircase, nor a room upstairs. Amma thought this was not the right plan. Amma suggested that every plan for such houses should have a staircase and a room on an upper floor. This is because both grownups and children living here were gripped by fear. Even the change in the sound of the fan, caused by fluctuation in voltage, or the sounds of the wind would strike terror in their hearts of these traumatized people.

Amma also wanted the houses to have a column-bearing structure, and not a load-bearing structure, because a tsunami can cause a house based on a load-bearing structure to collapse. Tsunamis can even wash away huge boulders. When Amma submitted this plan, the government accepted it. So Amma does not have any difference of opinion with the government.

Q: Amma, has the recent attempt on your life emboldened your mission?

AMMA: Amma has no fear. Even the next breath is not in our hands. In any case, the body will perish one day. So rather than rust away doing nothing, it is better to wear away doing something beneficial to society. So there is neither courage nor a lack of courage. But Amma’s children are scared.

Q: Does the Math have any other experience in relief activities?

AMMA: In Gujarat, after the 2001 earthquake, the Math adopted three villages and built 1,200 houses. We also renovated temples and mosques there. In 1997, the Ashram provided assistance for people who had been affected by the earthquake in Lathur, Maharashtra.

Q: Was tsunami relief the first time the Ashram built houses?

AMMA: The housing project is not new to the Math. We have been involved in this work since 1996. We first undertook to build 25,000 houses, which we finished in 2002. Then in 2003, we announced a 100,000 house-building project across India, In addition to this, we have undertaken the tsunami-housing project.

Q: Is giving homes to the homeless the mainstay of Amma’s mission? Is your philosophy home-centred?

AMMA: Many other things are there: pension, orphanages, hospitals, nature protection… Amma doesn’t have any projects. Amma just flows, like a river. Most of the projects that Amma has undertaken happened spontaneously when the situations demanded them.

Born and brought up in this village, Amma has seen the pitiful plight of villagers not being able to sleep at night when it rains, when their thatched roofs leak. Some of them would have grownup daughters in their houses. Most people here work as fishermen. If they get a good catch, they will have food; if not, they won’t. So Amma’s life-long desire is that everyone should have a shelter over their heads and at least one meal a day.

Q: There have been some reports that houses built by the government in Andaman have not been satisfactory. The government had gone ahead without thinking about what the tribal folk were used to and what they needed. For example, the government built houses with tin roofs. Is the Math taking all this into account, before going ahead with the housing project? Are there any experts advising Amma?

AMMA: There are devotees who are engineers and architects, including experts from IIT who are volunteers, who design and build according to local custom and culture. Some of the householder devotees, who are professionals in this field, are also actively involved in the construction work. About 500 of them go every morning to do this seva work, including carrying bricks and shifting other construction material to the site. And no, we have not built houses with tin roofs.

Q: Did Amma have any premonition of the tsunami before it struck?

AMMA: Amma does not like to predict anything. Even if Amma feels something, she does not openly express it. However, in 2002, at the end of the US tour in Boston, Amma felt that something bad would happen during the period starting from the end of 2004 and in 2005. So Amma told the devotees that this period would be bad for the entire world, and asked everyone to chant, “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” (“May all the beings in all the worlds be happy”). This message was published by a magazine [What is Enlightenment?]. Devotees circulated this message by email to everyone. Some devotees from US were so frightened that they wanted to migrate to Australia or Canada. When the tsunami struck, there were about 1,200 Westerners here in the ashram. There were a total of 20,000 people here. Before the tsunami, people were running to the seashore because they had heard that the sea had receded. But Amma warned them that the sea would flow in, and therefore asked everyone to move upstairs. So we made everyone move to the upper floors. Amma also asked everyone to drive their cars to the mainland. If all these steps had not been taken, at least 5,000 people would have died [in the Ashram]. More people would have died here than anywhere else.

Q: Amma, do you think there will be similar natural calamities in future?

AMMA: When Amma looks into nature, she sees that nature’s fury is not yet abated. Nature is still turbulent, agitated. Only the cool wind of prayers can shift these dark clouds. Only this moment is ours; even the next breath is not ours. Amma has heard that the butterfly’s life span is only one day, yet it flutters around joyfully. Likewise, we should live joyfully. If there is fear, you cannot live happily.

Q: What did the Math do during the recent monsoon that hit Mumbai?

AMMA: The Math sent two fully equipped ICU ambulances, as well as medical and paramedical staff. We took medicines worth 20 lakh rupees. We were there for two weeks, providing food, medicine, clothes, vessels, etc.

Q: How much have you received in terms of donation for your tsunami-relief activities?

AMMA: We never asked for donations. We did not even announce a fundraising drive in our ashram publications. Amma also did not want devotees to solicit for funds. But 60 percent of Amma’s devotees have an attitude of sacrificing for the world. That is Amma’s real wealth.

Q: What are future activities of the Math?

AMMA: Before the tsunami, Amma had thought of undertaking two projects. One concerns the suicidal rate in Kerala, which is much higher than that of other states. Amma wants to do something about this. The other project is to rehabilitate the sex workers in Mumbai and Kolkata–creating more awareness among them, introducing self-employment programs for them, building schools for their children. But because of the tsunami, we couldn’t invest funds in these.

According to the latest figures, there are 35,000 sex workers in Kolkatha alone, mostly, girls between eight and 13 years. If we save them before they are 18, they must be returned to their homes, according to law. And if that happens, they will go back to prostitution again. So there are legal loopholes. Amma is still discussing the project with legal experts.

Q: Amma, could you elaborate on the project to tackle to problem of suicide?

AMMA: Amma is doing a study on this. The saddest thing is that parents who want to commit suicide kill their young children first. Amma has asked a team of devotees to gather newspaper clippings over the last five years, and find out more about what people commit suicide, so as to study this issue thoroughly.

Amma is also thinking about starting a village for people with suicidal tendencies, so that we can attend to them personally. Children of such parents are more likely to develop suicidal tendencies. Most of these people have borrowed heavily from loan sharks.

Q: You talk about dharma, but at the same time what we see here are so many social-welfare activities. Would you like to be known as a religious leader, spiritual leader or social worker?

AMMA: Amma doesn’t have any desire. You can call her what you want: “mother,” “she,” “woman”…. I don’t care. Amma has offered herself to the world. Once you become an offering, you have no claims.

Q: Amma, you have such a big following and you are so powerful and people adore you. Have you ever thought of going to politics? You would win.

AMMA: Amma does not have any desire to enter politics, because in politics, there is always two (two political parties). When you represent a political party, you cannot serve society fully. If you are ruling, there will be an opposition. Amma does not have any party, she can serve everyone; she can serve better. If the government gets 1,000 rupees, only 10 rupees go to people because they have to pay their administration and workers. It’s like pouring oil from one vessel to another. By the time we reach the last vessel, there is no oil left. Whereas if Amma gets 10 rupees, it goes to people as 1,000 rupees, as in Amma’s ashram, there are tens of thousands of people willing to serve without remuneration.

A hospital of hope for wayanad’s vanavasis:

The Amrita Kripa Charitable Hospital for Tribal
Kalpetta, Kerala

Tribals with akshyamrita chaitanya
Kalpetta, the capital of the Wayanad District in north Kerala, is reached by following steep roads that wind through densely forested mountains. The region has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years. The indigenous people who still inhabit this area are the adivasis : meaning,the first inhabitants, also known as “tribal.”

Throughout India, the tribal population is suffering. In Wayanad, their history is steeped in tragedy. Once welling in simplicity in the majestic silence of the land, many of the district’s tribals became slaves and today many live in a state not far removed from that. A people who were once healthy and long-lived, they now suffer from severe malnutrition and untreated diseases.
Exploitation by English colonists, abuse and degradation of the environment, a general lack of understanding and respect by the dominant community… the historical reasons for this tragedy are complex. The condition of the adivasis was hurt even more by 1994’s World Trade Agreement, which effectively lowered the prices on the district’s main cash crops of coffee, tea and spices to such an extent that many plantations were forced to shutdown. The main source of employment for adivasis is as day labourers on plantations, earning around 50 rupees [a little more than a dollar] a day. The shortage of plantation work has found many dying from starvation or malnutrition.

tribalsAmma’s Ashram has been working in tribal areas for years, trying to help these people out of their desperate situation. Many of the children who live at the Ashram’s orphanage in Paripally are tribals, and in the Wayanad District, the Ashram runs small tribal schools, mobile medical camps, vocational education and regularly distributes food and clothing. The Amrita Kripa Hospital for tribals in Kalpetta is the Ashram’s latest effort to relieve the suffering of these people. It is the Ashram’s hope to guide the adivasis onto the path towards a healthy lifestyle and economic independence. It also hopes to help them preserve the many positive aspects of their traditional lifestyle that have gone unrecognised and unappreciated and are in danger of being lost.
Guided by Brahmachari Akshayamrita Chaitanya, who Amma has put in charge of the Wayanad District, we visited some tribal homes in the vicinity of the hospital in last November.

Our jeep ploughed through an almost nonexistent road, gone muddy from recent rains. To our right, about 50 feet below, flowed a muddy river. On our left, in a clearing in the forest, were simple dwellings. They ranged from solid-looking brick buildings, to thatched huts, to one fashioned from a simple tarpaulin stretched over a crumbling foundation. This last home was occupied by two old ladies and a young woman. The day-labour wages of the young woman was the family’s sole support.
We stopped the jeep and proceeded along a path. At the next simple house we visited, a woman asked Br. Akshayamrita to do a puja [ritual worship]. She had draped a white cloth on a low ledge, upon which she had placed a small photo of Amma, an oil lamp and a few brilliantly red hibiscus flowers. Br. Akshayamrita did a simple puja, to the joy of the lady. At each house the people were happy to see us and invited us in. Br. Akshayamrita distributed sweets and asked after the welfare of the people. At one house, the men showed us a traditional adivasi bamboo bow and the different types of arrows used for hunting. Now the adivasis are forbidden to hunt on their own native lands.
Later at the Kalpetta hospital, we met Dr. Sanjiv and Dr. Ajita, a husband-and-wife team who were instrumental in setting up the hospital. The three doctors went to work treating the steady stream of patients who had come long distance by bus or foot for the treatment of a variety of ailments. The most common complaints of the adivasis are cuts, infections, parasites, anaemia and the host of ailments that stem from malnutrition.

None of the patients we saw had life-threatening illnesses, but when you live in squalor in this part of the world, even a small injury or bad case of parasites can have serious consequences–not to mention that a day spent in the sickbed is a day of no income. For example, Naryanan, age 60, supports his wife and two children by working in the fields as a day labourer. He is his family’s sole source of income. His toe became infected while working in the muddy fields. He had been going to the Government Hospital for the past month, but his condition had still not improved. The Ashram doctors removed part of his toenail and treated the infection with antibiotics. He told us that he feels better and is happy with his treatment at the hospital. Like most patients, he came by bus and foot–even with his bad toe. The average patient undertakes a two-hour journey to reach the hospital. Some even travel four.

Hopsital in kalpetta
Sarojini also came with an infected toe, stemming from an accident with a knife while working in the fields of a coffee estate. She came to Amrita Kripa because she has little money. Prior to her injury, she had been attending the hospital’s weekly bhajan session. She explained to us that this helped her to feel comfortable to come here. She told us that she has heard about Amma and is learning some of Amma’s bhajans from her three teenaged children. While interviewing her, we discovered that she has a teenaged daughter who has been disabled from severe childhood burns. The doctors encouraged her to bring the shy girl to the hospital so that they can assess her condition
During our visit, many adivasis came with gastric complaints, severe anaemia, upper respiratory infections, joint problems and parasites. We met a Muslim woman who had gained the confidence to come after her daughter reported having a good experience with her treatment. It seems obvious that only after one month of operation, the hospital is already actively serving the area in a variety of ways.

Long-term plans include a community outreach program, specialty medical camps, extending the services offered to include impatient treatment and a full range of services including cardiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, gastrology, ophthalmology, etc. Plans are underway for senior residents and interns from AIMS Medical College to provide rotating staff for some of these services.
Located on a large piece of property, the Amrita Kripa Charitable Hospital is well placed for expansion. Its location–adjacent to major highways leading to Mysore and Bangalore, while still being close enough to Kalpetta’s centre–should also ensure that those who need it can easily come to known of it and to avail of its services.

The hospital’s small staff radiates a warm concern and sweetness towards the patients. We could see the wariness and concern of the patients dissipate as they interacted with the doctors and the staff. Healing–on many levels–is clearly taking place here.

We left convinced that through the dedication and loving attitude of the doctors and staff, the strong relationship between the adivasi community and Br. Akshayamrita, and the grace of Amma, this project will make a major impact on the difficult lives of these sweet and simple people.
A few weeks after our visit, we met some people from Wayanad at the Amritapuri Ashram. They had just finished a course at AIMS Hospital to become community health workers. They were taught simply procedures such as how to check someone’s blood pressure and blood-sugar levels. They were also taught how to give instructions on basic healthcare and sanitation. Graduates from the programme, earn 1500 rupees a month doing this valuable work. They all had graduated the 10th standard [equivalent of high-school graduates]. Community outreach is a crucial part of the Charitable Hospital in Kalpetta’s goal towards improving the health of the local people, and this programme is expected to continue to expand.

In August 2005, after 11 months of operation, the Charitable Hospital in Kalpetta has expanded its services enormously. In this first year, the hospital’s doctors have seen a total of 11,333 patients. Of these 6,780 were tribals. All services for the tribals are free, and others receive treatment at reduced rate. All patients are seen, regardless of their ability to pay. A measure of the confidence the local people have in the treatment they are receiving can be seen by the number of repeat visits, which number 7,288. Currently, the hospital sees, on the average, 123 patients a day. Twenty-eight medical camps have been held in this first year of operation. Additionally, the hospital is offering telemedicine consultation with AIMS Hospital for complicated cases.

–Rita & Gitamba

A sacrifice for The Master

Arun, from Thiruvalla, always comes to help control the crowds when Amma gives darshan.  Little did he know that on this day he would have to control some one in the crowd who was carrying a knife {news}.

Arun was one of the first ones on the scene when the attacker was forced from the stage and he attempted to subdue the man as he fled.

Unfortunately in his attempt to catch hold of the man, he was stabbed in the back, producing a 4-inch deep wound.

Once the man was finally captured, Arun was taken to the ashram’s Amritakripa hospital, where his wound was cleaned and treated.  The doctors said that he was very lucky, because if the knife had entered his back just a few centimetres to either side of where it struck, it would have hit his kidneys, liver or spinal cord.

Despite receiving 4 stitches the wound would not stop bleeding.  He was brought to Amma for darshan and she suggested that he be shifted to AIMS hospital. Today Amma called him to enquire about his well being and to see if he is recovering comfortably.

Dr. Ashok is showing the depth of the wound during the treatment at Amritapuri.


An impossible dream?

Birthday of amritapuri.org

Today is the birthday of Amritapuri.org. It’s hard to believe that when we began on April 14, 2000, we only received about 500 hits a day. This year, when the tsunami hit Amritapuri, 4.8 million people logged on to the site in one single day!

Today Amritapuri.org is five years old.

We have only one birthday wish: “May we sing the glories of Amma for all to hear, till the end of time.”

Is it too much to ask? An impossible dream?

When Amma is the giver, there can be no limitations, nothing is impossible.

We pray for your continued help and support.

At the Lotus Feet of Amma
the Web Team of Amritapuri.org

The New Year to begin with Amrita TV

14th April,2005

Amrita TV—an initiative of Amma’s devotees—hit the air today with an audiovisual extravaganza in Trivandrum that brought together some of the brightest stars in the Indian arts.

Amrita TV is dedicated to promoting value-oriented, responsible and socially conscious programmes, without compromising on the tastes and preferences of audiences. As one can see from the station’s initial line-up, it will offer a wide-range of programmes—serials, tele-films, movies, performing arts, documentaries and discussion shows. It will also establish itself as a platform for unbiased news.

The birth of a transformation

The inauguration of this new audiovisual media was done with the lighting of the inaugural lamp by seven luminaries—representing the seven svaras in music and the seven colours—they were Padmashri Sonal Mansingh, odissi dancer of international repute; Padma Bhushan Bhupen Hazarika, well-known singer; Shri. Ramesh Sippy most renowned director-producer in India; Padmashri Mohan Lal and Padmashri Mammootty—the leading superstars of Malayalam cinema; French film-producer Monsieur Manuel De La Roche and Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Vice-Chairman of Mata Amritanandamayi Math.
inauguration of amrita tv

Before the inauguration Amma’s message of blessing was aired. “We alone are the ones responsible for many of these problems; we have created them. We can trace the origin of all problems to the human mind. This is where all problems start. Therefore, our primary dharma is to cultivate values in us. Media is one of the instruments to achieve this.” Amma reminded every one.

The programme was conducted in M.I. College grounds in Trivandrum. The settings were appealing and the stage humungous, towering to a height of 43 feet. The grounds were filled to capacity as expectant people flocked in to take part in a programme, which they felt was the birth of a transforming influence on society.
stage of amrita tv inauguration

Amrita TV will also feature programmes that offer insight into the sacred texts and epics of India, bhajan programmes will also be broadcast.

Currently all programmes are in Malayalam and is being broadcast via satellite to all of India, the Middle East, and the rest of Asia, Australia, Europe, and later on Canada and the United States.
Technical Details

Amrita TV utilises INSAT 2E/APR-1 satellite for transmission having wide-beam footprint covering the whole of Asia from Japan to Gulf countries, Australia, Europe and North America. The channel uplinks from its own earth station, which is capable of transmitting four channels at a time.

It also uses the MPEG/ IMX format for production/post-production, the latest technology in visual media providing excellent colour reproduction.

Its new studios and newsroom facilities are fully automated with fibre-optic connectivity across India using “beehive digital news gathering technology,” the first channel to do so in South India.

visit www.amritatv.com,  email – info{at}amritatv.com

—Tulasi

Amma blesses Rotarians

23 February 2005 — Cochin, Kerala

“Who are we to offer an award to Amma?” said C.M. Abu Bakker,the Ernakulam Rotary District Governor.”We simply submit it at Her feet and pray that She blesses this organisation.It is this organisation that benefits from Amma accepting this award.”

Amma was being honoured with Rotary International’s Centenary Legendary Award for Service to Humanity,International Understanding & Peace at the Le Meridian Hotel in Cochin.

In Amma’s benedictory address, She asked Rotarians to come forward and form small aid groups to help people of the lower strata and Kerala’s poor.

“Suicide rates are rising steadily in the state,” Amma said. “Prostitution may not be as rampant as in other states, but it is there in our state. Tribals of Attappadi and Wayanad are facing severe mal-nutrition,ill health and problems of land-acquisition and alienation.Many are rendered homeless.

“Elderly Rotarians should come forward and form voluntary groups to identify the wants of the poor and spread awareness against social evils. The Ashram will also help them in their work.”

“Ours is a society that is seeking more and more enjoyment,” Amma said. “There are many paths open for recreation and pleasure.But we should never forget that only enjoyment that is rooted in samskara [culture/values]will lead to self development and lasting joy.There shouldn’t arise in our country the unfortunate situation where we will have to borrow samskara in the same way that we borrow money from the world Bank.”

Amma then told the Rotarians that the solution to the fall in values in society has to be rectified at the level of the family. For this family members should be more communicative, they should be able to share their hearts with one another. She said that children should be brought up with love in a natural environment and they shouldn’t be tainted by the competitiveness and hatred of the adult world.

Speaking about Amma, Rotarian Venugopal C. Govind said that Amma is the embodiment of all the ideals that Paul Harris envisioned for Rotary International when he founded the service organisation 100 years ago.

—Kannadi

bangalore

Amma in Bangalore

2005, Bangalore

Anticipation was in the air as the people of Bangalore were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their beloved Amma. On the dais was the honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri. Dharam Singh as well as the ex-Prime Minister of India Shri. Deva Gauda. The atmosphere was charged with excitement when the sound of the gong finally announced Amma’s arrival.In Her usual graceful way She brushed past eager devotees like a passing fragrance in the wind.

At the very beginning Amma requested the audience to stand up and pray for the tsunami victims. There was a feeling of unity in the hall as everybody poured out their heartfelt prayers. Both Mr. Singh and Mr. Deva Gauda gave speeches in which they lauded Amma and Her mission of love and compassion after which followed the inauguration of Amrita Sadana, Amma’s new old age care-home situated next to the ashram.

Once again a concrete expression of Amma’s divine grace, this time benefiting the elder portion of society.She is truly dedicated to uplifting all of society. No section is barred from Her embrace – an embrace that brings solace, spiritual uplifting and above all a sense of security that comes from the realization that God lives among us and that there is someone we can always trust and to whom we can unconditionally surrender to. What more can one want in life?

– Tulasi