Amma in Kozhikode

15 February, Kozhikode, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

When Amma arrived in Kozhikode there was an enormous crowd waiting to greet her.  Traditional drums were being played and the crowd loudly chanted as Amma walked through the throng of devotees, touching their hands as she moved. Some were in wonder, some were in tears, some were screaming Amma’s name and some were silent.  To everyone’s surprise rather than going to her room, Amma asked all the people to assemble in the hall and proceeded to distribute dinner to the over 3000 people that were there to welcome her.

During the two days of programs there was a huge turnout of people for darshan. On both days Amma sang bhajans, gave satsang and led all in meditation on the stage decorated with a beautiful golden border adorned with peacock feathers.

On the first day Amma extended the Amrita Nidhi pension program to local ladies and distributed seeds to promote organic farming.

At the end of darshan on the final day, Amma sang Tanana Tanana and Mayyaji Menu.  At 5am while Amma sang the entire hall was still packed full of clapping and cheering devotees, soaking up the last minutes of their time with Amma.

– Kannadi


Amma in Mangalore

10-11 February, Mangalore, Karnataka – Bharata Yatra 2013

After the programs in Kannur, Amma held the final programs of the tour outside of Kerala, heading north once more and crossing the border into Karnataka.  She arrived to Mangalore in the evening and was received by a throng of devotees singing  ‘Bandalo Bandalo Hridayeswari’ (Come, Come, Goddess of our hearts).  Amma called all the local devotees and the tour group up to the roof of the Amrita Vidyalayam school building and served prasad, shared satsang and sang bhajans under the starry night sky.

During the next two days large crowds came for Amma’s darshan, to hear Amma sing many bhajans in the local Kannada and Tulu languages and lead all in the Manasa Puja in Kannada.

Each day as Amma made her way to the stage she was greeted by children dressed in folk costumes performing traditional dances. The program venue, starting at the path from Amma’s room to the stage was decorated very beautifully with a very  artistic touch.

To begin the first day’s program, Amma helped launch a campaign against the use of plastic bags and distributed cloth gunny bags to several local dignitaries on the dais. Mangalore has been very active in the ABC program, regularly holding clean up drives around their city. Additionally a few hundred Vidyamritam scholarships and Amrita Nidhi pensions were distributed to local people in need.

During the darshan, the local Amrita Vidyalayam students presented several cultural dances including ‘Kamsale,’ a dance in honor of Lord Siva from northern Karnataka involving acrobatics, and playing bells.

Although the external atmosphere was dusty, hot and humid, the hearts of the devotees were light, warm and cool. Amma ended the final program by singing Tanana Tanana and at the request of all the devotees shouting in unison, Bandalo Bandalo.  Singing with them the same song they welcomed Amma with two days prior and leaving them with a sweet memory in their heart.


Amma in Kannur

7-8 Feb, Kannur, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

After 6 weeks of traveling all over India, Amma finally returned to Kerala with her program in the hills of Mananthavady. After that the tour group zig zagged down the hills and held a two day Brahmasthanam festival in Kannur. Upon her arrival Amma served prasad dinner to all the local devotees who were waiting to greet her.

During the programs Amma extended the ashram’s pension and scholarship programs to local women and students in need. Additionally Amma offered financial assistance to victims of the Chala gas tragedy.

Throughout the programs student volunteers of local Amrita Vidyalayam schools could be seen all over the ashram doing service, including serving water to the devotees waiting for their darshan in the extremely hot and humid weather. The students also found time to perform various cultural programs during Amma’s darshan. Amma held satsang and bhajans on both days in the morning before she started darshan.

At the end of darshan on the final night Amma sang ‘Bandalo’ and ‘Mayyaji’. The next day Amma and the group headed north again and left Kerala, for the next program in Mangalore, Karnataka.
– Kannadi

A surge of Love and shower of Compassion

Amma in Mananthavady

5 Feb Manathavady, Kerala – Bharata Yatra 2013

On the way from Mysore, Amma and the tour group stopped just outside Bandipur National Park for tea. Bandipur is a protected wildlife sanctuary home to tigers, leopards, elephants and other wildlife. Amma sat with everyone in a clearing and held satsang and sang bhajans, and gave many the opportunity to share their experiences from the tour. After the stop, the road to Mananthavady traversed the national park and people were treated with sightings of wild elephants, monkeys, herds of spotted deer, and peacocks.

Upon her arrival to Mananthavady, large crowds of devotees were lined up to greet Amma. Some were cheering, some were crying, some were singing Amma Amma Taye, while Amma slowly made her way and gracefully look at each one of them as she made her way to her room. Before going to her room she looked down from her balcony and showered flower petals on those down below as they sang to her. Its was a beautiful moment to see, a surge of love in the hearts of the devotees and a shower of compassion from Amma.

The Mananthavady Ashram is located high in the forested hills of Kerala. Amma held a one day program with satsang, bhajans and darshan. As an extension of the Amritanidi program, pensions were distributed. The emotion and gratitude of the recipients was very touching to see as many of them were in tears when they received their pension from Amma.

During darshan the students of Amrita Vidyalayam presented several different cultural programs. Their portrayal of the Ramayana epic was exceptional.

The simplicity and innocence of the local devotees and the beautiful mountain climate made Amma’s visit a memorable one.
– Kannadi

Amma in Mysore

2-3 Feb, Mysore, Karnataka – Bharata Yatra 2013

On the way from Bengaluru to Mysore, Amma stopped at Caveri river in Sri Rangapanttinam.  Amma sat on the banks of the river with the tour group and led all in meditation as the sun set.  The setting was beautiful and picturesque, as all sat on the temple steps under the shade of large trees gazing at the flowing river and large flocks of migrating birds flying over head.  Amma gave satsang and  reminded everyone about the purpose of life and traveling on such a yatra. Many shared their experiences from the tour and the transformation that has taken place in them. After that, Amma sang bhajans and served dinner to everyone before finally finishing the journey to Mysore.

When Amma arrived at Mysore, she was given a warm welcome by a throng of cheering devotees.

The following two days, Amma held a Brahmasthanam festival.

Amma was officially welcomed to Mysore by the District In-Charge Minister S.A. Ramdas, the chief priests of the Sri Chamundeshwari temple atop Chamundi Hill, Nagendra Dikshit and Shashishekhar Dikshit.

A telemedicine unit was launched at the Amritakripa hospital in Mysore by Minister S.A. Ramdas. ISRO officer VV Bhat was also present on the occasion. With this telemedicine unit, the hospital will be connected to AIMS {news} and will be able to the deliver the modern medical facilites to the patients of Mysore.

Mayor Rajeshwari Puttaswamy and Deputy Mayor Mahadevappa also shared the stage with Amma.

The stage was decorated with traditional folk art of Karnataka in beautiful colors and sketches. Amma’s charitable activities were also portrayed on the walls through this artwork.

Various cultural programs by the students of Amrita University were presented during the programs.  Near the end of darshan three pet parrots were brought to Amma, and spent the rest of the night sitting on her shoulders. The last people to come for darshan were some local ladies who brought Amma different grains on woven winnowing trays as on offering to Nava Durga.  Amma playfully mixed all the grains together on the trays with ghee and sugar with her own hands and made a unique mixture that was then distributed to everyone in the hall.

At the very end Amma sang ‘Matarani’ and the program ended around 4am.

– Kannadi

Amma in Bengaluru

30-31 Jan, Bengaluru, Karnataka – Bharata Yatra 2013

After Hyderabad, Amma traveled south to Bengaluru where she held a two day Brahmasthanam festival.

Both days saw massive crowds descend upon the Bengaluru ashram coming to hear Amma’s bhajans and satsang and to receive her darshan.

Amma shared the dias with Karnataka the Housing Minister, V Somanna.  Along with the District Collector of Raichur, Mr Somanna also helped distribute keys for the houses built by MAM for the victims of the disastrous floods in Raichur.

The four island villages in the Krishna river belt – Kurvakurda, Mangigaddi, Kurvakala and Agrahara – were the most affected villages during the flood. People living in these villages were completely cut off from the mainland with no electricity, transport etc. As per the rehabilitation plan, people from these four villages have been relocated in the mainlands of Dongrampur and Aktur.

With this, MAM has completed the construction of all 877 houses, as per the MoU with the state government {news}. You may recollect that MAM has declared 50 crores relief package {news} for the flood affected in October 2009.

In almost all the stalls present at the program, students of Amrita University were enthusiastically doing seva, from the Amala Bharatam booth, in the kitchen, dish washing, to preparing prasad.  Through this they were able to get a taste of seva and enrich their education.

During the programs, the students of Amrita University presented a musical drama on the life of Sri Krishna.  The play demonstrated the students’ creativity and showed the time and dedication they put into it.

At the end of the final program, at about 5.00 am, Amma sang two bhajans and made every one clap and dance.

– Kannadi

Amma in Hyderabad

26 – 27 Jan, Hyderabad – Bharata Yatra 2013

Amma held a two days Brahmasthanam festival at her ashram in Hyderabad. Large crowds turned out each day for the weekend programs. During the programs, Vidyamritam scholarship was given to 1400 local youth and more than 100 Amrita Nidhi pensions to local women in need.

Amma’s words were translated into the local language of Telugu. To the delight of the locals, she also sang many bhajans and led them through the manasa puja in Telugu.

At the end of the last evening program Amma led all in singing and clapping each other. Then next day Amma and tour group continued on to Bengaluru and the next stop on the tour.


Amma in Vishakhapatinam

23 Jan, Vishakahapatinam, Andra Pradesh – Bharata Yatra 2013

Amma held a program for the first time in Vishakh even though she has visited the place several times.

The program took place in the evening at the A.S. Raja College grounds. The ex Mayor of Vishakh, D V Subha Rao officially welcomed Amma by saying,  “Amma is the mother of universe, the very embodiment of love”.

Vidyamritam scholarships for the economically marginalized children were distributed to 100 beneficiaries as well 100 pensions as part of the Amrita Nidhi, scheme for poor and widowed women.

Ammas satsang was translated into Telugu, the local language by Br Srinivas. People were absorbed in Amma’s satsang, hearing Amma speak for the first time and showing their appreciation by clapping throughout.

Amma’s darshan lasted the whole night and finished near 9am the next morning.  As soon as darshan finished Amma and the tour group headed inland to Hyderabad for the next stop on the tour.


Amma in Bhuvaneswar, Odisha

21 Jan, Bhuvaneswar, Odisha – Bharata Yatra 2013

After the final program in Kolkata, Amma travelled south down to East coast of India and held her first ever programs in the state of Odisha.  Amma and the tour group all stayed at the brand new Amrita Vidyalayam in Bhuvaneshwar, that will start holding classes in the coming months.  Upon arrival to the school Amma served prasad dinner to all the local devotees and the rest of the tour group.

The following evening Amma held a public program at the Janta Maidan.  Many senior Ministers of the State shared the dais with Amma and officially welcomed her to their state, including the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, The King of Puri Gajapati Dibya Singh.  Navin Patnaik addressed the crowd, welcoming Amma to the land of Jagannath by saying that Amma is an inspiration to all of us.  Additionally the Deputy Director of Indian Institute of Technology School of Electrical Sciences Prof Ganapati Panda, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra and Centurion University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Ardhendu Mauli Mohanty were also on the dais to welcome Amma.

The Chief Minister helped extend the Vidyamritam program by distributing scholarships to 100 local poor students and 100 widows were also given monthly pensions as part of the Amrita Nidhi program.

Upon starting Amma’s satsang the audience began cheering and it was translated into Odia.

Amma also sang many bhajans in Odia as well as leading people in Manasa Puja in Odia.

Once darshan started, there were several hours of spectacular cultural performances.  The first was a Badya Taranga, percussion performance, by guru Dhaneswar Swain & his troupe of artists. Then there was an incredible performance by a classical Odissi dance, Jatayu Moksha by Guru Ratikanta Mahapatra & Sujataa Mahapatra.  The next dance was a Nava Rasa by Guru Smt Aruna Mohanthy and the dancers of the Odisha Dance Academy. The final dances were both Gotipua dances (in which boys dance in girls costumes) by Guru Bijay Kumar Shaoo and the dancers of Naxatra Gurukul; and finally by Guru Birabara Sahoo the dancers of the Konarak Natya Mandap.

The darshan ended at 7 a.m the next morning and then Amma and the group started straight away for the next stop on the tour to Vishakahpatinam.


amma cleaning

Cleaning Kolkata streets at night

20 Jan 2013, Kolkata, Bharata Yatra 2013

After sitting for almost 12 hours of continuous darshan during the last day of programs in Calcutta {news}, Amma still wanted to do more for her children.

During the darshan, at about 6:00pm, she announced that the road had to be cleaned and in this way the ABC would be launched in Calcutta. She sent brahmacharis to inspect the area that was to be cleaned and procure the necessary equipment for the cleaning operation.

So immediately after darshan at 11 pm, getting up from the stage Amma walked down the long driveway out to Budge Budge Trunk Road, the busy street that passes in front of the ashram. Along with 800 odd devotees, Amma then spent the next three hours cleaning 3km of the road outside the ashram. Amma herself donned gloves and a mask and got right into the filth that had accumulated over the years along the roadside. The devotees fanned out along the roadside picking up garbage of all shapes, sizes and smells and bagged it all up for collection. After raking, shoveling and scraping up the trash from the pavement for three hours, Amma then walked the entire 3km stretch of the road to observe all the devotees hard at work and show her appreciation for their efforts. On her way back to the ashram a large lorry arrived to collect all the bags of trash that had been collected.

Throughout the night, many local residents were roused from their slumber by the laughter and joy with which complete strangers from all over the world were cleaning their neighborhood. Many opened their doors and came out with stunned looks on their faces see what this strange celebration was that was taking place outside in the cold night. The stunned police who came to escort Amma was also helpful in directing the busy traffic on the road. The next morning when Amma and the tour group left for Odisha and the next stop on the tour, the road was completely spotless.

Since its launch, the Amala Bharatam project has held large clean up drives all over India. Several State governments across India have pledged their support for the Campaign and have sponsored clean up drivers in their states.{read more on ABC}

– Kannadi