Amma in Toulon

31 Oct- 2 November, Toulon, France – Europe Yatra 2001

Amma’s annual visit to the south of France once again brought her to the Zenith Omega hall in Toulon.

Huge crowds filled the venue for the three days for programs there.

Her visit was given extensive media coverage, including the newspaper “Var-matin” with a front-page article titled “Amma: l’amour, toujours!” which translates to “Amma: Love, Forever!”

Sister Marie Samuel, head of a Catholic nun monastery, who came for Amma’s darshan for share her views on Amma and she said: “A saint, an Indian saint, a high saint, truly. She is close to God but also close to her human brothers in pain and sorrow. She is authentic. Yesterday, I saw the film (Embracing the world) in the hall, I had tears in my eyes, she didn’t hesitate to go to Japan, near the sea, despite the contamination. She is working in all fields and this is unique in the World. Mother Teresa gave so much in India, but I think that Amma is doing even more.”

Some others spoke of how Amma and her teachings had inspired them during times of crisis. One gentleman said:”In June 2010, a devastating flood hit the town of Draguignan in France. We gathered a group of volunteers to go and help the people who were in need. We can see that because of Amma, because of the link that she has created, we can still harbor a feeling of solidarity, offer our help and time to others. Which unfortunately is becoming a value that is disappearing in today’s society.”

Amma’s message of love and hope continue to inspire the people around the world in profound ways.

Amma in Munich

27 – 29 October, Munich, Germany – Europe Yatra 2011

Amma was welcomed to Munich in a traditional Bavarian fashion, as devotees lined up in lederhosen and dirndl outfits and played folk music as she walked under throngs of roses.

During the programs large crowds filled the Zenith Halle to capacity on each of the three days. Among those in attendance included Maria Furtwangler-Burda, the well known German actress.

Amma in Paris

23-25 Oct, Paris, France — Europe Yatra 2011

Amma began her annual visit to France by spending a day in her ashram in Pontgouin.

 

The next day Amma began three days of public programs in Cergy-Pontoise, just outside, Paris.

Massive crowds were on hand each day to attend the programs. People wholeheartedly participated in the Atmapuja, Bhajans and Satsang. Amongst those in attendance included the famous actresses Aniece Soral and Gabrielle Lazure.  The actresses were on hand for the release of the book – Mere de Toutes les Sagesses (Mother of Wisdom), by Film Maker, photographer and author Djana Schmidt, which illustrates Amma’s daily life in photographs and quotes.

Amma in Holland

18-20 Oct, Houten, Holland — Europe Yatra 2011

Amma returned to central Europe after her short trip to the Scandinavian country of Finland for the next stop Amsterdam, Holland.

A large crowd gathered to welcome Amma to the city, as she greeted everyone with high fives.

 

The three day program included Bhajans Meditation, Satsang and an Atma puja which saw countless curious youngsters crowd the stage to watch Amma perform the ceremony.

Renowned computer scientist, Andrew Tannenbaum, the father of operating systems, came to meet Amma, and shared how he was amazed at Amma’s ability to be able to take care of so many projects and at the same time spend, despite the fact that she spends all day meeting people for darshan.

World champion kick boxer Lucia Rijker, better known for her role as the fierce boxing opponent of Hillary Swank in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Million Dollar Baby’ also came to receive Amma’s blessings.

The hug of love and strength

15 – 16 Oct, Helsinki, Finland — Europe Yatra 2011
After the Swiss Program, Amma flew directly to the capital city of Finland, Helsinki to conduct 2 days of programs there.

She was received by the famous actor and member of Finnish Parliament, Mr Jani Toivola. Later during darshan, The Chairman of Vantaa City Government and the member of Finnish Parliament Mr Tapani Makinen also was on hand to welcome Amma.

the Chairman of Vantaa City Council and the member of Finnish Parliament Mr Antti Lindtman was also present to receive her Darshan.

 

Mr Tapani Makinen officially welcomed her to Finland saying “With Her embrace of Love, Amma has changed millions of people. Through Her own example and selfless work, Amma has inspired millions of people for selfless service. Amma’s charitable projects are unique and extraordinary. If compassion awakes within us, it reflects also in others. The projects are remarkable. Thousands of Finnish people have come together to receive the hug of love and strength. We welcome Amma from the bottom of our hearts.”

A host of celebrities turned up to receive Amma’s blessings, including the well known Finnish Rapper, Paleface who performed for Amma as she was giving darshan.
Also, a well-known Scandinavian band came to pay tribute and show their love and respect.

Amma in Switzerland

11 – 13 Oct 2011, Eulach Halle, Winterthur, Switzerland

There was a joyous sendoff for Amma as she left the Italian Milano program with throngs of cheerful and jubilant people.

The hills and valleys of Switzerland provided a scenic and powerful backdrop as the tour headed for Zurich.

Traditional horn melodies set the mood as the crowds greeted Amma on the second leg of the European tour.

Dr. Cornelia Vogelsanger, who welcomed Amma to Switzerland for the first time back in 1987, once again garlanded her with sincere love and appreciation. Members from the Asian Art and Rietberg Museums were also on hand to welcome Amma. The day marked 25 consecutive years that Amma has visited the Switzerland for the European tour.

Dr. Cornelia Vogelsanger said, “Amma speaks the simple but very deep language of the heart, with words, gestures and actions.”
There was Meditation, Bhajans, Darshan and Satsang at the 3-day program while Amma conducted the Atma Puja in which thousands participated.

Amma is a doorway to heaven

7 – 9 Oct, Milano, Italy — 2011 Europe Yatra

Amma began Her 2011 European Yatra in Milano, Italy.

She was traditionally welcomed in Italian fasion, by heart warming cheers and applause from a huge crowd, on each day of the program, who had queued for hours  to receive Her blessings. Mr S.K Verma of the Consulate General of India and Mr Claudio Zucchi an authority from the Milano Sesto District Mayors office were present to officially mark Amma’s 25th consecutive visit to Italy.

On the occasion Mr S.K Verma addressed the gathering saying that  “She represent the almighty, she represent the world.”

Along with three days of programs of Meditation, Bhajans, Darshan and Satsang, Amma also conducted the Atma Puja in which thousands participated.

Two of the most popular television channels from Italy RAI 2 AND RAI 3 showed up to film a short documentary film on Amma, highlighting the topic of Womanhood and women’s role in today’s society.  Their aim was to demonstrate that Amma is the right kind of role model for the women of the world today.

A well known Priest of the Saint Francis Order, Father Antonio returned for darshan 3 days in a row after being completely overwhelmed by Amma’s love and compassion saying that she is like a doorway to heaven.
– Kannadi

Lack of unity, equality and deterioration in values puts the world in trouble

Amma’s 58th Birthday Celebrations

27 September 2011 – Amritapuri

Amma’s 58th Birthday Celebrations began at 5:00 a.m. with Mahaganapati Homam performed by Surya Kaladi Jayasuryan Bhattatiripad on the program grounds at Amritapuri campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. This was followed by the chanting of the Sri Lalita Sahasranama for world peace.

Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri delivered a satsang in the early morning about Amma’s life and teachings as thousands upon thousands of people poured into the special tent erected for the birthday functions.

Around 8:50 a.m., Amma started from Amritapuri Ashram to the program site, crossing the backwaters on a boat. Devotees lined the bridge connecting Alappad Panchayat and Vallikkavu as well as the roads leading to the Amrita University.

Amma was welcomed with purna kambham to the sounds of panchavadyam and a classical mohiniyattam group dance by students of Amrita School of Medicine, Kochi.
Sri Guru Padapuja was then offered by Swami Amritaswarupananda, with devotees chanting Sri Guru Stotram and the 108 Names of Amma. Garlands were then offered by all of Amma’s sannyasi disciples as well as by householder devotees and relatives.

Amma then delivered her 58th Birthday Address. She began by saying, “The world in which we live in today has become so divided and filled with conflict. Seeing my children happily sitting together here, with unity and enthusiasm, as children of one mother, touches Amma’s heart.” Amma went on to explain that the state of the world today was deeply troubling, due to lack of unity and equality and a general deterioration in values. “In fact, even when Amma is amongst you children, her heart is crying,” Amma said. “When we consider the state of the world today, is there anything about which we can rejoice?” Amma said the solution to the world’s problems began with people introspecting, realizing their shortcomings and putting sincere effort to rectify them.

Amma then guided all the devotees in meditation and manasa puja as well as lead two bhajans, “Mata Rani” and “Ananta Srusti Vahini.”

A lot of charitable programs were launched in the formal part of the birthday function. Afterwards Amma began receiving the devotees for darshan wich continued till 8.amm next day morning. Lakhs of devotees who participated in the function were all given free food.

More than 45,000 visitors from all around the globe, which includes 3 from Pakistan and 13 from China, logged into the live webcast on Amritapuri.org. The approximate viewership on the web for Amma’s Padapuja function was over 200,000.

– Tulasi

One Million to Japan tsunami children’s education fund

16 September 2011, Sendai, Japan

Embracing the World (ETW), the international organization of Mata Amritanandamayi Math, formally presented its donation of US $1,000,000 to Yoshihiro Murai, the Governor of Miyagi, Japan. This money will be used for Miagi children’s education fund. The donation is part of Ashram’s Japan Tsunami relief and rehabilitation work. Amma had announced this amount during her visit to Japan in the month of July {news}.

ETW was represented by its Indian General Secretary, Swami Purnamritananda, as well as the Country Director of ETW Japan, Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya handed over the money to the Governor.

Mentioning the potential for various relief measures, ETW’s representatives expressed their ongoing commitment to the reconstruction work in the region. Governor Murai responded by saying, “We are deeply grateful for your support… Embracing the World is a world-renowned NGO. Thus I hope that you will use your international network to keep people all over the world informed of the disaster conditions here, so they will remember in the future.”

Also in attendance was Indian Embassy Tokyo’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Sanjay Panda along with the other ETW volunteers.

Just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in March, ETW dispatched a team of volunteers to Miyagi to determine the scope of the disaster and distribute relief supplies. Food and relief supplies were distributed at Kotodai Park. The volunteers have continued to return to the area to provide aid and help with the relief work in Ishinomaki and Kesennuma.

Since 1990, Amma has been coming to Japan every year to conduct programs in cities such as Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, and Sapporo. Swami Purnamritananda has been visiting Sendai for the last ten years, offering bhajan and spiritual talks.

– Kalidas

To win the competition of Life remain within the boundaries of Dharma

Onam celebration with Amma in Amritapuri

Friday, 9 September 2011, Amritapuri

As always the Onam festivities began early in the morning in Amritapuri. The Pookkalam, Nirapara, Nila Vilakku, as well as hanging cluster bunches of bananas decorated the verandah in front of Amma’s room. At 9:30 am Amma was led into the large hall by Panchavadyam musicians from her orphanage in Paripally. Amma gave her Onam message to the packed hall of devotees who had come from all over India and the world to celebrate the occasion.

In her Onam message Amma said “Just as sweetness cannot be separated from honey, just as the beauty cannot be separated from the rainbow, Onam cannot be separated from a Malayali’s heart.

What is the message of Onam? This is an occasion to think about that as well. Are we getting closer to the values and principles for which Onam stands? Or is it that, with every Onam, we are drifting further and further away from them? Each one of us should introspect and ask ourselves these questions.

Onam is not merely nostalgia for a prosperous era. Onam’s message is that of ‘Nara’ rising to become ‘Narayana’—of human beings rising up to become one with God. Onam is a declaration of the truth that one who surrenders everything attains everything. In Onam, we find the message of sacrifice. We find the message of rising from selfishness to selflessness. We find the message of rising from ego to humility. Onam is a call to bring back the times when truth, dharma, love, equality, charity and compassion prevailed.

During Onam there are many pookkalam competitions. Each team will make a decoration using flowers of different colors. Each color represents a different goal in life—gaining wealth, enjoying pleasure, etc. But in order for the design to be beautiful and win the competition, the flowers must be kept within the boundaries of the circle. The boundary represents dharma. In order to win the competition of life, all of our goals and pleasures need to remain within the boundarites of dharma. Then life will be beautiful and full of happiness” Amma reminded everyone.

Then Amma led everyone in the hall to a very lively rendition of Bara Gopala Bala. After that, Amma stood up from her peetham and asked everyone else to stand as well and forget themselves in the moment. Then Amma led everyone in singing and dancing to ‘Radhe Govinda Gopi Gopala’.

Amma gave darshan while pot after pot of rice, sambar, avil curry, papadam, and payasam was positioned near the stage. Once all was in place, Amma began to distribute the traditional Ona-Sadhya to one and all. Amma personally served each and every one of the many thousands of people who had … even the biggest ashram resident at the end; once Amma had served all the visitors and residents she came down from the stage and playfully served Lakshmi the ashram elephant her share of Ona-Sadhya.

After the evening bhajans, all gathered again in the hall to enjoy various cultural performances that had been prepared for the occasion. Amma and all the devotees took in the variety of dances, dramas and musical performances, performed by the university students and ashram residents alike. Adding flavour to the celebration, there was a tug-of-war – first between Lakshmi and the ashram residents, then between the boys and girls. Even though the game tug-of-war is a traditional part of the Onam festivities, it was the first time that this was introduced at the ashram.

Just after midnight, once the performances and games had come to an end, Amma sang a joyous rendition of ‘Bandhalo’. As a final touch, Amma surprised everyone by distributing ice cream to everyone in the hall. It was a fitting end to the occasion—symbolic of the sweetness pervading the entire day and the Onam festival as a whole, and a reminder that it is the universal values we all share that lend sweetness and beauty to life.

– Kannadi