Welcoming Speech by Swami Amritaswarupananda

Religions Embracing for Peace & Harmony

Delivered by Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Vice-chairman, Mata Amritanandamayi Math

tejomayiim naisthikiim
vaatsalyamrta-varshiniim sumadhuram
syaamaangiim madhusiktasuuktim

“Let this be a begining in shifting our collective attitudes and in expanding our collective consciousnes.” —Amritaswarupananda

“My Dear Brothers & Sisters. My humble salutations to all of you. My heart is overflowing with love and joyous gratitude in welcoming our eminent guests and all of us to the Golden Jubilee Birthday Celebrations of our most beloved Amma, Her Holiness Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi”

“Amritavarsham50: Embracing the World for Peace & Harmony is not a mere birthday celebration; it is a global appeal for unity and kinship to all citizens of the world across many faiths, religions and cultures in making a giant step towards a world that is filled with love rather than hatred, and harmony rather than conflict in our lives.

“Dear brothers and sisters, all of us have a special part to play in these four days and the rest of our lives to accomplish these much-needed goals. It is with this understanding and assurance that Amma allowed us to celebrate this event at this scale and magnitude. I am reminded of an incident where once a press reporter asked Amma, looking at all the people around Her, ‘Amma, do these people worship You?’ Amma immediately replied, ‘No, Amma worships them.’ Because Amma sees God in everyone, in the entire creation. Amma says, ‘Where there is true love, everything is spontaneous and there is no effort.’

Whatever Amma does, this spontaneity is the hallmark of Amma, and there is nothing insignificant to Her; everything is significant to Her, even an ant. How else can one explain the several thousands of devotees that Amma embraces and hugs everyday? Amma’s embraces are universal. With Amma, there is only acceptance and celebration; there is no rejection.

If one analyses the conflicts that are prevalent across our world today, a lot of the causal indicators will point towards the apparent breakdown of communication between people and, in particular, a breakdown in healthy dialogue and communication between religions. This unique conference titled ‘Religions Embracing for Peace & Harmony’ is an effort to create a platform to foster healthy dialogue and communication. Let this be a beginning in shifting our collective attitudes and in expanding our collective consciousness by not just tolerating our differences, but in accepting them, respecting them and celebrating the apparent differences in diversity.

“All religions’ underlying foundation and goal is the recognition of the inherent divinity within all of us, which is one and the same. Amma says that there are two parts to every single religion, the intellectual part and the spiritual. The intellectual part is like a pair of scissors that can only cut and chop. However, the spiritual part sews things together and creates unity and beauty. Just like when different pieces of cloth of different colors can be sewn into a beautiful garland, the heart unites everything; the intellect creates difference and conflict. Amma says, ‘The world is like a beautiful flower and each nation is like a petal. Each petal is separate but is an integral part of the whole. What effects each petal effects the whole flower. It is our duty and responsibility is to safeguard and protect the beauty and the fragrance of this world flower.’

“Today, we began with the Interfaith Worship followed by the hoisting of Amritavarsham50 flag [Dwajarohanam] and a musical introduction to the celebrations this morning. We are honored to address this Interfaith Summit called ‘Religions Embracing the World for Peace & Harmony.’

“Distinguished speakers will speak in three different sessions: 1) Promoting Universal Human Values, 2) Respecting Human Rights and Expressions, 3) Serving with Compassion & Care. At the end of these talks, we will announce the resolutions and action items that have been sponsored by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. Post-launch will witness a closed-door session that will focus on drawing an implementation road map for executing these Resolutions and Action Items.

“‘If the world is to be healed, the struggle for harmony and peace must be a united one with spirituality as its powerhouse and love and compassion as its guiding light’: this is what Amma says. And this is the goal of Amritavarsham50: Embracing the World for Peace & Harmony. I’m honored, dear brothers and sisters, to introduce our eminent speakers….”