Flood relief and overflowing compassion – Amritavarsham charitable projects

27 September 2018, Amritapuri  

The 65th Birthday Celebrations of Amma were focused on helping Kerala recover from the recent monsoon floods. Both Amma’s annual birthday address {news}, as well as several of the function’s charitable initiatives, were aimed at uplifting victims of the flood, which took the lives of nearly 500 people in August.

Following Sri Guru Paduka Puja performed by Swamiji, Amma gave a Satsang that stressed the lessons taught by the flood.  {news}  Amma’s Satsang was immediately followed by Amma guiding the devotees in meditation, Manasa puja, a prayer for world peace, and bhajans.

Earlier in the morning, 18 Brahmacharinies performed Ganapati Homa in the venue, creating a new energy for the whole day’s function.

Amma took the occasion to acknowledge the compassion and selflessness of individuals who came forward to help the flood victims. Amma gave one lakh rupees to 10 families of those who had died trying to rescue flood victims. She also presented certificates of commendation to the more than 400 volunteers who manned the Amrita Help Line—a 24-hour call-in centre set up at the Amritapuri Campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham that over five days fielded more than 25,000 calls, connecting more than 100,000 flood victims across the state with relief services. {news}

“Several hundred students worked together for days on end to help rescue people trapped in life-threatening situations,” Amma said. “They were able to bring timely help to many people in many areas. What invoked their unified response was the love and compassion they felt towards those trapped by the floods. The selfless love they experienced made their actions extremely beautiful and successful, and an inspiration to everyone.”

MAM was not the only entity to acknowledge the selfless service rendered to flood victims. The 200,000-plus members of the 13,000 AmritaSREE SHGs saved the money that they would have spent on travelling to Amritapuri for Amma’s birthday celebrations and instead donated that amount—Rs. 10 lakhs—to Amma to help the Math in its continued flood relief-and-rehabilitation efforts.

As happens every year on Amma’s birthday, MAM also gave away certificates for free surgeries at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi. These included 60 neurological surgeries, 15 kidney transplants, 62 head-and-neck surgeries, 75 urological surgeries, 250 oncological treatments, 80 gastrointestinal surgeries, 50 orthopaedic surgeries and treatment for 150 dialysis patients.

Cheques for Rs. one lakh were also issued to widows of Kerala fishermen who died at sea in 2017-18, free weddings were performed to 16 couples and free saris were given to 400,000 women.

MAM had also completed the construction of 900 toilets in Kollam District Kerala, taking its total of toilets constructed for the poor in the state to 12,000. Certificates of receipt were given to 200 representatives during the function.

Ten spiritual books published by MAM about Amma’s life and teachings were also released, as well as was the Malayalam version of Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new book, Exam Warriors, written to inspire students preparing for their exams and life. The book was released by Sri. Kummanam Rajasekharan,  Governor of Mizoram, who presented Amma with the first copy.

Amma was also garlanded by a number of dignitaries who came to offer Amma their birthday wishes including Sri. Kummanam Rajasekharan, Governor of Mizoram; Ramachandran Kadannappally. Minister for Ports, Ramesh Chennithala, Leader of the Opposition, Kerala Legislative Assembly, K.C. Venugopal, MP, All India Congress Committee General Secretary; and Vellappally Natesan, General Secretary of the SNDP Yogam, among others.

Giving darshan to thousands upon thousands of devotees who came for the program, finishing darshan at 8.00am on 28th,  being on the stage for the last 22.30 hours straight.