Questioning children can eradicate poverty

Amritam 2007 — Personality Development Camp

8 May — Amritapuri

“What is the meaning of ‘Om’?”, “Why must devotees of God still face sorrow?”, “Was the tsunami a punishment sent by God?”, “Amma, when you were a little girl and your parents beat you, what were your thoughts?” These were some of the questions put forth to Amma by the 2,500 children currently attending the Amritam 2007 Personality Development Camp, taking place in Amritapuri from May 7th – 12th.

One question put forth by a young girl was: “Around us we see so many people with tears. What can we do to help them?”

“For now, you should study,” Amma said, implying that the knowledge they accumulate now would help them attain serve the world more effectively in the future.

Amma then went on to explain to the children—who range from age 10 to 17—just how difficult life is for the villagers in various parts of India. Amma even shared with them the reality of how some children do not even have enough money to buy the paper upon which to write their school exams. “So don’t waste anything,” Amma said. “Don’t live extravagantly. Reduce the number of sets of clothing you buy each year to two. Control your chocolate habits. Save that money for the service. When you have to travel distance less than three kilometres, try to ride a bicycle or walk. This will both be good for your health as well as for Mother Nature.”

Amma then told the children that if they were able to make such changes in their lives that it would similarly influence their classmates. Amma said that if such awareness and compassion could be awoken in just 50 children, they could easily come together to sponsor the educations of two poor children with the money they saved.

“There are people who die at the age of 40 due to kidney failure,” Amma said. “But if someone were to have helped them with the hospital fees they could have lived on till 80. Maybe that person was the sole breadwinner for his family… When such a person dies at 40 are we not responsible for the 40 years of life he has lost?”

“We are all like links one the same chain,” Amma said. “If questioning children like you are there, we can eradicate poverty. There are many poor people in our country, but there are many extremely rich people as well. If the rich people were to set aside a portion of their wealth, poverty could be totally eradicated. May you all have such hearts.”

After her question-and-answer session with the children, Amma gave served them all lunch as prasad.

Other activities scheduled for the children during the five-day-long camp include yoga classes, IAM Meditation classes, acting classes, music and drawing classes, the telling of Puranic stories and talks by Amma’s swamis.