Various events that happened in Amritapuri Ashram in 2008.
Various events that happened in Amritapuri Ashram in 2008.
12 July 2008 – McLean, Virginia, USA
Amma was welcomed to the D.C. Metropolitan Area by Fairfax County Supervisor John Faust. “All her life Amma has offered her every thought, word and deed for the benefit of others,” he said. “Amma is known and respected around the world for her charitable and humanitarian efforts. Through her Ashram and mission she has built hospitals, orphanages, hospices, shelters, community-aid centres and tens of thousands of homes for the poor through the tsunami and Katrina relief efforts and countless other humanitarian and charitable efforts. And through her divine embrace, Amma has demonstrated her love for others and has made a huge difference in the lives of millions of people around the world. Amma, we in Fairfax County, consider this to be your home, your ashram.”
Faust then presented Amma with a plaque that read:
Presented to Her Holiness Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi: In recognition of her tireless global humanitarian work, rehabilitation of tsunami victims in South East Asia, raising one-million dollars towards President Clinton’s Hurricane Katrina relief fund, and blessing the Washington Metropolitan Region through her visits each summer over the last 11 years.
Amma arrived back in Amritapuri after her Asutralia tour of 2008.
18 – 21 March 2008 — Kolkata, West Bengal
Sri Durga Ma—clothed in red, each of her eight hands clutching a weapon—bore witness to Amma’s first Brahmasthanam Festival in her Calcutta ashram. For all three days of the program, the large Durga murti graced the dais where Amma sang bhajans, gave satsang, led meditation and manasa puja, and of course gave darshan. It is Durga, Kali and Tara who are the most beloved forms of the Divine Mother in West Bengal, and for the devotees assembled for the festival, Amma was the embodiment of all of them.
On the first night, a number of philanthropists, social workers and industrialists took part in the program, including Rajendra Kumar, IAS (Principal secretary, PHED), and Dr. Shekhar Chowdary, the director of Indian Institute of Managemet (IIM) Kolkata. Speaking about Amma, Dr. Chowdary expressed his inability to comprehend Amma’s infinite personality. “I’ve read about her and have heard about her,” he said. “But I still don’t feel I understand her!” He then compared Amma to Kolkata’s late-19th century tri-murti of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, adding “Amma is a true master, one who has mastered all the paths to God.”
After praising Amma’s charitable works in the state—the Amrita Nidhi pension program, Amrita Kuteeram housing program and Amrita Vidyalayam schools—Chowdary concluded, “When I think of all the work done by Amma throughout India and in parts of the rest of the world, I cannot but think that Amma is an avatar—God in human form.”
Chowdary’s statements were punctuated with the extension of the Amrita Nidhi pension program in West Bengal by another 500 beneficiaries—30 widows and handicapped people receiving their first allotments directly from Amma’s hands.
It was then time for Amma’s satsang and bhajans, during which Amma treated her Bengali devotees to a number of songs in their mother tongue, including versions of “Ananda Janani” and “Amma Baramma.”
Amma addresses Jaipur International Women’s Summit
8 March 2008 — Jaipur, Rajasthan
Amma addressed a gathering of women religious and spiritual leaders at a summit in Jaipur today: “Making Way for the Feminine for the Benefit of the World Community.” The event was organized by the Global Peace Initiative of Women and held at Clarks Amer Hotel.
In her address, “The Infinite Potential of Women,” Amma called on the need for women and men to come together in unity, accepting, respecting and valuing each other’s differences. “Alienating women from matters of finance and politics is to discard half of the intellect and strength of society,” Amma said.
Amma also stressed the importance of women holding on to their innate femininity and qualities associated with motherhood. “It’s true that women must move forward, but they also need to turn back to consider the child following in their footsteps, not discarding their parental responsibilities. For the sake of her children, a mother should have at least some patience. It’s not enough to give a baby space in her womb; she must also give it space in her heart.”
The meeting was convened by Dena Merriam and co-chaired by Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell and Sister Joan Chittister. Participating in the event were many young people from around the world.
Upon the conclusion of her address, Amma met privately with representatives from areas of conflict throughout the world, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Turkey, and several African countries. Amma offered them her full support, saying that she would bless their initiatives and provide every help she could.
In 2003, Amma addressed the organization’s first summit, whereupon she was awarded the Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence.
4 March 2008 — Ahmadabad, Gujarat
Sri. Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, was the chief dignitary at Amma’s program in Ahmadabad. In his address, he requested Amma to establish the second headquarters of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math in Gujarat, invoking Sri Adi Sankaracarya’s establishment of ashrams in the four corners of India as precedent.
“It’s the fortune of Gujarat that we are able to seek Amma’s darshan every year,” Modi said. “When the earthquakes struck Gujarat, at Amma’s request all her devotees rushed to Gujarat with help. And they didn’t leave until the work was complete. Amma, through the medium of seva, has sparked a process of spiritual awakening. Amma has taught us the religion that takes us from ‘I’ to ‘we’; the religion that joins ‘self’ to the ‘whole’; the religion that teaches us to look at a needy person not with sympathy but with compassion; the religion that teaches us that we should share whatever we have with the others. And I believe this is what the great rishis and sages tried to teach us. And Amma has brought that lineage to us today. …
“Amma has brought these spiritual heights not just to India but to the whole world. The whole world has accepted her as its ‘Amma.’ By establishing her organization throughout the world, she has projected India to the world—through her life, through the various activities of her ashram and through her spiritual heights.
“When I look back at history, today’s situation in India gives me assurance, a ray of hope that fills me with enthusiasm. In India today, a new period of spirituality has begun. You switch on the TV in the morning and you find a spiritual person giving a discourse, addressing a gathering of thousands and lakhs. Another joyful thing is that the youth of India are taking part in this spiritual resurgence. This reminds me of the 19th century. There was a spiritual revolution then. The sages, the mahatmas, the poets, storywriters and singers created a spiritual revolution. It was this fervour that helped in the Freedom Struggle. Without it, India never would have attained Independence.
“The saints, the scientists and everyone are proclaiming with one voice that the 21st century will belong to Asia, particularly India. I feel it’s true because I can see that the spiritual leaders are preparing the foundation for the same strong resurgence. For this, Amma is making a major contribution. It feels great when this Ganga of spiritual fervour flows into Gujarat and touches the Gujarat soil. And for this, time and again I welcome Amma to Gujarat.
“Your headquarters are in Kerala. It’s not right for the devotees of Gujarat. Sri Sankara was also from Kerala. He established four ashrams around India. He tried to awaken the spiritual consciousness throughout the vast country of Bharat. Amma, can you make your second headquarters here in Gujarat? Gujarat is inviting you. Sri Krishna has also come here. I am sure that Amma will accept.
“This land calls all those with a spiritual inclination. My full faith is that Amma will make her second headquarters here in Gujarat. In this way the devotees of Gujarat can have a sip of the holy Ganga that is Amma. With this I conclude my speech, praying that Amma will bestow all the best blessings to Gujarat. And that Gujarat will come to do good works for society.”