• The First and Second Parliaments of the World’s Religions

    The First and Second Parliaments of the World’s Religions

    Parliaments of the World’s Religions in 1893 and 1993 The first Parliament of the World’s Religions was held in Chicago in 1893. It marked the first concerted effort to bring all the different religions to a common platform where leaders and representatives of all faiths were able to communicate and share their views. At that…

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  • The spontaneity of a child

    10 April 2000, Sydney During the Devi puja in Sydney, Amma led everyone in chanting the 108 names of the Divine Mother. The devotees chanted with so much energy and concentration that by the time the last few mantras were being chanted, the atmosphere in the hall felt charged with a Divine presence. Silence followed…

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  • Legends of Nagapattinam

    The golden fish & other  legends of Nagapattinam Sthala Puranas of Bharat Nagapattinam has a very ancient history. In fact, in Brahmananda Purana [circa 3000 B.C.E.], it is said that the area’s Soundarvaraja Perumal Temple has existed in all four yugas 1. According to the Purana, Nagapattinam was originally called “Soundaranyam.” It’s current name, which…

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  • Vishu: The New Year Festival of Kerala

    Vishu: The New Year Festival of Kerala

    If your first step is wrong, the whole journey will be wrong. World over an emphasis is put on beginnings. Getting off to a good start is essential, as the beginning is the foundation upon which everything that comes after rests. Indian culture, perhaps more than any other, stresses the importance of beginning things properly.…

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  • Stupika installation at Amritapuri

    6 April 2000, Amritapuri Today the Gopura-Stuptika Pratishtapana ceremony was performed at Amritapuri ashram, and the main meditation dome, which is the highest point of the temple building, received a sacred Stupika (a pointed metallic apex vessel). The side domes also received smaller Stupikas. According to the ashram astrologer, this is the first auspicious period since…

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  • Amma is beyond all Bhavas

    Question: If Advaita (non-duality) is the Truth, why is bhava darshan necessary? Amma: Amma is not confined to any bhava (mood). She is beyond all bhavas. Advaita is the experience of non-duality. When there are no two, everything is the Atmaswarupa (form of the Self); everything is God. This is also the message that Amma…

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  • The irresistible pull

    1 April 2000, Singapore At sunset Mother led Her devotees to a nearby park to meditate. They sat quietly together for a quarter of an hour, and then rose to head back home. Imagine the scene: a quiet, upscale neighbourhood, with neatly trimmed lawns and clean streets. Out of nowhere, there suddenly appears a small…

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  • Pune’s Lord of Knowledge

    Sthala Puranas of Bharat Alandi, a town 25 kilometres from Pune, in the Pune District of Maharashtra, is a revered pilgrimage site for a number of reasons, but foremost is the fact of it being the home of the 13th-century Maharashtran saint, Sant Jnaneshwar (Jnanadev). In fact, Jnanadev spent most of his short life (1275-1296…

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  • Mumba Devi reclaims Bombay

    Sthala Puranas of Bharat In the mid-1990s, many state governments officially re-Indianized their citie’s names. In 1995, the capital of Maharashtra officially switched from Bombay to Mumbai, thereby re-invoking a goddess considered by the Koli1 to be the area’s protectress. (The name “Mumbai” comes from a mix of mumba and ai, both of which mean…

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  • Darshan through train window

    16 March 2000, Lucknow It was on the train line between New Delhi and Calcutta, sometime in the middle of the night. The Rajdhani Express pulled into the station at Lucknow, and chanting rose from the platform: “Om Amriteshwaryai Namaha!” the voices called out. “Om Amriteshwaryai Namaha!” Devotees were there, yearning for at least a…

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