Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ashram diary moved to blogs.amritapuri.org

Om Namah Sivaya,

This Blog has now been moved permanently from here. All of Amma blogs are now integrated into this one single site — ‘http://blogs.amritapuri.org.’ From now onwards, new postings will appear here.

In Blogs.amritapuri.org, the main page shows the 10 latest blog postings. You can also view latest posts in each category (With Amma, Ashram Diary, Amrita News, Amrita Darshan).

We welcome your ongoing contributions, comments and support.

Thank you!

See you there...

Namah Sivayah

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Yesterday Amma was meeting with the press for quite a long time.

In the evening the bhajans were:

  • Gopala Govinda Krishna
  • Karuna Nir Katale
  • Man Re Sikh Prabhu ka nam (Hindi)
  • Kalpantarangalkkum
  • Amme Yi Jivente
  • Mere Hridya Sree Rama Base (Hindi)
  • Ni Intri Verarumillai (Tamil)
  • Om Namah Shivaya
  • Jai Ma Ambe

25 August 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

at Amrita Niketan

A visit to Amrita Niketan, the orphanage and boarding school for disadvantaged children at Parippally, is often a highlight for visitors to the Amritapuri ashram. The recent visit of 45 international visitors was no exception. The children gave the visitors their usual warm-hearted welcome. The older students were having exams, but the younger students were available to share their songs and dances with the visitors.

Everyone enjoyed the Adivasi (tribal) dances. These are the circle dances the children learn in their villages. They sing in call and response as they dance. Often the leader will create new lyrics on the spot. The children invited the visitors to join in and many of the group took them up on their offer. Some of the group caught on quickly, so the children began dancing in more complicated patterns until they all collapsed in laughter and exhaustion!

Soon it was lunchtime and the group was treated to a delicious meal cooked by the Amma’s bramacharinis who are serving the orphanage children. Many said it was the best meal they had eaten during their stay at the ashram.

After lunch the group had a little time to play with the children. A young boy with his pet baby chipmunk was a big hit and made a great photo opportunity. All too soon it was time to return to the ashram. The children and visitors walked hand in hand to the bus and a few tears were shed. I thought how quickly friends are made when hearts are open. The pure hearts of these children can’t help but touch all who meet them.

Rita S.

Celebration and Culture

As I crossed the bridge going to my seva I knew something was up. Sacred drumming was coming from the direction of the Biotech Building and loud cheers rent the air from time to time. All the female students I saw were dressed in their best. Many were wearing the traditional white cotton Kerala sari, bordered with gold trim. Fragrant jasmine strands adorned their hair.

When I arrived at the building I was amazed to see a huge statue of Kali, two elephants with Amma’s picture on their backs and many costumd dancers. They were awaiting the arrival of the mythical, exiled King Mahabali. Every year at Onam the beloved ruler comes to visit his former subjects in Kerala to see how they are faring in this modern world. King Mahabali was arriving a few days early at Amrita University as the students will have a week’s holiday to spend celebrating with family and friends.

The holiday has the emotional resonance of Christmas. It is a time when families reunite, children receive new clothes and other gifts and all share a sumptuous repast on the last day of the ten-day festival.

Amma has stressed that a festival should be celebratory, but also reflect good culture. I decided to observe the celebration with this in mind and see if I felt the students’ festival reflected these values. By the end of day I was deeply impressed and moved by the wholesome, aesthetic, unified, deeply meaningful and joyous nature of the celebration.

A major theme of Onam is unity. I could see students from all around India and abroad participating together. Muslim girls dashed from event to event hand in hand with their Hindu friends. The celebration was a join venture of the Multimedia Department and the Biotech students who share the same building. Multimedia had really outdone themselves with the decorations, posters, the pookalam (traditional Onam flower arrangement) and all the arrangements. The Biotech students enthusiastically joined in all the games and competitions through out the day. The leadership and organizational abilities of the students were really impressive. They were held under the trees on a lush green lawn, reminding me of the Gurukula campuses of old.

Throughout Amrita Unviversity the festival was celebrated during the day. Seeing all this I wished that I could have attended a University like this when I was young. Seeing these young people I thought that India must certainly prosper in the future as these brilliant, energetic and cultured young people take their place in society.

Rita S.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Double Darshan

Yesterday while Amma was giving darshan in the evening, everyone was captivated by a divine play. There was this small child (about five years old) who could only speak broken, yet very sweet, Malayalam. It (not sure whether it was a boy or a girl) wanted to come near Amma, so it started making loud noises and its mother tried hard to calm it down. Suddenly Amma looked at it and called it to sit near her. The child was extremely happy. It went and sat right next to Amma. For some time it kept looking at Amma intently. Since there was a large crowd of devotees, people were trying to move the child away, in order to clear some space around Amma so that the crowd could move easily. But this child was not ready to budge even an inch from there. Even if someone forcefully moved it away, it would shout at them loudly, come back and sit right next to Amma.

Amma was laughing at all this. After some time she asked the child to also give darshan. And instantly, the child started giving darshan. It was so full of innocence and purity. Those who were on the male side of the darshan queue were now getting the darshan from this small child and then from Amma. The child would first hug them just like Amma does and then it would loudly say something like “medi kutti” thrice, just like Amma says “my darling son” or “my darling daughter” . After that, the child would even give prasad like Amma does, putting it in the hands of each person who came to it. Of course, the prasad was imaginary. Amma was laughing watching this, and so was everyone around. This went on for quite sometime. The child would try to reach out to the next person in queue as soon as Amma hugged the person in front. Whenever the child uttered “medi kutti” loudly, everyone burst out laughing.

Due to this double darshan, the pace slowed down. Seeing this, some ashramites who wanted Amma to take rest, since she had been giving darshan for so many days continuously, were trying hard to move the child away. At this, the child would make faces and scold them in Malayalam saying things like, “Don’t touch me,” “Go away.” etc. The sweet thing was that the very next moment, it would smile at them also. Amma was giggling and laughing at all this. Seeing all this for long time, the father of the child became worried. He stood up in a repentative posture, as if very upset about the whole thing. Amma immediately turned towards him and asked him not to worry. She told the parents that once when Amma had gone to North America, there was a child, who came up to Amma and said, “Amma, you take rest for some time; now I will give darshan for a while.” Everyone laughed hearing this. The double darshan continued.

Even though Amma was not bothered and was thoroughly enjoying what was happening, the father was getting restless. He came near the child and tried to forcibly take the child away. Of course that didn't work. The child was glued next to Amma. It would make loud cries whenever its father tried to take it away. It would show a lot of anger and resentment on its face and say in Malayalam, “Don’t say Anything!” “I have to give darshan,” “Don’t bother me,” “Dad, go and sit there.” etc. Finally, the father gave up. Immediately the child smiled and said, “Accha [Dad], come I will give you darshan.” Everyone burst out laughing once again, including Amma. It seemed like this child was not going to move away. Anyway, the double darshan continued for about half an hour. Ashramites, parents and everyone else gave up because the child was just not ready to move away. However the devotees were thoroughly enjoying the double hug and imaginary prasad.

8 Aug 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday Bhajans

Tonight’s bhajans were:

Manasa Chora Radha Krishna (Hindi)
Arikil Undenkilum
Dehachya Muralita (Marathi)
Anantamayi Patarunna
Mohalu Champpara (Telugu)
Oru Nalum Piriyatto
Om Shakti Om Shakti (Tamil)
Jai Jai Kali Ma

21 August 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mind, Speech and Action

Through Mind, Speech and Action

Tonight Amma treated us to the following Bhajans:

  • Sri Krishna Saranam
  • Azhikullil
  • Jagadiswari Janamanaharini
  • Nirajanam (Telugu)
  • Bholanatha Re (Hindi)
  • Manasa Vacha
  • Enaikakka Unaiyantri (Tamil)
  • Jai Jai Janani Jai Ho Teri (Hindi)

The old song Manasa Vacha Karmana is just so beautiful that I could stay up a whole night listening to Amma singing it. The lyrics are so sweet:

Through my mind, speech and actions I am remembering Thee incessantly.
I am a miserable destitute. I have none but you, O Mother.
Give me some peace of mind lest I become a lunatic.
Please stop your tests, extend your hand and pull me up.
O Darling Mother, Please grant me a little relief!

20 August 2007

Three Avatars

Three Avatars: In Amma’s Presence

Only last week my mind was specifically drawn to one of the 1000 Divine Names of LalitaDevi - Karanguli nakhotpanna narayana dashaakruti.- meaning,
“Devi, from Whose nails rise the 10 Avatars of Lord Narayana…..”

The ten incarnations that find mention in the Dashavatara in the Bhagavatam trace a kind of evolution from lower to higher levels. While the list begins with a tiny fish that grew gigantic, the last ones, Sri Rama, Vamana and Sri Krishna, are incarnations of Vishnu in human form. God the Lord would not mind taking any form in order to protect His creation, is the message given. And according to the Name mentioned above, Devi is the One from whom descend these divine Incarnations.

We in the present times are seeing a most wonderful thing: While the Bhagavatam spoke of Lord Narayana’s (Vishu) descending, it did not mention Devi’s; and here we have Devi Herself descended for our benefit. Amma the Mother of Compassion had no rhyme nor reason to come to us, but it is only due to her compassion that is She amidst us.

These few months here in Amritapuri have been a sort of revelation to me. While a month (Karkitakam) was dedicated to the reading of Lord Rama’s glories, (refer to an earlier write-up) just as it culminated on the 16th, the next day preparations began for the celebration of the other of the Avatars, Vamana. Everyday pookkalams (flower designs) are drawn in several places of the ashram in his welcome. His celebrations end around the 27th, with Onam, and soon we will be celebrating the birth of the next glorious Avatar, Sri Krishna.

Amidst all this, Amma, the SarvaSakshi, or witness of everything, sits as the center of the Universe, doing what She has come to do, generously giving love and bliss, transforming hearts, to millions of Her children.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Melting Pot of Languages

Amma's Melting Pot of Languages at the Seva Desk

Each morning, at the Seva desk, we get a list of those who have checked in the day before so we can distribute little 'Seva' reminders to their room inviting them (if they wish) to help with Seva during their stay. The list is a veritable melting pot of countries, languages and cultures - 34 countries at last count, the majority from Europe. The list includes people from almost all continents except Antarctica and Africa (though I recollect seeing Kenya and Cameroon in the past).

This season, (Aug/Sep), there are quite a few people from France. In fact, in terms of numbers, they are pretty much equal to the Americans with just over 100 from each country. In terms of representation however, the Finnish always take the lead. Over 30+ people are here from a country of just 5 million. If an equal proportion of Americans came, there would be close to 1800 from the US alone.

Whenever someone comes to the Seva Desk, generally the first question I ask is what language they speak. Hopefully, (for me at least) it's English, otherwise, my partner at the Seva Desk, Dayalu, who knows both Italian and German, takes over. If they speak French, I try to muster a bit of what I learned in Jr. High School and I attempt to explain the various Seva needs of the moment such as "Nous bezoin beaucoup des persons apres midi pour lavez les petite casseroles" – meaning: 'We need many people in the afternoon to wash small cooking vessels'. It works for dish washing, but for waste collection or more detailed seva, I wind up thoroughly confusing them, in which case I have to locate a translator.

Dayalu and I are always challenged by visitors who don't speak one of the languages we know. Luckily, there are a many bi-lingual people here who can be called upon to help in a pinch, or sometimes, there's someone they are travelling with who speaks English and can translate. If there is no one to translate, we have to resort to an ad-hoc form of sign-language to demonstrate such tasks as Veggie Chopping or sweeping in the Temple. This often brings about a few laughs and we have a good time enjoying the puzzled looks on each other's faces. Unfortunately, no one has yet to invent a universal translator like on Star Trek, but here in Amritapuri, the language of love (and laughter) works quite well.

Sri Pati
17 August 2007