Amritapuri: The 66th Birthday Celebrations of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi took place at Amritapuri with lakhs of devotees and well-wishers from around the nation and world attending to observe her padapuja, hear her satsang and participate in the meditation and prayers for world peace. This was followed by a formal function that found several new humanitarian projects of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math inaugurated by Rajnath Singh, the Minister of Defence; Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare; and Anurag
In her address Amma spoke about the importance of respecting and protecting Nature. “Nature is mother and father to us; it is everything,” Amma said. “We are the children of that revered Mother Nature. She only ever had love and compassion for us. We, on the other hand, have just stomped all over her and kicked her in the chest. Now that loving mother has fallen ill and is exhausted.”
She also stressed the importance of prioritising spiritual values in life. “If we stop giving moral values the place they deserve, our life will rot away like a log infested with termites,” Amma said. “We will lack the courage to face problems in life. This is why the ancient rishis considered dharma-bodham—the awareness of what should and should not be done—as all-important. It is vital that we have this awareness in order to ensure that all of our social transactions are equally beneficial to others as they are to us.”
Among the humanitarian endeavours were: the provision Rs. five lakh financial aid to families of the CRPF soldiers killed in the Pulwama terror attack, the provision of Rs. one lakh financial aid to families who lost a member during the torrential rains and landslides of the 2019 Kerala monsoon, free surgeries for 400 poor at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, 10 free homes for the poor in Kannur, and the provision of 10 OceanNet systems to fishermen, allowing them to maintain Internet connections when past the normal range of connectivity.
On the educational front, a new Technology Enabling Centre and a School for Sustainable Development were inaugurated for Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Amrita University also announced that it had created an Rs. 25-crores PhD fellowship programme called “Amrita E4LIFE” that would sponsor PhDs in the field of Sustainable Development for 100 students from India and around the world.
Speaking about the fellowships, Amrita University’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, said, “To date, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has adopted more than 100 villages all over India. Under Chancellor Amma’s direction, faculty and students at Amrita have been striving to help these villages by creating tailor-made solutions
The Math also gave 400,000 free saris to women enrolled in its upliftment programmes such the Amrita SREE SHGs, and conducted free weddings complete with customary gold ornaments for couples in need.
In his Welcome Speech, Swami Amritaswarupananda, the Vice-Chairman of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, extolled Amma as a paragon of selfless compassionate service to suffering humanity. “For Amma, service to humanity is nonstop,” he said.” No vacations, no sick days, no leave applications. Traveling all over the world, Amma is leading people of all nations, all religious faiths and all cultures in truly universal prayer: lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu—‘May all beings all over the world by happy.’ In fact, Amma is this mantra’s living embodiment in thought, word and deed.”
On the evening of the 26th, new ashram publications were released, an environmental protection program called Amritavanam was started, and Amrita Australia inaugurated a new programme to uplift Australian Indigenous women.
The programme concluded with Amma giving her famous darshan, which comes in the form of a motherly embrace, to one and all until late the next morning.