September 29, 2010
Thousands of students, faculty and staff from all campuses of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham gathered at the Amritapuri campus this past weekend for the 57th birthday celebrations of their beloved Chancellor Amma. They were joined by devotees from all over India and the world who had congregated at Amritapuri for the ocassion.
Students led the activities on several fronts. One could see them everywhere, serving food and water to the devotees, managing the crowd and assisting special invitees.
Lakshmi Priya, a first-year student from the Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi, participated for the first time. “This was an unforgettable experience,” she stated.
“It was great to get the chance to serve people. “I feel that Amritapuri is the only place where one can truly see an example of how to serve humanity. I desire to come back to serve again.”
Vaibhav, Vindhya, Subramanian, Sonal and Sukeerti, first-year students from the Bengaluru campus, also participated for the first time. They shared their thoughts.
“We are proud to study in Amrita. This is the first time that we are visiting Amritapuri. It has been a wonderful experience watching people doing seva with so much dedication and has inspired us to serve also.”
Participation in Amma’s birthday celebrations is mandatory for first-year students of some schools in the institution; but most students who come, come not because it is something that is required for them to do, but because it is something that they would rather do.
Students look forward to this annual trip to Amritapuri. Bharath, a third-year student of Mechanical Engineering, at Coimbatore has participated all three years. “As a volunteer, I have always enjoyed working during Amma’s birthday,” he stated. “I like the seva of crowd control.”
The Amritapuri students served by cleaning the grounds. Taking forward their cleaning campaign that was begun a few months ago, they constituted a significant part of the recycling team.
“Serving others – we have heard a lot on this topic,” summed up Archana Babu and R. Sanjana, third-year students at Amritapuri. “But experiencing the happiness and the satisfaction that we get after serving others is something we can’t explain in words.”
On the birthday eve, students joined other performers to stage cultural performances for the gathered devotees.
Amma’s birthday celebration began at five in the morning with sacred chants and ceremonies. At nine, Amma was welcomed onto the stage. A massive crowd was in attendance, filling the hall constructed on the campus grounds.
During her birthday address, Amma referred to the cleaning campaign that the students had started, encouraging the youth to come forward and participate in the cleaning of Mother India. Read Birthday Address »
After being on stage for nearly 24 hours, and giving darshan to all the assembled, Amma returned to the ashram.