The Amritapuri campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham came alive with myriads of lights and colors during Chancellor Amma’s fifty-ninth birthday as lakhs of people poured in from all parts of the world, to celebrate.
The festivities began at five in the morning and at nine, when Amma was ushered onto the regal stage, the gigantic hall was already packed. Seated in the hall were also faculty and students from all five campuses of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, who had come together for their beloved Chancellor’s birthday.
“For Amma, the birthday celebrations hold no special significance. Amma sees it as a day for giving,” stated Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, addressing the massive gathering. And indeed, the program saw the launch of several new charitable initiatives. Financial assistance was announced for victims of recent explosions at Kannur (LPG Tanker) and Sivakasi Fireworks Factory. Existing charitable activities were extended such as Amrita Nidhi that provides life-time pensions for widows and destitute women, Vidyamritam scholarships that enable poor children to continue their studies and Amrita Santhwanam, wherein 200 poor patients will now be able to avail free heart surgeries and 50 afflicted will get the benefit of kidney transplants at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.
The total financial outlay for all these beneficiary schemes put together was estimated to be Rs. 25 crores.
New initiatives of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham were also proudly launched. These included a wireless sensor system to predict landslides in the Himalayas, a totally networked Global Class Room that would help break down the national boundaries between students and faculty and a website for English language teaching.
Meanwhile, congratulatory messages poured in from the President of India, Shri. Pranab Mukherjee; UPA Chairperson, Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition, Shri. L.K. Advani.
Union Defense Minister, Shri. A.K. Anthony; Union Home Minister, Shri. Sushil Kumar Shinde and Union Minister of External Affairs, Shri. S.M. Krishna also sent in their felicitations.
Students bustled around, and one could see them assume control of various activities such as serving food and water, assisting with food preparation, hosting and crowd control, with great enthusiasm.
“One gets a lot of satisfaction from selfless service. There is no greater birthday gift that we can give our beloved Amma, than doing seva here on this occasion,” shared Parvati Gandhi and Jyotsna C. Jose, third-year students of B.Sc. (Nursing) from the Amrita Health Sciences campus, Kochi. Both girls arrived two days before the celebrations, and began their seva in general cleaning.
“Working together with friends is very joyful. We can feel the spirit of teamwork here. This is a wonderful change from our daily academic routine and was indeed a rejuvenating experience” shared Rahul R. Nathan and Nikhil Devan, first-year engineering students who came all the way from Bengaluru campus and assisted with managing the crowds.
“I have been coming here during Amma’s birthday during the past eight years, while I was still going to school in Amrita Vidyalayam. Doing seva has made me into a better person,” stated Praveen Rajasekhar, second-year student of BA (Mass Communication) from Amrita’s Coimbatore campus, who helped with security services.
During her birthday address, Amma expressed her deep concern for our environmental problems. In response, a new campaign ‘InDeed’ was launched, which suggested several actions everyone could take, to help.
Conserving water, growing one’s own veggies, carpooling, reducing one’s carbon footprint in other ways and planting a tree were the suggested lifestyle changes.
“We will do all we can, these actions will help us become closer to Mother Nature as well,” responded students of MSW (Master in Social Work) from the Amritapuri campus.
They had put up a stall that depicted the key environmental issues the world is facing today.
The celebrations ended on a happy note the next morning, after more than 25 hours, as Amma finally finished darshan, and students and faculty returned to their respective campuses and devotees went back to their homes, with precious memories of a grand celebration of love and service.
amritapuri.org – MAM announces charitable projects of the value of Rs 25 crores
The Hindu-Mata Amritanandamayi calls for harmony with nature
IBN Live -Conserve nature, says Mata
The Times of India – Amritanandamayi’s 59th birth day celebrated
The Times of India-Amma celebrates 59th birthday
Deccan Chronicle -‘Conserve our nature’ is Amma’s birthday message
Herald Online – 59th Birthday of Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Celebrated, EMBRACING THE WORLD Announces $4.7 Million worth of Charitable Initiatives
bizjournals.com – 59th Birthday of Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Celebrated, ‘Embracing The World’ Announces $4.7 Million worth of Charitable Initiatives
newson6.com – 59th Birthday of Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Celebrated, EMBRACING THE WORLD Announces $4.7 Million worth of Charitable Initiatives
The New Indian Express – Amritapuri Ready for Mata’s Birthday
Times of India – Amritanandamayi Math Extends Financial Help to Sivakasi Victims
Deccan Chronicle – Mata Amritanandamayi offers Rs 25 Crore for Charity on B’day
The New Indian Express – Mata Math Announces Charitable Projects Worth Rs 25 Crore
September 28, 2012