Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma)
Love, compassion, empathy and tolerance--under the pressures of modern life, these qualities have all but disappeared. Amma, through her loving embrace and charitable activities, is healing the heart of the world, rekindling love and mutual respect, and awakening people to their fundamental oneness.
Through her extraordinary acts of love and self-sacrifice, Amma has endeared herself to millions. Tenderly caressing everyone who comes to her, holding them close to her heart in a loving embrace, Amma shares boundless love with all. Be they young or old, sick or healthy, rich or poor--everyone who comes to her receives the same unconditional love. Amma's compassion crosses all barriers of nationality, race, caste and religion. .
She has initiated a vast network of charitable activities, which is drawing attention throughout the world. At the root of these services lies Amma's teaching that the Divine exists in everything--in every person, plant and animal. Perceiving this unity is the essence of spirituality and the means by which to end all suffering. It is through this simple, yet powerful message that Amma is transforming our world, one embrace at a time. In the past 35 years, Amma has physically embraced more than 30 million people. Since 1987, Amma has been traveling extensively in India and abroad spreading her message of love and compassion.
Amma's teachings are universal. Whenever she is asked about her religion, she replies that her religion is Love. She does not ask anyone to believe in God or to change their faith, but only to inquire into their own real nature and to believe in themselves.
AMMA at Global Forums
Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) has given darshan to over 30 million people across the world and has been invited to address Global Forums.
2006 - Amma was presented with the Interfaith Center of New York's 4th Annual James Parks Morton Interfaith Award after speaking on the topic "Understanding and Collaboration between Religions".
2005 - A film on Amma, titled "Darshan - The Embrace" by renowned filmmaker Jan Kounen, was screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
2004 - Keynote Speaker at the closing plenary session of the Parliament of World Religions held at Barcelona, Spain.
2002 - The World Movement for Non-violence conferred upon on Amma, the Gandhi-King award for Non-Violence at United Nations (UN), Geneva.
2002 - Keynote Speaker at the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the UN, Geneva.
2000 - Addressed the Millennium World Peace Summit, United Nations General Assembly, New York.
1995 - Keynote speaker at the Inter-faith Conference held along with the 50th anniversary of United Nations at New York.
1993 - Addressed the Parliament of World Religions Centenary celebrations at Chicago and was chosen as a President of the assembly of global religions.
Snapshot of Various Humanitarian Activities of Mata Amritanandamayi Math
Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) is a registered Public Charitable Trust dedicated to serving humanity without distinction of nationality, caste, race or religion. The Math's international headquarters, located at Amritapuri, (Kollam), Kerala, India, provides a global presence through its numerous philanthropic activities and institutions, which reflect Amma's message of love and compassion.
UN Recognition for Mata Amritanandamayi Math
The United Nations (UN) announced the distinguished award of Special UN Consultative Status to Mata Amritanandamayi Math with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN. After a thorough review of Mata Amritanandamayi Math's work and results for the past 15 years, including Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Amrita University, and all other major efforts, the United Nations' 19 member nation committee within the ECOSOC Committee, voted unanimously to grant Special Consultative Status. The major ECOSOC body of 50 member nations affirmed this decision on July 21, 2005. The Math is among 30 Indian NGOs to receive formal UN affiliation in India.
Project to Combat Farmer Suicide
In recent years, suicide has been spreading in epidemic proportions among Indian farmers suffering from debt and crop failure. In 2007, the ashram launched two programs aimed at fighting the problem: Vidyamritam and Amrita SREE. These projects focus on states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, where high famer-suicide rates prevail.
The ashram is providing free vocational training to 3,000 Women Self-Help Groups (SHG) consisting of women from impoverished agricultural families. After completing the training, the women are also given start-up capital to begin small home-based businesses. It is envisaged to expand the program to 30,000 groups.
The ashram is providing full scholarships to approximately 40,000 children (ages 10 to 15) of farmers living below the poverty line. The children receive a stipend until they finish their education, subject to their performance in their studies. Motivational sessions and competitions in various literary, painting and pencil-sketching activities are also regularly held for these children. This scheme will be extended to cover 100,000 students.
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Flood Relief (2009): Several teams of volunteers, doctors and nurses are working in the region with Rs. 50 crores earmarked in October, 2009 for relief activity by the Math.
Bihar Flood Relief (2008): Rs. 2 crores was earmarked for flood relief by the ashram. Several teams of doctors, nurses and volunteers did extensive relief activity.
Kashmir Earthquake (Oct 2005): Victims received food and other aid, including hundreds of blankets. MAM has also pledged to rebuild three villages.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (Aug/Sept 2005):Amma donated one million dollars in aid and assistance to those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in USA. Devotees, who were trained medical experts, traveled to Louisiana to help, and food, clothing, school supplies and other items were collected from all over the country and distributed to evacuees. Devotees reached out to evacuees by helping them find new homes and jobs or by writing letters of comfort to victims. Others used the Internet to locate and reconnect friends and family members who had been separated.
Floods in Mumbai (July 2005):The Ashram sent a medical team to Mumbai which spent three weeks visiting slum areas, distributing medicines and treating over 32,000 victims for infectious diseases. The Ashram also served food at the relief camps.
School Fire, Tamil Nadu (July 2004): Volunteers were sent to the hospital to help console the victims and their families and to provide assistance where needed.
Gujarat Earthquake (January 2001): A 12-person medical team from AIMS Super Specialty Hospital was immediately dispatched with volunteers. The Ashram rebuilt three villages, Modsar, Mokhana and Dagara, by constructing 1200 earthquake-proof houses, medical clinics, water tanks, schools, community halls, temples and mosques. The grateful Gujrat State Government and villagers renamed the villages as Amrita Nagar (Modsar), Amritamayi Nagar (Dagara) and Amritapur (Mokhana) in honor of Amma.
Latur Earthquake (1992): The Ashram provided financial support to victims.
Tsunami Relief Projects
Mata Amritanandamayi Math has implemented the largest Tsunami rehabilitation project in the country with over 200 crores earmarked for relief activity. The Math has constructed more than 6200 houses in the Tsunami-affected areas in India and Sri Lanka. In addition to building houses, in many locations, entire villages have been reconstructed. These villages are self-reliant with community centers (anganwadi), schools, primary health centers, markets, roads, water supply and lighting. More than 5000 houses have been completed and have been handed over to Tsunami victims. The Math is the first NGO in India to complete Tsunami-relief houses according to government specifications and hand over to the Tsunami-affected population in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The Math is also providing means for livelihood. Free vocational training has been given to 2500 young people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. According to their educational qualifications, they receive training to become teachers, nurses, paramedical assistants, security officers, drivers, masonry workers, carpenters and mechanics with a job assured on completing the training. The Math has provided free tailoring courses and sewing machines to 300 tsunami-affected village women in Alappad Panchayat (Kollam District, Kerala). A program known as Matru Gramam (Mother's Village) was developed and implemented, where the Math helped villagers living in Alappad Panchayat to form independent cooperatives and self-help groups in areas such as tailoring, sandal-making, soap-manufacturing and other trades. The Math has also repaired and built over 700 fishing boats in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Over 550 marine outboard engines and nets have also been provided. The villagers have been trained to use satellite technology to target the best fishing locations and transmit information.
Amrita Kuteeram - Free Housing Scheme
In 1996, the Math launched Amrita Kuteeram, a housing project to construct 25,000 houses for the poor. Within a five-year period, the houses were constructed and handed over to homeless people and slum dwellers. In 2003, the project was upgraded to massive proportions and a second phase of this project to build 100,000 houses was launched. More than 35,000 houses have been built across the length and breadth of the country from Kanyakumari in the south to Ghaziabad in the north, Durgapur in the east and Bhuj in the western part of the country. Amrita Kuteeram houses have been built in Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and other states.
Some Amrita Kuteeram locations include: -
* Ambalamughal, Cochin - on land allotted by GCDA, Cochin under the Slum Rehabilitation Program
* Durgapur, West Bengal - scheme supported by Assansol Durgapur Development Authority
* Guddimalkapur & Film Nagar, Hyderabad - Slum Rehabilitation Project
* Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
* Mulki Village, Mangalore
* Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
* Pimpri, Pune - joint venture with Pimpri - Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. (Ajanta Nagar Slum Rehabilitation Project)
* Lucknow - Uttar Pradesh
* Kadappah - Andhra Pradesh
* Satyamangalam, Tamil Nadu
* Kovalam (Chennai), Tamil Nadu
Amrita Nidhi - Monthly Pension Scheme for Destitute Women
In 1998, Amma launched a pension scheme for the benefit of 50,000 destitute women. The pension is distributed by the Math through its branch centers in various parts of the country. The money helps poverty-stricken women, many of whom are widows, to purchase necessities such as food, medicine and school books for their children.
Amrita Niketan (Orphanage)
Located at Parippalli, Kollam, Kerala, this institution is dedicated to caring for 500 children from the most disadvantaged sections of society. These children, mainly from tribal areas, receive an excellent education at Amma's Sanskrit Higher Secondary School, Paripalli.
Anbu Illam - Care Home for Senior Citizens
Amrita Anbu Illam is the Math's care home for the elderly, established at Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu in a beautiful countryside location. The residents come from troubled families or have no one to look after them. In this peaceful and loving ambience, they are made to feel at home while having their emotional and physical needs met.
Mass Wedding Ceremony for the Poor
Beginning with the mass wedding arranged for 158 poor couples during Amrita Varsham 50, (Golden Jubilee celebration of Amma's birthday) in 2003, this project has continued to help couples who cannot afford a proper wedding. The Math provides everything for the wedding including clothes, gold for the bride and the traditional feast for the relatives. Since 2003, over 700 marriages have been conducted for impoverished couples including Tsunami victims.
Amrita Keerthi Award
This award was established in 2001 to recognize and commemorate outstanding contributions to Indian Culture, Vedic Tradition and Sanathana Dharma. The award constitutes a cash prize of more than one lakh rupees, a Panchaloha statuette designed by a renowned artist and a commemorative citation. Past Awardees include Prathibha Ray, Oriya writer; Acharya Narendra Bhushan, Vedic Scholar; P. Parameshwaran, director, Bharateeya Vichara Kendram; Prof. Harihara Sastri, previously Acharya of Brahmavidyapeetham, Sivagiri; Dr. Shankar Abhayankar, founder, Aditya Pratishtan, Pune; Mahakavi Akkittam Achutan Namboothiri, Celebrated Poet of Kerala and P Narayana Kurup, renowned poet and literary critic.
AYUDH (Amrita Yuva Dharma Dhara)
The Math's initiative for youth, AYUDH, organizes satsangs and social service activities, including yoga, meditation and self-discipline. AYUDH members also participate in cleaning public premises and render assistance to various welfare programs.
Established for the preservation and protection of the environment, Green Friends instills love and reverence for Mother Nature by arranging and conducting nature study camps, afforestation and tree plantation on a mass scale. Also, Amma has declared the time span from June 5, 2009 to June 5, 2010 as Green Year.
Free Meal Scheme for 50,000 Under-Privileged
The Math feeds over 50,000 poor and under-privileged people every month through its branch ashrams.
Amma's devotees in the USA run Mother's Kitchen in 39 cities, providing over 40,000 meals for the homeless each year.
Amrita Aranya Jeevanam
An Indigenous People's Project, for comprehensive upliftment of adivasis/tribals, provides vocational training and means for livelihood in addition to providing educational and health facilities.
Inspired by Amma, more than 1000 lawyers throughout India have pledged to give free counseling to the poor.
Institute of People's Education (sponsored by Government of India) is a job training program offering nearly 100 different courses. There are units at Sivakasi and Kalpetta.
* Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi, Kerala A 1450-bed, super-specialty hospital, provides international quality medical care at affordable/subsidized rates. Recognized as one of the outstanding hospitals in Asia, with many firsts to its credit in facilities and patient care, AIMS offers free and partially subsidized services to the poor and needy. The institute also houses the medical campus of Amrita University. AIMS' extensive infrastructure comprises 60 departments, 22 modern operating theatres, 210 well-equipped intensive-care beds, a reference diagnostic clinical laboratory, including an advanced molecular biology and cytogenetics lab, a state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging center, as well as medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy colleges and research facilities. Patient care is enhanced by a fully computerized and networked hospital information system and a fully digitized radiology department. A full range of primary and specialty care medical services provides cross-specialty consultation, which assures outstanding treatment for each patient. The hospital was inaugurated by former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on May 17, 1998. AIMS supports a daily average of 1500 outpatients and 800 inpatients. Annual patient turnover exceeds 450,000 outpatients and nearly 40,000 inpatients. There are more than 650 medical faculty and 4500 staff members. (Website: www.aimshospital.org)
* Amrita Kripa Charitable Satellite Hospitals, Kollam, Mysore, Pampa and Kalpetta
* Amrita Kripasagar Hospital, Mumbai - Free care and spiritual solace for terminal cancer patients.
* Amrita Ayurvedic Clinic, Kollam, Kerala
* Amrita AIDS Care Center, Thiruvananthuparam, Kerala
* Medical Camps - Free medical camps conducted at ashram centers throughout India.
* Amrita Vidyalayam Schools - More than 50 schools across the country
* MAM Industrial Training Center for youth, Kollam, Kerala
* Amrita Speech and Hearing Improvement School (ASHIS) for children, Thrissur, Kerala
* Amrita School for Visual Media Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
* Extension Centre for artisan development in woodcarving and handicrafts, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
* Ashram headquarters at Amritapuri, Kollam with 23 Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) Centers in India (Website of the Math: www.amritapuri.org)
* MAM Centers in 27 countries.
* IAM Technique (Integrated Amrita Meditation technique) - Taught free of charge nationally and internationally.
* Amrita Kutumbams - A focused group of householders, having the desire to bring up their children in a value-oriented life, practice and incorporate Amma's teachings in their lives.
* Books, cassettes, CDs, scriptural commentaries in 40 Indian and international languages, available at ashrams/centers worldwide.
* "Matruvani", a monthly magazine published in many Indian languages as well as seven foreign; now one of the largest spiritual magazines in terms of circulation throughout the world.
* "Immortal Bliss", a quarterly magazine, published in English.
* 20 Brahmasthanam Temples throughout India and in Mauritius.