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"When we offer ourselves to the Paramatman, our mind and intellect
become purified, our sorrows come to an end, and our entire life

becomes a festival"
_ Mata Amritanandamayi

Amma - The Abode of Peace

   - by AK Antony

          At the outset, I wish Amma a very happy birthday. I am a stubborn child who wishes to see Amma whenever possible. Everyone comes to know about these trips for there is nothing clandestine about it. I never do anything secretly. Some of my friends frequently ask me why I am doing something

that is totally alien to my nature, why I am taking such an interest in Amma? Of course, I reply to all these queries. I wish to reiterate that reply here.

           I first saw Amma during a flight fromochin to Delhi. I was drawn by the aura of love and peace radiated by Amma, and by Her enchanting gaze. Thereafter, I visited Amritapuri, for the first time, in 1996. Sri O. Rajagopal, the Honourable Union Minister for Railways, was with me on that day. That created a lot of controversy. What does one do if the public feels that we cannot stand together on the same platform for a good cause? Let people talk or criticise. We should act according to our conscience.

           I was the Chief Minister of Kerala then also. I arrived at the ashram on a day when my morale was at its lowest, as far as my public life was concerned. I cannot express my anguish I suffered that day; I was completely shattered. I moved about mechanically - I had come to distribute the keys to the first 1,000 houses of the Amritakuteeram project.

           After participating in the function and spending some time in Amma's presence, I returned a totally different person, one who was completely at peace. Earlier, whenever I got upset, I would go to Chertalla to see my mother. Ours was a strange relationship. We never spoke much. We would sit looking at each other for a minute or two, and exchange a few words. And then I would leave. But that was enough for me. All my troubles would vanish. But I lost her too soon. She was my support and mainstay through all my troubles, sorrows and inner conflicts. After that, whenever I experienced some inner conflict, I would visit Amma, either in Amritapuri or at the Koimanam ashram (in Trivandrum, Kerala). And when I left, I would be totally at peace.This is what I tell people who ask why I go to Amritapuri or why I visit Amma. This is what I told the sceptics then and this is what I have to say today.

           These are troubled times. War is imminent and humanity is living in the shadow of fear. A war somewhere in the world is not an isolated event. It is a threat to people all over the world. As such, it is essential for everyone to strive to avert a war. Violence is not good for anyone. I read Amma's remarks on the war in today's Mathrubhoomi (a newspaper published in Kerala). Each word is pregnant with meaning. Anger and the desire for revenge cause destruction - of individuals and society.

           Amma is the pride of our country. We feel honoured that someone in our midst, someone from a poverty-stricken milieu at that, is being respected all over the world. Amma is not only the guiding light of believers or the spiritually oriented; She is also the support and solace of the poor, suffering and downtrodden. Amma's life is not merely for being worshipped and venerated. Her life and all the activities She has initiated are for the sake of suffering humanity. That is why more and more people are being drawn to Amma.

           The building of homes for the homeless is one such activity. Similar activities have been undertaken under Amma's guidance all over the country. When I met Amma in Kaimanam, She mentioned that She was planning to build a hospital for AIDS patients. I also understand that the M.A. Math is also going to start a medical college and an engineering college. Amma is thus turning Her attention to various areas of service. With Amma's blessings, I have no doubt whatsoever that these institutions will develop into the finest, not only of Kerala but of India as well.

           I only request Amma not to stop here. Today, a person without education cannot survive. Having property alone is not sufficient. Even the poorest of the poor want to educate their children, even if they have to beg, borrow or starve.

           The education acquired in the past is no longer adequate to meet the challenges of the present times. Earlier, it was enough if one knew only typewriting. But times have changed. Educational institutions should cater to the needs of the hour. Hence, it is imperative that we give up our stubborn, dog-in-the-manger attitude of not only not doing things ourselves, but also not letting others do it. I feel institutions that will benefit our children can be started by Amma. My Government will give its unstinted support to such initiatives. I guarantee that. I pray that many such institutions are developed in and out of Kerala, institutions that not only foster spiritual development, but which also nurture love, peace, fraternity and amity among people. I pray that the M.A. Math also makes inroads into hitherto unexplored areas of service activities.

           I express my heartfelt gratitude for being given this opportunity to be present here on Amma's birthday. I humbly offer everyone in the ashram my best wishes. Salutations and prostrations to all. Jai Hind.

(This speach was delivered by AK Antony, chief minister of Kerala state, on the occasion of Mata Amritanandamayi's 48th birthday.)

-Reproduced from Matruvani, a monthly publication of
Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust,
Amritapuri, Kollam, Kerala - Postal code: 690525;
Phones: 0476-896278, 0476-896179, 0476-897578, 0476-896399;
Email : mam@amritapuri.org, matruvani@amritapuri.org;
Website: www.amritapuri.org

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