Thousands of people from across India and around the world gathered in Amma’s Amritapuri Ashram to celebrate Amma’s 69th birthday, and thousands more joined via a global webcast. Amma spoke about how the world faces a choice to transition to a better life for all after COVID-19.
Amma began by expressing her understanding of our pain of separation. “Amma knows that many of her children are sad that this year too, as for the past two years, they aren’t able to be with Amma. Even so, Amma knows and experiences your love and devotion. And you are always in Amma’s thoughts—in my heart, in my remembrance, and in my prayers.”
Amma shared how many of us have also expressed a wish to give Amma something on their own birthdays. She suggested we plant trees and other native species in our neighbourhoods.
“Take a seed and put it in some soil with some manure and wrap it up in a piece of paper. Drop those seed balls in a place where they can sprout—either around your house or in some wooded area. The more saplings you can plant, the better. This would be the greatest gift you can give to Amma,” she said. In this way, hundreds of trees and plants would be sown every day, restoring balance to ecosystems on a global scale.
Amma also suggested that all of us clean one kilometre of public space on our own birthdays: “Sweep the area and clear away all the garbage. Amma’s ashram children can teach you about waste management so you will understand what to do with the waste.”
In terms of environmental actions, Amma encouraged us to begin carpooling, a request she began 15 years ago. Carpooling saves money, fuel, reduces environmental pollution, and gradually reduces traffic accidents, including fatalities.
“Try to take at least two other people in your vehicle when you travel to work. But please make sure that they are not strangers; you should make sure that you are safe. You can also do the same kind of carpooling when you travel to a temple or when coming here to the Ashram,” she said.
Amma expanded her words to address the experience of humanity overall: “What securely maintains a bridge over a river are the strong concrete pillars on the two opposite banks. The bridge of life also has two banks—birth and death. As far as human life is concerned, both these are very important events.
“Unfortunately, during both these events, people are not in a state of awareness. Even while crossing the bridge of life—in the middle—people perform their actions in a dreamlike state. If only we were to conduct ourselves with a little more alertness and awareness, humankind would not find itself facing the extreme challenges and perils it does now.”
Amma continued, “When we live in this world and enjoy the delights and bounties of Nature, there is one mistake humans, consciously or unconsciously, tend to make. They forget that they have received all these as a gift from that supreme power, God. They forget the truth of Nature, the reflection of God.
“We forget the invincible power of Nature. Over and above all, we forget the truth of love, which is the foundation of life. We may forget God and Nature in the hustle and bustle of daily life. But we should never forget love. Because only if we have true love will God and Nature shower their blessings upon us.”
Amma concluded, “If we find happiness in others’ happiness and are sad in their sorrows, then we have found love because love makes hearts beat in tandem. Love is life’s real capital. The greatest wealth that we can gain in life is love.”
Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri (Swamiji), Amma’s most senior disciple, also addressed the gathering. He said, “It has been 69 years since Amma was born, since her body in this form was born on this Earth. Amma’s body must be 69 years, yet she is ancient. The most amazing example of eternal youthfulness.”
Swamiji explained how through even the simplest of actions, Amma is a living example of how love transcends the human intellect and mind. It goes beyond all expectations, beyond all names and forms, and becomes as vast as the universe.
“When Amma gives darshan—while showering flower petals while holding a baby—each hug, every single glance, each kiss is filled with 100% unadulterated love. Amma is love incarnate. God’s love in a human body, as Jane Goodall, the eminent primatologist and anthropologist observed. Ageless, ancient, without a beginning or end,” said Swamiji.
Amritavarsham 69 started the evening before with the Karthika Puja at 9 pm and continued this morning at 5 am with traditional rites and Vedic chanting. Amma arrived in the main hall at 10 am where Swamiji conducted guru paduka puja and Amma led meditation and prayers for world peace.
She then gave a motherly embrace to all who arrived for the day’s festivities. Amma received the last visitor at around midnight and finally returned to her room after 14 hours.