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AYUDH: Youth from more than 30 countries reunite in Amritapuri 

Young woman at microphone
Youth from around the world celebrated the common bond of their love for Amma.

Key Points

  • Members of AYUDH, our international youth wing, travelled to Amritapuri for their first collective gathering since 2019 after the COVID-19 pandemic. The event marked the 20th Anniversary of AYUDH Europe and the 10th of AYUDH Americas. 
  • More than 120 young people from over 30 countries celebrated their time together with Amma, further inspiring their commitment to selfless service in their communities. They worked on developing inner reflection, compassionate leadership, and intercultural exchange. 
  • Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Amma’s most senior disciple, and Swami Shubamritananda Puri, one of the founders of AYUDH Europe, graced the occasion with inspirational talks dedicated to instilling self-confidence in the youth. 
27 January 2024
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Feature article by AYUDH International  

Awaken Youth Unite for Dharma (AYUDH) is our youth movement dedicated to building a peaceful and sustainable world. 

To begin 2024, more than 120 AYUDH members from over 30 countries travelled to Amritapuri for our first international gathering since 2019. We planned many different activities to make the most of our week together in Amma’s presence. For most of us, it was also our first chance to be with Amma since COVID-19 hit.  

“This week provided a remarkable opportunity for global youth to come together, celebrating the common bond of our love for Amma. Our Seva and AYUDH activities in our respective countries keep us connected to Amma, and gathering in Amritapuri in her presence was a profound blessing,” said Sarada, AYUDH Europe Coordinator. 

“Hearing participants express that AYUDH is a place for inclusivity, fun, and nurturing relationships was truly meaningful. This week together embodied these values.” 

This year marks the 20th and 10th anniversaries of AYUDH Europe and Americas, respectively. It symbolises the dedication of youth across the world to use our time to make a positive change in the world. We are committed to bringing people from all walks of life and backgrounds together for a common goal of service to the community and self-reflection.  

“All the events helped uplift us in terms of having internal confidence and how to live our lives in the West with courage. My favourite part was doing seva with AYUDH Europe. It was so cool to hear about their experiences with Amma,” shared Ritu Kumar, Chapter Lead with AYUDH, Washington, DC. 

We had the honour to be blessed with the esteemed presence of Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Amma’s most senior disciple, and Swami Shubamritananda Puri, one of the founders of AYUDH Europe. They delivered inspiring talks that included giving us an informal space to pose questions about spirituality, the material world, and how to have faith in our own selves.  

In Swami Amritaswarupananda’s session, he posed a question to us: “What does it mean to be spiritual? How is being in Amma’s Ashram different from living in the West?” 

One of us immediately responded, “It’s easier to get distracted in the outside world.”  

Swamiji then countered, “Does this mean spirituality is a partial thing? No, it is a state of constant awareness. The mind can wander, but we need to be aware of where it’s going and take steps to correct its direction. There’s no difference between spirituality and existence in the world.  

“In fact, spirituality, and materialism are two sides of the same coin. Everyone in the world is spiritual at certain moments—moments when we show kindness, patience, compassion, and love. We are all spiritual in these moments. The key is awareness. An aware person will never commit the same mistake twice.” 

If youth arise and act, they have the strength and dynamism to generate a huge transformation in society.


In Swami Shubamritananda’s talk, he focused on the power of courage in all facets of life, and how to deal with the failures that are bound to occur along the way.  

“When we look at Amma, she personifies fearlessness. Nothing has ever shaken Amma, and she constantly shows the power of spiritual courage in the face of all the moving parts around her,” he said.

He explained how the fear of change is something that all of us can relate to, as we have an inherent reticence to changing situations. What spiritual courage does is allow us to shift our mindset when it comes to change. Instead of viewing it from a state of uncertainty and fear, we can view it as an opportunity for growth.  

To drive this point home, Swami Shubamritananda had a clever acronym to redefine the term “fail” in our minds. First Attempt In Learning (FAIL) is the new mindset from which we need to observe ‘failures’ in life.  

Vidya Corley is the AYUDH Americas Coordinator. She shared, “With so many things going on in our lives, it gets tough to stay positive sometimes. These talks from the Swamis remind us that we have the strength within to deal with these situations and also gave us the mental tools to do so.”  

We created an interactive and diverse programme to engage with each other and connect with our new and old AYUDH faces. During the activities, we had a unique intercultural exchange and the support of team building. 

One of our aims is to practise mindfulness and establish harmony and awareness in our lives. Two Yoga sessions were offered to help integrate these values, with one at the nearby beach where we enjoyed the calmness of the seashore during the morning hours. We were able to put our thoughts at rest.  

A long tradition in AYUDH is a joint Bhajan session that truly brings everyone together through devotion, playing instruments, and connecting in the spiritual meaning of the lyrics and rhythms. A great privilege and blessing of the week was to perform the session in the evening programme for Amma. We sang traditional songs, as well as new compositions. 

A New Year is also a new opportunity for action-taking to combat the adverse impacts of the climate crisis on our planet and the people. To experience this firsthand, we took part in the Ashram’s recycling and gardening activities at the beach. This exemplified for us how to join forces to practise selfless service and compassion-driven action in reverence for Mother Nature.  

Overall, the power of our week together cannot be captured in words. But upon parting ways, we shared this quote from Amma, “Don’t feel daunted at the thought of dispelling the darkness of the world. Instead, light the candle within you and spread that light.”  

Let us all work towards this goal from this new year and beyond! 

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