Swamini Krishnamrita Prana
Mata Amritanandamayi Math
Swamini’s Amritavarsham50 Women’s Initiative Speech:
“Amma’s Expression of Motherhood”
And the Announcement of the Initiative’s Resolutions and Action Items.
“Om Amriteswaryai namah. My prostrations to Amma and to all of you here today.
“When Amma talked about the ‘Awakening of Universal Motherhood’ last year at the United Nations, She was not delivering a speech about a theoretical concept. Amma Herself has been expressing this quality, every minute of Her life for the last 45 years. Even as a child, She mothered Her family and neighbours. As an adult, She has held close and consoled millions of people all around the globe. People meeting Her for the first time repeatedly tell us how they cannot explain the soul-stirring effect She has on them; many simply burst into tears—such is the power of Amma’s divine love.
“Amma, who had only a fourth-grade education, has achieved the unimaginable, simply by remaining centred in the Power of Motherhood. For every individual that is directly touched by Amma’s love, there are many, many more who receive the benefit of that touch.
“Amma inspires very ordinary people to extraordinary things. Their enthusiasm is not just to do social service. Nor is it simply an idea to ‘do good’; it is much more, it is their way of giving expression to their love for Amma. It is a way of belonging to the divine.
“With Amma, the difficult task of ‘loving thy neighbour,’ the so-called ‘others’ who we meet daily in our lives, becomes an essential part in loving Her. We cannot refuse; we have to reach out. Slowly, very slowly we become more motherly. Amma calls on us to awaken our Motherhood and bring to light these qualities of faith, love, patience and self-sacrifice. We alone may not be able to bring out these qualities, but in loving Amma, they do slowly, but surely emerge. Through belonging to Her, She does most of the work for us.
“Amma’s inspiration acts like a divine accelerator. Once pressed, it runs almost of its own accord; it has tremendous power. But we should realise, it is a power that comes not from domination but from its opposite—from softness, from calm, from the feminine, the motherly, from empathy. It is the opposite of our everyday concepts of power, the daily expression of this power in Amma’s darshan deeply affects people. It is the key to our spiritual growth and to the changes Amma can make in us.
“Anyone who has ever engaged deeply in service knows the necessity of this special love. Only in selfless love do we find enough courage and enough patience to guide us through the difficult times. It is indeed a miracle how Amma is changing so many lives through the power of Motherhood. She is showing the whole world that it is working and that if men and women work together, they will not only restore harmony to society, but also will reclaim their real identity as true human beings. Understanding this, the M.A. Math is ready to initiate further work in this area. And now I will summarize our plans.
“The following is a brief summary of the resolutions of the Amritavarsham50 Women’s Initiative. The M.A. Math resolves to promote awareness of the quality of Motherhood, which is inherent in both men and women. Only though awakening this quality can we sweep away the cobwebs of customs that trap and denigrate women. We have a twin focus: we want to help men to understand and integrate their feminine qualities so that they no longer abuse women, and we want to help women reclaim their true identity, especially in the workplace. Through education and counselling, we want to ensure that men and women feel themselves equal in value, and as respected partners in life. We want to abolish the prohibitions that prevent women officiating as priests.
“Our plan of action has 10 points:
“The first two points refer to gender awareness and education programmes. These target areas sensitive to the denigration of women, that is: religious, social customs, workplace practices and also environmental abuses against Mother Nature.
“The third point targets very harmful social customs: namely dowry, female feticide and infanticide. Concerted individual efforts within families are necessary to stop these abuses. Amma is marrying 108 poor couples without dowry to help get this point across, at least to her devotees. The ceremony is on Her birthday, the 27th.
“With points four and five we address the physical needs of abused women. We want to provide them safe havens and give care and counselling for young women; and give them more job training and employment.
“Point six aims at the education of men and boys. We are targeting the legal systems for young offenders. We feel that when a young man abuses a woman, especially for the first time, he should undergo spiritually based, educationally sound, corrective procedures rather than just punishment.
“With points seven and eight, we target the need to protect women in public spheres. We want to encourage media organisations to refuse to portray women as sexual objects. We want governments, commerce and industry to encourage dharmic values and allow training in the principles of Motherhood within their work spheres.
“With regard to Hindu temple religious customs, Amma is advocating that all places of worship, work towards engaging female priests.
“Lastly, with resolution 10, we call upon others to join with us in promoting the healing concept of Motherhood wherever they may be in any part of the world.
“It is thrilling for us to know that this birthday of Amma’s is marking the beginning of a new era of Her mission. All the wonderful people gathered here are, we feel, somehow ‘chosen ones,’ for it is a great blessing to be a part of this special occasion. Let us pray for a society where men and women, like ‘two wings of a bird,’ work together as equals, in the love of the Universal Mother, to bring peace and harmony to this earth.
“On behalf of the M.A. Math, I would like to express a special thank you to the Honourable Dr. Najma Heptulla for presiding over our function today, and our deep gratitude to Yolanda King for inspiring us so rousingly today, to all of our special guests that spoke so beautifully, to Neethi Revindran for guiding us through the programme, and to all the people everywhere who have worked so dedicatedly behind the scenes to make this event possible. People from have travelled from all over India, as much as from all around the world, giving up so much of their precious time to be here on this auspicious occasion. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to you all. Finally, on behalf of all women-kind, I would like to thank Amma, for wiping away the tears of sorrow from people all around the world—now I think She’s going to have to wipe mine away too [she is crying]. And for trying to lead us from darkness to light, and for giving us the courage to awaken from that deep sleep, strengthened with the qualities of Motherhood.”