Embracing Universal Motherhood for Peace & Harmony:
The Amritavarsham50 Women’s Initiative
“The essence of Motherhood is not restricted to women who have given birth; it is a principle inherent in both women and men. It is an attitude of the mind. It is love – and that love is the very breath of life.”
25 September, 2003
In the fall of 2002, Amma gave a rousing speech in Geneva, urging both women and men to awaken to the Motherhood that resides within them. She told men to abandon their narrow-minded views and oppressive behaviors, and advised women to stop denying their feminine qualities in order to compete with men. Amma said men and women must work together like two wings of a bird.
The Amritavarsham50 Women’s Initiative: “Embracing Universal Motherhood for Peace & Harmony” can be considered the first practical and united effort towards effecting this change in the world. Thirteen women and two men—all leaders in their respective fields and from all walks of life—addressed each other, Amma and the more than 100,000 Amritavarsham50 attendees. They spoke on the importance of awakening the qualities associated with motherhood in both men and women, and on how to improve the treatment of women in society.
The Initiative was compeered by TV news announcer Mrs. Neethi Ravindran, inaugurated by Ms. Yolanda King, the daughter of American Civil Rights activist Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and presided over by Dr. Najma Heptulla, the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament. Other speakers included Ms. Linda Evans, Dr. K.S. Fathima Beevi, Rabbi Leah Novick, Shri. P. Parameshwaran, Prof. Mangalam Srinivasan, Swamini Niranjanananda, Dr. Poornima Advani, Smt. Mridula Sinha, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Shri. Joseph Pulikkunnel and Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin.
Next, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s Swamini Krishnamrita Prana spoke on “Amma’s Expression of Motherhood” and read a list of Resolutions and Action Items drawn up by the Math in order to fight the suppression of women throughout the world. A final speech was given by Ms. Dena Merriam, who served as the Convener of the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders in Geneva, 2002.
Later in the day, a closed-door session was presided over by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, India’s Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development, and by the Math’s Swamini Krishnamrita Prana. The session focused on the examination of the Resolutions and the identification of ways in which the Action Items could be promoted.
As an offshoot of the Initiative, there was also a closed-door session called “Women Beyond Borders,” wherein six women from Pakistan and India engaged in conversations on how to promote peace and harmony between the two countries. The dialogue was moderated by Dr. Srikant Jichkar, a member of parliament and one of India’s most accomplished scholars.