Global News

Europe Tour updates- 2018

Amma began her Europe tour with three days in Spain, and been through Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, France and currently in Germany.

Here are some photos from the tour so far

Granollers, Spain

On the first day of programs in Spain, Amma was welcomed to the region by the Mayor of Granollers, Josef Mayoral, who expressed that he was delighted to have have Amma back in Granollers after a gap of three years. Amma was also welcomed to the region by Ms. Mireia López-Ontiveros, Councilwoman of Culture in the Granollers City Council; Mr. Piyush Singh, representative of the Indian Embassy in Spain, and Ms. Judit Mascó, a Spanish model and TV host.

Ms. López-Ontiveros reflected, "Amma is a person of peace who has an infinite humanity. Spirituality, generosity, solidarity, all of them know no borders and Amma uses them perfectly. Because of this, she is our greatest Ambassador, the great Ambassador of peace all over the world. Wherever she goes, people understand her and love her."

Mr. Singh remarked, "Amma has been serving humanitarian causes for decades. Amma's work is not a partial work, but a complete design of holistic work. All her actions aim to help society and to make the world a better place. Amma's initiation of Embracing the World is a catalyst for us and for society to alleviate the ills and to make the world a better place."

Ms. Mascó shared her delight in being able to meet Amma: "Amma is a person full of light and love, who can give so much love and support, empathy and so on with her hugs, that are so necessary and that we need so much. It is such an honour to be here, and I can only thank you greatly, Amma."

In addressing the assembled crowd, Amma spoke about the importance of remembering the in-dwelling consciousness that unites all of us. "Everything in the world has two parts—the internal and the external. But, today, human beings have forgotten this truth and give importance only to the body and sensory pleasures. Humanity has stopped considering the Atma—the in-dweller. As such, they have become like a nice set of clothes with no one to wear them. When we only acknowledge the external and discard the internal, it creates a state of imbalance. This is the main reason behind all the problems we see in the world today."

A Spanish translation of the most recent book by Swami Paramatmananda was released by Ms. Mascó, and she presented copies to Mr. Singh and Ms. López-Ontiveros. All three days were marked by beautiful and festive cultural performances drawing on local traditions, including a spellbinding presentation of the flamenco dance.

As has become a local tradition at Amma's annual program, the stadium welcomed Amma with a wave.

Dublin, Ireland

Amma was welcomed to Ireland by a host of government officials, including Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland's Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation; Ms. Josepha Madigan, Ireland's Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht; Mr. Sean Crowe, Member of Parliament; Mayor - Cllr. Mark Ward, South Dublin County Council; and Mayor - Cllr. Ossian Smyth.

Ms. Madigan spoke about the universality of Amma's teachings: "Throughout Amma's life, her focus has been on uplifting the poor and easing the plight of those who are suffering. No matter what your religious beliefs are, or whether you have none at all, these aspirations are the very basic threads of humanity. Oscar Romero once said, 'Aspire not to have more, but to be more,' and I think Amma, you embody this."

Mr. Ward expressed gratitude on behalf of all those assembled for Amma's having accepted again the devotees' invitation to visit Ireland. "It's an absolute joy to welcome Amma. We are all very happy that Amma has included Ireland in her very busy schedule. Her message of love, compassion and selfless service is a message we need to hear, and put in our practice in our daily lives. Thank you Amma for blessing our community, our county and our country."

Meanwhile, Ms. Fitzgerald noted that while the politicians present represented different political philosophies, there was at least one thing they could all agree on: "Many different politics are represented here tonight, but we are united in welcoming Amma to Dublin and to Ireland. Amma's initiative to build toilets throughout India is very powerful in terms of human dignity, and safety, and respect for the individual… Amma has done a huge amount of work in empowering women and building an inclusive society. Amma shows us there is no limit to human endeavor and what we can do to change the world, and I think everyone here tonight wants to follow Amma's example in doing that."

In her speech, Amma spoke about the importance of not over-valuing financial wealth over spiritual and human values: "If we reject values and centre our mind and thoughts only on money, all our love will become fake. Moreover, we will have a business-minded mentality towards everything. Earn money to live; don't live to earn money." Amma's remarks were yet another confirmation of Ms. Madigan's observation that Amma truly embodies the principle, "Aspire not to have more – but to be more."

Two new books were released during Amma's visit to Ireland: Light of the Heart, a memoir of living with Amma by Anna Dreier and Waves of Grace, a collection of devotees' experiences with Amma.

As every year when Amma visits, the Irish offered vibrant performances of traditional music, drawing on a rich heritage and ancient culture.

Houten, Netherlands

Amma's presence attracted people from all parts of the country as well as the neighboring countries of Belgium and Luxembourg.

Amma was welcomed to the Netherlands by India's Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr. Venu Rajamony. Mr. Rajamony began by inviting the assembled crowd to themselves welcome Amma with a round of applause. The crowd used the opportunity to express their appreciation for Amma, with applause that seemed as it would only end if they were asked to stop.

Ambassador Rajamony, declared, "I come here as the Ambassador of India to the Netherlands, but in reality I come here as just a child at the feet of Amma, come to bask in her love and to be hugged by her just as all of you… In Kerala we have a song that goes, 'Is there a God bigger than Mother? Is there a temple bigger than Mother? It is a life of sacrifice which cannot be erased by time. Mothers are the gods that appear in life and blood before us.' This song applies to all mothers, but especially to Amma, the mother of humanity."

The ambassador continued, "Friends, we live in difficult times. War, conflict, discrimination, exploitation, poverty, ignorance, hatred, xenophobia, religious hatred - all these have not been eliminated from this world. The world has been struggling again and again to get rid of these problems, but we have not succeeded. It is people like Amma, who are ambassadors of love, messengers of peace, who give unconditional love to whoever comes to them, who spread the message of unity of all religions - it is they who uphold the moral compass of society. It is the duty of each and every one of us to strengthen her hands in every manner possible - to come together and work to build a world truly free of violence."

Amma was also welcomed to the Netherlands by world champion boxer, kickboxer, acclaimed actress and coach Lucia Rijker, who shared, "I just finished recording a pretty intense television program, Dreamschool. During the recordings I thought of how Amma loves everyone the same, irrespective your background, your pain or sadness, or how dark your thoughts are. Amma embraces you unconditionally and selflessly. Something which is not easy to do for a normal human being and Amma is my example in this. How she embraces us all and lets us in, irrespective of who we are, where or what we are, how much money and success we have, or how troubled our heart is."

Ms. Rijker continued, "Amma comes to us and that is something unbelievable. Thank you Amma for always making the effort to make those tiring journeys and spend all those hours pushing us back into our heart, and helping us remember where our heart is, in this troubled world." 

Amma spoke about the importance of maintaining mastery of the mind, rather than becoming a slave to its desires. "The mind is a good servant, not a good master. As our attachment towards external objects grows, our mental strength weakens. We may think our attachment is minimal and insignificant. But as our attachment towards an object grows, we soon find that we are being reduced to a beggar before these attachments. The object of our attachment becomes our master."

The devotees of Belgium brought Amma a special gift - in honor of Amma's home state of Kerala, they performed the traditional Kerala dance kai kotti kali, dressed in traditional garb.