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 <<CityNews Main Send Flowers to India!

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Amma Inaugurates First Ashram In GA


Photos by Dale Myers

Amma in Georgia
Amma in Georgia

Devotees of beloved Sri Karunamayi, the Divine Mother, affectionately called Amma (Telugu word for mother), were extremely fortunate to participate in the historic and momentous inauguration ceremony by Amma of her first Ashram, outside India, on Tuesday, May 8, 2007. The SRIM Center (named after the Sanskrit seed syllable and an acronym for Sri Karunamayi Research Institute of Meditation), is on 25 acres of pristine Georgia farmland.

According to Amma’s vision narrated to me in an exclusive interview, the construction of the SRIM Center will be based on the Vaastu Shastra, (Indian astrology- based art for architecture). It will be in the vicinity of a pond, with lotus flowers. A Devi Temple will be built. The Ashram will also have a garden with beautiful flowers, birds, peacocks, butterflies, fruit trees, and medicinal herbs .Amma said she would also like to see cows, being cared for in the Goshala because they are like mothers. The Center will be a unique meditation center, which hopefully will be a trail-blazer model for other ashrams elsewhere. Scholars will be invited to the Center to conduct their research into the benefits of meditation and powers of different mantras in healing bodies, mind and spirits. Meditation elevates one’s consciousness. It helps to quieten one’s mind. Silence is God’s language. Amma is a firm believer in Sanatana Dharma-universal brotherhood, love and harmony, for according to Vedas, dharmo rakshati rakshita (Dharma will protect the one who protects dharma). The Mediation Center will send a message of universal peace and happiness (Loka Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu).
Amma, who is a vortex of energy and a fount of joy, clad in her orange sari, with her radiant smile, was given a rousing ovation as she came out of her Ashram home and was garlanded after sitting down in the horse carriage. Colored balloons were released and sweet music filled the air, as women in colorful saris, each carrying a kalash and coconut on her head, chanting Om,Ayim,Srim, Hrim, Saraswati Devyai Namaha joined in the shobhayatra, in front of the horse-carriage, towards the giant white tent adjacent to the Meditation Hall. Hindu temple priests chanted Vedic shlokas and blessed all the devotees. After Amma released the pigeons from two wooden boxes into the free air, she was gracefully escorted near the entrance to the Meditation Hall where she performed the inauguration Ceremony, by cutting the ribbon. She then entered the meditation hall and in the presence of the priests, performed pooja.
Amma then entered inside the tent and sat on the ornate seat with a backdrop of a garland and framed pictures of Lord Shiva and Saraswati Devi. After the priests conferred their blessings to Amma and all the devotees, Dr Kalli, who compered the program, welcomed all and invited Padma Raja Ram to sing a devotional song. Dr Kalli thanked Amma for granting the sweet boon of an Ashram to Georgia. “Everyone has a biological mother but you are our Divine Mother and we cannot express in words our gratitude to and love for you for gracing this hallowed venue with your presence today. We will do our best to fulfill your dream” he promised. (Applause)
The entire program that followed was suffused with devotional element. In her well articulated speech, Dr Sujatha Reddy said, “SRIM Center took birth with Amma’s casual words, “Find a vacant plot of 10 to 15 acres for my first Ashram before my next trip to US.” The words were casual but they were treated like a command with laser –focused energy by a core group who with fierce determination immediately began looking for a plot of land that would meet with Amma’s parameters-proximity to the airport, easy highway access, rolling grounds, entrance facing East, pond or Lake nearby, etc.). Time was of an essence. Amma was to make a brief stop at the end of the tour to put her stamp of approval on the site. That meant that there were barely 90 days to identify a site, get required permits, find monies for acquisition and close on the transaction. A Meeting was held at Dr. Kalli’s home on July 24, 2006 to finalize the plan. Amma returned from her tour, and accompanied by her entourage, saw the site, nodded in silence, affirmed and confirmed with a smile. With Amma’s blessing and financial support promised by two philanthropic families, the transaction was closed on September 21, 2006 and all the legal requirements were met. (applause) The SRIM Center will not only benefit Georgians, rest of the U.S.,but will serve as an inspiration for all Amma’s children all over the globe to spread timeless Sanatana Dharma .But my fervent appeal to Amma is “You must come to teach us. You must come You are our Commander-in-Chief.”, Dr.Reddy stressed. In return we promise to align ourselves with Amma’s vision, by putting Amma’s teachings into practice, by giving selfless Sewa, to serve humanity and to see God in every being. It is indeed our great Karma that we have this privilege to be a part of this noble Mission of moving the SRIM Center to the next phase. Let us all give a big ‘thank you’ to Amma” she concluded amidst thunderous applause.
Kishor Ramachandran introduced Swamiji, who is a big conduit to Amma. Swamiji said that Amma had chosen Georgia for the first Ashram, because while on tour, she prefers to travel by road rather than by air. This affords her a contact with mother earth as well as an opportunity to enjoy the scenic countryside (prakriti) of Georgia. Moreover she feels that the devotion and spiritual vibrations in Georgia are very uplifting. Swamiji said that now Amma has fulfilled her promise of inaugurating the first Ashram and now it is up to her children to make her dream project a reality. Amma has willed it and divine help will come when needed. He said both Amma and he were confident that the sincere and indefatigable Georgia children will shoulder the responsibilities and make the Ashram a model Ashram. He complemented Dr.Kalli and his core group for the commendable work they have already done so far. (Applause)
Mrs.Vijayalakshmi Kalli presented Amma, a fresh- flowers garland made by her, as a token of respect and abiding love for Amma.
In her brief inauguration address, soft spoken Amma, in her mellifluous voice, said that 21st Century is beset with many problems,-health related problems like cancer, Aids, psychosomatic diseases, problems resulting from the spreading culture of violence, problems from flaws in the Education system, problems caused by the mad rush for power and wealth at any cost. She exhorted her children to preserve inner values, to meditate more, to recite Gayatri Mantra, Sri Devi Khadgamala Stotram;Lalita Sahasranama,Amputita Sri Suktam among others because they have healing powers for spiritual enlightenment and rejuvenation of body and mind. They energize prana and help quieten the mind. She referred to the Sri Narasimha Maha Yajna held in Memphis recently, for world peace and harmony. The ashram likewise will teach her children to meditate and spread the message of Sanatan Dharma all over the world. She appealed to her devotees to serve selflessly for “Selfless people are backbone of the community”. She concluded her spiritual discourse by leading all into singing uplifting bhajans
The speeches were interspersed with scintillating dances by well known Bharatanatyam dance -Guru Sujya Dixit; Siddhartha, an exceptionally talented son of acclaimed dance- Guru Padma Kellam; and Vasantha( a devotee of Amma who had recently performed in Florida) respectively. Vijay Balakrishan enthralled the audience with his composition of a spiritual song on clarinet, while Vijay Patel, a long-time resident in Forsyth , GA awed the listeners with his recital of beautiful touching poems composed by him. One of his poems was framed and gifted to Amma by his sister Vidya Patel later.Usha Balakrishan gifted her CD to Amma and also pledged to donate all the proceeds from sales of her CD’s to Amma’s Ashram. The audience joined clapping in unison as Pradeep Gulati fervently sang Sherawali Maa bhajan.
In a very brief Speech, Vidya Patel, one of the member of the core group thanked Amma for her blessings, her graceful presence at the inauguration of the SRIM Center and her inspirational vision and loving guidance. She appealed to all the attendees to align and attune with Amma’s vision, donate generously and support the SRIM Center in whatever way they can, for she quoted from Practice of Dakshina, “In giving is receiving”.
Dale Myers made an awesome PowerPoint presentation of SRIM Center. He concluded by exhorting all to support the SRIM Center, saying, “We are like caterpillars. We can transform ourselves. So spread your wings. It is time to fly.”
Hymavati Mikkilineni thanked Amma for the beautiful inauguration ceremony, and her blessings and invited all to Homa at her residence on Sunday, May 13.
A sumptuous mahaprasad catered by Brindavan Restaurant was served to all. Fireworks lit up the sky as Amma’s happy children headed home.
SRIM Center is located at 285 Julie Lane, Forsyth, GA 31029. Telephone # (770)712-3139 and its website:




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