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Mata Amritanandamayi's 50th birthday today

George Iype in Kochi | September 24, 2003 08:38 IST

More than half a million people from 191 countries will participate in Mata Amritanandamayi's 50th birthday celebrations, which begin in Kochi on Wednesday.

Already hundreds of thousands of Amma's followers have landed up at Kochi, which is all set to host Amritavarsham 50.

The who's who of Indian politics, business and religions organisations will attend the four-day event, being organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, where flags of 191 nations have been put up.

Those coming include President A P J Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, chief ministers, members of Parliament and several ministers.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, an ardent devotee of Amma, will miss the meet as he is away to New York.

Some of the speakers at the meet will be Kenya's Deputy Minister for Environment Dr Wamgari Maathai, spiritual leader Hanne Strong, Malaysian Deputy Minister for Local Government Datuk Kayveas, Assistant to UN secretary general Bawa Jain, Director of US Department of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution Rev Dr Joan Campbell and Yolanda King, Director of the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Centre for Non-Violent Social Change.

Kalam will address a CEO meet. Among those coming from abroad to hear him are Gururaj Deshpande (Sycamore Systems), Kanwal Reiki (venture capitalist), B V Jagdish (Exodus Communications), Rajeev Dutta (E-Bay), Ajit Singh (Siemens Medicals), Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail founder), Prem Jain (Cisco), Yomesh Joshi (Hewlett Packard) and Sreeram Vishwanathan (Intel). An array of Indian businessmen, including Mukesh Ambani (Reliance), Sunil Mittal (Bharti), K Krishnakumar (Tata) and S D Shibulal (Infosys), will also be present.

During the conclave, Amritanandamayi, born in a poor fishing village in Parayakadavu, Kollam, will announce a unique system of meditation.

"It is called the I AM Technique or the Integral Amrita Meditation system. This is a special meditation practice that Amma has developed over the years. We believe her 50th birth anniversary celebrations is the best occasion to officially launch it," Swami Amritaswaroopananda, vice-chairman of the Amritanandamayi Math, told rediff.com

While the math is soon coming out with a booklet containing the finer aspects of the meditation system, Amritaswaroopananda said the method helps devotees progress spiritually in a world ridden by conflicts of the mind.

"The I AM medication system helps you to detach yourself from worldly worries and sorrows caused by loss or death and to distance yourself from a problem without affecting the you function," he said.

Amritanandamayi's aides said that while many spiritual organisations charge huge money to teach medication, the I AM technique would be taught for free.

More than 1,000 foreign delegates have specially come in from the US, Canada, England, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Finland, Argentina, Brazil, Mauritius, Japan and Singapore.

They are now stationed at Amritapuri, the global headquarters of Amritanandamayi at Kollam district; the math officials said they would accompany Amma as she comes in a huge cavalcade on Tuesday night to Kochi.

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