Sunday, April 26, 2009

Amma is coming to DC

Sri Karunamayi, revered in India as an embodiment of divine love, is currently touring the United States. Sri Karunamayi will be in the Washington DC area for three days in May: Wednesday May 20 - Friday May 22.

Amma, as her devotees call her, is an extremely accessible teacher, although she is at the same time also a very traditional "Hindu Guru". She emanates pure joy everywhere she goes, and she is also a great scholar of the ancient Sanatana Dharma ("Hinduism"). At the age of 21 Amma traveled on foot to the sacred Penusila Forest and spent the next 10 years meditating in seclusion. Her parents are both devout Hindus, and she had always been deeply spiritual even as a young girl, so her intense period of practice from the age of 21 to 31 was a continuation of a path she had already been on her entire life. Even while her mother had been pregnant both of her parents had dreams and visions predicting that their child would dedicate her life to serving humanity as a spiritual teacher.

Wherever she goes, Sri Karunamayi teaches people how to make use of powerful Sanskrit mantras such as the Saraswati mantra, Gayatri mantra, and Mrutyunjaya mantra, as well as longer traditional chants such as the Samputita Sri Suktam and the Sri Lalita Sahasranama Stotram. But she also places great emphasis on the practice of silent meditation, and she will be leading a day-long meditation retreat as part of her DC visit.

A brief biography of Sri Karunamayi is here:

More information on the DC part of her tour is here:

The following is taken from her website:
Amma’s Mission

In this modern world, countless indigenous peoples have lost their cultural bearings and their connection to the Earth due to the forces of modernization and commercialization. This has nearly always been disastrous for their health, happiness and well-being. For the sake of preserving India’s spiritual culture and safeguarding it against these forces, and of restrictive interpretations, Amma has dedicated her life to giving discourses, holding sacred ceremonies, and creating numerous audio and video recordings so that future generations will not have to mourn the loss of the unique and precious culture based in Sanatana Dharma.

Keeping the Flame Alive

In Sanatana Dharma, all the elements within Nature are held to be sacred and inherently pure. However, it is believed that physical pollution as well as the subtle pollution of humanity’s violence and selfishness creates stress within the natural environment. For the purification and release of all forms of negativity, India’s ancient sages recommended the holy yajna, or homa ceremony, above all others.

A homa is a fire ceremony that seeks to honor all forms of the Divine through the sacred medium of the element of fire. In this ceremony, many items are offered to God, along with prayers for universal peace. It is believed that one’s prayers and positive thoughts rise with the homa smoke into the atmosphere, where they then spread through the entire world to promote universal peace and happiness.

To preserve and elucidate the ancient culture of India and highlight the need for peace, purification and positive thoughts, Amma arranges for fire ceremonies to be conducted during many of her programs and tours. In this way, people come together to acknowledge the goal of world peace in an atmosphere rendered sacred by the combination of ancient peace prayers and the purifying element of fire.

Empowering Women

In the tradition of Sanatana Dharma, sound itself is considered to contain powerful divine energy. There are countless mantras, verses, and divine poems containing mystical insights, yogic advice, and spiritual precepts. Due to some unfortunate cultural developments, some have come to believe that common people cannot understand or use mantras properly. In some cases, women have been barred from reciting certain mantras, like the famous and holy Gayatri Mantra. As a result, many sincere and devout people have been prevented from accessing India’s profound mystical traditions.

To correct this unfortunate development, Amma has made special recordings of sacred Sanskrit chants, with the specific intention that all sincere seekers be able to learn and benefit from these priceless practices. So that all may understand the spiritual value of these ancient chants, Amma has also published a number of books elucidating the inner spiritual meaning of these mantras and hymns. In this way, countless people have gained new respect for the spiritual and cultural traditions of ancient India.