On the 27th of September every year, we celebrate Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s birthday. She is also commonly and called AMMA(meaning mother in Malayalam). The devotees have given her the name out of love and devotion. She is the founder of all institutions under the Amrita University. She is a spiritual figure in India and is known world – wide.
Amma was born on the 27th of September, 1953. Her actual name is Sudhamani Idamannel in a small fisherman’s house in Parayakadavu, in Kollam District in Kerala, India. Her father’s name is Sukumaran and Her mother’s name is . Even as a child she used to be extraordinary and very spiritual. She used to be very kind to the animals around and give them food. She used to involve herself in meditation and chanting mantras and sing bhajans in the name of the Lord. Her parents and relatives never understood this why She was doing this and hence always scolded her for doing that. But Amma ignored all this continued doing what she was doing. Amma used to even spend sleepless nights doing meditation and just looking up at the sky,wondering why some people should suffer ? Why should they and starve ? She used to be compassionate to all living beings.
Anyway, if you start talking about Amma, you can go on forever. Coming back to the present…
Devotees all over the world come to Amritapuri to celebrate Amma’s birthday and to get Her darshan on this day. It’s not that they do not come on the other days, but on this day, the ashram(there is one at Amritapuri where Amma resides )is extremely crowded. Three days before Her birthday, service begins and all students of the Amritapuri campus are expected to stay at the ashram during the three days and do service to the guests who come. Since there are thousands of people who come every year, there is the need for volunteers to do jobs like washing plates, playing the role of security for three nights, helping out old people through the crowd, controlling the people standing in queue to see Amma, that is for darshan, and so on.
Every year, the first years of every college (there are about 4 colleges here, at Amritapuri, belonging to the Amrita University) are made to stay back compulsorily during this period. It is optional for the seniors. When I was in the first year , I was very sad that I would have to stay back for three days doing nothing but walking about doing stuff that I have never been made to do even at home. But finally, since I did not have any other option, I stayed back and to my surprise I found it very memorable experience. Thus this year, being my second year, I have the right to make my decision, whether I want to stay at the ashram, to do service and I have decided that I am going to stay and serve the others to the best of my ability.