Mata Amritanandamayi has urged people take up conservation of nature. Delivering her customary address to lakhs of devotees who reached Amritapuri near here from across the globe on the occasion of her 59th birthday celebrations on Thursday, she said the selfish activities of man has seen the destruction of nearly 40 percent of natural resources and if we progress in this manner it will result in huge natural calamities.
Stressing the need for a change in development paradigm, Mata said that despite immense scientific and technological advancements, we were witnessing the disintegration of many other important aspects of our lives. “Our focus today should neither be on dependence nor on non-dependence, but on interdependence.”
Mata said that the value of respect has almost become extinct in the present generation.
She also called upon the government machinery to act on the increasing rate of suicide in Kerala. “People commit suicide for the most trivial reasons today. Government agencies and local bodies are actively working to fight environmental pollution, drug abuse and other social evils. But Amma feels that if the local bodies can provide counselling services too it would curtail the suicide rate to a great extent,” she said.
Earlier in the day, birthday celebrations began with Ganapathi Homam at 5 am. The function started with invited guests garlanding Mata. Vice-chairman of the Math, Swami Amritaswaroopananda Puri delivered the welcome address.
Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt was the chief guest. Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha P J Kurien presented the Amritakeerthi Puraskar to writer C Radhakrishnan.
The birthday message of President Pranab Mukherjee was read out at the function by INTUC national vice-president Ashok Singh. The messages from Union Defence Minister A K Antony, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, NDA chairman L K Advani, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy were also read out.
Humanitarian projects to the tune of Rs 25 crore were launched on the occasion.
Governor Shekhar Dutt launched the Amritaswanthanam project, under which 200 heart surgeries and 50 kidney transplantation surgeries will be performed at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, free of cost. The first 132 beneficiaries were selected in the presence of MLAs C Divakaran, G Sudhakaran, former minister Kadannappally Ramachandran, A Hemachandran, P Chandrasekharan and Mohammed Yasin and District Collector P G Thomas.
Union Minister for Consumer Affairs K V Thomas inaugurated the construction of 500 houses under the Amritakudeeram project. The extension of Amritanidhi pension project to 3,000 beneficiaries was launched by Finance Minister K M Mani.
Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed inaugurated the distribution of financial aid to victims of Sivakasi cracker unit blast. The families which lost a member in the Sivakasi fireworks factory explosion were given `1 lakh, and those who were seriously injured received `50,000. The aid was distributed in the presence of Andippatti MLA Thangatamil Selvan and former MLA R M Palaniswami.
KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala inaugurated the distribution of financial compensation to the families who lost a member or had a member seriously injured in the Kannur LPG tanker explosion. Minister of State for Power K C Venugopal launched the extension of Vidyamritam educational scholarships for the poor from 37,000 to 40,000 beneficiaries.
Justice V R Krishna Iyer inaugurated the Amrita Vocational Training Centre. New research-oriented projects of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham were also inaugurated.
After the conclusion of the official programme, Amma conducted the weddings for 59 impoverished couples. After that she gave darshan to one and all.
Top political leaders, chiefs of various Ashrams, leaders of religious and caste organisations attended the ceremony.