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Om Ganapathaye !
I N T E R N A T I O N A L
M O N T H L Y
C O N T E N T S
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Vol.52 No. 09, SEPTEMBER 2021
FIFTY TWO YEARS IN THE PROPAGATION
OF CLASSICAL RISHICULTURE ASHTANGA YOGA
The official publication of Yoga Jivana Satsangha (International); Vishwa Yoga Samaj (Worldwide Yoga Congress); Sri
Kambaliswamy Madam (Samadhi Site); SPARC (The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Rishi Culture); ICYER
(International Centre for Yoga Education and Research) at Ananda Ashram, Tamil Nadu. Published from Ananda
Ashram City Centre at Yoganjali Natyalayam, 25, II Cross, lyyanar Nagar, Pondicherry-605 013, India. Note: All
subscriberswill be sent e-copiesofYoga Lifeevery monthfromJanuary 2021 onwardsandhenceare requestedto register
their preferrede-mailat icyer2021@gmail.comtoensureuninterrupted receiptofthe journal.
EditorandPublisher:AmmajiYogachariniMeenakshiDeviBhavanani,
Editor:(I/C)YogacharyaDr.AnandaBalayogiBhavanani.
Phone: +91-0413-2241561. E-mail:ananda@icyer.com; Website: www.rishiculture.in
Printers:SarguruPrintographs,Villupuram,TamilNadu,India.
SubscriptionRate: IndianRs.500/year; International50Euros/year.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTI !
All the covers of this month's Yoga Life carry
beautiful montages of timeless images capturing
beautiful moments from the most marvelous life of our
beloved Ammaji, Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi
Bhavanani.
The inner pages carry heartfelt tributes to the
Mother Eagle of Yoga from her countless Yoga Eaglets
who have flown to different parts of the word
spreadingthispriceless,life transformingteachings.
We are all truly blessed to live on this planet at
the same time of Pujya Ammaji, the Living Siddha of
Pondicherry. She has with loving grace, over the past
six decades skillfully guided so many on their path
towards liberation. She has “walked the talk” and been
the most inspiring Role Model for so many seekers
worldwide.
She has with dedication and determination
taken forward the phenomenal work of Pujya
Swamiji, her Guru-husband and prepared the
Gitananda Yoga Team to continue to share Yoga, the
journey of the Self- towards the Self- through the Self.
Her Magnum Opus “History of Yoga” trilogy will
forever be a guiding light for those interested in truly
understanding the seeds of the living Yoga tradition in
its wholesomeness.
th
As we gather together to celebrate her 78
th
birthday on 13 September, it is an opportunity for us to
express our heartfelt gratitude to her. May we all be
worthy of her loving grace and may we make her
proudofeachandevery oneofourlivesinYoga.
GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
SRI MATAJI MEENAKSHI DEVI CENTRE
FOR YOGIC LITERATURE
AMMAJI- MY IRON LADY
AMMAJI: SEER, POET AND SAGE
BELOVED AMMAJI: MY FOUNTAIN
OF INSPIRATION
AMMAJI, YOUR LEGACY OF YOGA IS SAFE !
UNDERSTANDING OUR BELOVED AMMAJI
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Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTI !
DHIVYA PRIYA BHAVANANI
Deputy Director YOGNAT, Pondicherry, India.
Atrue Yogacharini,
Theonewhobrings outthe true essenceofShakti,
Of courseyou'reagreat Kalaimamani.
Eacheonhasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout!
Eachmillenniumhasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout!
Eachcentury hasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout!
Eachdecadehasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout!
Eachyear hasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout!
Eachmonthhasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout!
Eachweek hasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout!
Eachdayhasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout!
WHY...!!!???
You're a true LIVING SIDDHA, who has never questioned herself to 'Why
shouldIdo','WhoshouldIgive', 'Why shouldIgive'!
You just gave, gave and gave! Probably I should put it as 'you shared, are
sharingandwillkeep sharing!
Atrue exampleforallofusanda blessingforallofus!
Mayyoukeep glowing asyouhavealwaysbeen!
Loveyoulotsandloads.
Needyourblessingsalways!
The world has been blessed with your existence. May we all be always worthy of
yourblessings,teachingsandlove!
"TRUST is the fruit of a relationship in which you know that you are loved! Trust
involves a whole set of transcendental states of integrity, honesty, confidence, love,
care and so on. Trust isn't something that we have in every single soul. It's
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something valuable that can't be maintained in just anybody! The person who
comestomymindfirstin regardtoTRUSTisYOUandonlyYOU.
In addition, you happen to be my grandmother (a bonus special thing). I am blessed
tobe yourgrand-daughter andtobe part ofthe Bhavananifamily!
Whatever I am today & in the days to come, it's only, only and only because of you.
Youhave,are andwillalwaysbe myfirst&best!
LoveyouPatti (Dhadhi)!
Ammaji ku Arogara, Aragarogara
Ammaji, Ammaji, Beloved Ammaji;
Ammaji, Ammaji, most loving Ammaji;
Ammaji, Ammaji, most divine Ammaji.
We all love you Ammaji; We love you Ammaji.
May you always bless us, May you always bless us,
We don't mind even if you kiss us also.! – Hahaha (Ammaji)
Beloved Ammaji,Ammaji, Ammaji,
Loving, Loving Ammaji, Divine, Divine Ammaji,
Most loving Ammaji.
Loving Divine Ammaji, Loving Divine Ammaji.
We all love you Ammaji; We love you Ammaji.
Ammaji, Ammaji, we all love you.
Do you love us, Ammaji, Do you love us? – All the time (Ammaji)
You love us all the time, that is your greatness!
We love you, Ammaji… Bestest, Bestest Ammaji
Best of Best, Ammaji. (Ammaji, Ammaji….. fully)
Ammaji ku Arogara, Aragarogara
Jai Jai Jai Ammaji. AUM!
EDITORIAL
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
BIRTHDAY TRIBUTES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Ammaji has lived every day of her life in fullness, day after day, facing hard
challenges and experiencing immense joys in the light of a great spirit, a husband
and Guru: Pujya Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj. Ammaji has made every
step of her life a constant climb toward the divine light, until she herself has become,
today, the light and soul of this big spiritual family. She is an admirable symbol of
those women who, just like Rishipatnis of ancient times, are able to unite their
emancipation with the value of service, their intelligence with spiritual life and
dedication to the wellbeing of many people. Punya-Karma of this great soul is an
extraordinary son, today an excellent Guru, and splendid grandchildren who will
keep on making her light shine in the future. Our wish is that Ammaji's love and
wisdom will guide us now and always. Happy birthday Ammaji, with all our
heart.
~ Paramahamsa Yogashri Svami Yogananda Giri and all
the spiritual family of Mata Gitananda Ashram, Savona, Italy.
DearestAmmaji,
It has been many years since we spread our wings with the first batch of
eaglets. Despite having flown far and lost a few feathers, what better time to look
back and indulge in the satisfaction of your many accomplishments. The future of
mankind is brighter because of your contribution to the Yoga community, and I
have no doubt the updraft of appreciation has made the flight that much more
rewarding. May you continue to bring inspiration to others who strive to follow
the inner path, but more importantly may your coming years bring you much
joyfulnessandfruitful sadhana.With DeepestAffection.
~ Yogacharya Rajudev, Yoga Jivana (North American Chapter), USA
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
Ammaji for me is a symbol – a necessary reminder that enlightenment is not
an unattainable dream but something that can be achieved. She exudes an
impenetrable force, a vast ball of prana which brightens, strengthens and makes the
impossible possible. But more importantly, Amma inspires enlightenment through
the existence of this power alongside her humanity: She walks, laughs, angers,
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Whatever one could say on this occasion is not enough to express the special
feeling which usually arises inside the soul in Ammaji’s presence. She really
radiates Light and Love. What else do we need? - Nothing else! The same feeling I
experience reading Ammaji`s books, articles, and essays. She used to write a lot.
Some of her compositions have a deep scientific and philosophical approach, some
of them are written with a sharp humour and each and every one of her works has a
deep sense and is fascinating in form. And what to say about Yoga Life? Every
month for 50 years ... and every issue is really a treasure! Just amazingly - where
could she get so much time! I think she has a magic ability to prolong the time. No
doubt that for her the day consists of 48 hours instead of 24! Ammaji has a
wonderful ability of deep insight into everything she deals with, including and
especially human souls. Her fascinating manner to communicate with people (to
speak, to smile, to listen) attracts and captivates everybody. She expresses the core
of the subject so clearly and briefly - as a genius-sculptor who reveals the essence of
the person removing everything that covers this essence! She knows exactly how
to deal with every human soul - what to say, how to say, when to say. Dear Ammaji!
When everybody on our planet is just a bit similar to you, a bit like you are - then the
world would be much better than it is nowadays. Let we all, the students of
Ananda Ashram, be able to imbibe and transmit the knowledge and the Light
whichyou sogenerously everpresent tous!Affectionately Yoursin Yoga.
~ Yogacharini Tasha, Russia/Germany.
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
doubts, hesitates, offers realistic advice that makes you believe that you can do it
too. Amma is the personification of Satya. You look at her and see the truth, through
her expression, her actions and her words. Amma always tells us that what we do,
what we think, and what we are must be the same. These words would certainly
seem unachievable, if we could not see her embodying them with such ease. I am
blessedwith the honourofloving hersomuch.
~ Yogacharini Anandhi Kontaxaki, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Cyprus
Imagine that you had a poet from America who decided to become a
journalist. Imagine that you sent that journalist to reside inside of one of the world's
oldest civilizations (perhaps the oldest), following the tenets of a traditional South
Indian Gurukula, and thriving with those tenets. Imagine what insights could be
found in her writings -- imagine the courses she could offer, guiding others through
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Our belovedAmmaji:
Forme,Sheisthe mostbeautiful soulonthisplanet earth, and
an idealandexampleforallofus.
Sheisfulloflove,
fulloflight, fullofbliss,
fullofknowledge,fullofpositivity, fullofgrace,
fullofreadinesstoalwaysservefullofefficiency,
fullofdiscipline,
fullofaffection,
fullofblisswhichShespreadshappily toeverybody whoenters Herlife.
Om poornamadah poornamidam poornath poornam udachyate, poornasya
poornamadaya poornameva vashishyade
(That is full, this is full. If you take the full from the full, the full alone remains).
Ammaji for me is fullness, and I love her dearly. I am most grateful for Her Divine
Love and for Her existence in my life. She touched my soul, my life and she touches
many souls, many lives. May Guru / God / Goddess always shower Their most
precious Blessings upon Her so that She can enter and enlighten the hearts of many
more.Manyhappy returnsofthe day.With pranams,gratitude andfondlove.
~ Yogacharini Hanna Machia, Bangalore, India
GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
the jeweled treasury of this remarkable distillation of the human spirit. Would it
surprise you if after more than forty years you could not distinguish her from other
Indian women on the street? With the same mannerisms, gait, social grace, and
internal rhythms, the only way you could tell who she was would be by the way she
rideshermotorcycle.With loveandgratitude
~Yogacharya Ken Liberman, Professor Emeritus,University of Oregon, USA
Dearest Ammaji,
th
Happy 78 Birthday. I can never thank you enough for allowing your
wonderful son, Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani to lead our annual Yoga retreat in
British Columbia, Canada. We were strangers to you, but he had met us in Montreal
andagain inAustralia.
Trusting the inner knowing is what I thank you for. For trusting us and
knowing we would honour and respect Dr. Ananda and the teachings you and Dr.
SwamiGitananda socarefullypreservedandpassedontous.
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Hari Om, honoured and beloved Ammaji:
Born with unlimited power,
Boundless as the ocean,
Blessings never exhausted,
Many are the gifts of your Spirit.
You are a shining star in the Yoga firmament.
Body, heart, and mind unified in one amazing being.
The breath of your body is the cosmic breath… the breath of God.
Thefireinyouburnssobrightly that itsradiancedispelsthe darknessofthe world.
Your mind is like the sky, the Universe is moving through you.
I salute you as a giant upon whose shoulders I stand.
The teacher who has shaped my philosophy of life.
Wishing you a wonderful day with family and friends, marking another
milestone in your remarkable life -- a life unstintingly dedicated to Swamiji's
teachingsandtothe evolutionofthe spiritforthe betterment ofhumankind.
Mayyourearthly existencebe inhaledandyourspiritualexistencebe exhaled.
Humbly and devotedly,
~ Yogacharini Yogashakti Mathaji Margo, Senior Mentor,
Gitananda Yoga, Australia
GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
There are no words to express my gratitude to you for all you do for us. So, we
shall all celebrate you with showers of love and happiness upon you. Have a
beautiful celebration.
Namaste,
~Yogacharini Yogashakti Marion (Mugs) McConnell and
Robert McConnell, SOYA, Canada
Dearest and Divine Ammaji,
Here's a birthday gift for you, and knowing your propensity with your
generous heart to pass gifts on, it's a gift you can keep in your heart. It's just a picture
of a basket of roses, but each rose is a symbol for a moment of joy or a feeling of
gratitude or a happy memory that you have given to me over the years. And I offer it
to you today on your birthday because you have given so much joy, so much
knowledge,somuchencouragement– not onlytomebut toallofuseaglets.
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When I met Ammaji for the first time during the SBV IDY 2019 celebration, she
was radiating light and love which was very attractive and captivating for me. I am
sure everyone around must have experienced the same. I was in awe of how
Ammaji communicated in such a fascinating manner and expressed her thoughts
clearly. I experience the same feeling reading her books and articles which have a
deepscientificandphilosophicalapproach.
Now through her beautiful black and white pictures depicting Asanas in Yoga
Step-By-Step course, Ammaji is acting as a guiding star for me to actualize my
potential. I think the greatest service I can do for myself and others will be to
manifest my true potential. Extending my heartfelt pranams, good wishes,
abundance of peace, health, happiness, joy, fun, relaxation, and prayers on the
auspiciousoccasionofAmmaji's78th Jayanthi.
Maywealwaysbe worthy ofyourdivineblessingsdearestAmmaji!
AffectionatelyYoursinYoga,
~Deeya Girish Ramrakshani,
Blessed Member of Team 52, Pune, India
GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
And at the bottom of the basket is a song – do you remember the time when I
got the group to sing 'Summertime – and the Yoga is easy. Karana's supple,
chittavrittis arecalm...?'Well,Iamsinging it again todayforyou.
With loveandhumblegratitude, yoursmall-little
~Yogacharini Yogashakti Jnanasundari,
Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, France.
My deepest gratitude to you Ammaji
Dr. Ananda recently wrote a beautiful article titled 'with great fortune comes
great responsibility' that shared what it meant to be born into the most amazing
team of Yoga parents and mentors and the responsibility that comes with that.
Today, as I enter week forty-one of our Yoga Step-By-Step program with Team 52,
the realization is becoming very clear to me that with the gifts of the Gitananda
lineage and their teachings, I too have a tremendous responsibility. Team 52 was
blessed with a wonderful opportunity in the midst of great darkness, COVID-19.
We were called together by the universe to learn and continue to share these
teachings with others. As I look at the geographical locations of Team 52 members,
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
we have a tremendous amount of space where we are responsible for sharing these
truths and the teachings. What an absolute honor that has been bestowed upon us
andIhumbly accept.
My deepest gratitude to you Ammaji, in this month of your 78th birthday! My
promise to you is that I will do my very best to uphold the teachings and standards
in your honor. Happiest of birthdays. Love and blessings as this day is celebrated
with yourfamily.
Much love, light and many blessings!
~Terri M. McDermott, Svastha & Peaceful Poses & SOYA, Canada
Dear and Divine Ammaji, Happy Birthday to you!
For your birthday our warmth and heartfelt greetings to you, our best best
wishes for a new year in health and happiness in your unique, formidable and
astonishing life. May the Rishis' bliss be always with you! Everybody has their own
private relationship and experiences with you. If we speak about it, we can hardly
suspect the extent of your wisdom and your heart power. We are grateful for your
uniqueworkinGitananda YogaTraditionandfullofrespectandadmiration.
You are the bridge between Swamiji Dr. Gitananda and Swamiji Dr. Ananda,
with a lion's heart and power like Mother Earth. The incredible knowledge you have
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
written in your books will keep us busy and learning through a lifetime. And now
we all sing together loudly: 'Happy Birthday, dear Ammaji' to you and celebrate a
wonderful,nobleandwiseYogaShakti.
Shivoham, Shivoham, Shivoham, Soham!
Sincerely Yours in Yoga – for the Gitananda Yoga Society of Germany
~Yogacharini Prema Uta Stier, Chairperson,
Gitananda Yoga Society of Germany
Happy Birthday Ammaji!
You have been the guiding light in my life for over 25 years and I feel more
gratitude for your presence each and every day that passes by. I have had the
privilege of witnessing many iterations of Ammaji. When I first came to Ananda
Ashram, you were practically teaching all the classes during the six-month course
with Renukaji. As I kept coming back to the Ashram, more classes were being taught
by senior students under your mentorship. Anandaji also started giving daily
classes. When Dhivya and Anandraj were born, who was guiding their spiritual
growth?Ammaji!
But at all times, you knew what was happening with each and everyone of us.
You handpicked the fruits and vegetables that we ate, you chose our diet based on
our needs and on our sadhana. You guided senior students teaching different
courses.Asyouweretakingcareofyourgrandchildren,youwerealsocreatingthespace
andcontextinwhichAnandajicouldbecomethegreathumanandGuruheistoday.
Dear Ammaji, you have guided many tens of thousands of people to become
better versions of themselves. In doing so, you have transformed yourself from
being an incrediblehumanbeing toa state Icanonlydescribeasbeyondwords.
In silence and at a distance, you keep showing us the light, you keep enabling
us to become truer versions of ourselves and you give us the possibility to connect
with you at a higher level. I cannot express how grateful I am that you are
celebrating your 78th birthday with us. Your sheer presence on this plane of
existenceelevatesallofus.
Maywealwaysbe worthy ofsucha gift!
With allmylove,
~Yogacharya Sri Kant, Senior Mentor,
Gitananda Yoga, Ottawa, Canada.
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To describe Ammaji I only need one word: Love
From the first moment I learned about Ammaji, I knew there was a power in
her which I did not know before. She was radiating this energy from early in the
morning till late in the evening. The huge responsibility she carried on her shoulders
was visible in all her daily activities as the manager of Ashram, caretaker and
teacher of her grandchildren, teacher and nurturer of us students, taking care of us
physically, mentally and spiritually. On the top she always was an important public
person not only in Puducherry but also as a Yoga authority in India. All the tasks she
was responsible for and performed every day seemed to flow so easily. I suppose
the fellow students did not even realise at the time the huge workload and the
responsibility that was there. This realisation came for me much later as I came to
Ashram to give some support during the teacher training courses. I realised she did
the work of at least ten! What a Siddhi she had! The same Siddhi as Swamiji had and
now Dr Ananda is blessed with. What a Guru she is. What a Gurukula we are
connectedto.Suchagreat blessingforusall.
To describe Ammaji I only need one word: Love. It was always obvious that
she loved her family and grandchildren deeply. But in her big heart there was a huge
place for all her students and fellow beings inside and outside the Ashram. She
radiated this energy of love that time and radiates the same energy today. It is
overwhelming to contemplate on this and feel this energy. I must say my love for her
is so deep that sometimes it hurts not being able to be of more service to her and not
being able tobe there, justtogive her a big hug.
Ammaji is Yoga for me, the Guru, the guide I was so fortunate to get in this
lifetime! There is so much to digest I receive and received from her. May she keep
radiating Shakti stillfora longtimetocome.Happy BirthdayAmmaji!
With deepaffection,respectandlove.
~Yogacharini Vijaya, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Berlin.
GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
You are living in our hearts forever.
Ammaji is a very special soul. Maybe her eyesight is not so good, but she can
definitely see much more than somebody with perfect eyes. When there was a
discussion about a subject among us students, she sensed it and talked about it at
Satsanga in the evening. When I was in situations to make decisions, her talks in
Satsanga often helped me to stay in tune with Yama and Niyama. She has a big heart
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
Dear Ammaji:
You planted a garden,
Garden of love and heart,
Garden of all good things
That gave us an opportunity to start.
You turned us towards sunshine,
And encouraged us to dream,
Loving and nurturing,
The seeds of self-esteem.
And when we are in a storm,
You protected us enough.
But you know how much to protect,
To make us stand strong and tough.
Hope today you feel the love and shine
Reflected from all of us.
Love you Ammaji,
keep us on your lotus feet.
~ Yogasadhaki Sumita Mukherjee, Gitananda Yoga, Pune, India.
'Loving Kindness'' are the words that come to my mind when I think of
Ammaji. She brings so much joy and wisdom to us. I could write more, but I am
afraid not to be faithful to her. So, Happy Birthday beloved Ammaji! And thank you
somuchforbeing you.Myheart isfullofgratitude forhaving youinmylife.
~Yogasadhaki Sowmya, Gitananda Yoga, France
to lead people with answers to questions about everything in life. She picked the
right Karma Yoga for everyone to give us possibilities to grow. Very diplomatically
she can put people into situations they don't like, to practice svadhyaya. In so many
ways she can see what we need to become a better human being. What an amazing
woman with an amazing Life. What she achieved in one lifetime would normally take
severallifetimes.HappyBirthday,dearestAmmaji.Youarelivinginourheartsforever.
Lots of Love and Gratitude,
~Yogacharini Sri Devi, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Switzerland.
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Dearest Ammaji
You have worn many hats throughout your life. Some of them as woman,
wife, mother, grandmother, friend, disciple, student, teacher, author, just to
mention a few. You have fulfilled these roles with dignity, love and gratitude. And I
salute you for your role in my life and those of the students of Anjali School of Yoga,
South Africa. We never had the opportunity to have met Swamiji in person.
However, you were willing to share Swamiji with us by means of your wisdom,
stories, teachings and insights. Through you we got a taste of his presence, his being
and his personality and we are indeed better versions of ourselves because of that.
Your selfless service to humanity and especially to your Yoga family has led to a rise
in consciousness in so many of us. Thus, all the seeds you have planted throughout
your life have now sprouted and bloom within your students and devotees. Do
enjoy the beauty and the fruit of your labour as it is a magnificent garden with
spectacular flowers, colours and scents. We, the ones who have benefitted from
your love and light, will keep on unfolding in gratitude and mindfulness as we
honouryou.
With so much love and appreciation,
~Yogacharini Marietjie Venter, Anjali School of Yoga and
Senior Mentor Gitananda Yoga, South Africa
GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
In the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, Swamiji informs us 'the Yogi does not
believe that the senses must be dulled, rather, sharpened instead' by controlling the
correct part of our mind [neo-cortex]. How better to sharpen the mind than with
sacred invocation and pujas at Kambaliswamy Madam, recharging our spiritual
battery. Amma told us these pujas are a form of concentration. As we focus intently
on these external murthis, or deities, our mind withdraws from indriyas, instead
offering these senses to the divine. We participated in these culturally stimulating
practices including all night AUM chanting to Kanakananda as well as Shiva Ratri,
imbibing thehighidealsthat 'what wevalue,webecome.'WepractisedHathaYoga at
sunrise balancing the Sun:Ha, and Moon:Tha, currents in our nadis. We practised
pranayamaconsistingof4principalfunctionsofYama,whichmeanscontrolofprana:
Puraka: inspirationofbreath aswerequireagood'oxygen debt' forvibrant living.
Kumbhaka: held in breath charging our lungs with prana.
Rechaka: expiration of breath - cleansing part of breath.
Shunyaka: held out breath allowing arousal of the Shakti.
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
Beloved Ammaji,
We celebrate your life and the bountiful fruits of your sadhana. We realize
that, without your deep commitment and abandon to the teachings of Swamiji and
our Parampara many of these teachings would not have reached the many sadhakas
and sadhakis around the world. The way you applied your feminine touch and
devotion to transcribing, editing, and codifying the Lessons of the Yoga Step by
Step, as well as providing beautiful gems of wisdom in your own books is a boon for
us all. You set such a high standard that we can only bow to you and the example
you set. If this weren't enough, you also conceived and gave birth to a most amazing
humane being, our Guruji and illustrious Yogacharya Ananda, your beloved son.
Through him, we are being guided, stimulated and authentically instructed on the
yoga path. It is also thanks to you and Swamiji, Dr. Ananda and Devasena Miss, that
your grandchildren, Dhivya Priya and Anandraj, have been manifesting their
Dharmainthislineage andprovidinginspirationforallofus.
Being a birth path, Dharma Marga three Virgo – just like you and Anandraj, I
always felt that you could 'see me' and love me for who I truly am. I found a hOMe
with you from the first time we (re)united at the Ashram, as you always encourage
me, and all of us, to outgrow the small finite self with the elegant sarcasm that spices
yourinstructivejokes.
Grazie, Ammaji. You're a Divine Mother to all of us, the embodiment of Prana,
KriyaandJnanaShaktis.MaywebeworthyofyourLove.Weloveyou.YouareLOVE.
~Yogacharini Sangeeta, Founder, Soul Sound Academy and
Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Italy.
Our diet was healthy vegetarian food and we were encouraged to sip water
absorbing the prana. In the evening we sang bhajans followed by Satsangha given
by Amma - listening to and studying spiritual truths enabling us to better
understand reality – in Yoga called 'Sanatana Dharma' allowing an individual to
align themselveswith cosmiclaw/Dharmarai.
It was Amma who initiated me into namakarana as Muralidharan Giri. In
yantra our initiated name / nama is balanced with our birth path creating a flow of
consciousness so we can achieve balance / harmony / potential with our
VijnanamayaandAnandamayaKoshas.
Forever grateful to our spiritual mother Amma who wins our Olympic Gold
MedalforSpirituality.
~Yogacharya Muralidharan Giri [ Muralee ], Senior Mentor,
Gitananda Yoga, Australia.
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
Aum Namah Shivaya Aum
Due to finishing some spiritual works for celebration in autumn 2021 which
will be sent then, I waited for a quiet moment to read 'Yoga Dristhi' as a light-tribute
of Swamiji's Yoga wisdom by Yogacharya Dr Alan Davis of England. Beautifully
put together, it vibrates the deep, fully awakened, eternal, spiritual aliveness,
consciousness that Swamiji was gifted with and lived. As Swamiji often said: “When
we do not use the spiritual insights properly and sincerely, we will lose these ''.
Sadly, it is seen not only in the Spiritual Divine Yoga Life, but everywhere there is a
declinebecauseofthe neglect ofhealthy spiritualpracticesindailylife.
Dhiyva Priya and Anandraj are growing spiritually very well. May this reflect
also when they will choose their professional study/life which is still to come for
them.
Dear Meenakshi Devi: May her time on earth at the beloved yoga-ashram be
filled with peaceful light and spiritual harmony, joy, shanti, jyotir and dev-sama-
anandam,aum.
Dear Meenakshiji has fulfilled the yoga-dharma-karmas with practical
wisdom, light and joy, prakriti buddhi and jyotiranandam which cannot be
manifested without true and dedicated disciplines, satya-bhaktyam sadhanas.
Swamiji was for her, for us, that practical enlightened guidance. I always cherish her
name, seeing in front of me the graceful and perfect Meenakshi temples of India. We
did pilgrimage with Swamiji and saw how much Meenakshiji loved that spiritual
place. Her own Yoga-life in this life-time is built up with the Meenakshi-temple-
images and, of course, as we all have in life, not everything will be perfected, but the
Meenakshi temples of India symbolise her Yoga-life having lived with and having
met so many beautiful spiritual souls and working hard to make all beautiful pieces
ofart with Yoga-wisdom.
What makes it so special, having been together in this life-time, worked and
lived within, here, the divine Yoga life sadhanas, those who have a divine dharma to
fulfill in this, know and still experience the prana-filled, the full divine energized life
as it was, now is and will ever be. Devprana-yujnitya-sajiva bandha-satyajyotir, the
aliveness bound with our origin, eternity, the true light either in a next beautiful
spiritual incarnation or by God's grace and will, in the eternal heavens, spaces of
divinelight.
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
Cherishing all the days in the Yoga-ashram with Swamiji's true guidance,
especially in the early mornings with dear Meenakshi Deviji in Hatha Yoga:
pranayama, jnana yoga kriyas, sadhanas, there was always a serene calmness and
stillness independently present as I had experienced during in- depth Zen-
meditation sadhanas in a Zen monastery in Japan. I cherish this as a divine blessing.
Swamiji considered the Zen-meditation as one of the few true forms of meditations,
as we know it is also included in the Dhyana Yoga-sadhanas. Both in Yoga sadhana
and in sincere Zen-meditation sadhana we have to let go, whatever we experience,
again andagain.
May her 78th yoga-birthday on earth be expressed with beautiful flowers of
goodthoughts-wisdomandblessings.
Padmas-sundaram.Shivamvishvam-buddhi–aashirwaadahaum.
~Yogacharini Bharathi Devi Giri,
Divine Peace Foundation, Netherlands
Divine Ammaji - “yo mad bhaktahsa me priyah”
I am not able to express my feelings in words for Divine Ammaji. Will my
words be appropriate, will they be able to explain her divinity? Then how to
express?Divinity ofAmmajicanbe expressedonly in divinewords– Ammajiforme
is the one who Shree Krishna loves “yo mad bhaktahsa me priyah (12.13-20). For me
Ammaji has all those noble qualities which Shree Krishna loves in a person and
henceIdedicatethese slokasfromBhagwat Gita toAmmaji.
Ammaji does not dislike anyone (advestasarvabhutanam), she has a friendly
attitude and is ever compassionate to all (maitrah, karunah). Ammaji has no feeling of
ownership or idea of mineness for anything. She always says 'I am the caretaker of
the Ashram which belongs to the Divine (nirmamah)'. She is free from the notion of
ego and that is why she is unaffected by all the present challenges of the body
(nirahankarah). Ammaji is the same in sorrow or happiness, pain and pleasure
(samadukhasukha) and this is evident with the attitude she has for the challenges of
life.Sheisalwaysforgiving, solike amother(ksami)(12.13).
Ammaji is ever content irrespective of what she is getting or not getting
(santushtasatam), Ammaji is a Siddha (yogini) with one- pointed concentration on the
Divine. She has firm conviction on the will of Divine (drdha-niscayah) and total
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Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
surrenderwithnodesiresleft.Shehasfixedanddedicatedhermindandintellecttothe
Divine.ShreeKrishnasayssuchadevoteelikeourAmmajiisverydeartoHim(12.14).
Ammaji has neither disturbed anyone nor has she been disturbed by others.
Ammaji is always free from joy, impatience, fear and anxiety and so our Ammaji is
deartoShreeKrishna(12.15).
Ammaji has no desires. In our conversation she shared with me that she does
not ask anything to the Divine, not even liberation. Ammaji has a pure mind, is
skillful in her actions which is very evident from her work, impartial to all her
students as well as people in general, is untroubled by challenges of life and has
renounced every undertaking. These qualities of Ammaji make her very dear to
ShreeKrishna(12.16).
Ammaji does not rejoice, fret, lament or hanker. She has become neutral by
giving up good or bad, is filled with devotion and so our Ammaji is dear to shree
Krishna(12.17).
Ammaji is balanced and same for a friend and an enemy, honors and
dishonors, heat and cold, happiness and sorrow. Ammaji is free from attachment to
everything (12.18).
For Ammaji criticism and praises are the same, she experiences silence from
within and is content with anything. Her true home is under the feet of the lord, is
steadymindedandfullofdevotion.SoourAmmajiisdeartoShreeKrishna(12.19).
Ammaji always follows the Yoga way of life as described above with complete
faith and divine as the supreme goal, such a devotee like Ammaji is very very dear to
ShreeKrishna(12.20).
st
I would like to share Ammaji's blessing for me on the day of Shivratri 21
February 2020 – 'Divine Kiran, Namaste! Welcome to the path! It is a sharp razor-
edge! Sometimes painful! Try not to lose your balance. If you do, fall, pick yourself
up and keep going.' I am blessed to be blessed by Ammaji and I am trying my best to
be on the path, try not to lose balance and pick myself up whenever I fall and to keep
going. ThankyouAmmajiwith gratitude, loveandprayers.
Shubh Janmadinam Ammaji.
~Kiran Bhagavandas, Member of Team 52, India.
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GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
My dearest and most beloved Divine Ammaji. Best wishes for a Happy Birthday! I
have not had the pleasure and the good fortune to meet you in person, but I will be
grateful to you for the rest of my life for giving me, along with Dr. Ananda, the
chance to join the wonderful Team 52 due to the delay in receiving my copy of the
book YSS. As you suggested in a beautiful email that I keep, I just had to be patient,
in fact, despite the pandemic, "the message in the bottle" has arrived after more than
seven months. I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart and an immense
hug tothe wholeDivineFamily!
~Antonio Manzionna Member Team 52, Italy.
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th
In the year 1996 (4 std of schooling) I joined Yoganjali Natyalayam, Yognat,
Kids class. It was the first time in my life I was asked to introduce myself in Yognat.
My individual development journey starts from there. After a couple of weeks in
combined class, where all levels of students from beginner to seniors do practice
together before splitting into different levels, I saw a foreign woman with a beautiful
smile, wearing a kaavi (saffron) chudithar with Rudraksha Mala around her neck.
She came in. Everyone stood up and greeted her 'Vanakam Amma'. I was surprised
to see her first because I'd never seen anyone face to face interacting in that kind of
dress. I remember I watched before on TV in epic serials like Ramayana &
Mahabharata. The smiling essence of Ammaji connected me well with her and I was
one of the regular students of Yognat from that moment. The interest I showed
slowly over time made me progress into one of the notable students. Less than a year
afterward, I had an opportunity to visit our Kambaliswamy Madam and Ashram
ICYER. I became closer and my connection with everything happened deeply. In one
oftheclasses,Ammajisaid'Yogaisusedtotrainyourmindpositively'.Thensheasked
thequestionsattheendoftheclass.IsaidtheanswerandAmmajitoldme,'Verygood.
What'syourname?'Iproudlysaid,'Balaji'.Itwasthefirstproudmomentinmylifeand
Ammajigaveme15points,firstcreditalsoIgotfromAmmajionly.
After one year I saw another person, looking like a foreigner, in Yognat with a
perfect model suit, distributing chocolates to all the students in Yognat. We got the
news that he is the son of Ammaji and he passed in the final exams of his medical
studies. I had a feeling like 'What a man he is'! For nearly a year I used to see him
sleeping in the beds of Yognat. Lalitha Miss used to say, 'Sir is tired after doing night
duties. Don't make noise and disturb him.' Then, after that I had a chance to meet
Renuk Aakka, somehow the connections got very stronger towards Yognat, Madam
andICYERbecauseofAmmajiandRenukaAkkaclassesandtheiradviceineachclass.
After a few years Dr. Sir started to take classes in Yognat. Luckily, I became a
senior level student by that time. After attending Dr. Sir's classes, there was total
surrender of myself to Yognat. Every week I used to wait for Friday and Saturday
evenings to attend Yognat classes. I have troubled my parents a lot not to go for any
functions, not to visit relatives during Fridays and Saturdays. Even in one of my
interviews in Michael Danckwert Best Youth Awards competition I asked to keep
schoolfortwodaysandYognat forfivedays.
AMMAJI- MY IRON LADY
Yogachemmal Dr R BALAJI, Yoga therapist and
Senior Faculty YOGNAT, Assistant Professor, CYS, AVMC, Pondicherry, India
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AMMAJI- MY IRON LADY
Time went rapidly. Lots of Yoga competitions, lots of wins, few losses and if I
lost I used to cry a lot and yell. Dr. Sir became angry and shouted at me, I felt OMG
everything is gone in my life then Ammaji called me asked me to sit in front of her
and told me that I should be happy now that I had gained a good experience. Losing
is not important. Learning is important. You learnt a self-lesson that no one in the
world will teach you and that is priceless till your lifetime. Words can't express how
Ifelt at that time.IjustsaidsorryAmmaandwent.
Many positive things happened in my life after that. Whenever I feel low, I
had a habit of telling Ammaji and she used to tell me what positive things I got even
from the worst issues. Then I grew up and became one of the trustable disciples of
Ammaji and Dr. Sir. I came to know the struggles Ammaji underwent (only Ammaji
can do it) to hold the Parampara Ashram flag not only to fly high but to fly bravely
andbeautifully.
One fine evening I took my girlfriend to the ashram. Ammaji asked who she
was. I just started to sweat. I said Ammaji she is the one whom I plan to marry. What
next happened was a real surprise. She hugged my wife and said you both look
good together, I like it and welcome to our family. I just fell on her feet with complete
bliss in my heart. One favorite statement Ammaji said to me and my wife Dr.
Shamili (during a tough time of our life and we both thought that's the end) 'You
both are divine souls remember one thing if you are going through hell, don't worry,
walk like you own it and finish it with a smile'. After one year and four months
Ammaji took my son Master Balavishakan BS. She kept him on her lap and kissed
him, again priceless moments can't express in words. Ammaji and I used to speak on
mobiles for long periods, lovely text messages, always checking how I am doing,
about my wife and family too. I always used to say Ammaji, I am blessed in this
lifetime to be your student and thank you for giving us the noble soul Dr. Sir because
he is everything to me. Happily, time went like that with few life learning
experiences.
One fine day I got a call from Dr. Sir. Ammaji is not feeling well and is not
willing to go to hospital. After a couple of days I went and convinced her to go to
hospital and I felt happy to be a Doctor so that I would be able to do something for
my Ammaji at that time. After seeing the reports and related things I felt bad about
why I became a doctor. I can't do anything to my Ammaji. Slowly I accepted the
things and from the strong support of Dr. Sir we are doing our best for Ammaji.
Often Dr. Sir says the Divine Big Boss, Ammaji, is watching us closely and making
usdoourDharma.
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Ammaji single handedly holds the Parampara for a long period (still holding).
Ammaji the first Lady on Scooter in and Around Puducherry. 'For the world you are
Ammaji. For the Parampara you are the World'. Seeing you itself is a blessing in life,
but I was with you (still with you) for the past 25 years with many divine works
underyourguidance,what morecanIaskAmmaji?
May we always be worthy of your blessings and love.
With gratitude,
~Yogachemmal Dr R Balaji with Mrs Varalakshmi K, Dr Shamili S,
Master Balavishakan BS and Miss Reshma S , Pondicherry
AMMAJI- MY IRON LADY
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SRI MATAJI MEENAKSHI DEVI CENTRE FOR YOGIC LITERATURE
Yogasadhaki MALINI NATH,
Gitananda Yoga, Australia
Although Ammaji and I have not yet met, I feel a bond with her. Firstly, it is
that her being radiates the beauty of a Mother in every sense of the word. Bearing
witness from afar through my connection with the Gitananda World Family of Dr
Anandaji, Yogacharini Devasena Bhavanani, Anandraj and Dhivya Priya
Bhavanani. Seeing Ammaji pictured with her late Guru husband Yogamaharishi Dr
Swami Gitananda Giri, it is to witness the manifestation of a truly divine family. It is
as though the greatness of Swami Gitananda Giri and Ammaji is passed onto Dr
Ananda Balayogi with his beautiful wife, who is herself a manifestation of Devi, and
through them to both children. It is astonishing and rare to see three generations of
Yogic perfection and it is all due to the power of Ammaji to bring into the world a
son who would hold the responsibilities of his late Guru father with exceptional
dignity andgrace.
Many of us are ordinary mothers and we strive to raise humane human
beings. To raise divine humane human beings is another dimension beyond this. All
whilst being the Shakti, the energy and power behind a man known as the Lion of
Pondicherry who simply fills the entire consciousness of anyone who is in his
presence, even as it is for us far away, vicariously. It was an incredibly demanding
role to play, considering the fact that Ammaji was also the shishya of her Guru
husband. Bearing this obligation, whilst doing her own sadhana, coordinating the
activities of the ashram, editing Yoga Life, heading up the ICYER research institute
and teaching and running the Yoganjali Natyalayam school, it is almost
incomprehensible achievement for one individual. Add to this her publications
which include an encyclopaedic work in two volumes on the History of Yoga, which
is today, despite the treacherous domain of yoga studies, a path breaking and
comprehensivecontributiontoscholarship.
Ammaji says that she is not a scholar, although she is brilliant, and her writing
is warm, sensitive and a pure pleasure to disappear within. Surely this method is
more likely to reach the hearts and minds of the world, with a combination of
traditional story-telling, scriptural referencing and history, filled with her loving,
wholeheartedanddivineuseofwords:
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SRI MATAJI MEENAKSHI DEVI CENTRE FOR YOGIC LITERATURE
I am both a lover and a doer of Yoga. Yoga to me is a whole way of life, a life
lived intensely, one breath at a time, with conscious awareness. The real
purpose behind every thought, word and deed is conscious evolution. Every
endeavour is an opportunity to grow in spirit and consciousness. My ultimate
purpose, like the disciple of the Upanishadic Rishis, is to 'comprehend the
universe'.
Beginning with the primary focus of her life in this paragraph, wherein her
own universe is lived each breath at a time consciously, we are taken full circle, to
her purpose of comprehending the universe, and Ammaji creates this effect of bija,
expansion and drawing the egg around her ideas to make them a small gift of
something immensely powerful and transformative the whole time. We are drawn
in like proverbial moths: what is Mataji revealing to us? The entire story of Yoga in a
nutshell, beginning with herself as the emulator and manifestation, and ending
with everything. I can see her hand stretched out to me, with a tiny grain of rice in it
like a calling:Listen,read,learn,take the adviceandgrow.
For me, as a researcher, writer and lover of Yoga, Ammaji is a role model. She
is the example that reminds us all that there is a higher authority in the living yoga
traditionthat brought the wholetraditionintoherhandsasshecrafteditsstory:
Trying to solve The Riddle of Yoga has led me where angels fear to tread. But
what majestic vistas have unfolded before my eyes…The great elation at
finding how beautifully a piece fits into another and the emerging of a larger
picture as the years rolled on, was a source of quiet excitement. An article here,
a phrase there, a passage from a book, a talk by a scholar or a Swamiji – the
piecesseemedtobe magnetically attracted tomyhands.
For others, Ammaji is many things. For me, I am her reader, a listener and
someone who feels deep love for her without understanding why. And I really do
not like to listen or read anything about Yoga unless it has a very fine and clear ring
of truth. Amma is my Guru of writing, researching, of expressing her profound
insights in simple, poetic and sparkling words. This is far from the scholarship of the
academy where each word seems pressed out of a machine. This is the art of writing
onYoga,asapracticeofYogaandwhichisYoga,the truth ofYoga.
Ammaji is always going to live with me in the books that, just like for Amma,
the universe has placed into my hands. I feel an incredible responsibility as a
sadhaka and writer to speak truthfully, to cut away the briar and to learn to listen
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more to the chorus of masters along the lines of our great traditions. Her
contribution to my knowledge is something that I will have to take piece by piece,
like her jigsaw puzzle, and continue this learning for life. What it does bring to mind
is the necessity for disciplinary reform on academic scholarship and yoga. In that
context Ammaji is a trailblazer. In her honour it would be a great blessing if there
wasaSriMatajiMeenakshiDevi Centre for Yogic Literature.
In her History of Yoga, Ammaji is the voice of the writer. In the future, when a
new chapter is to be written, Ammaji will be in the History of Yoga as a great Yogini.
My pranams and deep gratitude for the existence of Yogacharini Kalaimamani
Ammaji, Smt Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani for everything she has done, every small
chain reaction that has come due to her work, her life and art of giving, and most of
all,fromthissmallheart, forher writing.
Jai Mataji Meenakshi Devi, the Lioness of Pondicherry.
SRI MATAJI MEENAKSHI DEVI CENTRE FOR YOGIC LITERATURE
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I have never met Ammaji, but she speaks to me through her wonderful
writings. She is a spiritual confidante, a friend who shares the secrets of her heart;
and, such a rare thing, one who speaks the truth without flinching, whatever the
cost, and the cost has been dear. She wears her heart on her sleeve and on every part
of her garments. She holds up the mirror of herself, whether it is shining, dimmed or
shattered,andinvitesyourgaze.
Sometimes, I want to turn away from the truth that reflection contains, but it is
often cathartic, as if she has purged something for me. I am sure you know what I
mean. She bequeathed us two magisterial tomes in which she has chronicled the
history of Yoga, as much as one can, who tries to capture the flowing Ganges in a
bottle; but it burst its banks and flowed into her own story. A majestic river of
reflections and profound insights entitled: 'The Rishi and the Rakshasas'. I drink a
little ofitswater every dayandcomeaway refreshed.
Ammaji's spirit breathes through the pores of that book: seeker, you will find
her waiting for you there, tender, outraged, vulnerable, rueful, joyful, humorous,
and always, always, compassionate and forgiving. How could it be otherwise for
one who has shed layer after layer of skin to expose a heart 'that contains
multitudes', that offers blessings to the good and the ignorant alike; and like the
sandalwoodtree, offersfragrancetothe axe.
Ammaji has the poet's gift of seeing the Divine in the commonplace, the 'halo
around the cooking pot'. Yes, she is a sage, a fierce and virtuous protector of the
Dharma, a teacher of authority. But her sweetest wisdom shines in her vignettes and
poems on everyday life. The humble flower- seller, the old bullock pulling a cart, the
docile cows, the crafty crows, the old woman scrubbing the floors, the joy of children
or the vagaries of human nature are all alike captured in enchanting tales that throb
with life and every shade of emotion. And no story is without some insight or
epiphany tocleanse ourvisionanddeepenourperspective.
Ammaji's books are dedicated to Swamiji, Dr. Ananda, her grandchildren and
the Parampara. It is a legacy of enduring truth and beauty for which I am
th
profoundly grateful. On her 78 birthday may I offer Ammaji happiness, love, and
every graceinher unfoldingjourney.OMTatSat.
AMMAJI: SEER, POET AND SAGE
Yogasadhaka MICHAEL MCCANN,
Member Team 52, Ireland
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BELOVED AMMAJI: MY FOUNTAIN OF INSPIRATION
Yogathilakam Dr MEENA RAMANATHAN, Senior Mentor Gitananda Yoga and
Deputy Director CYTER of SBV, Pondicherry, India.
Let me begin with a few questions. Have you ever felt how great it would be if
there was one person out there who understands you thoroughly? How important it
is to have one who extends their hand to pull you up when you're low-n-down, who
understands what you're going through when you're upset? That too, understands
you without a word being uttered? Who is a perennial source that inspires you
always?
There are probably millions of people out there in the world who inspire you
in life, I'm sure of it. Well, for me there is someone who is all this and more. 'My dear
and beloved Ammaji', who inspires me a lot in many different ways! The 'Big Boss'
Ammaji, as we fondly call Her sometimes – and you must hear Her naughty and
hearty laugh onthat... hahahaha…sobeautiful!
If you're down about something she will encourage you to get back up and try
again. She often quotes, '99 times down; 100 times up'. She is super nice and helpful
in everything possible and in every possible way. She helps everyone who seeks
support- such an amazing personality – quite a strong one too! 'Amma', an
affectionate and reverent term for 'mother' and the best of mothers, Ammaji is the
epitomeofunconditionallove.
She has devoted all her life to the teachings of Swamiji, has taught Yoga and
Bharatanatyam to many thousands of rich/poor children, changing their lives
positively. Charged by Her revered Guru, Swamiji, she has taught me what it means
to be fully alive and truly at home in your own body, with your own self. She is every
bit a sophisticated personality and her warmth and quick wit endeared her to
everyoneshecameintocontactwith.
Rather than focus on abstract philosophies, Ammaji always guided people
toward a better understanding of themselves by appreciating their personal
strength. She never fails to encourage and motivate by urging people to do and be
their best ever! To me, the most appealing thing about Ammaji is her class and
charismaandconfidence–it'sactually everything about herthat appeals!
She changed the course of my life with just one look at me. I very vividly
remember that day, that very moment from when my life took a U-turn. It was the
Annual day of Yoganjali Natyalam and someone known to my husband took us to
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this function and introduced us to Ammaji during a break. A beautiful 'sculpture-
perfect orange-clad BEING, so radiant, energetic and beaming. Oh my. I still
remember that penetrating look and the most striking smile that pierces and lodges
in your inner core! Gonna-and-gotta ruminate on that moment forever! My loving
beloved Amma! One look at me and She said, 'Why don't you join Yoga?' Lo and
behold, the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fell in place, and I knew what I had been
searchingforallthiswhile!
Ammaji re-channelized and re-oriented the course of my life, of course for the
better. Ammaji Inspired me so much just by showing me what she IS in life. She
taught me the 'true' connotation of the term 'respect', what it is and means, how to
earn respect. She used to say, 'Respect cannot be commanded from people- even if
you get it; it would be pretence. You have to 'BE' and earn it from others. Give
Respect and Take Respect' which I am learning. There's just too much wisdom and
culturing, fine-tuning yourself, re-defining your attitudes and outlook and re-
addressing everything freshly. It's like you press the refresh button in life and restart
all over- all this and more from this one dear person. Who inspires you in everything
you do and shows you what you need to do in life to achieve your goals in your life
by living that? By setting an example? Yes, but of course it is Ammaji, and needless
to say there is one more who is all this and more to me. My role-model and all-n-one
and one-n-all etc. Any guesses? You are right. Ananda Sir! Your loving son
Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani! I know I can look up to them for
everything and anything; follow their pathway blind-folded because I am confident
they are leadingustowards'light'.
Amma often says, 'There is light at the end of every dark tunnel. Only thing is
– do not stop. Just keep walking /moving'. Ammaji is a woman who makes a
difference whether it is in the little things or the grand gestures. She means it and She
means good, and am sure she has inspired tens of thousands of people on their
respectivespiritualjourneys.
Amma is completely self-made. Perhaps, that's why the time spent with Her is
so unique. She embraces those who seek with her warm energy, caring attitude and
true concern in spirit. Her Darshan and interaction can touch a person's life and leave
an indelible mark. Gazing into Her eyes, she can 'untie knots' and other obstacles in
their lives. She is one of a kind. Her methodology of transmission and teaching is
unique,filledwith interactivity andlivelinessandjoythat Ihavetriedtoadaptto.
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
28
www.rishiculture.in
A Guru cannot be defined in a few words. A lifetime goes in finding and
following but the core, the essence is unconditional love, selflessness and serving to
enhance the quality of thousands and thousands of lives. A Guru is about giving a
meaningful direction, a purpose to life and living by shattering your ignorance! She
teaches me Tapasya/discipline with each and every one of Her activities. I know
Gurus can be tough but care enough to correct and train us. They forcefully put us
back inourtrajectories,ifwefalloffthe tracks.
Ammaji teaches me the true meaning of humility, how to be so very down to
earth you can talk to her in a coffee shop, take up her personal time and walk in to
meet her without prior appointment, but She is always there to help you out in your
growth, your journey. Recollecting all our conversations at the Madam, in the coffee
shops, in town when we cross each other by chance or over the telephone, it is all the
same. Place does not matter. The other most important discipline she strictly
adheres to is punctuality. She is always before me and waiting. I have tried to beat
Her to it but have lost each time. I have learnt how important it is as a discipline.
That'smydearAmmaji!
Hopefully more and more across the globe will recognise and acknowledge
the greatness of our dear Ammaji, the 'Living Siddha of Pondicherry' as Sir fondly
calls Her. She deserves to be known, not because She craves fame and recognition
but because Her attitude is contagious, sets a great example that something,
anything, is possible if the intent is strong. Love you Amma and am grateful for
Yourpresenceinmylife,asaninspiration,andasthe strongestinfluence.
BELOVED AMMAJI: MY FOUNTAIN OF INSPIRATION
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
This is really GREAT! I wish I would have known about the Gitananda
Yoga Tradition earlier. Feeling a little missing out on meeting Ammaji earlier.
While going through the chapters of YSS, one can easily understand the effort
'behind the scene'. Swamiji and Ammaji are like the two energies, Shiva and
Shakti: both are indispensable, interdependent, and inseparable energies. I
haven't read the books of Ammaji but listened to her lectures. I liked her unique
way of associating Yoga with different cultures and philosophies. Her concern
about the maintenance of the originality of Yoga is the need of the hour. I am
very fortunate to be in touchwith suchDivine Beings.
~Nilachal Padmashanti, Assistant Professor of Yoga
at Sarala Birla University, India
29
www.rishiculture.in
AMMAJI, YOUR LEGACY OF YOGA IS SAFE !
Yogacharini KALAVATHI DEVI,
Senior Mentor Gitananda Yoga and Founder Om Yoga Studio,UK.
MyDearestAmmaji
I first met you in September 1999 when I came for the teacher training course. I
had hardly slept for forty-eight hours and I had fallen asleep in my room at the time I
was meant to meet you. Dr Ananda had to awaken me, and I ran up to meet you in
your apartment feeling all sorts of things: nervous, annoyed or maybe naughty or
stupid for missing my appointment, excitement, extremely jet lagged and emotional
among other things. I did not know what to expect. Would you be some matronly
like strict lady running the Ashram? I had no idea! I sat and talked with you for what
seemed like an hour. You were so lovely and made me feel so very welcome and
there was no hint at all that I had been late for you. You were warm, caring, friendly,
calm, confident and you made me feel safe and at ease with your smiles and sense of
humour.Iwassohappy tobe there andknew Iwasinthe right place.
Over the years I have returned to the ashram almost yearly for months at time.
The ashram is very much my home and the people in it my family. What a blessing it
has been to my life to have this direct closeness with you Ammaji and I feel so very
grateful that you told me to come and join the training all those years ago. Ammaji
had responded to a letter that I had written to her in the summer of 1999 asking for
help to find a Yoga course that I could do since I did not think I could attend the 6-
month training at Ananda Ashram as I had not completed the correspondence
course. I received a letter late summer telling me to come and start the teacher
training coursein October andthat iswhat Idid.
Never have I known someone else like Ammaji. Such a dynamic powerful
woman who always did so much and had time for everyone as well as herself. She
ran and taught the 6-month course, she ran the City centre and taught kids there, she
ran the Madam performing puja and arranging all the festivities, she ran Yoga Life
and the monthly magazine was always on time and, as well as all of this, she was
frequently a special guest all over the place and ran up and down to Delhi to
participate on official boards for Yoga. That is a skill in itself and she did it so
skilfully. I was one of the fortunate students that was taught everything by Ammaji
as back then she taught Hatha Yoga in the morning, pranayama and theory before
lunchtime as well as all the satsangs in the evening. Everything she knew poured
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
30
www.rishiculture.in
out of her and we absorbed it all whatever level it went on. Since Ammaji was
always my teacher and Guru, her voice stays with me and to me is like honey. It is so
sweet to my ears and is deeply ingrained into my psyche, nurturing me with every
wordandwhisper.
I have spent so much time with Ammaji over the years and have so many
amazing memories which are too many to tell here. Many of which include various
excursions where she would tell us her life stories and give us insightful information
about wherever we were going. She was the cleverest, most intelligent, wisest yet
empathic person I have ever known. I love Ammaji dearly and despite the great
physical distance between us, I like to visit her when I can, albeit in person or
through the quickestmodeoftravel: mymind.
My greatest tribute to Ammaji is to have taught all these years and not
wavered from all that she taught me. Her legacy of Yoga is safe with me, and I will
always do my best to make her proud. I had the best teacher anyone could wish for,
andIhopethat Icangoback homesoonandseeher.
I love you Ammaji!
AMMAJI, YOUR LEGACY OF YOGA IS SAFE !
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
To my best friend and teacher Ammaji,
Wishing you a very Happy Birthday!
With love from your devoted student.
Yogathilakam Yogacharini Cathy Davis, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, UK
31
www.rishiculture.in
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
UNDERSTANDING OUR BELOVED AMMAJI
Yogacharini DEVASENA BHAVANANI, Senior Faculty and General Secretary
ICYER and Yoganjali Natyalayam, Pondicherry, India.
Vanakkam Ammaji,
You always like to ask “Who am I?” (Koham), but today I would like to
expressmythoughts onwhoyouare!
Just as the Universe moves with Lord Shiva, Nataraja's dance, you have been
constantlymovingussincethe very beginning inevery possibleway.
You often remind us by saying “The 3 R's – Regularity, Rhythm and
Repetition” and make sure that you brought out that discipline in each and
everyonewhocrossedyourlife.
Throughout the times of being with you, we have seen sense of perfect timing
and the manifestation of the transformative energy like Lord Ishwara, in and
through you.
You have manifested the energies of the Trinity and the Trishakthi in so many
ways:
Ÿ As Lord Shiva, you transformed us from carbon into charcoal and
potentially diamondssomeday.
Ÿ As Ma Parvathi, as a mother, our beloved Ammaji, you gave us strength
andacceptedusaswewere/are.
Ÿ AsLordNarayana, yougave usprotectionandsustenanceeveryday.
Ÿ As Sri Lakshmi Devi, you gave us everything in abundance (like Ashta
Lakshmi).
Ÿ AsLordBrahma,youcreatedmanybeauties that didn'texist before.
Ÿ AsMaSaraswathi,youblessedusby giving everyonethe 64 sacredarts.
You have the energies of each and every one of the Pancha MahaBhutas
within you and providedfor us a steady grounding, balance, inspiration, dynamism
andpeace.
You used to often say that the Siddhas were your relatives and you have truly
followed them. Like the Siddhas, you have so many Siddhis within you that
UNDERSTANDING OUR BELOVED AMMAJI
32
www.rishiculture.in
Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
transform countless people and bless them with a great life. Just as the
Ashtadikpalakas,youprotecteveryonearoundyouinevery possibledirection.
Manifesting the Navagraha energy (Dosha) within us any time you gave
the solution (Parihara) and even at times took on different life form like Maharishi
Patanjali and Sage Vyaghrapada to show courage and strength. To sublimate our
ego you manifested Goddess Ma Durga Devi (Duhkha Nivarani) to destroy our
ignorance Mada Math sarya (Shatripu). You are a matchless leader who has led all
sadhakaswith disciplinelike LordMuruga(DevaSenathipathy)
You served our Divine Mother Yoga by compiling the greatest
contributions of the "History of Yoga-Vol1 & 2" and matchless stories in the "Rishi
and the Rakshasas". During this time I personally saw how like Lord Ganesha
broke his tusk to write the Mahabharata, You despite hurting your writing thumb
and fingers never ever gave up inspite of the excruciating pain. You continued to
write andblessusallwith yourmagnificentMagnumOpus,never evergiving up.
No matter what happened, you with love and gratitude kept up your Guru
Seva relentlessly and followed your Guru – our beloved Pujya Swamiji without
missing a single step on his path. You also lovingly accepted us into your life even
though weare yet tobe worthy ofyourDivine teachings.
I have seen you manifest all of these aspects of Divinity and despite such
greatness you always allowed us to call you as our beloved Amma. You have
tolerated us as we were and are, with all our limitations. Who else can understand
and prepare us to face the struggles of life? Because of you, and only you, am I a
decentpersoninthislifetoday.
Thank you dearest Ammaji for everything. Thank you so much for your
Divine and most loving teachings for humanity. Happy Birthday to you, Ammaji.
Maywealwaysbe worthy ofyourlove.
Divine andmostdearAmmaji,
Thank you for being the guiding light that you are. A star of such magnitude
is so rare these days. You are one in a million! May you continue to be a torch
bearer, igniting the flame of yoga in the hearts of all you come in contact with. Aum
Shantih.
~ Cathryn Doornekamp, Lotus Yoga Centre, Paraparaumu, New Zealand.
Special issue of Yoga Life (September 2021) celebrating Ammaji's  Jayanthi
Special issue of Yoga Life (September 2021) celebrating Ammaji's  Jayanthi

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Special issue of Yoga Life (September 2021) celebrating Ammaji's Jayanthi

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3. Om Ganapathaye ! I N T E R N A T I O N A L M O N T H L Y C O N T E N T S - 02 - 04 - 19 - 22 - 25 - 26 - 29 - 31 Vol.52 No. 09, SEPTEMBER 2021 FIFTY TWO YEARS IN THE PROPAGATION OF CLASSICAL RISHICULTURE ASHTANGA YOGA The official publication of Yoga Jivana Satsangha (International); Vishwa Yoga Samaj (Worldwide Yoga Congress); Sri Kambaliswamy Madam (Samadhi Site); SPARC (The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Rishi Culture); ICYER (International Centre for Yoga Education and Research) at Ananda Ashram, Tamil Nadu. Published from Ananda Ashram City Centre at Yoganjali Natyalayam, 25, II Cross, lyyanar Nagar, Pondicherry-605 013, India. Note: All subscriberswill be sent e-copiesofYoga Lifeevery monthfromJanuary 2021 onwardsandhenceare requestedto register their preferrede-mailat icyer2021@gmail.comtoensureuninterrupted receiptofthe journal. EditorandPublisher:AmmajiYogachariniMeenakshiDeviBhavanani, Editor:(I/C)YogacharyaDr.AnandaBalayogiBhavanani. Phone: +91-0413-2241561. E-mail:ananda@icyer.com; Website: www.rishiculture.in Printers:SarguruPrintographs,Villupuram,TamilNadu,India. SubscriptionRate: IndianRs.500/year; International50Euros/year. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTI ! All the covers of this month's Yoga Life carry beautiful montages of timeless images capturing beautiful moments from the most marvelous life of our beloved Ammaji, Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani. The inner pages carry heartfelt tributes to the Mother Eagle of Yoga from her countless Yoga Eaglets who have flown to different parts of the word spreadingthispriceless,life transformingteachings. We are all truly blessed to live on this planet at the same time of Pujya Ammaji, the Living Siddha of Pondicherry. She has with loving grace, over the past six decades skillfully guided so many on their path towards liberation. She has “walked the talk” and been the most inspiring Role Model for so many seekers worldwide. She has with dedication and determination taken forward the phenomenal work of Pujya Swamiji, her Guru-husband and prepared the Gitananda Yoga Team to continue to share Yoga, the journey of the Self- towards the Self- through the Self. Her Magnum Opus “History of Yoga” trilogy will forever be a guiding light for those interested in truly understanding the seeds of the living Yoga tradition in its wholesomeness. th As we gather together to celebrate her 78 th birthday on 13 September, it is an opportunity for us to express our heartfelt gratitude to her. May we all be worthy of her loving grace and may we make her proudofeachandevery oneofourlivesinYoga. GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI SRI MATAJI MEENAKSHI DEVI CENTRE FOR YOGIC LITERATURE AMMAJI- MY IRON LADY AMMAJI: SEER, POET AND SAGE BELOVED AMMAJI: MY FOUNTAIN OF INSPIRATION AMMAJI, YOUR LEGACY OF YOGA IS SAFE ! UNDERSTANDING OUR BELOVED AMMAJI
  • 4. 02 www.rishiculture.in Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTI ! DHIVYA PRIYA BHAVANANI Deputy Director YOGNAT, Pondicherry, India. Atrue Yogacharini, Theonewhobrings outthe true essenceofShakti, Of courseyou'reagreat Kalaimamani. Eacheonhasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout! Eachmillenniumhasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout! Eachcentury hasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout! Eachdecadehasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout! Eachyear hasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout! Eachmonthhasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout! Eachweek hasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout! Eachdayhasmany,manybirthdays, yet yourbirthday standsout! WHY...!!!??? You're a true LIVING SIDDHA, who has never questioned herself to 'Why shouldIdo','WhoshouldIgive', 'Why shouldIgive'! You just gave, gave and gave! Probably I should put it as 'you shared, are sharingandwillkeep sharing! Atrue exampleforallofusanda blessingforallofus! Mayyoukeep glowing asyouhavealwaysbeen! Loveyoulotsandloads. Needyourblessingsalways! The world has been blessed with your existence. May we all be always worthy of yourblessings,teachingsandlove! "TRUST is the fruit of a relationship in which you know that you are loved! Trust involves a whole set of transcendental states of integrity, honesty, confidence, love, care and so on. Trust isn't something that we have in every single soul. It's
  • 5. 03 www.rishiculture.in something valuable that can't be maintained in just anybody! The person who comestomymindfirstin regardtoTRUSTisYOUandonlyYOU. In addition, you happen to be my grandmother (a bonus special thing). I am blessed tobe yourgrand-daughter andtobe part ofthe Bhavananifamily! Whatever I am today & in the days to come, it's only, only and only because of you. Youhave,are andwillalwaysbe myfirst&best! LoveyouPatti (Dhadhi)! Ammaji ku Arogara, Aragarogara Ammaji, Ammaji, Beloved Ammaji; Ammaji, Ammaji, most loving Ammaji; Ammaji, Ammaji, most divine Ammaji. We all love you Ammaji; We love you Ammaji. May you always bless us, May you always bless us, We don't mind even if you kiss us also.! – Hahaha (Ammaji) Beloved Ammaji,Ammaji, Ammaji, Loving, Loving Ammaji, Divine, Divine Ammaji, Most loving Ammaji. Loving Divine Ammaji, Loving Divine Ammaji. We all love you Ammaji; We love you Ammaji. Ammaji, Ammaji, we all love you. Do you love us, Ammaji, Do you love us? – All the time (Ammaji) You love us all the time, that is your greatness! We love you, Ammaji… Bestest, Bestest Ammaji Best of Best, Ammaji. (Ammaji, Ammaji….. fully) Ammaji ku Arogara, Aragarogara Jai Jai Jai Ammaji. AUM! EDITORIAL Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 6. 04 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI BIRTHDAY TRIBUTES FROM AROUND THE WORLD Ammaji has lived every day of her life in fullness, day after day, facing hard challenges and experiencing immense joys in the light of a great spirit, a husband and Guru: Pujya Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj. Ammaji has made every step of her life a constant climb toward the divine light, until she herself has become, today, the light and soul of this big spiritual family. She is an admirable symbol of those women who, just like Rishipatnis of ancient times, are able to unite their emancipation with the value of service, their intelligence with spiritual life and dedication to the wellbeing of many people. Punya-Karma of this great soul is an extraordinary son, today an excellent Guru, and splendid grandchildren who will keep on making her light shine in the future. Our wish is that Ammaji's love and wisdom will guide us now and always. Happy birthday Ammaji, with all our heart. ~ Paramahamsa Yogashri Svami Yogananda Giri and all the spiritual family of Mata Gitananda Ashram, Savona, Italy. DearestAmmaji, It has been many years since we spread our wings with the first batch of eaglets. Despite having flown far and lost a few feathers, what better time to look back and indulge in the satisfaction of your many accomplishments. The future of mankind is brighter because of your contribution to the Yoga community, and I have no doubt the updraft of appreciation has made the flight that much more rewarding. May you continue to bring inspiration to others who strive to follow the inner path, but more importantly may your coming years bring you much joyfulnessandfruitful sadhana.With DeepestAffection. ~ Yogacharya Rajudev, Yoga Jivana (North American Chapter), USA Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 Ammaji for me is a symbol – a necessary reminder that enlightenment is not an unattainable dream but something that can be achieved. She exudes an impenetrable force, a vast ball of prana which brightens, strengthens and makes the impossible possible. But more importantly, Amma inspires enlightenment through the existence of this power alongside her humanity: She walks, laughs, angers,
  • 7. 05 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Whatever one could say on this occasion is not enough to express the special feeling which usually arises inside the soul in Ammaji’s presence. She really radiates Light and Love. What else do we need? - Nothing else! The same feeling I experience reading Ammaji`s books, articles, and essays. She used to write a lot. Some of her compositions have a deep scientific and philosophical approach, some of them are written with a sharp humour and each and every one of her works has a deep sense and is fascinating in form. And what to say about Yoga Life? Every month for 50 years ... and every issue is really a treasure! Just amazingly - where could she get so much time! I think she has a magic ability to prolong the time. No doubt that for her the day consists of 48 hours instead of 24! Ammaji has a wonderful ability of deep insight into everything she deals with, including and especially human souls. Her fascinating manner to communicate with people (to speak, to smile, to listen) attracts and captivates everybody. She expresses the core of the subject so clearly and briefly - as a genius-sculptor who reveals the essence of the person removing everything that covers this essence! She knows exactly how to deal with every human soul - what to say, how to say, when to say. Dear Ammaji! When everybody on our planet is just a bit similar to you, a bit like you are - then the world would be much better than it is nowadays. Let we all, the students of Ananda Ashram, be able to imbibe and transmit the knowledge and the Light whichyou sogenerously everpresent tous!Affectionately Yoursin Yoga. ~ Yogacharini Tasha, Russia/Germany. Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 doubts, hesitates, offers realistic advice that makes you believe that you can do it too. Amma is the personification of Satya. You look at her and see the truth, through her expression, her actions and her words. Amma always tells us that what we do, what we think, and what we are must be the same. These words would certainly seem unachievable, if we could not see her embodying them with such ease. I am blessedwith the honourofloving hersomuch. ~ Yogacharini Anandhi Kontaxaki, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Cyprus Imagine that you had a poet from America who decided to become a journalist. Imagine that you sent that journalist to reside inside of one of the world's oldest civilizations (perhaps the oldest), following the tenets of a traditional South Indian Gurukula, and thriving with those tenets. Imagine what insights could be found in her writings -- imagine the courses she could offer, guiding others through
  • 8. 06 www.rishiculture.in Our belovedAmmaji: Forme,Sheisthe mostbeautiful soulonthisplanet earth, and an idealandexampleforallofus. Sheisfulloflove, fulloflight, fullofbliss, fullofknowledge,fullofpositivity, fullofgrace, fullofreadinesstoalwaysservefullofefficiency, fullofdiscipline, fullofaffection, fullofblisswhichShespreadshappily toeverybody whoenters Herlife. Om poornamadah poornamidam poornath poornam udachyate, poornasya poornamadaya poornameva vashishyade (That is full, this is full. If you take the full from the full, the full alone remains). Ammaji for me is fullness, and I love her dearly. I am most grateful for Her Divine Love and for Her existence in my life. She touched my soul, my life and she touches many souls, many lives. May Guru / God / Goddess always shower Their most precious Blessings upon Her so that She can enter and enlighten the hearts of many more.Manyhappy returnsofthe day.With pranams,gratitude andfondlove. ~ Yogacharini Hanna Machia, Bangalore, India GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 the jeweled treasury of this remarkable distillation of the human spirit. Would it surprise you if after more than forty years you could not distinguish her from other Indian women on the street? With the same mannerisms, gait, social grace, and internal rhythms, the only way you could tell who she was would be by the way she rideshermotorcycle.With loveandgratitude ~Yogacharya Ken Liberman, Professor Emeritus,University of Oregon, USA Dearest Ammaji, th Happy 78 Birthday. I can never thank you enough for allowing your wonderful son, Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani to lead our annual Yoga retreat in British Columbia, Canada. We were strangers to you, but he had met us in Montreal andagain inAustralia. Trusting the inner knowing is what I thank you for. For trusting us and knowing we would honour and respect Dr. Ananda and the teachings you and Dr. SwamiGitananda socarefullypreservedandpassedontous.
  • 9. 07 www.rishiculture.in Hari Om, honoured and beloved Ammaji: Born with unlimited power, Boundless as the ocean, Blessings never exhausted, Many are the gifts of your Spirit. You are a shining star in the Yoga firmament. Body, heart, and mind unified in one amazing being. The breath of your body is the cosmic breath… the breath of God. Thefireinyouburnssobrightly that itsradiancedispelsthe darknessofthe world. Your mind is like the sky, the Universe is moving through you. I salute you as a giant upon whose shoulders I stand. The teacher who has shaped my philosophy of life. Wishing you a wonderful day with family and friends, marking another milestone in your remarkable life -- a life unstintingly dedicated to Swamiji's teachingsandtothe evolutionofthe spiritforthe betterment ofhumankind. Mayyourearthly existencebe inhaledandyourspiritualexistencebe exhaled. Humbly and devotedly, ~ Yogacharini Yogashakti Mathaji Margo, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Australia GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 There are no words to express my gratitude to you for all you do for us. So, we shall all celebrate you with showers of love and happiness upon you. Have a beautiful celebration. Namaste, ~Yogacharini Yogashakti Marion (Mugs) McConnell and Robert McConnell, SOYA, Canada Dearest and Divine Ammaji, Here's a birthday gift for you, and knowing your propensity with your generous heart to pass gifts on, it's a gift you can keep in your heart. It's just a picture of a basket of roses, but each rose is a symbol for a moment of joy or a feeling of gratitude or a happy memory that you have given to me over the years. And I offer it to you today on your birthday because you have given so much joy, so much knowledge,somuchencouragement– not onlytomebut toallofuseaglets.
  • 10. 08 www.rishiculture.in When I met Ammaji for the first time during the SBV IDY 2019 celebration, she was radiating light and love which was very attractive and captivating for me. I am sure everyone around must have experienced the same. I was in awe of how Ammaji communicated in such a fascinating manner and expressed her thoughts clearly. I experience the same feeling reading her books and articles which have a deepscientificandphilosophicalapproach. Now through her beautiful black and white pictures depicting Asanas in Yoga Step-By-Step course, Ammaji is acting as a guiding star for me to actualize my potential. I think the greatest service I can do for myself and others will be to manifest my true potential. Extending my heartfelt pranams, good wishes, abundance of peace, health, happiness, joy, fun, relaxation, and prayers on the auspiciousoccasionofAmmaji's78th Jayanthi. Maywealwaysbe worthy ofyourdivineblessingsdearestAmmaji! AffectionatelyYoursinYoga, ~Deeya Girish Ramrakshani, Blessed Member of Team 52, Pune, India GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 And at the bottom of the basket is a song – do you remember the time when I got the group to sing 'Summertime – and the Yoga is easy. Karana's supple, chittavrittis arecalm...?'Well,Iamsinging it again todayforyou. With loveandhumblegratitude, yoursmall-little ~Yogacharini Yogashakti Jnanasundari, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, France. My deepest gratitude to you Ammaji Dr. Ananda recently wrote a beautiful article titled 'with great fortune comes great responsibility' that shared what it meant to be born into the most amazing team of Yoga parents and mentors and the responsibility that comes with that. Today, as I enter week forty-one of our Yoga Step-By-Step program with Team 52, the realization is becoming very clear to me that with the gifts of the Gitananda lineage and their teachings, I too have a tremendous responsibility. Team 52 was blessed with a wonderful opportunity in the midst of great darkness, COVID-19. We were called together by the universe to learn and continue to share these teachings with others. As I look at the geographical locations of Team 52 members,
  • 11. 09 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 we have a tremendous amount of space where we are responsible for sharing these truths and the teachings. What an absolute honor that has been bestowed upon us andIhumbly accept. My deepest gratitude to you Ammaji, in this month of your 78th birthday! My promise to you is that I will do my very best to uphold the teachings and standards in your honor. Happiest of birthdays. Love and blessings as this day is celebrated with yourfamily. Much love, light and many blessings! ~Terri M. McDermott, Svastha & Peaceful Poses & SOYA, Canada Dear and Divine Ammaji, Happy Birthday to you! For your birthday our warmth and heartfelt greetings to you, our best best wishes for a new year in health and happiness in your unique, formidable and astonishing life. May the Rishis' bliss be always with you! Everybody has their own private relationship and experiences with you. If we speak about it, we can hardly suspect the extent of your wisdom and your heart power. We are grateful for your uniqueworkinGitananda YogaTraditionandfullofrespectandadmiration. You are the bridge between Swamiji Dr. Gitananda and Swamiji Dr. Ananda, with a lion's heart and power like Mother Earth. The incredible knowledge you have
  • 12. 10 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 written in your books will keep us busy and learning through a lifetime. And now we all sing together loudly: 'Happy Birthday, dear Ammaji' to you and celebrate a wonderful,nobleandwiseYogaShakti. Shivoham, Shivoham, Shivoham, Soham! Sincerely Yours in Yoga – for the Gitananda Yoga Society of Germany ~Yogacharini Prema Uta Stier, Chairperson, Gitananda Yoga Society of Germany Happy Birthday Ammaji! You have been the guiding light in my life for over 25 years and I feel more gratitude for your presence each and every day that passes by. I have had the privilege of witnessing many iterations of Ammaji. When I first came to Ananda Ashram, you were practically teaching all the classes during the six-month course with Renukaji. As I kept coming back to the Ashram, more classes were being taught by senior students under your mentorship. Anandaji also started giving daily classes. When Dhivya and Anandraj were born, who was guiding their spiritual growth?Ammaji! But at all times, you knew what was happening with each and everyone of us. You handpicked the fruits and vegetables that we ate, you chose our diet based on our needs and on our sadhana. You guided senior students teaching different courses.Asyouweretakingcareofyourgrandchildren,youwerealsocreatingthespace andcontextinwhichAnandajicouldbecomethegreathumanandGuruheistoday. Dear Ammaji, you have guided many tens of thousands of people to become better versions of themselves. In doing so, you have transformed yourself from being an incrediblehumanbeing toa state Icanonlydescribeasbeyondwords. In silence and at a distance, you keep showing us the light, you keep enabling us to become truer versions of ourselves and you give us the possibility to connect with you at a higher level. I cannot express how grateful I am that you are celebrating your 78th birthday with us. Your sheer presence on this plane of existenceelevatesallofus. Maywealwaysbe worthy ofsucha gift! With allmylove, ~Yogacharya Sri Kant, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Ottawa, Canada.
  • 13. 11 www.rishiculture.in To describe Ammaji I only need one word: Love From the first moment I learned about Ammaji, I knew there was a power in her which I did not know before. She was radiating this energy from early in the morning till late in the evening. The huge responsibility she carried on her shoulders was visible in all her daily activities as the manager of Ashram, caretaker and teacher of her grandchildren, teacher and nurturer of us students, taking care of us physically, mentally and spiritually. On the top she always was an important public person not only in Puducherry but also as a Yoga authority in India. All the tasks she was responsible for and performed every day seemed to flow so easily. I suppose the fellow students did not even realise at the time the huge workload and the responsibility that was there. This realisation came for me much later as I came to Ashram to give some support during the teacher training courses. I realised she did the work of at least ten! What a Siddhi she had! The same Siddhi as Swamiji had and now Dr Ananda is blessed with. What a Guru she is. What a Gurukula we are connectedto.Suchagreat blessingforusall. To describe Ammaji I only need one word: Love. It was always obvious that she loved her family and grandchildren deeply. But in her big heart there was a huge place for all her students and fellow beings inside and outside the Ashram. She radiated this energy of love that time and radiates the same energy today. It is overwhelming to contemplate on this and feel this energy. I must say my love for her is so deep that sometimes it hurts not being able to be of more service to her and not being able tobe there, justtogive her a big hug. Ammaji is Yoga for me, the Guru, the guide I was so fortunate to get in this lifetime! There is so much to digest I receive and received from her. May she keep radiating Shakti stillfora longtimetocome.Happy BirthdayAmmaji! With deepaffection,respectandlove. ~Yogacharini Vijaya, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Berlin. GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 You are living in our hearts forever. Ammaji is a very special soul. Maybe her eyesight is not so good, but she can definitely see much more than somebody with perfect eyes. When there was a discussion about a subject among us students, she sensed it and talked about it at Satsanga in the evening. When I was in situations to make decisions, her talks in Satsanga often helped me to stay in tune with Yama and Niyama. She has a big heart
  • 14. 12 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 Dear Ammaji: You planted a garden, Garden of love and heart, Garden of all good things That gave us an opportunity to start. You turned us towards sunshine, And encouraged us to dream, Loving and nurturing, The seeds of self-esteem. And when we are in a storm, You protected us enough. But you know how much to protect, To make us stand strong and tough. Hope today you feel the love and shine Reflected from all of us. Love you Ammaji, keep us on your lotus feet. ~ Yogasadhaki Sumita Mukherjee, Gitananda Yoga, Pune, India. 'Loving Kindness'' are the words that come to my mind when I think of Ammaji. She brings so much joy and wisdom to us. I could write more, but I am afraid not to be faithful to her. So, Happy Birthday beloved Ammaji! And thank you somuchforbeing you.Myheart isfullofgratitude forhaving youinmylife. ~Yogasadhaki Sowmya, Gitananda Yoga, France to lead people with answers to questions about everything in life. She picked the right Karma Yoga for everyone to give us possibilities to grow. Very diplomatically she can put people into situations they don't like, to practice svadhyaya. In so many ways she can see what we need to become a better human being. What an amazing woman with an amazing Life. What she achieved in one lifetime would normally take severallifetimes.HappyBirthday,dearestAmmaji.Youarelivinginourheartsforever. Lots of Love and Gratitude, ~Yogacharini Sri Devi, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Switzerland.
  • 15. 13 www.rishiculture.in Dearest Ammaji You have worn many hats throughout your life. Some of them as woman, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, disciple, student, teacher, author, just to mention a few. You have fulfilled these roles with dignity, love and gratitude. And I salute you for your role in my life and those of the students of Anjali School of Yoga, South Africa. We never had the opportunity to have met Swamiji in person. However, you were willing to share Swamiji with us by means of your wisdom, stories, teachings and insights. Through you we got a taste of his presence, his being and his personality and we are indeed better versions of ourselves because of that. Your selfless service to humanity and especially to your Yoga family has led to a rise in consciousness in so many of us. Thus, all the seeds you have planted throughout your life have now sprouted and bloom within your students and devotees. Do enjoy the beauty and the fruit of your labour as it is a magnificent garden with spectacular flowers, colours and scents. We, the ones who have benefitted from your love and light, will keep on unfolding in gratitude and mindfulness as we honouryou. With so much love and appreciation, ~Yogacharini Marietjie Venter, Anjali School of Yoga and Senior Mentor Gitananda Yoga, South Africa GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 In the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, Swamiji informs us 'the Yogi does not believe that the senses must be dulled, rather, sharpened instead' by controlling the correct part of our mind [neo-cortex]. How better to sharpen the mind than with sacred invocation and pujas at Kambaliswamy Madam, recharging our spiritual battery. Amma told us these pujas are a form of concentration. As we focus intently on these external murthis, or deities, our mind withdraws from indriyas, instead offering these senses to the divine. We participated in these culturally stimulating practices including all night AUM chanting to Kanakananda as well as Shiva Ratri, imbibing thehighidealsthat 'what wevalue,webecome.'WepractisedHathaYoga at sunrise balancing the Sun:Ha, and Moon:Tha, currents in our nadis. We practised pranayamaconsistingof4principalfunctionsofYama,whichmeanscontrolofprana: Puraka: inspirationofbreath aswerequireagood'oxygen debt' forvibrant living. Kumbhaka: held in breath charging our lungs with prana. Rechaka: expiration of breath - cleansing part of breath. Shunyaka: held out breath allowing arousal of the Shakti.
  • 16. 14 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 Beloved Ammaji, We celebrate your life and the bountiful fruits of your sadhana. We realize that, without your deep commitment and abandon to the teachings of Swamiji and our Parampara many of these teachings would not have reached the many sadhakas and sadhakis around the world. The way you applied your feminine touch and devotion to transcribing, editing, and codifying the Lessons of the Yoga Step by Step, as well as providing beautiful gems of wisdom in your own books is a boon for us all. You set such a high standard that we can only bow to you and the example you set. If this weren't enough, you also conceived and gave birth to a most amazing humane being, our Guruji and illustrious Yogacharya Ananda, your beloved son. Through him, we are being guided, stimulated and authentically instructed on the yoga path. It is also thanks to you and Swamiji, Dr. Ananda and Devasena Miss, that your grandchildren, Dhivya Priya and Anandraj, have been manifesting their Dharmainthislineage andprovidinginspirationforallofus. Being a birth path, Dharma Marga three Virgo – just like you and Anandraj, I always felt that you could 'see me' and love me for who I truly am. I found a hOMe with you from the first time we (re)united at the Ashram, as you always encourage me, and all of us, to outgrow the small finite self with the elegant sarcasm that spices yourinstructivejokes. Grazie, Ammaji. You're a Divine Mother to all of us, the embodiment of Prana, KriyaandJnanaShaktis.MaywebeworthyofyourLove.Weloveyou.YouareLOVE. ~Yogacharini Sangeeta, Founder, Soul Sound Academy and Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Italy. Our diet was healthy vegetarian food and we were encouraged to sip water absorbing the prana. In the evening we sang bhajans followed by Satsangha given by Amma - listening to and studying spiritual truths enabling us to better understand reality – in Yoga called 'Sanatana Dharma' allowing an individual to align themselveswith cosmiclaw/Dharmarai. It was Amma who initiated me into namakarana as Muralidharan Giri. In yantra our initiated name / nama is balanced with our birth path creating a flow of consciousness so we can achieve balance / harmony / potential with our VijnanamayaandAnandamayaKoshas. Forever grateful to our spiritual mother Amma who wins our Olympic Gold MedalforSpirituality. ~Yogacharya Muralidharan Giri [ Muralee ], Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, Australia.
  • 17. 15 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 Aum Namah Shivaya Aum Due to finishing some spiritual works for celebration in autumn 2021 which will be sent then, I waited for a quiet moment to read 'Yoga Dristhi' as a light-tribute of Swamiji's Yoga wisdom by Yogacharya Dr Alan Davis of England. Beautifully put together, it vibrates the deep, fully awakened, eternal, spiritual aliveness, consciousness that Swamiji was gifted with and lived. As Swamiji often said: “When we do not use the spiritual insights properly and sincerely, we will lose these ''. Sadly, it is seen not only in the Spiritual Divine Yoga Life, but everywhere there is a declinebecauseofthe neglect ofhealthy spiritualpracticesindailylife. Dhiyva Priya and Anandraj are growing spiritually very well. May this reflect also when they will choose their professional study/life which is still to come for them. Dear Meenakshi Devi: May her time on earth at the beloved yoga-ashram be filled with peaceful light and spiritual harmony, joy, shanti, jyotir and dev-sama- anandam,aum. Dear Meenakshiji has fulfilled the yoga-dharma-karmas with practical wisdom, light and joy, prakriti buddhi and jyotiranandam which cannot be manifested without true and dedicated disciplines, satya-bhaktyam sadhanas. Swamiji was for her, for us, that practical enlightened guidance. I always cherish her name, seeing in front of me the graceful and perfect Meenakshi temples of India. We did pilgrimage with Swamiji and saw how much Meenakshiji loved that spiritual place. Her own Yoga-life in this life-time is built up with the Meenakshi-temple- images and, of course, as we all have in life, not everything will be perfected, but the Meenakshi temples of India symbolise her Yoga-life having lived with and having met so many beautiful spiritual souls and working hard to make all beautiful pieces ofart with Yoga-wisdom. What makes it so special, having been together in this life-time, worked and lived within, here, the divine Yoga life sadhanas, those who have a divine dharma to fulfill in this, know and still experience the prana-filled, the full divine energized life as it was, now is and will ever be. Devprana-yujnitya-sajiva bandha-satyajyotir, the aliveness bound with our origin, eternity, the true light either in a next beautiful spiritual incarnation or by God's grace and will, in the eternal heavens, spaces of divinelight.
  • 18. 16 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 Cherishing all the days in the Yoga-ashram with Swamiji's true guidance, especially in the early mornings with dear Meenakshi Deviji in Hatha Yoga: pranayama, jnana yoga kriyas, sadhanas, there was always a serene calmness and stillness independently present as I had experienced during in- depth Zen- meditation sadhanas in a Zen monastery in Japan. I cherish this as a divine blessing. Swamiji considered the Zen-meditation as one of the few true forms of meditations, as we know it is also included in the Dhyana Yoga-sadhanas. Both in Yoga sadhana and in sincere Zen-meditation sadhana we have to let go, whatever we experience, again andagain. May her 78th yoga-birthday on earth be expressed with beautiful flowers of goodthoughts-wisdomandblessings. Padmas-sundaram.Shivamvishvam-buddhi–aashirwaadahaum. ~Yogacharini Bharathi Devi Giri, Divine Peace Foundation, Netherlands Divine Ammaji - “yo mad bhaktahsa me priyah” I am not able to express my feelings in words for Divine Ammaji. Will my words be appropriate, will they be able to explain her divinity? Then how to express?Divinity ofAmmajicanbe expressedonly in divinewords– Ammajiforme is the one who Shree Krishna loves “yo mad bhaktahsa me priyah (12.13-20). For me Ammaji has all those noble qualities which Shree Krishna loves in a person and henceIdedicatethese slokasfromBhagwat Gita toAmmaji. Ammaji does not dislike anyone (advestasarvabhutanam), she has a friendly attitude and is ever compassionate to all (maitrah, karunah). Ammaji has no feeling of ownership or idea of mineness for anything. She always says 'I am the caretaker of the Ashram which belongs to the Divine (nirmamah)'. She is free from the notion of ego and that is why she is unaffected by all the present challenges of the body (nirahankarah). Ammaji is the same in sorrow or happiness, pain and pleasure (samadukhasukha) and this is evident with the attitude she has for the challenges of life.Sheisalwaysforgiving, solike amother(ksami)(12.13). Ammaji is ever content irrespective of what she is getting or not getting (santushtasatam), Ammaji is a Siddha (yogini) with one- pointed concentration on the Divine. She has firm conviction on the will of Divine (drdha-niscayah) and total
  • 19. 17 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 surrenderwithnodesiresleft.Shehasfixedanddedicatedhermindandintellecttothe Divine.ShreeKrishnasayssuchadevoteelikeourAmmajiisverydeartoHim(12.14). Ammaji has neither disturbed anyone nor has she been disturbed by others. Ammaji is always free from joy, impatience, fear and anxiety and so our Ammaji is deartoShreeKrishna(12.15). Ammaji has no desires. In our conversation she shared with me that she does not ask anything to the Divine, not even liberation. Ammaji has a pure mind, is skillful in her actions which is very evident from her work, impartial to all her students as well as people in general, is untroubled by challenges of life and has renounced every undertaking. These qualities of Ammaji make her very dear to ShreeKrishna(12.16). Ammaji does not rejoice, fret, lament or hanker. She has become neutral by giving up good or bad, is filled with devotion and so our Ammaji is dear to shree Krishna(12.17). Ammaji is balanced and same for a friend and an enemy, honors and dishonors, heat and cold, happiness and sorrow. Ammaji is free from attachment to everything (12.18). For Ammaji criticism and praises are the same, she experiences silence from within and is content with anything. Her true home is under the feet of the lord, is steadymindedandfullofdevotion.SoourAmmajiisdeartoShreeKrishna(12.19). Ammaji always follows the Yoga way of life as described above with complete faith and divine as the supreme goal, such a devotee like Ammaji is very very dear to ShreeKrishna(12.20). st I would like to share Ammaji's blessing for me on the day of Shivratri 21 February 2020 – 'Divine Kiran, Namaste! Welcome to the path! It is a sharp razor- edge! Sometimes painful! Try not to lose your balance. If you do, fall, pick yourself up and keep going.' I am blessed to be blessed by Ammaji and I am trying my best to be on the path, try not to lose balance and pick myself up whenever I fall and to keep going. ThankyouAmmajiwith gratitude, loveandprayers. Shubh Janmadinam Ammaji. ~Kiran Bhagavandas, Member of Team 52, India.
  • 20. 18 www.rishiculture.in GLORY TO THE MOTHER ! GLORY TO AMMAJI Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 My dearest and most beloved Divine Ammaji. Best wishes for a Happy Birthday! I have not had the pleasure and the good fortune to meet you in person, but I will be grateful to you for the rest of my life for giving me, along with Dr. Ananda, the chance to join the wonderful Team 52 due to the delay in receiving my copy of the book YSS. As you suggested in a beautiful email that I keep, I just had to be patient, in fact, despite the pandemic, "the message in the bottle" has arrived after more than seven months. I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart and an immense hug tothe wholeDivineFamily! ~Antonio Manzionna Member Team 52, Italy.
  • 21. 19 www.rishiculture.in th In the year 1996 (4 std of schooling) I joined Yoganjali Natyalayam, Yognat, Kids class. It was the first time in my life I was asked to introduce myself in Yognat. My individual development journey starts from there. After a couple of weeks in combined class, where all levels of students from beginner to seniors do practice together before splitting into different levels, I saw a foreign woman with a beautiful smile, wearing a kaavi (saffron) chudithar with Rudraksha Mala around her neck. She came in. Everyone stood up and greeted her 'Vanakam Amma'. I was surprised to see her first because I'd never seen anyone face to face interacting in that kind of dress. I remember I watched before on TV in epic serials like Ramayana & Mahabharata. The smiling essence of Ammaji connected me well with her and I was one of the regular students of Yognat from that moment. The interest I showed slowly over time made me progress into one of the notable students. Less than a year afterward, I had an opportunity to visit our Kambaliswamy Madam and Ashram ICYER. I became closer and my connection with everything happened deeply. In one oftheclasses,Ammajisaid'Yogaisusedtotrainyourmindpositively'.Thensheasked thequestionsattheendoftheclass.IsaidtheanswerandAmmajitoldme,'Verygood. What'syourname?'Iproudlysaid,'Balaji'.Itwasthefirstproudmomentinmylifeand Ammajigaveme15points,firstcreditalsoIgotfromAmmajionly. After one year I saw another person, looking like a foreigner, in Yognat with a perfect model suit, distributing chocolates to all the students in Yognat. We got the news that he is the son of Ammaji and he passed in the final exams of his medical studies. I had a feeling like 'What a man he is'! For nearly a year I used to see him sleeping in the beds of Yognat. Lalitha Miss used to say, 'Sir is tired after doing night duties. Don't make noise and disturb him.' Then, after that I had a chance to meet Renuk Aakka, somehow the connections got very stronger towards Yognat, Madam andICYERbecauseofAmmajiandRenukaAkkaclassesandtheiradviceineachclass. After a few years Dr. Sir started to take classes in Yognat. Luckily, I became a senior level student by that time. After attending Dr. Sir's classes, there was total surrender of myself to Yognat. Every week I used to wait for Friday and Saturday evenings to attend Yognat classes. I have troubled my parents a lot not to go for any functions, not to visit relatives during Fridays and Saturdays. Even in one of my interviews in Michael Danckwert Best Youth Awards competition I asked to keep schoolfortwodaysandYognat forfivedays. AMMAJI- MY IRON LADY Yogachemmal Dr R BALAJI, Yoga therapist and Senior Faculty YOGNAT, Assistant Professor, CYS, AVMC, Pondicherry, India Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 22. 20 www.rishiculture.in AMMAJI- MY IRON LADY Time went rapidly. Lots of Yoga competitions, lots of wins, few losses and if I lost I used to cry a lot and yell. Dr. Sir became angry and shouted at me, I felt OMG everything is gone in my life then Ammaji called me asked me to sit in front of her and told me that I should be happy now that I had gained a good experience. Losing is not important. Learning is important. You learnt a self-lesson that no one in the world will teach you and that is priceless till your lifetime. Words can't express how Ifelt at that time.IjustsaidsorryAmmaandwent. Many positive things happened in my life after that. Whenever I feel low, I had a habit of telling Ammaji and she used to tell me what positive things I got even from the worst issues. Then I grew up and became one of the trustable disciples of Ammaji and Dr. Sir. I came to know the struggles Ammaji underwent (only Ammaji can do it) to hold the Parampara Ashram flag not only to fly high but to fly bravely andbeautifully. One fine evening I took my girlfriend to the ashram. Ammaji asked who she was. I just started to sweat. I said Ammaji she is the one whom I plan to marry. What next happened was a real surprise. She hugged my wife and said you both look good together, I like it and welcome to our family. I just fell on her feet with complete bliss in my heart. One favorite statement Ammaji said to me and my wife Dr. Shamili (during a tough time of our life and we both thought that's the end) 'You both are divine souls remember one thing if you are going through hell, don't worry, walk like you own it and finish it with a smile'. After one year and four months Ammaji took my son Master Balavishakan BS. She kept him on her lap and kissed him, again priceless moments can't express in words. Ammaji and I used to speak on mobiles for long periods, lovely text messages, always checking how I am doing, about my wife and family too. I always used to say Ammaji, I am blessed in this lifetime to be your student and thank you for giving us the noble soul Dr. Sir because he is everything to me. Happily, time went like that with few life learning experiences. One fine day I got a call from Dr. Sir. Ammaji is not feeling well and is not willing to go to hospital. After a couple of days I went and convinced her to go to hospital and I felt happy to be a Doctor so that I would be able to do something for my Ammaji at that time. After seeing the reports and related things I felt bad about why I became a doctor. I can't do anything to my Ammaji. Slowly I accepted the things and from the strong support of Dr. Sir we are doing our best for Ammaji. Often Dr. Sir says the Divine Big Boss, Ammaji, is watching us closely and making usdoourDharma. Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 23. 21 www.rishiculture.in Ammaji single handedly holds the Parampara for a long period (still holding). Ammaji the first Lady on Scooter in and Around Puducherry. 'For the world you are Ammaji. For the Parampara you are the World'. Seeing you itself is a blessing in life, but I was with you (still with you) for the past 25 years with many divine works underyourguidance,what morecanIaskAmmaji? May we always be worthy of your blessings and love. With gratitude, ~Yogachemmal Dr R Balaji with Mrs Varalakshmi K, Dr Shamili S, Master Balavishakan BS and Miss Reshma S , Pondicherry AMMAJI- MY IRON LADY Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 24. 22 www.rishiculture.in SRI MATAJI MEENAKSHI DEVI CENTRE FOR YOGIC LITERATURE Yogasadhaki MALINI NATH, Gitananda Yoga, Australia Although Ammaji and I have not yet met, I feel a bond with her. Firstly, it is that her being radiates the beauty of a Mother in every sense of the word. Bearing witness from afar through my connection with the Gitananda World Family of Dr Anandaji, Yogacharini Devasena Bhavanani, Anandraj and Dhivya Priya Bhavanani. Seeing Ammaji pictured with her late Guru husband Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri, it is to witness the manifestation of a truly divine family. It is as though the greatness of Swami Gitananda Giri and Ammaji is passed onto Dr Ananda Balayogi with his beautiful wife, who is herself a manifestation of Devi, and through them to both children. It is astonishing and rare to see three generations of Yogic perfection and it is all due to the power of Ammaji to bring into the world a son who would hold the responsibilities of his late Guru father with exceptional dignity andgrace. Many of us are ordinary mothers and we strive to raise humane human beings. To raise divine humane human beings is another dimension beyond this. All whilst being the Shakti, the energy and power behind a man known as the Lion of Pondicherry who simply fills the entire consciousness of anyone who is in his presence, even as it is for us far away, vicariously. It was an incredibly demanding role to play, considering the fact that Ammaji was also the shishya of her Guru husband. Bearing this obligation, whilst doing her own sadhana, coordinating the activities of the ashram, editing Yoga Life, heading up the ICYER research institute and teaching and running the Yoganjali Natyalayam school, it is almost incomprehensible achievement for one individual. Add to this her publications which include an encyclopaedic work in two volumes on the History of Yoga, which is today, despite the treacherous domain of yoga studies, a path breaking and comprehensivecontributiontoscholarship. Ammaji says that she is not a scholar, although she is brilliant, and her writing is warm, sensitive and a pure pleasure to disappear within. Surely this method is more likely to reach the hearts and minds of the world, with a combination of traditional story-telling, scriptural referencing and history, filled with her loving, wholeheartedanddivineuseofwords: Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 25. 23 www.rishiculture.in SRI MATAJI MEENAKSHI DEVI CENTRE FOR YOGIC LITERATURE I am both a lover and a doer of Yoga. Yoga to me is a whole way of life, a life lived intensely, one breath at a time, with conscious awareness. The real purpose behind every thought, word and deed is conscious evolution. Every endeavour is an opportunity to grow in spirit and consciousness. My ultimate purpose, like the disciple of the Upanishadic Rishis, is to 'comprehend the universe'. Beginning with the primary focus of her life in this paragraph, wherein her own universe is lived each breath at a time consciously, we are taken full circle, to her purpose of comprehending the universe, and Ammaji creates this effect of bija, expansion and drawing the egg around her ideas to make them a small gift of something immensely powerful and transformative the whole time. We are drawn in like proverbial moths: what is Mataji revealing to us? The entire story of Yoga in a nutshell, beginning with herself as the emulator and manifestation, and ending with everything. I can see her hand stretched out to me, with a tiny grain of rice in it like a calling:Listen,read,learn,take the adviceandgrow. For me, as a researcher, writer and lover of Yoga, Ammaji is a role model. She is the example that reminds us all that there is a higher authority in the living yoga traditionthat brought the wholetraditionintoherhandsasshecrafteditsstory: Trying to solve The Riddle of Yoga has led me where angels fear to tread. But what majestic vistas have unfolded before my eyes…The great elation at finding how beautifully a piece fits into another and the emerging of a larger picture as the years rolled on, was a source of quiet excitement. An article here, a phrase there, a passage from a book, a talk by a scholar or a Swamiji – the piecesseemedtobe magnetically attracted tomyhands. For others, Ammaji is many things. For me, I am her reader, a listener and someone who feels deep love for her without understanding why. And I really do not like to listen or read anything about Yoga unless it has a very fine and clear ring of truth. Amma is my Guru of writing, researching, of expressing her profound insights in simple, poetic and sparkling words. This is far from the scholarship of the academy where each word seems pressed out of a machine. This is the art of writing onYoga,asapracticeofYogaandwhichisYoga,the truth ofYoga. Ammaji is always going to live with me in the books that, just like for Amma, the universe has placed into my hands. I feel an incredible responsibility as a sadhaka and writer to speak truthfully, to cut away the briar and to learn to listen Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 26. 24 www.rishiculture.in more to the chorus of masters along the lines of our great traditions. Her contribution to my knowledge is something that I will have to take piece by piece, like her jigsaw puzzle, and continue this learning for life. What it does bring to mind is the necessity for disciplinary reform on academic scholarship and yoga. In that context Ammaji is a trailblazer. In her honour it would be a great blessing if there wasaSriMatajiMeenakshiDevi Centre for Yogic Literature. In her History of Yoga, Ammaji is the voice of the writer. In the future, when a new chapter is to be written, Ammaji will be in the History of Yoga as a great Yogini. My pranams and deep gratitude for the existence of Yogacharini Kalaimamani Ammaji, Smt Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani for everything she has done, every small chain reaction that has come due to her work, her life and art of giving, and most of all,fromthissmallheart, forher writing. Jai Mataji Meenakshi Devi, the Lioness of Pondicherry. SRI MATAJI MEENAKSHI DEVI CENTRE FOR YOGIC LITERATURE Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 27. 25 www.rishiculture.in I have never met Ammaji, but she speaks to me through her wonderful writings. She is a spiritual confidante, a friend who shares the secrets of her heart; and, such a rare thing, one who speaks the truth without flinching, whatever the cost, and the cost has been dear. She wears her heart on her sleeve and on every part of her garments. She holds up the mirror of herself, whether it is shining, dimmed or shattered,andinvitesyourgaze. Sometimes, I want to turn away from the truth that reflection contains, but it is often cathartic, as if she has purged something for me. I am sure you know what I mean. She bequeathed us two magisterial tomes in which she has chronicled the history of Yoga, as much as one can, who tries to capture the flowing Ganges in a bottle; but it burst its banks and flowed into her own story. A majestic river of reflections and profound insights entitled: 'The Rishi and the Rakshasas'. I drink a little ofitswater every dayandcomeaway refreshed. Ammaji's spirit breathes through the pores of that book: seeker, you will find her waiting for you there, tender, outraged, vulnerable, rueful, joyful, humorous, and always, always, compassionate and forgiving. How could it be otherwise for one who has shed layer after layer of skin to expose a heart 'that contains multitudes', that offers blessings to the good and the ignorant alike; and like the sandalwoodtree, offersfragrancetothe axe. Ammaji has the poet's gift of seeing the Divine in the commonplace, the 'halo around the cooking pot'. Yes, she is a sage, a fierce and virtuous protector of the Dharma, a teacher of authority. But her sweetest wisdom shines in her vignettes and poems on everyday life. The humble flower- seller, the old bullock pulling a cart, the docile cows, the crafty crows, the old woman scrubbing the floors, the joy of children or the vagaries of human nature are all alike captured in enchanting tales that throb with life and every shade of emotion. And no story is without some insight or epiphany tocleanse ourvisionanddeepenourperspective. Ammaji's books are dedicated to Swamiji, Dr. Ananda, her grandchildren and the Parampara. It is a legacy of enduring truth and beauty for which I am th profoundly grateful. On her 78 birthday may I offer Ammaji happiness, love, and every graceinher unfoldingjourney.OMTatSat. AMMAJI: SEER, POET AND SAGE Yogasadhaka MICHAEL MCCANN, Member Team 52, Ireland Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 28. 26 www.rishiculture.in BELOVED AMMAJI: MY FOUNTAIN OF INSPIRATION Yogathilakam Dr MEENA RAMANATHAN, Senior Mentor Gitananda Yoga and Deputy Director CYTER of SBV, Pondicherry, India. Let me begin with a few questions. Have you ever felt how great it would be if there was one person out there who understands you thoroughly? How important it is to have one who extends their hand to pull you up when you're low-n-down, who understands what you're going through when you're upset? That too, understands you without a word being uttered? Who is a perennial source that inspires you always? There are probably millions of people out there in the world who inspire you in life, I'm sure of it. Well, for me there is someone who is all this and more. 'My dear and beloved Ammaji', who inspires me a lot in many different ways! The 'Big Boss' Ammaji, as we fondly call Her sometimes – and you must hear Her naughty and hearty laugh onthat... hahahaha…sobeautiful! If you're down about something she will encourage you to get back up and try again. She often quotes, '99 times down; 100 times up'. She is super nice and helpful in everything possible and in every possible way. She helps everyone who seeks support- such an amazing personality – quite a strong one too! 'Amma', an affectionate and reverent term for 'mother' and the best of mothers, Ammaji is the epitomeofunconditionallove. She has devoted all her life to the teachings of Swamiji, has taught Yoga and Bharatanatyam to many thousands of rich/poor children, changing their lives positively. Charged by Her revered Guru, Swamiji, she has taught me what it means to be fully alive and truly at home in your own body, with your own self. She is every bit a sophisticated personality and her warmth and quick wit endeared her to everyoneshecameintocontactwith. Rather than focus on abstract philosophies, Ammaji always guided people toward a better understanding of themselves by appreciating their personal strength. She never fails to encourage and motivate by urging people to do and be their best ever! To me, the most appealing thing about Ammaji is her class and charismaandconfidence–it'sactually everything about herthat appeals! She changed the course of my life with just one look at me. I very vividly remember that day, that very moment from when my life took a U-turn. It was the Annual day of Yoganjali Natyalam and someone known to my husband took us to Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 29. BELOVED AMMAJI: MY FOUNTAIN OF INSPIRATION 27 www.rishiculture.in this function and introduced us to Ammaji during a break. A beautiful 'sculpture- perfect orange-clad BEING, so radiant, energetic and beaming. Oh my. I still remember that penetrating look and the most striking smile that pierces and lodges in your inner core! Gonna-and-gotta ruminate on that moment forever! My loving beloved Amma! One look at me and She said, 'Why don't you join Yoga?' Lo and behold, the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fell in place, and I knew what I had been searchingforallthiswhile! Ammaji re-channelized and re-oriented the course of my life, of course for the better. Ammaji Inspired me so much just by showing me what she IS in life. She taught me the 'true' connotation of the term 'respect', what it is and means, how to earn respect. She used to say, 'Respect cannot be commanded from people- even if you get it; it would be pretence. You have to 'BE' and earn it from others. Give Respect and Take Respect' which I am learning. There's just too much wisdom and culturing, fine-tuning yourself, re-defining your attitudes and outlook and re- addressing everything freshly. It's like you press the refresh button in life and restart all over- all this and more from this one dear person. Who inspires you in everything you do and shows you what you need to do in life to achieve your goals in your life by living that? By setting an example? Yes, but of course it is Ammaji, and needless to say there is one more who is all this and more to me. My role-model and all-n-one and one-n-all etc. Any guesses? You are right. Ananda Sir! Your loving son Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani! I know I can look up to them for everything and anything; follow their pathway blind-folded because I am confident they are leadingustowards'light'. Amma often says, 'There is light at the end of every dark tunnel. Only thing is – do not stop. Just keep walking /moving'. Ammaji is a woman who makes a difference whether it is in the little things or the grand gestures. She means it and She means good, and am sure she has inspired tens of thousands of people on their respectivespiritualjourneys. Amma is completely self-made. Perhaps, that's why the time spent with Her is so unique. She embraces those who seek with her warm energy, caring attitude and true concern in spirit. Her Darshan and interaction can touch a person's life and leave an indelible mark. Gazing into Her eyes, she can 'untie knots' and other obstacles in their lives. She is one of a kind. Her methodology of transmission and teaching is unique,filledwith interactivity andlivelinessandjoythat Ihavetriedtoadaptto. Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 30. 28 www.rishiculture.in A Guru cannot be defined in a few words. A lifetime goes in finding and following but the core, the essence is unconditional love, selflessness and serving to enhance the quality of thousands and thousands of lives. A Guru is about giving a meaningful direction, a purpose to life and living by shattering your ignorance! She teaches me Tapasya/discipline with each and every one of Her activities. I know Gurus can be tough but care enough to correct and train us. They forcefully put us back inourtrajectories,ifwefalloffthe tracks. Ammaji teaches me the true meaning of humility, how to be so very down to earth you can talk to her in a coffee shop, take up her personal time and walk in to meet her without prior appointment, but She is always there to help you out in your growth, your journey. Recollecting all our conversations at the Madam, in the coffee shops, in town when we cross each other by chance or over the telephone, it is all the same. Place does not matter. The other most important discipline she strictly adheres to is punctuality. She is always before me and waiting. I have tried to beat Her to it but have lost each time. I have learnt how important it is as a discipline. That'smydearAmmaji! Hopefully more and more across the globe will recognise and acknowledge the greatness of our dear Ammaji, the 'Living Siddha of Pondicherry' as Sir fondly calls Her. She deserves to be known, not because She craves fame and recognition but because Her attitude is contagious, sets a great example that something, anything, is possible if the intent is strong. Love you Amma and am grateful for Yourpresenceinmylife,asaninspiration,andasthe strongestinfluence. BELOVED AMMAJI: MY FOUNTAIN OF INSPIRATION Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 This is really GREAT! I wish I would have known about the Gitananda Yoga Tradition earlier. Feeling a little missing out on meeting Ammaji earlier. While going through the chapters of YSS, one can easily understand the effort 'behind the scene'. Swamiji and Ammaji are like the two energies, Shiva and Shakti: both are indispensable, interdependent, and inseparable energies. I haven't read the books of Ammaji but listened to her lectures. I liked her unique way of associating Yoga with different cultures and philosophies. Her concern about the maintenance of the originality of Yoga is the need of the hour. I am very fortunate to be in touchwith suchDivine Beings. ~Nilachal Padmashanti, Assistant Professor of Yoga at Sarala Birla University, India
  • 31. 29 www.rishiculture.in AMMAJI, YOUR LEGACY OF YOGA IS SAFE ! Yogacharini KALAVATHI DEVI, Senior Mentor Gitananda Yoga and Founder Om Yoga Studio,UK. MyDearestAmmaji I first met you in September 1999 when I came for the teacher training course. I had hardly slept for forty-eight hours and I had fallen asleep in my room at the time I was meant to meet you. Dr Ananda had to awaken me, and I ran up to meet you in your apartment feeling all sorts of things: nervous, annoyed or maybe naughty or stupid for missing my appointment, excitement, extremely jet lagged and emotional among other things. I did not know what to expect. Would you be some matronly like strict lady running the Ashram? I had no idea! I sat and talked with you for what seemed like an hour. You were so lovely and made me feel so very welcome and there was no hint at all that I had been late for you. You were warm, caring, friendly, calm, confident and you made me feel safe and at ease with your smiles and sense of humour.Iwassohappy tobe there andknew Iwasinthe right place. Over the years I have returned to the ashram almost yearly for months at time. The ashram is very much my home and the people in it my family. What a blessing it has been to my life to have this direct closeness with you Ammaji and I feel so very grateful that you told me to come and join the training all those years ago. Ammaji had responded to a letter that I had written to her in the summer of 1999 asking for help to find a Yoga course that I could do since I did not think I could attend the 6- month training at Ananda Ashram as I had not completed the correspondence course. I received a letter late summer telling me to come and start the teacher training coursein October andthat iswhat Idid. Never have I known someone else like Ammaji. Such a dynamic powerful woman who always did so much and had time for everyone as well as herself. She ran and taught the 6-month course, she ran the City centre and taught kids there, she ran the Madam performing puja and arranging all the festivities, she ran Yoga Life and the monthly magazine was always on time and, as well as all of this, she was frequently a special guest all over the place and ran up and down to Delhi to participate on official boards for Yoga. That is a skill in itself and she did it so skilfully. I was one of the fortunate students that was taught everything by Ammaji as back then she taught Hatha Yoga in the morning, pranayama and theory before lunchtime as well as all the satsangs in the evening. Everything she knew poured Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021
  • 32. 30 www.rishiculture.in out of her and we absorbed it all whatever level it went on. Since Ammaji was always my teacher and Guru, her voice stays with me and to me is like honey. It is so sweet to my ears and is deeply ingrained into my psyche, nurturing me with every wordandwhisper. I have spent so much time with Ammaji over the years and have so many amazing memories which are too many to tell here. Many of which include various excursions where she would tell us her life stories and give us insightful information about wherever we were going. She was the cleverest, most intelligent, wisest yet empathic person I have ever known. I love Ammaji dearly and despite the great physical distance between us, I like to visit her when I can, albeit in person or through the quickestmodeoftravel: mymind. My greatest tribute to Ammaji is to have taught all these years and not wavered from all that she taught me. Her legacy of Yoga is safe with me, and I will always do my best to make her proud. I had the best teacher anyone could wish for, andIhopethat Icangoback homesoonandseeher. I love you Ammaji! AMMAJI, YOUR LEGACY OF YOGA IS SAFE ! Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 To my best friend and teacher Ammaji, Wishing you a very Happy Birthday! With love from your devoted student. Yogathilakam Yogacharini Cathy Davis, Senior Mentor, Gitananda Yoga, UK
  • 33. 31 www.rishiculture.in Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 UNDERSTANDING OUR BELOVED AMMAJI Yogacharini DEVASENA BHAVANANI, Senior Faculty and General Secretary ICYER and Yoganjali Natyalayam, Pondicherry, India. Vanakkam Ammaji, You always like to ask “Who am I?” (Koham), but today I would like to expressmythoughts onwhoyouare! Just as the Universe moves with Lord Shiva, Nataraja's dance, you have been constantlymovingussincethe very beginning inevery possibleway. You often remind us by saying “The 3 R's – Regularity, Rhythm and Repetition” and make sure that you brought out that discipline in each and everyonewhocrossedyourlife. Throughout the times of being with you, we have seen sense of perfect timing and the manifestation of the transformative energy like Lord Ishwara, in and through you. You have manifested the energies of the Trinity and the Trishakthi in so many ways: Ÿ As Lord Shiva, you transformed us from carbon into charcoal and potentially diamondssomeday. Ÿ As Ma Parvathi, as a mother, our beloved Ammaji, you gave us strength andacceptedusaswewere/are. Ÿ AsLordNarayana, yougave usprotectionandsustenanceeveryday. Ÿ As Sri Lakshmi Devi, you gave us everything in abundance (like Ashta Lakshmi). Ÿ AsLordBrahma,youcreatedmanybeauties that didn'texist before. Ÿ AsMaSaraswathi,youblessedusby giving everyonethe 64 sacredarts. You have the energies of each and every one of the Pancha MahaBhutas within you and providedfor us a steady grounding, balance, inspiration, dynamism andpeace. You used to often say that the Siddhas were your relatives and you have truly followed them. Like the Siddhas, you have so many Siddhis within you that
  • 34. UNDERSTANDING OUR BELOVED AMMAJI 32 www.rishiculture.in Vol.52 No. 09, September 2021 transform countless people and bless them with a great life. Just as the Ashtadikpalakas,youprotecteveryonearoundyouinevery possibledirection. Manifesting the Navagraha energy (Dosha) within us any time you gave the solution (Parihara) and even at times took on different life form like Maharishi Patanjali and Sage Vyaghrapada to show courage and strength. To sublimate our ego you manifested Goddess Ma Durga Devi (Duhkha Nivarani) to destroy our ignorance Mada Math sarya (Shatripu). You are a matchless leader who has led all sadhakaswith disciplinelike LordMuruga(DevaSenathipathy) You served our Divine Mother Yoga by compiling the greatest contributions of the "History of Yoga-Vol1 & 2" and matchless stories in the "Rishi and the Rakshasas". During this time I personally saw how like Lord Ganesha broke his tusk to write the Mahabharata, You despite hurting your writing thumb and fingers never ever gave up inspite of the excruciating pain. You continued to write andblessusallwith yourmagnificentMagnumOpus,never evergiving up. No matter what happened, you with love and gratitude kept up your Guru Seva relentlessly and followed your Guru – our beloved Pujya Swamiji without missing a single step on his path. You also lovingly accepted us into your life even though weare yet tobe worthy ofyourDivine teachings. I have seen you manifest all of these aspects of Divinity and despite such greatness you always allowed us to call you as our beloved Amma. You have tolerated us as we were and are, with all our limitations. Who else can understand and prepare us to face the struggles of life? Because of you, and only you, am I a decentpersoninthislifetoday. Thank you dearest Ammaji for everything. Thank you so much for your Divine and most loving teachings for humanity. Happy Birthday to you, Ammaji. Maywealwaysbe worthy ofyourlove. Divine andmostdearAmmaji, Thank you for being the guiding light that you are. A star of such magnitude is so rare these days. You are one in a million! May you continue to be a torch bearer, igniting the flame of yoga in the hearts of all you come in contact with. Aum Shantih. ~ Cathryn Doornekamp, Lotus Yoga Centre, Paraparaumu, New Zealand.