CM inaugurates Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s year-long nationwide campaign
Kerala’s forest department will provide six lakh saplings to be planted across the state as part of the massive nationwide afforestation drive launched by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM), Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Oommen Chandy announced today.
The Chief Minister formally inaugurated the initiative at Cliff House, his official residence in the state capital, by putting into the ground the first of 60 lakh saplings that the Math intends to plant across the country in one year’s time.
One tenth of these trees will be planted in Kerala and the saplings for the purpose will be provided by the state forest department. The first 1.75 lakh of the saplings will be handed over immediately and around 50,000 will be provided every month with the aim of meeting the target for Kerala by June next year, Shri Chandy said.
The afforestation campaign is among a number of initiatives rolled out by the Math as part of the 60th birthday celebrations of spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, fondly called Amma by her followers around the world.
“Environment protection and conservation is one of the most important services we can do for the society,” Shri Chandy said. “It is laudable that the Math has undertaken such a project on the occasion of Amma’s 60th birthday.”
MAM, a non-governmental organisation, is leading the “Amritavarsham 60” campaign to mark Amma’s 60th birthday on September 27. The celebrations will be held at Amritapuri, Kollam, over two days from September 26-27, and are expected to draw around five lakh followers and admirers of Amma.
Swami Jnanamritananda Puri of MAM’s Amritapuri Ashram said the celebration by Amma’s devotees the world over serve as a reminder of the decades of selfless service that she has rendered to the society. “The new programmes we have launched are an extension of the compassion, kindness and love she has for the people,” he said.
Present at the function today were Brahmachari Sivamrita Chaitanya of MAM’s Kaimanam Ashram, Brahmachari Tapasyamrita Chaitanya of MAM’s Amritapuri Ashram, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Shri B S Korri and Assistant Conservator of Forests Shri Jayakumar Sharma.
MAM will organise the distribution and planting of the saplings across India drawing support from its huge community of devotee-volunteers as well as its educational institutions.
The Math has a five-campus university, the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, in Vallikavu in Kollam district, besides more than 50 Amritavidyalayam schools. The Math also runs numerous humanitarian programmes including hospitals, scholarships for the poor, disaster relief, pensions for the poor, self-help groups for women and housing for the homeless.
The afforestation drive will also be conducted abroad where Amma’s other devotee-run organisations, collectively known as ‘Embracing the World’, will facilitate the sapling-distribution and planting. As a member of the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign, MAM has already assisted in the planting of more than one-million trees since 2001.
The afforestation programme is part of volunteer-run green activities conducted by MAM. These include the Amala Bharatam Campaign (ABC), a programme aimed at improving public health and at restoring India’s beauty. Through ABC, the MAM has already undertaken more than 1,000 cleaning drives throughout India since 2010. At the request of the Kerala Government, it helped remove hundreds of tonnes of trash from the famous pilgrimage site of Sabarimala Temple and the adjoining Pampa River in south-central Kerala.
This afforestation program and MAM’s cleaning drives are part of Amma’s teaching that “The Creator and the creation are not two” and that service to the environment is service to the Divine.