UK News & Events
Beltane Bhakti GatheringDate: 29 April - 2 May
Amma Devotees to Perform at Beltane Bhakti Gathering
The Glastonbury Satsang group will join many other groups to offer Bhajans as well as Archana during this 4 day immersion in Bhakti practices including kirtan, puja and fire ceremonies. There will be talks and spiritual cinema with all proceeds going to support Polly Higgins End Ecocide campaign. Only £108 for 4 days including ashram style dining and half-price tickets for Karma Yogis. See www.ukbhaktigatherings.co.uk for more information or contact Vandita at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Puja Retreat Weekend in Sunningdale
Date: Saturday 4 - Sunday 5 June
A Bhagavati Puja will be held on Saturday evening 4th June conducted by Amritapriya who is touring Europe conducting pujas at Amma's request. This is the same puja which has been held at Amma's programme for the last four years. Pujas have been performed in India for more than 5,000 years for the sake of:
Peace and harmony in the family and society
The puja is conducted for Bhagavati, the universal being in the form of the Divine Mother who is nurturing and bestows the wealth of material and spiritual abundance.
On Sunday morning there will be a short programme commencing with Amma's names, satsang and bhajans. Overnight accommodation is available. If you would like to participate and have your name included in the puja itself there is a charge of £60.
To register, please choose Amma UK Puja from the dropdown box at www.amma.org.uk/donation.html to make your payment, and send a copy of the Worldpay confirmation email you will receive to email@example.com and you will receive more detailed information nearer the time.
Sharing Sunningdale Delights 2015: Report
More than 60 devotees from all over the UK gathered in Sunningdale on 12 September for a day of delights. We started with Archana, followed by a well attended meeting for Amma’s forthcoming visit to London. The day gave space to explore what it means to be an Amma devotee and how we can be more fully in service in the UK.
A moment's silence to tune in to our hearts revealed visions of living in community on the land, providing food for families living on the poverty-line and helping those in need through Amma’s angels across the UK. This was followed by a delicious lunch served with a smile and two films on Green issues, including one devotee's work in the Amazon. We were blessed with a long and fulfilling Skype call with Br Shubamrita where he answered questions, shared visions and useful teachings and insights. He also spoke about Amma’s visit to the UK and the need for more dedicated volunteers to meet the growing numbers of people coming to see Amma.
Tea break and a never ending auction of blessed items which raised £1,600 and a lot of laughter followed by a dance practice for Amma’s London programme. In the evening we sat and stilled for Bhajans in the temple room. Devotion was shared in many forms, offered by devotees from various Satsang groups. In a peaceful, open-hearted space we shared Prasad dinner and more inspiration and ideas. With many hands in service, the marquee was dismantled the following morning, the place tidied and cleaned. Only the energy of devotion remained as testament to the wonderful day we shared. It is amazing what magic is created when we come together in love and service. — Vandita
Pamper Day in Reading
On Saturday 13 April, a "pamper day" was held at RISC (Reading International Solidatiry Centre) which raised £100 for Friends of Amma. A DVD of Amma (Humanitarian Activities) was played in the foyer and created great interest among both the therapists and their clients. Many had not previously heard of Amma and asked for further information. Some also asked to be informed of Amma's next visit to the UK.
We are intending to organise more of these events in Reading). if you are a therapist or know one who would like to help then please get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wonderful Winter Bhakti Weekend
The Winter Bhakti Gathering on the weekend of 18 February was a wonderful success, with more than 200 people coming to chant through the night at the beautiful Matara Centre, near Stroud in Gloucestershire. The Kirtan began at 3.15pm and included the traditional Shiva Lingam Puja and went on until 6am, concluding with a sacred fire ceremony. We raised £1,250 for Amma's Charities, which is wonderful. A number of uplifting films were also shown, including the documentary drama of the Life of Amma, River of Love.
Old and New at Sunningdale Retreat
A generous mix of ‘old timers’ and those who met Amma for the first time only a few weeks ago came together for the Sunningdale half-day retreat in December to revive the bliss of Amma’s recent visit to London. One of the highlights of the day for the 35 devotees present was the sharing of experiences around Amma. Some who have been with Amma for many years shared anecdotes of their personal experiences in Amma’s company. Newcomers also spoke of their experience of the atmosphere of Alexandra Palace and their first darshans.
There then followed a healthy discussion about spiritual practices and the various methods given by Amma to help us to strengthen our contact with the divine self within. One thing that came up time and again is the importance of a regular practice, whatever specific technique is being used. We also took part in the customary features of a retreat, including chanting the 108 names at the start and an enthusiastic bhajan session in the evening before enjoying a delicious meal together. As one devotee said, it was "a wonderful opportunity to connect with one another and grow in Amma’s spiritual presence."
Sunningdale Music Weekend Retreat
The weekend of 2nd July heralded our first Indian Classical Music retreat workshop. We were graced with the presence of Indian classical singer Nirali Kartik, an ardent Amma devotee, who took time out of her busy European tour to share her gift with us and pass on some of her secrets. The retreat was well attended by devotees of varying knowledge and ability. Nirali’s skill as a teacher ensured that all participants were able to follow and deepen their learning and skill regardless of knowledge and ability.
The first day consisted mainly of an introduction to Indian Classical singing, with a focus on the meditative aspects of the practice. Nirali taught us techniques to breathe in a way that connects us with the subtle energy flowing through us and how to feel the energy flowing in the brahma nadi. She taught us how to sing with our mind focussed on the flow of energy and perfection of the notes. We also learned that as the focus is on the flow of energy, with Indian classical singing it is impossible to know what notes the performer will perform beforehand as whatever expresses is the spontaneous expression of the energy.
The second day started at 5am with archana, followed by yoga with a particular emphasis on postures that enhance the vocal ability. After breakfast we continued with music meditation and then swiftly moving on to learning 2 ragas – Raag Bharav (Raag for Lord Shiva) and Raag Kaliyan (Raag for auspiciousness). We practiced the note placements and learned the basics of how to improvise with a raag. A raag is a set of rules (similar to a scale) whereby the relative placement of notes in relation to each other is set out. Unlike a scale, a raag can start at any note. We were also blessed to hear Nirali’s impromptu improvisations which moved some participants to tears.
We concluded the second day joyfully with bhajans led by each participant in the group and fabulous Indian meals were enjoyed by all. Nirali was touched by the sincerity and devotion of our group and promised to come and join us again when she comes back to Europe.
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