Monday, November 13, 2017

Amma Received the French Commemorative Gold Medal for Peace by the Soldiers of Peace International Association

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s 30th Anniversary Tour of Europe commenced with Amma being presented two French awards for her lifetime of work as a spiritual leader and humanitarian. The awards, which were presented as part of a formal programme at the Zenith-Omega Arena in Toulon, France, came from the “Soldiers of Peace International Association” and from the Regional Council of the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur Region, one of the largest of France’s 13 metropolitan administrative regions.
The Soldiers of Peace International Association presented Amma with its “Commemorative Gold Medal for Peace.” The organisation’s President, Laurent Attar-Bayrou, addressed thousands of people assembled at the awards ceremony. He said: “As military men coming from different countries, we have fought, arms in hand, for the sake of peace, under the Blue Helmet of the United Nations. We affirm today that lasting peace comes only from the hearts and minds of men. Those who are fighting alongside you Amma against poverty, intolerance and other problems facing humanity have understood this; we as well. Your fight is our fight. You give meaning to life, allowing hope for those who have nothing. This hope is the very essence of humanity. With you and through your example and joy, the poor discover fulfilment and the rich gain humility. Fully dedicated to your mission, you shake the walls of indifference. On this earth, you sow hope. From this water, you draw love. From these skies, you make hearts blossom and shine.”

Laurent Attar-Bayrou added, “We, the Blue Helmets, gather for the promotion of peace. We are not pacifists or warmongers, but practical men. We gather for the sake of conflict resolution, human rights, education and sports. Amma, we recognise our mission in yours. You are also a Soldier of Peace, and we will walk with you in your quest for love.”

The second award to Amma was presented by Monique Robineau, Delegate of the President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region. “It is an immense pleasure for me to be here tonight with you Amma, and offer you the Medal of the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur Region, on behalf of its President, Mr Renaud Muselier.”

Monique Robineau added, “Your darshan has enabled me to see how you can wipe the tears of people and provide hope through the love that you give in your embrace. We are very proud of welcoming you once more on our land, that you have filled and brightened with all your love. In this world shattered by conflicts and crisis leading to insularity and paralysis, your message and embrace bring hope to our hearts and light to our spirits. The people present here benefit from your presence, but also many others, since your presence shines in our whole region.”

Presenting Amma with the Medal “with all the gratitude, respect and love of this land and its inhabitants,” Monique Robineau said: “This is for all the work that you have done for the lives of so many people. You are the Ambassador of Love and Peace in the world.”

Amma’s arrival in Europe at the beginning of November 2017 marked the commencement of her 30th anniversary tour of Europe. “Amma was first invited to Europe in 1987, and she has come every year since,” said Swami Amritaswarupananda, the Vice President of Mata Amritanandamayi Math. “After that first invitation came, Amma told us, ‘My children are not just in India but throughout the world. They are crying for Amma, but cannot find me. So, I must go to them.’ The rest is history.”

Amma’s 30th Anniversary Europe Tour will continue throughout November. Each of its stops finds Amma leading attendees in guided meditation, devotional singing and prayers for world peace. Each programme also includes a spiritual talk by Amma, wherein she offers practical solutions for personal fulfilment, as well as guidance on how society can face the most pressing challenges of our time. Programme attendees also get the opportunity to receive Amma’s darshan—a spiritual blessing in the form of a motherly embrace.

The Europe Tour includes stops in Frankfurt, Germany; Toulon, France; Winterthur, Switzerland; Milan, Italy; London, United Kingdom; Munich, Germany; Châlons-en-Champagne, France; Houten, Netherlands; and Helsinki, Finland, and concludes on December 6th in Valencia, Spain. All programmes are free and open to the public.

Amma has delivered addresses at the United Nations several times and has spoken twice at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Among other accolades, she has received the Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence in Geneva, the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award in New York, and an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York. In 2014, at the invitation of His Holiness Pope Francis, Amma was one of 12 religious and spiritual leaders to travel to the Vatican to sign a joint declaration against modern slavery. Throughout her life, Amma has embraced and comforted more than 3.7 crore people. When asked where she gets the energy to help so many people while also building and running a massive humanitarian organization, Amma answers: “Where there is true love, everything is effortless. Love transforms.”

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