ADDRESS AT THE INAUGURATION OF HOUSES BUILT FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS, KOLLAM, KERALA
18-12-2005 : Kollam
Removing the pain of the people: God?s mission
I am very happy to be in the Mata Amritanandamayi Math in the presence of Amma and participate in the inauguration function of 500 newly hundred houses for the Tsunami affected citizens in Kollam district. My greetings to Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi and other dignitaries on this occasion.
Leader at the spot of crisis
It is said, that whenever difficult times and calamities occur, the leader will exactly be on the spot of event. It is a divines blessing. When Tsunami occurred in Kollam region on 26th Dec 2004, I saw Amma was in action in crucial time, helping the people all around her in that region. At Kollam Ashram, Amma acted with speed and took necessary measures to move all the people to the places of safety. Amma entered into the tsunami affected areas while flood water was still there and tried her best to rescue as many people as possible from the houses, under the trees, with her team of dedicated devotees. Amma made arrangements for food, shelter and clothing to all the people affected by tsunami. Amma announced the relief package for people affected by tsunami, not only in Kollam region, but also for all the areas in Tamilnadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Sri Lanka. Similarly when Katrina hit New Orleans, Amma came to the rescue of the people there also and extended her helping hand spontaneously. It shows the magnanimous mind of Amma in removing the pain of the people irrespective of caste, creed, religion, region or nationality.
When I am witnessing the societal mission of Mata Amritanandamayi Math of providing beautiful permanent shelter for the Tsunami affected citizens, I am reminded of an incident which took place in this very state way back in 1960?s. I would like to narrate the beautiful event in this divine place.
Unity of Minds
In 1960, Dr Homi Bhabha and Prof Vikram Sarabhai were looking for a site to establish space research station in the equatorial region. These two great scientists visited a number of places. Thumba in Kerala was selected by the scientific community for space research as it was near the magnetic equator within the flow of electrojet and was ideally suited for ionospheric research in upper atmosphere, apart from study of atmospheric structure. When Prof Vikram Sarabhai visited Thumba, the locality had many villages and thousands of fishing community were living in that area. It also had an ancient St Mary Magdalene Church at Pallithura and a Bishop's House. Prof Vikram Sarabhai met many politicians and bureaucrats to get the place to set up an establishment for space science research work. He could not succeed because of the nature of the place. He was asked to see the Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram. At that time, Rev Father Peter Bernard Pereira was the Bishop. It was a Saturday when Prof Vikram Sarabhai met the Bishop. The Bishop smiled and asked him to meet him the next day. In the Sunday morning Service, the Bishop told the congregation, "My children, I have a famous scientist with me who wants our church and the place I live for the work of space science research. Dear children, science seek truth that enriches human life. The higher level of religion is spirituality. The spiritual preachers seek the help of the Almighty to bring peace to human minds. In short, what Vikram is doing and what I am doing are the same - both science and spirituality seek the Almighty?s blessings for human prosperity in mind and body. Children, can we give them God?s abode for a scientific mission?? There was a silence for a while followed by a hearty ?Amen? from the congregation which made the whole church reverberate.
Subsequently, the big event took place in 1962. Rev Father Peter Bernard Pereira, the Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram, took the noble decision to dedicate the church in recognition of the national goal for the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation at Pallithura, Thumba. We made that church as our design centre, started rocket assembly; design of filament winding machine for FRP product and the Bishop's house was our scientists' place. Later, the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) led to the establishment of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and multiple space centres throughout the country.
When I think of that event, I can see how enlightened spiritual and scientific leaders, all converge towards giving reverence to the meaning of human life. New church and new schools were established in record time. Of course the birth of TERLS and then VSSC gave the country the capability to design, develop and produce huge world class rocket system and subsequently, India built the capability of launching geo-synchronous, sun-synchronous and meteorology spacecraft, communication satellite, remote sensing satellite thereby provided fast communication, weather forecasting and also the ability to locate water resources for the country. Today, neither Prof Vikram Sarabhai nor Rev Father Peter Bernard Pereira are with us but the fragrance of their nobility is still with us. Bhagwat Gita says: "See the flower, how generously it distributes perfume and honey. It gives to all, gives freely its love. When its work is done, it falls away quietly. Try to be like the flower, unassuming despite all its qualities". This beautiful incident happened in the soil of Kerala. What a great message it gives to every generation of this nation. Unity of Minds is an important feature of the people of Kerala. This core competence of Unity of Minds is one of the greatest assets for the development of the State.
Amma?s Noble Mission
Today, another important event I am seeing in Kerala while inaugurating the 500 newly constructed houses by Amma, which is part of the 2000 tsunami relief houses constructed so far out of the total 6200 houses planned in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Pondicherry and Srilanka. I am also glad to know the math is planning to construct houses in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
I congratulate the devotees, planners, architects, builders and service providers who have collectively ensured the construction of these high qualities safe buildings within a span of less than one year. All these have been possible only through the divine blessings of Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi. My respects and greetings to all of you
May God bless you.