Mananam 2016: Discover yourself

A 5-day exclusive camp called as Gita Mananam was conducted for the students of Gita who had participated in the previous Gitamritam camps. A total of 23 students participated in this camp which was held between 25th Dec and 30th Dec 2016 at Amritapuri. The theme of the camp was ‘Discover your Self”.

The camp was basically about contemplating the ideas in the Gita and applying the principles in our daily life. The students were fortunate to learn Gita sitting at the feet of StitaPranja, our beloved Amma. The students got an amazing opportunity to ask questions to Amma connecting Gita and their life and got answers from Amma directly.

The activities of the camp were :
Gita Classes by Br. Dhyanamrita Chaitanya on 15th Chapter of Gita,
Amma’s Satsang, Meditation and Bhajan,
Guest speakers sharing their experiences on the importance of Gita and Guru.
Workshops by Prof. Shankar Kumaran, Mana & Moha Experiment,
Gita games, and Seva.

Gita Class:
The chapter of this year’s Mananam was Chapter 15, Purushottama Yoga.
The Gita class was very practical in its approach as it explained about the Purusha that each and every one of us are. The classes taught that the Creator and Creation are not two, the Jeeva and Iswara are not two and spoke about the ways in which each person can overcome their false identities and discover their True Self.

 

Amma’s Satsang:
Amma in her Satsang at the beach and in the hall gave an overall summary of the Purushottama Yoga with various examples in which a person could attain the enlightened state. Amma stressed the importance of spiritual practices to purify our minds to realize the inner Self which is dormant and covered with Vasanas.

 

Workshops: Awareness, Mana & Moha and Prarabdha
Prof V Shankaran Kumaran led the workshop activities. The students were asked to create anything with the sand on the beach. They were given time to focus and think on what they wanted to make. The challenge here was that they had to create with awareness by being in the present moment and anything done without awareness in the present moment will only result in recreating from their past memories. Only awareness can help the students to be creative and Living each moment with awareness will make every experience new.
Workshops for overcoming Mana & Moha, removing false identity by replacing their name with “I” and games based upon the concept of Prarabdha were there.

 

Compost Seva:
The students were taken to the compost pit in the ashram where they worked across several areas like waste segregation, dumping, feeding the worms, packing etc. The students learnt about how to convert karma into karma yoga by offering the action being offered at the Lord’s feet. The students learnt about the need for awareness in each and every action that they perform. The students also learnt to overcome their likes and dislikes through this seva.

 

Satsangs:
Five speakers who are residents of the ashram shared their experiences with Amma:

Dr. Hari Shankar, Paediatric-Oncologist
Dr. Hari said that the association a person keeps and entertains has a great impact on his life. We should be wise enough and must discriminate while we are associated with the surroundings.
Dr. Hari said, “One should have a part of their mind that remains observing all the situations”. This practice helps a person to detach himself and come closer to the Self.

Br. Gurudas Chaitanya
Gurudas Ji shared the importance of adopting the basic principles in life for achieving higher goals. He told a story in which he revealed that Amma knows everything even though it is untold to her. He also spoke on the importance of surrender of action at the feet of the Guru.

Mr. Ashok Nair, General Manager, Exxon Oil Company
His experience revealed to the students that a strong conviction of the Guru’s words in any situation leads to the correct path. He shared his life’s story on how Amma’s words guided him and helped solve the critical situation in his wife’s life. The students learnt about the attitude of conviction and surrender to the Guru and Guru’s words.

Brahmachari Amit
He told that he used to overeat but Amma’s one statement changed him completely: “If you eat like this, I’ll stop eating”. It shows how the Guru’s words can change the addictions in a person if he loves his Guru.

Poornima Andrea, Germany
A person who suffers from severe arthritis became a source of inspiration to all the students. She has been with Amma for the past 10 years on a wheelchair. Even though she always need an attendant, she has been travelling with Amma around the world without any assigned person to help her. In these years, she has learnt to find the resources that she needs on her own with full effort. When the Guru says something, it is our effort with faith in the Guru’s words that will bring us what we want. She does at least 8 hours of seva every day. Poornima said, “The first ray of sun in human form I saw in Amma”.

 

 

Testimonials:

Sai Teja:  This camp has made me try to understand who God really is. I want to maintain a part of my mind to be an observer which will not get affected by any situation. And always mind controls us. But we should not let the mind to do so. We should always be conscious of what you are doing and keep the mind calm and know that Guru will never leave you. He is within you and in any situation, he will be there to help you.

Aarathi Pradeep: Gitamritam Mananam was a mind opener.  Out of the many wonderful lessons taught, the thoughts that struck me hard was on discrimination, the realisation I am nothing; everything is Paramatma, the “so-what” attitude and most importantly developing the sword of dispassion. All these were thought-provoking and I understand I need to contemplate day in and day out to understand Gita 🙂 To understand life 🙂

Pramarsha: Until I attended the camp, I had a preconception that each form of god was different in their nature and if I pray to one, the other would get angry with me. But now I understood that every form is the same and even all of us are the same being.

Anudeep: Surrender is the concept that attracted me the most in this camp because this one word could answer many of my questions. You are already surrendered whether you know it or not, whether you do it or not. Nothing is happening according to your will. Just discover that is what surrender is. Thank you.

Amrutha Ramakrishna: The most important lesson I learnt from this Mananam is to discriminate between essential and unessential things in life. We have so many good things to do in all of our lives. Why should we waste our precious time in the unessential things? So just filter and extract the best you can get from life. Food plays an important role. If we don’t intake good food it affects our thinking. So we have to take good food and keep ourselves healthy.

Vasudevan: Experienced the most beautiful thing ever. Was able to disconnect from my physical pain by saying: “I’m not this body”. Not just in words, it became a living reality. The most peaceful and quietest place… It was fully dark, but it was bright. Only bliss. Both mind and body were separate from me. I’m the Atman. All Amma’s grace and leela. One of the most important lessons for a lifetime: If you have faith and surrender toward the Guru, the grace will come. And being attached to the Guru is the best Satsang we can have in our life. Amma is always with me. It’s up to me to accept that.

Sai Sunder: Mananam helped Sunder to take that 180-degree turn to look at the self and ask “Who am I?”. Sunder understood that he is not the body. It’s very easy to get Mana and very difficult to remove the Moha we develop.

SreeHari: Gita Mananam was a wonderful self-discovery camp. I have also realized that Krishna is within us. SreeHari is so happy that he has realized the truth.

Neeraja Valsan: The main thing I learnt is to control the mind like the way it flows. It takes along with its fragrance and stink. Similarly, we should never get stuck with any thought.

Shankar Kumaran: This camp is completely different from Gitamritam-BALA-YUVA-KALYAN. Could see student’s time conscious, they were not late in the class. Though it was not like a busy schedule, they were so responsible for their actions. Many things can never be replaced, Living Sri Krishna, Eating with Sri Krishna, Interviewing Sri Krishna, Eternal Ocean, Seva, Prasadam and many more. Fifteenth Chapter- A trailer of Gita. “Nirmaanamoha” shloka was superbly good.

 

Mananam 2015 -Stay with SthitaPranja – for 5 days

The first Mananam camp – Stay with Sthitapranja – for 5 days was conducted at Amritapuri. Selected verses from the 2nd chapter were taken for discussion. Quiz and guest lectures by Prof Balakrishnan, Amrita university; Sachin Dante former New Yorker journalist; Br Subhamrita of MAM were there.

The students had Satsang, bhajan and meditation was there.  The question & answer session they had directly with Amma was the highlight of the camp  – sitting at the feet of a ‘SthitaPranja’ and learning Gita.