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Fulfilling the Principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
An excerpt from Amma's Inaugural Address of the C20 Chairmanship
Double rainbow at MA Center, San Ramon, CA


This year, 2023, India has the responsibility for the G20 Chairmanship. The G20 or Group of Twenty is an inter-governmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union (EU). It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.

Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi, was selected as the Civil Society (C20) Engagement Group Chair of this year's G20. C20 collaborates with hundreds of civil service and non-governmental organizations from around the world to represent the concerns of the common people. Amma’s C20 Working Groups include the following:

  • Sustainable and Resilient Communities: Climate, Environment and Net Zero Targets
  • Integrated Holistic Health: Mind, Body and Environment
  • Education and Digital Transformation
  • Gender Equality

An excerpt of Amma’s Speech When Accepting the C20 Chairmanship

Fulfilling the Principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Fostering Unity and Harmony

"Amma bows down to all of you—embodiments of Pure Love and the Supreme Self.

This is an auspicious occasion. We have embarked on a mission to restore the dwindling light of the world. This is a historic year in which India has received the opportunity to assume the presidency of the G20 nations. The Indian Government and Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi have given us the tremendous responsibility of successfully facilitating the process of Civil Society 20 (C20), an official engagement group of the G20 Forum. May we be able to do justice to this endeavor. On this occasion, I express my sincere gratitude to the Indian Government and to the Honorable Prime Minister.

The human body, along with everything sentient and insentient in this world, is comprised of five elements—earth, water, fire, air and space. These five elements originate from Nature. This is why humankind and Nature are one. Knowing this truth through direct experience, the ancient ṛṣis of India declared vasudhaiva kuṭuṁbakam — "The world is one family."

So, it is only apt that the theme of India’s G20 presidency is this statement from the Upanishads: "One Earth, One Family".

The main duties of the C20 Forum are resolving issues people face in their fields of work, understanding public opinion, studying the problems people face in different areas, bringing them to the attention of the Indian Government and to the G20 nations, and suggesting solutions.

Humankind is always trying various ways to make life easy and comfortable. It depends on many sources of power. As such, every nation is constantly striving to develop their strength as a nation, in terms of their military and arms, economics, as well as in terms of science and technology. From the perspective of security and progress, all are necessary. However, in our haste to strengthen ourselves in these areas, we have forgotten the force of Nature, which is even more powerful. We have forgotten the great truth that we are a part of this vast universe. Lately, Nature has been giving us a succession of “shock treatments” to remind us of this truth. Even so, we continue to behave as if we have Alzheimer’s—incapable of remembering our lessons.

Humanity should strive to reach the peak of knowledge. Whatever research is required, it should be conducted. However, Amma feels that we should also be ready to investigate the power of spiritual thought and of a lifestyle established in spiritual principles. We should understand the necessity of this from the hints Nature and the universe keep sending us. Only then will we be able to fulfill the principle of vasudhaiva kuṭaṁbakam, at least to some small extent.

Today our situation is such that, while we have everything, we really have nothing. One thing is very clear. As humanity grows more and more distant from Nature, our problems only increase.

Nature is God’s Face Revealed

Humankind has the wrong understanding that Nature is our obedient servant and insentient, and therefore we can treat Her however we please. However, the truth is that Nature is a unified body—a single entity. Just as the parts of a body are indivisibly connected, all aspects of Nature, sentient and insentient, are also interconnected. They are all parts of Nature’s body. This is why development is unsustainable unless it is tied to environmental protection. If we truly want sustainable development, holding conferences and summits, awarding prizes and creating policies and laws are not enough. Humanity’s attitude has to change. If we can change our attitude, we can change our surroundings.

How can we live without earth, water, fire, air and space? These five elements are the asis of our body. So, Nature is both within and without. Living on this earth, we often ignore or reject our fellow beings and Nature; we strive only to fulfill our own selfish desires and greed. At the same time, we pray to God to give us heaven. What a contradiction!

A farmer sows organic rice
A farmer in Sadivayal, Tamil Nadu sows organic rice

Imparting the Right Awareness is Essential

Amma often mentions that we should meet people at their level when interacting with them. We have adopted 108 villages. During their initial visit to one of the villages, the ashram volunteers learned that all the farmers in the village were contemplating suicide. Why? Their crops had failed repeatedly, and they had lost everything. The seed money they had borrowed was lost, and they could not even pay the interest on the loan. The only way out they could see before them was death. The crops had failed five years in a row.

Our volunteers looked at their process. Where were they buying their fertilizer from? They discovered that the farmers were paying an exorbitant amount for the fertilizer. They were getting cheated. The volunteers intervened and helped them buy it at a fair price. They made the farmers aware of modern agriculture practices. The following year, these farmers had a bountiful crop. They were able to repay the loans that had been pending for five years, and they made enough profit to live on for the year. That year, all those villagers came to see Amma with bright smiles lighting up their faces, to offer Amma some paddy from that crop. We were able to uplift them physically and mentally. So, imparting the right awareness is essential. This is why Amma always says that we should meet people at their level."

Amma's speech continues and includes some important and relevant suggestions. She ends with this quote:

"One Mind and One Goal

Let us all proceed, with one mind and one goal, to work selflessly for the world's welfare. May our acts become a noble ideal for those who will come after us. May the tree of our life be firmly rooted in the soil of love. May our good actions be its leaves. May our kind words be its flowers. May peace be its fruits. May this world grow and prosper as one family, united in love. May the ethos of vasudhaiva kutumbakam -- "The world is one family" -- awaken, be put into practice and bear fruit in everyone. May we realise a world where there is endless peace and harmony.May divine grace bless us all."

Om Namah Shivaya

To read the complete speech, go to: https://www.amritapuri.org/83515/23c20inaug.aum

Amma at C20
Amma at C20 inauguration

Read a Gardener's Prayer from the Q2 2023 newsletter >>


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