Amma plans low-key birthday this time in Kerala 24, 2005

Kollam (Kerala): Quite unlike the celebrity-studded bash on her 50th birthday in Kochi two years back, spiritual guru Mata Amritanandamayi will have a quiet birthday at her ashram here Tuesday.

Amma, as Mata Amritanandamayi is popularly called by her devotees, would give 'darshan' (audience) and also address the gathering. A special Sri Guru Padapuja ritual would be performed, a press release issued by her ashram said.

On the occasion, Amma will distribute keys to 550 tsunami-relief houses besides free fishing boats, boat engines and fishing nets to beneficiaries who have been identified by the ashram.

The ashram will also launch its 'Matru Gramam' programme on Sep 27, wherein select villages would be given assistance in becoming self-reliant.

Free clothing will be distributed to the poor, and a mass marriage will be held for 52 impoverished couples. Gold ornaments, marriage dresses and a family feast will be provided as part of the celebrations.

The chief guests would be Kerala Governor R.L. Bhatia and Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal and Minister of Small Scale, Agro and Rural Industries Mahavir Prasad.

Reports indicated that security has been beefed up after an alleged attempt on Amma's life was made by a devotee last month.

Amma's four-day-long birthday celebrations two years back saw a huge gathering of dignitaries, celebrities and devotees from 191 countries. Some 8,000 foreigners from Sri Lanka, the US, Germany, Britain, Israel, Japan, Nepal and Pakistan attended.

Among the dignitaries present were President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vice President Bhairon Singh Sekhawat, then Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and a host of celebrities from the political, business and cultural spheres.

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