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Governor Quinn and Amma inaugurate M.A. Center in Chicagoland

July 06
22:08 2012

Gov Quinn greeting Ma Amritanandamayi

CHICAGO: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Ma Amritanandamayi, a world renowned spiritual saint from India, front ranking Indian community activist Niranjan Shah and hundreds of Ma followers flocked to Elburn, a 50 miles away remote place from Chicago, to attend the formal launching of Ma Amritanandamayi Center on June 30.
A 7th Adventist Church sprawling on 125 acres of land has now been formally Christened MA Center with the Illinois Governor formally laying it open in a ceremony that was solemn and uplifting.
To commemorate this important landmark event that is expected to bring lot of spiritual wealth and happiness not only in unincorporated area of Elburn but across Illinois, Governor Quinn declared June 30, 2012 as Mata Amritanandamayi Day. He deemed his honor to present a Proclamation to that effect to Ma Amritanandamayi during the inauguration day.
Niranjan Shah, a recipient of Pravasi Bharatiya Sanman Award and CEO of Globetrotter Engineering Corporation, said that 2012 marks the 26th year of the founding of the M.A. Center, inspired by the charitable life and compassionate teachings of Mata Amritanandamayi, known throughout the word as “Amma.” He said that the M.A. Center’s charitable work includes among other activities – the running of a soup kitchen for the past 20 years for the poor and homeless, providing financial and humanitarian relief following Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Fukushima earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, and collecting and shipping hospital supplies to developing countries.
Amma is an internationally renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader. Dubbed by the American media as “The Hugging Saint,” Amma has embraced more than 32 million people around the world.
She has been a keynote speaker at the Millennium World Peace Summit at the United Nations, and in 2010, SUNY- Buffalo awarded her an honorary doctorate in humane letters in recognition of the far-reaching impact of her charitable organizations in relieving poverty in India and around the world.
Amma was one of the core of spiritual leaders attending the 100th Anniversary of World Parliament of Religions in Chicago twenty years ago.
Like Swami Vivekananda, who literally stole the limelight hundred years ago during the first such Parliament, it was Amma, another saintly person from India who turned out to be the center of attraction with hundreds of seekers of truth and attendees lining up outside the hall to listen to her speaking.
Amma, 58, of India, greeted attendees with her signature hugging embrace; Hugging sessions do last for hours sometimes even 20 hours in a crowded day.

In inaugurating the center, Governor Quinn recognized the contributions made by Amma in terms of encouraging sustainable development, feeding the poor, performing humanitarian work, and spending her life serving the needy and underprivileged. The Governor also expressed his gratitude for these blessings, and in turn invited Amma to visit Springfield, the capital of Illinois State.
The Governor described Lincoln’s contributions to the state and country and invited Amma to visit the Lincoln sites in Springfield and to spend the night in the Lincoln bedroom of the Governor’s Mansion, where Lincoln used to sleep.
Niranjan Shah observed that this was a singular honor to any person and it really behooved great for Governor Quinn to bestow on Amma. He told this paper that it was also important that the Governor squeezed time to come to this remote place despite his very busy schedule and this is reflective of not only the fact that Amma is revered across the State but also that India has huge spiritual wealth with Amma, Swami Vivekananda and many others being great significant leaders.
Since the arrival of new immigrants from India in the 1960s and 1970s, not only have we done well in developing professional careers, but we’ve made significant contributions in promoting Indian spiritual as well as cultural values, Shah added.

Ramesh Soparawala
India Post News Service

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