Renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) received an honorary degree—D.Litt. (Honoris causa)—from the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. The degree was bestowed upon Amma virtually as part of the Deemed to be University’s 17th Annual Convocation Ceremony in recognition of Amma’s “great contributions in the field of spirituality, education, environmental issues, humanitarian efforts, love and compassion.”
Upon conferring Amma with the degree, KIIT’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sasmita Samanta, addressed Amma, saying, “In a world torn apart by strife and shaken by stress, all of humanity is lifting its eyes to you in hopes of finding the emotional support and strength to face the challenges of life with peace and equanimity. As the manifestation of the shining light of Bharata-samskara, you shine wherever you go and whatever you do.”
The Vice-Chancellor went on to praise the spiritual, environmental and humanitarian accomplishments of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, as well as the solutions to social problems Amma has shared at forums such as the United Nations, the Vatican and Parliament of the World’s Religions. She concluded, “Be it an earthquake or tsunami in the Indian Ocean or anywhere else in the world, you always remain at the forefront, mitigating the suffering of the people. As the most personally accessible spiritual leader, even agnostics have to struggle to hold back their tears before you.”
In her acceptance speech, Amma spoke about her vision of holistic education. She said, “Education should spread light within and without. Education should equally develop discernment and contemplation. It should develop the curiosity to know the internal world just as much as it does to know the external world. Education should teach us to keep our inner eye open just as much as our external eyes. Education should instil awareness and strengthen the deep bond between the student and his nation, the world, his fellow human beings and other creatures, Nature and God.”
The degree was conferred to Amma in the presence of KIIT’s Chancellor, Prof. Ved Prakash; Pro-Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) Subrat Kumar Acharya; and Registrar Prof. Jnyana Ranjan Mohanty, as well as Chief Guest Sri. Dharmendra Pradhan, Honourable Minister of Education, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and fellow honorary degree recipients, Nobel Laureate Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn (Chemistry 1987) and Shri Vallabh Bhanshali, Co-Founder of ENAM Securities, Founder, Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation, Founder-Director, FLAME University.
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