Devotees greet Matha on her b'day

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Kollam, Sep 27 (UNI) Thousands of devotees from across the country thronged the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, near, here to greet Spiritual Leader Matha Amrithanandamayi on her 54th birthday today.

In a message here, Amritanandamayi said the nation's advancement lay in the upliftment of the downtrodden. One should also strive for spiritual awakening.

Despite the nation's progress in all sectors, thousands were still reeling under poverty, she said adding real advancement should take place in one's own mind.

If this was achieved, prosperity and peace would follow spontaneously, she said.

The Mutt also introduced two social schemes on her birthday.

'Vidhyamritham' and one for uplift of poor women.

'Vidhyamritham,' a monthly scholarship programme under which 30,000 students from below the poverty line farmers families in Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka would be provided with scholarships.

Minister of State for Planning M V Rajasekharan inaugurated the programme.

Under a social scheme for the upliftment of poor women, the Mutt would provide vocational training to 5,000 women of Self-Help Groups from poor agricultural families and also ''start up capital'' to establish cottage industries.

This scheme was inaugurated by Fisheries Minister S Sharma.

UNI

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