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Glasnost, Perestroika... and now IAM, in Russia


St Petersburg, founded in 1703 by Peter the Great who wanted to make it his "window to the West", was the first Russian city to be modeled after European cities. One of Europe's most beautiful cities, it is strewn with canals and several hundred bridges; its many palaces, cathedrals, museums (including the Hermitage), and historical monuments were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990.

The royal city has seen in its three hundred years history three name changes. The city named after Peter the Great, which sounded German, when the German threat drew nearer at the start of World War I, changed to more Russian "Petrograd", only to assume a communist hue as in Leningrad in 1924. (Lenin was the premier of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924.Grad in Russian means city.) With the collapse of the Soviet Union in1991, after a city-wide referendum, it embraced its original name, St. Petersburg, once again...

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The two Russian words or concepts often heard, from the political pulpits of the late eighties, were glasnost and perestroika. It is from the cauldrons of glasnost and perestroika, that a coup d'├ętat and a new Russia emerged. In this painful moment of transition in the history of Soviet Union Amma appeared there, as if to mitigate the pain, soothe the hearts. It was the beginning of a new era. And now, twenty years later, Amma's IAM has reached Russia. Perhaps it is symbolic.

The 19 earnest students

The first* ever IAM Technique course of Russia was conducted on October 1 and 2, 2011, in Petersburg. The Russian devotees had requested the visiting ashram brahmachari for IAM to be taught there. It was taught in a downtown conference hall. The building had formerly housed a ISKCON center. Conference halls are a big business in the city.

In the middle of this very cold season, the first day was warm and beautiful. More than half of the nineteen people who attended the two full-days' course already knew Amma - were members of the local satsang group. The others were drawn to the course by the advertisements. But all of them were unanimous, in the end, in their appreciation of the new gift from Amma. IAM is a great stess buster.

The class conducted by an Amritapuri Ashram-resident on his way to join Amma's European tour, was translated by a local devotee who not only was a professional translator, but was trained in IAM in India. Each evening's bhajans added to the peace and joy of the meditation. IAM as experienced by others.

The seed of love and compassion Amma sowed that summer in 1991 is sprouting beautifully in the form of IAM. It will bloom into a tree providing shade and shelter to souls scorched in the fire of delusions.

*The next class will be held in St. Petersburg on the 6th and 7th of October, 2012. For further details of the course, visit the Russian website here.

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By: Janardana Krishna and Alwin D`Angelo in India and assisted by: Tatiana Samarina in St Petersburg