Amrita Rao – Quick 5

Amrita Rao

Amrita Rao


Amrita Rao – Quick 5

We have not heard of Amrita Rao in a while but in a quick chat, she reveals some interesting tid-bits.

Spiritual experience
When I was seven, and accompanied my aunt to Kodaikanal on a spiritual trip to Satya Sai Baba’s ashram. I was curious to know why she was a vegetarian. My aunt explained a few things to me and since that moment I have been vegetarian.

First Offer
When I was in high school and got a call from an event management team telling me that they have selected me from an audition of 54 girls to be face of their fairness cream.

First Project you signed?
When a representatives of music Films Company came to my door with flowers and a cake that said we will make you a star. I signed a three-year movie contract deal.

Big Break
When Gauri Khan saw one of my Coffee ads and asked Farah Khan to audition me for Main Hoon Na.

Blessed
When MF Hussain pronounced me as his muse eleven years after Madhuri Dixit after watching me in Vivah and made me a part of his historic canvas.

Star Box Office Reference

Maria Polyzou is born to run the marathon

Maria Polyzou is born to run the marathon
Nihal Koshie / DNA
Monday, January 11, 2010 1:53 IST

Mumbai: Maria Polyzou was in Mumbai for the first time on Sunday. She was in the city to participate in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon flame run — the first time the flame was seen outside Europe — from the Shiv Chatrapti International Airport to the Hutatma Chowk.

Polyzou is best-placed to spread the marathon spirit. At 41, she has been running marathons for 23 years. She is also the director of the Museum of Marathon in Marathon. In September she is planning to participate in the Ultra-marathon, a 250 kilometre grind, between Sparta and Athens.

This year marks the 2,500-year anniversary of the battle of marathon, so Polyzou wants to make it a special one for her and the sport as well. She had run in Xiamen, China, to celebrate the uncoming anniversary in September. “This is a special year for the sport. It’s great that the marathon flame has come to Mumbai. It will make this year’s event most special,” Polyzou told DNA on the sidelines of the run.

The marathon celebrates the run of a soldier, Pheidippides, from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens in 490 BC. Pheidippides was carrying the news a Greek victory over the Persians and collapsed and died at the end of his effort.

“There is something about marathons that elevate the spirit. If you can run a marathon you can safely say that you not only have attained the best from your body but have also managed to control your mind. There is no greater satisfaction than winning a marathon but even participating and lasting the distance can be a life-changing experience,” Polyzou said.

India is a second home for Polyzou. She is a Shri Sathya Sai Baba devotee and has been to Puttaparthi a number of times. “I have always enjoyed my visits to India. I am sure the Mumbai marathon will continue to be a success. What is most important for the success of a marathon is public participation and going by what I have seen today and heard about the previous editions, there is a tremendous support for the event,” Polyzou added.

Tarus, Too favourites
An elite athlete field comprising some of the world’s leading male and female long distance runners will participate in the seventh edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2010. The course record for men stands at 2:11.51s, set last year by Kenyan Kenneth Mugara, while the record for women is 2:34:08, held by three-time winner Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia, set in 2008.

While Kenneth Mugara is missing for this year’s line up, due to injury, last year’s runner-up David Tarus, also from Kenya, will be back and going by his current form is one of the front runners to take home the winner’s purse of $35,000.

Tarus ran 2:09:24s at Eindhoven in October 2009 and will have to contend with another strong challenger from Kenya, Daniel Kiprugut Too, who has returned the fastest timing in 2009 from among the field, clocking 2:08:38s in the Paris Marathon.

The other leading contenders among the men are Ethiopia’s Gebo Burka, winner of the Alps Marathon in 2009, with a personal best of 2:10:18s, set at the Cannes Marathon in November 2009, and Kenyan Luka Chelimo, winner of the Toronto Marathon in September 2009 with a personal best of 2:10:26s.

DNA India Reference

Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s visit to Ashok Chavan’s residence

Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s visit to Ashok Chavan’s residence
News channels have become sensationalists and try to give political colour to non political issues and attack privacy where they have no relevance. They have made an issue out of Sri Sathya Sai Baba visiting CM Chavan!
CJ: M. S. Verma
Mon, Nov 02, 2009 11:38:25 IST

SRI SATHYA Sai Baba was at Hadsi, a village about 40 kms away from Pune to inaugurate a newly constructed temple.

In Ashok Chavan’s family, Baba occupies the same reverential place as a preceptor, teacher or Guru in Indian tradition. Before him his father, late Shri SB Chavan too was a follower of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Shri Chavan naturally liked to have the Guru’s blessing before swearing in as the new CM of Maharashtra. He also touched his feet. He invited Sri Baba who out of his love and benevolence condescended to visit Shri Chavan’s official residence. Shri Chavan showed due reverence towards Baba and naturally touched his feet and received his blessings. The media took this up and converted it into a political issue. The have left no stone unturned to make a mountain of a mole hill.

No society raises a hue and cry if anybody, even if the President of a country, shows reverence to the Preceptor, whether he has any miraculous powers or not. But a couple of news channels have made such a fuss over this incident, totally a private affair of Shri Chavan and who is being condemned as someone who has done something very objectionable and politically incorrect and that the Baba is made to appear a most undesirable individual. Dirty references about him have been dug up and are being thrown about to malign the Baba and to criticize Shri Chavan. Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a spiritual Guru. He is not a politician. He does not advise CMs of states or Presidents of countries. In Charles Dickens’s Story “A Deal in Ostriches,” one of the passengers on a ship has five ostriches. One of the ostriches on board the ship swallows a diamond belonging to one Padishaw, a merchant and the passengers discuss whether the diamond belonged to the merchant or to the owner of the ostriches. A passenger, claiming to be the father of a lawyer, gives his funny opinion as if he himself were the lawyer and had the authority to give legal opinion in the matter. Of course it was just ridiculous.

The basic question is whether the channels know much about Sri Sathya Sai Baba or just have the temerity to say anything they like about Baba or any other religious head? Obviously they don’t and in order to create sensation and spread misinformation about the Baba, their correspondents have been talking irrelevant and offensive things over and over again. They don’t realise that in doing this, they are hurting the sensibility of millions of followers of Sri Sathya Sai Baba round the globe in over 170 countries. Baba preaches unity of all faiths, which no politician will ever be able to do. Would the media talk in equal derogatory terms about other religious and spiritual heads? Why then do they choose to do this in this case, only because Baba preaches tolerance, love and selfless service of humanity? It was Baba’s love for humanity that impelled him to arrange drinking water for the whole city of Madras, which successive governments couldn’t do. His two super specialty hospitals, one in Puttaparthy, Andhra and the other at White field Bangalore provide free medical services to the poor, where free heart and other organs transplants are done. He provided drinking water to the whole of Rayal Seema in Andhra. Such services are numerous.

He has hurt none and has rendered service in such a great volume that no ordinary being would ever do. Incidentally, I was a witness when three former Presidents of India (in office) came to pay homage to Baba. All of them were images of humility and piety. The channels would do themselves a lot of good before opening an all out attack on Shri Chavan and Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Late Shri Karanjia, editor of Blitz weekly too was skeptical about Baba’s greatness like the channels in question but he visited Puttaparthy, to get first hand information about Baba before publishing anything.

He visited Baba’s ashram and interviewed him for days like any capable journalist and had to admit the bonafide of the Baba’s mission of service to humanity and later wrote a book “God lives in India,” which is an eye opener for the skeptics and may be to the channels in question. Even otherwise journalists should be well informed about an issue they take up and must first verify the authenticity of persons and things before starting criticising them. Baba’s followers and all sensible citizens of a democracy like India’s would like the channel to desist from harping on a non issue.

Meri News Reference

Spiritual Leader Sathya Sai Baba Visits Ashok Chavan In Mumbai

Chavan hosts Satya Saibaba at Varsha
Press Trust Of India
Mumbai, November 01, 2009
First Published: 16:10 IST(1/11/2009)
Last Updated: 16:11 IST(1/11/2009)

Maharashtra Chief Minister designate Ashok Chavan on Sunday hosted Satya Saibaba at his official residence Varsha.

Sathya Sai Baba was on a five-day visit to the state and in Mumbai since Saturday where he had a discourse at the Jambori maidan at Worli in central Mumbai.

Chavan has said that the Baba has been his spiritual guru since the time of his birth.

Chavan’s father late S B Chavan who also served as Chief Minister twice, was an ardent devotee of the Baba.

Several Congress-NCP politicians, who are devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, also attended the prayer ceremony held inside the house.

Hindustan Times Reference


Sathya Sai Baba visits Ashok Chavan’s residence, blesses him
November 1st, 2009 – 3:40 pm ICT by IANS
By Quaid Najmi

Mumbai, Nov 1 (IANS) In an unprecedented development, Maharashtra’s chief minister-designate Ashok Chavan hosted his spiritual guru, Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, here Sunday afternoon.

Chavan had specially invited Sathya Sai Baba to visit Varsha, the official residence of the state chief minister at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, according to a government official.

Clad in his traditional saffron robe with his trademark hairstyle, Sathya Sai Baba entered Varsha shortly after 12.30 p.m., the official said.

Chavan, along with his wife Ameeta and teenaged daughters Srijaya and Sujaya, received the dignitary on the white steps of Varsha which had been specially decorated with saffron-coloured flowers, flags and buntings for the occasion.

“The occasion is strictly a private, family affair… nobody from the government or his staff or the party is invited,” the official told IANS.

Sathya Sai Baba, who arrived here from Pune Saturday morning, will conduct a special pooja at the chief minister’s residence in the presence of the Chavan family.

As a mark of respect to the visiting dignitary, Chavan may also wash Sathya Sai Baba’s feet, though no official is willing to go on record.

Later, Chavan will host a lunch in honour of Sathya Sai Baba in the private dining hall of Varsha, which is usually reserved for VVIPs who visit the place.

The chief minister has never kept his devotion and admiration for Sathya Sai Baba under wraps. He seeks his blessings regularly in times of need and goes to express his gratitude when his wishes are fulfilled.

In fact, shortly after his party’s victory in last month’s assembly elections, Chavan had rushed to thank his spiritual guru.

Though this is Sathya Sai Baba’s first visit to the the state chief minister’s residence, he is no stranger to politicians and leaders across the political spectrum.

Among his most prominent admirers and devotees was the former prime minister, the late P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Heavy security arrangements were made for the VVIP guru in the area.

The Malabar Hill, with the Arabian Sea on three sides, is home for VVIPs and celebrities including the chief justice of Bombay High Court and other judges, ministers, top government officials, legislators, foreign diplomats, scientists, leading industrialists and businessmen, head honchos of multinationals and even a few film stars.

Prior to his Varsha sojourn, Sathya Sai Baba – visiting the state after nine years – also held widely-patronised public discourses in different parts of Mumbai.

He also attended a religious concert by Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam in Goregaon Saturday evening, and interacted with officials of his various charitable interests in Maharashtra and Mumbai.

Sathya Sai Baba arrived in Pune last Wednesday from Puttaparthi by a private chartered aircraft on a three-day visit and inaugurated a temple complex, Sri Sathya Sai Pandurang Kshetra at Hadshi.

Thai Indian Reference


Power Inc takes a breather, gets down to spiritual biz
1 Nov 2009, 2358 hrs IST, ET Bureau

MUMBAI: Temporal and spiritual power intermingled in Mumbai on Sunday as devotees — both the humble and the great and the good — of the spiritual leader Shri Sathya Sai Baba lined up to receive his blessings.

Big chiefs of the financial sector and India Inc turned out in large numbers to seek the Baba’s blessings. The morning prayer in the Mumbai suburb of Andheri was attended by an eclectic collection of dignitaries. These included ICICI Bank chairman, KV Kamath, the chairman and MD of the Union Bank of India, MV Nair, Kotak Bank’s vice-chairman and MD Uday Kotak, Gunit Chadha, the head of Deutsche Bank’s India operations, PMS Prasad, a director on the board of Reliance Industries (RIL), India’s largest private sector company, and Meera Sanyal, a banker and an independent candidate from the South Mumbai parliamentary constituency.

At a prayer meeting on Sunday, Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, BJP leader Gopinath Munde and many other dignitaries sought the Swami’s blessings at a darshan organised in Mahakali Caves, Andheri.

Chief minister Ashok Chavan prayed for his new administration. “The government needs the Swamiji’s touch and his blessings. We hope to run the government according to his principles,” Mr Chavan said on Sunday morning.
The CM wasn’t the only dignitary queuing up for a sprinkling of the spiritual stardust. A clutch of serving and former judges, including former Supreme Court judge BM Srikrishna (of the Srikrishna Commission fame) and a number of prominent lawyers and doctors were also present.

Mr Kamath, who spoke on the occasion, referred to the insights thrown up in the course of a two-day conference on the ‘Ethics and the world of finance’ held in August 2009 at the Sathya Sai Baba University at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. That conference was attended by two RBI governors, the incumbent Duvvuri Subbarao and his predecessor YV Reddy. Besides the assorted dignitaries, thousands lined up for a darshan, first at Andheri and later at Worli.

Later in the day, the chief minister and his family hosted the Sathya Sai Baba at Varsha, the Maharashtra CM’s residence in Mumbai’s Malabar Hill. Predictably, some of this attracted criticism from people of a rationalist bent of mind who said that the CM’s actions were not in consonance with the state’s secular traditions. Pictures of Mr Chavan paying obeisance to the Sathya Sai Baba were flashed by some Hindi and Marathi television channels.

That’s unlikely to deter the CM, who recalled his family’s three decade-long relationship with the spiritual leader. His father SB Chavan, two times Maharashtra CM and former Union finance minister under Rajiv Gandhi, had been similarly criticised in 1975. But the media critics of that era had later realised their error, Chavan Jr said.

Both Mr Chavan and Mr Kamath praised the selflessness of the volunteers, many from affluent backgrounds, working at various hospitals and educational institutions run by the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation.

Shri Sathya Sai Baba is on five-day visit to Maharashtra. The Sathya Sai Seva Organisation runs a number of schools and four hospitals. The organisation was recently in the forefront of relief work for cyclone victims in Orissa and flood victims in West Bengal.

Economic Times Reference

Thousands Throng Hadshi To See Sai Baba

Thousands Throng Hadshi To See Sai Baba
TNN 31 October 2009, 06:25am IST

PUNE: Thousands of people thronged the village of Hadshi, about 60 km from here, on Friday for a darshan of spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who has been in the village for the last three days.

The spiritual leader’s appearance on the stage near the village led to loud shouts of ‘Sai Ram’.

Chief minister Ashok Chavan’s wife Amita Chavan and former Union minister Shivraj Patil were among the politicians and eminent personalities who have come to the little village on Friday to visit Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

During the three-day discourse, other politicians, including ministers Patangrao Kadam, Harshvardhan Patil and Dilip Deshmukh also sought darshan.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba is expected to leave for Mumbai on October 31.

On Friday, people began gathering at the venue hours before the actual programme started, wherein child stars of a reality show performed a few devotional songs. There were also a number of foreigners among the crowd, who clapped and hummed bhajans along with others.

For Yamuna Deodhar, a resident of Mahad, the trip from her town about 100 km away was one she would always remember simply because she got what she wanted. “A darshan of Swamiji was something I had never expected to take place, so this is definitely a dream come true,” she said.

For Mukund Mule, a financial consultant from Sangamner, it was the social work of Sathya Sai Baba that inspired him to become his devotee. “He and his followers are working for the betterment of the society and the deprived class. I respect that,” he said.

Echoing the same sentiments Sunil Ahire said that he has come for the spiritual discourse after hearing about the work carried out by Sathya Sai Baba’s various organisations. “I have come to this spiritual discourse for the first time. I wanted to listen to the thoughts of Baba and this was a good opportunity for me since the programme is taking place very close to my village,” said Ahire, a resident of Paud village.

Some politicians had come along with their families and were staying near the venue for the last three days. “I had heard his spiritual discourse in the late eighties for the first time. Since then I have been following Baba’s discourses for more than 20 years. I regularly visit his ashram in Puttaparthi,” said Dayanand Londhe, sarpanch of Malad, Baramati, and a former member of zilla parishad.

Times Of India Reference

Young Devotees Wowed By Sathya Sai Baba

Young Devotees Wowed By Sathya Sai Baba
The youth were captivated by the guru’s message of love and respect for mankind
By Vishakha Sharma
Posted On Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 02:38:20 AM

Hundreds of devotees of Sathya Sai Baba in the city gathered to catch a glimpse and listen to their revered guru from Wednesday, October 28 to Friday, October 30. Pune Mirror spoke to some of Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees who told us of their experience.

Aloka Deane-Chinnayya (30) felt blessed to have met Sathya Sai Baba. She said, “It was an amazing experience meeting him. He taught us how important it is to love and respect mankind. The love he shared with all the people here is unbelievable. He spoke to everybody in a lay man’s terms so everyone could understand. He taught us some phrases which we should use in our lives like help ever, hurt never and love all, serve all.” We also found some young devotees at Baba’s darshan and they were equally happy.

19-year-old Vrushali Swatantramath said, “Meeting him felt like meeting god. Just like all his devotees were happy, Swami was happy too. It was wonderful to have him with us.”

16-year-old Ragini Ramachandran, recollected an old memory and shared it with Mirror. She said, “When I was three years old, my father had this drinking habit which he would not leave. One day, my mother and I decided to attend Swami’s bhajans and asked my father to join us. He refused saying he did not believe in him. So the two of us went. But later, my father called up, asked us for the bhajan’s venue and attended it. He was sitting in the last row and refused to meet Swami. But after coming home he had a transformation and quit drinking. Sathya Sai Baba spreads the message of love and helps transforming people for their better,” added Ragini.

Pune Mirror Reference

Sri Sathya Sai Baba To Visit City Tomorrow

Sri Sathya Sai Baba To Visit City Tomorrow
TNN 30 October 2009, 06:32am IST

MUMBAI: Spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba will bless his devotees in the city on a visit scheduled from October 31 to November 2. Sri Sathya Sai Baba will be staying at his divine adobe ‘Dharmakshetra’ in Andheri.

The schedule for the Mumbai trip includes bhajan and darshan at these locations: Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon on October 31 at 4 pm ; Jamboori Maidan in Worli on November 1 at 10 am and Brabourne Stadium in Churchgate on November 1 at 5 pm.

He visited Mumbai for the first time in 1967 and laid the foundation for Dharmakshetra, which was inaugurated in 1968. Dharmakshetra is an initiative involved in many social activities like education and medical care among other things.

Times Of India Reference