“A truly spiritual person lives for the Truth, and breathes for Love.” — Amma

Can a hug change the world? How about 20 million hugs? Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī, better known as “Amma” (mother), is working day and night to find out. Her hugging marathons draw massive crowds. Devotees see her as a living saint. They seem to find whatever it is they are looking for within her warm embrace. For a short time at least, all their problems go away.

Amma first recognized the transformative powers of her hugs after spontaneously consoling fellow villagers who had suffered hardships. The word quickly got out: her hugs were something special – even spiritual. Pretty soon random people began showing up asking for them. This was the humble start of a following that continues to grow to this day.

Why are all these people lining up to hug this woman? What are they getting out of the experience? One might speculate that a great number of them are looking for solace and consolation. Losing themselves in this experience might offer them temporary reprieve from their worldly troubles. Think of it as a spiritual anti-depressant.

Certainly, Amma has more serious followers who commit themselves to spiritual attainment. Her devotees practice bhakti and worship her as a living God. In this yoga of the heart, devotees are encouraged to devote themselves completely to their guru. This expression of devotion allows them to melt into the living Grace of their master, using their master as a bridge to reclaim their relationship with God.

If the truth is found within, then why go without in search for it? What about our inner master, the inner guru we call Spirit or Knowledge? This approach creates a feckless subservience in the seeker – a desperate kind of spiritual dependence. Does it work? In some cases, yes. Is there rampant sexual, psychological and financial abuse in the “guru community”? Absolutely. Proceed with caution.

Surrendering is a natural and necessary part of reclaiming our relationship with Spirit. The body must follow the mind, and in turn the mind must heed to Spirit. Surrendering to another person instead of the deeper Self beyond the mind may be easier for some people. However, it deprives you of your most important relationship. The truth is within. God is within. Turning away from it in favor of a master or guru is a failure to honor the deeper aspect of yourself that is waiting patiently for your openness and attention.

Enlightenment Story

Each and every pore of my body was wide-open with yearning, each atom of my body was vibrating with the sacred mantra, my entire being was rushing twoards the Divine Mother in a torrential stream… Read the rest of Amma’s enlightenment story.


7 thoughts on “Amma”

  1. Great post. I am a devotee of Amma, and just wanted to reassure you that Amma’s constant message is for us to find God within our own hearts. This is shown in the quote below:

    “You do not have to believe in Amma, or in a God who resides up above in the sky on a golden throne. It is enough if you have faith in yourself. If you don’t have faith in yourself, then there is not much to gain even if you believe in God.“ – Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi)

    Also, many devotees of Amma begin with bhakti, and later come to incorporate jnana.

    “Bhakti is not different from jnana (knowledge). Real devotion is itself wisdom. One should put medicine on a cut only after cleansing the wound with disinfectant. Otherwise, it will get infected and become a serious wound. Likewise, having destroyed the ego through devotion, wisdom should be established. Apply the medicine of jnana after cleaning the mind with the disinfectant of bhakti. Only then will there be true wisdom.” – Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi)

  2. “The Story of Enlightenment” may mean a Big Nothing. Or it can give a Devastating Ecstasy. That depends on whether one has minimum Bhakti (Devotion) or Jnana (Understanding, as well as Willingness to Understand). But Anyone can Purify Oneself with the disinfectant of Faith. Faith sans Fanaticism.

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