Thursday, February 11, 2010


Amma or "Mother" is a what some would call a modern-day Saint. "The Hugging Saint". Although she laughs at that suggestion. She says there is no difference between creation and God. Like the waves the ocean forms are different but they are one and the same. She does not adhere to a particular religion, and her room at her Ashram has a picture of Jesus Christ, a Menorah, and a verse from the Koran. But she has been known to cure leprosy and turn butter into pudding. Although she is quick to note that we all have the same power, we just don't know it. She does not like to perform miracles, like tricks to entertain, preferring to pass her love to people individually, thru the power of  human touch. She has been known to hug 50,0000 people in one day, in 20-hour stints, without benefit of food, water, or bathroom breaks. It is estimated that she has hugged 26 million people in the last 36 years. She's been asked to speak to organizations the world over, and her charitable organization has provided for orphanages, hospitals, schools, giving 46 million dollars to the tsunami victims in Malaysia alone. She has never sought to convert anyone, and states her religion is love and service.

Born in a poor fishing village 56 years ago, her mother claims there was no pain with her birth. She was known as an "odd" child because she would give the family's food away, touched lepers, and would often stop what she was doing and go into "trance-like" states with her lips moving, a smile playing on her face. She says they were silent prayers and "when one beholds the entire universe as a play of consciousness, what else can one do but smile?"

Whether you believe Amma is a Saint, or just a person who has managed to collect a following of millions, her message is simple and worth noting:

The mission of every human being is to realize his true Self or "know who we really are."

"Love is the foundation of a happy life. Knowingly or unknowingly we are forgetting this truth. It is important to feel love but also to express it. After all, love is our true nature. When we do not express love in our words and actions it is like honey hidden in a rock - it's of no use to anyone."

These things should start in the home - only then will there be peace and harmony at home and in society.

The last sentence really hit home for me. Having studied the family for so many years, I truly believe our home is the microcosm of everything else. Having a happy home changes everything.


DJan said...

Wow, Nancy, what an inspiring person she is! I will have to learn more about her. And yes, I am so incredibly fortunate to have a happy home, I am counting my blessings... and you are one.

Meeko Fabulous said...

I completely and wholeheartedly agree. A happy home does make a difference. Our happy home didn't include a dad, proving that a dad isn't always a necessary staple to a happy and healthy family. :)

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Fantastic post, Nancy. I'd never herd of this woman. And you're totally right. A happy home makes the difference with everything.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Meaningful post. Thank you for introducing this selfless woman to me. It all starts in the home. You gotta wonder why some people start families when they are unwilling to love. Love is the answer, and that isn't corny.

ellen abbott said...

'No difference between creation and god' and 'the universe as a play of consciousness'. this is what I came to believe during my own search.

A happy home is what we all want and most strive to give our children that. but we, as human beings, are flawed. And some of us have children before overcoming our own childhoods and our parents shortcomings. My husband was so full of pain which he channeled into anger that for many years, our home was a place for the kids to avoid and I helped them do that. I tried to compensate by giving them as much love and acceptance as I could. He did eventually get counseling and he is a completely different person. But I wish those years had been different for my kids.

ellen abbott said...

I also want to say that both our kids understand the struggle he went through and they love us both very much and we are all very close.

Nancy said...

DJan - Thank you!

Meeko - I agree. A happy home is a state of being, the members are variable.

Trish - She is very well known is certain places - I guess not here, for some reason. Maybe because our country is new to non-established norms of believing. (?)

Elizabeth - I think learning how to love is harder for some than others. You almost have to experience it in some way to understand it. So many were born lacking in this important evolutionary gift.

Ellen - I think we often learn by what we don't want. I applaud your family for staying together and helping each other evolve. That says a lot about the love in your home.

Von said...

Great post Nancy, how true.

harmony said...

Lovely post.
I am unfamiliar with her, but intrigued by her message, and ideas of love and service.
Thank you for sharing!

Brian Miller said...

i want to hug her...that last line hits just the spot...

lakeviewer said...

Amen! A great portrait and lovely reminders that love and happiness are connected to our home.

Anonymous said...

Have you studied Bronfenbrenner? That reminds me of his ecological systems theory where there are different nested systems starting in the home and family (the microsystem) and building out. I've always thought his theory was a good one. Great post. Such an inspiration.

Nancy said...

Von - Thanks.

Harmony - I first heard of her last night on Nightline. Intrigued, I did a little research.

Brian - She does look hugable!

lakeviewer - They absolutely are.

Dudette - Yes! I studied his theory in college. He is a big contributor to Family Science.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for introducing me to Amma. I also agree it starts with the family.

Anonymous said...

Already after half past four and I haven't slept for nearly 19 hours, as small Stefan is a bit ill, yet am very grateful for staying awake and being able to read this entry of yours !
Will now be able to sleep better, as there still is hope alive. Again, thank you very much for that tonight.
A wonderful Friday for you all.

Joanne said...

I've always felt this way about home. It's the source of so much, if not all. If we're not happy in the home, what are we bringing with us out into the world?

Mental P Mama said...

An important lesson for us all. My daughter's name is Emma, and I like to think she is a thinker like our sad world. Going to have a contest for The Shift Tomorrow! Thank you so, so much. An amazing message from him--as always.

luksky said...

I had to laugh to myself as I read all the post in agreeance with "happiness begins in the home". Too bad we don't ALL believe that way...maybe our world we be a much better place for everyone.

Amma sounds intriguing. I will have to some researh on her. :-)

Cloudia said...

May we all be a bit more like her!

Aloha, Friend

Comfort Spiral

Hilary said...

A wonderful message. I think it would be quite natural to hug that woman.

Fragrant Liar said...

Most definitely, these things should begin at home. I'm afraid as a society we're spiraling out of control on the humaneness chart, with each new generation. I know that sounds bleak, gloom and doom-ish, but violence is up. So is intolerance and hatred for the sake of hatred. We all need to hug more, and maybe that would start a worldwide shift in thinking and, more importantly, acting.

Nancy said...

Midday - The family gets so little support in our society, yet it is the beginning of what we bring to the world.

Robert - Oh, I can feel for you! It is so hard when you have to work and the baby is sick. Hope he is better soon.

Joanne - Exactly!

Mama - Your daughter is of the next generation of advanced souls, I think. I'm so glad you liked The Shift - let it go out and do good work! :-)

luksky - I know you get it, though. :-)

Cloudia - Can you imagine how tired her arms must be?

Hilary - I agree. Change the letters in her name around and you get "mama."

Fragrant - I agree. But how do we start without looking crazy?

Land of shimp said...

It is fascinating, isn't it? That last echoes my favorite Gandhi quote, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

I don't claim to understand what this woman can do, and a part of me hesitates to believe it, too. Another part is immediately intrigued, and wants to believe.

I think I'll choose the latter, vs. the former. For one thing, what a positive thing she has done with her life. Inspiring hope, spreading a message of love? Yup, that's worth believing in, isn't it?

What a great find, Nancy :-)

Marguerite said...

Amma sounds amazing! I also believe that "love conquers all", and is the key to happiness. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story.

Nancy said...

Land - Isn't it true that we decide what to believe? I have been a sceptic most of my life about "holy" people - but it's like - why not believe in something that seems good? There is plenty of bad in the world - why not put my attention on events and people that are doing good?

Marguerite - Thanks!

Sylvia said...

Jesus Christ pointed ou that if we all have an unbreakable faith we all will be able to perform miracles. I can believe that some people are so pure at heart that they can do unimaginable things. After all "there are more things in heaven and Earth..."

Anonymous said...

She has a secret that she is telling... So it's not a secret.
What a beautiful person Amma is! I hope one day I can share a hug with her...

Erika C. said...

I received a hug from Amma when I lived in Boston and I seem to keep hearing about her from different places. I even met someone recently whose son works for her and goes along on all of her tours, or whatever you would call it.

Thanks for this. She is as amazing as they say!


Jaya said...

"Mata Amritanandamayi" was born as Sudhamani Indamannel in the year 1953 to be precise.She later came to be known as "Amma" by her devoted followers.She is highly regarded or even worshipped upto a extent for her noble cause of helping poor and spreading the message of love and peace.
She gives her blessings by hugging irrespective of people's caste/religion or race.And people come from every corner of India and world to have her blessings.
Thank you for mentioning about her here..
Home is where one starts his/her basic step towards love and peace.
hugs and smiles

Mental P Mama said... honey hidden in a rock...what a wonderful perspective.

Nancy said...

Sylvia - Absolutely!

Phoebe - They look like good ones. :-)

Erika - A hug from Amma? How cool is that!

Jaya - Thank you for the additional information about this very special lady.

Mama - I liked that phrase as well.

gayle said...

Wonderful post!!

ds said...

A very interesting woman, and a thought-sparking post. Thanks, Nancy!

d page said...

Thanks for posting this. Amma is amazing.

Linda Pendleton said...

Nancy, I've not heard of her before, thanks for sharing.

I agree with you about her last has to begin within ourselves, within our homes, and that is what moves out into the community, the country, the world, and the universe.

Anonymous said...





Steph... said...

This is nice! I really think through hugging some people will be healed..
But I only get it once a day..