“Mata Amritanandamayi is known throughout the world as Amma, or Mother, for her selfless love and compassion toward all beings. Her entire life has been dedicated to alleviating the pain of the poor, and those suffering physically and emotionally.
Throughout her life, Mata Amritanandamayi has embraced and comforted more than 34 million people. Amma inspires, uplifts, and transforms through her embrace, her spiritual wisdom and through her global charities, known as Embracing the World.® When asked where she gets the energy to help so many people, she answers: “Where there is true love, anything is effortless…”
~ source from www.amma.org
A Great Living Saint
I first met Amma in Believe, WA, in 2011 after many urges from numerous friends. One friend told me, “She is a Great Saint.” Another shared with explanation points, “She is the real deal!!!” Thus, after many other such testimonials, I was intrigued and willing to go to a free public program.
I arrived with a friend and we were ushered into a ticket line with about one thousand other people. Many people were dressed in all white and talking about Amma as if she was God herself. One man with a name tag that read, “how can I help?” came up to us, unsolicited, and asked if it was our first time with “Mother?” After responding “yes,” his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree at this news and explained, matter of factly, “She knows everything about you!”
Needless to say, this “Amma scene” left something to be desired. While waiting the many hours to receive my embrace I witnessed many people rushing to be closer to Amma, even pushing other people out of the way, frantically, in order to get closer! The scene felt dogmatic and cult-like, I judged it and it nearly sent me packing. However, I sensed this Amma being was Great and so I stuck it out and waited for my embrace.
When I was about 10 feet from receiving my hug, I began feeling beautiful warmth and intensity. It was as though there was a vortex of energy pulling me in. Then, suddenly and with a jerk, I was ushered in and out of Amma’s lap so quickly I didn’t exactly know what happened. When those 20 seconds were over, I was directed to sit at Amma’s right side and instantly began silently weeping. I had no words in that moment to describe what I experienced.
Looking back, it was as though I was pulled into Amma’s being and merged with her. I felt no distinction between Amma and myself; we were One. I experienced a kind of “black hole” of unconditional love, understanding and acceptance. It was like nothing I had felt before. In that moment, I knew she was someone special and decided to return a few days later for another embrace.
The rest of that year I was more or less going about my business as usual, yet I did experience some subtle shifts. Some time was spent contemplating my experience and deciding what my future involvement might look like. I knew Amma was to be revered but her religious, cult-like community? How could I get close to Amma without being involved in that massive community?
The next year I decided to go to all the public days and the paid retreat. I was in Amma’s Presence and the community’s for 5 straight, long, service-filled days. Slowly over that time, I began feeling lighter and more peaceful. Negativity was being lifted and gently pulled from me. My service work became easeful and my meditations were deep.
During the last retreat day, I was sitting in deep meditation close to the stage where Amma was. Much time passed without notice. Suddenly, I popped up out of meditation and realized the program was about to end and Amma was getting ready to leave the hall. Without thought, I rose and began rushing over to the doorway so that I could get one last look and possible touch from Her.
I witnessed myself dashing over to the doorway, weaving in and out of a sea of people, hurriedly. Then it dawned on me and a smile washed over my face – Was I not acting in the same manner as those cult-like, frantic followers do? Yet, I couldn’t stop myself. In that moment, I had no choice, I had to be with Amma one last time that night!
I positioned myself in an optimal place and lovingly, Amma walked out of the hall, touching my and countless other peoples hands. In the exact moment she touched mine, my entire body awakened and I “said” internally without words, “Amma my heart is yours! Please open my heart and teach me to love as you love!” I stunned myself with my intensity. It was as though my body was shouting at the top of its lungs without making a single sound. This was why I needed to rush over there so urgently like all the other “frantic devotees.” Without knowing it, I needed to surrender to Her.
In that spontaneous moment, I accepted her as my teacher, my Guru, but even more powerfully did I realize she had already accepted me as her student. Humbly, simply, this Giant of a Soul was waiting for me to be ready to open to Her! I sat down and wept again but openly this time, with great humility and understanding.
I have never judged the “frantic, cult-like” community since. Instead, I focus on the personal and global miracles Amma inspires everyday and try to live by her incredible example. If I am able to live even 1% of Her love and put it into action, my simple life will have had a purpose.
What Amma has accomplished in 40 + year of selfless service is astounding! For more information about Amma or to view her tour schedule and experience an embrace for yourself, please visit www.amma.org. To find out more about her global charities, please go to www.embracingtheworld.org.