36 Mil­lion and Count­ing… in­dia’s “Hug­ging Saint”

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Through her ex­tra­or­di­nary acts of love and self-sac­ri­fice, Mata Am­ri­tanan­damayi, or ‘Amma’ as she is more com­monly known, has en­deared her­self to mil­lions around the world. Ten­derly em­brac­ing ev­ery­one who comes to her, hold­ing them in her lov­ing em­brace, Amma shares her bound­less love with all – re­gard­less of their be­liefs, their sta­tus or why they have come to her. In this sim­ple yet pow­er­ful way, Amma is trans­form­ing the lives of count­less peo­ple, help­ing their hearts to blos­som, one em­brace at a time. In the past 40+ years, Amma has phys­i­cally hugged an es­ti­mated 36 mil­lion peo­ple from all parts of the world. It’s kind of her full-time job! And now, it’s Aus­tralia’s turn… Amma will be here for a four city tour of Aus­tralia in April 2017, and will visit Mel­bourne, Syd­ney, Brisbane and Gold Coast for a se­ries of free pub­lic pro­grams and two re­treats. For more in­for­ma­tion on Amma’s 2017 Aus­tralian tour, visit www.am­maaus­tralia.org.au Amma last vis­ited Aus­tralia in 2017, for a hugely suc­cess­ful two city tour of the East Coast. Thou­sands turned out to lis­ten to Amma’s in­spir­ing talks and to get in line for one of her amaz­ing hugs. This time, her tour has been ex­tended to 4 cities.


So what is Amma on about, apart from the heal­ing power of a good hug? Amma’s teach­ings are uni­ver­sal. When­ever she is asked about her re­li­gion, she replies “My

re­li­gion is love.”

Amma doesn’t ask any­one to be­lieve in God or to change their faith, but only to in­quire into their own real na­ture and to be­lieve in them­selves. Amma’s tire­less spirit of ded­i­ca­tion to up­lift­ing oth­ers has cul­mi­nated in a vast net­work of char­i­ta­ble projects in In­dia and around the world, un­der the global ban­ner of ‘Em­rac­ing the World’. For this work Amma has been hon­oured with a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional awards in­clud­ing the pres­ti­gious Gandhi-king Award for Non-Vi­o­lence, the James Parks Morton In­ter­faith Award and the Cin­ema Verite Award for hu­man­i­tar­ian and hu­man rights work. For more in­for­ma­tion on Amma’s hu­man­i­tar­ian work, visit www. em­brac­ingth­e­world.org


If you at­tend one of Amma’s free pro­grams, one of the first things you’ll no­tice is that peo­ple come to Amma from all re­li­gions and all walks of life. Some have been walk­ing the spir­i­tual path for decades, oth­ers have never picked up a spir­i­tual book in their lives. Some come be­cause they’re suf­fer­ing men­tally, phys­i­cally or ma­te­ri­ally, and they

hope Amma can help them. Some are sim­ply cu­ri­ous. Per­haps they’ve seen Amma in the news­pa­per or on TV, and they want to see for them­selves what this “Hug­ging Saint” thing is all about. Re­gard­less of why they’ve come, many de­scribe ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a feel­ing of ra­di­ant and un­con­di­tional love in Amma’s pres­ence. Some are moved to tears and feel a cleans­ing of old wounds, oth­ers ex­pe­ri­ence pro­found peace and even joy. Re­gard­less of peo­ple’s dif­fer­ent back­grounds or cul­tures, the ex­pe­ri­ences of the heart show us how sim­i­lar we all are – how we are all seek­ing love and a di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence of our own true na­ture. “The sense of be­ing wel­comed and loved, de­spite be­ing a com­plete stranger, was amaz­ing.” BBC NEWS “Amma’s spir­i­tual hugs and char­i­ta­ble works have helped her be­come what many con­sider to be a liv­ing saint.” LOS AN­GE­LES TIMES “Amma is the em­bod­i­ment of pure love. Her pres­ence heals.” DEEPAK CHO­PRA The sto­ries of peo­ple who’ve met Amma are in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful, and pro­vide an in­sight into the way in which Amma is able to deeply af­fect so many peo­ple and open so many hearts: “I felt over­whelmed to re­al­ize what a great saint Amma was. She sat there, hour af­ter hour, sweetly hug­ging ev­ery­one with the same love and compassion, without stop­ping for even a few min­utes, It was the most beau­ti­ful thing I had ever seen. I un­der­stood that to re­ally know God, one had to be able to love ev­ery­one like that, and it was not as easy as de­scribed in books.” – Berta Pe­tasny, Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina “When I ap­proached Amma to re­ceive her dar­shan (hug), I felt her look pen­e­trate my en­tire be­ing. As if I could not hide any feel­ings or thoughts from her. Amma em­braced me and I felt so deeply loved.” – Maria Is­abel Harker, Bo­gota, Columbia “Slowly I started to wake up to a feel­ing of peace and hap­pi­ness that I had not known in years. I knew that Amma knew what I was search­ing for. I also knew that she could guide me there. I had never been so sure in my en­tire life of any­thing like this Truth.” – Ann Louise Feron, Swe­den “Meet­ing Amma has changed my life im­mensely. Over time I un­der­stood that it is the small, small stones… of rage, guilt, long­ing, pain, nostal­gia… that form the great wall in our hearts that im­prison the inner child. We trip over these stones ev­ery day in our ig­no­rance. The great­est bless­ing we re­ceive from Amma is that she of­fers to take these stones from us.” – Cristina Rodriguez, Barcelona, Spain “For Amma, re­mov­ing the sor­rows of oth­ers is as nat­u­ral as dry­ing the tears from her own eyes. The hap­pi­ness of oth­ers, this is Amma’s hap­pi­ness… The se­cu­rity of oth­ers, this is Amma’s se­cu­rity… The rest of oth­ers, this is Amma’s rest… This is Amma’s vi­sion… And it is this vi­sion that Amma’s life is ded­i­cated to awak­en­ing in mankind.” - Amma “In that mo­ment of Amma’s hug, a feel­ing of won­der­ment, love and awe were branded into my heart. I do not know how to ex­plain it in any other way. The feel­ings of warmth, strength, and un­wa­ver­ing sup­port were tat­tooed on my inner be­ing. From that day on, the ter­ri­ble dis­rup­tion, con­fu­sion and tur­moil in my life be­gan to ease.” – Jill O’car­roll, Van­cou­ver, Canada

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