Sunday, May 13, 2007

Amma--the embrace of a mother

In Malayalam, Amma's native language, the name Amma means "mother" -- an apt name for the woman revered as a holy being.

I came across the Nightline coverage of Amma--dubbed the "Miracle Hug Lady," or the "Hugging Saint."

In the south of India lives a woman who has dedicated her life to helping others. Amma began her hugging sessions in India. Today, she travels the world to spread her message of peace, coming to the United States twice a year. ABC News met her at her bucolic ranch in Northern California.

Born as Sudhamani in 1953 in the Souithern part of India, she spent the years of her childhood and teens immersed in intense spiritual practices in order to present a living example for the world. Even as a small child, she could often be found absorbed in deep meditation, totally oblivious of her surroundings. By the age of 5, she had already begun composing devotional songs laden with deep mystical insight. By age 7, she started doing small charity works.

Amma says her true mission is to care for the poor around the world. Her followers say her charitable organization has helped millions of people, primarily in her home country of India. Her group has also committed $23 million for victims of the 2004 South Asian tsunami. She raises money selling books, tapes, and even her personal effects. Supporters say her charity rakes in $5 million a year in the United States alone.

Still her simple message is to love and serve one another, and most of her time is still spent hugging those in need. she offers a few seconds of unconditional love, of no judgement, of comfort--in a loving embrace--most of the people break down and cry.

Hug your children, ask them how they are. Giggle with them at bedtime and ask them silly questions. Caress their hair when they are talking, stroke their backs, stroke their cheeks when they are asking you a question. It is sad that people don't feel loved and that they lack hugging. A hug is free and it is easy to give.

Hug a friend, your spouse, your parents, grandparents--hold it a bit longer and tighter than usual. don't ask for anything in return.

Let's try to give hugs freely so enough can go around the world. Help make the world a more loving place so people won't have to line up many hours for a hug and break down and cry when they get it.

Happy Mother's Day!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. And belated happy Mothers Day to you. My husband and I went to see Amma in Oakland years ago before we had kids. It was a very moving experience and I think of it often. Thank you for the reminder.


Anonymous said...

That was very beautiful. I have seen this lady several times (and been hugged by her). She is quite remarkable. She traditionally comes to San Ramon every June.

Walter Ruehlig

minotte's notes said...

thanks for the heads-up, walter and sharyn.

i may be able to line up for a hug this june! how exciting!