Blessing from Amma
I received darshan from Amma, known as the hugging saint. Darshan is like a blessing. But Amma is unusual as she gives this with a hug. Most gurus touch you but don’t hug. People say it is a sort of opening of the heart. An increase in your chi or energy flow as you become more connected to divine. The hug from Amma was absolutely amazing. There is so much love. I met her at the Lax Hilton where she was giving free darshan to thousands and then a retreat.
Amma was born in a poor fishing village in Kerala, Southern India, in 1953. Her father sold fish to make a living. Her mother relates that the child wasn’t born crying as babies usually are, but with a beaming smile on Her face. She was given the name Sudhamani (Ambrosial Jewel). Even as a small child, it was clear that She was unique. At six months She could walk and talk, and by the age of three She was constantly singing. By the age of five She was composing beautiful, extraordinarily profound hymns to Her beloved Krishna. Sudhamani charmed and delighted everyone around Her. But as She grew, Her divine moods, including frequent meditative states, singing, and ecstatic dancing beside the seashore, began to annoy Her family. At the early age of five Sudhamani was already subjected to severe scoldings. When Sudhamani was nine, Her mother became ill. Although Sudhamani was the brightest girl in her class, she had to leave school and take care of her entire family. It was a grueling task, with seven brothers and sisters to feed and clothe, and animals to tend. She virtually became the family servant, working from before dawn till midnight.
Amma had no feelings of strangeness when she came into this world. Everything was so utterly familiar to Her, and when one knows everything about the world one can only smile. When one beholds the entire universe as a play of Consciousness, what else can one do but smile? —Amma
As part of Her work She had to collect food for the family cows. She would roam the local villages, gathering grass and visiting neighbourhood homes to ask for vegetable peels and leftover rice gruel for the cows. At times like these, she saw many things that troubled Her. She saw how some people were starving, while others had more than enough. She saw that many people were sick and suffering from intense pain, unable to afford a single painkiller. And She noticed that many of the elderly were neglected and treated harshly by their own families. Her empathy was such that the pain of others was unbearable to Her. Though just a child, She began to contemplate the question of suffering. She asked Herself, why do people suffer? What is the underlying cause of suffering? And so powerfully did she feel the presence of God within Her that She wanted to reach out and comfort and uplift those who were less fortunate than She.
Amma’s darshan is, as far as we can tell, unique in the history of the world. Darshan means “to see” and traditionally, a Master is seen but not touched. And in India, women do not touch men in public. But Amma’s darshan emerged as a loving mother’s embrace, beginning when She was only a teenager and held and comforted the lonely and suffering in Her village, and extending up to the present day. Amma makes herself available to anyone wishing to receive her blessing. There is never any charge, and no one is turned away. Hour after hour, day after day, year after year — for over thirty years now, She has been embracing all who come to Her. Man or woman, sick or healthy, rich or poor, regardless of religious faith, caste, young or old: even the very elderly, even Her own parents, regard Her as their very own Mother. Amma now travels across India and to over a dozen countries throughout the world. Everywhere She goes, She gives darshan to all who come to Her.
Amma’s hugs and kisses should not be considered ordinary. When Amma embraces or kisses someone, it is a process of purification and inner healing. Amma is transmitting a part of Her pure, vital energy into Her children. It also allows them to experience true, unconditional Love. When Amma holds someone it can help to awaken the dormant spiritual energy within them, which will eventually take them to the ultimate goal of Self-realization. — Amma