Last week marked the beginning of Mata Amritanandamayi’s
North American tour. Amma, as she is known, will
make appearances in 10
cities in Canada and the U.S., including Chicago, Dallas, New York and
Washington D.C. To date, Amma has traveled to hundreds of countries and cities
throughout the world, and wherever she goes, thousands of people flock to see
What is it about this diminutive Indian woman that has
inspired 32 million (and counting) to wait in line for her darshan, a simple
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founders Craig and Monnie Ramsell have been Amma devotees for many years,
playing music during darshans and attending retreats. Craig
Ramsell explains, “Now I understand much better the bliss of being in service to
others, although of course I’m still working on the ego’s distracting,
relentless ‘me, me, me’ noise in my day-to-day existence. In Amma’s presence,
it’s much easier to shut off at least most of that noise.”
Though blessings from Amma are free, donations and proceeds
from her events have made her one of
the world’s leading humanitarians, funding hospitals, schools, and homes in
40 countries. Ramsell calls her “one of the most transformational people on the
planet,” adding, “The charitable work done in
her name is off the charts, and no one has consoled as many people one-on-one
as Amma has through her darshan hugs.”
Often called “the hugging saint,” Amma was born in Kerala,
India. She left school at age seven to care for her ailing mother and seven
siblings. While going from house to house collecting scraps to feed her
family’s cows, she saw poverty and suffering among her neighbors. Her great
compassion led her to do something unthinkable for a young girl raised in
traditional Hindu culture: to reach out to comfort others through her touch.
To attend one of Amma’s darshans is to be immersed in an
ocean of bhakti.
Because it is an experience unfamiliar to Westerners (even to most yoga
students), Amma’s organization publishes
guides to make it easier for first-timers.
Do you plan to see Amma during her tour?
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