To celebrate and welcome the New Year is important this time of the year, but also to understand how powerful it is to set intentions and receive inspiration to achieve those goals.
Let’s turn our attention again to revisit this guru’s remarkable ability to transcend challenge and learn exactly what she does to alleviate suffering in the world and earn her title of the “hugging saint”.
Amma was born into a low caste in the fishing village of Parayakadavu in the district of Kerala. Her mother stated that her birth was unusual, in that she smiled. From an early age, Amma was different. She was scolded and beaten by her family, school, and disliked for her generous, compassionate nature. In one incident, she was caught at 9 sharing food with the untouchable classes and giving away belongings of the household. When she reached marriageable age, her parents tried to force her to marry.
Amma says, “People used to come and tell me their troubles. They would cry and I would wipe their tears. When they fell weeping into my lap, I used to hug them. Then the next person too wanted a hug…and so the habit picked up.”
Darshan means “to see” in Sanskrit. In the Hindu ritual tradition, it refers to seeing the sacred. This typically corresponds to seeing the sacred in the image of a deity while at temple. In beholding the image of a deity, onlookers absorb through their eyes the powers of that deity. Darshan is believed to have the capacity to bring good fortune, well-being, and grace to those who participate.
Amma has been giving darshan in this manner since her late teenage years. Amma’s organization today, started as a simple ashram built beside her childhood home, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, which tells us that Amma has embraced more than 32 million people through the word for over 30 years.
When asked, in 2002 to what extent she thought her embraces helped the ills of the world, Amma replied, “I don’t say I can do it 100 percent. Attempting to change the world (completely) is like trying to straighten the curly tail of a dog. But the fight in individual minds is responsible for the wars. So if you can touch people, you can touch the world.” On some days she has hugged up to 50,000 people, often working up to 20 hours. People come from different religions and walks of life. She never tries to convert anybody and says her sole mission is to love and serve the one and all. When asked what her religion is, she replies that her religion is love and service. To learn more about Amma’s work, please read “Amma: Healing the Heart of the World” by Judith Cornell.
To attend yoga classes at Clayton Yoga, please visit our class schedule, www.claytonyoga.com, and bring your smile! Everyone is welcome.
Image from Amma’s website: Copyright http://amma.org/