India’s 'Hugging Saint' to visit Australia in April 2015

Reading Time: 5 minutes

33 million and counting…

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.
Mata Amritanandamayi, or ‘Amma’ as she is more commonly known, has endeared herself to millions around the world.
In a 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 33 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 two city tour of Australia in April 2015, and will visit Sydney and Melbourne for a series of free public programs and a retreat.
Amma last visited Australia in 2012, for a hugely successful four 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.
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 does not 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 ‘Embracing the World’. For this work Amma has been
honoured with a number of international awards including the prestigious Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence (2002), the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award (2006) and the Cinema Verite Award (2007) for humanitarian and human rights work. Recently, in December 2014, Amma joined Pope Francis and 10 other global spiritual leaders from a range of faiths to sign the Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery.

If you attend one of Amma’s free programs, one of the first things you will 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 are suffering mentally, physically or materially, and they hope Amma can help them. Some are simply curious. Perhaps they have 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 have 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 stories of people who have 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:
“After Amma’s hug, I slowly noticed a change in my thinking. I started to ask myself new questions like: ‘What happens to old people who have no money and no one to care for them? How do the poor care for themselves and their families? If I had a lot of money, would that make me happy?’ I hate to admit it, but at the time these were new questions for me – I’d never bothered to give these things much thought because I was always so focused on myself. I soon realized that my constant effort to be ‘more’ and ‘better’ was only so I could feel loved. Yet, through her simple embrace Amma filled my heart up with love without asking me for anything in return. She had given it freely and somehow made me feel like I was inherently deserving of this love, just for being me. Only after I felt truly and unconditionally loved in this manner was I able to shift my focus a little bit away from myself.”
Julie Cairns, Sydney, Australia
“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
“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

Australian Tour 2015
FREE Programs
April 13th 10am & 7:30pm
April 14th 10am & 7pm Devi Bhava
Sydney Boys High School, Gate 2, Cleveland St, Moore Park
FREE Programs
April 16th 11am (All Day Program)
17th 10am & 7:30pm
April 20th 7pm Devi Bhava (World Peace Program)
Sandown Racecourse, Multi Purpose Room, Princes Hwy, Springvale
*No bookings required to attend FREE public programs
Melbourne Retreat
April 18th-20th
(by pre-registration only) – www.ammaaustralia.org.au

What's On