Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hugging Amma in Mysore India

On March 1st and 2nd we went for darshan (to see) with Amma
(Sri Mata Amritanadamayi Devi). Amma is also known as the "hugging saint". She has been known to give her loving hugs for up to 48 hours in a row without a single break (not even to pee). She has hugged millions of people worldwide.

Mid morning we entered the tent that was packed with the masses of people from both near and far, all awaiting her arrival, and their chance to receive one of her hugs. We joined in the archana which is an "offering in worship", where the names of a Deity are chanted 108, 300, or 1000 times in one sitting. In this case devotees were changing the Sri Lalita Sahasranama - the thousand names of the Divine Mother, and offering flowers for each name as a symbol of their devotion and surrender to the Divine.

When Amma enters the reception hall there is a noticeable shift in energy. Everyone rises in anticipation and an overwhelming sense of emotion takes over. Surrounded by a radiant aura of compassion and peace, she walks down the middle of the crowd and takes her seat on stage.

She preached a message to the crowd in Malayalam, which was then translated into Kannada--
and after a short period of meditation, she welcomes the devotees to come up and receive a hug. There are so many people who come to see her that numbered cards are given out so that some semblance of order is kept in who is coming up when.

We also went forward and received a hug from the Divine Mother. It is quite an affair. She hugs so fast, 1-2 seconds per hug, but always makes some extra time for those truly in need. Her helpers literally push you into her then pull you off of her, it is an amazing mayhem of grace. It is a great experience just to be in her presence and we can't wait to receive her blessing again. So we'll leave you with a few words from Amma.

Let us pray and meditate together. That is the way to reach the shore of peace. When we meditate as a group, the life energy of all of us will harmoniously flow to a single stream spreading a divine fragrance soaked in the sweetness of love. This will create vibrations of peace and unity in the atmosphere. Attuning our minds with one Supreme Power and forgetting all thoughts of division, let us open our hearts and sincerely utter the following prayer:

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bavantu
Let all beings in this world and in all the other worlds be peaceful and happy.

Sri Mata Amritanadamayi Devi