“Love is our true essence. Love has no limitations of caste, religion, race or nationality. We are all beads strung together on the same thread of love.” —Amma
Introduction about Amma and Activities
Through her extraordinary acts of love and self-sacrifice, Mata Amritanandamayi, or Amma (Mother), as she is known, has endeared herself to millions of people around the world. Tenderly caressing everyone who comes to her, holding them close to her heart in a loving embrace, Amma shares her boundless love with all— regardless of their beliefs, who they are or why they have come to her. In this 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 42 years, Amma has physically hugged more than 34 million people from all parts of the world. Her tireless spirit of dedication to uplifting others has inspired a vast network of charitable activities through which people are discovering the sense of peace that comes from selflessly serving others. Amma’s teachings are universal. Whenever she is asked about her religion, she replies that her religion is Love. She 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.
My Religion is Love
Born in a remote coastal village in Kerala, Southern India, Amma says that she always knew that there was a higher reality beyond this changing world of names and forms. Even as a child, Amma expressed love and compassion to everyone. Amma says, “An unbroken stream of love ﬂows from Amma
to all beings in the universe. This is Amma’s inborn nature.”
About her early years, Amma says, “Right from childhood, Amma wondered why people in the world have to suffer. Why must they be poor? Why must they starve? Amma was very close to all the villagers and witnessed ﬁrst hand the difﬁculties they suffered and the poverty they endured.
“Amma used to do all the household chores, one of which was feeding the many family cows and goats. To do so, every day she had to go to 30 to 40 houses in the neighbourhood and collect tapioca peels and other such leftovers. Whenever she went to visit these houses, she always found that the people were suffering—sometimes due to old age, sometimes poverty, some times disease… So, Amma would listen to their problems, sit with them and share their suffering and also pray for them.
“Whenever she had time, Amma used to lead these people to her parents’ house. There, she would give them a hot bath and feed them, and occasionally she even stole things from her own house to give to these starving families.
“Amma observed that when children are young, they depend upon their parents, so they pray that their parents live for a long time and that they do not become sick. But when these same children grow up, they feel their parents—who are now old—are a burden. They think, ‘Why should I do all this work for my parents?’ Feeding them, washing their clothes and treating them with care becomes a burden to these same children who previously prayed that their parents would live for a long time. So Amma would always wonder, ‘Why are there so many contradictions in this world? Why is there no real love? What is the real cause of all this suffering and what is the solution?’
“Even from early childhood, Amma knew that God—the Self, the Supreme Power— alone is Truth and that the world is not the absolute reality. Therefore, she would spend long periods immersed in deep meditation. Amma’s parents and relatives didn’t understand what was happening. Out of ignorance, they began scolding her, opposing her spiritual practices.”
But Amma was immersed in her own world, totally unaffected by the criticism and chastising from her family. During this time, Amma had to spend her days and nights outside, under the open sky, forgoing food and sleep.
Amma says, “During meditation and throughout the day, Amma would inquire into the source of all the sorrow and suffering she saw around her. At one point she felt that the suffering of humanity was due to people’s karma, the fruit of their past deeds. But Amma was not satisﬁed with this and went deeper. Then from within came the answer: ‘If it is their karma to suffer, isn’t it your dharma to help them?’ If somebody falls into a deep pit, is it correct to simply walk by, saying, ‘Oh, it is their karma to suffer that way’? No, it is our duty to help them climb out.
“Experiencing her oneness with all of creation, Amma realized that her purpose in life was to uplift ailing humanity. It was then that Amma started this spiritual mission, spreading this message of Truth, love and compassion throughout the world, by receiving one and all.”
Today, Amma spends most of the year travelling throughout India and the world in order to uplift suffering humanity through her words and the comfort of her embrace. Her ashram is home to 3,000 people, and thousands more visit every day from all over India and the world. Ashram residents and visitors alike are inspired by Amma’s example and dedicate themselves to serving the world. Through Amma’s vast network of charitable projects, they build homes for the homeless, give pensions to the destitute and provide medical care for the sick. Countless people all over the world are contributing to this loving endeavour.
“In the end,” Amma says, “love is the only medicine that can heal the wounds of the world. In this universe, it is love that binds everything together. As this awareness dawns within us, all disharmony will cease. Abiding peace alone will reign.”