WHY MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI IS EXTRAORDINARY
Amma is what people call Mata Amritanandamayi Devi because her embrace is like that of a mother. She comforts people by just hugging them and stroking their back. It’s hard not to melt in her arms because of the overflowing acceptance and compassion one can palpably feel when hugged by the hugging saint. She’s said to have given more than 30 million people hugs. Some of her hugging events would go on for almost 24 hours. But through it all, Amma remains resolute without any hint of impatience. She’s got that unlimited love flowing from within her, touching the lives of the people who come to her just to experience a moment in her arms.
PERSEVERING AMIDST SCANDALS
Amma’s compassion for every human being regardless of age, status, gender, and religion has earned the ire of many conservative sects. Many times her life was threatened by those who want her dead to keep her from “corrupting” their conservative religion and culture.
Amma’s brother almost had her killed when she was just starting her vocation. Her assailant, however, wasn’t able to touch her and was overcome by seizures. She knew the man would die so she visited him in the hospital to tell him that he was forgiven. The man repented and died peacefully. As she became Amma eventually, two deranged men have attempted to stab her to no avail.
Asked if she is scared, this is all she said:
"All those who are born will die one day. I am going ahead keeping this reality in mind. I will carry on. I will continue to give darshan to the devotees coming here to meet me."
AN AWARD-WINNING MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER AND SPIRITUAL FIGURE
Amma stopped going to school when she was nine years old so she could tend to her siblings while her mother was sick. But that did not keep the State University of New York to award her an honorary doctorate in humane letters. Aside from the Hindu Renaissance Award, Amma also received the Care & Share International Humanitarian of the Year Award in 1998, the Karma Yogi of the Year and the Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence by The World Movement for Nonviolence in 2002, the Mahavir Mahatma Award and the Centenary Legendary Award of the International Rotarians in 2005, the Philosopher Saint Sri Jnaneswara World Peace Prize and the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award in 2006, the Le Prix Cinéma Vérité in 2007, and the first Vishwaretna Purskar (Gem of the Word Award) by Hindu Parliament in 2013.
Even though she does not speak any language besides Malayalam, her native tongue, she was always invited to deliver inspiring messages in international events.
THE SUCCESS OF HER MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI MATH FOUNDATION
Amma does not charge when she goes from one country to another to give hugs. But the donations they are getting amount to staggering figures. This enabled her to donate millions to victims of catastrophes around the world and even to establish schools, a hospital, and orphanages.
Some people get inspired by her life that they took it upon themselves to put up humanitarian organizations that help those who are in need. This, in itself, is an achievement for Amma who calls people to stop and reflect. She also keeps reiterating people to love, love, and love in spite of and despite anything:
“A human being can become almost like a breathing, moving computer, if he doesn't have a loving and compassionate heart. Respect that is devoid of love and based on fear will close your heart and turn you into a human machine. If you obey your teacher or your parents only out of fear and respect, it is no more than feeding information into a computer. It can go blank at any time, because there is no love to hold and support it.” (Source: Amrita.edu)
10 REASONS WHY MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI IS EXTRAORDINARY
- She has given more than 30 million people hugs.
- She is a living saint to Hindu people.
- She has lived all her life serving other people. She stopped school at nine years old to look after her siblings and do all the chores in the house.
- She received an honorary doctorate in humane letters at The State University of New York.
- She founded the Mata Amritanandamayi Math Foundation which established schools, a hospital, and orphanages in India.
- Her Center has branches in Canada, England, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Finland, Argentina, Brazil, Reunion Island, Japan and Singapore.
- Her followers come from all walks of life and denominations. Some high profile ones include Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia, US senator Larry Pressler, and Jr. Martin Luther King’s daughter Yolanda King.
- She is a sought-after speaker, invited to speak to thousands of people in international events.
- She once served as the President of the Hindu Faith.
- Some of her awards include the Hindu Renaissance Award, Karma Yogi of the Year, the Care & Share International Humanitarian of the Year Award, and the first Vishwaretna Purskar (Gem of the Word Award) by Hindu Parliament.