was born on September 27th, 1953 in the fishing village of Parayakadavu
in the state of Kerala, India. At the age of nine, due to her mother’s
illness, she was taken out of school and was given many household
chores, which she did joyously.
her early childhood, Amma behaved in an unusual manner. She would always
repeat God’s name and would often be found immersed in deep meditation,
unlike children her age who
usually only think about playing. However,
and out of ignorance, her parents didn’t understand her behavior and
began scolding and punishing her. But Amma was immersed
in her own world, totally unaffected by the criticism and
chastising of her family. During this time, Amma
had sometimes to spend her
days and nights outdoors, under the open sky, forgoing food and sleep.
she grew older, her spiritual experiences increased
greatly. Some people
were drawn to her as they sensed peace
and divinity in her. Around this time
also (in her twenties), many miraculous healings were attributed to
her. However, Amma says “I am
not interested in showing
miracles, I am here to help
you find the real truth, and
to find liberation of the Self (Soul) through the realization of your
By the end of 1979, a group of
sincere seekers wished to devote themselves to spiritual practice around
her. This would form the nucleus of an informal ashram (spiritual
main mission is to offer unconditional love to everyone.
Despite her Hindu
origin, when asked about her religion, Amma would reply “My religion is
love and service.” With Amma, love and service are inseparable. She
teaches those ideals by practicing them. Sometimes, she works for twenty
hours a day and even more. Through the great expansion of the number of
her devotees since the mid-eighties, Amma was able to found and lead a
great number of charitable projects including hospitals, orphanages,
housing projects, schools, universities, job training, and many others,
like large scale 2005 tsunami relief projects
in collaboration with the UN.
Currently, Amma travels all around the world to offer her love in the
form of an intimate hug to all those who seek her
blessings. This has
earned Amma the title of “The Hugging Saint” in the western media.
Recently, she offered lectures at the United Nations, the World
of Religions and the Global Peace Initiative of Women
religious and Spiritual Leaders. In 2002 Amma was awarded the Gandhi-King
award for Non-violence.
When reflecting on Amma’s teachings, one can clearly see that
verily Amma’s life is her message. When we observe how Amma lives and
what her daily practices are, we can see that she truly practices what
she preaches. Amma’s message can be summed up in two things: Compassion
and service to others.
Her Darshan (divine embrace), Amma offers one of the simplest and most
profound acts of love and compassion. Compassion is loving everyone
unconditionally, regardless of age, gender, race, or any other
difference. Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, "Love your
neighbor and hate your enemy." But I tell you: Love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). Amma has practiced
that on countless occasions, the most noteworthy was when, as a
teenager, she lovingly served the person who had tried to put an end to
whole life is an act of selfless service. She never did seek anything
for herself. “The beauty and charm of selfless love and service should
not die away from the face of this Earth. The world should know that a
life of renunciation is possible, that a life inspired by love and
service to humanity is possible”. These are Amma’s words, and it is what
her life has been about over the last 3 decades.
the most important teachings of Amma is to follow the ideal of Dharma
(Righteousness, right and virtuous conduct) in all matters of life.
Dharma is acting and behaving, according to spiritual values and noble
principles. Amma teaches that it’s our duty to help everyone around us
and to perform our actions staying in line with righteousness. Dharma
also implies that we do what we have to do without worrying about and
without having expectations in regard to the results. We do our duty and
leave the results in God’s hands only.
acts of compassion, her teachings and her living example, Amma has
inspired hundreds of thousands of people in India and all the parts of
the world to the path of righteousness, compassion and selfless service.
the World, Mata Amritanandamayi Math,