My inspiration for today came from Amma – the hugging saint. She was born in 1953 in the Indian stake Kerala and grew up in a poor fisherman’s family. When she was nine years old her mother developed an illness and she remained at home to take care of the household. Deeply touched by the poverty in her village she began to share her clothes and food with those in need. She also began to hug people as a way to comfort them. She became more and more recognized and appreciated and received the name Amma (mother) and was recognized as a saint.
I very clearly remember my encounter with her about a year ago. She had her brightest smile and was sitting on a big chair surrounded by musicians singing mantras and performing lively happy music. In front of her was an endless queue (which I was also a part of) waiting for her to give them dashan (hug and blessing) . Amma is well known for embracing large amounts of people without taking any breaks. In thevenue where I met her there were another few hundreds visitors. Up to date she has hugged more than 30 mnl people.
As a first -timer, I was placed in the beginning of the queue and luckily had to wait only a few hours. People behind me waited a lot more. She kept on hugging people overnight. Always smiling and full of energy. When she hugged me she looked me in my eyes and exclaimed “My daughter!” She radiated so much warmth and love that it felt like I had always known her. It was a truly unforgettable experience.
Amma is perhaps the happiest, and most positive and light-hearted saint that I`ve ever seen. For her being joyful is a natural state and loving is a religion.
It is the bright, joyful and selfless individuals like Amma that ignite this world and make it a better place. It is the people who give and embrace without asking for anything in return that are our true role models and are capable of inspiring us to be like them and to make a change. Making a change by loving and being compassionate and never by threatening or forcing. Making a change by staying inspired and inspiring others.
I`ll end with one of Amma’s many beautiful quotes:
“Do you know that days go by regardless of you smiling or crying all day long
So keep on smiling, my child!”
More about Amma at https://www.amritapuri.org
On the picture- a beautiful smiling lady reading a book in front of her house in Kerala, India.