Biography – Amma
On the morning of the 27th of September 1953, in a small poor fishing village, Parayakadavu in the Quilon district of Kerala, a baby girl was born. Her parents gave her the name Sudhamani. She came into this world not in tears as babies usually do, but with a beaming smile on her face, as if prophesying the joy and bliss she was to bring to the world.
Sudhamani spent the years of her childhood and teens immersed in intense spiritual practices in order to present a living example for the world. Even as a small child, she could often be found absorbed in deep meditation, totally oblivious of her surroundings. By the age of five, she had already begun composing devotional songs laden with deep mystical insight.
Another quality that was clearly manifest in Sudhamani from this tender age was her love and compassion toward her fellow human beings. Though only a child, Sudhamani did whatever she could to ease the suffering of her elderly neighbors. She washed their clothes, bathed them and even brought them food and clothing from her own home. This habit of giving away things from her family’s house landed her in deep trouble. However, no amount physical abuse or punishment could stop the expression of her inborn compassion. She later said, ” An unbroken stream of Love flows from me towards all beings in the cosmos. That is my inborn nature.”
‘Amma’ as she is known all over the world today, has inspired and started innumerable humanitarian services. She has earned international recognition for her outstanding contributions to the world community. She is recognized as an extraordinary spiritual leader by the United Nations and by the people all over the world.
Though Amma makes no claims herself, those who watch her closely notice that she is the greatest example of her teaching. Her disciples and believers imbibe her teachings by just watching her.
For the past 35 years Amma has dedicated her life to the uplifting of suffering humanity through the simplest of gestures – an embrace. In this intimate manner Amma had blessed and consoled more than 25 million people throughout the world.
When someone asked Amma why she receives every person who comes to her in a loving embrace Amma replied, “ If you ask the river,’ why do you flow?’ what can it say?”
Amma spends most of her waking hours receiving the distressed and all who come to her for comfort, day after day without a break.
Once a press reporter asked Amma how was it possible for her to embrace each and every one in the same loving way, even if they were diseased or unpleasant. Amma replied, “ When a bee hovers over a garden of varied flowers, what it beholds is not the difference between the flowers but the honey within them. Similarly Amma sees the same Supreme Self in each and every one.”
As Dr. Jane Goodall, while presenting Amma with the 2002 Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence said,
” She stands here in front of us. God’s love in a human body.”
Mission of Amma
Amma says, “ My sole mission is to love and serve one and all. Amma’s only wish is that her hands should always be on someone’s shoulder, consoling and caressing them and wiping their tears, even while breathing her last.”
The greatest miracle that takes place in her presence occurs in the hearts of those who come to her – the gentle, gradual awakening of love, compassion and selflessness, an awakening of one’s own inherent divinity.
She says, “ Mother is just an offering to the world and wants to be available to everyone.” Anyone who watches Amma on a day- to-day basis will understand the significance of this statement.
Amma always says that the purpose of human birth is to realize the Self or in other words, “ to realize who we really are”. This goal lies in the heart of all her institutions. Through the example of her own life of tireless service to humanity, Amma inspires her children to walk towards the goal of self-realization by serving the poor and the needy. She has inspired many humanitarian activities that have drawn the attention of the world community. In recent years, Amma has addressed the Parliament of World’s Religions in Chicago, the United Nations in New York and the Global Peace Initiative of Women religious and Spiritual Leaders, conducted at the UN in Geneva, where she gave speeches on the present day social problems and their solutions. It was there that Amma was awarded with the 2002 Gandhi-King award for Non-violence.
Amma has never sought to convert anyone. Her’s is not a sectarian mission. But Amma has always stressed that along with a new home, a pension, an operation or a meal, the beneficiaries of her Humanitarian activities receive a compassionate smile and a kind word from those who serve them. In this way those who give, those who receive, and those who look on–all are transformed by the selfless love and sense of universal kinship, blossoming in an experience of essential unity—the oneness in the Self.
Message from Amma
Amma has time and again emphasized that the duty of every human being is to realize his true Self, or in other words,’ know who we really are.’ She does not favor any particular religion. When asked to which religion she belongs, she says, “My religion is love and service.”
“ Love is the foundation of a happy life. Knowingly or unknowingly we are forgetting this truth” she says. Amma on several occasions has said that it is important not only to feel love but also to express it. “ After all, love is our true nature. When we do not express love in our words and actions it is like honey hidden in a rock. “ she says, “ It is of no use to anyone. This mutual sharing and expressing of love should begin at home between married couples and between parents and children. Only then will there be peace and harmony at home and in the society.”
Once when someone asked Amma as to whom she would term as a true disciple, Amma said that, “One whose legs rush to offer help, whose lips utter comforting words of love and whose eyes shed tears of compassion on hearing the cry of the distressed, such a person I would call a true disciple.”
Darshan with Amma
The Sanskrit term darshan means, “vision”, and it is used to describe the meeting with a holy person, especially a Self Realized master. Amma’s darshan in unique. As the embodiment of supreme motherhood, she welcomes every person who comes to her, listens to his or her problems, offers advice and guidance, and brings reassurance to a troubled heart.
Over time, Amma’s popularity has risen to the point where in India she has been known to individually hug over 50,000 people in one day, sitting sometimes for over 20 hours. Amma travels all around the world to receive all her children around the globe.
Timothy Conway, Ph.D., author of the book Women of Power and Grace, describes Amma as “one of the most glorious lights to appear in the history of religion. Just her stamina – embracing these millions of people one by one, day after day, without a break, all over the world-is some kind of divine gift. No mere human resources could accomplish this.”
As Judith Cornell, an internationally acclaimed speaker, and an award winning writer, in her book, “Amma Healing the Heart of the World”, says, “for eleven years, I had simply perceived Amma, as a sweet “Hugging Saint.” As my limited vision expanded, it was awesome to discover that Amma was one of India’s most illustrious sages. She heals on a massive scale – Far beyond that of any saint or healer, I had ever known or read about.”
One of Amma’s senior disciples says, “Mother is an extraordinary saint, in the number of people she intentionally instills spirituality into – even to extent of hugging every single person who comes to her. Basically, every one is potentially what Mother is. Mother’s presence is invoking that reality (of divinity) within that person.”
– Source : www.amma-europe.org