Female Indian Guru:
"Amma", "Ammachi" or "Mother"
30th May 2002
in Sanskrit means mother and is the affectionate way which she
is referred to by her followers.
a vacation of mine Amma visited Melbourne, Australia. I went
to see her while she was there. This was an open event, which
consisted mainly of two parts. The first being a study session.
The second being Amma sitting and giving a hug a candy and sometimes
a kiss to hundreds of people lined up on their knees to receive
her "divine hug" and "loving-compassion".
Throughout the second part, on the stage behind Amma live music
was being played accompanied with Sanskrit chanting. This went
until about 1-2 in the morning.
never heard of or seen Amma before this time and anything I
know about Amma and her organization was learnt strictly through
notes during my visit and expounded on them immediately afterwards.
This is some of what I had written up at that time.
Young girls are on world tour with Amma. They wake up at 8:00am
and go to sleep at approximately 3:30am. I met a 20 year old
with her younger sister of just 15 years of age. I met friends
of theirs with the ages of 18 and 16. They sleep at assigned
houses of people they have never met (strangers) who are a part
of the organization. They do laborious work after Amma's appearances,
the putting up and taking down of props, setting sales tables
up, stripping tape, packing up and loading cars. This takes
place mainly in the early hours of the morning, usually between
3-4 in the morning.
to be considered:
The following definitions have been taken from Webster's New
Illustrated Dictionary of the English Language:
adj. feeling affection; manifesting love
Compassion n. sorrow for the sufferings of others; pity
really the "all-loving and compassionate mother" she
has promoted herself to be?
I was told that Amma could and does heal all pain and suffering.
If so why doesn't she? I met a girl who is rather "close"
with Amma (having grown up at her feet practically) and has
a friend with a clinical disease. I suggested to her that she
should perhaps ask Amma to heal her friend. She replied that
there is no need to, that if she is sick it must be her karma
and therefore her time to die. I then asked, "Why then
can Amma cure if she doesn't utilise that power to do so? If
Amma is a supreme being and master over all then why did she
create pain and suffering or doctors and medicine if it truly
is some ones karma to die?" They were dumb founded and
were unable to answer my questions looking at the 20 year old
for an answer or perhaps a way to divert that line of questioning.
What I was finally told by the 20 year old was "I don't
don't ask questions". Informed decision? Or not?
The doctrine of not asking questions and a "just do it"
type of environment is one that calls for some more attention.
A few points may be raised when pondering on this attitude and
A. When one is involved in something it is only right that they
know what it is they are doing, why they are doing it and what
practical ramifications such involvement will have on one's
life i.e. relationships, education, time, finances, life goals,
B. One should be able to critically analyse, question and understand
with their own intellect that which is being taught, that which
is happening, further requirements related to membership, donations,
volunteer hours, and the putting aside of ones intellect, rational
and logic (all conveniently coined "the ego" within
C. Who gains from such an approach? The members, the community
or the leaders?
D. How can one make an informed decision or/and learn and grow
when questions are not only not encouraged but on the contrary
they are discouraged and frowned upon in the community.
learn through suffering" - A 20 year old female devotee
from America (in regards to a friend of hers who is suffering
at the core of "loving compassion? If one personally feels
that for ones own advancement, spiritually or otherwise, that
learning through suffering is true, although that may be viewed
as extreme and misguided, there is really nothing wrong with
it. However, teaching and more importantly, feeling this way
towards and about others is - from what I have seen in life
and from what I have been taught - the very antithesis of love
and compassion and is immoral.
Has one inquired with an open yet critical mind the following
"Amma is full of loving compassion"
"Amma is a realized being"
"Amma is omnipotent"
"Amma sees all things at all times"
"Amma funds many charitable organizations including an
orphanage and hospital in India"
to ask oneself in an open and inquisitive manner:
What practical good can be accredited to involvement with Amma?
Has or will one be able to live in and interact with others
(non-members) and the world at large while still receiving these
practical, tangible results?
Can others who are not involved gain these results?
Has it enhanced your sharing (i.e. time, energy, money) capabilities?
Even with non-members?
Even with others whom have their own religious conviction?
Can one give help and love to another without attempting to
Have previous relationships grown deeper and more meaningful
or are they becoming increasingly superficial?
Has more or less time been spent with family and friends?
More or less open communication?
Has the dialogue been other-centered i.e. focusing more on the
others goals, aims and needs or more self-centered i.e. focusing
more on your agenda, the group's goals, aims and needs?
In our relationships, are we genuinely interested in the other
or do we have ulterior motives and perhaps a hidden agenda to
eventually recruit them or otherwise?
Do we view the other as a human being with - only natural -
frailties and insecurities and we are still excepting of them
as they are or do we view them as an object, a goal or a target
i.e. a potential recruit?
Do we reflect our goals, feelings and views on others irrespective
of the others feelings and personal uniqueness?
Do we believe others could be and/or are greater than us or
do we view them as somehow being inferior, of a lesser calibre
Have we helped bring less poverty, hunger, pain, and/or family
disputes to the world?
Are we becoming more unique as an individual or is our uniqueness
and individuality being degraded and shunned?
Are our unique abilities and talents being stressed or is conformity
the new style?
an insiders view of Amma's 'love and compassion' (Posted
Official Ammachi Website