Why do some believe that ordinary persons like Mata Amritanandamayi or Sai Baba have extraordinary powers?

To answer this question, one must essentially delve deeper into the concept of Avatar in Hinduism. One must also try to understand the concept of Advaita in Hinduism. One must be able to grasp the grandest statement of Hinduism that everyone has the potential to attain Godliness. You may say, all these are essentially beliefs and say, “I can’t believe unless ‘scientifically proved’ ” , we will come to some amount of proving a bit later.

According to Hinduism, God takes up human form and comes to live among us to teach us the right dharma and show the way for spiritual advancement for earnest seekers from time to time. They also annihilate evil forces that tend to tilt the balance towards adharma and restore dharma — It is the Avatar.

Avatars, though by looks and physical behaviour will be like a human beings, they are NOT just ordinary mortals. So, fundamentally, Satya Saibaba and Mata Amritanandamayi are NOT just ordinary people. They are avatars.

The way they lead their lives, the way they demonstrate super-human capabilities right from childhood, the way they influence people who are truly attracted towards them through faith and surrender, the way they make miraculous changes in the lives of people (either overtly or covertly), the way they accomplish unbelievable tasks within unbelievable time-frame, the way they spread love and care on humanity cutting across all caste, creed and religious barriers, the way they create a massive revival of spirituality — are all beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals.

Those who are skeptical,who think they are very rational, think they know all about human beings and God, think they are “scientifically oriented” , who declare themselves proudly as non-believers by closing their ears, eyes, nose, mind and heart and declare “No — these Godmen and Godwomen are all only frauds bent upon cheating and looting people” can only be deluding themselves from reality.

Now coming to the proof.

Thousands of personal experiences can be given by people who experienced changes in their lives by coming to Amma or Satya Sai. You will say “these are concocted stories spread by blind believers in vested interest”.

Just set aside some 20 minutes of your time by keeping your eyes and heart open and go through the following link that contains the historical record of what Mata Amritanandamayi has done in each and every year of her living in this world amidst us in the past 64 years:

Life Timeline of Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) – with images

Some of the happenings are deeply spiritual about which I am sure you will not be inclined to even learn/digest. But there are also things done to the world. There are records and proofs. Then come to your own conclusion:

How are the grandest tasks accomplished?

They are accomplished by believers’ dedication and hard work; through the money people donate willingly; through the fees collected from institutions; through selling of products and services that the believing devotees (consisting doctors, scientists, teachers, professors, doctorates, engineers, pharmacists, writers, publishers, technicians, artisans, labourers and so on) contribute with love and dedication. A considerable percentage of the services are voluntary.

After all, people who do all these works (as instruments of the avatar) are human beings with their own limitations, deficiencies and inefficiencies too. So, along the side of grand things happening, you will also find some shortfalls, some imperfections, some little blunders and some wastages here and there. But if you look at the macro picture, the negatives will not too big. It is also a part of the divine maya. Nothing is 100% perfect in creation.

What does Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) say, as a woman saint, on the matter of allowing young women to Sabarimala Ayyappa temple?

Mata Amritanandamayi is a highly respected woman saint in Kerala with a huge following, who is popular across the globe for her expression of universal love and her social and philanthropic activities. She has been contributing in many ways, both spiritually and socially, in removing the inequalities that women have been facing.

As a woman saint, her viewpoint on this sensitive subject of allowing women into Sabarimala carries weight and requires a serious study. Below is the English translation of her Malayalam talk on this subject:

“In fact, there is no bar for ladies to visit and worship at Sabarimala temple and many ladies are indeed visiting and having darshan of lord at Sabarimala. The only thing is that as part of the procedures of austerity stipulated for devotees visiting Sabarimala, there is restriction for women of a specific age group to visit the place.

In Amma’s conception, God is beyond the distinctions of man and woman. But when we consider ‘God’ as a principle and God as a formally consecrated ‘deity’ in a temple, there is subtle difference that we must take into account. God is indeed an infinite consciousness. But a deity inside a temple is not exactly same.

There is a difference between the two — like the difference between fish in the seas and the ornamental fish carefully nurtured at homes in the glass tanks. If you don’t feed food at proper intervals for the fish in the tank, they cannot be sustained. But we don’t have to bother about feeding the fish in the seas; In the same way, for formerly consecrated temple deities, we have to conduct daily pujas, offer sanctified food, do special pujas on special occasions as per prescribed norms in the Shastras or else, the divine consciousness existing in the deities would get deteriorated.

On the other hand, God as an omnipresent and omniscient entity will not get affected anyway whether formal worship is done to Him or not.

Just like the different fish types in the glass tank require provision for oxygen and feeding of specifically formulated fish food, different deities in temples require different and specific mantras for worship and procedures for cleanliness and purity to be maintained in the temple. The mantras meant for a smiling deity would be different from the mantras of the same deity conceived in an expression of anger (rowdra bhava). Even though the same divine power permeates everywhere, the specific ways and practices in which the deities in specific temples have been conceived are different.

With regard to Sabarimala, the faith of the devotees of Lord Ayyappa is that the rules and procedures of austerities prescribed for the temple are based on the wish of Lord Ayyappa who undertook penance in the hills as a ‘Nitya Brahmachari’ (ever celibate) and prescribed the regulations before he entered into samadhi. It is based on this belief that ‘Malikappurathamma’ is still waiting outside and those devotees who follow the prescribed austerities and procedures can visit and have a darshan of the lord.

Since devotees follow such a strict regimen (including sense control) , it is not right to demand that young women should be permitted entry in to Sabarimala and olden practices and rules should be changed accordingly.

It is not right to demand that all the temple conventions should be thrown to dust. Such practices and conventions are like pillars holding the dharma.

If at all there is a such a need for change, actually it is the women, who are ardent devotees of Lord Ayyappa, are the ones to state their stand on this matter. After getting such an opinion, let the Government, temple shastra pundits and the priests sit together, discuss it and come to a decision. If there is really a need, then rules may be reviewed and changed; but is should not end up like bathing a child repeatedly for cleanliness with water and then throwing away the remnant water along with the child!”

When Bhagavad Gita says that we should offer the fruits of our work to God, where is the motive do the best of our work?

Every action we are doing is sure to bring a fruit. Even though we may claim it to be a sacrifice to God (as per Karma Yoga), that fruit is sure to come back to us only, at some point of time, at some context, at some quantity and fashion. How and when cannot be exactly comprehended by us, because God is definitely going to give it back to us as per His will, with our welfare in mind. God is beyond needs and wants and He is not looking to retain the fruits of OUR labor with Himself!

My Guru Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) use to say that when Bhagavad Gita says work should be done by surrendering the results to God, it means we don’t have to break our head or worry about the fruits of Karma, which will in any case come back to us. It means we will be able to focus better on our work in hand by doing our best, without wasting our mental energy about what the results could be.

Since the results are sure to come back to us, it is always prudent to do our best, because we will get back the best fruits of it at some time, in some way, at some juncture (as schemed by God) for our betterment only!

Amma also used to point about two fruits in every action — one is drishta Phalam (visible result) and adrishta phalam (invisible fruit). Suppose a destitute boy who has not eaten for a couple of days knocks at our doors. Suppose we call the boy inside and offer him a sumptuous meal. As we watch the boy eating the food in a hurry and relishing every bit of it, it definitely gives us an instant joy. It is drishta Phalam. By feeding a poor boy, we acquire some punya to our credit. That is adrishta phalam.

If we had served the boy some stale food from the previous day’s remnants, he would have perhaps consumed it too to satiate his hunger. But by feeding him with fresh meals, we are offering our best. That satisfaction will be greater than offering him a stale food for sure. Giving the best definitely carries a bonus value!

 

Amma – Mata Amritanandamayi – Biography – Life Timeline with Photos

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  • She is called Amma (Mother).
  • She hails from a little fishermen hamlet in Kerala, India. She is hardly educated up to primary school. She is now a world renowned Hindu saint and a globally recognized philanthropist. She travels across the length and breadth of India and also across the globe every year to meet people. She is known as the Hugging Saint. She is a ceaseless fountainhead of divine love.
  • She embraces each and every individual who comes to her for her darshan. She spends 10-14 hours a day, at least 4 days a week in meeting and hugging people who come to see her in thousands. She has been doing it ceaselessly since her age of 22/23. (She is now 65 as in 2018). She has hugged more than 33 million people across the world.
  • She is an unconditional giver. All the people in this world are her sons and daughters. She gives pure love to the world suffering in scorching selfishness; she heals people both physically and mentally; she spreads spirituality to earnest seekers as a Sadguru. She serves the poor and the downtrodden. She runs hospitals, orphanages, schools, colleges and research institutions. She is always there with a helping hand extended, whenever and wherever there is a natural calamity.
  • Here is an attempt to showcase, for the sake of historical records, what she has been doing year after year in her action packed life  ever since her birth. No wonder she is hailed as an Avatar of divine mother Parashakti; the power she radiates is immeasurable; what she has accomplished and what she has been doing is simply beyond the grasp and capacity of not only ordinary human beings, but also scientists, rationalists and agnostics.

1953  – 27th September  

  • Sunday, after 9 AM (in star Karthika) The Holy Avatar of Amma happens – The  girl child, later named Sudhamani (Later Mata Amritanandamayi) was born to Dhamayanthi Amma and Sri Sugunanandan as their 3rd child at Parayakadavu, a fishermen’s hamlet in Alappad, Kerala. Her birth place in future acquires the name Amtitapuri.

1957 (Age 4)

  •  ‘Kunju’ (Little) Sudhamani frequently turns inwards, forgetting outer world and goes to meditative state.

1958 (Age 5)

  • Sudhamani starts going to elementary school. She is soaked in Krishna bhakti most of the times even in such a tender age.

1960 (Age 7)

  • Sudhamani starts composing devotional songs on Lord Krishna. Most of the times her dress is wet with tears she sheds crying for her beloved Krishna.

1962 (Age 9)

  • Sudhamani discontinues school (in a couple of months after joining 5th standard) and takes charge of doing all domestic chores, since her mother falls sick. At all her free times, she is immersed in the devotion of Sri Krishna.

1966 (Age 13)

  • Sudhamani starts going to her Mother’s elder sisters’ house for doing their domestic chores. Sudhamani gives the families’ rice to the poor and gets the wrath of the relatives.

1968 (Age 15)

  • Sudhamani sent to her uncle’s house in Karunagapally for doing their domestic chores. Here too she starts giving food and provisions from the house to the poor and needy and gets punished for her charity.

1969 (Age 16)

  • Sudhamani returns to her parents house and gets fully engaged in doing all domestic chores from 3 AM in the morning till 11 PM and also immerses herself in intense sadhana and krishna Bhakthi. She also serves the poor people in the village and distributes food and provisions stealthily from her house. Gets punished frequently for this charity.

1970 (Age 17)

  • Sudhamani learns tailoring at a Christian Institution attached to a Church (for about 3 years) in her spare time. She goes into meditation at the grave yard next to the church. Old priest in the Church gets highly impressed by her character and devotion to God.  He predicts she will come up as a great lady in future.

  • Sudhamani loses sleep crying and singing for her beloved Krishna. Her family members get highly disturbed by her behavior. They think she is mentally deranged.

1975 (Age 22)

  • Sudhamani’s intense prema bhakti on Krishna ends up in a divine experience of Lord Krishna merging in her.

== Oil painting == Lord Krishna appears before Amma and merges in her. Amma realizes her oneness with Krishna.

  • 5th March  1975 – Sudhamani first Krishna Bhava (involuntary) at the courtyard of her neighbor  Sri Ratnam’s house where Srimad Bhagavada parayanam was going on.

== Oil painting == Amma reveals her Krishna Bhava to people gathered to listen to Srimad Bhagavatam.

  • On the next Bhagavata Parayanam day, based on demands from people to prove her divine power, Sudhamani does a miracle by converting water to milk and also to panchamritam when she shows Krishna bhava again.
  • Soon regular Krishna Bhava darshan to devotees begins at the cowshed area next to her house.

  • Later a simple temple (Kalari) comes up in the cowshed area where her bhava darshan took place.

  • Soon after, Sudhamani gets Devi Parashakthi in divine vision for a brief while. She immerses in deep Prema Bhakti to seek Devi’s vision again. Sudhamani’s behavior turns very weird bordering on madness.
  • Her family members could not understand her divine madness and get very disturbed. Her elder brother Subhakan, who could not accept Sudhamani’s bhava darshans and her divine moods, orders her to get out of the house. In order not to trouble the family members, sSudhamani opts to stay outdoors all the time, be rain or shine. She was out of body consciousness most of the times; animals and birds start giving her company with love and they bring food to her too.

== Oil painting == Sudhamani ordered out of the house; Animals and birds give her company in the open.

  • September 1975 – After 6 months of intense longing, she gets the vision of Devi once again and Devi immerses inside her. Amma sang her experience and the divine commandment she received from Devi thus in her song ‘Ananda Veedhi’

. . . . . .
Smiling, She became a Divine Effulgence

And meged in me. My mind blossomed,
Bathed in the many hued light of divinity
And the events of millions of years gone by
Rose up within me. Thenceforth,
Seeing nothing as seperate from my own Self
A Sing Unity, and merging in the Divine mother
I renounced all sense of enjoyment

Mother told me to ask people
To fulfil their human birth.
Therefore I proclaim to the whole world
The sublime truth that She uttered
‘oh man, merge in your Self!”
. . . . . . . . . 

Sudhamani resolves to dedicate her life totally to mitigate the suffering of the people and serve one and all as embodiments of God.

  • Amma (Sudhamani) begins giving Devi Bhava Darshan too in addition to Krishna Bhava Darshan. She hugs each and everyone who comes to her for darshan, hears their woes and offers solace.

  • Amma starts facing lots of opposition from and harassment from The Rationalists  Movement (‘Committee to remove blind beliefs’) who consider her bhava darshans as fake with an intent to fool people and make money.
  • By 1975 year end – During one Krishna bhava, Amma predicts that she will be having lots of devotees coming to her from far and wide, including from abroad. She also predicts that she would travel all over the world many times.
  • Prabhakara Siddha Yogi, a famous avadhuta with extremely weird behaviour, who was believed to be living across a couple of centuries, comes and visits Amma. He recognizes her as Kali Mata.

Amma with Prabhakara Siddha Yogi

1976  (Age 23)

  • Harassment, public ridicule, attempts of physical attack and attempt of murder happens to Amma from locals and members of Rationalist movement. Amma’s family members feel highly disturbed about such happenings. Amma faces such oppositions for the next couple of years with evenness of mind.
  • Based on Sugunananda’s prayer during Devi bhava to relieve her daughter from Devi’s possession, Amma falls into deep samadhi next day and could not be revived to life despite all efforts. Conceding to intense prayers and inconsolable crying of her devotees and family, she comes back to life after 3 hours.
  • Unnikrishnan (Amma’s first resident brahmachari of the ashram, later Swami Turiyamritananda Puri) meets Amma and starts staying in the temple.

Swami Turiyamritananda Puri (Br. Unnikrishnan) was the earliest permanent resident of the ashram who came in 1976.

1977 (Age 24)

  • Amma visits Madurai Meenakshi temple with devotees. She goes into deep samadhi for about 1.5 hrs in front of Meenakshi sannadhi.

1978   (Age 25)

  • Dattan the leper starts visiting Amma during Bhava Darshan and his acute and deep wounds of leprasy gets cured over a period of time by Amma’s licking of his wounds.

> Click this picture to see the video clipping showing Amma licking the wounds in Dattan’s body and face

  • June 1978 – Amma’s elder brother Subhakan, who could not understand or accept Amma’s spiritual moods, and seemingly lunatic behavior, was strongly against his sisters’ divine bhavas and was extremely mentally disturbed. He commits suicide. Amma had to face negative propaganda and criticism from the rationalists and the public on account of this happening too.

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If the self is already eternal, deathless, and one with Brahman, why do I have to make any spiritual effort in life?

Yes. All gurus, all scriptures say that my Self is already eternal, deathless and one with Brahman. Yes, I nod in agreement.

But I am worried about my debts; I get restless if my food is not served in time. I hate my neighbor for whatever omissions and commissions he does. I just cannot accept that he is also Brahman like me!

I am having pain on my left shoulders and I am deeply worried — is it the symptom for impending heart attack? What will I do if attack comes suddenly? Oh! I am scared of death. Who will look after my family if I die suddenly?

So, my theoretical knowledge that I am deathless and I am Brahman is absolutely useless to me, until I experience that state so that I remain in bliss always with no mundane worries.

Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) says that if you write ‘ honey’ in a piece of paper and lick it, it will not taste sweet. She further says that it is indeed true that a tree is contained in the seed. We are like seed now. For the seed to become a tree, it has to go into earth, its outer sheath should split so that the sprout comes. Conditions should be favourable too. A seed fallen on a rockey surface or in a desert is not likely to sprout. It should get water, nutrients etc to grow. Climate should be favorable. When all things are favorable, only then the seed will become a tree and bear fruits.

That’s why spiritual effort is needed “for the seed to become a tree”. Going into the earth indicates surrender (to guru). Outer sheath breaking indicates breaking of one’s ego. Ambience, climate etc becoming favorable indicates guru kripa.

Amma says “kalam, pryatnam , and Easwara kripa” (Time, effort and divine grace) are the 3 things essential for success.

Mata Amritanandamayi – FAQ on Amma

  1. Who is Amma?

Amma (meaning, mother) is Mata Amritanandamayi, a lady Hindu Saint, a God-realized (or self-realized) sage, a true knower of Universal Self (Brahma Gnyani) , who is considered an Avatar (God descended to earth in Human form, according to Hindu beliefs) and a Satguru (a spiritual teacher of the highest order) whose expression of divinity is through her unsurpassed expression of love towards all beings.

  1. How old is Amma? What was her original name? Where was she born? Who are her parents? Where is her place?

Bhavatarini Kali Temple, Amritapuri Ashram

Amma is now 64 years old . Her original name was Sudhamani. She was born on 27/09/1953 in a fishermen community, at a remote village (Parayakadavu/ Vallikkavu) near the Arabian sea about 20 km away from Kayamkulam town in Kerala State, in South India.

Her father’s name is Sugunananthan and her mother’s name is Dhamayanti. Sudhamani was their third child. Sudhamani had 4 brothers (one elder and the rest younger) and 3 sisters (one elder and the rest, younger).

It is in this small village is her Ashram Mata Amritanandamayi Math is situated. This place is now called Amtitapuri. In the limited strip of land between the Arabian sea and back waters, the Ashram’s sprawling complex comprising of a temple, a large Darshan Hall and a few multi-storeyed residential apartments for all her disciples and devotees is situated.

  1. Why is she called Amma?

The word Amma in Tamil and Malayalam means mother. She is considered the avatar of the Universal Divine Mother (varyingly called Parasakthi, Jagat Janani, Jagadamba, Rajarajeshwari, Parvati, Vaishnavi, Maha Maya, Kali and so on, who, according to holy mythology, is the divine consort of Lord Shiva). For Amma, every one in this world, irrespective of whether he/she is younger or older than her, is her child and all her children call her Amma. Amma’s love to her children is unconditional and she has no barriers of caste, color, creed, religion or anything else to express her motherly love to one and all. The young Sudhamani, who was later christened Mata Amritanandamayi by her devotees, thus became the mother of one and all and a “hugging saint” right from her 22nd age.

  1. Why is Amma called the “Hugging Saint”?

In Hinduism, going and seeing a God in a temple or seeing a Saint is referred to as having a “darshsan”. Darshan means seeing. In India, it’s the practice that great Saints stand or sit at a distance and his devotees will go and prostrate before him/ her to express their reverence. Some Saints will permit touching of their feet by close disciples. In Hinduism it is the practice to touch the feet of holy and elderly people as a mark of reverence and this touching of the feet of a divinely person is believed to bestow us good spiritual fortune.

It is also believed that any bodily touch of the saint will transfer one’s sins to the saints and this way one gets purified, but the saint who has accepted the sins will have to go through the physical suffering for having accepted the sins of others. So, except on very special occasions or considerations, all and sundry will not be encouraged touch the saints.

Amma’s way of giving ‘darshan’ is to individually embrace each person.

That’s totally absent in Amma’s case. Amma, out of her unbridled love on all her children, gives “dashan” to every individual by embracing him/ her physically. Whether one is healthy, clean or unclean – as unclean as a leper whose skin oozes with pus, Amma embraces one and all.

Perhaps the term “hugging saint” was coined by western media when Amma visited USA first in the year 1987.

  1. In Hinduism, isn’t it said that a Guru is needed for one to attain self-realization? If so, who is Amma’s guru?

Amma is a divine incarnation. She is a swayambu (self manifested); she is not of the normal class of spiritual aspirants who can seek the ultimate truth only through the guidance of a Guru.

But, Amma was soaked in the deepest divine bhakthi (love of God) right from her childhood. Her yearning to have a vision of her beloved God, Krishna was consuming her like a flame; she cried unceasingly for uniting with her beloved lord; her whole of waking consciousness was enveloped in that single thought. Songs praising her lord and begging for his darshan poured out from her lips involuntarily.

With all this at one side, she had abundant energy to do physical domestic work, which she did tirelessly for her family; her parents understood nothing of her divinity; they thought she was mentally insane. Her very dark complexion was a subject of distaste for them. They showed no interest to educate her formally. Apart from a little of primary education that enabled Amma to read and write in Malayalam (her mother tongue), Amma had no worthy “worldly” education to speak of.

This sort of unceasing and all consuming love of God, is called Parabhakthi in Hinduism. It is also known as Prema Bhakthi. Chaitanya Deva (a saint of Eastern India) had such a divine love for Krishna in the past. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, another saint of the past from Bengal had this divine love on his beloved Holy Mother Kali.

Through this power of Prema Bhakthi, saints realize God. That’s how Amma realized Lord Krishna; Lord Krishna merged into her and became one with her. At her 20th age, Amma became a realized soul.

  1. Then why is it said Amma is a divine incarnation of Universal Mother?

Amma, after realizing God in the form of Krishna (Purusha, the male principle) was then caught in a tempest of love on the Universal Mother (Prakriti, the female principle). It was her second phase of prema bhakti on God, now directed at the female principle. After going through a maddeningly intense “tapas” (severe spiritual austerities) to have the vision of her “true mother”, without virtually missing even a second to keep calling her “Amma”, amma realized her goal; she ultimately found Divine mother revealing her glorious form and eventually merging in her. It happened at her age of about 22.

  1. Wait. You say, Lord Krishna merged in Amma. Then you say, Universal Mother merged in Amma. But you said earlier that Amma is a divine incarnation of the Universal Mother. Isn’t all confusing?

One requires a deeper understanding of Hinduism to grasp all these. In Hinduism, there is only one God, known as Brahman (also called Paramatman, the supreme Atman), who is all pervading, is without beginning or end, and is beyond name and form. But the same Universal being, when related to the physical realm of the world and the cosmos with names and forms, becomes the creater, sustainer and the destroyer. He, in this role, is attributed with names and forms and is amenable for worshiping as Ishwara (God). Hindus have the freedom to worship Ishwara in any form very dear to their heart.

A Hindu can worship God as Vishnu ( the protector), Shiva (the destroyer), the Shakti (the Universal Mother), or in any forms of divine incarnations like Rama, Krishna and so on. Ignoring names and forms, it is the same God who is the in-dweller in all beings as Atman, because the God and his creation are not two entities.

Depending on the extent of one’s self awareness, one perceives God as a separate entity as Ishwara (the Dwaita – duality concept) , or as Paramatman — the soul of the individual soul (Vishitadwaita – the qualified non-duality concept) and as Atman (one’s own Self, being the Absolute reality, with nothing second existing — the Advaita, non-duality principle).

All these 3 states are true in some way or other, depending on the extent of one’s realization of the ultimate truth. While Advaita, the non-dualistic state is the ultimate truth which is realized by a qualified seeker at an exalted state where the “I” consciousness becomes totally absent, the other states also become relative truths as one descends back to worldly consciousness — when “I” and “you” are perceived.

For a person of Amma’s level of attainment, Advaita is the state of attainment and state of being. But, purely out of compassion to serve the society and guide all earnest seekers to realize the ultimate truth, Amma descends to the mundane level and plays her divine act with all of us, like a person acting in a drama with different masks and makeup.

Amma, though, in her true state remains as Atman, with nothing secondary to it, she, at the relative level, sports a “bhava”, a divine mood. When, as a seeker, she loved the lord (Ishwara) in the form of Krishna (who is nothing but the all pervading Atman, but now worshiped with name and form), she realized her own Atman and it was experienced as if the Lord Krishna merged in her. The same explanation holds good for divine experience and mood –“bhava” as a divine mother.

Amma, though originally expressed her divine bhava as Krishna, she, later opted to express her bhava as Divine mother too. Still later, she opted to express only the divine mood as Universal mother – Devi Bhava and discontinued her Krishna Bhava.

It’s Hindu’s belief that God descends to earth to uplift mankind and show ways to salvation from time to time, based on the specific needs of the time. As Amma displays her divine bhava more as a mother, her devotees hail her as an Avatar of Universal mother.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says “Avatar is only for the sake of Bhaktas (lovers of God). Gnyanis (seekers of True Knowledge without sentimental emotion to forms of God) have no significance to the idea of Avatar”.

Thus from a bhakta’s viewpoint, Amma is an Avatar — the Avatar of the Universal Divine Mother. From the intellectual seekers’ view point, Amma is a Gnyani — Knower of Atman, a self-realized soul, a jivan mukta (one who has attained deathless state while being alive), or one who has attained, from a Buddhist viewpoint, Nirvana. For an earnest spiritual seeker looking for spiritual guidance, Amma is a Satguru.

8.  Let her be God, Avatar or whatever. What is that she has done for the world? In what way has she contributed for the welfare of the mankind? People say she is now heading a multi-million dollar empire?

Amma’s every breath is for the welfare of the mankind. She sets examples; she inspires countless people to serve the world. Thousands of devotees from all walks of life come to her and join her with their money and resources to serve the world in so many ways. That’s how so many of her institutions have sprung up.

She has inspired thousands of young  men and women to renounce worldly life and lead a life of brahmacharya, do spiritual practices and seva; countless householders have left behind their comforts of life to settle in the ashram and do service as well as sadhana.

Embracing the World is a global network of regional humanitarian organizations inspired by the  Mata Amritanandamayi Math. Embracing the World exists to help alleviate the burden of the world’s poor through helping to meet each of their five basic needs — food,  shelterhealthcareeducation, and livelihood — wherever and whenever possible.

If you want to know what she has done to the world, here is a brief list:

Disaster relief

Left: Post tsunami, houses constructed at Nagapattinam             Right: Flats constructed for tsunami affected people in Sri Lanka.

  • 2001 Gujarat Earthquake – Construction of 1200 earth quake resistant homes for the affected people.
  • 2004 Tsunami in India and Sri Lanka – built 6200 Tsunami-resistant houses, supplied 700  new fishing boats, constructed an evacuation bridge (in case of similar future calamities) , providing vocational training to 2500 victims and so on.
  • 2005 Hurricane Katrina relief in USA – donating $1 million to Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund
  • 2005 Earthquake in Kashmir – Free food and medical supplies
  • 2005 Mumbai floods, 2006 Gujarat floods, 2008 Bihar floods — Over $1.5 million spent in medical aid, food supplies and shelter.
  • 2009 Cyclone Aila, West Bengal — medical care and food supplies
  • 2009 Floods in Karnataka and Andhra –$10.7 million relief package including medical care, food, supplies and building of 1000 homes for displaced refugees.
  • 2010 Haiti Earth quake — Mediacl supplies, blankets, providing scholarship to students
  • 2011 Japan earth quake & tsunami — $ 1 million relief focusing on children orphaned in the disaster.
  • 2012 LPG Tanker & Fireworks disasters in south India —  Aid to families of dead and injured.
  • 2013 Uttarakhand floods — Rs 50 Cr0re relief package to construct 500 houses destroyed in the Uttarakhand  in 42 selected villages in the districts of Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi. Also cover educational scholarships, pension to widows and women empowerment activities.
  • 2013 Typhoon Haiyan relief at Philippines — Mata Amritanandamayi Center, USA donates 1 million dollar aid for people affected.
  • 2015 Chennai Floods — Supply of food and medicines, Rs 5 Crore donation to Chief Minister’s relief fund.

== Chennai Flood relief == Br. Abhayamrita Chaitanya distributing food packets to affected localities. Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri handing over cheque for Rs.5 Crores to TN Chief Minister Jayalalitha.

Free Housing

  • Completion of 45,000 homes for the poor throughout  India

Other Aid Projects

  • Providing 41,000 scholarships to children of impoverished farmers, with a goal to reach 1,00,000 students.
  • Empowering 1,00,00 women by providing startup capital, vocational education and access to micro credit loan
  • Organic farming initiative to support 10,000 poor people to grow organic vegitables in their own land.
  • Orphanages for 500 children in Parippally, Kerala and 50 children in Nairobi.
  • Yearly feeding of over 10 million poor people inside India, 1,00,000 people outside India including 75,000 in USA via Soup kitchens
  • Pensions for 59,000 destitute women and the physically and mentally challenged, with a goal to reach 1.00,000 such people.
  • Running 4 care homes for the elderly in India
  • Prisoner-welfare project in USA provides solace for prison inmates
  • 2015 — Rs.100 Crores donated for constructing toilets in the poorest villages surrounding the Ganges River as part of Swachh Bharat and Namami Gange project.
  • 2015 — Another 100 Crore project for constructing toilets in the houses of the poor in Kerala.
  • 2017 —  Rs.200 Crore project of providing filtered and clean drinking water to 5000 villages in India, to benefit 10 million people in rural areas.

A typical filtering package set up in each village for providing clean, filtered water under Amrita’s Jivamritam scheme.

Health Care

AMRITA INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES  (AIMS) (Ernakulam)

  • Not-for-profit 1,300 bed hospital (210 bed ICU) providing advanced health care to patients including free medical care for the poor.
  • serving more than 10 lakh outpatients and more than 70,000 inpatients annually. The massive healthcare infrastructure with over 3.33 million sq.ft. of built-up area, spread over 125 acres of land, supports a daily patient volume of approximately 3500 outpatients with 95 percent inpatient occupancy. There are 12 superspeciality departments, 45 other departments.
  • More than 2.6 million people have have received complete free treatment since 1998.
  • Telemedicine support for hospitals and more than 40 remote centres across India and parts of Africa.
  • Free health check up in remote areas providing preventive health care.
  • Five branch hospitals providing free care to the poor
  • AIDS care home at Trivandrum and Cancer Hospice at Mumbai
  • Free palliative in-home care for the terminally ill
  • Conducting more than 100 free medical camps annually throughout India
  • Providing 1,00,000 women with training to become in-home nurses in more than 6000 self-help groups
  • AYURVEDIC MEDICARE through Amrita School of Ayurveda (Amritapuri) with 160 bed hospital

Higher Education 

  • Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University) having 5 campuses with Schools of Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Arts and sciences, Biotechnology, Business, Journalism, Ayurveda and Education. More than 20,000 students and 1,500 faculty members. (NAAC A grade University).
  • Amrita Research Labs and other research departments are continuously involved in developing innovations in communication, e-learning, computer sciences and Biotechnology.
  • 30 leading Universities worldwide including Stanford, MIT, NYU, EPFL in Switzerland, VU in Amsterdam, TU Munich, Roma Tre, ETH Zurich and the University of Tokyo cooperate with Amrita University to enhance higher education and research in India.
  • Institute of People’s Education provides job training and community development.
  • United Nations commended literacy-training program for the tribal populations

Elementary and Secondary Education

  • 47 Amrita Vidyalayam schools throughout India, providing value-based holistic approach to learning
  • A school for hearing-impaired children in Kerala

Spiritual, Cultural

Aerial View of Amritapuri Ashram 2017. The Arabian sea on the right, the TS Canal at the left and the middle strip of land is Alappad. Amritapuri Ashram is studded with multi-storeyed buildings.  The Amrit Sethu bridge can be seen at the left.

  • Mata Amritanandamayi Math – Amritapuri Ashram (Kerala India) is the international headquarters for Amma’s service work, which is carried out through hundreds of branch centers and service groups world-wide.
  • The Ashram houses several hundreds of Brahmacharis, Brahmacharinis, Householder devotees, monks, hostel students, westerners and so on.
  • IAM  (Integrated Amrita Meditation) Technique and Amrita Yoga are taught free throughout the world.
  • Spiritual books and magazines (‘Matruvani’) printed at the ashram in multiple languages are distributed to devotees across the country and world.
  • Regular shastra (scriptural teaching) classes are conducted in the Ashram.
  • AYUDH is the youth wing of Amma’s devotees and followers inspiring youngsters in  leading a balanced life including spirituality and seva as part of worldly life.
  • GreenFriends initiative cutivates reference for Nature and has arranged and inspired planting more than 1 million trees since 2001.

TO KNOW MORE ABOUT AMMA AND HER DETAILED LIFE TIMELINE, CLICK <HERE>

To watch Video on Amma’s global activities:

EMBRACING THE WORLD WITH HER ABUNDANT LOVE AND HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES

Do people who undergo much suffering in life eventually attain happiness one day or other?

Let me share a funny story that Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) narrates:

A person was suffering from one hardship after another in life and got very much dejected. He went to consult an astrologer to know what he holds for the future.

The astrologer, after going through the horoscope said “ Your planetary positions are too unfavorable.You will have to go through sufferings till your age of 50”.

The man felt somewhat relieved. He asked eagerly, “It means I will lead a smooth and happy life after that, right?”

The astrologet said, “No. You will get used to facing troubles and managing them afterward!”.

Amma used to say that ‘parasthithi‘ (external circumstances) cannot be changed easily, but with effort, it is possible to change our ‘manasthithi‘ (state of mind). When, by spiritual effort, we manage to acquire mental strength and eaquanimity, we will be able to face joys and sorrows with lots of balance. We will not get over joyed in moments of fortune, nor get too disturbed and depressed against adversities.

When mindset changes, by divine grace, there is every chance that trials and tribulations too diminish in life.

Amma offering consolation to the sick

Does Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) give Mantra Diksha? If so, mantra of which God? When does she give Diksha?

Yes. Satguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) does give Mantra Diksha to her devotees and earnest spiritual seekers. She gives them selectively, at her own discretion, when a request is made to her while taking her darshan. She gives mantra diksha to householder devotees as well as to renunciates and Brahmacharis & Brahmacharinis. She selectively gives diksha to non-Indian, non-Hindu devotees too. Several of her western devotees have taken diksha from her.

What sort of mantra does Amma give?

Amma mostly gives diksha to devotees based on their existing Ishta (personal God) – It could be Shiva, Devi Parashakti, Kali, Rama, Krishna, Vishnu and so on). On some specific cases, she may give an alternative mantra (other than the seeker’s Ishta) too, as she knows the innate nature and tendency of the person whom she is giving Mantra.

There are also cases where a person has already taken diksha from elsewhere (like Sri Ramakrishna Math, for example) and may want Amma to give him mantra again. In some cases, Amma may advise the person to continue with the old mantra.

A lot depends on Amma’s assessment of a person’s samksaras.  For some, she may ask to wait for some more time before asking for mantra.

When does Amma give Mantra?

A person who wants to take Mantra diksha from Amma has to request her when he/ she is taking darshan from Amma. If Amma agrees, the person has to wait till the darshan comes to the end on that night. Amma will give diksha at Amritapuri Ashram as well as at other places where she tours. Diksha will be given only on her darshan days and not on non-darshan days. When Amma is in Amritapuri, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays are the normal darshan days.

Depending on the crowd, Amma’s darshan may end at any time in night — before midnight, after midnight, early in the morning etc. Those who want to take diksha from her are expected to wait till the darshan ends at whatever time.

Announcement will be made in the TV screens calling the persons who are waiting to take mantra diksha to assemble at one designated place near the dais. Amma’s assistants will note down your Ishta Devata or your preferred God and hand over to you a Mantra card containing your mantra (to be kept secret with you and not to be disclosed to anybody) and the necessary instructions regarding preparations and practices of chanting the Mantra.

Before Amma leaves the stage after giving darshan to all the people, she calls the people who are waiting for receiving the mantra. Amma hugs each person and whispers the specific mantra meant for the person into his/her ear. She blesses them by sprinkling flowers on their head and giving them a prasad.  Except for waiting for this time to arrive, there are absolutely no other procedures involved.

If one needs any clarifications or has any doubts, they can always approach the assistants and they will help you.

 

I have committed wrongs and caused suffering to many people in the past. When I think of it, I suffer from guilty complex. I think even God will not forgive for the evil acts that I have done. I am even afraid of praying to God. What is the way out for me?

To answer this question, here is the message from Satguru Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) appearing in Tamil Matruvani magazine Feb 2018 issue:

“My children,

Knowingly or unknowingly, we may have caused pain and anguish to other people; practically all of us would have done some such thing at some time or other in our lives. Some people come to Amma (me) and say “Mother, I have done numerous mistakes in life; will God ever forgive me? Do I have the qualification even to pray to God? When I think about the wrongs I have done, I become weak out of guilty feeling. What am I supposed to do?”

By nature bad thoughts rule people’s minds more powerfully than good thoughts. So, every one is bound to do mistakes. The real valor in ourselves lies in accepting our mistakes, feeling truly sorry about them and practicing the mind to start doing good deeds. Keeping on thinking about the evil deeds for ever is akin to embracing a corpse. If we keep on thinking “Alas! I have done mistake; I am a sinner; I am a sinner”, all our skills will only get wasted. Our progress in life will be hampered.

When there is a wound in the body, is it not better to apply medicine to it instead of looking at it and crying? If we have consciously done mental or physical hurting on somebody, we should get the mindset to seek apology from them. We should try to console them. We should take a firm resolve saying “Hereafter, I will do only good deeds”

Knowingly or unknowingly we might have committed wrongs in many ways. We might have forcefully grabbed something that truly belong to others; We might have attained high posts and positions by wrong means without having any merit for it; We might have frustrated others from getting their genuine promotions or benefits; Due to a vengeance or hatred on a family, we might have lied and stopped the marriage of a girl in the family; Or we might have intentionally lied about the character of a woman in our town to her husband working abroad causing their marital bond to be shattered. Likewise, there may be people who have been suffering life long on account of our selfish and egoistic acts; there may be people who had lost all that they had in life; there may be people who committed suicide on account of our acts.

We cannot rewind the wheel of time; the time wheel always rotates forward. What has happened in the past is like a cancelled cheque. We only have the present moment for our use. We cannot get back in time and set right our wrong doings. Learn lessons from them and try to progress. The moment we have understood our mistake, we should start following the right path. If we think “Let me change from tomorrow” the tomorrow may never come — like the marriage of Lord Ganapathy.

‘Let me think of God only when the sins committed are all exhausted” – if we think like that, it is similar to thinking “let me take bath in the sea after all the waves have subdued” . It will never happen. It is like saying “let the disease get cured; then I will take the medicines”.

The only way to get rid of all sins is to think of God. We cannot ‘remove’ darkness. When light comes, darkness automatically goes away. Likewise, when we think of God, the sins will get gradually washed away and the heart will get purity. The darkness of ignorance will vanish. When we say think of God, it does not just include prayers, visiting temples, chanting hymns and mantras etc., but also includes stopping our bad habits, doing good deeds, living with discrimination, not giving trouble to others etc and these too are parts and parcel of worshiping God.

The moment sense of guilt comes, we should resolve to do prayachitta (remedial actions); correct our mistakes. This way heart gets purified. as we keep adding more and more pure water to a salty water, the saltiness will reduce. Likewise, if we keep an doing good deeds, it will automatically bring a change in our character.

But one thing is very important. Once we have identified and accepted our mistake, we should never repeat it. We should not be like an elephant that smears mud over its head again after taking a bath. When we write with a pencil on a piece of paper and a mistake happens in writing, we can use the eraser, erase the mistake and re write. But if we keep making writing mistakes again and again, repeated erasing will tear the paper. Likewise, you should ensure that mistakes are not repeated after correcting it in life.

Through prayer, the dirt in our heart will get cleaned and the light of goodness will start shining. Our prayer should be “My dear God! Please bless me that I do not cause any problem to others through my thoughts, speech or actions”

– unquote –

I believe the above message contains the total guidance needed by you.

Words of Mahatmas are whole truths. What Amma has stated elaborately has been stated briefly by Sri Ramakrishna paramahamsa too: “One who says ‘I am a sinner; I am a sinner’ end up as sinner. We should have a firm conviction – ‘I am chanting God’s name. How can sin do anything with me?”