How do you get Mantra Diksha from Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi?

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The readers coming to this answer perhaps know already about Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, a living Sadguru among us, who has devotees, followers and admirers in millions across the globe.

Her thousands of earnest devotees and spiritual seekers know her as an Avatar – a divine incarnation of mother Parashakti; She is a Brahma gnyani; a true yogi; a jivan mukta. For many western devotees, she is a living proof that Jesus Christ did exist. She is like a large ship that can take numerous earnest devotees who have unconditionally surrendered to her across the sea of samsara.

There are thousands of devotees across the globe who have taken Mantra Diksha from her and chant their mantras regularly and engage in earnest spiritual practices.

Which Mantra does Amma give as Diksha?

Amma accepts earnest devotees from any walk of life, from any sect of Hinduism (be Vaishnavas, Shaivas, Shaktas or whatever), having whatever Ishta Devatas (favourite God forms) they love. To suit their taste and leaning, Amma gives mantras of their respective ishtas (Like Shiva Mantra, Vishnu mantra, Rama mantra, Krishna mantra, Gayathri Mantra, Devi Mantra and so on). In fact, Amma gives diksha to Christians, Buddhists etc. too, with mantras to suit their respective faiths and tastes.

There are plenty of Amma devotees for whom Amma herself is their Ishta. For them, Amma gives mantra originating from her own name too. In other words, Amma encourages and guides people to progress spiritually through their respective faiths, and there is nothing like a cult-feeling associated with her Mantra diksha.

In Mata Amritanandamayi Math, no one other than Amma is authorized to give Manta diksha.

When and where do you get diksha from Amma?

Amma’s ashram headquarters is in Amritapuri, Kerala, India. Before Corona pandemic, Amma used to be travelling across India and the worldduring major part of every year over the last 3 decades. However since 2020 (till the date in which this post is originally written) Amma has been staying in Amritapuri Ashram only.

Wherever Amma’s darshan programs get conducted (be it in Amritapuri or whatever place Amma visits), people, while receiving Amma’s darshan (which is her loving hug) can request Amma for Mantra Diksha. Amma instantly knows the past, present and future of a devotee the moment she hugs him, and depending on the person’s ripeness for receiving the mantra, she may accept the request. Please note that she may not respond with yes to some people; she may tell some people to come back to her in future with the request.

The truth is that, nowadays, out of her extreme compassion, Amma normally agrees to give Mantra diksha to a vast majority of people who make the request, unmindful of their spiritual limitations or shortcomings.

Once Amma’s nod is obtained, the person will be taken to a designated Sanyasi of the Ashram who interacts with the person to get information about his Ishta Devata (Favorite deity) on whom he wants the mantra. Then he gives the respective Mantra Card (associated with that deity) along with an instruction card. He gives necessary guidelines further.

The person is to wait, till Amma finishes giving darshan to all the devotees who have taken darshan tokens that day.

Please note that this wait may be quite long. Thousands of devotees come to Amma to take her darshan and the darshan program may extend till midnight or even till early hours of the next morning.

Except for this waiting, the Diksha process is rather an extremely simple and quick affair with virtually no procedural strings attached. People waiting for taking Mantra diksha will be taken to Amma, after she completes giving darshan (i.e. hugs) to all those who had come to her on that day/ night. The sanyasi assisting in diksha will tell Amma on what Ishta Devata the person wanted the mantra (by looking at the Mantra Card). Amma will hug the person and utter the respective mantra in his ear. She will then shower flower petals on the person’s head.

The ceremony is over!

Any further clarifications or instructions, if any (more than what is given in the Instruction sheets) can be had from the sanyasi assisting in diksha.

Please note

  • there are no strings attached — no expectations whatsoever from the person seeking Mantra
  • no formal ceremonies are preparations involved – except for the long wait, till midnight or beyond it.
  • no other qualification needed, except Amma’s initial approval.

Generally, there are no strict dos and don’ts specified. People are expected to chant the mantras as much as possible, whenever possible, wherever possible. Chanting with earnest devotion and sincerity will bring more dividends. Regularity and earmarking specific time for chanting and meditation are encouraged. As Amma gives lots of significance to Lalita Sahasranama chanting, Amma’s devotees are always encouraged to learn Lalita Sahasranama and do the parayana or archana regularly.

A broad profile of Ashram Inmates in Mata Amritnandamayi Ashram at Amritapuri

There are a couple of thousands of devotees of Amma staying with her in the Ashram. One can find all sorts of people from all walks of life irrespective of caste, color and creed residing as Ashram inmates in Amritapuri. But for the fact that all those who are staying in the Ashram are Amma’s ardent devotees, one can find people with all sorts of personalities and idiosyncrasies living in the Ashram, as though a miniscule representation of the outside world!

           Kali Bhavatarnini Temple at Amritapuri Ashram

Ashramites can be broadly grouped into two categories — the celibates and the householders.The celibate ashram inmates comprise of  five or six sanyasins clad in reddish saffron (mostly the senior-most and first round of unmarried disciples of Amma), a few tens of procedurally initiated brahmacharis and brahmacharinis wearing yellow robes (who are potential sanyasins of the future) and several hundreds of brahmacharis and brahmacharinis clad in white. These people’s needs are fully taken care of by the Ashram. Currently one  lady Sanyasini (Swamini Krishnaprana) is an Australian. Several western Brahmacharis and Brahmacharinis (of origin USA, Germany, France etc) are also living permanently in the Ashram.

The above category of residents have dedicated their soul and life to Amma. They are all engaged in some form of service or other — either in the Ashram or in the institutions associated with the Ashram. Most of them also engage themselves in spiritual practices.

The next group of Ashram residents are the house-holders. Here you will find a wide hue of people: widows, widowers, destitute individuals, senior-citizen and middle aged couples living as if in ‘vanaprastha ashram’, middle aged couples living with their sons and daughters (who are studying or working in schools/ colleges/ instititutions run by the Ashram), parents of brahmacharis/ brahmacharinis, relatively young couples with their kids and single mothers/ fathers living with their kids (whose husband / wife may be living outside the Ashram).

                                           Arial view of Amritapuri Ashram

The house-holder devotees who live in the Ashram too, depending on their physical conditions and qualifications, are engaged in some form of work/ job/ service in the Ashram or in its associated institutions. Some of them, who have the essential need to have a source of income to support their dependents, work for salary; several of the rest, who are financially self-sufficient, do free service. Householder devotees too engage themselves in sadhana (spiritual practices) depending on their tastes, temperaments and leanings.Ashram provides simple living quarters to all the inmates.

Brahmacharis and brahmacharinis have to share their rooms with two or three colleagues. House-holders get a single-room, bath attached flat accommodation. Householders have to pay the flat’s cost and then own it.Simple, staple and basic food is available for all ashramites from the Ashram kitchen.

Householder residents (except in some specific cases based on needs as permitted by Amma) are to pay monthly for taking the Ashram food. Householders, if they so wish, can cook their food in their flats too. Canteens (both Indian and western), vegetable and fruit shops, grocery stores, juice stall etc too function inside the ashram to cater to the needs of the residents. Permission to live in the Ashram purely depends on Amma’s wish. Amma may allow some devotees to buy and own flats in Amritapuri, but she may not give consent for them to come and stay there permanently.  While even long-time devotees may not get Amma’s nod for their earnest request to come and stay in the Ashram, some relatively new bhaktas may get instant nod from Amma for a permanent residence at the Ashram! It would also happen in Amma’s divine lila where, very occasionally, some brahmacharis and residents of the Ashram may leave the Ashram after a few years of stay!

In addition to the above, there is yet another category of residence inside the Ashram. It is the hostels for the boys and girls (mostly for the first-year-students) of the Amrita University, whose campus is on the other side of the back waters adjacent to the ashram. Out of her infinite love for showing grace to the youth, it was Amma’s wish that these youngsters get a chance to live in the Ashram atmosphere, at least for a year. It is a great opportunity for the youngsters (irrespective of whether they grasp it or not) to attend Amma’s bhajans in the evening, partake the food made in the ashram and engage themselves in a little seva once a while whenever occasion comes.

What makes thousands of such people from all walks of life to leave all the attractions of the world and live in an Ashram like this? It Amma’s divine love. Only those who can open their hearts and soul can ever perceive it.