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.
- 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.