Amma, The Hugging Saint
“Love one another without any expectations. Then, there is no need to go anywhere in search of heaven.”
Best known for her embrace, Amma also oversees an award-winning network of international charities. She travels the world, tirelessly offering her motherly support to thousands of people at a time, and will visit Ireland again on November 17th & 18th.
For me, everything is God. There is nothing that is not God. Every person and being in this world is divine. The Creator (God) and the creation (the world) are one and the same. So, the world is God.
Hugging as Darshan
Is not a warm embrace the best way to express the love within? But in my case, it just happened spontaneously. It is not just a physical hug. The embrace helps to awaken the pure love, the pure motherly feelings in the person who receives it, provided he or she remains open.
When I was a girl, I would go to more than 60 houses a day in my village in order to collect food scraps to bring back to feed to my family’s goats and cows. When I did this, I saw immense suffering. Some people did not have enough to eat. Others did not have clean clothing. Others had no one to love them. I used to console the people, bring them food, and sometimes even take them to a nearby stream to give them a bath. When I would listen to their problems, some of them would start to cry. It was only natural for me to embrace them and wipe their tears. People who observed this would also want to be held like that. Eventually, a sort of queue would form. It is in this way that this darshan has come.
Challenges are there in life for everyone. They are the very nature of life. It is not that a spiritual person has more problems than a non-spiritual person. The difference is that, while a materialistic person focuses exclusively on the external problem, a spiritual seeker puts their focus on dealing with the internal problem of the mind and its various emotions. The seeker’s struggle continues until they gain mastery over their lower emotions and find complete peace.
Also, a spiritual person doesn’t run from their problems; they face them with courage, accepting them to be part-and-parcel of life. Only when, through spiritual understanding, we become rooted in the unchanging eternal principle can we truly stand firm and bravely face the sundry ephemeral challenges of the ever-changing world.
Positive / Negative Effects
A true spiritual person will only have a positive impact on the lives of those around him. If you see spiritual practices and meditation having a negative effect on others, then the practitioner must be doing something wrong; they must have an improper understanding and attitude.
Spirituality helps us to become more loving, more compassionate, more adjustable and patient. We learn to see others not as separate from us, but as one with us. We therefore see their triumphs as our own and their problems as our own as well, and we try to help others with the same focus that most people reserve only for themselves.
Spiritually Enhancing Attitude
Always remain as a beginner throughout your life. The attitude of a beginner, a childlike attitude, will help us to be patient, humble, enthusiastic and loving in all circumstances of life. Look at a toddler. As the little one learns to walk, each time it falls down, it bounces back. The child is determined, has immense faith and looks at everything with wonder. For both material success and spiritual advancement, the attitude of a beginner (childlike innocence) will help tremendously.
Life is never a bed of roses. There will always be a mixture of pleasurable and painful experiences. Normally, we lose ourselves in elation when we succeed and drown ourselves in sorrow when we fail. Real success is in retaining our mental equipoise in all circumstances, refusing to allow external situations to affect our inner happiness and stillness. In today’s world, we see so many people quickly giving up when faced with challenging situations. There is no point in this, as these problems will catch back up with us in one form or another eventually.
The attitude that we need is: “No matter what, I will not give up.” In life, we should be determined to always move forward with patience, humility and enthusiasm.
Love one another without any expectations. Then, there is no need to go anywhere in search of heaven.