33 Million and Counting: India’s Renowned Humanitarian to Visit Boston
Jun 30, 2015 07:35PM
By Faith Pomeroy-Ward
Spiritual leader, humanitarian and visionary Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known to millions around the world simply as “Amma”, will host four free public programs at the Best Western Royal Trade Center, in Marlborough, at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on July 9 and 10.
Amma travels throughout the world, guiding people to emotional fulfillment as well as offering insights and solutions to global issues such as environmental pollution, the mistreatment of women and religious disharmony. She inspires those she meets to make more space in their hearts for others and dedicate time to social service. Amma’s teachings are universal. Whenever she is asked about her religion, she replies, “My religion is love.” Amma does not ask anyone to believe in God or to change their faith, but only to inquire into their own real nature and to believe in themselves.
Amma’s dedication to uplifting others has culminated in a vast network of charitable projects in India and around the world, under the global banner of Embracing the World. For this work, Amma has been honored with a number of international awards including the prestigious Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence (2002), the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award (2006), and the Cinema Verite Award (2007) for humanitarian and human rights work. In December 2014, Amma joined Pope Francis and 10 other global spiritual leaders from a range of faiths to sign the Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery.
More recently, after the Nepal earthquake, Embracing the World representatives were on site the day after the disaster, working hard to provide immediate relief and evaluate options for longer-term aid. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about the Embracing the World initiatives is the long-term solutions provided for disaster-struck zones. Embracing the World is often one of the first organizations to supply vital aid, and one of the last to leave. At the center of Amma’s life is her darshan: the tender, caring embrace that has been sought out by millions. It is in this intimate manner—a heartfelt hug—that she receives one and all, listens to their problems and gives them the inspiration and knowledge to uplift themselves and, ultimately, others.
Those that attend one of Amma’s free programs notice that people come to Amma from all religions and all walks of life. Some have been walking the spiritual path for decades, others have never picked up a spiritual book in their lives. Some come because they are suffering mentally, physically or materially, and they hope Amma can help them. Some are simply curious. Perhaps they have seen Amma in a newspaper or on TV, and they want to see for themselves what Amma is all about.
Regardless of why they have come, many describe experiencing a feeling of radiant and unconditional love in Amma’s presence. Some are moved to tears and feel a cleansing of old wounds; others experience profound peace and even joy. Regardless of people’s different backgrounds or cultures, the experiences of the heart reveals how we are all seeking love and a direct experience of our own true nature.
The stories of people who have met Amma are incredibly powerful, and provide an insight into the way in which Amma is able to deeply affect so many people and open so many hearts:
“I felt overwhelmed to realize what a great saint Amma was. She sat there, hour after hour, sweetly hugging everyone with the same love and compassion, without stopping for even a few minutes. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I understood that to really know God, one had to be able to love everyone like that, and it was not as easy as described in books.” – Berta Petasny, Buenos Aires, Argentina
“When I approached Amma to receive her darshan (hug), I felt her look penetrate my entire being. As if I could not hide any feelings or thoughts from her. Amma embraced me and I felt so deeply loved.” – Maria Isabel Harker, Bogota, Columbia
“Meeting Amma has changed my life immensely. Over time I understood that it is the small, small stones…of rage, guilt, longing, pain, nostalgia…that form the great wall in our hearts that imprison the inner child. We trip over these stones every day in our ignorance. The greatest blessing we receive from Amma is that she offers to take these stones from us.” – Cristina Rodriguez, Barcelona, Spain
Amma’s message of love and compassion resonates powerfully in today’s world, and Amma’s record of tireless service—or compassion in action—inspires volunteers all over the world to selflessly serve others. In the words of Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, “Amma has done more work than many governments have ever done for their people…her contribution is enormous.”
This year in Boston, thousands of people are expected to seek Amma’s life-changing embrace during Amma’s programs. Whether you feel drawn to meet Amma because of her message of unconditional love or her inspiring charitable works, Amma’s programs have much to offer everyone.