“A truly spiritual person lives for the Truth, and breathes for Love.” — Amma
Can a hug change the world? How about 33 million hugs? Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī, better known as “Amma” (mother), is working day and night to find out. Her hugging marathons draw massive crowds. Devotees see her as a living saint. They seem to find whatever it is they are looking for within her warm embrace. For a short time at least, all their problems go away.
Amma first recognized the transformative powers of her hugs after spontaneously consoling fellow villagers who had suffered hardships. The word quickly got out: her hugs were something special – even spiritual. Pretty soon random people began showing up asking for them. This was the humble start of a following that continues to grow to this day.
Why are all these people lining up to hug this woman? What are they getting out of the experience? One might speculate that a great number of them are looking for solace and consolation. Losing themselves in this experience might offer them temporary reprieve from their worldly troubles. Think of it as a spiritual anti-depressant.
Certainly, Amma has more serious followers who commit themselves to spiritual attainment. Her devotees practice bhakti and worship her as a living God. In this yoga of the heart, devotees are encouraged to devote themselves completely to their guru. This expression of devotion allows them to melt into the living Grace of their master, using their master as a bridge to reclaim their relationship with God.
If the truth is found within, then why go without in search for it? What about our inner master, the inner guru we call Spirit or Knowledge? This approach creates a feckless subservience in the seeker – a desperate kind of spiritual dependence. Does it work? In some cases, yes. Is there rampant sexual, psychological and financial abuse in the “guru community”? Absolutely. Proceed with caution.
Surrendering is a natural and necessary part of reclaiming our relationship with Spirit. The body must follow the mind, and in turn the mind must heed to Spirit. Surrendering to another person instead of the deeper Self beyond the mind may be easier for some people. However, it deprives you of your most important relationship. The truth is within. God is within. Turning away from it in favor of a master or guru is a failure to honor the deeper aspect of yourself that is waiting patiently for your openness and attention.