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The Divine Hugs

This is the first phenomenon that most people notice that would not be possible for a normal human being.  Your author does not know of any other hugging saints either now or in the history of humankind.  This is perhaps her most miraculous and astonishing accomplishment. 

To date it is estimated that Amma has hugged 35 million people.  It is almost Amma 3meaningless to make such a statement because we can’t conceive of 35 million people.  We know it’s a lot but that’s about it.  One has to watch Amma do this in order to begin to appreciate the magnitude of it.

To put this in perspective, Amma has been hugging for 40 plus years but in the early days the crowds were small.  So we will call it 40.  35,000,000 people divided by 40 gives us 875,000 people hugged on average each year.  Divide this again by 365 days in a year and she averages 2,397 hugs a day.  Of course, she doesn’t hug every day.  When she is at the ashram, she hugs 4 days a week. Out on tour she hugs maybe 5 or 6 days a week with no rest in between stops except to travel.  She tours extensively in India and it is common to hug 10 or 20 thousand in one day!

It will be of interest to search YouTube for “Amma darshan” in order to see Amma do this.  If we attempted such a hugging feat, we would become bored, despondent from listening to tragic stories with pleas for help and we would tire of lifting our arm to embrace each person after doing so 100 or 200 times.  Imagine doing this for 10 or 12 hours day after day!  And for 40 years!  And for free!

In the USA she starts hugging at 10 am and continues until maybe 3 pm.  In the evening at 7:30 pm, there is a program of talks and singing bhajans led by Amma.  Then she starts hugging at around 10 pm and will finish at maybe 3 am.  Then it starts again the next day.  In between cities there is usually a day with no hugging.

If we stay up with Amma until the early hours of the morning we can see at the end she is still bright, fresh, laughing, joking and using the same amount of deep concentration on each person as with the beginning of the hugging session hours earlier.  No normal human being could ever do this.

Most saints and holy people decline to touch others because it dissipates the spiritual energy of the saint.  There is a passage in the Bible where Jesus is in a crowd and a woman touches him.

“And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You." But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."   Luke 8:46

He spins around and asks the disciples who had touched him because the “energy” or “virtue” had gone out of him.  If one touch caused so much concern for Jesus, what are we to think of Amma who not only touches but hugs millions?  Can we begin to grasp the unfathomable power Amma wields to perform such an enormous act of unbridled compassion?  Jesus was drained after a single touch!

Amma 6The first question we must ask is what would motivate someone to hug day and night for 40 plus years and ask nothing in return.  There is no cost of admission.  The answer is Amma’s love and compassion compels her to do this.  What other reason can there be?  It is not for money as Amma lives in a small, sparsely appointed flat at the ashram.  Besides, most people would not could not do this for any amount of money!  How big would such a love be to motivate a person to hug 35 million people? 

While the evidence we see before us points to love and compassion, we are unable to grasp the magnitude of such a love.  We are dumbstruck as we begin to reckon with it.

In the USA this goes non-stop from late May until late July.  In Europe the crowds are generally twice as big as in the USA.  In India it is common for 10 thousand people to line up each day for a hug! 

On many occasions, Amma has hugged for 14 to 16 hours straight and on a few occasions, she has hugged for 24 hours without stopping.  Imagine hugging for 24 hours without ever having food or using the bathroom!  When Amma hugs, she closes her eyes and concentrates deep within our psyche.  She heals and purifies past wounds even going back multiple lifetimes.

Swami Amritaswarupananda (one of Amma’s senior swamis) has this to say about Amma’s hugs:

“Amma's darshan is a healing process, a wonderful divine healing process. Her touch heals the wounds caused by a painful past. Her presence purifies, uplifts, and carries us toward our true Self. Amma is purity embodied. Thus all those who come in contact with Her are transformed and cleansed. In some cases, this purification can be seen, while at other times, it is subtle. How many of Amma's devotees are familiar with the seemingly innocent hug that transforms lives, and with the look that causes hearts to melt. Whether you are aware of it or not, whether or not you feel worthy, this purification happens. Just as an iron piece is magnetized when it is rubbed constantly by a powerful magnet, an ordinary soul is transformed into a spiritual being through the constant contact and companionship of a Mahatma like Amma.”  Awaken Children, vol. 7

The Divine energy that pours out of Amma is quite astonishing.  A word commonlyAmma 17 used to describe this energy is Shakti (primordial energy as the first emanation from the formless Absolute – there has never been a time that there was no Shakti – it is without beginning or end).

Most anyone can feel Amma’s immense unconditional love and boundless compassion.  Many people, when they are close to Amma, feel an actual heat on the chest and face.  Many report that after a hug their bodies feel like they are vibrating in a most pleasant way.  Still others are smitten with bliss and it is all they can do to make it to a chair and sit until the experience passes.  Many weep with tears of deep and profound joy.

Most people comment after their first hug that they felt Amma loved them more than their own mother.  One feels very accepted and loved in Amma’s presence.  All fear and apprehension dissolve like mist in the morning sun.


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