A brand new page, announcing a new book: Changing Lives Inside and Out: Stories from Amma's Prison Outreach Program
With a new face. Nature photographs (mostly)
It's always good to know what the stars are saying, what guidance they offer
For anyone who needs a little tune up or to delve more deeply within
Created from 1975 onwards, with some long breaks inbetween.
For the lover to wholeheartedly receive and welcome the beloved, pure love prepares the mind by chasing away all the enemies of love. This results in a constant flow of the lover's heart toward the beloved. --Amma
Spiritual leader to millions around the world, Amma spearheads a vast network of charitable and educational institutions throughout India.
Love just happens...Love is a sudden uprising in the heart. Love is an unavoidable, unobstructable longing for oneness. --Amma.
Recipient of the Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence, Amma was keynote speaker at the Parliament of World Religions in Barcelona and Chicago; she addressed the United Nations General Assembly at the Millennium Peace Conference.
Amritapuri is Amma's home ashram on the Arabian Sea in Kerala, South India, her place of birth. She has many branch ashrams (sites of the famous Brahmasthanam temples) in larger cities all over India.
Amma centers and ashrams have been established in Europe, Australia, Japan, and in several states in the USA. For many months in a year, Amma and her disciples offer programs while on tour in India and various countries around the globe, where everyone gets an embrace. Amma has hugged over 27 million people.
A long time ago, Amma sent one of her young disciples, Rao, into hiding in the Himalayas to protect him from harm from his own parents who did not want him to live in an ashram as a monk.
Rao would later become known as Swami Amritatmananda. The following story is Swamiji's account of his extraordinary adventure, and his unexpected experience of Amma's mystical nature:
"I met a young sadhu, about my age, at a festival in the Himalayas. He invited me to his home, a small cave on the Ganges River. There we chatted for a while about our spiritual lives."
"I had not said anything to him about Amma. But now I asked him, 'Who is your spiritual teacher, your guru?' Surprisingly, my friend said, 'I don't know who my guru is.'
"I found his answer to be strange because he was doing very good spiritual practices. I wondered how it was possible that he didn't have a guru. Then he told me, 'Of course I have a guru, but I don't know who that guru is.' Again I found his answer to be very unusual, so I asked, 'Could you please explain what you mean. How is it you have a guru, but you don't know who that guru is?'"
Swamiji Amritatmananda's eyes glowed like lakes on a full moon night as he continued his story.
"My friend told me that he had left his home in Southern India at an early age, wandering in the Himalayas searching for a guru, but never finding one.
"After coming upon an empty cave, he settled there. Daily he practiced meditating on light, something he had learned from books.
"One early morning while he was meditating he saw an enormous light, like a thousand or ten thousand suns. Slowly, slowly the light reduced in size, finally taking the shape of a human being. He stared at the light, as it slowly, slowly came toward him. Gradually, the light turned into a form covered with a white sari.
"After some time a figure emerged, a black lady draped in the white sari. With a beaming smile, she walked toward him. Then, opening her arms in greeting, she said, 'Son, I am your guru. I am your guru. I came here to initiate you.'"
Recalling the incident, Swamiji was silent for a few minutes, gazing into space, eyes welling with tears.
"I got excited," Swamiji continued. "I was certain the lady must be Amma. I pulled a small photograph of Amma out of my bag; I cupped the picture in my palm and held it in front of my friend. 'Do you know this lady? This is my guru.'
"As soon as he saw the picture, he snatched it from me, went into a state of ecstasy, and began dancing. I also was in a blissful mood. I don't know what happened, but I felt Amma's presence.
"After about an hour and a half, we returned to a normal state of consciousness. My friend was staring and staring at the photo. Then he nodded and said, 'This is the same woman who came to me in meditation.'
"For a long time we sat silently, with the sound of the Ganges River flowing.
"After I left his cave, I continued wandering for about eight or nine months until I received a message from Amma that my parents had stopped their search. So I returned to the ashram in Kerala. The incident in the Himalayas impressed me so much that I wanted to know if Amma had really come to this man whom I now felt was like my spiritual brother. One day I asked her, 'Are you his guru?'
"But Amma was very tricky. She just walked away without answering. Several times I asked her, and, like a small child, she would skip away, saying, 'Oh, I don't know anything about that.'
"Finally, I couldn't stand the suspense. I had to know the truth. I caught hold of Mother's feet, saying 'Mother, I won't let go until you tell me the answer.'
"With that, Mother became very serious. She closed her eyes. Her body became like fire. I got a little scared, felt as though I was in the presence of something very powerful, some cosmic energy, like the fire of the universe.
"Then Amma spoke: 'Do you think you five or six boys are my only disciples? No. A lot of seekers and holy men wandering in the Himalayas are meditating upon me, doing their practices for the good of the world. Some in other parts of the globe as well. They are all my disciples. I initiated them.'"
Then Swamiji laughed. "I was still a little frightened, but I felt the whole area--the trees, the sand beneath me, the air, the sky--was saturated in a blissful mood."
With a warm smile, eyes twinkling, Swamiji said, "So, that's the story."