Saints and Sages: Amma

Integral Yoga Teachings   |   February 5, 2014

“The purpose of human birth is to realize the Self—to realize who we really are” – Amma

This is the focus at her several ashrams and centers in North America, Europe, Australia, South America and Africa. By invitation of some Western devotees, Amma first traveled to the U.S. and Europe in 1987. She now routinely makes a summer U.S. tour, followed by Europe in the fall.

Saints and Sages Amma 1A western devotee asked Amma, “Amma, how does it feel for you to be here in the west, compared to being in India? There’s a big difference isn’t there?” Amma replied, “The barrier created by the body and the mind is the cause of all diversity.” She doesn’t feel there is any difference. Though a flower is composed of many petals, it is one flower. The human body consists of many parts, and yet it is one body. In the same way, the world consists of many different countries, cultures, languages races and people. But for Amma there is just the world—there is only one.”

Through the example of her life of tireless service to humanity, Amma inspires people to walk towards the goal of self-realization by serving the poor and the needy. She’s inspired many humanitarian activities all over the world. In recent years, Amma has addressed the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago, the United Nations in New York and the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders. She conducted the UN in Geneva, where she gave speeches on the present day social problems and their solutions. While presenting Amma the 2002 Gandhi-King award for Non-violence, Dr. Jane Goodall said, “She stands here in front of us. God’s love in a human body.” This story of Amma was taken from

My sole mission is to love and serve one and all. Compassion to the poor and the needy is our duty to God.”

Sudhamani was born quietly smiling on September 27, 1953 in a small, poor fishing village, Parayakadavu, India. She spent much of her childhood in deep meditation, in composing devotional songs, in caring for elderly neighbors—despite receiving constant parental punishments for these. For the past 30 years she’s been known as Amma, Mother, and as the “hugging saint” for lovingly embracing 21 million people throughout the world. She welcomes every person who comes to her, listens to his or her problems, offers advice and guidance, and brings reassurance to a troubled heart. Once a press reporter asked Amma how it was possible for her to embrace each and every one in the same loving way, even if they were diseased or unpleasant. Amma replied, “When a bee hovers over a garden of varied flowers, what it beholds is not the difference between the flowers but the honey within them. Similarly, Amma sees the same Supreme Self in each and every one.”

(from the IYTA Newsletter, May 2015

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