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4_HAR_2015-07_Article_Amma

India’s Renowned Humanitarian Coming to Boston

by Faith Pomeroy-Ward

Spiritual leader, humanitarian and visionary Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known to millions around the world 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 the world, guiding people to emotional fulfillment and 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 to 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 to look at 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 received numerous international awards including the Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence, the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award and the Cinema Verite Award 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 arrived the day after the disaster to provide relief and evaluate options for longer-term aid. Embracing the World does much work in this area, providing long-term solutions for disaster-struck zones, often being one of the first organizations to supply aid and then 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.

“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,” stated Maria Isabel Harker of Bogota, Columbia. “Amma embraced me and I felt so deeply loved.”

People from all religions and all walks of life attend Amma’s free programs. Some come because they are suffering mentally, physically or materially, and they hope Amma can help. Others are simply curious. 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 or joy.

“[Amma] 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,” said Berta Petasny of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

There are many powerful stories from people who have met Amma, providing an insight into the way in which Amma is able to deeply affect people.

“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,” said Cristina Rodriguez of Barcelona, Spain.

Amma’s message of love and compassion resonates powerfully in today’s world, and Amma’s record of 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.”

For more information about Amma and her Boston programs, visit AmmaNewEngland.org/tour. Visit EmbracingTheWorld.org for more details about Amma’s charitable activities.

 

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