Living Hindu saint embraces thousands
published: Thursday | September 7, 2006
Do you need a hug? How about 75,000 hugs in less than a day? A bit much? Well, if you’re Amma, the living Hindu saint of hugs, then it’s all in a day’s work.
Amma, which means ‘divine mother’, is the nickname given to 52-year-old Mata Amritanandamayi, who though born in extreme poverty in the slums of southern India, now presides over a network of schools, orphanages and hospitals.
A living deity
In India, Mata is considered a living deity and about 10,000 people a day travel miles to line up for hours to get a hug from her.
According to a recent USA Today article, Amma has hugged an estimated 27 million people in her lifetime. On her birthday last year, she hugged 75,000 persons.
But what’s so special about Amma’s hugs anyway?
Well, her followers say that her hugs are more tender and loving than anybody else’s. They say that a hug from Amma is like being in the presence of God. Quite intense for a simple hug, but 27 million people can’t all be wrong!