Embracing the Love Of Amma, 'the Hugging Saint'

June 18, 2010

Author: Kurt Streeter

Source: Los Angeles Times


Globalization is good and necessary, whispers the guru, her arms circling yet another stranger, her words translated into English by an attendee. "But at the same time, families are disintegrating, people are becoming isolated islands, there is no communication… there is no love."

So says Amma, the Indian-born spiritual leader who over the last two decades has gained an international name for her simple insight and her signature public act. Amma — full name Mata Amritanandamayi, age 56 — is known as "the Hugging Saint."

In Los Angeles this week, thousands of devotees have billowed through a windowless conference room at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport to see her. Mostly, they have one goal: During the guru's annual sojourn to Southern California they hope to disappear for a short while into her embrace.