I first met Amma in 1995 and am continually moved by Amma's extraordinarily far reaching huge heart and charitable impact. She encourages all of us to do volunteer work, stressing that to help others is the best we can do with our lives.
To watch Amma give comfort to thousands at each of her 'programs' in the US, Canada, Europe and throughout the world is very inspiring. She is a well, overflowing with love and compassion.
Amma is a most extraordinary example of Compassion and Love in action. The impact of Amma’s good work, is on a nearly unimaginable scale. Her many humanitarian projects [including a hospital that provides state of the art free medical care, pensions for widows, construction of homes for widows and disaster victims, aid to farmers, construction of schools and making teachers available to children who would not otherwise receive education, aid to victims of natural disasters (from floods, to the tsunami, to hurricane Katrina)... ] are on a level that I have not before encountered in my nearly 60 years of life. Amma has an enormous capacity to be both visionary and practical in the work she initiates. She does not simply promote the giving of 'charity'. She creates programs that empower large groups of individuals, such as: providing sewing machines to women so that they can productive and self-supporting; offering technical training to young people so that they will be employable; giving swim lessons to children traumatized by the losses they sustained due to the tsunami. Finally, because Amma has inspired so many by her own loving example, great numbers of people volunteer to carry out the projects, thereby allowing a dollar to go a very long way.
"Amma", "The Hugging Saint" "Mata Amritanandamayi Devi" "Mother" ... whatever your name for Her, She is a force to be respected, revered, and followed. Her humanitarian work is breathtaking as it is. From building homes to tsunami victims, erecting orphanages in Kenya and Haiti, providing jobs for women in India who have lost everything - reaching out to the destitute Indian farming families, offering swimming lessons to children who survived the Asian tsunami but had developed an arresting fear of water -- the lengths to which this woman will go to help humankind is staggering.
And then, on top of all of that, She takes that moment - that precious, personal moment - with anyone, absolutely anyone, who will come to Her, and gives them a loving embrace. She is constantly giving Her Darshan, or "Blessing" to the hundreds of thousands that flock to Her. And to those who cannot come to Her ashram in India, she goes to them, traveling around the world 8 or 9 months out of the year. Going to Africa, France, Germany, England and other EU countries, Japan, all over India, and the USA and Canada. Her programs last 3 to 5 days in any given city, and the primary time is devoted to Her Darshan.
She will sit in the same seat for hours and hours, never once getting up, never once complaining, never once leaving for Her own comfort. On a typical Devi Bhava evening She will sit for over 12 hours giving Darshan, and she has been known to sit for even longer than that. She has embraced over 26 MILLION people in Her lifetime.
In Los Angeles, by Her instruction, we hold weekly feedings for the homeless and once a month hold a larger event at the Women's Center in downtown LA. We pursue environmental efforts and hold classes on how to grow your own food, use sustainable energy and products, and maintain a conscious way of life for the environment and the world around you. We hold weekly Satsangs where we are able to share in community, music and devotion to God. Everything that Amma does and instructs others to do is based in the purest intention of: LOVE.
I give thanks daily for the opportunity to be a part of this organization.
The work that this organization does is staggering and inspiring. I first grew aware of Mata Amritanandamayi Math when attending a local tour of Mata Amritanandamayi Ma herself; I was there only for her blessing but while waiting for it I noticed all the many booths in the hall dedicated to humanitarian efforts around the world. There were local food drives and weekly soup drives at homeless shelters all around Los Angeles. There were sock drives to donate socks to needy children in India. There were innumerable outreach programs to help the impoverished people in India receive schooling, housing, continued education into universities, etc. The list continued. In addition there was a table dedicated to environmental awareness and recycled objects overflowed the booth; wallets, shoulder bags, even sandals, made from woven plastic bags! Right next to that booth stood a table with plants and environmentally friendly soaps, pens, pencils, paper, laundry detergent. All these tables and more surrounded me. And I thought, "Amma takes every one of these efforts all around the world. She raises people's awareness in hundreds of cities, each city drawing in anywhere from 4,000-7,000 people per tour...she is slowly reaching the whole world with her messages of human, environmental, and emotional awareness! Now THIS is someone special." I believe that the Mata Amritanandamayi Math is one of the single most inspiring and influential non-profits in the world.
Thru EMBRACING THE WORLD IN COSTA RICA,LA LUZ DE AMMA HAS BEEN FEEDING THE POOR ON THE STREETS OF SAN JOSE ONCE A MONTH FOR OVER TWO YEARS.AMMA'S VOLUNTEERS AND COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL HAVE COME TOGETHER AND COOKED AND SERVED 200 BOWLS OF SOUP AND BREAD AND SOMETIMES SWEETIES,EACH MONTH.THE GROUP IS FUN AND THE TEENAGERS ARE SO HELPFUL.ALL OF US ARE LEARNING TO OPEN OUR HEARTS AND SERVE THE LESS FORTUNAATE. CHECK WWW.AMMACOSTARICA.BLOGSPOT IF YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN AND HELP
Reminiscent of Mother Teresa, Mata Amritanandamayi's divine message of love and compassion has been spread to nearly 35 million people across the globe for which she has been affectionately dubbed by the press as "the hugging saint." Her organization has already built more than 35,000 houses for the homeless in India (100,000 more are scheduled in coming years), provided health care and pensions for thousands of indigent, elderly, and terminally ill persons, and created educational facilities for youths, among other humanitarian services. She has touched my heart deeply with her love and care. I now feel life is much more about giving than receiving.
After years working with social movements in Latin America and teaching in the slums of Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, I was amazed to discover Mata Amritanandamayi's work in India. Combining thorough organization, joy, spirit, creativity, women's rights, deep pedagogical insight, profound ecological awareness and people's empowerment techniques, her work has had a powerful impact on me. I have learned and wish to share her humanitarian ideals of creating schools, crafting innovative higher learning experiences and development opportunities for youth such as ingeneering and novel ways of cultivating and building ecological housing. An inspiration. I have witnessed everyone involved working hard, rapid efficient organization skills, total reduction of waste and funds go directly to the projects. A lot of work and love that we can all learn and benefit from.
I have known Amma since 1990. Over the years of being able to be in her presence I have witnessed first hand how compassionate, loving and wise she is. She stresses SEVA (selfless service) and is usually the first one to be on the ground either mixing cement, cleaning rice, bringing wood,taking care of the ashram anmals, any number of tasks that the ashram is involved with as an example of seva for us all. Out of compassion for the poor, widowed women,the sick and children with any number of difficulties, she has taken over orphanages, built hospitals and many many homes for widows and recently the tsunami survivors. One of her early projects was taking over a sorely neglected orphange. She Provided them with proper beds, meals and clothing and daily lessons. I visited this orphanage when I was in India in the 90's. The children were so vibrant, healthy and active. They sang for us when we visited. I was touched at how happy they seemed. Recently she has begun another one in Africa. Her charitable activies beyond the ones I mentioned are so numerous I can't begin to list them all. She is a light to the world and an example to us all.
It's a wonderful organization.I was touched by the humanitarian work the organization does around the globe.I love the compassion and love that is shown towards the old and poor.
It's a wonderful group of loving people who get together once a week to serve. I always have a great time feeding hungry people!
Its hard to put into words or even express verbaly how Amma has impacted my life, butI will try. She has given me a sence of calmness and at the same time given me the ispiration to help others in need. I am now doing events to help raise funds for those in need, I'm also looking into other projects that would help incorperate the women amma has taught to sew more work this comes frow beging around amma
I met Mata Amritanandamayi at a small convention center in Chicago IL program on July 3, 1995. I came as a skeptical observer and to placate some friends who had talked about this 'Ammachi' lady for years. I stood away from the crowd and tried to be as unbiased a witness to her darsan or hug as possible. Quite frankly I couldn't imagine why these people were waiting in line for so many hours to see her. Quite frankly, I hate crowds and to make matters worse,the air conditioning wasn't working. As I watched her, I was amazed that she could greet each person with the same warmth and energy as she'd done to the last person she'd embraced. Hours passed and she hadn't taken a break or a drink - I had needed hourly breaks because of the terrible heat- and I wondered how this was humanly possible. Needless to say, I was awed and deeply touched by the self sacrifice I saw that unforgetable evening. It was life changing on so many levels, but specifically her example had me question what I had been doing in my own life for others. At the very least, I began to see Amma as an amazing role model for how we should be to other people: attentive to others, embracing their differences without judgement and with a loving and accepting heart. Amma inspired me to open up to things I'd always wanted to do, but been afraid of. Since meeting her I've been inspired to volunteer at hospice, to work with severely disabled children and brain-injured groups, all while finishing my R.N. degree. I can only thank dear Amma for the inspiration and encouragement to make the leap of faith from a self-centered to an other-centered life. I had the opportunity to travel to Amma's ashram in 2003, and see her charitable activities and institutions for myself. AIMS Hospital in Cochin was amazing - our American health care experts would do well to study how Amma's organizations stretch resources to care for so many poor. Monthly, I saw the poor widows line up at the ashram to get their pension checks. In a country that has no social welfare network, Amma has taken on that role for countless poor families, especially women and children. I also witnessed Amma's announcement at that time that she would take on the educating of exploited women and girls forced into prostitution - quite a high risk enterprise. This was all pre-tsunami, an event that accelerated Amma's charitable resources beyond what we imagined was possible. With our local ACM group (Amma Center of Michigan), we joined forces with others worldwide who've been moved by Amma's example of selflessness, to raise money in whatever small way we could, to help with this and other disasters. Our family and friends find it an enjoyable Saturday activity to help cook lunch at a local homeless shelter as part of the Mother's Kitchen project. When I look back at almost 15 years since I've met Amma, I've had the privelege to meet and work with so many talented and devoted volunteers from all over the world, it truly amazes me. Amma encourages all of us to fearlessly do our part for each other and for our earth; to treat everything and everybody with respect and gratitude.