This week, I traveled to New York city with my love, and we went to see Amma. Amma is the woman from India, who is known as the Hugging Saint. In her lifetime, it is said that she has hugged more than thirty million people. Her motivation is love, and compassion for living creatures who are suffering, or who are seeking comfort.
Although I have heard and read many things about her, I was never really sure of what I thought of her. Is she a guru? Is she a human doing godly work on this earth? Is she truly a saint? My curiosity never felt intense enough for me to want to experience her, until recently. When I realized that she was coming to New York, which is a yearly event, I thought about going to see her, to experience her presence.
As the days passed, coming up to when we were to go see her, I didn’t feel any sense of excitement or anticipation. I felt pretty neutral about it. Then, when we arrived in New York, and had to receive our token, which designated what grouping we would be in for our hug, I started to get a sense of overwhelm; there were so many sights and sounds, all of which were inviting and peaceful, yet together, it seemed almost like too much.
For much of the day, it looked like we might not get hugged at all. There were hundreds of people there, and our place in the sequence would not be for several hours, or so we thought. Then, we sat down and I started to watch her hug others. I felt myself overcome with emotion, watching her embrace children, men, and women. Take them into her arms and cradle them. It was absolutely magical and beautiful to watch. I felt disappointed that I might not be able to hug her after all.
We discovered that we were going to be getting our hugs, and that it would be soon. So, we followed the directives, to stand in line, then to sit in line, and to wait. As I got closer and closer to where she was sitting, up on the stage, I got excited and nervous. I had no expectations of what I would experience, and I was not wanting anything from it. I kept feeling tears in my eyes, and my heart felt so open. When I was directed to kneel in front of her, to wait for my turn, I had a necklace in my hand, a lotus flower carved from a coconut shell, that I wanted her to bless. When it was my turn, I was before her, and she was unclasping the necklace, and placing it around my neck. Then, she pulled me into her chest, my head lying on her, and she chanted, whispered, or sang in my ear. Then, in just a few seconds, I was being guided up from the floor.
What I felt in those few seconds, was complete comfort. I am a person who loves to hug others, and to be hugged. Yet, her hug felt like something that I had never experienced before, and not because I had lacked it my whole life. I have connected physically with other living beings many times in my years on this earth. And that embrace was one like I had never had before.
I won’t say that I had a spiritual experience, but what I felt was pure love, and comfort, like a mother to a child.