When I do shamanic work, I call in dozens of beings from many different spiritual traditions. Until recently, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi – known around the world simply as “Amma” or “the hugging saint” – was someone I routinely called in. But I regarded her as just another member of my working shamanic energy field, and she wasn’t drawing any particular attention to herself.
That changed big time a few weeks ago, shortly after my partner Maeikisala and I made a momentous decision: to step away from our shamanic teachers. The most important factor in that decision was a clear and persistent intuitive message: it would be best if we were now guided from within as we move forward. We were both already receiving consistent divine guidance in our shamanic work. And the only way to find out if you can do it on your own … is to do it on your own!
Amma Moves In
Shortly after Maeikisala and I separated from our teachers, Amma’s smiling face unexpectedly popped up in my inner vision. It came with a reassuring message: “You’ve done the right thing. And don’t worry: I’ve got your back!”
Since that first surprise visit, Amma has never left me. I’m not consciously aware of her most of the time, since I tend to focus like a laser beam on whatever I’m doing in the moment. But I can always sense her energetic presence within me whenever I think about her. With most of my divine allies, I have to invoke them to feel their presence. Not so with Amma: she’s just always there.
Amma also isn’t shy about continuing to take the initiative with me. As soon as I wrote “she’s just always there” in the prior paragraph, my eyes moistened as I felt the sweet warmth of her unconditional love expanding in my heart chakra.
Not Exactly a Guru
The spiritual path is the most important thing in my life, and I’ve immersed myself in several traditions during this lifetime’s divine quest of over 40 years. However, I’ve never felt full resonance with the path of devotion to a guru as a gateway to awakening.
I have no doubt that Amma is a genuine avatar – an honest-to-God full manifestation of the divine in human form. But she’s given me clear inner guidance that she doesn’t want me to worship her. Instead, she wants to help me embody the same all-embracing love that she does … or as much of it as I can without frying my circuits!
How Do I Know It’s Really Her?
The inner realms are tricky. The dark side loves to dress up as the divine to take advantage of those who are well-meaning but gullible.
What I’ve found is that sight can fool you, but feelings always tell the truth. A dark entity could take on the appearance of Amma. But I don’t believe it could generate the profound bliss I’m able to feel from her inner presence.
Up Close and in Person
Amma has blessed over 34 million people with her life-transforming hugs. This makes her the most physically accessible divine master ever to walk the planet! Maeikisala and I haven’t received any Amma hugs yet, but intend to start during her annual North American tour. We plan to attend her events in Chicago and Toronto this summer … and perhaps, if we’re so guided, some of her other Northeast appearances too!
Because I’ve been focusing on my inner relationship with Amma in this post, I haven’t yet mentioned the fact that she’s also the driving force behind an extraordinary international network of charitable organizations active in 40+ countries. It’s amazing how much the divine can accomplish when it decides to incarnate as one unstoppable human being! You can get up to speed with the basics about Amma, her hugs, her global service initiatives and much more at her website, amma.org.
For you book readers, Judith Cornell’s 2001 authorized biography, Amma: Healing the Heart of the World, is well written, enjoyable and deeply informative. Another book, published in 2014, is a vivid and entertaining chronicle of one disciple’s experiences: Rising in Love: My Wild and Crazy Ride to Here and Now, with Amma, the Hugging Saint by Ram Das Batchelder. I recently read both of these, and highly recommend them.
As an avatar, Amma can be energetically present with everyone on the planet at once … including you, if you so desire. I believe that she would be equally happy for you to connect with your inherent divinity through any other person or method that calls to you … again, if you so desire.
I still call in dozens of beings when I do my shamanic work. But Amma now holds a very special place in my personal pantheon!
Check out my follow-up post on Amma, dated 7/17/18: 5 Amazing Days with the Hugging Saint.