GURU RATING: 3 / 5 (ADEQUATE) — NET WORTH: 273 MILLION.
Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī (better known as Amma, or “mother”) is a guru known for her powerful hugs. They are reputed to have a deeply spiritual quality.
Like many saints and mystics, Amma demonstrated her abilities at a young age. People just kept coming back for her hugs!
Can you imagine? Grown men and women lining up to get a hug from a simple village girl. They must be something special.
Skepticism is always warranted, of course. If you fall in that camp, we recommend watching Louis Theroux’s (the ultimate skeptic) experience hugging Amma. Let’s just say it really took him by surprise. The video is available below.
Beyond the hugs, which you have to line up for hours to receive, she’s set up a commune for her devotees. Amma teaches a form of spiritual practice called bhakti, which encourages followers to absolutely devote themselves to her. It’s made her quite wealthy.
Amma is changing the world one hug at a time.
A guru, profiteer, or both?
Does she have anything to impart beyond her hugs, though? The devotional practice she’s set up is a carbon-copy of almost every other guru operating in India. Is this the case of a guru simply doing what works?
Viewed more cynically, one can argue she’s simply taking advantage of the great wealth available to gurus who teach the path of devotion. You can’t miss the trinkets her organization sells at every opportunity. Profits are immense.
By all means, get hugged by Amma if opportunity allows it. Who knows, it may change your life. If you yearn for instruction and inspiration from a master, though, it may be best to look elsewhere. Unless you have a few bucks to spare.
“In this age of selfishness, selfless service is the only soap that truly purifies.” – Amma