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.

Amma is the hugging guru

Amma is a guru known for the special, perhaps even spiritual, quality of her hugs.

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




  1. Are you freaking kidding? Have you not read “Holy Hell” by her closest advisor for 20 years, Gail Tredwell? This woman is closer to Donald Trump than anyone else behind closed doors.

  2. For those who want to know the behind-the-closed-door Ammachi, please do yourself a favor and read “Holy Hell.” If you haven’t read this book, you do not know the real story of Mata Amritanandamayi.

    • not sure who gayatri / gaily Tredwell really is. Psychiatric patients full of hate can tell a lot . And before you believe blind, better believe nobody you don’t really know

      • I knew her and she was very devoted…..she may have become unbalanced with the intensity of service that was required…..many around Amma became very ill… I have known her since her debut in America and her story constantly changed. My friends visited her ashram in the 90’s and saw her beating female disciples and being unhinged in general…. she has accrued a fortune and is being sued in India which most westerners are not aware of…

    • Who cares for these Fake people? They are no Gurus out there they are all money making scams. So you sticking up for these people making Vast sums of money to make fools out of you. What are they giving you in return a Hug? Oh please!!! Man is lost only because he believes the fools on the outside and never wants to look Within of what he really is!

  3. VERY Glad the cynic REPORTER had the “experience” he was NOT expecting. Western people need to experience some kind of miracle to “believe” … I think the Biblical Quote is; “least ye see miracles, ye will not believe”

  4. So what criteria are you using to determine ratings? I’m not a devotee of Amma. Never got hugged. Didn’t read the scandal book. The 3/5 rating has no meaning if alleviating suffering is the criteria. So Amma doesn’t disperse pearls of mystical wisdom. That’s your criteria? I’m looking at her website and it appears her foundation is India’s Medicaid division. What monetary or self serving benefit does she derive from traveling constantly and hugging people for 10-12 hrs at a shot. Why don’t you try it?

    • Hi Dan. I have tried her hugs – three times, in fact. They are some of the best of hugs of my life. But that’s where her teaching stops. I feel that a “3” rating is more than fair considering the other teachers and Messengers on this site.

      • 3 Rating is too high for Amma as she is a product of a Criminal gang who make money out of her. So what if she has an energy you cant get it from hugging her and most fat people do give good hugs. What else does she do? She is not a Guru in any for or a Master at all? Just a good flow of energy runs through her like my dog. If only my dog could make millions for hugs? What fools we live amongst!

  5. You have no idea what her hug does for you. One day when you release your ego and actually do the works and get close to your own enlightenment you will realize what that hug did for you. It is on an etheric level that you can’t see or make sense of with just your mind just like god. The touch of a great master is an incredibly important thing. And when you get further on your path you will have a moment of clarity and realize that she has been with you all along and you will want to thank her for your own God realization. If you choose to listen to ms. Tredwell then it is my opinion that you are far off from you attaining Christ Consciousness. A master only helps you do it for yourself cause your are the only one that can. That is what Brother Jesus did. Just gave you the tools to go within easier.

    • So why does Amma clan have millions of Dollars if she is Enlightened Guru? Know money is man made to keep you in the material World if you had any kind of enlightenment in you you would Not make fools out of your fellow human beings as you would know what you do to another you really do to yourself. Amma is uneducated so has a team of fools around her making her a commodity i dont blame her as she is in Prison but all you fools that go to Visit her thinking you can have what she has. Well unless you’ve been abused and had a poor life you cant have what Amma has but you can give money to the criminal gang who make a business out of her. Wake up please and stop promoting these desperate fools.

  6. In the 70s, I followed two different gurus and left them thinking they were both great but something was not right. I didn’t know what that was until the year 2000. At that point I realized that one can be a genuine guru and still have deep flaws. In other words, they can still be very human. And that explained why so many appeared to be realized but flawed at the same time. I felt that I just didn’t understand and what appeared to be flaws was some lacking in my understanding. Later I came to understand that Amma, Rajneesh and so many others aren’t “frauds” because of that. What they are doing is trying to live up to an unrealistic standard for reasons I still don’t understand. Maybe because to be human would undermine their authority. Or so they may have thought. And that seems to be the case with Amma. I believe Gail. And I understand her students’ fierce protectionism of her. It’s a mind boggler how both things can be true and certainly not something that is common thought. What so many think is it’s either realized or false.

  7. Thank for your comment, Don. There are no masters living in the world. That much is true.

    • How can you say something like that which you have no way of knowing? Smh. How did you measure that? Have you inspected the 7+ billion people on the planet? How strong would this comment stand under the same airtight scrutiny you apply to others on this site?

  8. I come from India and i can honestly tell you pure CHARLATANS the lot of them. Wake up people if you were a real GURU of any substance the material world would be a joke to you. You would NOT need any man made Money as you could materialise what you wanted. All are money making scams and India is a very very poor Country so if they can make fools of Westerners guess what they are going to do it. They have NO Morals!!! I am Indian YES go and see obscene rich people live amoungst the poor of the poorest starving to Death. This is the reality of Humans who have No love for eachother just the greed for wealth, money and to be Worshipped like they are Gods!!! Its all a lie. In fact one will NEVER meet a Spiritual Master ever as there are NONE on this Earth in Human form! LIES LIES LIES. In fact theres nothing you will find of any real use on this Government WWW which just traps you more and more and more

  9. Rather than judging Amma by how much money her organization has (and disregarding how much of it the organization spends on humanitarian causes), and by comments or even books by others, I would recommend going to one of her events, getting a hug, and asking Amma for a mantra, which, by the way, she will personalize for you to connect you with your own chosen deity, not herself (unless she is your deity, I suppose). You will see that what she asks for in return for her teaching is more for you and others than for herself. I would also recommend learning the IAM meditation technique, comprising asanas, pranayama, and meditation (and the other 5 yogic limbs in subtle ways), including an integration with any of your existing meditation techniques. Amma does not just hug. She is herself a bhakti yogi, worshipping and identifying with Krishna and Devi, and the path she teaches has a strong bhakti component, but it is primarily karma yoga, emphasizing the importance of her devotees helping the world. There is also a strong jnana yoga component that comes through in records of her talks, as in the Awaken Children! series of books. Are you alowed to donate all your money to her organization? Sure. Do you have to donate any money at all for Amma to personally impart to you the highest yogic wisdom? Not a cent. Rather than criticize on the basis of heresay, better to see for yourself, and ask yourself, as both Ramana Maharshi and Amma would ask you to do, Who is the one who is criticizing?

  10. If you are going to review gurus, then do it accurately and ethically. While I am not a current follower of Amma’s, I have been to her ashram and received her darshan multiple times. I, admittedly, ultimately found limited value in this (though I know others who have found it life changing,) and I do not consider her to be a deity or an incarnation of the divine. However, to write about her without emphasizing that one of her central teachings is selfless service and helping the poor, and to talk about her accrual of money, without mentioning how much of that money funds humanitarian and charitable causes seems irresponsible. Also, there is no charge to receive a hug. Thousands of people wait in line to receive her darshan hug free of charge. And as far as I know, all of her ashrams are actively involved in multiple community service projects, including “Amma’s Kitchen.”

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