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!

      • It’s all simply earth curriculum lessons. Each adheres to the teacher(s) which reflect their current sense of needs for experiential learning.
        Kindergarten teachers are not any more “bad” than elementary school teachers, which are, in turn, no more “despicable” than middle school or high school teachers. The mere fact of our having already graduated high school is insufficient justification for eliminating all lesser grade levels in the curriculum…of life. Each is always in the process of fulfilling their own current sense of needs, as well as ever refining further each their own sense of conscious discernment. Yes, a lesson will be reiterated until it is grokked/assimilated, and it goes without saying that each one progresses/evolves at a different rate.

  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!

    • In my “truth and liberation quest” of slightly more than three decades, I have tasted, dabbled, read, and heard the gossip around a fair number of guru types. I could not seriously consider adhering to any one exclusively, for, after all, it’s about the universal essence rather than about any specific outer humanoid form.
      Each and every person gets ensnared only in the form of snare that is baited to suit each person’s current level of consciousness/unconsciousness; each person always gets precisely what their soul intended for them to get by entering any specific arrangement, even though they weren’t likely conscious of the intrinsic purpose of the interaction at its outset.
      Even though I have read Gail’s memoir “Holy Hell,” I still sometimes attend a local Ammachi satsang group. I don’t even consider myself capable of accurately judging or evaluating her—except in the same way that every other superficial wanna-be-awakened person does: by the superficial ego-based judge-mental standards we have all been programmed with starting before grade school, and continuing ever since.
      However, if I give credence to passages in some of the biographical books (and, no of course I could not/would not stake my life on the truth of, nor absolute belief in such published biographical events, but until I become more psychic/telepathic, I know that one cannot fool all the people all the time, so I am generally inclined to patiently give the benefit of the trust to what I’ve read—the term ‘benefit of the doubt’ seems non-sensical to me; in this case, and some others, I am inclined to give the benefit of the *trust*…until and unless fresh material evidence suggests differently)…tales of Ammachi’s capacity to leave her (then lifeless) physical form at will, her capacity to heal a leper—over a period of time—by licking and sucking his suppurating lesions, etc., etc.
      In other words, if she is a huckster, she certainly is no normal ordinary human shyster.
      Of course, there are aspects of the Amma circus scene that give me pause—I simply am not comfortable around other persons, let alone a stadiumful or a barnful of people.
      But in moments of honesty, I ask myself, could I—or any pther human being I know—globally orchestrate, coordinate and sustain all that she does? Hospitals, maths/schools, orphanages, ashrams, annual global tours?…Not! And though it may be said that she engages so many thousands of people in “superficial” material human service projects, she is simultaneously also capable of responding to questions of ultimate unified advaitic Reality…for those who have the ears to hear.
      At the very least, I am content to say that she is of such rarefied conscious clarity that she is a surrendered servant of the divine.
      And regarding the contents of Gail’s book, “Holy Hell”: in my reading, I received a sense of a particular sincerity, honesty, and intelligence pervading Gail’s narration of occurences; in other words, it is possible for me to conclude that it was her intention to share the truth as she experienced it and/or perceived it and/or interpreted it in her awareness. I like her intelligent manner of expressing herself.
      But this has little bearing regarding what *actually* occurred in all the instances of “wrongdoing” to which she alludes. Ammachi is of such a rare kind and degree of conscious awareness that I do believe the rules and laws of earth and human society simply do not pertain to her; she is functioning at another level/levels. Yet at what level of societally conditioned parameters do all the persons who would judge or condemn her live? Face it, any person who has transcended the limited cocoon of their human and cultural upbringing simply is no longer beholden to the laws of the general human herd.
      One can only wish that the sheeple-citizens of the USA who are inclined to castigate the teachers of higher timeless liberating truth-awareness would finally develop a sufficient backbone and good practical common sense to castigate and eradicate the lying, thieving, brain-trashing, enslaving, mass-murdering, polluting, corporate-political-financial/economic-military industrial complex puppets of the satanic zionists at work in the White House and USA. Unfortunately, good ol’ common sense still is not very common, so themasses of sheeple tend to malign and heap their ignorant misunderstandings upon the teachers of truth and liberation…while continuing to bend over and take it again and again from their own nation’s politicians and bankers and tax collectors and Faux news media prostitutes…
      …while judging and maligning those teachers who offer avenues of escape from the general materially-identified insanity.

    • If you haven’t had the hug with the darshan effect after, then you just don’t understand. Even a neutral minded person (me) can have divine consciousness after, if only briefly, but life improvement can persist.

  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?

    • GURURATINGS: In reading your brief share of three sentences preceding, I notice again the glaring evidence that we all have been brain-trashed since day #1.
      I say this because MOST EVERYTHING we think, then subsequently speak, and then subsequently do, is done in a careless non-thinking conformist trance. (So I’ll presume that by now as you read this you’re thinking “wtf is this jeffrey guy yakking about? He’s just spewing more baseless egocentric bullshit…” But of course I’ll now explain my reasoning for making this assertion regarding your spare three sentences above…
      The main subject/noun in your comment above is…what? The word is: master. Since I have been speaking/using American english since birth, I am aware that the concept/word ‘master’ is one not commonly alluded to. And when it is heard or used, it doesn’t have a clear definition.
      Now, you may disagree with my aforesaid assertion, and I would respect your point, if you’re referring to “masters” in more mundane fields of practice, i.e., in games or athletics or vocational fields of endeavor.
      However, when the subject matter is spiritual mastery, this is an entirely different playing field, or field of endeavor. When any person claims to be, or is claimed by any other to be, a “master,” what or whose definition or yardstick is being used? Since you have used the word, above, are you willing or capable of providing in writing your definition or meaning for the word ‘master’?
      This relates to my preceding generalized comment that most of us use words/language in largely unconscious ways, i.e., in such careless thoughtless ways that often cause us to argue over careless/unconscious/meaningless word usages…when if we were simply to take the time to sincerely consider and clarify our word definitions and usage, we may often we have no disagreement with the other’s perspective at all.
      It is plainly evident that though any careless doofus can set off much subsequent argument by making such assertion as: “There are no living masters in the world,” an astute person would request before commenting that you clarify the parameters of the assertion by transparently and kindly providing your definitions for each of these three words or phrases: 1. ‘master’; 2. ‘living’; and 3. ‘in the world.’
      Are we sufficiently honest to admit that until we have provided working definitions for the key elements in our communications, that no apparent assertion, nor any ensuing alleged agreement, disagreement, or debate arising therefrom has any actual foundation, nor, therefore, can it lead to any actual communicative agreement, conclusion or real mutual understanding? Such casual consensual empty-headed carelessness in communications can only lead to…a career in business, sectarian religion, or partisan politics.
      What, pray tell, is your definition of a “master,” or, in particular, what is ‘spiritual mastery’?

  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

    • TES: I acknowledge you as the single most important creator-projector of your worldly experience. For this universal existence actually is infinite, limited only by the parameters of what the creating conscious source is capable of conceiving.
      In other words, from an infinite pure empty field of cosmic awareness, each of us carves a relatively limited experience based upon what we have chosen either to believe, or to focus our energies of attention upon.
      As such… “As you sayeth, O master, so it is “true”…FOR YOU.” Energy flows and reality grows where attention goes. Namaste

  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.”

  11. I hugged Amma once. It was just as they say it is; she smelled of vanilla and made you feel amazing. She anointed my head and I definitely felt enlightened, if only temporarily. Not surprising after waiting in line 9 hours (with some breaks to eat and stretch our legs).

    However, the atmosphere was anything but chill. My friend and I got snapped at for chatting too loudly in the hall. We were told, sternly, that if we missed the shuttle back to the parking lot we were “on our own” and would “regret it”. The people waiting in line were testy about getting their opportunity to be close to their guru. The disciple who invited me decided that she didn’t like the woman who was in front of us in line, so when that woman went for a bathroom break, my friend moved her cushion several spaces behind us out of spite.

    The soft Indian music was pleasant, the building very church-like and peaceful, and the food was divine. But the whole experience made me feel like these were people I didn’t want to spend much time around.

    • Pagan – Thank you for sharing your story of your adventures in Amma-land! Sounds similar to our experiences, as well.

  12. Amma is one of the most advanced spiritual masters we’ve ever had here the 3 rating is based on ignorance. My experience with Amma go far beyond the hugs/Darshan.

  13. To understand a true Guru requires one to be evolved enough first to understand the subtleties of what they are offering you to transform you. Guru’s are there, for those who choose their path, to help one get rid of their ego, the selfishness, the hidden darkness within oneself that one chooses often to cover up. Its like chiseling away at a stone to find the diamond within. We are all on different levels of our evolution and some like to see the darkness only and not the light. I have seen over 15 so-called gurus in my life and had some pretty bad experiences with many of them. When I came to Amma, I was burnt and not so easily trusting…so I ‘tested’ her purify, her integrity, her walking her talk, her selflessness, her love. I wanted to know if she was real. Though there was no doubt that simply her presence when she entered the hall, was an experience beyond words, like God touching your heart, but still I was testing her. After 15 years, finally…I realized, she is the real deal. Each hug awakens a seed within you to come to realize your own divinity. The guru does their job, but often we don’t do our part to allow them to clean the dirt from our hearts. Meeting Amma has been the greatest blessing of my life. Yes…money is donated…spirituality and money do not go against each other. Money is not bad. It all depends on what it’s used for. When you see how much she helps the poor and the needy, you are left in awe at her level of compassion and selflessness. She blesses those that come with her love, her hugs to awaken to be more compassionate. And those that choose to donate, that money goes on to help those who are poor. The mind can judge as much as it wants. To base ALL one’s judgement on ONE person’s experience in a book is ludicrous. Even in a marriage, two sides of the story are never the same. Millions of people go to Amma and love her, because she awakens their heart to their true nature, to their love and compassion. Many go to Amma with mental illnesses, physical illness, at the worst time in their life. Who knows truly what Gail’s internal background is. From what I have seen, Amma accepts ALL into her arms, the poor, the sick, the mentally sick, the rich, the intelligent…whoever you are…she loves you.

  14. I agree with the above comment by Rita and Jonar. . Amma’s hug+mantra changed my live dramatically and permanently moving it onto a completely beyond normal level. This was/is permanent. My experience is that Amma release into manifestion seeds already in you but are hidden from you.
    Incidentally Ive read both books about her. Theres nothing there thats unusual. Those in glass houses should not throw stones. Ignorance is no excuse.

  15. I was very badly gang stalked by “Gurumayi“,my Mother and my younger sister along with their likewise wounded/unhealed cowardly persecuting gangs for decades of my life.I was conned into medications at age 15,then used in MK ultra mind control experiments.I did some weird and crazy things at times when I was “beamed” and in a sleep walking type trance.Without understanding a bigger picture,people joined these gangs,following a “cover story” and I was devastated for decades of my life.I was involved in SYDA for years along with other family members.I wrote a 6.5 page Dear Joan letter to Gmayi pointing out the harm she did to me and my family,and what she could have done to bring harmony and goodness instead.Entitlement,Exploitation,and lack of Empathy are earmarks of a psychopath.These primary (born into bloodline families) and secondary psychopaths (badly wounded and taken on the persona of the abuser(s) are many among us on Earth.I visited Ama and was gifted and graced by her in a multitude of ways.She has the divinely mothering,sacred feminine,Goddess {thing} going on and has beautiful healing gifts.She may not be as perfect as the creator of the universe,but it seems as if she puts most of the other religions and spiritual camps to shame.I see her as Radha and myself as Krishna (in a mystical and majestic way). Be my Valentine Radha !

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