who is amma?

DARSHAN PROGRAMS

Darshan is a Sanskrit term meaning "audience with a saint or sage". In the ancient tradition, darshan usually consisted of a mere "sighting" of a holy person. In a radical break with custom, Amma's darshan blessing emerged as a long tender healing embrace. She has been doing it this way since she was a young mystic in her native Kerala fishing village located along the southwestern coast of India on the Arabian Sea.

Amma makes herself available to anyone wishing to receive her blessing. There is never any charge, and no one is turned away. Hour after hour, day after day, year after year, she receives everyone in the same loving way, irrespective of religious faith or non-belief.

Over time, Ammachi's popularity has risen to the point where in India she has been known to individually hug over 18,000 people in one day, sitting sometimes for over 20 hours. Nearly half of the year she can be found at her Kerala ashram, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, but increasingly her darshan programs are organized all around the world.

In a typical public program, Amma will lead a brief morning meditation followed by darshan late into the afternoon. In the evening, she returns to give satsang (inspired talk) followed by an approximate 90-minute session of bhajans (devotional songs) in which she leads an unusually talented troupe of swamis (monks). At the conclusion of the music, she will sit, hour after hour, usually deep into the early morning hours, giving darshan. The bliss and transquility of being in the Amma's presence is unique and indescribable.

As the evening wears on and the darshan numbers whittle down, it is both humbling and inspiring to watch how Ammachi's energy shows no sign of fatigue. She will not even pause until the last person has been received. All the while, Amma sustains a beaming smile while lovingly embracing one after another after another. With each hug and smile, an obvious spark of her own energy is passed along.

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