July 20, 2004 at 9:00 am #47176
I read in the paper that AMMA was in NYC and it was on the same street that I work on so I went. I was there for about three hours when I saw J and Lousia. THen at about 12:00am I ran into J and he said he might be jamming later and since my number hadn’t come up to hug AMMA I said I would probably be around. Well it was pretty amazing right as I was called to start heading toward Ammma J picked up his guitar and headed towards the other musicians and he and a few other musicians started to play right as I got near. It was some experience. Just an overwhelming fealing of love. ANyway J played until like 5:45 am and then I thanked him and said goodbye cause I had to be here at work at 10:00 am. I am a bit tired but it was definately worth the experience.July 20, 2004 at 10:58 am #103659
wow ! that is truly amazing … you’re so lucky to have seen j + luisa + amma too ! + what a coincidence that while you hugged amma j picked up the guitar …
what sort of music was the band playing ?
have you ever seen amma before ?July 20, 2004 at 11:38 am #103660
I have not seen here before. I have read one of her books but never gone to see her. The music was kinda folky. An accoustic with a guy singing , some tabla and electronic drums, bass and J playing an electric clean. The songs were about amma, mother, love, openess etc. It was a great coincidence. I mean he told me he was playing at around 4:00am but to have my number come up then too was great it really made me feal comfortable in a new environment.July 20, 2004 at 11:38 am #103661
a ny times link from ammachi.org http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/18/nyregion/18amma.html?ex=1091137514&ei=1&en=772dd59f8412c7c8″>http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/18/nyreg … 9f8412c7c8
With Each Warm Embrace, a Guru Shares Her Message
By COREY KILGANNON
Published: July 18, 2004
The Indian guru known simply as Amma came to town yesterday, dispensing her trademark embraces of comfort from the floor of the Hammerstein Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan.
Over the past three decades, Amma, 50, has been fighting world suffering by tirelessly offering hugs, both to strangers and to her legions of followers, who say she has dispensed about 21 million comfort clenches worldwide.
Organizers say that total will grow by about 15,000 during her New York appearance, which continues through tomorrow. Amma hugs tirelessly, stopping only several hours a day for sleep. Her hugs are free, and there are many takers.
Tokens were distributed yesterday to keep order, and a long line of people inched their way up to the smiling woman wearing a white robe. On a chair in front of the ballroom stage, she sat under a long string of light bulbs and was cooled by a pair of strong fans.
Behind her, a chorus sang spiritual songs accompanied by traditional Indian instruments. By noon, there were more than 1,000 shoeless followers inside, many dressed mostly in robes or loose outfits of thin white cotton. Many sat on the floor in meditative positions. There were also many Indian immigrant families seeking hugs for their young children. At the many vendor booths, Amma’s likeness was ubiquitous, on photographs, decals, pins, posters and portraits.
A tireless and energetic hugger, Amma pulls her kneeling supplicants firmly to her breast, holds them there in a strong clench and often whispers reassuring words in her native language, Malayalam. She then hands them small gifts such as a Hershey’s Kiss, a rose petal or an apple.
"When a child goes to the mother with a heavy heart, the mother responds by hugging and consoling them," explained Swami Rama Krishna, a 48-year-old Hindu monk who has served for 27 years at Amma’s ashram in southern India. The swami, with his orange robe and long beard, beamed toward Amma and said it was her hug that got him to forsake his career as a 21-year-old banker in India and follow her.
"After being hugged, people benefit in different ways," he said. "For some, good things begin happening in their life, and they find their problems going away, or others feel strong enough to face their problems."
Amma, whose full name is Mata Amritanandamayi, or "Mother of Immortal Bliss," was born in 1953 to a poor family. She practiced hours of deep meditation as a child and early on became dedicated to alleviating suffering by hugging and by creating charities.
After receiving a hug, Beverly Haupt, 42, a medical assistant from Middle Island, N.Y., stood in the ballroom surrounded by Amma’s robe-wearing followers. Ms. Haupt wore jeans, a New York Yankees T-shirt, and a radiant glow on her face rarely encountered in Midtown.
Ms. Haupt said she traveled from Long Island after hearing from a friend about Amma, whom she described as "wonderful and loving and very freeing."
"You can feel the energy," she said. "It’s very soothing. It makes you want to go out and be nice to everyone." Before stepping out onto a hot, car-clogged 34th Street, Mrs. Haupt added, "I guess in New York City, that can be good or bad."July 20, 2004 at 11:50 am #103662
well, new york must have been v.moved by amma’s visit b/c the daily news reported on it as well http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/213618p-183954c.html”>http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/s … 3954c.html …
there’s a few pix here too … looks like a real scrum … w/all those people how did you find j + luisa in the crowd ? how long did you wait for your hug ? did you go alone ?
Thousands wait hours for a hug
Crowd drawn to Amma’s open arms at Manhattan Center
BY JENNIFER LEBOVICH
DAILY NEWS WRITER
More than 2000 people lined up to see the 50-year-old known for her hugs.
They came by the thousands, from the city and from all over the country, just looking for a hug.
But Mata Amritanandamayi – known to her devotees as Amma – is no ordinary hugger.
The 50-year-old woman from India, who wears a white sari and diamond-studded nose ring, is nicknamed the Hugging Saint for the embraces that have earned her a worldwide following.
By early yesterday morning, more than 2,000 people had packed the hall at the Manhattan Center on W. 34th St., eager for a moment in the arms of the spiritual guru.
Organizers expected 15,000 people to collect hugs during the three-day visit, which ends today.
"I think sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a saint on Earth," said Roxanne Reed, a 55-year-old flight attendant who has followed Amma for 14 years.
"I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t describe it," said Reed, who already had waited for four hours to see Amma and was prepared to wait many more. "You just feel like youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been touched by God."
Amma, whose name means mother in her native Malayalam language, grew up in India amid intense poverty. At age 8 or 9, she began spontaneously hugging people as a way of showing her compassion for them, her followers said.
She has spent the past 30 years traveling the world, giving millions of hugs. She has been known to hug until 5 a.m., making sure everyone in line gets a turn.
"There is no tiredness, there is no boredom," she said yesterday through her interpreter. "Where there is love there is no tiredness. For Amma there is love, nothing else."
Eric Perez, 33, was reared Catholic, but said he has found a unique spirituality in AmmaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s presence.
"Being here is just an immense feeling of being home," said Perez, of North Babylon, L.I. "SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the feminine face of God. This is the true meaning of religion."
Some people believe AmmaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s touch has the power to heal, though her handlers say she is not a faith healer.
Perez said his physical health and sleep have improved since he began following Amma.
Atman Johnson, 57, of Virginia has spent the past five years traveling to AmmaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s U.S. appearances so that his 16-year-old son, Param, who suffers from cerebral palsy, can get hugs.
While he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe Amma has helped to physically heal his son, Johnson is confident her presence has helped to put the teen at ease.
"His bodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at peace. There is a calmness from being in her presence," Johnson said. "WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re just here to imbibe her energy and bring it back with us."
Rebecca Writer, 42, took two months off from her job as a real estate agent to travel with her two daughters and follow Amma across the country.
"I marvel at how many people have been touched by her," said Writer, of San Ramon, Calif. "Being with Amma is like riding the express train to true happiness and peace."
Touched by their angel:
I cozy up to Indian guru
Amma sat at the front of the Manhattan Center hall, hugging those who had taken a number and waited – for hours and hours – to spend a few precious moments in her embrace.
A Daily News reporter took off her shoes and joined the long line of barefoot devotees waiting to experience the hug that AmmaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s followers say is impossible to describe.
Indian music played in the background as the reporter passed children playing on the ground, elderly men and women sitting in wheelchairs and groups of people meditating.
The reporter finally approached Amma and was directed to kneel by one of the many volunteers, clad in white.
Amma sat among throngs of people, her white sari flowing to the floor.
She gave the kneeling reporter a tender embrace, holding her closely to her chest. She rocked slightly as she began to chant softly in her native Malayalam, an Indian language.
She clutched the reporter tightly, giving off a great warmth, despite the two large standing fans. She seemed oblivious to the crowds waiting for a chance at the same experience.
After about 45 seconds, she loosened her hold and kissed the reporter on the cheek before giving her a parting gift of a HersheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kiss and a red apple.
It was a nice, warm hug – like one a grandmother would give. But for AmmaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s followers, it meant so much more.
Originally published on July 19, 2004July 20, 2004 at 11:58 am #103663
i saw her last november in london … i went alone + i thought it was a really strange experience … not good or bad … just kind of odd i guess … i’m planning on seeing her again this october when she’s scheduled to come back to london …July 20, 2004 at 1:51 pm #103664
what a great story, ammaringnyc, and the timing was just strangely perfect
thanks also for the links, rambleon. …I wonder if I would go to an event with Amma. I mean on one hand she’s inviting everyone w/o demanding anything, so I wouldn’t feel like an intruder. but on the other hand I’m not at all close to what she represents. …but I guess it would be an experience, and not a bad one…July 20, 2004 at 2:02 pm #103665
She represents openess and love everyone shouldn’t be afraid to get close to that. Anyone there that might make you feal uncomfortable isn’t Amma.July 20, 2004 at 2:11 pm #103666
openness and love is what I definitely can relate to
I just don’t know much about Indian Culture & Philosophy, although I feel that these aren’t hostile.July 20, 2004 at 2:41 pm #103667
well, you could just go for a hug + then take off … + ammaringnyc is right … i think the reason i felt maybe uncomfortable + weirded out was b/c of some of the people there other than amma herself … i guess i just thought there would be a lot more love in the atmosphere – so to speak – and i was surprised when that wasn’t the case (at least when i was there) …
i guess the only spiritual thing i could compare this to was the meditation classes i took about a year ago (+ have been meaning to get back to ever since!) … + the people there were just like bend over backwards nice + cool + normal people …
+ most of the people at the amma thing, seemed to me like they had given up their so-called normal lives to follow her around the world + i couldn’t really relate to that … like a hero worship thing … but from my point of view they weren’t v.loving !
also, i’m on amma’s mailing list in the UK + the amount of negativity in some of those updates far outweighs the positivity you would expect … but maybe that’s just the way it is over here … + the reason i asked you if you went alone is b/c i went alone + maybe that’s why i felt so kind of weird about the whole thing ….
bu i want to give the whole thing another chance … so that’s why i want to see her when she comes around again …
oh yeah, + i repeat my questions …Quote:there’s a few pix here too … looks like a real scrum … w/all those people how did you find j + luisa in the crowd ? how long did you wait for your hug ? did you go alone ?July 20, 2004 at 2:56 pm #103668
Yeah I didn’t feal like anyone was being that friendly. J said he would help me to get to see her sooner if I couldn’t wait but other than him and a security guard that worked there, everyone seemed to be in a little clique and not very friendly at all, it was strange I didn’t really talk to anyone but them for like 11 hours.July 20, 2004 at 3:18 pm #103669
oh right … see that’s what i mean … it was not very loving … + kind of cliquey … yes, that’s a perfect way of describing the scene … + i kind of felt like people were competing + kind of showing off how great a devotee they were … you know ?
i think amma’s amazing … she is a true living saint + her commintment to her charitable works is truly staggering … the woman is a total work-a-holic …
there is a saying out there that goes something like this : a guru points to the moon + instead of looking at the moon the devotees look at the guru’s finger … so that’s what i thought was happening when i was there … amma was showing love + preaching love, but the people there were all caught up in "worshipping" amma … i guess that kind of threw me a bit b/c from my point of view it was on such a massive scale … plus it was so noisy … even during the short prayer bit, when i thought, hey that’s weird … why are so many people still chattering away ? that doesn’t seem v.respectful to me …
anyhow … did you ask j about bob’s place + if that’s back up + running ? i wonder if he’ll still call it bob’s place ? didn’t someone say he had some puppies or something ?July 20, 2004 at 4:09 pm #103670
I didn’t talk to much about music. He said the Fog shows were going well but he wasn’t sure about any future shows. I told him my sister might go in CO with my 8 yr old neice but I was worried modest mouse would be too loud and he said he hadn’t really heard them, and I aske dif he was working on new stuff and he said yeah but nothing definate. So thats it and I said I hope to see him soon. Its funny because on Friday I was joking with my friends that I was going to say something to him the next time I see him about the vh-1 thing and they were like what do you mean the next time you see him and I said welkl I usually seem him like 3 times or more a year and what do you know I saw him a couple days later but I didn’t think it was that appropriate to mention the vh-1 thing.July 20, 2004 at 4:28 pm #103671
yeah ! + not only did you see him, but you must have had a right old gab, seeing as how you were there for 11 hours ! :aliensmile:July 21, 2004 at 11:05 am #103672
A bit, but it was pretty much the same as usuall, I babble and he just stares at me and then says a couple words.
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