Is Hugging The Answer?

This Hindu woman, the radiant Mata Amritanandamayi,  has spent most of her life hugging people. It is estimated, if my memory serves me correctly, she has hugged 31 million people.

There is no charge for her hug which can last up to 4 minutes. People have been known to burst into tears following Amma’s hug which suggests that many people don’t get too much affection in their lives and perhaps feel alienated much of the time.

“When each person comes to me, I am their mother and they are my child,” she beams, rather cheerily. “In everyone, there is a little child, and if their cries are not being heard, if that child remains unattended, it creates a vacuum that can only be filled with love. And the purest love that exists is between mother and child; as a mother, you are part of that child and, in the same way, I see myself as an extension of everyone.”


“She never tires, she never complains, she never cancels an event,” says her swami assistant admiringly. “In India, the groups are even bigger; sometimes she will hug 2,000 people in one hour.” Which, you have got to agree, is some serious hugging.

It’s an improvement compared with her early life, in the Kerala fishing village of Parayakadavu. As an unworldly young girl, given to devotional singing and meditating, she was beaten by her parents, forced to give up school to look after her seven siblings, and subjected to regular poisoning attempts (laced milk, deadly thorns) from locals who didn’t like her spiritual inclinations.

However, ask about her hard life then and now, and Amma, now 58, replies with a shrug and what sounds like the Malayalam equivalent of “It’s what I do”. And that people queue for hours to get her hug is testament to the emptiness or fear or stress that many people feel in this warring, dog-eat-dog world. Amma, as well as tirelessly hugging, has also set up orphanages, hospitals, universities,  homes for the homeless, etc.

Perhaps the U.S. and Britain instead of making arms and killing people and stealing their resources could encourage their citizens to dress in white robes and, following introductory courses on what love is, become huggers then go forth into the world and start hugging!

It would certainly alter the path that the world is on and, who knows, we might even experienced peace in the world for the first time and a tsunami of love!


7 thoughts on “Is Hugging The Answer?

  1. Hi David, love is positive, achieves goodness, smiles and happiness, is sparingly applied. While violence destroys, achieves nothing but more violence.A major force, used as long as weapons are manufactured. Imagine if all the money used for violence would be used for love and help, there would not be a child hungry, or ill or not able to learn to read, no family would lose their loved ones in wars, we would all help each other, why do some need billions in their bank accounts while others have nothing not even food or clean water. David, dreams, and with every unfulfilled dream one loses some of ones soul, it is said; hugs T.


  2. yes, a heart-warming story……..but, but, but…….a part of me wonders about hygiene.

    with all those people sniffling and sobbing on her chest one after another????
    how often does she change her robe? does she wear an apron?

    can’t help thinking about this negative aspect in a positive story. i’ve got a lot of virgo in my astro chart.


  3. Titania, she is an inspiration and she highlights the fact that love is the most important but the least available ingredient in our human world.

    I guess, Kika, if Amma is still going after all those hugs then hugging is not a hazardous occupation! :)


  4. I hugged Ammachi when she was in Berkeley. I had no ill effects. I guess I was lucky there were no dieseases going around just then. I did accidentally squish her foot with my knee and she gave me a certain look. I would hug her anytime. I would be careful with my knees and feet.


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