Who is Amma?
Spiritual leader, humanitarian and visionary Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, known throughout the world simply as “Amma“, has served the world-community for decades, imparting wisdom, strength and inspiration.
In 1953, in a small village on the coast of Kerala in Southern India, Amma was born into a poor family of fisher folk. From Her birth itself it was clear that She was different. Without any prompting, She was deeply spiritual and the intensity of Her compassion was remarkable.
Even from Her early childhood, Amma knew that God, or the Self, alone is Truth. Thereafter, She performed severe spiritual practices, and Her own parents and relatives could not understand Her exalted spiritual state. So out of ignorance they began scolding Her and opposing Her spiritual practices.
At the age of nine, Amma left school to look after Her ailing mother and all of Her brothers and sisters. She would work before the sun rose until late in the night. One of Her duties was to collect food for the family cows. To do so, She would gather grass and visit neighbouring homes to ask for vegetable peels and other left overs.
Whenever Amma went to visit these houses, She always found that the people were suffering – sometimes due to old age, sometimes due to diseases and poverty. So, Amma shared their problems and sufferings. She saw that children who had previously prayed for the long life of their parents now considered them a burden. So, Amma always wondered, ‘Why is there no real love in this world?’ Amma always felt so much compassion and love for the suffering people. Whenever She had time, She used to lead these people to Her parents’ house. Sometimes, She would give them a hot bath, feed them, and sometimes She even stole things from Her own house to give these starving families.
People began to notice that there was something extraordinary about Amma – that She was completely self less, and that She was dedicating every moment of Her life to caring for others, and that She radiated a boundless love. While Amma was still in Her youth, the universal motherhood within Her compelled Her to spontaneously embrace everyone who came to Her, feeling each one to be Her very own child. Hundreds of people began coming each day to spend a few moments in Her arms. Amma would listen to their sorrows and console them. She also began teaching them the true purpose of life.
In 1979, Amma’s first monastic disciples came to reside permanently at Her side. It was they who named Her Mata Amritanandamayi Devi – Mother of Immortal Bliss. As more and more young men and women felt inspired by Amma’s selfless compassion and began coming to Her for spiritual guidance, an ashram was founded. Thus in 1981, the construction of a few humble thatched huts next to Amma’s family home marked the beginning of the ashram.
But Amma’s children were not in India alone. Her heart felt their longing from all over the globe. In 1987, in response to their invitations, Amma embarked on Her first world tour. Today Amma spends most of the year travelling throughout India and the world in order to uplift suffering humanity through Her words and the comfort of Her embrace. Click here to find out where Amma is now.
Whenever Amma is asked about Her religion, She replies that Her religion is Love. She does not ask anyone to believe in God or to change their faith, but only to inquire into their own real nature, and to believe in themselves.
In modern times God has often become an abstract idea, a vague conception of the intellect. If attaining to the highest dimension of our humanity is a path towards understanding the love of God, or Truth, then in Amma we discover a steadfast guide. Here is a Mother, who pours out Her soul in sheer abundance. Hers is a love that purifies, that subdues and elevates, and lets us glimpse the splendour of our true Self. Myriad are the facets of our personality that scintillate in ever-new expressions, and which radiates the perfection of the heart steeped in Truth.
For millions across the world, their meeting with Amma proved to be the turning point in their life, a timeless moment of self discovery and inner transformation. For some, one glimpse, one darshan, has often been enough to inspire them to seek more than the mundane, materialistic ways and quest for something deeper, for fulfilling, in the higher truths of existence. Such transformations Amma is effecting in Eastern as well as Western culture. It is the path towards enlightened selflessness, the key to the higher dimensions of human life.
Amma’s ultimate message is one of values, where the development of an expansive heart dominates every sphere of life so that inclusiveness, tolerance, listening to others, solidarity, and dharma, are the natural outcome of our love nature. Where the capacity of our hearts and intellects are balanced, where the scientific, information and technological revolutions are made to serve and protect humanity and the earth. Amma, the supreme mother, spearheads a technological movement for modernising Indian society. In doing so, She shows us this wonderful, natural equipoise that flows from one established in the highest Self.
Amma teaches that the Divine exists in everything, sentient and insentient. Perceiving this underlying unity in all things is not only the essence of spirituality but also the means to end all suffering. Amma’s teachings are universal.
Awards & Honors
28th September 2015 – New York
Amma awarded the “Medal of Honour” by Evie Evangelou founder of Fashion 4 Development for humanitarian work in the fields of human rights, health and well-being, including food, access to water and power, housing, medical care, education and skill-training.
21st July, 2015 – Paris
Amma was invited for the daylong function by the Special Envoy for the Protection of the Planet at the Summit of Conscience for the Climate in Paris, organised by the French President Francois Hollande.
8th July, 2015 – New York
Delivers the keynote address at the United Nation’s first Academic Impact conference on technology and sustainable development.
14th June 14th, 2015 – Los Angeles
Honoured with a Golden Goody Award (Oscar for Social Good) for her Worldwide Humanitarian Charities.
5th December, 2014 – Vatican
With Pope Francis, Participates in Interfaith Declaration to End Modern Slavery organized by Global Freedom Network at the Vatican.
4th September, 2014 – Amritapuri Ashram
Balagokulam, an organization promoting Hindu cultural education since the 1970s, bestowed its 18th annual Krishna Janmashtami Award upon Amma on 4th September 2014 at Amritapuri Ashram.
8th March, 2014 – New York
Chosen as one among the 50 most powerful women religious leaders by The Huffington Post.
26th April, 2014 – Kochi
Bestowed with the Kavithilakam Pandit Karuppan Award at Kochi, India.
27th September, 2013 – Michigan
Awarded proclamation on behalf of the State of Michigan, U.S.A., to Amma commemorating Amma’s 60th birthday, the official proclamation describes Amma as a true citizen of the world and recognizes Amma’s charitable works worldwide.
23rd April, 2013 – Thiruvananthapuram
Awarded first Vishwaretna Purskar (Gem of the World Award) by Hindu Parliament on April 23rd, 2013 at Thiruvananthapuram, India.
11th January, 2013 – New Delhi
Inaugurated the Swami Vivekananda Sarda Shati Samaroh, the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi, India.
February 2012 – London
Amma featured in the Watkins’ list of the top 100 most spiritually influential living people in the world.
29-30th November, 2012 – Shanghai
Amma addresses the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in Shanghai on “Coexistence $ Engagement between cultures”. Amma was the only spiritual/religious leader invited to the conference.
25th May, 2010 – New York
Amma receives an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
1st December, 2009 – New Delhi
Amma inaugurates the Vivekananda International Foundation.
14th February, 2009 – Kozhikode
Amma was presented with Junior Chamber International’s highest honor, the ‘Shanti Swaroop’ peace award by Vallabh Das, Chairman of the Junior Chamber International Peace Award Foundation at Kozhikode, India.
27th October, 2008 – London
Amma receives the Mahavir Mahatma Award.
7th March, 2008 – Jaipur
Amma is a keynote speaker at the Summit of the Global Peace Initiative of Women at Jaipur, India.
12th October, 2007 – Paris
Amma is awarded the Prix Cinéma Vérité for her humanitarian activities and work for peace at the Cinema Verite Film Festival.
2nd May, 2006 – New York
Amma receives the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award in New York.
31st January, 2006 – Pune
Amma receives the Philosopher Saint Sri Jnaneswara World Peace Prize at Pune, India.
21st June, 2005 – Los Angeles
Los Angeles County presents award to Amma for her outstanding humanitarian contributions, efforts and compassionate love that she has shared and continues to share with the tsunami victims in India & Sri Lanka.
23rd February, 2005 – Kochi
Amma receives Centenary Legendary Award of the Rotary Club International at Kochi, India.
13th July, 2004 – Barcelona
Amma delivers a keynote address at the 2004 Parliament of the World’s Religions.
7th October, 2002 – Geneva
The World Movement for Nonviolence confers upon Amma the Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence at the UN in Geneva. Amma is the keynote speaker at the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious & Spiritual Leaders at the UN, Geneva.
29th August, 2000 – New York
Amma is a keynote speaker at the Millennium World Peace Summit, UN General Assembly.
1998 – Chicago
Amma receives the Care & Share International. Humanitarian of the Year Award.
21st October, 1995 – New York
Amma addresses the Interfaith Celebrations at the 50th anniversary of the UN.
3rd September, 1993 – Chicago
Amma addresses the Parliament of the World’s Religions’ 100th Anniversary, where she is named President of the Hindu Faith. Amma receives the “Hindu of the year award – Hindu Renaissance Award” from Hinduism Today.