Thursday, June 16, 2005

Amma: A Two-Faced Mommy?

File under: Amma All-Over-The-Planet

Amma continues to hug thousands at her San Ramon, California retreat center. A report in the San Francisco Chronicle compares her favorably to various disgraced gurus of the past. [Ed.note: A clever way to sneak in some promotion in an "objective" news report.] But the same article also uncovers an underlying hypocrisy in Amma's public presentation:
Many followers see Amma as an avatar, a deity come to Earth.

Her own literature calls her "a phenomenon that happens once in 1,000 years"...

"I don't have any claims," she said, giggling... "Everyone is an avatar," she said. "Everyone is self-realized. Everyone is enlightened...
Is Amma so naive as to not notice that everyone around her thinks she is God, and that it's printed in her literature? We're convinced that Amma knows this truth: were she truly sincere in her proclamations and actually sought to chill the claims of her divinity, she'd put herself right out of business. Amma and her people know full well that it is exactly these claims about her divinity that keep people (and their donations) coming.

We've determined that the milk management puja is holding, so anyone wishing to remain an adult can breathe a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, the thousands getting hugs continue to regress, but only up until the point they can continue to hold their jobs. Devotees who are not capable of holding credit cards and making purchases in her bookstall just aren't that much use at an Amma center. At the very least, they've got to be able to cover the costs of their own baby-sitting.


At 6/21/2005 8:19 AM, Blogger Reiki3 said...

I don't know how authentic Amma's persona is. She was in Danvers, MA last year and I was excited to see what she was all about. I left heartily disappointed. It was awful how people were treated while in line for their hug and during their hug, and how pushy the book, clothing, and other memento salespersons were. Major turn off.

At 6/21/2005 10:08 AM, Blogger jody said...

You're mirroring my Amma experiences as well. While she may try to deny it, the whole thing is set up around her supposed divinity. Once they get you inside the hall, they bombard you with opportunites to part with your cash, all predicated on the idea that Amma is divine and thus affording you the belief that your money is going to a good cause. Were she to truly and consistently deny her divinity, her financial machine would seize up faster than Tom Cruise will sue a newspaper for saying he's gay.

At 6/30/2005 12:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo. peeps. Good for you. You tried Amma and deided for yourself she isn't your cup of chai.

Me, I got a hug once. Athough I found the hug effect to be interesting (I felt warm-hearted towards even the most irritating people for DAYS!) I didn't feel the "call" to involve myself with Amma after that.

I love this blog and I know there are a lot of deluded weirdos out there milking folks out of cash etc... but I must say Amma is not one of them.

Check Her Schedule! Come on! She is either HUGGING masses of strangers through the night (yuck!) or she is flying somewhere to go hug more people. She does not stop with the hugs. Even inmates in prison get more free time and entertainment than she does. This doesn't sound like typical behavior for a two-faced false guru.

If the worst you've got on her is that her fliers allude to her specialness while she herself acts more humble.... I'd say you've got bubkes!

Peace Out!


At 7/29/2005 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have failed to mention where all of the money accrued from sales of merchandise goes. It all goes to charities. Amma does not live in a penthouse and drive around in a limo, she is probably the most simple, un-millionaire millionaire that you will ever find. Every cent she makes goes to helping others. It is a shame that you have not bothered to investigate this more thoroughly.

At 8/31/2005 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed at how you stab at Amma without really researching where all the bookstore money goes...Have you ever been in Amritapuri???(Amma's Ashram) Well Amma herself lives in a tiny 1 room apartment and on tour wherever Amma sleeps, usuallly in nice rooms that her devotees reserve for her, Amma NEVER sleeps on the nice beds but always on the floor. Also in her USA East coast camper Amma Always sleeps on the floor while they drive to the next city after staying up all night hugging thousands in Devi Bhava. I guess you don't have anything else to do than just post nonsense.
May Amma help you

At 8/31/2005 4:17 PM, Blogger jody said...

May Amma help you

We don't need Amma. We go directly to the source: Kali.

Regardless of how she lives; the way she is portrayed by her people, with her permission, does more to prevent self-realization than all the brothels and gambling parlors in the world—times ten!

At 2/14/2006 11:05 PM, Blogger avocationist said...

Why do you suppose that if people think she's an avatar this prevents self-realization?

At 2/15/2006 10:42 AM, Blogger jody said...

Because of all the ridiculous speculation about what being an avatar entails. People believe all sorts of incredible nonsense about Amma and the power of her shakti. It's all projected onto her by way of their belief in the superstitious nonsense of Hinduism.

These ideas about what enlightenment is like form occluding beliefs about enlightenment, thus preventing the believer from coming to their own enlightenment, which stands within each of them at every moment. It is masked by all the ludicrous expectations projected into their brains by and at Amma's satsangs.

How will these folks be able to see their own realization if it's not accompanied by mystical powers of telepathy and healing hugging powers?

At 12/31/2007 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will Human Beings realise that they have one creator(which is definetly not AMMA)?Amma is conviniently encashing the ignorance of people.My God,I was shocked to see how people clad in white were waiting to see AMMA.What an ignorance!AMMA is 100% mortal.And a creation od GOD.She and her followers should fear the Judgement day when all the 'created' human beings will face 'the only creator'the 'one god'.He will definetly not spare AMMA or AMMA's followers who reject real GOD and endorse AMMA as GOD INCARNATED!

At 3/17/2008 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site really needs some real insight--what ignorance! Someone clearly needs more than a hug

At 3/17/2008 7:41 PM, Blogger jody said...

what ignorance!

Takes some to see some!

At 5/20/2008 2:59 AM, Blogger Dahvin said...

I don't have a guru because I know the divine is in all creation but I do know through 20 years of objective witness that Amma is walking the path of a true saint ,and is doing great things for the world.I'm 30 years of age and have known Amma for twenty years.I first remember seeing her when she was in a living room in Taos New Mexico in 1988 with 15 other people. I have been witness to her organizations growth since I was 10 years old. I do understand how it can be challenging to be around some of the " out there" devotee's . When you go to see your favorite band there will allways be a few wacko's at the concert... god bless them. All in all some of the most loving understanding people I know I have met through Amma. For me she has allways been a reference point when I lose my way. Look at the big picture. I encourage people to look past all the ecentric nuances that surround her . If it rubs you wrong to go get a hug maybe you should try giving one, I don't know, I'm not about to tell you what to do ...I'm definitly no saint. I do know Amma is an exceptional human deserving of great praise. . Through her example I see clearly that leading a compassionate life is is far more rewarding than living a fearful one and for that I have great gratitude to the selfless loving nature of Amma . May peace be with all of you in this sowing circle.

At 7/13/2008 8:09 PM, Anonymous Olivia said...

I've seen Amma when she's come to the DC area for the past 3 years now, and when I lived in Costa Rica, I took the I AM meditation course when one of her disciples was in town, offering it.

Yes, her ashram does a lot of good work. I'm sure there are a ton of really nice, good people working there. There is also probably plenty of not-so-nice stuff going on, and I'd wager a guess that the books aren't squeaky clean (I have yet to know of any religious organization that would not make an auditor do a double take at any given moment).

Is Amma a miserable charlatan bent on infantilizing the world? I don't think so. Is she the best thing to happen to Earth since atmosphere? Nope. My take is that she is a relatively simple woman, and there is a pretty big machine around her that is benefiting from a religion that is benigning uplifting at best and psychologically dangerous at worst, and they are very good at keeping her too busy to know the vast majority of what is going on.

This is my last year going to Amma, because I really don't want to have her books and pictures pushed down my throat, nor do I want to spend $180 on an Amma doll, when I could invest that money in something like FINCA or Grameen. Yeah, her hugs are nice, but when I hug my friends, I don't have to wipe my face first, I'm not rushed, and I get to feel a sense of equal, adult divinity.

At 10/22/2008 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Olivia, I believe there to be a bigger organization behind the whole Humanitarian atmosphere of Amma and I believe that organization has more to do with acquiring power than with giving to charities (whether Amma knows it or not)!!! Even Amma will bow a knee before the THE ONLY TRUE GOD and give an account of her sins on Judgement Day.

At 10/11/2009 2:03 AM, Blogger HiddenTreasures said...

So a woman devotes her entire life to giving to others, offering donations to charity, spends day upon day being present for others... and this can in anyway be construed to indicate her selfishness. Those who see ego or self-interest in Amma's actions are truly blind and perhaps projecting their own small selves onto her. Get a clue people; why would someone sacrifice her entire life for the well-being of others? Such actions are a divine act.

At 10/30/2009 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is all rubbish. There are people who can prove that not all the money goes to her charities. 1.she is as fat as a pig. 2.All her disciples are fat too. 3. She is driven by a Benz. 3. You haven't seen where she really lives.4.In the US she stayed in one of the most expensive hotels on earth. Is that a simple life??!! and 4.You believe what you are told by her organization. If you say that the money is for charity. How do you justify the fact that in all her institutions people have to pay large amounts of money!!! I tell you, only wealthy people can afford to pay. And she only helps people in India. Isn't that estrange? And by the way, three years ago I received darshan and all her products were abusively expensive. And found her a disgusting woman.

At 10/30/2009 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The previous comment was very harsh and out of frustration. I honestly think that she is sorrounded by good and bad people and they have taken advantage of her. And one have to keep in mind that India is not as develop as European and American countries there are social, political, economical and civilized factors to keep in mind here.
She is light.

All the best

At 12/07/2009 6:31 PM, Blogger Gopal Krishna said...

Disclaimer: I support motives behind Jody's blog; my intentions are just to express my thoughts regarding Amma.

My friends, you guys seem to be throwing baby along with bath-water. Amma is a real saint. Her doors are open to the poorest of the poor as well as the richest of the rich. Where do you find selfishness in this saint?

To Jodi: "Regardless of how she lives; the way she is portrayed by her people, with her permission, does more to prevent self-realization than all the brothels and gambling parlors in the world—times ten!"

Self-surrender to Guru is one of the many means for Self-Realization. Ramana Maharshi said, "You can transcend ego either by surrendering to Guru/God or through Self-Enquiry".

Ramana Maharshi's mother got enlightened through surrender to Maharshi just at the moment of her death. So, please do not say such things that if someone accepts and surrenders to Amma, he/she is hurting his chance for Self-Realization. ANd her hugs and these things are unconditional and not for making disciples - she just wants to listen to people and console their wounded hearts and transmit part of her spiritual energy to them to help them in awakening.

Please show some openness - the world is not only full of bogus Gurus, otherwise we would not have even know anything about Self-Realization.

Best wishes,

At 12/07/2009 6:53 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

Amma is a real saint. Her doors are open to the poorest of the poor as well as the richest of the rich. Where do you find selfishness in this saint

It is known that many followers of Ammachi in India are members of the RSS. Her ashram in New Delhi once carried out an attack on their neighbors. While these are not necessarily indicative of Amma's qualifications to be a guru, they do show that her org is not nearly as divine as folks make her out to be.

Self-surrender to Guru is one of the many means for Self-Realization.

So true! But this is absolutely no different than self-surrender to any Ishta Devata. For Ramana Maharshi, it was a local hilltop. Not a living person, but a pile of dirt and rock.

The tornado of avidya at an Ammachi satsang is caused by the belief that she is divine, somehow made special because she is enlightened. This is the height of Maya at work, because enlightenment does not render us as anything we haven't been the whole time we've been alive. All the nonsense about Amma's divinity only throws thick black clouds of ignorance in front of our Atman.

please do not say such things that if someone accepts and surrenders to Amma, he/she is hurting his chance for Self-Realization.

If her devotees believe that enlightenment will make them the magical beings they believe Ammachi to be, they are hobbling themselves in their quest.

she just wants to listen to people and console their wounded hearts and transmit part of her spiritual energy to them to help them in awakening.

That is what she'd want you to believe. It's what keeps people coming back with wallets open. I contend that her "spiritual energy" is entirely contained in the expectations—both implicit and explicit—brought to the hug by the devotee.

the world is not only full of bogus Gurus

But the world only comes to know of the most famous gurus, and most of these cultivate ignorance as a marketing strategy. I'm afraid that for all the good she may do, Ammachi falls squarely in the middle of the bunch.

At 3/24/2010 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG i cant believe all of you ??? i never heard of this amma and amma sleep on the floor how do you know about that did amma call and tell you did you see on cctv on her bedroom ?? how do you know ??? this hugging people just need attention go to your own amma and hug no need her for hugging. people a getting bored in this world i guess untill they find anything to entertain they boreness and she came to this world without crying for god sake did she cry afterward??? what happen when she hungry did she just smile and her mom give her milk??? when she have a a stomach wind( as a baby ) did she just laught or smile ?? baby criedddddd all the time she is just a normal human being she is not optional she sure cried she sure cried loudly ... and of couse her mom beat her she herself a struggling to eat and she give all her stuff to neigbour??? i dont know untill when this nonsense will happen and hope no kissing sainth after this....

At 5/17/2010 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see in this site people try to investigate and wants them to project themselves as someone who has much intelligence and who has found others as idiots. Also i see some comments which are more religious (like expressing their religious quotes)

A frog in a well knows that the well is the only very big thing. It don't know anything how big the sea is.

Only if you leave the first two mindsets, your expression and experience will be correct

At 4/18/2012 1:35 PM, Blogger Natalie said...

I didn't even know who Amma was when I stayed in her Ashram in Amritapuri. She was also there during that same time. I spent 5 days in a nice room with great food. It cost nothing... and I was never forced nor asked to do anything. I did witness how every day... twice daily... her ashram fed the villagers. How she made sure the entire area had drinking water. I saw how many of the poor were helped by the hospital she has built there... not to mention the work she does thru the pensions she gives to the countless widows in India, who would otherwise be shunned by their own society. I do not know if Amma is truly divine love incarnate on the Earth... but what I DO KNOW.. is she came from a very poor family in southern India, is a woman... and has accomplished so much. If anyone wants to see what she does with the money... go to Kerala and find out. You will be humbled. I was.. as I am not from a poor family, born into a society where a poor woman has no hope... and I have not served humanity much less my own neighborhood as much as Amma has. Is she a goddess?.. I do not know.. what I DO KNOW.. is she is ONE HELL OF A WOMAN!

At 4/18/2012 1:50 PM, Blogger Natalie said...

... and another thing... in Kerala when she was in the Ashram, hundreds and hundreds of people.. Westerners, local villagers and even Indians from up North came to line up for her hug. And she stayed up .. must have been more than 36 hours.. until she had seen every last one of them... and it did not cost anyone, anything. In the Ashram, there was one small stand selling books, bracelets etc... I did not see anyone peddling wares to the people waiting to be embraced by Amma. I wrote previously that staying at her Ashram cost "nothing".. I didn't mean it was free, but the cost was minimal especially when compared to the accommodations and provisions which were offered. It was something like 6$ a day. Although my experience was wonderful, I have never since gone to see Amma again.. anywhere. After 6 days of being in the Ashram.. sitting with her in a group of less than 50 people and conversing with her... it was my experience she truly believes what she says (from a loving perspective) and does give all "her" money to charity... Her devotees raise as much money as they can for the charity Amma freely gives. Afterall, it is not by chance, this Indian woman born of low income and caste has been invited and did speak before the United Nations. I was amazed with Amma... for her works and although I never did become a "devotee"... she still remains in my mind as an example of an incredible human being. Was an beautiful and humbling experience.

At 7/18/2013 4:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first time I saw Amma was about 10 years ago. I was attending a Barmitzvah across the border from Canada, near Seattle and so my mum drove me down to see her. I was maybe 19. I had heard of her, and wanted to see if she was the real deal (I was skeptical) Though I have had mystical experiences constantly since I was at least 15...I waited a long time and got the hug finally, I looked at her like, "Is that it?" And she mumbled to her indian friend and gave me another hug, when I stood up everything changed, all my inner negative commentary on people and life etc was gone. I was in some peaceful samadhi state. I have seen her many times over the years and I am always opened more and more by the love she exudes. That first time my mum was worried because the people she saw were all wearing white and they did bring Amma to the hall in a Limosine. But Amma does have charities, schools and hospitals in India mostly and a big ashram. I agree about her devotees, most of them are quite deluded and think that she is God and that they are somehow lower than her. I think she is self-realised and was born that way, through many life times of sadhana or something. But yes the people around her are mostly lost in the Guru Hype imo <3 Jai ma :P

At 3/04/2014 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the people who write here about their negative experience are truly a sorry lot. Their experience at ashram or views of AMMA clearly shows ignorance at the best and hatred at the worst. Their spiritual understanding is zero or convoluted at best drawn from some airy fairy sources or persons claiming to be experts on Gurus and spirituality. Attention seekers is the best description for this category of persons. Reason eludes their mental matrix as they thrive on sensationalism and dramas of everyday life... no one can help them except themselves when they finally wake up from the grand delusion that they know nothing of anything!

At 10/27/2014 2:01 PM, Blogger Tom Wonsetler said...

Jody obviously sounds like someone who is deluded enough to think he is already in one or another of the Samadhis or thinks he can do it himself through his own self guruing ! To worship oneself as ones guru is the height of hypocrisy ! Even worse, he spews a venomous hatred and extreme slander, and it sounds like also jealousy toward these beautiful, Christlike, Buddhalike, Krishnalike, Siddhas, Saints, Buddhas, SatGurus, etc. while proclaiming to be so spiritual himself ! What a hypocrite ! What an immature psuedo spiritual person he is ! ! ! Full of hatred and jealousy ! ! ! Deluded by his arrogant and conceited ego ! A classic example of a bare beginner, not even beginner,pre beginner actually, who is still caught up in his egocentric, egotistical, projections and delusions without any real understanding of how the process of awakening to any of the Samadhis works or how Spiritual masters transmit Shakti and Samadhi to their devotees and the entire Universe, especially their devotees !

At 10/27/2014 3:02 PM, Blogger Jody Radzik said...

At 10/27/2014 4:36 PM, Blogger Jody Radzik said...

Hi Tom.

I'm sorry I've touched a nerve. That wasn't my intention when I decided to write this blog, although I did anticipate it happening, as it has on more than a few occasions.

I started this blog because I came to understand that the recognition of the Atman is a recognition of something that is ongoing, at all times, in everyone. It's our norm rather than the peak experience you arrive at after a lifetime of effort. I see those who set themselves up as an example of special divinity as a result of their recognition of the Atman as at best, misguided, and in most cases, something of a travesty. I say this as a lifelong devotee and initiate into the tradition of Sri Ramakrishna, who was as guilty of this as any other guru I've commented on.

My aim is to let people know that you don't need to believe in anything superstitious in order to come to realization. It's actually only a neurological phenomenon, and all the spiritual ideas that folks have developed over the course of human history are just their interpretations of their own subjective experience within their cultural knowledge, along with the subsequent commentary of those who read about them. For example, the phenomenon of shaktipat is explained by the placebo effect.

I do not condemn spirituality. I am a bhakta devotee of Ma Kali Dakshineswari. I do condemn the idea that one's realization entitles them to be treated differently than anyone else, for we are all equally divine (or not, if one doesn't employ or rejects the concept 'divinity.')

I can't expect you to believe my ideas have validity in the face of what you accept as spiritual truth, but as much as I can promise using a keyboard in this moment, I'm sincere about what I just said, and that's why I wrote this blog (and this reply to you.)


--jody radzik.

At 1/02/2016 8:40 AM, Anonymous Ron said...

It's not different from the poor man sitting in lotus 24/7 on a street corner in a city India. People started to put flowers in front of him and in no time they saw him as a saint....Has a lot to do with the people around the person not so much with the person .....

At 1/07/2016 11:55 PM, Blogger Jody Radzik said...

But the person can stop it if they choose to. But they don't because they get drunk with the power. It may have been more the people around Ammachi that made Ammachi, but she took those reigns a long time ago, and is complicit in all the corruption and avidya of her movement now.


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