Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hittin' Up More Ammachi

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars, Amma All-Over-The-Planet and Ammachi's Imagegate


According to our original tipster, showing an image of Amma in Devi Bhava is a big no-no.

To which we say yes, yes! Because nothing gets us hotter than a chubby Indian lady who thinks she's Kali.

52 comments:

  1. Ammachi is right if she feels she is god, because the clarion call of the advaita is just that !

    Adivaita declares
    AHAM BRAHMASMI = I Am Consciousnes.
    Its not a serious crime if someone behaves like God. But the catch is when some one treats others as human and oneself as God.

    If she beleives SARVAM BRAHMA
    (EVERYTHING IS GOD as advaita says)then she need not go around and do all the she does. Because to the enlightened, the entire creation is just the same One Consciousness.
    Cannot create differences in one singular non dual creation....

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  2. >> semblance etc. said: But the catch is when some one treats others as human and oneself as God.

    Fair point. And dressing up as God and sitting on a throne counts as treating others as human and oneself as God, eh?

    Unless you rotate the role and let everyone get a chance to be Queen or King of the costume party. :)

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  3. You fellows are missing the point. Now I'm not an Amma apologist, nor an ammabot (I haven't even seen her, actually, nor am I a big fan), but Devi Bhava is a recognized spiritual phenomenon in India. Sure, the Amma org has turned it into a sort of circus spectacle, but just because Devi Shakti enters her body, as it were, causing her to automatically enter various mudras etc does not mean she "thinks" she has become Kali.

    Read the book
    This House is on Fire
    and you will see many photographs in it of Ananda Ma as a young girl exhibiting various Devi bhavas, including Kali and Durga. It has happened in my own family too (during Navaratri), so I know that it is neither delusional behavior, nor some sort of mental illness.

    Just because Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma (everyone / everything is Brahman) does not mean that some physical bodies don't channel Parashakti's energies more than others. It's a phenomenon you can understand only by physically being present in that sort of high energy field, which can knock you on your ass if you get too close or touch the person in that state. Experience it first for yourselves before you judge or condemn.

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  4. > Cannot create differences in one
    > singular non dual creation....

    Huh? When you get to a traffic light, you sure as hell do need to know the difference between red and green. If you don't, you may talk advaita words all day long, and you'll still be flat as a pancake.

    Stuart
    http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

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  5. Tell you the truth, Anon, I do agree that Devi Bhava is not necessarily messed-up in and of itself, and might have some value as long as everyone involved can interpret it properly -- as someone going into a sort of spontaneous dance. But in the context of a major guru-mythologization, people are not going to interpret it properly.

    >>> It has happened in my own family too (during Navaratri), so I know that it is neither delusional behavior, nor some sort of mental illness.

    The dividing line between what are called spiritual phenomena, and mental illness / delusion is not that sharp. So,

    >>> but Devi Bhava is a recognized spiritual phenomenon in India.

    doesn't say that much. It says the phenomenon happens, and that it is called spiritual.

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  6. I love Ammachi. Think she is just GREAT!!! Can't help myself. Just because some people can't feel anything doesn't mean that the energy of the Divine around Ammachi doesn't exist. Who ever said that God is a Communist? Why should everything/everybody on earth be the same. Face it -- some people are "better" than others. Some people do "channel" the energy of the Divine so those of us who are not yet opened will at least have a taste of something. Thank God for those lovely souls like Ammachi and others who give up their lives to such a grueling task. Hugging thousands of people daily, at the expense of her health seems extreme. Doesn't seem that she gets anything for herself out of it.

    You can say that everything is one, blah blah blah, but although everything is one, there are apparent (operative word) differences which make things very interesting. OTherwise we'd all die of boredom. Who said she is going around to change anything? How do you know that she is not just going to work, doing her dharma, just like you or me or anyone? It's just that her work is a little weird by social standards here in America. That's all.

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  7. > Devi Bhava is a recognized
    > spiritual phenomenon in India

    Drinking one's urine is a recognized spiritual phenomenon in India.

    I'm just sayin'.

    Stuart
    http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

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  8. Why the subtly disparaging comment, Stuart?

    Even your vaunted Zen practice originated in India (Dhyan -> Chan -> Zen). It appears that instead of "perceiving this moment exactly as it is, rather than through the filter of our ideas, opinions, etc. ", you are allowing embedded hurt and disappointment which probably was a consequence of your past association with other Indian traditions, to color your present comments.

    You're beginning to sound increasingly like a jody protégé or clone. I'm just sayin'.

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  9. You're beginning to sound increasingly like a jody protégé or clone.

    If anything, I am a clone of Stuart, and damn proud of it, too!

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  10. Stuart said: Drinking one's urine is a recognized spiritual phenomenon in India.


    Yes, Stuart, it's both in Yoga and Ayur-veda. Don't knock it till you've tried it -- or have a well-reasoned position why it is not beneficial.

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  11. Jody and Stuart both reflect a state of profound egoic bondage. It's hardly anything to be proud of.

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  12. Jody and Stuart both reflect a state of profound egoic bondage.

    That's ok. We've got you right here next to us for company.

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  13. > Devi Bhava is a recognized
    > spiritual phenomenon in India

    TheBlade said...
    > Yes, Stuart, it's both in Yoga
    > and Ayur-veda. Don't knock it
    > till you've tried it -- or have
    > a well-reasoned position why it
    > is not beneficial.

    To be meticulous... the point isn't whether or not drinking piss is beneficial. The original posting was, "Devi Bhava is a recognized spiritual phenomenon in India." I'm disparaging the suggestion that one's life be directed by what others recognize as a "spiritual phenomenon" (whatever that may mean).

    With that particular statement, the original poster wasn't coming from experience or reason, but pointing to what's popular (in a particular sub-culture).

    So, if the *reason* one drinks urine (or bhavs devis or whatever) is because lot's of people call it "spiritual," *that's* what I'm making fun of. If you drink urine because your reasoned consideration and experience lead you to that conclusion... cheers!

    Stuart
    http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

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  14. Stuart said,

    If you drink urine because your reasoned consideration and experience lead you to that conclusion... cheers!
    .....................

    Stuart, Blade's conviction about the practical value of drinking urine came from me. I had to educate him because he took offense at my suggestion that it might do him some good. I pointed out to Blade that some of the greatest literature produced in the West (ie The Searchers, Hondo and many other cowboy novels)mentions the value of urine as a short term antiseptic as well as its indication for a host of chronic cowboy complaints. I do believe it is contraindicated if the cowboy suffers from gout.

    Once Blade heard about this from me, he was convinced it was more than "just a Hindu thang"!

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  15. jody said...

    That's ok. We've got you right here next to us for company.

    ...................

    Hey Jody, you also have me there, not to mention Durga, Blade, Mule Puky, Betty, and bringing up the rear, you have semblance to keep all of us company. If we had a banjo and a stand up base, we could make fine music together!

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  16. I have a friend who's in India seeking release from her desires and ego. Last I heard she was seeking info on the efficacy of urine drinking. it'd be funny if it wasn't so sad. What's even sadder is that she suffers so deeply yet is 100% closed to conventional therapies. I love pranayama and a good kirtan but this is true illness. She was even thinking about practicing with Amrit Desai, but fortunately I was able to talk her out of it.

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  17. I'm disparaging the suggestion that one's life be directed by what others recognize as a "spiritual phenomenon" (whatever that may mean).

    My point was simply that most devout Hindus in their cultural milieu have historically recognized the people who've expressed a state of heightened ecstasy in which they express spontaneously certain attributes (Kali with her tongue sticking out, Durga with her hand raised in a mudra, etc).


    So, if the *reason* one drinks urine (or bhavs devis or whatever) is because lot's of people call it "spiritual," *that's* what I'm making fun of.


    Since the original snide remark was directed towards me, let me clarify - I sure as hell don't worship any saints/gurus who express bhava samadhi, nor do I use it as a gauge or index of competency as a realized one.

    Nobody "bhavs devis".

    Devi: Goddess. Bhava: Emotion, or Feeling. Devi Bhava means a spontaneous expression of Parashakti through surrender or samadhi resulting in mudras or other bodily movements often resembling classical poses portrayed in Hindu mythology. Ramakrishna exhibited bhava ecstasy (as seen in the two famous photographs).

    From http://www.kalimandir.org:

    On the special feast day of the Goddess, while talking and laughing with his disciples, Ramakrishna would spontaneously assume the mudra of Kali, hands raised to bless and to destroy, remaining transfigured for long periods of time, deep in bhava samadhi, or absorption in the deity, oblivious of his human body and the ordinary world. In that mood he would actually become a visible manifestation of Kali, radiating the power of Her blessing, which those present would experience as joy and illumination. This was not a case of possession by the deity but a temporary revelation of Ramakrishna's own intrinsic Kali nature. Then the mood would pass, and he would again appear as the powerless and playful child of the Divine Mother.

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  18. In that mood he would actually become a visible manifestation of Kali, radiating the power of Her blessing

    Ramakrishna would go into trance at the drop of a hat. Imagining himself as the female lover of whoever was his escort would do the trick. There is nothing to suggest these "bhavas" were anything more than a manifestation of psychomotor epilepsy.

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  19. There is nothing to suggest these "bhavas" were anything more than a manifestation of psychomotor epilepsy.

    Well, unless an EEG had been done on RK's brain, I don't think we can jump to any sort of conclusion, Jody ;)

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  20. unless an EEG had been done on RK's brain, I don't think we can jump to any sort of conclusion

    Of course, Doctor. We can't jump to any sort of conclusion for either aspect of the debate. But even you have to admit that if we were to treat RK's states as symptoms of a neurological disorder, psychomotor epilepsy would be at the top of the list.

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  21. There is nothing to suggest these "bhavas" were anything more than a manifestation of psychomotor epilepsy.

    I have been epileptic (petite mal) since I was a kid. For many years I did experience something like pure consciousness, composed of millions of crystals--that was my experience anyway--, but never anything like Ramakrishna exhibited.

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  22. I think there probably is a real connection between epilepsy and certain spiritual phenomena. The connection has been known in folklore for aeons; I don't know if Science explains it yet.

    This doesn't necessarily mean that the spiritual phenomena are inherently pathological. But it is a good basis for ceasing to mythologize them.

    Because things that are strange can have good effects. Seizures can pull people out of depression. Hence electro-convulsive therapy (electric shock therapy). Of course, electroconvulsive therapy is a very brute-force way of creating a seizure.

    I think samadhi may have something in common with mild seizures. Mild seizures themselves I'm guessing may have something in common with certain phases of the sleeping process. It's like putting your brain in the rinse-and-spin cycle.

    Electric shock treatment, epilectic seizures, sleep, and samadhi. Biological processes. They are what they are, neither holy nor impure.

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  23. For many years I did experience something like pure consciousness... but never anything like Ramakrishna exhibited

    That doesn't mean RK's "trances" were not psychomotor epileptic seizures. There is a huge spectrum of different states experienced as a result of a PM epilepsy.

    BTW: Pure consciousness can never be an experience. You experienced something you've likened to what you believe pure consciousness would be like.

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  24. >>Drinking one's urine is a recognized spiritual phenomenon in India.

    this is preposterous - autourinaton therapy is not a spiritual therapy in ayurveda - it is a regimen that some follow for the purported health benefits, and these benefits may help one fulfill sadhanas with a healthier body

    other kinds of urine are also used in ayurveda, for e.g. cow's urine is a common ingredient and substance used to purify minerals

    urine is used in western medical therapies as well, for e.g. premarin

    the key with amaroli is not to drink infected piss, so if you have a UTI drink some cranberry juice instead

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  25. Jody said BTW: Pure consciousness can never be an experience. You experienced something you've likened to what you believe pure consciousness would be like.

    I understand this and was just wanting to describe it as best I could.

    Blade said Because things that are strange can have good effects. Seizures can pull people out of depression.

    Yes, I used to enjoy them as a boy, once they came on. When I could feel them coming they were a bit frightening.

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  26. Seizures can pull people out of depression.

    And they can engender what gets interpreted as a religious experience, as you well know, and as I believe Ramakrishna knew.

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  27. But even you have to admit that if we were to treat RK's states as symptoms of a neurological disorder, psychomotor epilepsy would be at the top of the list.

    Yes, temporal lobe epilepsy is known to produce religious type experiences, and it is plausible that RK's samadhis were triggered by complex partial seizures, but it's pretty reductionistic to assume that there always has to be some underlying organic brain pathology such as lesions in the brain hippocampus which produce the behavior/mystical experience.

    Have you discussed with Olga L. what her perspective on this is? I'm curious to know, since she is a neuroscientist, but also speaks about "Kundalini" in the approaches she uses in her work.

    I resonate with this remark in one of her published papers (Via Kundalini: Psychosomatic Excursions in Transpersonal Psychology): " The relationship between the body, spiritual experience and the self is an area relatively ignored by transpersonal psychology... Spiritual experience is either marginalized, as in conventional psychology, or at best is considered as epiphenomenal to brain function."

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  28. it's pretty reductionistic to assume that there always has to be some underlying organic brain pathology such as lesions in the brain hippocampus which produce the behavior/mystical experience.

    I agree. However, any way you look at it, a religious experience is going to have a concomitant brain state, and it seems likely that extreme cases such as RK's have a more pronounced organic component.

    Have you discussed with Olga L.

    Olga is a bit softer toward mystical explanations for these sort of things.

    The relationship between the body, spiritual experience and the self is an area relatively ignored by transpersonal psychology...

    With good reason, it's a problem for neuropsychology, not a bunch of crystal-grippers hellbent on bringing whatever version of global enlightenment they happen to subscribe to at the moment.

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  29. Martin Gifford2/05/2007 8:48 PM

    In Two Birds On One Tree it is stated that J. Krishnamurti had seizures when women were around. He would grab their tits and act like a baby.

    Seizures can be handy.

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  30. Agree with what Jody and blade have written. Any vision or any kind of experience presupposes the presence of the seer. Those are just mental ("avasthai" in Tamil).

    When Swami Vivekananda in His earler days of sadhana reported clairvoyance, was asked by Gurudev to discontinue the practice. Sri Ramakrishna Himself describes the ultimate Advaitic Truth by telling "..had to obliterate vision of Kali.." In His own Words, it is akin to a doll made of salt that attempts to fathom an ocean's depth and gets dissolved in IT. It does not come back to describe.

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  31. antarananda said: Spiritual experience is either marginalized, as in conventional psychology, or at best is considered as epiphenomenal to brain function."

    I think it's best not to emphasize spiritual experience in psychology. People go to psychologists to deal with real problems in their thought processes, which when treated properly, may make it less necessary to depend on spiritual "experiences" (of the kind Jody addresses in his blog) to get by in life.

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  32. Durga:

    Olga is speaking about marginalization in transpersonal psychology, not conventional psychology.

    In any case, it's usually people with vaguely identified existential dilemmas underlying all their other problems who seek out gurus. "Spiritual experiences" are not the ultimate realization, but they do offer solace though, so why begrudge them?

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  33. Antarananda said...

    "Spiritual experiences" are not the ultimate realization, but they do offer solace though, so why begrudge them?


    Thanks,Antarananda. Having seizures as a boy through young adulthood, though gentle ones, was just one of the things that set me apart from my family. I also had "spiritual experiences" which did give solace and helped me very much to survive. Now I find out that not only are the experiences themselves of questionable value, which I accept as an older adult, but that I am essentially brain damaged, which was what I was taunted with as a young person. Of course that also made me stronger.

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  34. Antarananda said: In any case, it's usually people with vaguely identified existential dilemmas underlying all their other problems who seek out gurus. "Spiritual experiences" are not the ultimate realization, but they do offer solace though, so why begrudge them?"

    I'm not begrudging them, I just think that the spiritual "experiences" that people in new age culture claim to have have a slightly pathological feel to them. My definition of 'spiritual' now is much different than what it used to be. After having had some contact with those who are into channelers, bliss, visions, etc, I think it's healthier to avoid understandings of spirituality that depend on supernatural explanations. I don't rule out the possibility of supernatural spiritual experiences,though. I am just highly suspitious of the majority of them.

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  35. Btw, anantaranda, I'm not sure if you were even discussing supernatural spiritual experiences. I just put that in there without having read the whole thread.

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  36. Anon said...Now I find out that not only are the experiences themselves of questionable value, which I accept as an older adult, but that I am essentially brain damaged, which was what I was taunted with as a young person. Of course that also made me stronger.


    Maybe now would be a good time to stop whining about it and regain your original identity as "Anonymous".

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  37. cchinma devi2/11/2007 7:00 AM

    chuck said

    "I pointed out to Blade that some of the greatest literature produced in the West (ie The Searchers, Hondo and many other cowboy novels)mentions the value of urine as a short term antiseptic as well as its indication for a host of chronic cowboy complaints. I do believe it is contraindicated if the cowboy suffers from gout."


    They just don't make Guru's like
    Louis L'Amour anymore!!

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  38. cchinma devi said...
    chuck said

    They just don't make Guru's like
    Louis L'Amour anymore!!
    ..........................

    Ain't it a shame, cchinma devi! Zane Grey was also a good one in his time, but the teaching style and language are just too old fashion. I keep hoping that Jody will seriously take up the western genre. He lives in the area where Billy the Kid's feet also trod. With the dust of those particular feet, something beautiful could grow!

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  39. I learned Dharma from Louis L'Amour.

    His teaching has been a asset in my life.

    I think it is perhaps too straightforward for most 'spiritual types'. There is no illusion of self-importance.
    I lived in Ganeshpuri much of the'70's. Louis was very popular in India and the books were very inexpensive. We had all the books there and they were the most popular in the Ashram. When i returned to America I bought Plutarch's "Lives of Noble Romans" and of course "The Sackett Companion".

    There is a system of drinking urine both of your own and that from a cow.

    It should be the first urine of the day and you should drink the middle third. In India the urine of a newborn calf is preferred.

    Urine is over 98% water. People who climb mountains and coal miners trapped in cave-ins know the value of drinking urine if nothing else to fend off dehydration. That guy who had to cut off his own arm in CO a few years ago survived by drinking his urine. It is not pleasant but it is not harmful either.

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  40. He lives in the area where Billy the Kid's feet also trod.

    As well as Kit Carson.

    Unfortunately, I'm not much of a cowboy. I've come to have more respect for the culture, but my vibe is closer to that of a backcountry geek, outfitted by the likes of REI as I travel on mountain bike, foot or skis. Those horses don't do much but fuck up the trails and leave shit everywhere.

    Once while at a Kali puja, Bhagavan Das instructed me in the fine art of piss drinking. As CCMDevi notes, it's the middle third that you are after. If I ever get lost in the BC away from water, I'll be drinking my PP if I have to.

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  41. jody said...
    Unfortunately, I'm not much of a cowboy. I've come to have more respect for the culture, but my vibe is closer to that of a backcountry geek, outfitted by the likes of REI as I travel on mountain bike, foot or skis. Those horses don't do much but fuck up the trails and leave shit everywhere.

    We have a saying in the Sierra.

    "If you don't see horseshit your not on the John Muir Trail".

    I spend a lot of time in the BC also.

    I really don't mind the Packers that much. If it weren't for them the trails would see less maintenance then they already do.

    It is nice to see some older folks have access to remote areas.

    Here we have options of trails where they are prohibited. Also can opt for XC routes.

    Mountain bikes do a lot of trail damage also and run people over.

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  42. Mountain bikes do a lot of trail damage also

    Not nearly as much damage as horses and cattle do, at least in New Mexico.

    and run people over.

    Mountain bikes don't run people over. Idiots on mountain bikes run people over.

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  43. I suggest you all go hug Amma and then post.

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  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  45. i think SHe very much is.

    Mmmmm. The Kool-Aid tastes soooo good!

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  46. Whoever thinks Amma is a weird person who thinks she is God, you are very wrong. She has no ego, so how can she say she is God? She represents this union through Devi Bhava, where she sits like an empress by wearing a silver crown, silk sari, and darker skin, just like Devi.

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  47. she sits like an empress by wearing a silver crown, silk sari, and darker skin, just like Devi.

    That's called acting.

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  48. Jai Ma!

    Jai Ma!

    Jai Ma!

    Don't talk about what you don't know

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  49. Don't talk about what you don't know

    Guess what, Buster, this is something that I do know about. And you know what, Amma isn't any more Kali than my dog, or any other creature which traverses this Earth.

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  50. YOU GUYS DONT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING OR SAYING , IT SEEMS LIKE THERE IS A LOT OF TIME IN YOUR HANDS TO WASTE IT!

    JAY MA!

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  51. AMMA IS THE GREATEST GURU OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHE IS GODDDD!!!!!!!!

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