Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Amma’s Ashram in Amritapuri

We took a local bus from Kanyakumari to Kollam and then caught the ferry through the backwaters to Amritapuri to visit Amma’s Ashram.

Where we arrived we were impressed by the warmth of people around us- asking if we need help with baggage, if we had eaten lunch yet, and advising us about the hours of reception. After we checked in, we went to our immaculately clean room and realized we were in a palm tree forest. I’ve never seen so many palm trees in my life. Pictures don’t do the scene justice.
Setting up our beds in the immaculately clean room

Arabian Sea to the right and backwaters to the left, a million palm trees in between
Amma, known by many as “the mother to all”, is considered by many to be a human god. I’m not sure where I stand on that statement, but that’s not so important. Her ashram is home to many people from all walks of life: Indians and foreigners, old and young, rich and poor, single and married, full time residents and short term travelers. It was interesting to learn about Amma as she is known for her embrace- a hug. She travels all over the world and millions flock to her in hopes of receiving a hug from her. Her hugs are said to be the most comforting and remove sorrow from those in her embrace.

She wasn’t there when we visited so no Amma-hugs for us. We did, however, take part in their bhajans (devotional singing) and seva (service) opportunities. There was also a yoga class in the morning we went to and sunset meditation on the Arabian Sea coast.

It was an eye-opening experience and I’m appreciative to all the people we talked to there who taught us about Amma and their admiration for her. 

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