her holiness sri mata amritanandamayi devi
For me, Amma is an enigma. She is a mystery that our mind can never ever comprehend, because She operates from a reality that our mind cannot know. Yet at the same time, She is the most intimate experience that we could ever experience as human beings. She is our very own Self, so She knows us like no other person can ever know us. It is because of this intimate experience, that we can open up to Her in ways that might never have been possible before.
Her name is Mata Amritanandamayi, and She is an incarnation of the Divine Mother; the source of all physical manifestation in the entire Universe. This is also something that the mind cannot comprehend, so don’t even try. Yet for those of us that have experienced Her mystery deeply and have been touched by Her grace, this statement cannot even begin to describe the power of Love She brings into this world.
Amma was born in a small rural fishing village in Kerala, South India. During Her childhood She manifested many signs that revealed Her deep abidance with the Divine. Many of the local villagers believed Amma was crazy, because of how strange She behaved at times. Her family treated Her quite poorly, seeing Her behavior as an abnormality. People simply didn’t understand Her. But Amma never tried to dissuade them, She knew deeply that it was all part of God’s plan. But over the years, as Amma grew older, Her infinite love and acts of compassion toward those who were suffering made people more aware of her Divine nature. People naturally were attracted to Her, and soon some wanted to stay with Her. The unconditional love and deep wisdom emanating from just a simple, fishing girl was extraordinary and captivating.
Today, Amma is a huge international force. She devotes herself night and day, every day, to the awakening of humanity and the easing of people’s suffering. She has manifested (from absolutely nothing) endless humanitarian efforts—projects that are unprecedented in their creative impact to relieve the suffering of all of Her children. Her charitable projects include:
- Award-winning universities
- Her 800-bed, super-specialty hospital that’s completely free-of-charge to the poor
- Building tens of thousands of homes for the homeless
- Pensions for widows
- Huge environmental projects
- And the list goes on and on and on—all over the world.
For me and thousands of others, Amma is the Sat-Guru. She is the spiritual master who really sees us. She sees our truest Self, and also sees how that Self is designed to manifest in the world. She sees our potential. The way that Amma operates on us is very deep. She isn’t overly concerned about giving us little glimpses, or awakenings; although these glimpses can occur often in Her presence. Amma is going for the root cause of our separation. She is pulling out the “me” from our existence; that center individual that is so absorbed with itself. It is this central “me” that keeps us from knowing and living as the Self, our true essence. Amma knows that spiritual experiences are inspiring, yet she will not give them if she knows the ego will cling to them. She also will not give us big congratulations if we have an awakening, because that would only make the ego feel better about itself. The only time I remember her giving me any sort of approval, was when I have gone through intense and terrifying periods of surrender, when the ego had been let go of. She whispered “good girl” in my ear, and that was it. No big deal.
Amma sees the perfect jewel within us. She sees our potential, and She cuts and shapes us to bring out the brilliance of what She sees. This is not always an easy process. There may be times we feel we want to die, because the ego cannot see its own survival in what it is going through. And that’s the good news! There have been many moments when I have seen that my process, the stripping away, is the only thing I truly want. I must live this life authentically to feel deeply connected to the love that is guiding this life.
I have a lot of faith in my relationship with Amma. I have given myself over to that relationship, which is the relationship with the supreme Self, in order that the process can go as deep as it possibly can. Amma tells me that I will always have a Master, and I interpret this in many ways, one of which is that the process will never ever end. We are always being pushed to the edge of what we know. If we can cooperate with that, we will be led to our deepest potential, which is never ever realized, because it is continually deepening as well. Consciousness is not a stagnant experience; it is also expanding, deepening, and exploring its own nature.
The work of a Sat-Guru, a true one, is much different that an ordinary spiritual teacher. Amma works so much deeper than anyone I have ever encountered, and I have sat with enough teachers to know the difference. Most of Amma’s teachings are shared in deep silence, as She transmits a powerful force of purifying love into those of us that are open enough to receive it.
Only those that are open and humble can receive this pure, Divine Love. It is the image of a chalice of nectar flowing into an empty cup. We must be empty of what we think we know. This is real spiritual humility. Divine love works on a level that may not be recognizable at first. We might not be seeing any changes in ourselves. We may be in a hurry to awaken, and we may want special spiritual experiences to convince ourselves of our advancement. If none of these experiences happen we may get discouraged, or we may think that we will never be free of our “stuff.” We may think that it is all too difficult, and wonder, ‘What’s the point of all this?’
The Sat-guru knows what She is doing. She is rendering our ego harmless, so that it is out of the way and that it won’t corrupt our process. The ego really wants to awaken too, and often times it will hold onto any “advancement” that it feels it is acquiring. This is very dangerous to our journey. Amma makes sure this doesn’t happen, and sometimes She is very firm about it. She needs to be. This is why it is so essential to have an extremely strong relationship with the Divine, whether it be in the form of the guru, or spiritual teacher, or the formless presence which is beyond our own experience of our self. Our relationship must endure, so that it can take us beyond what the ego thinks it needs and wants.
My gratitude for Amma is beyond words. I cannot imagine having the courage to go through the level of surrender that has been necessary without her precise guidance and loving support. Each time I am with Amma, She looks at me deeply, letting me know that She knows precisely what is happening. This allows me to recognize that it is exactly what I want, deep down inside my Self. I will always have Amma as my master. She is the Sat-Guru, and She is my Mother. She lives in my heart and breathes me. She is my own True Self, reflecting back radiant Love, and She belongs to us all.
Om Amriteshwaryai Namah!