“Motherliness is the soul of all healing.”–Hindu ScriptureIT is often heard in spiritual circles thatwhen the student is ready, the teacherappears. If this is so, then our troubledworld must be ready to learn a new way ofbeing, because a great teacher has indeedappeared.Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi,known to millions as Amma, or “the huggingsaint of India,” has come to teachhumanity, by her example, that the cultivationof spiritual power is the way to theattainment of personal contentment andworld peace, and that the way to achievespiritual power is through meditation andloving service to the poor and the suffering.Devotees of Amma claim that the rightside of her face is permanently bruised as aresult of hugging each person who comesbefore her at the end of her public appearances– 30 million and still counting. Theidea is that her unconditionally lovingembrace will ignite the sparks of love,compassion, empathy and tolerance hiddenin each human heart.IN her moving keynote address at theParliament of the World’s Religions lastJune in Barcelona, Spain, Amma said:“Today we search externally for the causesand solutions to all the problems of theworld. In our haste, we forget the greatesttruth of all – that the source of all problemsis to be found in the human mind. We forgetthat the world will become good only ifthe mind of the individual becomes good.”To accomplish her mission of transformingthe world one mind and one heartat a time, Amma has toured the UnitedStates, Australia, Asia and Europe everyyear since 1987 (see www.amma.org andwww.amma-europe.org). She also sendsher senior monks all over the world toteach the Integrated Amrita MeditationTechnique wherever they are invited bydevotees, and to help run her worldwidecharities.AMMA’S work in the world cutsthrough all barriers of nationality, race,caste and religion, and her vast network ofcharitable activities is drawing attentionthroughout the world.Her swift response to the devastatingtsunami in December saved untold lives.From the first moments, she personallydirected rescue efforts in India; none of the13,000 people at Amritapuri Ashram –home to Amma and her students – inKerala, a coastal province in southernIndia, suffered injuries.In addition to overseeing the serving of10,000 meals three times a day, Amma setin motion plans for more permanent freehousing, education, job training, the constructionof orphanages and free clinics,and psychological and spiritual help forchildren and others who had witnessed thedeaths of family members.The spiritual leader stunned the worldby pledging $23 million – one of thelargest donations by a single organization –from her charitable trust for continuingrehabilitation of the area and its residents.THE charitable trust has initiated awide variety of projects, including theconstruction of free housing for the homeless,pensions for destitute women, homesfor the elderly, schools for India’s indigenouspopulation, environmental projects,and numerous hospitals and institutionsof vocational and higher education(www.amritapuri.org).Today, Amma receives regular invitations from international organizations toaddress global issues such as world peace,the environment and equality for women.She has been honored with many awards,culminating in 2002, when Jane Goodallpresented her with the Gandhi-King Awardfor Nonviolence at the United Nationsheadquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.IN preparation for Amma’s future visitto Costa Rica – though the date remainsunspecified – Swami Dayamrita is returningto the country next week to conduct themeditation course in San José and to holdsatsang, celebrations of spiritual truth, inSan José and in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca,on the southern Caribbean coast. Both programs,including meals, are free and opento the public, and will be conducted inEnglish with Spanish translation.Satsang in Puerto Viejo will be heldat Casa Amma, in Playa Negra, May 5,from 5:30-8:30 p.m. In San José, the eventwill take place at the Federation ofVoluntary Organizations (FOV) May 6and 7, from 7-9:30 p.m. The meditationcourse – pre-registration is required – willtake place May 7, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., andcontinue May 8, from 1-5 p.m., at the FOVin Barrio Tournón, Calle 1, Avenida 13,125 meters south of ULACIT. For moreinformation or to register, call 282-0196or 750-0082, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.Swami Dayamrita last visited CostaRica in May of last year (TT, May 7,2004). This year, in addition to satsang,the swami will be leading a meditationand giving a talk at Unity Costa Rica, inPiedades de Santa Ana, southwest of SanJosé, May 8, at 9 a.m. For details, call203-4411.
Today in Costa Rica