Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, affectionately known as Amma, is a Hindu saint who teaches in the great Goddess tradition of India. For the last twenty-five years, she’s been coming to the United States and administering a simple gesture of love: a hug. Known as darshan, her embrace is considered a spiritual blessing of the highest possible magnitude.
Amma is currently on tour in the United States, stopping at many of the country’s major cities for week-long programs.
Below, she speaks on the spiritual reasons behind natural disasters.
The Huffington Post reports:
Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, aka Amma the Hugging Saint, kicked off her 25th North American tour with a six-plus hour hug-a-thon in a suburban Seattle hotel ballroom on May 27.
There’s more to Amma’s bliss than just a sandalwood-scented cuddle: her Embracing the World charity has raised millions for global disaster relief, sending funds, medical supplies, food and shelter to victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and other calamities, particularly in her native India. In the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster this year, her volunteers have focused on helping the hard-hit coastal city of Rikuzentakata. (Amma will visit Japan in late July, several months later than originally planned, to give the region more time to recover.)
Speaking through a translator as she continued embracing dozens of devotees of all ages, ethnicities and creeds, Amma expressed her views on natural disasters and the suffering of the innocent.
Why do natural disasters happen?
It’s mainly due to our own actions that negatively affect nature. Destroying forests, polluting rivers, cutting down trees. We have disturbed the balance of nature, disturbed the balance of the earth. Just like a building standing on pillars: if you demolish one pillar, that will create an imbalance in the whole structure. We are drilling oil wells, we are destroying mountains, polluting rivers, cutting down trees. So the only way is to have a compassionate approach. Look inwards, within you, and try to have a compassionate approach to nature. Our body is constituted with numerous cells. You can have some single cells that malfunction, and it creates an imbalance in the whole system.
For more information on Amma’s free programs, you can check out her site here.