Amma, Ammachi, "The Hugging Saint".
Posted by: violetdoves ()
Date: August 11, 2008 06:56AM

I am an ex-devotee of the cult of Mata Amritanandamayi, who is frequently referred to in the Western media as “the hugging saint”. It is common for members of this cult to malign ex-devotees for leaving the organization. Threats and physical retaliation are also common against those who speak up regarding the suspicious activities of the Mata Amritanandayi Math and M.A. Center. Even the act of raising questions is often greeted with violent and hyper-defensive retaliation from her devotees. My case is certainly no exception.

It was on July 29th, almost a year after I had left the group, that I was informed by a casual reader of the cults online Yahoo group that both my partner and I were on the groups “prayer list”. I made a brief post at this time requesting that our names be removed from the prayer list. This request was greeted with hostility from the group, and an attempt to slander my name and reputation via character assassination. References were made that I am an alleged drug addict.

Both my partner and I work with at-risk youth, most of whom have life threatening drug addictions. In most of our work (she is a clinical therapist and I am a volunteer) people still know our "spiritual" names and we are known within the community by these names. To be labeled a drug addict, is an attempt to malign my and my partners’ credentials as therapists and volunteer workers with populations suffering from addiction. I don't even know who the person who made this accusation is, as I have never associated socially with devotees even when I was one. You can imagine the negative impact this type of libel could have on both of our work. I have requested that these posts be removed immediately, but the moderator so far has refused to take action. The moderator has chosen not to delete these posts, but to also continue posting messages under the original topic. This behavior represents a deliberate agenda to defame my name and threaten my credentials within my community. I recently reported them for abuse of TOS to the Yahoo administration, yet as of this date Yahoo has refused to take action.

I am ready to proceed with legal action against the original poster and potentially against Yahoo inc. in regard to this matter. The original poster of the defamatory material can be held legally responsible for the initiation of false and libelous statements. Since I have already requested in writing for the material to be removed, and the moderator has deliberately refused, I am now able to proceed with legal action. I would like to move forward with this for the protection of current and future ex-devotees who will undoubtedly be defamed by this group should they express their dissatisfaction with the cults activities. If you have been defamed or subject to libel as a result of your association with the cult of Mata Amritanandamayi, please contact me via, a website which I currently contribute articles and support. The e-mail will be forwarded to me. The legal process for Internet defamation suits is a lengthy and complicated one, and while I am in talks with an attorney, I welcome any legal advice or counsel regarding this case as well as discussions with those similarly affected and interested in pursuing a class action lawsuit.

UPDATE: The above post was posted on several message boards, incuding Guruphiliac and the Ex-Amma Yahoo forum. Within a span of two days, I have received no less than 20 e-mails from
devotees, most of them anonymous. Of all of these e-mails, three of them threatened physical harm to myself and my family. They claimed to know where I live and one claimed that they could easily find out personal information on me from my old Amma retreat registrations. The gist of this was that basically Amma "protects" her devotees and that I am slandering Amma by speaking up about these people launching character assassination on me.

I've also received e-mails accusing me of being a fanatic and wanting to know why I am visiting the Amma Yahoo groups if I am no longer a devotee. As I explained, I visited this group when I was told that they were involving me in their prayer list and making accusations of drug addiction. The Cult Of The Hugging Saint website has also had to delete handfuls of e-mails regarding this situation. As you can see, the typical reaction of devotees towards those who speak up is in full swing.

I have deleted the initial offending e-mails, but plan to hang onto
any future e-mails that are threatening and antagonistic. I am no
longer engaging these fanatics in conversations, but will be taking
the legal route in regard to the slanderous posts and any future
e-mail threats.

While I thought I had left the cult and all thoughts of it behind me, I am happy to fully take up the cause of exposing their hypocrisy. People should be able to leave Amma as they please, without suffering slander, threats and deliberate attempts at character assassination years later. I know for a fact that I am not the only one who has gone through this, and I intend to speak up on behalf of those who are afraid to.

For those of you who have not heard, the website recently disappeared from the Internet without a trace. The owner of the site suspects that it was an interception of the Ammachi people. There are several ex-devotees and volunteers working to get the site and all of its content back online. The Ammachi corporation continuously tries to destroy anything that gets in the way of it’s carefully crafted and maintained media image.

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Re: Amma, Ammachi, "The Hugging Saint".
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 24, 2009 05:31AM

For those of you who have not heard, the website recently disappeared from the Internet without a trace. The owner of the site suspects that it was an interception of the Ammachi people. There are several ex-devotees and volunteers working to get the site and all of its content back online. The Ammachi corporation continuously tries to destroy anything that gets in the way of it’s carefully crafted and maintained media image.
Hi. Unfortunately I have a good friend who is an Ammachi devotee. I just checked... the "Cult of the Hugging Saint" website you mentioned is up again.

[[url=]Cult of the Hugging Saint[/url]]

I hope you and your partner are okay.

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Re: Amma, Ammachi, "The Hugging Saint".
Posted by: Missbee ()
Date: March 30, 2009 06:58AM

What a shame. I once lived on an extremely dodgy and dysfunctional off-the-grid community. Quite a few of the people associated with that community--lived there or who had lived there--were very active in the local AC ashram. something always struck me as "not quite right" with it all. But of course, I said nothing; the devotees were pretty starry-eyed--difficult to say anything critical, I thought.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I hope your reputations as therapists remain in tact. It's amazing--really an eye-opener--to see how much of this stuff goes on.

I'm currently recovering from a good deal of "New Age Fundamentalism." It's something to watch the icons come crashing down--so many illusions to shatter!

Hope and support to you--

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Re: Amma, Ammachi, "The Hugging Saint".
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 30, 2009 09:46AM

My rule of thumb is, the more a group talks about love, love, love, the more nasty they become when dysfunctional.

Ive run into Amma people at one of the local Indian themed events, several years in a row. They always felt sticky, as if desperate, too desperate for converts.

If you have total satisfaction from your spiritual practice, it should eliminate that kind of craving driven proslytization.

A local shop is very, very into Amma, and interestingly they have a photo of her in their store window, wearing that gold crown that resembles a cross between an Egyptian pharoah headress and the triaditioanal triple crown tiara worn by the Roman Catholic pope.

If that thing is solid gold, it must be Headache City, be hot as the dickens if worn for longer than an hour and is probably kept well guarded in a safe when Amma isnt wearing it.

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Re: Amma, Ammachi, "The Hugging Saint".
Posted by: Oerlikon ()
Date: June 05, 2010 10:53AM

New article on Mata Amritanandamayi, the so called "hugging saint."‏


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Re: Amma, Ammachi, "The Hugging Saint".
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 19, 2013 04:19AM

One thing that many of us do not take into account is that it is common to feel a sense of strangeness, even a sort of dizziness/giddiness when we meet someone whom we have thought about, fantasized about, seen only in pictures.

On another thread, I described how strange and off balance I felt when, at a neighborhood meet-and-greet, I saw our city's mayor from just 4 feet away. Prior to that, I'd only seen him in the news, in photographs.

I had no notion of the mayor being a holy person.l No fantasies of him.

Yet I felt a strange sense of disorientation merely seeing him in person, after years of just seeing him via media representations.

So imagine the magnitude if someone has been hearing about some guru from friends, seen pictures of her in multiple venues and then ADD IN GURU THEATRE.

This will accelerate the impact.

Here is an article by someone who attended an Amma event and was prepared to be sympathetic. What this person notes is how the setting is arranged to massage and amplify emotion.



What worried me was what surrounded all of this niceness and how some of it wasn't really all that nice.

The set up has been psychologically and theatrically designed for the maximum build-up just before you get the big pay off..

The second floor of the hotel has been re-imagined as a spiritual wonderland, sort of a Hindu themed fairground complete with uniformed Mousekateers to guide you through. After you get your number you stand in a long line, drawing slowly ever nearer to the saint herself. “Have your ticket visible,” I was told several times. Can’t have any line jumpers! And you’d be amazed how many of these “spiritual seekers” will elbow the next guy out of the way to get their shaktipat first.

As you get closer you see that Amma is surrounded by concentric circles of ever more devoted disciples. There are three or four guys right next to her watching her the way a dog watches its master as she speaks what I assume are beautiful spiritual messages to them, to which they dare not reply or in any way engage in conversation with someone so divine. After that are rings of worshippers swooning just to be in the Amma’s presence. When they remove Amma’s chair many of these will run up to lay prostrate and kiss the ground upon which it had sat.

As you move closer to Amma you gradually surrender more and more of your own will. First your shoes come off. Then you’re directed in a line by authoritative people who instruct you to move from chair to chair. Then you are pushed into a kneeling position such that you are crawling for the last ten feet or so. Then they remove your jewelry and glasses and wipe off your face like you’re a three year old child. Finally you are pushed powerlessly into Amma’s -- they call her “Mother” -- waiting embrace.

This sounds like the way parcels are processed at Fed Ex, DHL or UPS.

Except at the postal facility there is zero mystique.

Force has been defined as that which turns a person into an object.

Even if someone is feeling estatic, I see people being infantalized and treated as objedcts.

Neurons diddled to release first dopamine and then the endogenous opioids.

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