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Guru Trip (Amma)
by Samanthe
Citation:   Samanthe. "Guru Trip (Amma): An Experience with Amma (exp16657)". Jul 11, 2003.

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I went to visit Amma, 'the hugging saint,' on her tour of my area. Amma is believed by many to be a living incarnation of the Divine Mother. I had been intrigued by stories about her in the book Cunt and as recounted to me by a friend who is a devotee. In an unusual departure from typical guru style, people take darshan with Amma by getting hugged by her. [In Hindu worship, 'darshan' is the beholding of an auspicious deity, person, or object. The experience results in a blessing of the viewer.] In India, she has been known to hug people for 18 hours straight without a break. People have reported all sorts of mystical and ecstatic experiences in her presence.

This was the only opportunity I've ever had to witness an Indian-style guru, so I took it. On the way there in the car, I felt a particularly heightened emotion and anxiety, bordering on potential panic, which felt intensely uncomfortable. Once in the meditation hall, I sat down and beheld the hundreds of followers of Amma around me. After some time, she came into the hall, amidst much adulation. There were lectures, then singing and meditation. During this time, my whole body was on alert, like it was tuning in to the excited energy in the room. I was getting a contact him. I noticed with a start at one point that the alert felt like a 'when is this going to launch into a psychedelic state,' kind of alert. But then I felt comforted because I knew I was just sitting there and hadn't eaten any drugs. However, I felt I was in the presence of an intense power, in the form of this tiny woman surrounded by her doting followers.

I stayed in observation mode, but I got a whiff of the fanaticism that some people can have for [insert strongly held belief] at times. At one point, caught up in the high, I turned to my friend and said, 'this is what some people do who don't do psychedelics,' which felt slightly stupid and inarticulate once it left my lips, but it was the reference point I was thinking of at the time, on account of the way I was feeling.

In the car on the way back home, I felt a sense of peace and contemplation. I felt I had just glimpsed what sustains some followers of Amma the way that the belief in psychedelics, or a Christian god -- or some other power larger than ourselves -- sustains various other people. It was perplexing and and humbling.

Exp Year: 2002ExpID: 16657
Gender: Female 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Jul 11, 2003Views: 12,623
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Ritual (129) : First Times (2), Large Group (10+) (19)

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