Maria d’Ajuda, indigenous midwife and shaman “The plants that can be used as medicine shine in my sight. I smell them, I feel them. I can’t read, but I can read the earth, the plants and the medicines.” Her...
At birth, she received the name Sudhamani. From her childhood, she was often seen in a state of deep meditation.
Mātā Amritanandamayī Devi, better known as Amma (meaning “mother”), was born on September 27, 1953 in the little village of Parayakadavu (where she founded her ashram named Amritapuri), near Kollam, Kerala (southern India). She is much admired inside and outside of India, respected as a humanitarian. Many revere her as a Mahatma (Great Soul) and a living saint, the hugging saint.
A great devotee of Krishna, at age five she’d spontaneously compose little devotional tunes. When she turned nine, her mother fell sick and she offered to take care of the house and her seven siblings. She dropped out of school despite having been a dedicated student with a photographic memory, according to her teachers. She offered up every moment of her long working journey to the Lord. However, her family did not understand her interior process, and so they’d punish her. After finishing her daily chores, at night Sudhamani would meditate, sing or pray. She could see much pain and suffering in the poverty of her village. The world’s cruelty and selfishness only increased her devotion to God. Her objective, which had been to seek the Divine, became to console others in pain and suffering. She began to donate food from her own home and to buy medicine for poor neighbors, oftentimes paying the price through punishment for giving away so much.
At age 22, Amma began to spread her spiritual message, and innumerable people sought her out to receive her blessings. Some young spiritual seekers joined her as disciples and created a small religious congregation (ashram) that continued to grow. In time, a temple dedicated to the goddess Kali was built in the ashram. As of 1987, she began to be internationally recognized with the beginning of her overseas pilgrimages. “The Mother” is revered by millions of people all over the world for her spiritual stature, humility, and extensive charity work.
Amma was chosen as one of three representatives of the Hindu faith at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago. She was invited by the UN a second time to participate in the World Peace Summit. The UN awarded her the Gandhi-King Award for non-violence.