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Amma To Visit the DC Area in July

Hilton Hotel in McLean, VA, July 12 & 13

by Staff

Mata Amritanandamayi, or Amma, as she is commonly known, will be at the Hilton Hotel in McLean, VA on July 12 and 13, offering morning and even-ing programs. The programs are free and open to the public. No reservations or registrations are required.

This is the 13th summer visit to the DC area by Amma. Each summer thousands come each day to see her, seeking the warm, spiritual atmosphere around her and her individual blessing, which she gives in the form of a hug to each person who comes up to her. For this she is often called "the hugging Saint". She has given millions of hugs around the world.

Amma has become famous through-out the world for her humanitarian act-ivities, compassion and her profound spiritual wisdom. Her organization is an officially recognized NGO of the United Nations.

In today’s busy, stressed world, with the financial crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism and so much bad news, people are thirsting for the kind of inner peace, love and meaning-fulness that Amma radiates. Amma is known to convey her profound wisdom about life in simple stories and parables that are easy to understand.

It’s common to see people of all religions, faiths and cultural back-grounds attending her programs, as her message of love, compassion and service is a universal one. Many people describe a sense of healing and inner peace after their time with Amma. Others come to enjoy her spiritual talk, or to listen to the beautiful Indian devotional music, or to eat the vegetar-ian and Indian food, or just to shop at the book store for Indian artifacts, CD’s, clothing and other items.

Amma was born to a poor family in a small fishing village in Kerala on the Southwest coast of India. Even as a young child she would help the elderly, needy and ill in her village. Often she would give away what little her own family had. She would enter into long deep meditations and devotional prac-tices. This worried her parents. They felt something was wrong with her and scolded her. But Amma was immersed in her own world, totally unaffected by the criticism and chastising of her fam-ily. During this time, Amma had to spend her days and nights outside, under the open sky, forgoing food and sleep.

Amma says "even from early child-hood Amma knew that God – the Self, the Supreme Power – alone is Truth and that the world is not the absolute reality." Amma was deeply troubled by the suffering of humanity and didn’t want to live in this world where so many were suffering. She felt that people’s suffering was due to their karma, or the fruit of their past deeds. But Amma was not satisfied with this and went deeper. She says that then the answer came from within: "if it is their karma to suffer, isn’t it your dharma (duty) to help them?" Experiencing her oneness with all of creation, Amma realized that her purpose in life was to uplift ailing humanity. It was out of this desire that Amma started her spiritual mission, spreading the message of truth, love and compassion throughout the world, by receiving one and all.

Amma is a renunciate who has never asked for money, yet she has created dozens of highly successful humanitarian facilities and services. Her charitable activities to help the poor and suffering include disaster relief (her organization was the largest NGO donator of Tsunami relief in India and Sri Lanka), a state of the art hospital, a large orphanage, many schools, medical institutes, over 30 thousand houses built and donated to the homeless in India, food for the hungry in hundreds of locations around the world, pensions for the elderly and disadvantaged and more.

Thousands of people, inspired by her selflessness, volunteer to help. Funding for her non profit organizations come from the sales of books, spiritual accessories, clothing and other items at her programs on her worldwide tours. Funding also comes from donations.

Amma has received increasing recognition around the world. She has been honored by the President of India, the Governor of her state of Kerala and the President of Sri Lanka among many others. In 2006, Amma received the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award from the Interfaith Center of New York in honor of her efforts to foster peace and harmony between religions. Other honorees included Supreme Court Justice Steven Beyer and noted actor and humanitarian Richard Gere. In 2004, Amma delivered the closing plenary address at the Parliament of World Religions in Barcelona, Spain. Previously, she was honored with the prestigious Gandhi-King Award for Non violence at the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the U N in 2002. Previous recipients of this award have included Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Jane Goodall. Amma spoke to the United Nations General Assembly at the Millenium World Peace Summit in 2000.

For further infrmation about Amma’s upcoming programs in July see www.ammadc.org or call 240-696-1927.

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