Reflections of Amma : devotees in a global embrace by Mata Amritanandamayi; Lucia, Amanda J.; Mata Amritanandamayi

By Mata Amritanandamayi; Lucia, Amanda J.; Mata Amritanandamayi

Globally referred to as Amma, which means "Mother," Mata Amritanandamayi has built an enormous transnational humanitarian association dependent in hugs. She is prevalent to thousands because the “hugging saint,” a moniker that derives from her difficult darshan courses in which approximately on a daily basis 10000 everyone is embraced via the guru one by one, occasions that many times final ten to 20 hours with none relaxation for her. even if she was once born in 1953 as a low-caste lady in a South Indian fishing village, this day thousands revere her as guru and goddess, a residing embodiment of the divine on earth.

Reflections of Amma makes a speciality of groups of Amma’s devotees within the usa, exhibiting how they recreation to reflect their guru’s behaviors and remodel themselves to emulate the ethos of the stream. This research argues that “inheritors” and “adopters” of Hindu traditions otherwise interpret Hindu goddesses, Amma, and her relation to feminism and women’s empowerment as a result of their inherited non secular, cultural, and political tendencies. during this insightful ethnographic research, Amanda J. Lucia discovers how the politics of yankee multiculturalism reifies those cultural modifications in “de facto congregations,” even though Amma’s embody makes an attempt to erase communal barriers in desire of worldwide unity.

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It analyzes Amma’s positioning of the Hindu goddess as a religious exemplar for human women and probes its signification for internally diverse groups of Introduction | 23 immigrant Indian Hindus and American metaphysicals. Here I aim to show that Indian Hindus do not often equate veneration of the goddess with female empowerment, whereas American metaphysicals often idealize the goddess as a potent symbol for their feminist projects. But these clear cultural dichotomies become less distinct when all Amma devotees are encouraged to develop a mimetic relationship with Amma, whom they believe to be a living goddess.

My multisited ethnographic approach sought to follow devotees through these layers and regions in order to experience a similar transitivity as the majority of devotees who participate in these multifarious arenas. The combinative analytical strategies of sociocultural anthropology, ethnography, and history produced this text. I interlaced these strands together to approach Amma’s organization on a multiplicity of levels with the aim of depicting it and engaging it through a variety of lenses. 42 I also assisted in the orchestration, hosting, and staffing of Amma’s Chicago programs (July 2007–2013).

I suggest that Hindu devotees who are drawn into Amma’s movement find her message appealing not in spite of it upsetting traditional gender hierarchies but, rather, because it embraces advaita vedantic nonduality articulated through egalitarianism and democratic values. In opposition to Amma’s message, the dominant strains of contemporary Indian feminism largely minimize the importance of Hindu goddesses as exemplary role models for Hindu women. Indian feminists are palpably conscious of the ways in which the self-sacrificing behaviors exhibited by some Hindu goddesses (Sita) are difficult to rectify with the goals of a feminist political project.

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