Tag Archives: Amma

Her safe embrace (troibun)

I realize at my age it may sound silly to say I am an orphan but when your last parent dies,  that is what we are regardless of our age. My father passed in 2004 and  I am without my mother since December 2014; however,  fate had it that I would never have to feel alone. After a year of writing poetry and blogging, I first heard of a very special and divine person through a writer in India, Sreejit Poole from TheSeekersDungeon who introduced me to his mother, Karuna Poole from LivingLearningAndLettingGo, who in turn told me about this famous Guru.   In the summer of 2014 I met this auspicious person who truly made me feel at peace.  This was five months before my mother passed.

Last week,  I traveled thousands of miles to  gather among devotees for a three-day retreat.  It was more than meditating at dawn; it was more than yoga stretches and poses.  It included waiting patiently for Amma’s Darshan, however in Sanskrit, this may mean an “auspicious sight”,  it was even more than merely bowing in the divine presence of Divine Mother, Mata Amritanandamayi who is known more as Amma (Mother). She is also known as the “hugging saint” and yes, she actually hugs each devotee who waits in line for her embrace, whether there are a hundreds waiting or thousands.  This selfless act of love and compassion, she offers to people all over the world.  I was fortunate to see Amma on her last North American Tour of 2016 before she returned to India.

Amma is known for her embrace but also for her compassion and humanitarianism


chants surround me
on bended knees
safe in Her embrace

love surrounds me
spirit lifting
with devotion

on bended knees
no longer an orphan
in Amma’s arms

safe in Her embrace
heeding  words
whispered in my ear


I found this music video sung by my favourite persons chanting mantras Deva Premal & Miten fit perfectly with this experience.

Amma – In The Light Of Love – Deva Premal & Miten

The first day of the retreat, I hesitated to kneel and was given a seat to receive Amma’s hug but the following days, I insisted on kneeling, telling myself, I can endure the pain for a few moments.  I had managed to concentrate on several weaknesses of my body during this retreat. 

For example,after responding to the 1000 names of The Divine Mother, we were led into a short silent meditation. The first day I had to use my inhaler to control my coughing but by the third day, I kept visualizing Amma’s face and telling myself, I can control my breathing if I slow it down, I will not be inclined to cough and it worked each time we meditated.  I learned to control the depth of my OM as well.  It was softer but by controlling the level of my voice, I was able to follow along respecting my limitations. 

It may seem like a minor accomplishment but for me it was astounding.  I talk for hours on the phone counselling youths nine hours a day, four day a week.  In the past year I have noticed towards the last two hours I am coughing more and find it difficult to talk for long periods of time.  I know now I am able to control the level of my voice…I will try to practice to talk slower and softer to take care of my throat and lungs. 

Some say when they receive Darshan, Amma gives them a profound and wise message.  I have never had one in person but each retreat I learn something and these past few days, I have received messages in silence.  I felt her presence helping me control my breathing.  There are other insights but I will share them on another post. 


Amma’s presence
healing and divine
gives me strength
unleashing unknown skills
mastering from within


Amma Darshan 

compassion’s desires (haibun)

To scratch an itch is certainly a need although one may feel wanting, filled with the urge to scratch.  If you’ve ever had chicken pox, measles or hives, you will get my drift here (smiles)  But what changes a want to a need? I am sure the answer is quite subjective as I think of my past desire to meet the famous hugging saint, Amma, (Mata Amritanandamayi) but once I did experience her warm embrace at a retreat, it did change me more than I had ever imagined.

Amma is known for her embrace but also for her compassion and humanitarianism
Amma is known for her embrace but also for her compassion and humanitarianism

wanting heart,
a saint’s embrace kissed my soul
my needs fulfilled

As I ponder on this “needs/wants” discussion, I can’t help but contemplate on Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. Love being the basic need to survive and thrive.

We also hear that there is no greater love than love for self. I find I love myself more and more when I love others, when I can help others. There must be some meaning in this for look at anyone in the world who lives a life of serving. I am far from such a person, being still selfish in many ways and content with my North American comforts. But look around at anyone who you’ve seen helping others. The smile of compassion and satisfaction is ever present on their faces.  The image of Amma comes to mind again when I see her smiling at her devotees, even after sixteen hours in a crowded room.

compassion’s longings
serving yields such precious gems
intrinsic needs met

© Tournesol ’16/01/08

Written for Challenge for growth prompts: Needs vs wants at LivingLearningandLettingGo

Home of Kali, Krishna, Amma (haiga – haiku)

With only 24 hours of free rides up in the sky, I choose India. I’d get to a little fishing village in Kerala, India and stay at Amritapuri Ashram with Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) and her devotees.

Oct 14 2015 trees

under autumn leaves
dreams of flying far away
home of Krishna

home of Krishna
fishing village by the sea
Amma sings

Amma sings
even snakes bow in honour
petals on her feet

© Tournesol ’15

OctPoWriMo #15 – Conquer the world

Scent of roses (haibun)

red roses at OliG

One feels her warmth as she pulls you toward her chest and hugs you as if you are her child. Fragrance of roses wash over you despite the thousands who have already surrendered to her loving embrace…

thoughts linger
weightless, yet, fulfilling
silencing the mind

silencing the mind
scent of roses awaken
feeling her embrace

© Tournesol ’15

Amma’s hugs

all one and the same (haibun)

Awakened by the lovely sound of birds chirping made her hope it might be sunny today.  It is! Her friend meows in protest for having shut her bedroom door earlier in the morning.  She chatters away expressing her discontent with a hint of hope to be stroked, fed and stroked some more.

The sky is a darker blue than most seasons…not quite cobalt but close with pearly billows drifting by accentuating the hues of this majestic sky.

sea of blue above
islands shaped in pearly greys
beg my surrender

She had moved her laptop in the living room so she could watch a movie last night and fires it up always curious to see the haiku prompt of the day at Carpe Diem Haiku kai.   In the past few months she has not been as regular contributing and she misses her haijin family.  Yesterday she took the time to visit a few siblings and cousins homes around the world in the blogosphere.

Her thoughts wander to a friend who is in San Ramon today and will be seeing Amma at her retreat. How she misses her warm and healing embrace.  Some call her a guru, others call her a hugging saint…she feels she is all of these and more. Her healing touch, her soothing smile, her words of wisdom and mostly her way of living by loving, giving tirelessly to humanity makes her heart swell.   Amma has a way of looking at you and making you see the beauty within. How she does it is a mystery or is it?  She does not preach laws but models compassion and asks us to see the light we all have within.

Her mind drifts off to sounds of various bhjans songs and the tabla drumming to her heartbeat.  Its echo makes her feel the divine beauty reflected from within.   So many instruments mimic nature and human sounds;  her Celtic spirit awakens with strings,  flutes and drums that soften her heart.  Drum circles come to mind and First Nations People who have become her conscious, reminding her to be good to Mother Earth.

© Pinterest

She looks at her mala beads and remembers hearing Amma say last year, “We are all beads strung on the same string of love.”   She tries to remember this daily.  The image of several homeless people who sit along her path to work come to mind.   Some speak French, English, Créole, Arabic or Spanish but she knows they all understand the same language…compassion.

sound of the drum
listen to the heart beat
all, one and the same

© Tournesol’15/11/14

Carpe Diem Extra Shaman

healing hugs (haibun)

She is a hugger, born and raised… a touchy feely “minouching” person. Her mother could never get enough holding her, kissing her, hugging her.  Her grandmaman rocked her and embraced her when she was sick. She always thought it was an innate asset for most mothers who had birthed children to have this gift of soothing their children regardless of their age. She never did outgrow that need to be hugged.  One day she met Amma.

mother breeds love
devotees are her children
hugs with compassion

(c) Tournesol ’15

Written for Carpe Diem Special The Childless Woman

DailyTelegraph – Power of love in the arms of a stranger

Photo Credits: Daily Telegraph

Devotion (haibun)

Since she was a young child she would often whisper a short prayer on her way to school such as The Lord’s Prayer with the image of her grandfather in her mind’s eye and this practice continued as an adult on her way to work.  In the past year she has been chanting her personal mantra with the image of Amma; sometimes her grandmother’s and mother’s images seem to slip in without her control.

Now she simply begins her mantra with the image of Amma and if her grandmother and mother want to slip in, she just goes with the flow. It is a wonderful way to start her day at work. In many ways she feels protected from some of the pain and suffering of her daily work.

(c) Clr '15
(c) Clr ’15

scans the heavens
chanting her mantra
filled with devotion


filled with devotion
three mothers protect her
love bursts in tears

(c) Tournesol ’15

Filled with grace (haiku)

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After communicating for months with Karuna, from Living, Learning and Letting Go, we did finally meet. I was blessed to have such a seasoned devotee of Amma. She was able to describe some of the traditions, the events that would take place each day. And thanks to her wise guidance, I was able to take advantage of every moment I could of being in the presence of this amazing sage, Amma.

I had shared with Karuna, that I uarrived here with an open mind but a heavy heart. Who does not have weight on their shoulders and in their heart? Such is life, non? But being in the presence of such a powerful, wise, loving and compassionate person, one can only naturally sway from grey or dark thoughts to brighter and hopeful reflections. Four days in such divine presence and four times blessed with a warm embrace…that’s right, I had four hugs in those four days.

Within a few hours, I could feel a divine presence and the attachment everyone had to their “mother- amma”; so many people shared their stories from past encounters; people who found their true love after speaking and embracing Amma, how special they felt when she held them, how more special one felt than another…and I could not help but see us all as children in pecking order to get our “mother’s” attention…see me, Mother, see how special I am!” I could not help but smile at that thought.

Did I sleep much? Not really, for it was also the full moon on Saturday/Sunday morning so we stayed up until 6 am. I will not go into detail to describe the events for Karuna and other writers would do this justice far better than me.

I did purchase a few items, (shopper that I am…but hey! it IS for a good cause!!) I started with a lovely scarf/shawl that I wore for my first hug, so it is now blessed. I also purchased a beautiful handmade book cover, a business card holder, beaded necklace and bracelet (the bracelet is practical for reciting my mantra, which I feel privileged to have been given by Amma), a lovely purse; and the perfume bottle was to place the blessed water we were ALL given on our last day, open to the public for Devi Bhava. Now this last day starts in the early evening and goes on until the wee hours of the morning, {so I was told} well, it went on all night until noon the next day!   Ending with weddings and much more. The energy was electrifying and although it was celebratory towards the end, there was a heaviness…a sadness that Amma would soon be leaving most of us that day for a long time. She will be missed…

(c) July 2014
(c) July 2014


in anticipation

my heart swelled and opened

filled with grace

(c) Cheryl-Lynn ’14/07/19