Sunday night went to Ally Pally to greet Amma. Amma is an Indian woman who tirelessly travels the world with a message of love basically.
This is what it says on her website:
Through her extraordinary acts of love and self-sacrifice, Mata Amritanandamayi, or Amma (Mother) as she is known, has endeared herself to millions of people around the world.
Tenderly caressing everyone who comes to her, holding them close to her heart in a loving embrace, Amma shares her boundless love with all-regardless of their beliefs, who they are or why they have come to her. In this simple yet powerful way, Amma is transforming the lives of countless people, helping their hearts to blossom, one embrace at a time. In the past 36 years, Amma has physically hugged more than 26 million people from all parts of the world. In some places, she has embraced 40 to 50 thousand people in a single programme, sitting almost 24 hours to do so.
Her tireless spirit of dedication to uplifting others has inspired a vast network of charitable activities through which people are discovering the beauty and sense of peace that come from selflessly serving others.
Amma teaches that the Divine exists in everything, sentient and insentient. Perceiving this underlying unity in all things is not only the essence of spirituality but also the means to end all suffering. Amma’s teachings are universal. Whenever she is asked about her religion, she replies that her religion is Love. She does not ask anyone to believe in God or to change their faith, but only to inquire into their own real nature, and to believe in themselves.
Hundreds of her followers had come from far and wide to see her, hear her and be hugged by her. As I waited to go on stage to greet her formally, she came into the hall and hugged me. A small woman, dressed in white – who gives millions of pounds to help the poorest and those struck by disaster.
The teaching – it seemed to me – was really just good old-fashioned principles – thinking of others before oneself and helping others. Thinking each day by ones own behaviour how to make things better for others.
Clearly there was a huge amount of love for her in the vast hall – and her devotees find a spiritual home with her credo. I very much enjoyed the occasion. I placed a garland round her neck and was hugged a second time. I gave my speech and then after a few more formalities – left the stage.
In the end – I just think that anyone who wants to help others, spread love and gives up their life to do so – is a phenomenal power for good.
And I don’t know if the hugs worked – but I did go home and decide to try and be nicer to my children!