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At The Court Of The Hugging Saint

At The Court Of The Hugging Saint

October 31, 2012

Is it easier to believe in holy-men/women when you are an NRI?

“I am an interfaith ordained minister,” said the woman with curly hair and olive skin, wearing comfortable fatigue jeans. Smiling, she sat down in the queue next to the crowd control barriers behind me and in a skilful much practiced gesture slipped off her high heeled boots to wear what looked like ballet shoes. “I can marry people of any religion, conduct funerals, naming ceremonies…” I had never met anyone Interfaith before, in fact didn’t even realise that the concept of being Interfaith existed. Nor for that matter would I have met the Spanish tour guide ahead of me who spent took people on tours of Asia & Africa or the intriguing trio of Russian teenagers who seemed to be in high spirits as they chatted non-stop to each other in the queue ahead of me. There we were, a motley crew of nationalities, from all over the universe—and perhaps some from the other world too, my writers’ brain insisted—all lining up from 8.00 am that morning to pay our respects to Amma—the saint who was taking over the world with hugs. Volunteer after volunteer, radiant and beaming stopped by and asked “First time? It’s going to be an experience you will not forget.” After yet another kindly soul told me with a grin that I needed to take a Before the Hug and After the Hug picture my cynicism kicked in. I had first heard of Amma, many years ago but having spent my growing years in India ensured a healthy scepticism for God Men / Women of any kind. Yet fifteen years after leaving the Motherland, here I was in my NRI avatar paying Darshan to an avatar of the Godly kind. The passage of time—it seemed—had done much to heal my cynicism. I was now western enough to quest for spirituality and not be ashamed to admit it, unlike back home where any such declaration would have been met with a level of scorn among the young upwardly mobile circle which I would normally hang out with. Pushing aside the taste of disbelief which welled up in me, I willed myself to go with the flow for the next few hours. I resolve just be in the moment and enjoy the festive environment around me. All around me I saw various Benetton ad-frames-of people queuing up to be hugged. As the time came close I watched carefully as each of those hugged seemed to get up with a befuddled and sometimes beatific look on their face which declaring to the world that their hug was mind-blowing. When my turn came I leaned down on the floor and found myself enfolded in a bosom within which I swear I could feel a large heart overflowing with generosity. My surprised senses registered that her saree smelt of rosewater, comfortingly taking me back to the pujas my family had performed in India. She whispered a Sanskrit word over and over again in my ear. I can’t recall now what it was, but it was hypnotic at that time. And then it was over, I was rushed out of the embrace and bewildered, blinking in the brightness of the non-embrace I walked out, wearing my coat, switched on my blackberry. I went to work and about my normal chores for the rest of the day not sure if THE hug had made any difference. I still don’t know what it was all about. All I can say is that I woke up the next morning feeling like a million dollars. I felt happy, hopeful, ecstatic and looking forward to the day. It was as if I had been given a big jolt of energy and couldn’t stop smiling. Five days later I still feel good. I wonder if this is what it was all about. Is this why people keep going back for darshan. To get their annual infusion of strength. Perhaps. I will definitely go back when she visits London again next year and I hope I can also persuade my husband to come with me. After all as mere mortals we can all do with a bit of help with a divine being. PS: Hopefully my husband does not read this post, for he’ll probably scold me for believing in all this mumbo-jumbo as he so nicely puts it. PPS: Have you been to see Amma in London or anywhere else in the world. What was your experience? I’d love to hear from you. Dear NRI readers why not connect with us on the following social media platforms. Click here to join our Facebook Fan Page Click here to join our LinkedIn Group

9 Comments

  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    02.11.12 12:53 AM
    Happy for you. :)
  • Laxmi
    By
    Laxmi
    01.11.12 11:38 PM
    @harry Ah! that's where we differ. I am a believer :) As for Fifty - am neck & neck :)
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    01.11.12 10:46 PM
    I don't think it's easy as that Laxmi. Let me see where can I start from. Just talking about money and believing in money ( Laxmi ) (Pun intended) doesn't make us millionaire. It's a long process in between if you see my point. wink wink. :)

    HARRY

    PS How is that novel doing in terms of sales? Is it as goog as Fifty Shades? :)
  • Laxmi
    By
    Laxmi
    01.11.12 03:56 PM
    @harry @keri, I just saw the trailer of Kumare too - have seen it before. What struck me is that you become what you believe - and that is really a basic truth no?
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    01.11.12 03:03 PM
    I loved the trailer of kumare link posted by Keri. Just couldn't stop laughing. :)

    Hope, Love, and happiness are great human requirement for us to be what we are. But my question is what is wrong even if above are from fake individuals.

    What I'm saying is lets say for example if somebody doesn't love us but shows that they do to give us great feeling, or someone giving us big hope when we are most down in our life to go just little further making the difference to our life, and last but least if someone makes us happy when we needed most to cheer us up when we are down in the dumps. Does it really matter weather it's from genuine individual who really means or not.

    Anything that gives us above is worth having even if it's fake. This is same as santa claus to kids. Sometimes we need this, even if we don't like the people in question.
  • Keri
    By
    Keri
    01.11.12 02:21 PM
    I just want to clarify something before you, or anyone else, watches the movie. I'm not suggesting the movie in any reference to Amma. It's more in reference to your question, "Is it easier to believe in holy men/women when you are an NRI" (or even a non-Indian)? It'll make sense when you watch the movie.
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    By
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    01.11.12 01:43 PM
    @keri, thanks will check it out. I am still getting over my response to Amma... seems there is more to the powers out there than meets the eye:)
  • Keri
    By
    Keri
    01.11.12 10:37 AM
    Very interesting article.

    If you haven't seen it yet, please check out a documentary called "Kumare". It touches on a similar theme:

    http://kumaremovie.com/
  • Bibi
    By
    Bibi
    31.10.12 12:45 PM
    YAY!!!
    I love Amma!!!
    I've seen her in my native California & in Kerala!!

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