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Cult of the Hugging Saint

Cult of the Hugging Saint

Cultofthehuggingsaint.com1, subtitled, "Alternative views on Mata Amritanandamayi, or 'Amma,'" provides resources on Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, an Indian spiritual leader whom the American media has dubbed "The Hugging Saint." She is also known as 'Amma,' 'Ammachi,' or 'Mother.'

Alternative news, views and observations on the pop culture phenomenon known in the Western media as Amma, the hugging saint. Resources for concerned parents of children involved in the Ammachi group, cult recovery and healing resources, analysis of the dangers of the group, the truth behind brainwashing methods, spiritual materialism, ex-Amma resources and more.
- Source:

Who is the "Hugging Saint"?

The American media have dubbed her the “hugging saint.” This 53 year-old south Indian woman named “Amma” - the word means “mother” in Sanskrit - is actually a religious guru known for the hugs she gives those who seek an audience with her. She is reported to have millions of devoted followers in her native India. But she has a following as well in the United States, where tens of thousands of Americans already sold on the healing power of yoga and meditation, have lined up to see and experience Amma on her annual North American tours.
- Source: India’s ‘Hugging Saint’ Embraced by America, VOA, USA, July 27, 2006

It is estimated that this holy woman has given more than 26 million hugs in this role since she was a teen. In fact, she has received and hugged more than 40,000 people in a single sitting. She does not turn people away or charge a fee. And she does not require recipients to abide by her Hindu faith.

“There is no harm in having many religions and faiths”, she has said. “But it is harmful to think they are different, and that one faith is higher and another lower.”
- Source: Healing with hugs, Chicago Tribune, USA, July 5, 2007

Who is

This website was initiated by a small group of concerned parents, ex-devotees and spiritual students as an alternative source of information surrounding the hugging saint. We are not affiliated with any particular religion, though some share a leaning toward Eastern thought and believe Ammachi's occluding and infantalism-centered teachings regarding Self-Realization are, at the very least, stiflling. At most, they are potentially damaging to the seeker.

We are sure that Ammachi has done some admirable charity work, and that her gestures may truly benefit some people . Our focus is on the more damaging aspects of the organization that are not readily seen by the general public. However, the intent of this website is not to preach or present our opinions, but rather to simply present differing views and allow people to draw their own conclusions. In this sense, this website should be considered a resource for alternative information and stories regarding the hugging saint and her organization.

The inspiration for this website arose from several concerned parents who feel that they are losing their children to the cult. - Source: Who We Are,

See Also

Apologetics Index research resource Mata Amritanandamayi Devi news tracker & news archive at Religion News Blog
Apologetics Index research resource What is a cult?


  1. This link now leads to a version of the website as archived at the Internet Archive. The original site is no longer online, and if you visit the old URL your browser is redirect to advertisements

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This post was last updated: Jul. 16, 2014