Nothing makes us more anxious than the word ‘secret.‘ We are most scared, most cautious and most ‘secretive’ when it comes to revealing our secrets…We value our secrets a lot more than we really think..! How many of you have at least for once, thought of keeping your boyfriend/girlfriend a secret from others? Often when it comes to people whom we love, out of possessiveness or out of fear of losing them, we prefer to keep them as a secret:) Friends, I am going to talk about someone I value a lot. For me, talking about that person is nothing less than revealing my most precious ‘secret’:)

The person I am going to talk about is the Founder and the Chancellor of the university in which I studied, Mata (which means Mother in Hindi) Amritanandamayi Devi, known all over the world as ‘The Hugging Saint’ or more affectionately as, ‘ Amma ’. Believe me I am not an ardent devotee of her. I never was. Moreover, when I came to study in her university, I almost had the mindset of a critic. I would only believe things if I see them, rather than taking from someone else’s opinion, be it positive or negative. But I must admit in her case, I had heard enough of criticism about her that, even before seeing her, I became her critic! I stepped into her university for my 4 years undergraduate program, and also, with an intention of observing her. But watching her all four years has completely changed my opinion about her. My observations here are from a completely logical perspective rather than a superstitious one.

We all have our limitations and they are reflected in our very thoughts and actions. How many of us welcome listening to other’s problems and complaints? Friends, I am not talking about listening once in a while which all of us can at least give a try. J But suppose if you have a friend who is constantly complaining won’t you be annoyed? Would you listen to someone’s sorrows 24/7? In fact, in many cases, that is the reason for break ups among couples..!

Here, I saw a lady who has made listening to people’s problems and consoling them, her routine in life. She would start around eleven in the morning which would go past midnight. It depends upon the number of people who are patiently waiting to see her. All four years, I saw people flocking from all over the world into her Ashram.* Some came to share their sorrows while others, their happiness. A few came just to get a glance of her while some, for a first hand look because they too, like me, have heard enough about her already! The crowd included people from all age groups from young to old. People came from East to West with all kinds of problems. And thinking about the kind of problems she would be dealing with itself can drive a normal person go crazy, for problems of people from the eastern world are very much different from that of the western side. And I saw her receiving all of them with a childlike smile… At the end of the day, due to constantly receiving people and hugging them, she would be numb barely being able to walk. Still she would have that glowing smile on her face. For the first time, I felt the true touch of selflessness…!

Before meeting Amma, I had enough of elucidations about her that, I had many questions and doubts in my mind. And while being with her, I was trying to find a ‘logical’ solution to those questions. I personally have heard people passing sarcastic comments about her even without finding facts about her. It always made me wonder. The question was, is she money craving ? There are people from all over the world giving her money as donations for her charity work. To get a management seat for a student in any of her academic colleges require a good amount of money. And most of her devotees volunteer to work in her institution for a low income or for free. For a long time this question troubled me until I found a ‘satisfying’ answer. Economics was a compulsory subject in my high school and I have always tried to study it carefully though I must admit I never liked it much 😛 There is a simple concept in economics which talks about redistribution of wealth. In simple words it talks about taking wealth from the mighty to help the meek as a means to reduce poverty. The concept is simple, but for implementing it is actually a primary concern especially for the government of developing nations.

I have felt this is exactly what Amma is trying to do, though to implement it in this complex world needs a lot of courage and care. Her active support in charitable works comes mainly from the money people donate to her and also from running her institutions. While on one side there are some rich students getting ‘unquestionably’ quality education that inculcates a good culture in them (often, about which even they go unaware of), on the other side there are destitutes being supported. At the end of the day, all are benefitted. They are provided exactly “that which they lacked”..!

I have also heard that Amma allows even bad people to be with her and shows a lot of care and concern for them. Bad here can mean anything from selfish to cruel to dishonest. Even I wondered why…Where are all the good ones ? My thoughts slowly drifted to her very purpose of being here in this world. If she is here to care and concern only for good people then it could be as silly as my question is. I felt she is here for a larger transformation. Change happens slowly and it cannot be recognized in the initial stages. The change of a ‘Greater lot’ for a ‘Bigger purpose’…!

I have noticed there are two kinds of people in the world. First group belongs to those who are DIFFERENT. The second group belongs to the ‘SPECTATORS’ of those people who are different. When it comes to people who are DIFFERENT, it would require a lot of mental strength to exist here, for there will be a lot of dislikes, hatred, sarcasms and questions thrown at them, first and foremost for ‘not following the crowd’ be it for a good purpose or a bad one…! When it comes to the second group they either feel comfortable being themselves which is very rare or they would be there to ‘Question’ the first kind. I feel, Amma undoubtedly belongs to the first kind and in all these years of her life, she has successfully yet effortlessly faced those hurdles posed by the second group..:)

Finally, for any person to come into limelight in this world, there are certain, say criteria. Lets condense them into top 5..:) Firstly, if that person is from an upper class, say a ‘royal’ one, then he will be famous even before he is born. Secondly, if his educational qualifications are high; say an oxford or a harvard guy doesn’t require a lot of effort to come into limelight. Thirdly, if he has a socio-political background. Fourth criteria is the wealth. And last but not the least, if the person is a male, he has more chances of becoming famous than a women, though its always a debated issue..:D In Amma’s case all these criteria are either ZERO or NEGATIVE. She was not born in any royal family. In fact she comes from the family of fishermen. Her educational qualification is only till fourth grade in school. She doesn’t have any socio-political background. She was not born into a wealthy family, and finally…SHE is NOT a HE…! SHE is Woman (in a male dominated society). And so, a person like her stealing limelight is both a magic and a miracle. In her case, I would say its not even that. It’s the purity and strength of her very being, her very existence… Friends, if our intentions are as selfless as her’s then it is only a matter of time before we too become famous, wealthy and powerful.

For all these reasons, meeting her and knowing her personally is the most precious secret I possess. I feel I have met the Most Beautiful Woman in the world…! She is as flawless as her smile…Now, when I hear people talking sarcastically about her, though I do not react because I have some idea about the way they would be thinking, it hurts me. Our mind tends to find fault in anything and everything. Its high time that we change this attitude of ours. It’s important that we put our feet into others shoes to see how it is like, before we talk anything about them. To help in this, the only way I could think off was to reveal my adored, prized secret to you…Hope it helps..:)

Ashram* : The place of abode of a Saint (Guru)
Aswathy Radhakrishnan                
Amrita School of Engineering,
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham,

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