Amma the Hugging Saint

A Story told by Rajneesh Aggarwal
A few years back I was visiting my friend in New York, and he asked me if I wanted to see this woman named Amma. Amma is a hugging saint who people say emanates pure love.

She is from India and from what I understand she has hugged tens of millions people. I was skeptical about it, but this is a very important friend of mine, so I said, “If this is that important to you, I’ll go with you.”

She was in this big ballroom, and there must have been 10,000 people. We didn’t get there very early, so I realized it was going to be a while before I got to hug this woman.

So I wandered around to pass the time. It was the final night and there was a big celebration. There was food too, so I got in line for the food, and by the time I got to the front I was really hungry.

After they served me, I sat down and took a bite of the food.

I was totally blown away.

It tasted like my mom’s food.

No one cooks like my mom. Every year I have an event where my mom cooks for my friends, and it’s gone from a few people to over 50 people. At least a couple girlfriends went out with me because of my mom’s food.

I’m in this place of amazement and curiosity as to why Amma’s food tastes this way.

I finish eating and I’m starting to get into this culture. There’s this ceremony that’s unfolding. People are going up and getting hugs. Everyone is in a really good mood.

I see this sign that says, “Looking for people to do seva.” Seva is a Hindu word for service. So I volunteer for dishwashing and find myself next to the head of Amma’s kitchen crew. I tell her about my mom’s food, and my experience. What is it, I ask?

“Well Raj,” she says, “every person that’s been involved in the food you ate today, from the person who grows the food, to the person that waters the food, to the person that picks the food, to the person that chops the food, to the person that cooks the food, to the person who puts the food on your plate, every single person does it with love—and that’s what you’re tasting.”

It made me realize that my mom’s food tasted so good because of her unconditional love.

And when I ate Mary’s Gone Crackers—I had the same sensation. I was blown away by the taste of those crackers. They had the same quality as Amma’s food, and as my mom’s food.

When I met Mary—I could see that this was her work also. She has been healing people with her love through these crackers. Not one hug at a time—but one cracker at a time.