Spiritual Leader Amma to Bless Thousands in Alexandria, Virginia July 7th and 8th

Humanitarian and Spiritual Leader Mata Amritanandamayi, Amma to Bless Thousands in Alexandria, VA, July 7th-8th; Visit to North America Marks 27th year


San Ramon, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/03/2013 -- Regarded as a tireless humanitarian, Mata Amritanandamayi, better known as “Amma, will bless thousands July 7th-8th at the Hilton Adams Mark Hotel, 5000 Seminary Road, Alexandria VA.” The spiritual leader’s visit to North America is part of a ten city tour, where she will receive thousands with her blessing–a healing embrace.

The free programs will be held at on July 7 at 10am and 7:30pm and on July 8 at 10am and 7pm. Numbered tokens for personal blessings (darshan) are given out starting one hour before the program starts and are limited by time constraints. Amma speaks in the evening meetings only.

The U.S. tour began in Seattle, with visits to San Ramon in the California Bay Area, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Dallas, Iowa, Toronto, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, and Boston. Free public programs will be available in all cities, with retreats still available in Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Toronto and Boston. The retreats offer meditation classes, a Question and Answer session with Amma, as well as the opportunity for attendees to participate in selfless service and other activities.

Considered a living Saint in her homeland of India, Amma, (58) has quietly gained an extraordinary reputation over the last 30 years as a result of the extensive charitable institutions she has established and for her personal outreach. The recipient of numerous humanitarian awards, Amma sleeps merely a couple hours per day, teaching by the constant example of her own life that is dedicated to selfless social service. In a CBS TV Primetime Special entitled In God’s Name, Amma was profiled as one the world’s twelve most influential religious leaders and the only woman selected. Other figures included Pope Benedict XVI, the Dalai Lama, and the Grand Rabbi of Jerusalem, the Grand Ayatollah, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“Mata Amritanandamayi…is fast becoming a world-renowned spiritual leader like Mother Teresa or Mohandas Gandhi.” -Reuters News

Washington DC Area Programs: Darshan.

It is expected that thousands will visit Amma for her darshan programs in Alexandria VA. In a radical departure from Indian tradition (particularly for a woman), Amma’s darshan consists of a long tender embrace. She has been doing this, as a natural expression of love since she was a teen. It is estimated that Amma has given over 30 million hugs in her life. In India, vast crowds usually assemble to the point where Amma may individually receive and hug over 30,000 people in one day, sitting continuously. She will never turn anyone away, nor charge any money. Amma has been dubbed “The Hugging Saint” by the international press.

Humanitarian Institutions: “Compassion to the poor is our duty to God”

With official NGO status granted by the U.N., Amma oversees a vast network of volunteer humanitarian activities of three distinct types: 1) direct aid to the needy, 2) educational institutions designed to help the underprivileged learn to help themselves, and 3) social programs that serve broader society and the environment. The list of endeavors is remarkably long, ranging from 1300-bed charitable hospitals, to the building of over 100,000 homes for the poor, to orphanages, pensions for widows, hospices, a wide array of subsidized schools, to Green Friends, an environmental youth program, whereby over 150,000 tree saplings are planted annually. New charitable activities are created rapidly and regularly around the world by volunteers, inspired by Amma’s example. For more information, please visit www.embracingtheworld.org or www.amma.org

Since 2001, following the devastating earthquakes that rocked the Gujarat regions of India, Amma emerged as a leading figure in disaster relief. Through her charitable trust, three razed villages were entirely rebuilt. In 2004, her efforts towards Tsunami Relief made international headlines (World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, BBC News, and New York Times) as over $50 million has been contributed to that cause. In the U.S., a million dollar aid donation was given to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. In Japan, a million dollar donation was made for Tsunami and Earthquake aid in 2011.

Unity of all great religions

Though born into the Hindu faith, Amma steadfastly supports all great religions, encouraging aspirants to go deeper in their own traditional path. “There is no harm in having many religions and faiths”, she says, “but it is harmful to think they are different, and that one faith is higher and another lower.” In her speech at the U.N., Amma described the real source of historical world conflict as “lack of awareness of our true nature”. She says, “My religion is love.”

Recognition in the West

In 1993 Amma was a selected President at the Centenary Parliament of World Religions in Chicago and in 1995 was a keynote speaker at the United Nations 50th Anniversary Commemoration. At the invitation of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Amma addressed the U.N. at The Millennium World Peace Summit, in 2000 as part of a select delegation of “preeminent religious and spiritual leaders”. In 2002, Amma was greeted by a roaring standing ovation at the U.N. in Geneva upon being recognized with the Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence, an award previously given to Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, and Dr, Jane Goodall. Amma was the closing plenary at the 2004 Parliament of The World’s Religions in Barcelona, and in recognition of her efforts in disaster relief, received the James Parks Morton Award in 2006 along with Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and actor-activist Richard Gere. This award had previously been given to Bishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and President Bill Clinton.

Rob Sidon, Tel: 415-505-1410 robsidon@yahoo.com. Or call Edith Billups, Local Publicity Coordinator, at 323 715-7816 C, or eybillups@thegabrielmediagroup.com

WEBSITE: www.amma.org or www.embracingtheworld.org or locally in the DC area www.ammadc.org