(Update Tuesday 11/10/2016: I heard on Joe Duffy yesterday, that her unique show is back on the road, in Dublin. Apparently she first discovered her gift, by kissing the sores of lepers. So glad I didn’t try and kiss her in gratitude last time, for her amazingly brief hug!
I know that especially when physical pain is involved, you will try anything and all logic goes out the window. But I really think, that even if I was guaranteed to do backflips on the way out, I would never get on my knees for one person.
Get off your knees people!
By sheer coincidence, I heard that Amma was going to be in the National Show Centre on Saturday. I had just stocked up on some natural products, to combat this stubborn dry cough that I can’t seem to escape.
To be honest I knew very little about Amma. I think I had seen something about her being a “healing saint” on youtube years ago.
Given that now the gym is temporarily out (due to a torn muscle) and that the conference was open to all and free of charge, meant it was a good replacement.
I didn’t know what to expect. But I. do know that my days of visiting faith healers are by now a very distant and unwelcome memory. I had visions of rows of increasingly decrepit people, slowing moving towards a demi god, and expecting to cartwheel home.
We arrived up around half eleven. We knew this was going to be something different, as we noticed a lot of Indian garbed white people mulling around.
When we got inside, the smell of incense was overpowering and at times threatened to bring on a major coughing fit. I am naturally suspicious and I felt sure that this all must be a money making racket.
Yes there were large donation boxes scattered around and stall after stall offering greatly over-priced items, but not one person came up pressurising us for a donation.
A lot of these people looked quite eccentric, or else young and no doubt had backpacked through India for a year. We got a ticket and were in line to meet Amma. She has a small army around her at all times.
I briefly lost my ticket, and even though her assistant had seen me with it , she now said that we could not meet Amma without it.
Knowing my luck I thought it had slipped down between my legs, but I would sooner have left than get people to lift me up, or feel me down. Thankfully the ticket was found, and my dignity saved (for the time being).
I just could not understand why all these people were on their knees, bowing in her direction. Barefoot and with hopeful expectations one after the other shuffling towards Amma, desperate for release from whatever problems they were carrying.
When it was my turn, it was almost anti-climactic. There was no magical transformation and neither her nor I, did spontaneously combust upon hugging.
An orange was rubbed over my body and I was given ashes.
To be honest, she had the face that anyone would have if they were hugging thousands of people on a strict schedule.
Slightly sullen, which probably meant that she was dying for a cup of coffee and a fag.
The much needed shots of nicotine or caffeine, might have restored her face to the jolly one seen on the posters.
I know she does a lot of humanitarian work, but I know also through online research that she has many detractors and accusers. The cost of ferrying around her sizeable entourage must eat into a large chunk of the money raised.
To me it was very similar to Dzogchen Beara in Cork. I could see a lot of very needy looking people. or a room full of people supposedly well along the path to enlightenment.
Very few of them had even the faintest smile on their faces. Well for both of us, the show goes on. I remain decrepit, and she is on to her next country and money making event.
I’m glad I went. It was interesting to see the Indian garbed assistants, toting their laptops and recording for Amrita television.
You could almost smell the mix of neediness, desperation, and desire for money in the room. So, I left the National Show Centre, while Amma was on to her next venture in England.
Another day, another dollar!
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