Hugging Saint of Kerala Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Turns 60

Published on: 23 Sep, 2013
Published under: Kottayam District News

September 22, 2013

A young woman from a poor family in Kerala, who battled great odds to become India’s ‘hugging saint’, is turning 60, and the event set to draw a sea of devotees and VIPs, including Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

Besides Modi, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as well as a galaxy of educationists, political leaders and professionals will also be here this week to felicitate Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.

Amma, as she is popularly known, was born into a struggling fisherman’s family in Parayakadavu village in Kollam district on the Kerala coast Sep 27, 1953. Her original name was Sudhamani Idamannel. She was only nine years old when she had to quit school after her mother fell ill. She began taking care of her seven siblings and doing household chores her mother could no longer handle.

By then, she had – surprisingly for her age – taken to meditating for long hours on the sea shore and also composing songs in Malayalam for Lord Krishna. She often sang some of them, attracting attention and admiration.

As she began growing up, she defied local sensibilities to embrace people who related their sufferings to her. It soon became her trademark, and she came to be known as the ‘Hugging Saint’.The birthday celebrations, which began Sunday, will peak Sep 25-27 when Modi, Kalam, agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, Nobel laureate Leland H. Hartwell and many others will descend on the place.


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