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Holy hugs for free

May 22, 2007

I studied at a Catholic university as an undergrad. This meant I had to take nine units of religion and theology. I didn’t mind. Catholic universities in America are generally pretty tolerant of other religions, and mine was no exception. I fulfilled my religion requirement (and then some) studying, first, World Religions, and then Islam, Hindu, and Native American religions. Each course was tremendous; the professors — fantastic.

Of the four courses, for me, Hindu was by far the most difficult; by far the most intriguing. The Rig Veda, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, Yoga Sutras… not to mention all the gods, schools, saints, mystics, gurus and poets… all completely new to me. Anyway, I remember one lesson where the professor spoke about a contemporary saint — a woman who hugs everyone who approaches her: Mata Amritanandamayi, the ‘hugging saint’ (a/k/a ‘Amma,’ for those of us deficient in tongue aerobatics).

Amma’s love and compassion — nondiscriminatory. Her lesson — selfless-service. Her medium — a hug. A physical embrace is so simple; so powerful. I’m not going to get all metaphysical on you… I’m not that talented, but I am going to let you know that this holy hugger is coming to Albuquerque. June 23, 25 and 27, she’ll have free public forums at the Hotel Albuquerque. June 25 to 27, Amma is holding a special spiritual retreat. If you’re at all interested, I’d encourage you to attend an event. Spirituality and faith aside — anytime we have a humanitarian of Amma’s proportion pay our city a visit we should consider it a special event.

A holy hug, priceless? No. A holy hug, free.

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