Ammachi: A Western Renunciate's Experiences behind the Scenes 

I feel so relieved to finally be free from this 7 year long damaging dependency
with Mata Amritanandamayi and her organization. Although the depths of my 
devotion were seemingly bottomless, and I would have done anything to gain her 
favor, somehow I have managed to extract myself from this bona fide cult 
masquerading as a charitable
organization. I am relieved to know that others too are waking up from the 
intricate web of
subterfuge. I struggled for the last two years trying to imagine life without 
the guru, and I
know how hard it is to undo the neural connections linking Amma to every aspect 
thought. I understand why for some it will be extremely difficult or downright 
to break the bonds of this mind controlling sect. The truth about the Hugging 
Saint and the ancient manipulative techniques she employs, along with the 
scandals her devotees have
orchestrated will sober up the more astute among us. But the hordes of
unsuspecting, innocent, guileless infants having divorced their real parents 
and lives, in
order to clutch full-time to their Amma dolls, with mantras for pacifiers, 
while jockeying for
Amma's mere glance, I feel really sorry for. Nothing can help them because the 
programming won't allow any thoughts contrary to that of Amma being god. Even 
people will have a hard time accepting that what they gave all their time, 
resources and
heart to was merely a charismatic bamboozling village girl. Even those who have 
left (and
there are many) are still subtly afraid of retribution from Amma psychically or 
tangibly from her army of ardent devotees.

In Amritapuri, India, I was not quite in the innermost circle but had revealing
contact for years with those closest to Amma and by all measure would be 
considered an
insider. Being very outgoing myself I made friends with all who didn't hate me 
because of
my frequent close proximity to Amma and her personal handmaidens. I got in with
all the high ups to glean insight into Amma's mystical world. I wasn't shy in my
conquests and thereby gained access which others could not. I rode on the waves 
of bliss as I
got to do special tasks for Ammachi and before Ammachi. I reveled in being 
needed and called
while everyone else chopped vegetables. I reverently breathed, meditated and did
continuous awareness exercises which amplified my bliss to unprecedented 
heights. Amma
seemed to like it. Unfortunately, most if not many people skimp on the 
practices and
spend their time doing selfless service, moping around in "devotional" 
yearning, or
gossiping and stuffing their faces at the western canteen. I took a more 
maniacal approach
toward everything from diet to speech to every moment of my day being accounted 
It was very revealing and not by any means the only time in my life I 
altered states of consciousness. (I do take the stand that it can all be 
scientifically even Amma's psychic abilities. We laypersons just get 
flabbergasted when someone has somewhat refined their mental energy and mistake 
them for god.) It all went
well, the visions of various deities, loud music spontaneously in ears, the 
emotional states. Eventually reality seeped back in and my life became a 
struggle to earn enough
money to go to India and get my fix year after year. Each time a little more 
evaporated, yet I still decided to become a renunciate (a full time resident 
who gives their life
to the ashram) It only costs $16,000 if interested. But I noticed people were 
more unhealthy, the air quality seemed to get exponentially worse, the water 
seemed to be rusting and my duties became more clear. The honeymoon was over. 
angelic young girl actually died of a tumor that spread throughout her whole 
body. She
was 18 and spent almost her entire life there. I personally believe she died 
of lack of nutrition and the toxins in the air and water surrounding the 
ashram. Of course
Amma in her omniscience suggested tuberculosis and sent
her to AIMS (one of Amma's hospitals) only to be misdiagnosed and screwed 
around for
the last year of her life. Finally when they found the tumor it was too late. 
compounded with the sheer insanity of virtually all the residents, the 
inability to get healthy
nourishment, Amma's rehearsed daily routine, everyone's angry pent up explosive 
sexual energy,
and the now complete impossibility to find any solitude or even quiet anywhere 
at any
time within the ashram, had me at my wits end. I started to question where this 
contentious, fearful, repressed new personality I adopted was going to lead me. 
Would I become as neurotic, diseased, insalubrious as so many long term inmates 
of the
asylum had become? Would I stay there an adulating sycophant, fearful of the 
believing the apocalyptic hype promoted by her minions-- that we are the chosen 
liberation is ours through service, everyone else in the world is perishing in 
the fire of
worldliness, Amma will save us from the cataclysm sure to come in the western 
world? I
decided that I had had enough. I embraced the world as Amma claims to do while 
actually alienating her robots. I think many people there want to leave but 
have become so neurotic that they can't even communicate to others now without 
using their Amma speak or judging and
condemning people for not being as "spiritual". Many want out, but the prospect 
of life
middle-aged in some cold European city, financially destitute from all the 
touring with Amma
seems too overwhelming. Others want out but are lost in their youth and have no 
skills, education, dietary control, or interest in sports and are subject to 
in the world. A great catalyst for me has been the outdoors. There are many 
friendships to be made in the world of outdoor sports. I really hope more 
people will become
educated on cult dynamics and educate others. Inspiration for me was also in 
the form of
Krishnamurti, The Guru Papers by Alstad, and guruphylliac whose website has many
provocative articles on Amma and is a vast resource of links to other
informative websites.

Amma has blabbered many things in India which went completely over the heads of 
even those sitting around her. I would look around shocked at times on chai 
stops (stops on India tours) like "I can't believe she just said that, did you 
hear that?". Unfortunately none of this is published. She always lectures how 
national sovereignty fosters bigotry and unequal wealth distribution. She is 
all about tipping the scales so India gets more, just read her UN speech. She 
is talking like it's the UN is the hand of god that can wipe out poverty, 
uplift women. You'd think in all her omnipresence she would know what a bunch 
of scoundrels she was supplicating. Amma
has foreseen the collapse of western civilization, she speaks about it as 
karmically inescapable. She warns about natural disaster as imminent and the 
dollar being equal to the rupee. She hasn't gone as far to say that we will be 
a cashless, martial law enforced society with credits being our only wealth and 
no constitutional rights but she likes to paint a grim picture. And she has 
said that one day international order will reign as the governing force. She 
says it like it's a matter of fact. But this will not be found on because she's said these kinds of things when westerners used to 
ask her questions on Tuesdays and on chai stops. Amma is very careful
about what is published by the math. She personally reads the final editions 
and has the swamis who know well her agendas get it to there. She is much more 
careful now than she was just 5 years ago.

I have been in a room where Amma was meditating I have sat in her personal 
house while she rehearsed songs with brahmacharinis. I have felt intoxicated at 
times and other times driven to tears, and I have also felt nothing at all. It 
is subjective. These emotional states, nervous tremors, are experiences that 
are felt around Amma. Or one could argue that she can transmit some energy but 
for what purpose? To get people hooked is exactly what she is doing; I have had 
numerous personal conversations with her. And frankly she is quite patronizing, 
elliptical and aloof. She is mocking, condescending or pretending, rather 
poorly to be overly caring. She delights in causing mental turmoil, all part of 
"surrendering the ego". But it's true; too many people are too terrified of her 
to really have any meaningful dialogue. Of course she makes herself appear busy 
and it's very difficult to corner her or question her at all. Then when you 
finally do there is no meaningful dialogue, only authoritarianism. You can't 
get anywhere with her. She'll say it's your ego that wants to come assert 
yourself before the master and that a true disciple is
quiet like a mouse, listening and assimilating the teachings. I see how it can 
be seen as the
fault of the devotees around her cringing in reverence, tradition and 
conformity. But it is not
their fault, they are brainwashed by Amma to accept this conformity as 
discipline. One can see this during her satsangs on Tuesdays in Amritapuri 
where she lectures endlessly on ashram dharma and appropriate behavior. Most do 
not have enough experience to really know the extent of the deception and 
programming. Amma claims nothing yet has Disney marketing executives buying her 
CNN time. Amma is her organization, it is her creation. The truth is the people 
closest to her are the most programmed and spineless. That's the only way they 
ignore the truth boiling within, that something is wrong with Amma. She can't 
keep assertive people in her folds, they leave. Go see what the endless game of 
pretense and suppression will bestow.

Thanks for coming out and sharing your experiences in Amritapuri. I am glad you 
brought up the issue of deplorable working conditions in which Westerners and 
Indians are taking part of, as seva. For renunciates seva is not elective and 
for visitors it is strongly suggested. For most it is
mundane and something like vegetable chopping or washing clothes (with a very 
nasty Indian detergent but probably no worse than the usual stuff found in the 
states), but for the
Others it can be working in the cassette stall, or the printing press, or 
gluing newsletters. These sevas are very nasty and one must breathe very crude 
chemicals nonstop. Many are sick
Western and Indian alike but as A mentioned it's not just from the working 
conditions but also the tainted water supply. The filtered water there is so 
bad it tastes way harsher than any tap water I have ever had the misfortune of 
tasting here in the US. The water is clearly rusty and filthy. Of course, with 
everyone in that densely populated coconut jungle, burning their trash 
(consisting mostly of plastic) every morning as their means of disposal, one 
can't expect air quality to be much better. The food is laden in chemicals 
outlawed in the US and frequently one can find plumes of smoke coming from 
trucks which is DDT used to kill disease spreading
mosquitoes. The sugar used for chain and sweets is so coated with DDT the ants 
won't even attempt to carry it off. The backwaters are frighteningly polluted 
feces and all manner of abomination. So, it is no wonder that many long term 
resident W Westerners with their 1st world immune systems are looking 
terrifyingly unhealthy. If they aren't gaunt from self inflicted starvation 
they are obese with that nutritionally deficient food they must eat more and 
more of just to get a little nutritionist's a toxic place no doubt, that 
epicenter Ammachi's brand of spirituality. Ammachi doesn't limit her verbal 
abuse to hippies; she
likes to make fun of obese people, Japanese, overly devotional and gays. These 
are just the things I have personally witnessed.

I was involved with Ammachi for 7.5 years. I was probably around her physically 
for over half that
total time. I was a college student when I met her. I was finding that science 
knew little about subtle energy and I thought Ammachi was a better teacher. I 
started realizing how confusing and misguided the organization was slowly and 
it built up more and more in the latter 4 years. I started seeing how Amma 
manipulates people, how greedy she is, how hypocritical, and how contradictory 
her teachings are. I was very involved, had given much mental energy, time and 
money so it was difficult to sever. But the truth weighed in and I couldn't 
stand to be in her presence eventually.

P, First of all, where does all that money really go? I have been told it is 
to support the poor through Amma's orphanages, hospitals, etc. Is that true, in 
your experience? If it's not, where is it all going?

The charities are a front. It is my experience that the money is going to 1.
Amma's family. Check out her sister's mansion across the backwaters, replete 
with razor
sharp shrubs encircling it. 2. Her personal luxuries. Check out her Mercedes 
camper and matching 2005 600 series v8 sedan. Combined retail about $400,000. 
"Oh it was
a donation" they all whisper. Well if Amma is serious about relieving the
suffering as Schindler was in the end of Schindlers list then why doesn't she 
hock them and
put some food into the bellies of some of the countless starving people in her 
And 3. Her empire. Her medical college which she has the audacity to call 
charitable is
one of three medical colleges in the area of Cochin. It is a capitalist 
venture. They
charge admission and they aren't the cheapest either. Her schools (again 
allegedly charitable)
are little private schools with stout tuitions. If you go on an Indian tour you 
will be
surprised to know that ads for these institutions are blaring all night long-- 
"give your
child a wholesome education at Amrita Vidyalayam". Her money is going into 
more money. Possibly into the hands of various political groups in India, she 
allegedly built scores of houses. The truth is those numbers are greatly 
exaggerated and she does it with much
government funding! She exaggerates everything to get media recognition. The
number of people she's hugged is a lie too btw. She has too be filmed from every
possible angle every time she gives anything. I was there when she gave to 
tsunami victims. It
was the biggest orchestrated event ever. What she gave them couldn't have 
lasted them
for more than a couple days either. She even went to someplace I can't recall 
to give
darshan to tsunami victims where another organization was in the process of 
clearing land
to build them houses. The organization was a Christian fellowship and one man 
furious because he claimed Amma was trying to steal recognition for their 
charity. And
don't think Amma is Unitarian. She is Hindu as they come. As a matter of fact, 
I know
swami Amritagitananda was sent to the province of Tamil Nadu to intervene when 
Christian missionaries were trying to teach some villagers about Christ. She 
sent him to
turn them into devotees of her.

How can Amma hold up so many hours hugging people? It is said
it's because she has supernatural powers. It sounds like you attribute it to 
the lattes.

The human body is capable of amazing feats. I once did seva (service) for 32
hours straight. I was pretty delirious but as long as one eats, one can stay 
for days (I did that too). She is being fed lattes and I think it helps her to 
stay positive. 
As far as having supernatural powers, I don't think there is anything 
supernatural about sitting
upright and hugging and talking to adulating groupies for five to twelve hours.

P: As close as you were to her, what was the vibe behind the scenes? Is
Amma pure love, as devotees describe her, or something else?

The vibe behind the scenes is disappointing to say the least. I know that she
talks crap about Westerners a lot. She is an ignorant Indian village girl deep 
inside and
if you know some you know what I am talking about. They generally dislike 
because we're rich, fair skinned, and we are not stuck in the Indian 
socio-economic sexist
nightmare. They also think we are foreigners who are dirtier than the lowest 
caste (the
same cast as Amma is actually). She has said that the westerners don't know 
what hard work
is and that we are crazy. I remember on us tour she was making fun of an obese 
who was having trouble getting into her arms from the forced kneeling position. 
said "why are Westerners so fat?" It is not pure love at all. Its cliquey 
Indian teenage type stuff. 
She is home girls with the Indians around her chair and a mystic to us 
befuddled Westerners. She is not all love and cuddles. She puts it on for the 
western crowd when she is raking in those
P: You spoke about her using age-old techniques of manipulating people. Please 
describe what those were. Why do you think people get so roped in? What does 
she teach that makes them get so dependent on her? We are told that Ammachi 
says "That we are all God" But why, if she really teaches that, are they bowing 
down to her, and desperate to spend time with her, as if she's God and they're 
something inferior?

The age old techniques are very concisely detailed in The Guru Papers, Google it
and there are some quotes from it. It's a great book, well worth buying if you 
want to
understand just how deep your ex-boyfriend has gone. People get roped in for 
various reasons. Many have no direction in their life when they go to Amma. 
Others are unfulfilled in their life and seeking spirituality because their 
money isn't giving them pleasure. Many are completely incapable of living a 
normal life due to mental disturbances (there are a lot of them in India). Few 
have I seen who were balanced with exercise, meaningful friendships, and 
healthy diet that got sucked in. Most are neurochemically imbalanced due to 
dead processed food and other toxins in
their environment which they could limit. They are unhappy and rather than 
control they look to give someone else control because they don't believe they 
are capable.
She teaches worship of her. I hate when people try to say that she has no
doing in this. Krishnamurti never let anyone do a pada puja (worshipping feet) 
to him, he flat
out refused to be idolized. She has a close watch over everything that is
published. She is in control of everything and she wants to be worshipped as a 
living god. She claims to see our face in her mind every time we think of her, 
and that she can hear all of our thoughts and knows all our desires all the 
time. She likes to say that we are all god. Then she likes to drop little 
advaitic (non dual) nibbles here and there. But I really don't think she 
understands it enough or has the intellectual capacity to elaborate on the 
subject. She has said that we are all children and she can't teach applied 
physics to a kindergartener. That some are on different levels than others. But 
it seems she want us all to be on a level way beneath her holiness so she can 
steal our energy and talents and turn us into mindless immature drones. She is 
a fountain of contradiction, believe me. She definitely thinks she is god and I 
have heard
her say it on numerous occasions. So who wouldn't want to be in the presence of 
god? Around
her they say it is merit accumulated from thousands of years that brings one to 
master and even more to stay in her presence. Which is why so many are torn 
wanting to leave the crazy ****** and her gruesome scene and thinking they are 
throwing away
their lifetimes of merit by not having the cajoles to stick out all the abuse. 
stick around because they want some state of mind, like parasites feeding off 
her spunk. But
really it is she feeding off them. They give the money. I must have give 
$30,000 and I got
off lightly. They give the labor. They give their reason and sense and focus all
their energy at her. And she laps it up.

**The permission to publish this article was given by the author, the 
information for this article was collected from original posts on the Yahoo 
Examma Group.

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