September 1, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 35
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Friday, Sep 25, 2020



Don't miss an enlightening, educational and intimate look at 'The Hugging Saint'
Don't miss an enlightening, educational and intimate look at 'The Hugging Saint'
by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

"Darshan, The Embrace"

A documentary film by Jan Kounen (France, 2006, 35mm, 92 minutes)

Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., Seattle, 206-267-5380

September 1-7 at 7 and 9 PM

"Darshan, The Embrace" is an enlightening, educational and intimate look into the life and background of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, also known as "Amma" or "Ammachi" (mother). She has been called "The Hugging Saint" and -- through her loving, motherly embrace -- has given her blessings to over 26 million people to date. Just on her fiftieth birthday alone, she embraced 42 thousand people, uninterrupted, for 21 hours.

When she was a young girl her family thought she was "mad" because of her fierce devotion to God, her deep meditations and rapturous trances and her passionate desire to help others and embrace the world. She has grown to be one of the most influential teachers in the world today, teaching compassion through loving action, emphasizing selfless social service. Through her many projects around India, she has given hope to the poorest of the poor. She has created a state of the art hospital with 1,300 beds, providing medical procedures including open-heart surgery, neurosurgery and organ transplants -- free of charge to the needy. She has built schools, clinics, orphanages, and homes for the aged. She is building 100,000 free homes for the poor and is providing monthly pensions for the lowest strata of society, particularly widows and battered women.

Internationally, she has raised millions of dollars and provided volunteer help for victims of the Tsunami, Gujarat Earthquake and Hurricane Katrina. Her program "Green Friends" empowers youth to restore the environment by planting over 150,000 saplings a year. In North America, her first volunteer project is "Mother's Kitchen", inner city soup kitchens for the poor and homeless.

"Amma" is the recipient of the 2002 United Nations Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence and, in May of 2006, received the James Parks Morton Award. She tours the United States every summer and comes to Seattle in early June. This fascinating film gives the viewer insight into the power of devotion and service inspired by "Amma" and a chance to see daily life in her ashram on a lush peninsula situated between the Sea of Oman and the lagoons of Kerala in southern India.

The filmmaker, Jan Kounen, has treated his subject with sensitivity, honesty and respect; presenting his film in a way which can allow the viewer to actually feel the spiritual power and meditative peace created in the interactions between "Amma" and her devotees -- as well as the wild, colorful and cacophonous life in the streets of India. I highly recommend this film.

For more information about "Amma", visit Nirmala Martha Russo, from Amma's Seattle Satsang group will introduce the 7 PM, Sept. 2nd screening. The run of this film is being sponsored by Samadhi Yoga.

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