"When Amma first manifested her mission of Love in the mid ’70s, it was not advertised in the press, and no one wrote a story about it afterwards for the daily news. Still, hundreds came that day, and thousands kept coming."This is not true.
Anu Gopalakrishnan shares his own experience. He states that her thousands of followers are mostly non-Indians and that her international success has been widely advertised :
"At that time, like any normal kid, I got my share of hug and blessings and the story was long forgotten. Over the years my friends and teachers had each in their own way helped on my path of development. After that, all I knew about her were the international tours, the spiritual discourses, her humanitarian efforts, the transformation of AIMS in Cochin, Kerala. Little did I sense that thousands of followers – mostly non-Indians have understood the simple formula that Amma carries with her in the form of her hug – “Good begets Good”"
T P Sreenivasan confirms that there was nothing special about Amma in India. The admiration came from abroad :
"There is nothing unusual about India rediscovering its gems only after they have been admired abroad"In fact Amma's carrier really began when she started to attract westerners and to travel worldwide :
"Both Amma and the Math officials admit that her popularity began to soar in the 1990s when she began making tours abroad. She goes overseas for almost six months every year. Little wonder that a large part of the money that goes into running her spiritual empire comes from the liberal donations of her global disciples."Does her international success really comes from herself or rather from the hard-worker and influential people who build her media image?
Amma's followers haven't been spontaneously and irresistibly attracted by the "ever-radiant Truth". Both in the USA and in Europe, it began by going door-to-door, to talk about her, to show her videos, to sell her books, just like the Jehova's Witnesses do.
What to think about the fact that the Gandhi-King Award has been negotiated? "Negotiation" means that something has been given in return. What has been involved in the bargain? Rob Sidon, who implements a world-class news coverage for Amma since 1998 is not the only one. The fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone met her earlier, in 1991, and became a faithfull devotee. She uses her fame to promote Amma in the fashion world. Is she also accountable for Amma's success in the art world? The producer Manuel Collas de la Roche, who produced the movie "Darshan" which was out of competition at Cannes film Festival in 2005, also takes care of her relations in Europe since 2002.
Now it's time to recall the statement quoted at the beginning of this post :
"Amma needs no propaganda. Does the ever-radiant Truth need any propaganda?"If the "ever-radiant Truth" doesn't need propaganda to spread throughout the world, what are all these powerfull media and relation specialists doing backstage? Whatever their intentions and sincerity, we have the right to ask ourselves what Amma would be without their hard work. According to an interview made before her 50th birthday, she doesn't seem to now much about what unfolds in her own life :
"I don't know dear son, how has all this happened. All I offer is unconditional love and nothing else. I don't even know if I am 50. For, I don't know my date of birth"Her birthdate is fake? What else has been invented to turn her into a genuine world-class guru? She was a villager, worshipped by other villagers, who were amazed by her supposedly miracles. Would she own a spiritual empire without the help of her influential and rich devotees? There are so many gurus in India, why her and not someone else?
It is strange to see that many western devotees make parallels between Amma and Jesus Christ. There are many similarities :
- being powerful in spite of a poor social background
- being both a virgin and a "mother"
- helping the poor and entertaining with the rich
- preaching universal love to the masses
- being surrounded by hundreds of followers who try to touch her
- her father was a fisherman, Jesus disciples were fishermen
- sacrificing herself physically for the sake of Humanity (by darshaning for hours)
- curing the lepers
We have seen many photos of Dattan the leper when he was ill. Why can't we see him now that he is supposed to be cured? Why can't we rejoice with him? There is no picture of the most extraordinary miracle of the century. In fact things even got worse :
"the ashram faced a problem when more lepers came for blessings and other devotees felt uncomfortable.“ Then she agreed to send bhasmam (sacred ash) to them,” says Ramakrishnananda."So Amma refused to cure more lepers? Did she really cured at least one? Or did she forced herself to perform a tremendous coup, in order to deeply strike the minds, particularly the western ones?
Her extraordinary success seems to be due more to propaganda and globalization rather than to her abilities. In which case, she shouldn't be admired for raising a spiritual empire. She should be awarded for attracting influential westerners by performing spectacular stunts. Her western PR team should be awarded for developing her fame in spite of the opposition that she is facing since the begining. According to Meera Nanda "Godmen perhaps help the middle class reconcile materialism with spirituality". She even notices that globalization, which enable gurus like Amma to become so popular, makes India more Hindu.
It seems like Amma's holiness comes from the west. It seems like her power comes from globalization. Is the fall likely to come from the same sources?