‘Amma the Hugging Saint’: Mother-Cult Leader, U.N. Globalist


Since I wrote the article below about “the other side” of Amma, a book has come out that describes one person’s life as a close disciple of the woman known as “the hugging saint.”

Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness was written by Gail Tredwell (formerly called Gayatri), who for 20 years served as Amma’s closest personal attendant and chief female disciple.

In the book, Tredwell recounts her personal experience in the ashram, where she admits she was complicit in covering up all sorts of ashram secrets, in a misguided attempt to protect the guru’s misdeeds from public view (believing, as all guru cultists do, that the guru is God in human form and therefore exempt from human standards of right and wrong).

Tredwell’s riveting book recounts stories of donations intended for charity being converted into gold jewelry and hidden under the garments of Amma’s sanyasis (monks) as they passed through customs – then the gold being passed to Amma’s family to make them fabulously rich. Tredwell tells of being beaten, clawed, and bitten by Amma, who would succumb to fits of rage over small mistakes made by her attendants. Tredwell speaks of her discovery that, while claiming to be a lifelong celibate, Amma secretly had ongoing sexual affairs with several of her closest swamis (monks who have taken lifelong vows of celibacy).

Tredwell was extensively quoted in an August 2012 Rolling Stone article on Amma regarding some of these allegations. Rolling Stone was able to corroborate the claim of physical abuse by Amma through the testimony of another one of Amma’s female attendants, who would not reveal her name except to the magazine.

Holy Hell can be purchased through Amazon via this link. What follows below is the original article I wrote about Amma for this website, in 2008.


This is Chapter 9 in an online book: ‘Blowing the Whistle on Enlightenment: Confessions of a New Age Heretic,’ by Bronte Baxter.

What do stuffed dolls have to do with enlightenment? Lots, if you’re into the cult of Amma, known also as Ammachi, Mata Amritanandamayi, and “the hugging saint.”

Amma’s devotees talk to dolls made in her image that are sold on Amma retreats. They tell the doll their problems, seek its comfort, and listen in their minds for its advice. Amma calls the devotees her children, and clucks syllables like baby talk into their ear in her trademark ritual of lining people up, watching them kneel before her, then embracing them.

She tells them she is their mother and that she hears their prayers. She says she’d no more charge them for her darshan (i.e., being in her presence) than a mother would charge an infant for breast milk. Yet insiders have estimated Amma rakes in upwards of 3 million dollars in a 7-week tour, through donations and sales of items like her toothbrush, fragments of a garment she has sat on, Amma dolls, Amma posters, and books by devotees extolling her divinity.

Devotees believe Amma is a living incarnation of the being they consider the supreme God: Kali in Hindu religion, who is depicted in Indian art wearing a necklace of bloody human skulls and a girdle of severed arms but who somehow translates to devotees as a loving maternal figure. Amma events consist of childlike lectures on Hindu doctrines, Amma blessing water which devotees then drink, hymn singing, worship ceremonies, and the hugs. At some events, Amma wears a one-foot-high sparkling crown.

Amma marries people on stage, gives babies their first taste of solid food, tells couples to break up or to stay together, and ordains some of the faithful to abandon their family and live as monks in her ashram. Amma teaches that love is all we need, and it is her divine love that will save us.

In Seattle a couple of months ago, she predicted nuclear war and that no child younger than 5 will live to adulthood after the year 2012. After spreading fear and despair through such prophecies, she announced that only meditation and self-effacing acts of charity can possibly mitigate the sentence for humanity. “Meditation” means mantra/obeisance meditation to the divine mother. Self-effacing charity means donations to her organization and service to her cause.

At public sessions, devotees chant hymns to Amma that grow in volume and frenetic intensity, gesticulating in unison with their arms in the shape of an arc, from their midsection up and out towards Amma, who sits on a dais in front of them. The words of the chant are “Aum Parashaktyai Namah.” That translates to “I bow down/ pay homage to the Supreme Mother of the Universe.” The arm gesture is body language for surrendering one’s soul to Kali in the form Amma, her living embodiment.

I am one of the moderators of the Ex-Amma Forum, a place where people who’ve left the Amma cult come together to help each other heal from their ordeal. The group is open to ex-followers, questioning devotees, concerned family and friends of devotees, and people seeking more information. I became involved with the forum when I watched a close friend of mine grow farther and farther away from the person he once was, the deeper he sank into Amma’s hypnotic embrace. On the forum, I’ve read hundreds of first-person accounts of what people experience with Amma, the side of her no one wants to talk about.

I’ve seen an email from her former joint-secretary alleging she cooks the books, that the money she gathers for charity doesn’t go to the charities she claims. I’ve read accounts by her former monks of the unexplained wealth of Amma’s family, how her charity hospitals won’t take the very poor because the poor don’t have money enough for treatment. I’ve read about“suicides” and unexplained deaths of ashram devotees. So many dead bodies have appeared in the waters outside the ashram that The Indian Express, New Delhi’s daily newspaper, printed an account of local citizens demanding a police investigation into the matter.

I’ve read of alleged organ selling and newspaper reports of beatings. I saw a video of Amma performing a puja (worship ceremony) to a portrait of Sai Baba, the guru who gives penis massages to his favorite boy disciples. I read a letter from a former Amma monk alleging he was told by an Indian holy man not to share what he knows about Amma if he values his safety.

Amma’s website sells pujas performed on behalf of the paying devotee for prices ranging from $30 to $250. We read there an explanation of what happens in Kali puja, which is performed “on Amma’s birthstar”:

“The puja is offered to a lamp representing the Goddess… The puja starts with a worship of the Guru… The central aspect of the puja is the symbolic offering of the five elements of creation to God. Our body is composed from these five elements… The puja symbolizes the surrender of the devotee to God… Each element is represented by a material symbol, such as flowers, or fire… These are offered at the foot of the lighted lamp. The desire of the devotee to offer his or her surrender is effected by these symbolic offerings. During the entire puja the temple resonates with the continuous chanting of the holy names of Kali.” (emphasis mine)

Amma’s PR is impeccable. She presents as “the hugging saint,” a portrait of sweetness and universal love, and the media promotes her unquestioningly as such. There has never been an investigation into her movement, the dead bodies, where the money goes, or what is really happening in her hospitals and orphanages in India.

In July, 2005, the United Nations awarded Amma with “Special U.N. Consultative Status,” according to her website. She is one of 25 core leaders in the United Nations Parliament of World Religions. Her website contains over a dozen pages extolling the humanitarian work of the U.N. One page compares the U.N.’s “Millenium Goals” with Amma’s goals, which are word-for-word identical. (Click here to view both documents.)

The ashram is among 30 Indian NGO’s to receive formal U.N. affiliation, according to Amma’s website. “This will provide opportunities for joint collaboration” between the U.N. and her organization, it goes on to state. Amma’s website openly extols the U.N. for its advances toward global government:

“The United Nations has been in the forefront of tackling problems as they take on an international dimension, providing the legal framework for regulating the use of the oceans, protecting the environment, regulating migrant labor, curbing drug trafficking and combating terrorism, to mention a few. This work continues today, with the United Nations providing input into the trend towards a greater centrality of international law ingoverning interaction across a wide spectrum of issues.” (emphasis mine)

Pulling all this together, what are we seeing here? Amma is a globalist, working intimately with the U.N. to bring about its agenda. That agenda is world regulation and control – a wolf that hides in the sheep’s clothing of humanitarian ideals. The U.N.’s aim is a global Orweillian state held in place by a world bank, a centrally controlled media, a world “peace-keeping unit” (world army), technological surveillance, and control of the world’s water, food, and other life-essential resources.

As one of the 25 core leaders in the U.N.’s religion parliament, Amma supports and promotes these “Big Brother” goals. For anyone wondering if the efforts by the global elite to create a New World Order have a spiritual component, Amma provides ample evidence.

My earlier articles in the “Blowing the Whistle on Enlightenment” series explain the real meaning of the kind of surrender that Amma and other Indian gurus promote among their followers. It is surrender of the personal self to the gods, whom Amma calls “the Lord.” Amma’s hugs, her relics, her blessed water and food, are ways of infusing her energy signature into the minds and bodies of those who visit her, be they devotees or unsuspecting guests. Not only her energy signature but, I submit, the energy signature of the astral entities who work through her, who call themselves gods, and who feed on the psyches of mankind.

Amma’s energy transfer helps devotees entrain with her vibration and meld their minds and souls with “the godhead.” In other words, it helps them become assimilated, or possessed by the same “cosmic” forces that possess and work through Amma. Gurus call such a change in consciousness “attaining enlightenment” or “liberation.” It’s a state of “ego death,” where one no longer functions as an independent individual but as a receptacle of “the Supreme Consciousness.” Translation: as a tentacle of the astral entities who live off human worship and suffering.

What makes Amma both so successful and so sinister is the loving image she hides behind. The media uses it to promote her far and wide. If it seems remarkable that no investigative reporting has been done, that no one from the mainstream media has questioned Amma’s PR, the mystery evaporates when we recall who the mainstream media is run by these days.

Large corporations have bought and own our press and television, and dictate the “news” that journalists are permitted to report. Behind those corporations, as behind our governments, lurk the privileged aristocracy, who control both news and world events by means of puppets who do their bidding. Our world leaders, the mainstream media, and “the saint” Amma work in tandem. That’s why the media and world leaders sing her praises.

Why do I single out Amma among the dozens of gurus I could write about? Because she is so popular, and so unquestioned. Even that guru-busting website, Guruphiliac, seems to miss the shadiness of Amma, voting her the “least bad” of the gurus. But Amma is one of the worst. Powerful and successful, she ropes in new recruits by the thousands on her yearly worldwide tours. Amma’s movement claims that the “saint” has hugged over 26-million people – people who often return as devotees, worshipping her godhood and donating to her coffers.

Amma’s brand of religion is a return to the infantile. She makes babies of grown men and women, giving them dolls to babble to and telling them she’s their mother. While speaking fine words about “the God within each of us,” her actions teach something different. Allowing people to pray to you, kneel to you, and worship you as God Incarnate is not the behavior of someone who wants people to recognize themselves as magnificent, powerful expressions of God.

Amma’s disciples get their power from hugs, dolls, mantra obeisance, and the group euphoria of retreats, not from the core of their own being. They’re conditioned to believe that their inner self is less than the glorious entity before them. They’re told, in fact, that their unique, individual personhood is nothing but a self-serving “ego” – flawed, proud, and devious, something to be destroyed before they can be happy. Every time they bow down to Amma and “the gods” who work through her, Amma’s devotees shut the door more tightly on the divinity within themselves.

It’s a tragedy, but we can stop it: by spreading this information far and wide. When enough people know the other side of Amma, her crown and power will topple. Just as the global government she promotes will crash down about itself when the public sees through the fairy tales.

“The emperor has no clothes.” Pass it on. Once the message ripples through the crowd, the game will be up, and the illusion will be over.

Bronte Baxter

© Bronte Baxter 2008

Anyone may republish this article on another website as long as they include the copyright and a back link to this site.



  1. astralkid said,

    August 25, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Like always Bronte , it’s all backwards.
    So we just have to live the other way around , opposite to what we are fed through the system.

  2. Devi said,

    August 26, 2008 at 1:04 am

    YOu harshly criticsie that which you cannot understand. When we look at all the bad in the world, to attack that which is good is your ignorance.

    I am not a devottee of anyone, yet I have spent many years investigating Gurus and religious leaders.

    That which is evil wants to stray goodness away by underminning it. MOcking God as you do. AS people also did to Chirst not Knowing that CHirst is a consciousness that lives in special being who come to remind us.

    Such is Amma. YEt, you a cyncial looser could not understand that which is truly holy and pure as your own consciousness is tainted.
    YEs, there are many frauds in the world, we must be decerning.

    I assure you Amma is not one of them…

  3. Gracchus said,

    August 26, 2008 at 2:07 am

    The Amma cult is idolatry, pure and simple, and it is also about, like virtually all of the world religions, the annihilation of one’s true self in order to conform to the will of “the god(s).” The God I know doesn’t ask for total submission to His will; cooperation, yes, but not submission. He gave us free will, and expects us to use it to do good, rather than evil. We are partners with Him in Creation, not subjects; we are His sons and daughters, not his servants. That, I submit, is what Jesus really taught: how to become like God, our Father, by communicating with Him in our hearts and walking with Him every day. Oh, I know, it is fashionable now to believe that Jesus never existed. I believe that is a lie. It would mean that we have no one who stands with us against the evil jinn of this world. He does stand with us, and He is as close to us as our own breath.

  4. Helio said,

    August 26, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Don’t Drink The KOOL-Aid.

    Dogma is Dogma. No matter where it comes from.
    You want to be enlightened?
    Believe nothing.

  5. DJamil said,

    August 26, 2008 at 4:18 am

    Thank you Bronte for your concise and thoughtful expose herein. It’s pretty simple: We are the solution, the god/dess, the powerful one, the true enlightened one — it lives, it breathes, it’s infinite consciousness is home to each and every one of our souls. What a gift it is to be alive.

    One day we will be able to embrace our darkness and will have no need for the charlatans of our world to covet and prosper from our own basic unwillingness to take responsibility for our part in the creation.

    Never give up!

  6. Past Subliminal said,

    August 26, 2008 at 4:33 am


    Based on your first comment I think it’s pretty clear that you have not read any of Bronte’s book. When you look at her background, she has a very good understanding of the control system in place and how its perpetrated against the human population because she helped in its perpetration. You have this little thing called free will and based on that principle alone you control your world in it’s entirety. You can either chose to be deceived or you can question what it is you were taught your entire life. What I was taught to believe does not match up with ‘reality’. Why bring up the story of Christ when you have no idea what really happened? It’s a 2000 year telephone game that’s been altered a billion times to control people.

  7. Ricky said,

    August 26, 2008 at 6:15 am

    Those that would be deceived, let them be deceived!

  8. cultofthehuggingsaint said,

    August 26, 2008 at 10:30 am

    This is an incredibly important article. One of the most perplexing things about the Ammachi cult is the fact that it has successfully escaped any type of scrutiny all of these years. This is most certainly due to the incredible control her people have on the media, and further, the control the media has over what the public gets access to. Thank you for being an integral part in opening the door to the truth of what “the hugging saint” is all about. This is a thorough and eloquent piece, and I hope that many searchers will pass this way to read it.

  9. Christina said,

    August 26, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Wouldn’t ‘buy’ into this s#&*. Nothing but fakery & quackery!

    We have to ‘grow up’ & cut the religious umbilical cord of such cults.

    Otherwise we do so deserve what we get!

  10. Ian deMontfort said,

    August 26, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Religion is complete mind programming for sheep. If people lack the ability to be their own Gods, then they will continue to surrender their powers to religious vampires.

  11. Halkatla said,

    August 27, 2008 at 1:02 am

    A mesmerizing read as always.

  12. Jeffrey said,

    August 27, 2008 at 1:26 am

    The World IS as you Are.

  13. Bill said,

    August 27, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    WOW! I watched a documentary about her about a year ago. I too was taken in by her seeming goodwill and charisma. Just goes to show. Reminds me of the story behind Mother Theresa as well. Thank you!

  14. Kieth Thompson said,

    August 27, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Anyone that would want you to kneel down is a fraud. God is complete. Needs nothing. Only the Devil needs to be worshipped.

  15. Teresa said,

    August 28, 2008 at 7:10 am

    What about the other one, Shri Mataji…same story. She claims she resides in the crown chakra. I noticed all the people that live in the ashram drive beat up cars and have nothing anymore after handing everything over and paying horrendious rent for a room in the ashram.
    How enlightening!

  16. thomas said,

    August 30, 2008 at 8:00 am

    I have met this lady. I have lived in a few different types of temples and ashrams. Mentally unstable people who have gone through many painfyul experiences often inhabit spiritual places. I met more mentally unstable people on the verge of suicide in temples than in the workplace. Of all the teachers’ abodes i went to hear speak when i lived in California, the people around Ammachi were the least grabby and indoctrinating. The dolls are funny and seem to be a vehicle to remind people of their deity (like a cross or picture of a saint or what have you). I don’t have one. Ammachi made it clear that anyone can worship or pray to the formless aspect of God. But many people are attracted to forms. The music was excellent and kids were throwing a nerf football right in the shrineroom which was different than enyother temple i saw. I guess when you have over 25 million “followers” you have a good number of wacky people, right? I just recommend people to read various views. I can only say from my own life, that any time i was helping lots of people, no matter how pure my motivation or actions, there were alway people who abused the activity for their own benefits and who accused me of things they were scared of. Good luck to all. Peace.

  17. cultofthehuggingsaint said,

    September 2, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    There is a phenomenon surrounding Amma. It is one in which she is never held accountable for grand scale manipulation. While it is true that she also encourages people to worship the “formless” aspect of God, she also makes it clear that SHE is God. So, even when devotees are worshiping the formless aspect of God, it is still Amma they are worshiping. They just feel that they are worshiping Amma’s essence/soul, rather than her physical form. This is just one reason why it is tricky to get to the bottom of the cult aspects of the group. It’s all very manipulative, filled with double-speak, guilt inducing tactics and a careful harvesting of complete and total surrender and worship of Amma. The divide between insider and outsider doctrine is enormous. While the dolls may seem “funny” and harmless to some, they speak of a deeper and scarier type of manipulation. That manipulation involves adults coddling Amma dolls and feeling that they have a personal relationship with God-on-earth…one they can communicate with through a doll made in her image. Getting into and playing with another human beings mind in that way is wrong any way you slice it.

  18. Steven said,

    September 4, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I think the information that is missing is empathy with those at a lower level of development. For some people their is a bridge that they need to cross and that bridge needs to have a form. Certain people have minds that work that way, they need God to havea parental personality in order to work through their unresolved issues with their parents. at a certain point one separates from their parent or guru or god. At that point all the repressed anger, fear or grief toward ones parents gets sublimated into the parent replacement (god, guru). Whoever started this website is filling in a gap that is needed, yet after the anger comes out, than a nuetrality takes hold. Where one can see the positives and negative objectively without emotional laden biases. I challenge you to realize that only you can give your “crown” chakra away, only you can give your power away and only you can recover them. I have never been a victim to any guru I have had (i have had many). I created them all in my image to mirror back what I needed to learn at the time. I no longer need gods or gurus either. After the criticism we can celebrate life creating our own reality from our unique connection to source!

  19. cultofthehuggingsaint said,

    September 6, 2008 at 3:37 am

    To Steven: It seems that you are overlooking the potential for gurus to exploit and manipulate those who are “seeking”. Certainly only the individual can give their power away, but you seem to have overlooked the manipulation on the part of the guru that encourages and brings that type of surrender about. In the case of big-time gurus like Amma, it involves financial, emotional and physical exploitation as well. It also involves feeding the public outright lies. Further, I don’t believe these websites are created out of anger. They are created to inform, educate, and hopefully prevent others from entering into the type of dangerous “spiritual” territory I have just described.

  20. shalini das said,

    March 21, 2009 at 12:12 am

    One of the reasons people are scared to demand a scrutiny is the forces behind her in her headquarter state of Kerala in India. She is heavily supported by the RSS (An extreme right wing facist militant organization) and RSS uses her as a ploy to spread their influence and ideology. A person who depends on the support of such a sinister organization, cannot be by simple logic anywhere near being a huma nist let alone being holy

  21. Vladmir Putin said,

    April 8, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    See this video of Sai Baba .. it completely exposes what the dude is about .. if this horror lady is doing puja to that thing.. it really exposes this crap thing for what it really is

  22. lallouslab said,

    May 23, 2014 at 10:57 pm


    Thanks for sharing. I would also like to invite readers to check my experience which I blogged about here: http://lallouslab.net/2013/08/04/meeting-amma-mata-amritanandamayi-devi/

    I came to similar conclusions.

    Thank you.

  23. x deeksha givér said,

    November 21, 2014 at 4:01 am

    I am really glad you are posting this stuff, I got caught up with the oneness movement, and just was not feeling good about myself, they made me feel not good enough if I did not attend all of there events , it was apparent to me they were in ego in their interactions with me. I had gone to a deeksha training in the class they taught that your divine was a separate being, they were teaching you to create it by working with it each day, and saying it would become a separate being or entity, I thought that was strange, it didn’t work for me. I started praying and asking for guidance from god, and I had a dream, in the dream I was in a room with a group of these people and this oneness trainer, I was thrown up against the wall in the dream, as if evil was angry at me, so I began researching deeksha and found much about this being a cult, and realized this was a cult, I saw this woman in a training I had for a different healing modality, we were working on other people in the class ,this woman began hysterically laughing, and disrupting the class, she later said she was laughing at the way I was doing the healing work, it was as if her entity knew I did not want anything to do with the deeksha anymore and was trying to come up against me, I can see these people caught up in the cult and their entities become very angry when you break away from them, its crazy. where I live this cult is really taking over and many amazing people are falling for it, so keep posting it gets lonely when you break away because people turn against you, for not following, what they believe is the light.

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