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Monday, June 14, 2010

free hugs!

if you happen to be near LAX this week and notice a swarm of white-robed devotees on century boulevard, don't be alarmed; they're not going to ask you for spare change nor are they going to try to convert you. they're all here to see amma, also known as the hugging saint, who's back in town for her annual visit.

as part of her summer 2010 north american tour, amma will be stopping at ten cities across the continent: seattle, san ramon, los angeles, albuquerque, dallas, chicago, new york, washington DC, boston, and toronto. she will be sharing her love, her wisdom, and her darshan, or hugs, with any and all who are willing to sit and listen to what she has to say.

while her hugs are free, there will be many opportunities for you to pull out your wallet -- to buy food, drink, clothing, books, artwork, and of course, amma souvenirs. yes, it seems a bit incongruous that while one half of the ballroom is seated and quietly absorbing amma's love, the other half is busy walking around comparing prices and acquiring more personal possessions. for me, it's one way to keep entertained while waiting to get my hug. but others might find that their time is better spent sitting inside to read a book or listen to music. or walking outside to enjoy the beautiful summer weather.

be prepared to wait. because of the thousands who show up, plan on getting there early and staying for a good chunk of time. for an event like this, parking on the street at a parking meter might not be the wisest choice, unless you're willing to run back and forth to avoid getting a parking ticket. so my suggestion is to either park in one of the lots or structures, or better yet, if you're going to one of the daytime events, take the bus (it's a short walk from the LAX transit center on 96th street).

to give you a better idea of what to expect, these were my thoughts the first time i saw her back in 2007: blog.accidentalyogist.com/2007/06/embracing-chaos.html

and when i saw her again in 2009: blog.accidentalyogist.com/2009/05/need-hug.html

this year, i'll be there for the big event -- the devi bhava on friday night. i know people who plan to stay until the last hug is given the next morning. as for me, i'll probably leave once i get my hug. which, from previous experience, would be shortly after midnight...

the money raised from this visit goes towards supporting amma's many charities: schools, hospitals, orphanages, disaster relief efforts, and more. information about all her charitable work can be found at http://www.embracingtheworld.org/; videos can be found at www.youtube.com/ammafootage.

here's amma's schedule for this week:

Amma's Visit to Los Angeles
Date: June 14 ~ June 18
Location: Hilton at Los Angeles Airport, 5711 West Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Phone: 310- 410-6055

All public programs are free and open to the public. For attending retreats pre-registration is required.

Free Public Programs

Monday, June 14
11:00am – 5:00pm

Tuesday, June 15
Morning 10:00am – 2:00pm
Evening 7:30pm – after midnight
Spiritual talk, music, meditation and individual blessings

Friday, June 18
Devi Bhava - Program begins at 7:00pm

Numbered tokens for entering the darshan line to meet Amma are distributed one hour before each program, with priority given to those meeting Amma for the first time. Please Note: Due to time constraints token availability may be limited.

Wednesday, June 16 – Friday, June 18

*Please visit www.amma.org for retreat registration or call (510) 537-9417 x125

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Darshan?
Darshan is Amma's blessing that comes in the form of a compassionate hug.

Will lunch be served during morning programs?
A delicious vegetarian lunch is served and snacks are available for a modest fee.

What are the events during evening programs?
The evening program starts with spiritual talk (either by Amma and/or one of Amma's senior disciples or devotees). This is followed by devotional singing (bhajans).Following this darshan continues for those that did not receive darshan in the morning.

Will Dinner be served?
Dinner is served every evening for a modest fee at 6:00 pm (before the programs begin) and at 10:00 pm (after the bhajans). For Devi Bhava nights please see below.

What is Atma Puja?
Atma Puja is a ceremony done for spiritual advancement of the world.

When does Darshan usually end?
Darshan continues until the last person is received by Amma.

What dress should be worn?
We request that you respect the Indian traditions by dressing conservatively and avoid wearing sleeveless shirts, tight clothes or short skirts.


Anonymous yoga wear & yoga classes said...

I am using yoga as part of my therapy as well as having treatment and taking so many tablets I make a noise when I walk!

4:42 AM  

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