Mata Amritanandamayi Hugs
Hands off? Every meeting is met with a kiss; men give hugs to other men; the Tube is full of frotters. British men and women are but an alcopop away from coitus by the wheelie bins. The BBC is wrong. Hugs are the norm. Hugs are expected.
Being hugged and petted is what happens. “Give us a hug, love,” is the catchphrase of daytime telly. If Hitler were alive, he’d tell us that if he’d only had a hug it could have been so different. Tony Blair and Cherie embrace. In a bygone age they would have been arrested for gross indecency, but now we wonder why they stop there and don’t have full sex.
Notes the BBC: “Amma, the ‘Hugging Saint’, is in town. And this procession of slightly disoriented passengers are among the crowds making their way to be embraced by her at the north London venue. For 30 years Indian spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi, to give her her real name, has been hugging people, leading some to give her a saintly nickname.”
Amma sits on a slightly elevated seat. Strangers come before her, kneeling, and she embraces each as though they were her own flesh and blood.
Time spent with Amma is free and she does not promote any particular faith, being for “all religions and none”. She is said to have dolled out some 26 million hugs, or “darshan”, as the experience is known. Each is counted off with a clicker.
She keeps count… Why? Is this an attempt at a World Record? There’s certainly a book in the making, a guide to hugging with an instructional DVD voiced by Anthea Tuner…