Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness [NOOK Book]

Overview

Amma, universally known as "The Hugging Saint," went through a two-decade transformation from a simple fisherman's daughter to an international wonder worshiped by millions. Gail "Gayatri" Tredwell was there every step of the way—from early devotee to head female disciple, ever-present personal attendant, handmaiden, whipping post, and unwilling keeper of some devastating secrets.

At age nineteen, when she was a happy-go-lucky, adventurous ...
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Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness

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Overview

Amma, universally known as "The Hugging Saint," went through a two-decade transformation from a simple fisherman's daughter to an international wonder worshiped by millions. Gail "Gayatri" Tredwell was there every step of the way—from early devotee to head female disciple, ever-present personal attendant, handmaiden, whipping post, and unwilling keeper of some devastating secrets.

At age nineteen, when she was a happy-go-lucky, adventurous lass from Australia, Tredwell never imagined that she would soon be trading her free spirit and skimpy clothing for a life of submission in an ankle-length sari. Her eager decision to serve the young "saint" began with innocence and a pure desire to please her new guru. In time, the relationship transformed into virtual enslavement in which Tredwell was on call 24/7 and worked herself nearly to death in the hope of finding God.

Because she became fluent in the Malayalam language and had continual intimate proximity to Amma for twenty years, Tredwell is uniquely capable of portraying this famous woman. She tells her tale with straightforward honesty, fairness, and a dash of Aussie snap and wit. Although the guru’s flaws are a necessary part of her story and awakening, she strives to be factual throughout, digging deep to eschew victim frameworks and take responsibility for her own role in accepting the abuse and perpetuating the lies.

The book evokes the joys of early devotional life and vibrant images of rural India. Through Tredwell's eyes, we watch a modest and traditional ashram metastasize into a business-oriented, bustling, mega-international organization. We also see how such a dizzying rise created vast opportunity for abuse, deceit, and hypocrisy.
Tredwell takes us vividly through her varying stages, starting with naïveté and innocent devotion, then on to dawning awareness and confusion, finally to emotional breakdown and her shocking "enlightenment"—her realization that the liberation she urgently required was is in fact liberation from her own guru.

In a gradual yet determined struggle, she managed to untangle herself from the web of myth and indoctrination. Only then was she able to muster her battered but not quite broken spirit and plot her escape. Gail's flight to freedom—her victorious recovery from a life of abuse and disillusionment—displays extraordinary strength and inspiring courage.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780989679411
  • Publisher: Wattle Tree Press
  • Publication date: 10/25/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 205,567
  • File size: 461 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2013

    This book is a riveting and fascinating roller coaster ride thro

    This book is a riveting and fascinating roller coaster ride through the author's life and quest for spirituality. It is exceedingly rare to get a glimpse into the inner circle and activities of an internationally well-known spiritual teacher, and Gail takes us through her two-decades long experience in a brutally honest way. Her absolute sincerity and dedication to truth are unquestionable. I have experienced many of the same conditions in India, and can attest to how accurately they are described in the book.

    The many events in the early days in Kerala, India with Mata Amritanandamayi will charm devotees, and her helpful explanations make easy reading for those unfamiliar with life in India. I have never been a devotee of the 'Amma' in the book, nor even saw her, and yet I found so many similarities between the life I lead during my 20 years in India, a large portion of it in the ashram of Sathya Sai Baba.

    Anyone who has had a gnawing doubt and growing fear that life as they know it is not in harmony with the peace of their soul, will find the enlightening insights in this book helpful to break free and discover a better life ahead - leading to a tremendous weight off their shoulders. There is something for everyone in the book, and it is hard to put down; I highly recommend it!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    A well written account

    A very well written and frank personal account of the pitfalls of person worship. When a person claims to be God, or divine, followers are wise to proceed with caution. In the end, we all believe what we want to believe. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    would recommend

    This book was written by a former devotee of Ammachi (the hugging guru), I had heard of her some 20 years ago and had friends who would go to see her when she made her tours around north America. So I was curious to hear someone's perspective on the ashram and amma herself and Gail Tredwell didn't disappoint. The book was insightful , I thoroughly enjoyed it and if you like non fiction and find it inspiring that people can learn to live a healthy life after some very hard times buy it.

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  • Posted March 16, 2014

    Well written. We need to embrace all experiences from as many as we can to make our choice.

    We all have our perspectives. As long as we learn from each of them we can continue to grow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    Disappointing. Doesn't ring true.  I ordered this book looking

    Disappointing. Doesn't ring true. 

    I ordered this book looking for some insight as to why someone so close to Amma would leave after so long. I was disappointed – this book reads like a trashy novel, and I can understand the decision to self-publish – the manuscript would never make it out of the slush pile at a real publishing house. While billed as a memoir, the story is utterly preposterous – but it does seem that the author has managed to fool herself. She writes that she never looked at a man with lust in over 20 years – a claim regularly undercut by the lusty innuendos which seep through the cracks in her writing all over the place. Projection, anyone?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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