ISBN-10:
0520281144
ISBN-13:
9780520281141
Pub. Date:
03/14/2014
Publisher:
University of California Press
Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace / Edition 1

Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace / Edition 1

by Amanda J. LuciaAmanda J. Lucia
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Overview

Globally known as Amma, meaning "Mother," Mata Amritanandamayi has developed a massive transnational humanitarian organization based in hugs. She is familiar to millions as the “hugging saint,” a moniker that derives from her elaborate darshan programs wherein nearly every day ten thousand people are embraced by the guru one at a time, events that routinely last ten to twenty hours without any rest for her. Although she was born in 1953 as a low-caste girl in a South Indian fishing village, today millions revere her as guru and goddess, a living embodiment of the divine on earth.



Reflections of Amma focuses on communities of Amma’s devotees in the United States, showing how they endeavor to mirror their guru’s behaviors and transform themselves to emulate the ethos of the movement. This study argues that “inheritors” and “adopters” of Hindu traditions differently interpret Hindu goddesses, Amma, and her relation to feminism and women’s empowerment because of their inherited religious, cultural, and political dispositions. In this insightful ethnographic analysis, Amanda J. Lucia discovers how the politics of American multiculturalism reifies these cultural differences in “de facto congregations,” despite the fact that Amma’s embrace attempts to erase communal boundaries in favor of global unity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520281141
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 03/14/2014
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Amanda J. Lucia is Associate Professor of Religion at UC Riverside.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Note on Language



INTRODUCTION

Situating Amma as Female Guru in the Context of American Multiculturalism



ONE  

A Darshan Embrace: Experiencing Authenticity and Feeling Recognition



TWO  

Devi Bhava: Revelation and Performance of the Guru as Goddess



THREE  

The Avatar-Guru and Ordinary Women: the Boundaries of Mimetic Behavioral Models



FOUR  

Culturally-Situated Testimonies: Differing Interpretations of the Role of the Goddess



FIVE

Congregational Dynamics: Growing Pains En Route from the Particular to the Universal



CONCLUSION

Multiculturalism, Universalism, and Communal Identity: the Guru in the American Diaspora



APPENDIX I:

Current Literature Engaging the Field of Contemporary Gurus



NOTES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

Customer Reviews