Amritanandamayi, Mataji 1953-

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AMRITANANDAMAYI, Mataji 1953-

PERSONAL: Original name, Sudhamani; born September 27, 1953, in Kerala, India; father, a fisherman.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Mata Amritanandamayi Center, P.O. Box 613, San Ramon, CA 94583. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Operated as a trance medium until the late 1970s; Mata Amritanandamayi Center, Kerala, India, founder and Hindu spiritual teacher. Also affiliated with a center named after her in San Ramon, CA; conducted a world tour, 1987, including travel across the United States; United Nations Millennium Peace Summit, invited participant, 2000. Sometimes uses the name Ammachi.

WRITINGS:

For My Children: Spiritual Teachings of Mata Amritanandamayi, Mata Amritanandamayi Mission (Kerala, India), 1986.

Awaken, Children! Dialogues with Sri Sri Mata Amritanandamayi (originally published as Amritanandamayi sambhashanangal), two volumes, translated and adapted by Swami Amritaswarupananda, 2nd edition, Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust (San Ramon, CA), 1990, 3rd edition, 1992, revised edition, Mata Amritanandamayi Center (San Ramon, CA), 1998.

Eternal Wisdom: Upadeshamritam, compiled by Swami Jnanamritananda Puri, translated from Malayalam by M. N. Namboodiri, Mata Amritanandamayi Center (San Ramon, CA), 1999.

SIDELIGHTS: Mataji Amritanandamayi, also known as Ammachi, has been a spiritual teacher in the Hindu tradition since the late 1970s. She was first a trance medium in south India, but she gradually gained devotées. Amritanandamayi's father eventually gave her the family land to establish a spiritual center and community in what is now known as Amritapuri, India. She has since undertaken tours and established the Mata Amritanandamayi Center in San Ramon, California, and her birthplace in India is the headquarters of her worldwide spiritual mission.

"[Amritanandamayi] is a highly respected spiritual teacher of countless people, from all walks of life, all over the world," wrote a contributor to Skipping Stones in a preface to Amritanandamayi's keynote address to the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit in August, 2000. Amritanandamayi has published a small number of writings that present her spiritual teachings, of which devotion is the centerpiece. Her Web site conveys her insistence "that all of the residents [of my communities]. . . have a thorough grounding in spiritual practices like meditation, devotional singing, yoga and scriptural study. This will give them the necessary stability and inner peace to deal with the unavoidable ups and downs of life."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Chaitayna, Bramacharya Amritatma, Mata Amritanandamayi: Life and Experiences of Devotees, Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust (Kerala, India), 1988.

Religious Leaders of American, 2nd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.

PERIODICALS

Hinduism Today, July, 1987, "Holy Woman Brings the Mother Spirit to the West: Mataji, 35, of Kerala Inspires Thousands with Devotion and Vedantic Truths during USA Tour," pp. 1, 15.

Skipping Stones, January, 2001, "United Nations Millennium Peace Summit," p. 28.

OTHER

Mataji Amritanandamayi Center Web site,http://www.ammachi.org/ (April 25, 2002).*

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