LatinaLista — What do you get when an Indian woman known the world over as the "Hugging Saint" who lives a life of peace and love meets a group of mostly Latino hotel workers protesting their employer's refusal to enact a living wage law?
An interesting showdown!
Amma, the Hugging Saint
Amma has traveled the world over giving hugs to people to pass along the love she feels is so lacking in the world. For her efforts, this 54-year-old woman has been recognized by global peace organizations.
Many consider her a great spiritualist who is able to touch, and at times, heal the hearts of those caught up in the dog-eat-dog world of what society is today. She does this primarily through hugs. At one sitting, she is said to have hugged 50,000 people in 20 hours.
The hugging is an integral element to her ministry. She travels the world just to hug people and alleviate their sufferings.
That's why it strikes some people odd that this week Amma's hug tour brings her to a hotel in Los Angeles that has been embroiled in a bitter fight between the workers and the owners. The Hilton LAX refuses to pay its workers a fair wage and so for the past three years the workers have been protesting outside, urging everyone to boycott the hotel.
For Amma to conduct her hug ministry, she's going to have to cross the picket line â€” and she seems to have no problem doing that.
A recent email exchange between one of the protest organizers and an event coordinator working with Amma highlights the Indian spiritualist's feelings:
I appreciate your personal care and concern for your issues. One thing I have learned from Amma, is, that she knows FAR more than we do. We are not in a position to judge her actions. Perhaps there was some fatal accident due to happen at the hotel, and she knew that her powerful spiritual presence would prevent it and save the lives of thousands of people. We do not know.
I urge you to have faith, and open your heart to more faith. Thank you so much for your concerns, I think it wonderful you care, yet, I urge you not to presume you know better than Amma.
Maybe it is because Amma can see the bigger picture or maybe it's because the contract has already been signed with the Hilton LAX, either way there's no doubt that Amma is holding her hug fest at the hotel this week.
In response, some community members and clergy held their own gathering outside the hotel. Until 4 p.m. today, the group will have spent 30 hours outside the hotel to show solidarity with the workers.
No doubt it's troubling that a woman renown for extolling the virtues of peace to her followers would decide to side with an employer who refuses to grant its own workers the peace of mind that they are seeking. Yet, Amma's own words may provide some insight as to why she is crossing the picket line:
â€œContentment is natural wealth,â€ she said and added, â€œLive your life the same way, but have God in your heart. Work in society until the end of your breath. Be a real sage inside. Do not bow to ego or selfishness.â€
â€œBurn your karma during this lifetime through spiritual practices and the art of giving,â€ she concluded.