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'Hugging Saint' Embraces NYC

Amma hugs a follower
Alyssa Tagios, WFUV

Humanitarian and spiritual leaders gives hugs at Javits Center.

A humanitarian and spiritual leader from India, known to her followers as Amma, is sharing her hugs in New York City this week.  

Mata Amritanandamayi, the "hugging saint," is on a 10 stop tour across North America.   She's at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan through Wednesday.  Vanessa Varerla came to get her 4th hug from Amma.

"We walk around with a lot of stress and when she holds you it's like a deep sigh of release."

Follower and volunteer Rob Sidon says people often question what the experience is called.  He says one thing it's not is a religion.

"If anything Amma is encouraging people to go deeper into their own faith -- to be better Christians, to be better Muslims, to be better Jews.  She knows that the essence of all these religions is compassion, and certainly she's an amazing example of compassion and action."

So far Amma's embraced over 32-million people worldwide.  In addition to embracing people to ease their hardships, Amma oversees various charities.




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