Amma Says a Smile is a Prayer

12 Ways To Be A Great Valentine

International Yogi and Humanitarian Amma, known also as “The Hugging Saint”, has inspired me for nearly 18 years through her living example and teachings.  Here’s how Amma inspires me this Valentine’s Day.  Happy Valentine’s Day! Namaste!

  1. Valentine’s Day love is not dependent on a romantic relationship. Amma instructs: “Instead of saying: “I am in love”, say “I am love.
  2. Welcome everyone as your Valentine. Every time Amma enters a room, she brings her palms together over her head, bows and says: “Amma bows to everyone here who are embodiments of pure love and the Supreme Consciousness.” Amma never limits the number of people who can come to a program, to a retreat or to Her home in India.
  3. Valentines love to receive kisses, chocolate and flowers. Amma gives chocolate kisses and flower petals to everyone who comes to see Her.
  4. If your Valentine can’t come to see you, go visit them. Amma makes two world tours every year to six continents.
  5. Who do you know who could use a Valentine? Give extra love to children, and those who need extra help. At each of Amma’s tour programs, a staff of volunteers provides for special needs of guests in wheelchairs, on gurneys, with babies and more.
  6. Feed the tummy. Nourish the soul. Make your Valentine a home-cooked meal. Amma’s first humanitarian efforts began with “Mother’s Kitchen”. Today, the organization feeds more than 10 million people per year in India, alone. Within 12 hours after the Great Tsunami, more than 20,000 people received a hot nourishing meal after being evacuated and re-located to temporary shelter.
  7. Your pets are your Valentines, too. After the Tsunami, Amma would not evacuate the island until all the animals were safe. Elephants were sheltered in the Temple.
  8. Celebrate with singing and dancing! Amma sings uplifting inspired songs of praise (bhajans) every day. Every tour there are CD’s filled with new music. She loves to dance and encourages cultural dancing.
  9. Declare the earth to be your Valentine. Plant a tree. Every year since 2007 Amma has advised, “Individually, we should make a vow to plant at least one tree a month so in one year, everyone would plant at least 12 trees. If everyone participates, we can restore nature’s beauty to the face of the world.” Amma’s volunteer organization website,, documentsthat more than 1,000,000 trees have been planted.
  10. Have a Valentine’s Day free-for-all. Amma joined Pope Francis and the leaders of the world’s major religions to sign a declaration committed to the elimination of slavery and human trafficking by the year 2020. Take the pledge and learn more at
  11. Hold the vision. See potential and possibility. Declare your abundance and faith. You never know how the love will show up. Amma’s home village and Amritapuri Ashram in Southern India (with 20,000 residents and holiday visitors) were thrashed with mammoth waves in the Great Tsunami of 12/26/2004. Water gushed in from all sides of the island swamping it with more than five feet of water. Amma’s organization was in full disaster recovery mode throughout the region. Six days later, countries argued and compared how much they could donate to the disaster. Amma called a press conference. ABC World News Tonight reported that the “Hugging Saint” pledged $22 million; more than many countries. Volunteers were shocked. Where would it come from? For the next several months, donations poured in from all over the world.
  12. Oh yes…give everyone a big Valentines’ Day hug! Amma has physically embraced more than 34,000,000 per

…Sometimes Valentine’s Day can be a very difficult time. At the Amritapuri Ashram, after Amma teaches or serves lunch, she may spontaneously call for everyone who is sad to come for darshan and receive Her embrace. If you need some love or prayer, contact me or submit your prayer request, here.