Over the years we have grown to know Amma and her Irish devotees as they recruited people at the RDS. Here we want to provide information about a new book and some links to critical comment on this Hindu Saint?
KIHEI, Hawaii, Dec. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — An Indian woman profiled in publications across the globe, Mata “Amma” Amritanandamayi, is referred to as a saint by many, with her hugs believed to cure cancer and other diseases. Thousands line up, often waiting hours to be hugged and blessed by the godly woman.
However, a different portrait is painted of Amma in the new book Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness, written by the guru’s former personal assistant, Gail “Gayatri” Tredwell. The true picture is far different from the facade of beloved holy woman that the public sees.
After becoming Amma’s personal assistant in India at the age of 21, Tredwell never realized that her quest to find God would end in such a web of deceit and abuse. For two decades, Tredwell acted as Amma’s personal servant, expected to be available at the “saint’s” disposal at all hours.
Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness depicts an unsettling portrait of Amma in a voice that brims with honesty and hope. Tredwell became fluent in the Malayalam language and was with Amma continuously. The author shares her unique story, keeping to the facts yet taking responsibility for her own role in the situation.
Readers will become familiar with the ashram through the images that the book evokes of rural India. They will also see the ashram’s meteoric rise from religious community to mega-empire, completely business-minded and rife with hypocrisy.
Tredwell leads readers through the stages of her servitude to Amma, beginning with the early years fraught with innocent devotion, then to the developing awareness of the severity of her situation, until at last she realizes her needed liberation is not from God, but rather from Amma.
Only after years of recovery and reflection has Tredwell been able to reveal this story in all its raw and unflinching truth. Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness is now available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback editions, and available as an e-book via several other online retailers.
Media Contact: Gail Tredwell, Wattle Tree Press, 808 250 2719, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Wattle Tree Press
Amma, universally known as “The Hugging Saint,” went through a two-decade transformation from a simple fisherman’s daughter to an international wonder worshiped by millions. Gail “Gayatri” Tredwell was there every step of the way—from early devotee to head female disciple, ever-present personal attendant, handmaiden, whipping post, and unwilling keeper of some devastating secrets. At age nineteen, when she was a happy-go-lucky, adventurous lass from Australia, Tredwell never imagined that she would soon be trading her free spirit and skimpy clothing for a life of submission in an ankle-length sari. Her eager decision to serve the young “saint” began with innocence and a pure desire to please her new guru. In time, the relationship transformed into virtual enslavement in which Tredwell was on call 24/7 and worked herself nearly to death in the hope of finding God. Because she became fluent in the Malayalam language and had continual intimate proximity to Amma for twenty years, Tredwell is uniquely capable of portraying this famous woman. She tells her tale with straightforward honesty, fairness, and a dash of Aussie snap and wit. Although the guru’s flaws are a necessary part of her story and awakening, she strives to be factual throughout, digging deep to eschew victim frameworks and take responsibility for her own role in accepting the abuse and perpetuating the lies. The book evokes the joys of early devotional life and vibrant images of rural India. Through Tredwell’s eyes, we watch a modest and traditional ashram metastasize into a business-oriented, bustling, mega-international organization. We also see how such a dizzying rise created vast opportunity for abuse, deceit, and hypocrisy. Tredwell takes us vividly through her varying stages, starting with naïveté and innocent devotion, then on to dawning awareness and confusion, finally to emotional breakdown and her shocking “enlightenment”—her realization that the liberation she urgently required was is in fact liberation from her own guru. In a gradual yet determined struggle, she managed to untangle herself from the web of myth and indoctrination. Only then was she able to muster her battered but not quite broken spirit and plot her escape. Gail’s flight to freedom—her victorious recovery from a life of abuse and disillusionment—displays extraordinary strength and inspiring courage.
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