I ask Amma what she's doing with all this hugging stuff. Big Swami puts the question into Malayalam for his guru, who is in the midst of double-hugging two Indian teens wearing Izod shirts. Amma launches into her response immediately, with twinkling eyes and a toothy, infectious smile. As she speaks I realize that, Kali or not, she is definitely a firecracker.
"What's happening here cannot be described," she says. "It is true communion, pure love that flows, flows like a river. It is pure subjective experience. It's like somebody trying to explain about drumming. You cannot explain with words. In order to really understand, you have to play a drum or listen to it. It's a direct experience, a real meeting between hearts. It's like looking in a mirror and cleaning your face."
The guru-speak continues. "I'm trying to awaken true motherhood in people, in men and women, because that is lacking in today's world. Today there are two types of poverty. The first is a lack of basic necessities. The second is a lack of love and compassion. As far as I am concerned, the second is more important because if there is love and compassion then the first kind can be taken care of."