Amma - Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi:
The Source of Our Vision & Mission
The Amma Shop [Embracing the World Shop] began in 1987 when spiritual leader Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) first came to the United States. At Amma's programs, devotees set up a small table with a few spiritual books, photographs, malas and cassette tapes for sale, and the money raised was then donated towards Amma's then nascent humanitarian mission. When the Mata Amritanandamayi Center was officially formed in 1988, the "shop" came under its fold.
Nearly 30 years later, the concept is still the same-with all the proceeds from merchandise sold at the Amma Shop [ETW Shop] going directly to Amma's humanitarian projects. The only difference is that the scope of both Amma's charities and that of the Amma Shop [Embracing the World Shop] has grown exponentially. Today, the shop offers everything from books and musical recordings to musical instruments, herbal remedies, puja items, traditional and modern Indian clothing, T-shirts, hoodies, and much, much more. At the same time, the charities of our inspiration, Mata Amritanandamayi, include scholarships for at-risk children, welfare programs for widows and the severally mentally and physically challenged, self-help groups for impoverished women, houses for the homeless, massive tree-planting initiatives, orphanages, charitable hospitals, village-adoption programs, and many other such ventures. In fact, the breadth of Amma's humanitarian mission has become so vast, all of the individual organizations (the Mata Amritanandamayi Center, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust, etc) are all commonly referred to as Embracing the World.
But now matter how large the charitable mission becomes and no matter how vast the Amma Shop's [ETW Shop's] catalog grow, our inspiration will always remain the same: Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma).
Mata Amritanandamayi's every breath, every touch, every look has been dedicated to uplifting others. Hers is a vision that remains focused on society as a whole, without ever forgetting the value of the individual. Over 34 million people-from all nations, all religions, all lifestyles, political parties, speaking all languages-have made their way into her open arms, searching for a taste of the pure love, compassion and peace with which Amma's very name has become synonymous. Seeing in Amma someone who gives 100 percent of herself to others, millions of people have been prodded to look inward and ask themselves the questions: "What am I doing for others? Couldn't I be doing more?" Inspired by Amma, all of the "staff" at the Amma Shop [ETW Shop] are volunteers, ensuring that proceeds generated through sales are not unnecessarily diminished and the maximum amount possible is able to go to the poor and needy and the general uplift of the world community.
Everyone in the world should be able to sleep without fear, at least for one night.
Everyone should be able to eat to his fill, at least for one day.
There should be at least one day when hospitals see no one admitted due to violence.
By doing selfless service for at least one day, everyone should help the poor and needy.
It is Amma's prayer that at least this small dream be realized.