Friday Feel Good: Amma the Hugging Saint Goes to NYC

Would you wait in line for a hug? Jaded New Yorkers did from Tuesday through yesterday — just to get an embrace from an Indian woman dubbed the Hugging Saint. (She probably hugged 20,000 New Yorkers by the end of it all.) Amma Amritanandamayi, 54, has been dispensing hugs for about 30 years in her travels around the world, and it's estimated that the "Hugging Saint" has given around 27 million hugs.

What's so special about her hugs? One person says it's not an ordinary hug. Another says it helps clear her mind. "Everyone comes to her," says a 38-year-old acupuncturist, "because they're in some kind of pain — cancer, love, family, kids. They want something from her. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't."

Although Amma says she's not a faith healer, one couple says it was only after Amma hugged them that they were finally able to conceive. Amma, who began spontaneously hugging people around the age of 8 or 9, told the Daily News through a translator, "The purest form of love can change people and that's what I'm trying to do." (The video above shows Amma embracing New Yorkers last year during her visit.)

Latest