As one devotee stated, "Amma is the divine mother. When I am in her arms I feel just like a child, a baby being held in the arms of her mamma."
Another student of the Hugging Saint added, "Life can be difficult, sometimes it's just nice to let go and be scooped up into the arms of God. In that moment of embrace everything falls away and I am carried to another time and place. In this state I no longer have to carry the weight of my responsibilities, I can surrender them in totality to the Divine. I no longer need to think, God, from then on, does it for me."
Amma’s devotees talk to dolls made in her image that are sold on Amma retreats. They tell the doll their problems, seek its comfort, and listen in their minds for its advice.
Amma calls the devotees her children, and clucks syllables like baby talk into their ears in her trademark ritual of lining people up, watching them kneel before her and then embracing them.
As one Beverly Hills psychologist said, mascara and tears streaming down her cheeks after being embraced, "Amma told me, she is my mother and that she hears my prayers... and she was telling the truth. Amma doesn't charge for her darshan (being in her presence) just as a mother would not charge an infant for breast milk..."
Amma makes an estimated three million dollars in her annual 7-week tours of the U.S., through donations and sales of items like her toothbrush, fragments of a garment she has sat on, Amma dolls, Amma posters and books by devotees extolling her divinity. These funds go towards supplying God's human incarnation with the necessary amenities to recreate heaven on earth. As the bible says, "as above, so below."
Cynics have questioned the influence the Hugging Saint has over her followers, and the tendency of long-term devotees to psychologically regress to an infantile state. In this regard, many theologians and scholars have come to her defense, stating: "We are all God's children. Amma is the mother archetype. Why would we not become babes in her arms?"
Even avowed atheists have come around to seeing the truth. Richard Dawkins gushed, after experiencing Amma for the first time, "I never knew God existed, let alone that God is an obese woman who likes to give 'free' hugs!"