Seva in Mata Amritanandamayi Mission

Social Service as a Public Face of Faith


  • Samta Pandya Tata Institute of Social Sciences



Mata Amritanandamayi Mission, seva, Hugging Saint, guru


Based on fieldwork with Mata Amritanandamayi Mission (MAM) headed by Mata Amritanandamayi and headquartered in Kollam, Kerala, India, I discuss its aspects of seva or social service. I propose that seva in MAM is done by followers and disciples volitionally and then it becomes a doctrine in Amma’s ministry. I observed two social service projects in terms of their interfaces with various systems such as economic-political-social, partnerships and nature of routine operations. I make some propositions on seva in MAM and emphasise that it typifies the living guru’s expansive agency, uncontainability and more specifically a form of implicit religion. For followers, seva is a means to gain a place in Amma’s coterie, and, the actual operations of the projects signify a sacred-secular partnership such that we can begin to speak of its politics.


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How to Cite

Pandya, S. (2017). Seva in Mata Amritanandamayi Mission: Social Service as a Public Face of Faith. Implicit Religion, 19(3), 401–423.