Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Amma Sri Karunamayi's nickname is the "hugging saint," who is actually a different spiritual leader, Mata "Amma" Amritanandamayi.
Hindu spiritual leader Amma Sri Karunamayi will come to Utah this month to share the message that complete enlightenment transcends the teachings of any religion.
Karunamayi, who is scheduled to speak in Utah on June 29, has traveled the world teaching meditation and the Hindu concept of universal righteousness known as the sanatana dharma.
"Her energy, her love is just divine," said Ogden resident Cathy Fuentes, a volunteer for Karunamayi's visit, who described her first encounter with the spiritual leader as life-changing. "I've had miracles happen in my life because of the blessings she's given me."
It's a fitting impression of a woman whose first name means "mother" in her native language of Telugu.
Karunamayi is renowned for her exceptional kindness and philanthropy.
As a child, she is said to have had an atypical understanding of Hindu teachings and, at age 21, left to meditate in a sacred forest for 10 years.
She has since founded two free elementary schools, a free college, a free hospital, free housing for people who have been dispossessed of their land, as well as mobile medical clinics, emergency-relief programs and food and clothing donations.
During her Utah visit, she is scheduled to host a spiritual discourse about her enlightenment and encourage the audience to live a spiritually focused and healthy life. She will also practice ancient Vedic rights while blessing everyone in the room. Attendees have the opportunity to be privately blessed by Karunamayi after the service.
Students, ages 4 to 24, also will have the opportunity to receive a blessing called a saraswati diksha mantra written in honey on their tongues, which is said to help with education.
"She knows what you need more than you do," Fuentes said, "because she is fully enlightened. She does not teach philosophy or religions she's coming here to bless her children and to raise money for the poor people in her country."
Coming to Utah:
Hindu spiritual leader Amma Sri Karunamayi will provide a spiritual discourse and individual blessings June 29 at 10 a.m. at the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, 6876 S. Highland Drive, Cottonwood Heights.