"In The Shelter of Her Arms" by Gretchen Kusuma McGregor

This is an excellent book for anyone who is treading the spiritual path. It is brutally honest, surprisingly cogent, thoroughly inspirational, remarkably candid and very convincing.

The author is not an ordinary writer although her prose makes it all seems that she has written it so effortlessly. It makes a good reading, no doubt: her writing has a clear style; the book reads smoothly. Her prose is simple, direct, elegant, evocative, concise and factual. What will, definitely, strike one is her unexampled honesty and self-effacing attitude.

It was through this writer’s doggedness, manful efforts, assiduousness and determinations that the world, for the first time, came to know Mata Amritanandamayi in 1987. It wouldn’t be hyperbolic or a stretch to say that no one outside India would have known the great master but for the writer’s efforts. The Guru had identified the right person for the job!

The book is about a sincere soul’s tumultuous journey through hope, passion, loss, friendship, love, and self-discovery. “Honesty” is the focal point of this story of courage and spirituality. Any spiritual aspirant who is dashed against the rocks of truisms, threatened to be drowned in the ocean of Maya, smothered by the urges of Vasanas, tormented by ego’s authoritative calls for attention, would be able to relate to what the author has gone and is going through.

In this respect, the book is a scripture in its own right!


Pain of Death

Questioner: “Amma, why is there so much fear and pain associated with death?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “To much attachment to the body and the world creates pain and fear of death. Almost everyone believes that death is complete annihilation. No one wants to leave the world and disappear into oblivion. When we have such attachment, the process of letting go of the body and the world can be painful.”

Questioner: “Will death be painless if we outgrow that attachment?”

Mata Amritanandamayi: “If one transcends attachment to the body, not only will death become painless, it will also be a blissful experience. You can remain a witness to the death of the body. A detached attitude makes death an entirely different experience.

“The majority of people die in terrible disappointment and frustration. Consumed in deep sadness, they spend their last days in anxiety, pain and utter despair. Why? because they never leanrt how to let go of, and free themselves from their meaningless dreams, desires and attachments. Old age, especially the last of such people will become worse than hell. That is why wisdom is important.”

(pgs. 34-35, From Amma’s Heart)