From “Free Hugs” in Australia to Hugging Mother in India – Random Acts of Kindness

What difference can a small, random act of kindness do to another person’s life?

A world of difference apparently.

Your Actions Make a Difference

As I travel across India, and having passed by Assam, at the home of the Hugging Mother, Amma, it becomes clear to me that small acts really can change another person’s life.

Visiting the Hugging Mother was one of my main goals in India. I had watched a television show once of someone who had wanted to change their life after being in a slump. The television show was about how he could get his life back on track, and it involved him doing a series of life changing activities – one of which was to meet the Hugging Mother and get a big, warm hug from her. It was a small, random act, and I was intent on experiencing something like that too, or at least be in the same space as the woman.

A Visit to Hugging Mother in India

Boat Ride in Assam, India to Visit Amma, the Hugging Mother
I took a boat ride along the backwater rivers from Varkala to Assam. When I landed at the small Assam port, I then had to take a small boat across the river to meet the Hugging Mother.

Leaving the small boat, I carried my bags and walked along this narrow path. I stopped at a small wooden sign which said Amma to my right, and when I looked left, I saw a large colorful temple. At the entrance of Amma’s space, there was the information desk, where a man wearing a bright orange cloak greeted me. Unfortunately, the info desk said that phototaking was not allowed, and I was informed that the Hugging Mother was not in – to my dismay.

At least I got to walk around her home, and it was interesting seeing several other foreigners visiting the place. Some were even staying there long term, and they wore simple white cloaks to display their simplicity and humility.

In the end, I was at least able to get a hug from P. =)

The Power of Small Actions Such as Hugs

Hugging Saint Mother
I recognize that there are many aspects of spirituality that Amma suggests. I respect many of her humanitarian initiatives and her ideals of living simply and humbly. Although the main thing that inspired me about Hugging Mother was in her simple act of hugging the people she meets, and through that uplifting people’s spirits.

Interestingly, I come from Australia, and the concept of giving hugs in my own hometown is not uncommon.

“Free Hugs” in Australia and Across the Globe

Free Hugs!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Funky Tee

The “Free Hugs” Campaign, for instance, was a social movement that started in Sydney, Australia. It was started by an Aussie guy who goes by the pseudonym “Juan Mann”.

He started the campaign after feeling down and depressed.

He received a hug from someone, and he felt inspired by it. From the experience, he wanted to share the power of hugs with others. He went around Sydney city with the iconic sign “Free Hugs.”

In his view, hugs could be used as a means to uplift people’s lives. The campaign built momentum over time, and others also followed with the “Free Hugs” campaign – from the United States, Korea, India and Chile.

Contributing in Small Ways

Overall, from Australia to India, it is clear that small, random acts of kindness (such as hugs) can make a positive difference in other people’s lives.

Whether you’re a social entrepreneur or a person simply wanting to contribute to the others, remember that your impact can start from little things.

Your actions, even the small and random ones, do matter in this world and for other people.