If I have to explain this Holy Hell in one word, I would say “Fight to Freedom”. This book demonstrates the life of the author, her fight to freedom from abuse, disillusionment, virtual enslavement, deceit, and hypocrisy. In this, the author shares her 20 years of experience with Amma or The Hugging Saint as a personal assistant. It is a journey of the author from becoming an innocent devotee to her shocking enlightenment. At the age of nineteen, Gail Tredwell took a decision to serve young guru also known as a saint with innocence and pure love. After a time, the relationship between her and saint changed into virtual slavery in which she has to work all day and night in the hope of nirvana. She takes the responsibilities on her own in accepting the abuse and eternalizing lies she has been going through.
She explains her experience in different stages from a 20 years old innocent devotee and finally to a stage of an emotional breakdown as an experienced personal assistant. At the breakdown stage, she realizes an urgent need of freedom from her own guru.
She managed to explain her entire journey in this book in a very magnificent way. It’s a victory over the life of abuse and discouragement which showcase the extraordinary strength and encouraging bravery of the Gail Tredwell.
Note: I have reviewed this book on the basis of content available in it. I don’t know whether the content is true or a way to exploit someone’s personality. I am no one to inquire about it.
There are not so much characters in this book except Amma and Author her self.
Gail Tredwell aka Gayatri
The Author of this book. She was an Australian girl before coming to India. Author was in her 20’s when she come as a tourist. She tries to write her entire experience as a personal assistant of Amma, a godwoman. Also, she tries to uncover the truth of such godmen and its up to you to choose the right path of enlightenment with godmen or alone.
The main character of the book on which whole story is portrayed. This book isn’t a story but a truth of nowadays path of enlightenment. Amma is a godwoman as well as a brand which has a net worth of more than billions. She travel around the world to meet and hug her followers and also, followers crosses seas to sit in her feet.
Holy Hell Book Review
Holy Hell by Gail Tredwell is an autobiography of the author written by self. She has written her 20 years of experience as a personal assistant. The author has described her journey from a 20 years old tourist who comes to India and stays here in the search for enlightenment. Though, a number of tourists come to India in the search of something which is not available in their country. This is like a trend for the youth of western countries.
The entire story of the book is based upon an India godwoman “Amma Amritanandamayi” also known as The Hugging Saint. She has millions of followers around the globe which comes from miles to sit in the feet’s. Also, she travels across the borders to meet the followers and to hug them. Her followers love her more than anything they love in their life. She is not a godwoman but a brand worth millions of dollars. She has constructed schools, hospitals, IT companies, colleges, and many more.
Some Islamic groups and rationalist parties hate her because she is like a magnet, whoever comes to meet her, they become followers of Amma. She was also used as a way to attract more votes in elections by political parties. Many efforts and allegations have been made by various people to dethrone her but none of them have been proved. In India, going against a godman is similar to going against the religion which they were following for years.
Gail’s Life as a Personal Assistant
Holy Hell by Gail Tredwell is a heart-wrenching story. In simple words, she has explained the love, pain, faith, madness, and devotion in this book. She came from Australia and becomes a devotee of Amma in India. She has spent 20 years of her life as a personal assistant. In these years, she was abused mentally and physically and also sexually by other inmates or male followers.
From Australia, she came to Tiruvannamalai, Kerela. She was searching for a guru who can show her the right path of enlightenment. Search took her to Vallikkavu in Kerala, where she found a young girl named as Sudhamoni. She was a saint as well as a follower of Amma. When Gail let to know about this, she becomes a personal assistant immediately. She joined herself with Amma and will continue to follow her for the next 20 years.
After some time, the relationship between her and Amma turn into a feeble one. The behavior with Gail from other followers is bad. Amma handled her very badly like she is personal property, forcing her working till death and abusing mentally as well as physically whenever they want to. She cannot raise her voice against anyone because she would be dismissed from the guru’s presence anytime without any explanation. At that time, Gail has no other relationship other than Ashram, neither she is in contact with her family members nor she knows someone in India personally. She had also gone through a Hysterectomy Surgery to remove cancer from the uterus.
After some time, the position of Gail was raised from personal assistant to a Manager. Her work is to be with Amma during her trips and soon she becomes Swamini Amritaparna. She used to be in her room constantly as she was a personal assistant. During a visit to the US, an unexpected thing happened to her. She was asked to stay in Amirah from where she witnessed a shocking incident, the guru was having sex with chief swami of the ashram. Soon, this becomes a common thing for her. Amma is partial to males and has spent hours with them isolated. Not only this but also Gail was repeatedly raped by other male swamis.
A lie which Amma constantly told her followers that she was free from the curse of monthly periods, is no more lie for Gail. The truth was out for her that guru is nothing but a common woman like everyone else but she is best at making fool of gullible people i.e. followers.
Path to Enlightenment
The path to enlightenment was very difficult for her .One day, during a visit to the USA, Gail flew away leaving all boundaries behind.
Conclusion of Holy Hell
This book will not change anything. Mata Amritanandamayi will keep earning money by doping gullible people while followers will believe in her. Nothing can be changed, neither Amma nor her followers. If someone will changed, how they are going to run their business?
Readers Reviews on Holy Hell by Gail Tredwell
This book deserves 10 out of 10 not for the writing or language used in it but for the courage of the writer to express her experience in words. Gail Tredwell is an amazing writer, a pure spirit, and an inspiration for me. Her journey of becoming a devotee to nirvana has been life-changing to read.
I got curious about the book when it is over the front page of mostly each newspaper. The Hugging Saint is Matha Amrithananda Mayi which is one of the popular women saints of Kerala with following all over the globe. She is like a god to millions of people worldwide. Once you start reading the book, you want to read more and more. The content is so engaging that it would be difficult for the reader to put the book down.
Gail shares her 20 years of experience in this book using simple narrative style. She came to India in the search for the meaning of her life but she decides to stay here as a devotee of Amma in the ashram. This is a courageous story against all kinds of fraudsters who earn on the name of spirituality and people‘s innocence. I would suggest everyone read this tale once in life.
I loved this book. There are various reasons to support my statement but the best one is the essential revelations of such self-claimed godmen of India. This book acts as an eye opener for blind faith people who have a blind belief on such godmen.