Fondly known as Amma by her millions of followers across the globe, Mata Amritanandamayi is widely regarded as one of India’s top spiritual leaders. The Centre accorded Z category VIP security cover to her on Tuesday, after intelligence agencies submitted a report underlining a "high level" of threat to her. Thus she became the second spiritual teacher in the country after Yoga guru-turned-entrepreneur Baba Ramdev to be given Z level security. Let's take a look at some facts about Amma.

1 Amma was born in Parayakadavu, now known as Amritapuri, near Vallikavu in Kollam in 1953 as the third child of Sugunandan and Damayanti in a fishing community.

2 Even from her childhood, Amma spent hours meditating at the seashore and composed devotional songs. As a kid, she used to collect food and clothing and distribute it to the poor. She also started embracing people to comfort them in their sorrows.

3 When Amma was nine years old, her mother became ill and she was withdrawn from school in order to do household work and take care of her siblings.

4 She rejected several attempts by her parents and relatives to get her married, and continued her spiritual work.

5 In 1979, Amma's devotees formed an ashram known as Amritapuri, which now runs as a parent organisation and trust under which several spiritual, educational, cultural and healthcare organisations perform. The famous Amrita hospital in Ernakulam, and dozens of educational institutions in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka which function under the Amrita deemed university are among them. 

6 Amma was one of the representatives of Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions at Chicago in 1993.

7 There have been times when she sat 20 hours on a stretch during the Darshan time, hugging up to 50,000 devotees. Due to her hugging habit she is also known as "the hugging saint". Her ashram claims she has hugged around 33 million people so far. 

8 Amma has been attacked twice, both at her Amritapuri ashram. A man named Pavithran tried to attack her with a knife in 2005, while a Bihari youth called Satnam Singh attacked her in 2012

9 Amma executes various charitable work all over the world. Her network of charity organisations exist in 40 countries around the world and provide food, housing, education and medical services to people in need. Her organisations serve more than 100,000 meals every year to the homeless and hungry internationally.

10 Since 2012, she has been involved in cleaning the Pampa River as well as Sabarimala Temple pilgrimage site annually. In 2015, she donated Rs 100 crore to the Government of India’s ‘Clean the Ganges’ program to construct toilets for poor families living alongside the River Ganga.