1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Mother of All


S. Mohana Krishna
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 9
Month : April
Issue Number : 2
Year : 2010

(Continued from the previous issue)

Those were the early years after the Mahasamadhi of Amma. Jillellamudi without the physical presence of Amma was coming to terms with itself and so were the residents and visitors. I thought of bringing out a Picture Book which will serve as an introduction to those who would like to know about Amma as also the shrines and other activities in Jillellamudi..

I shared the idea with K.Gopalarao who was the Resident Secretary of Sree Viswajanani Parishat and he encouraged me to go ahead. I started to collect good photographs and with the help of Gopalarao prepared some narration. The wish however came to be fulfilled over two decades later. All these years the narration and the photographs were lying in an envelope and were carried with me safely while I went on to work at Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Nellore (A.P), Kolkata (West Bengal), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Udupi and Bangalore (Karnataka).

After my retirement, I settled down in Hyderabad. The project was revived during 2006 in a very unexpected way.

Baburao, our family friend for over forty years, is a successful businessman who came up the hard way. He is known for his honest dealings as a builder and always believed in giving value for money.

Baburao had his first darshan of Amma along with his wife Tulasi during 1983. Having lost his mother when he was young, Baburao deeply felt the motherly affection shown by Amma. Amma put a flower garland around the couple and blessed them.

After some years, Baburao happened to visit the house of Amma’s son Ravindra Rao (Chief Patron of Sri Viswajanani Parishat) at Hyderabad when he was presented with a laminated photo of Amma. Baburao kept the photo on his office table. When someone asked him whether she is his mother, he would say that she is the mother for everyone. Beyond this, he neither visited Jillellamudi nor offered daily worship to Amma.

It should be mentioned here that though not an ardent worshiper of Amma, Baburao offers daily puja in his home shrine and invariably recites Khadgamala, an ode to the Divine Mother.

The fact that the Divine Mother to whom he is offering daily prayers is the same as the one with flesh and blood whom he had seen and whose photo adorns his office table, is revealed with a series of interesting events.

In view of our close friendship I used to mention that he would do well to visit Jillellamudi, which he did not visit for a long time. He and his wife Tulasi found time during February 2006 to visit Jillellamudi. Tulasi remembered a vow to offer a sari to Goddess Kanakadurga at Vijayawada. It was decided that all of us first offer our obeisance to Kanakadurga Ammavaru at Vijayawada and then proceed to Jillellamudi.

We started early at Hyderabad on a Saturday by Baburao’s car and reached Indrakeeladri Hill, the abode of the Goddess and her consort Malleswara Swamy at about 10 am. When the boot of the car was opened to take the sari intended for Durga Ammavaru, to her consternation Tulasi could not find the packet and realized that it was left out at their house. However the sari they purchased to offer to Anasuya Devi at Jillellamudi was very much there. Looking at the confused state of the couple, my wife Rukmini suggested that they offer the sari intended for Amma to Kanakadurgamma and purchase another sari for Amma.

We all went inside the temple with our offerings. We gave the sari we brought to the Archaka (priest) of the deity in the forecourt hall of the temple, where such offerings are accepted. What immensely delighted us was that despite the constant flow of pilgrims, the priest opened the folds of the sari carefully and placed it on the image of the Goddess.

After having lunch in a hotel, Baburao and Tulasi purchased another sari for Jillellamudi Amma and we headed for Jillellamudi.

The day-long drive afforded us to discuss many things material and metaphysical. Our car turned into the road leading to Jillellamudi village from Pedanandipadu – Bapatla main road. The evening sun spread his golden rays on the harvested paddy lands and our minds felt refreshed at the sight of the vast open spaces and invigorating fresh air.

On reaching Jillellamudi and relaxing for a while we refreshed ourselves, visited temples, had dinner in the Annapurnalayam and took rest.

The next day, Maha Soura Homam was scheduled to be performed. In fact, we planned our journey in order to participate in this Homam which was being performed once a month. Baburao and Tulasi sat for about three hours and performed the Homam along with me, my wife and a few others. The Sun god is invoked by offering oblations in the fire and chanting the Arunam and Souram. Alongside, a Rithvik performs Suryanamaskaras chanting Veda Mantras. It is believed that the Homam bestows health and prosperity.

Baburao and Tulasi were not used to sitting for so many hours that too before fire with wafts of smoke burning into the eyes at times. Tulasi is allergic even to the smoke of incense – and it is a wonder that she could sit through the Homam without any ill effect. (Later part of the story reveals that the effect of the ‘ill’ is gone besides not having any ill effect)

More surprises were in store for us that night. Baburao and Tulasi were provided the two room family portion which is located just behind the Puja Vedika in the House of All. I and Rukmini were given accommodation at some distance.

A marriage was scheduled that night on the Puja Vedika. In addition to the general din and bustle associated with such a function, the loud instrumental music and accompanying drum sounds woke me up around midnight. I resigned myself to a sleepless night. My concern was for Baburao who has to drive for eight hours the next day without a good night’s rest and of course, for the safety of all of us traveling in the car. The loud music and beating of the drums in the calm night in the confines of the Annapurnalayam shed bashed my eardrums with redoubled sound. This sonic assault on the goddess of sleep went off and on till the wee hours. Having slept fitfully, I woke up at about 7 am.

I knocked at the door of my friends and there was no response for a while. I thought that being closest to the epicenter of the previous night’s sonic boom; they would not have slept at all and must have started catching a nap in the early hours. I wondered for a while whether to leave them to sleep off. As I was turning round, the door opened. Instead of a groggy face I accosted my friend smiling and looking refreshed from a sound sleep.

Baburao invited me into his room. Tulasi got up just then also was looking bright and not at all deprived of sleep. Baburao looked at his watch and wondered aloud: – “Fie… It is already seven in the morning! We thought of leaving by this time”. 

Don’t worry. It is okay even if we start a bit late. I hope that you have at least slept for a few hours”… I chimed in.

“We never had such a ‘sound’ sleep” – Baburao and Tulasi together agreed.

At first I thought that it was light hearted banter and they were punning on the word ‘sound’. But when I learnt that they slept like logs from 10 p.m. the previous night till I woke them up, I was amazed.

When I told them that I was only having sound and not sleeping the previous night, they were surprised. They did not hear any sound! And it was an impossible task to sleep thus unless one is totally deaf.

I knew Baburao to be a light sleeper. On knowing what had happened just a few feet away from his room the previous night, Baburao said that Tulasi generally gets up at about 3 a.m. and can’t fall asleep. This was happening ever since her brother met with an untimely death some years back. Baburao also used to keep her company by being awake. Such persons to sleep like a log that too amidst the loud noises of the marriage was inconceivable.

I reflected on the phenomenon. I recollected the initial days of my visits to Amma and the unusual ‘sleep’ I had for three days and nights at a stretch. A devotee child of Amma for long years feels that such a sleep is an external indication of some process of subtle transformation of the consciousness of that person. The person may not consciously appeal to the divine but the divine responds even to the unformed thoughts and aspirations.

Coming back to our story Baburao, during the return trip to Hyderabad suggested why I should not think of bringing out some good literature in English on Amma which would serve as an introduction. He said that he would like to meet the expenditure of the publication. I told him of the work which I started two decades back but somehow could not finish.

Baburao became enthusiastic and wanted me to complete the work. He assured that he and his son Ravi who has a penchant for designing artistic brochures would personally associate in the work. He also said that he would ask the graphic designer Ramanamurty who does their company’s art and printing work to do this work. I felt that a piece in the jigsaw puzzle fell in place with the association of Baburao in bringing out the booklet.

It has taken a few months for me to give a shape to the introductory picture book. Baburao, on knowing that the draft is ready, wanted me to meet him along with the narration and the photos so that we can discuss with Ramanamurty the design of the picture-book.

When I met Ramanamurty along with Baburao in his office, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the name of his establishment is Janani’ (Mother) graphics. Murty, an amiable person, looked at the seventy odd photos I carried with me in my pen- drive. He said that he has seen Amma’s calendar in his relative’s house in his childhood and was fascinated with her benevolent face and the big vermillion mark between her eyebrows.

The first meeting which normally should have been business-like, transcended the brief. Murty, after hearing about Amma from me and Baburao and on seeing the photos, wanted to visit Jillellamudi some time. I suggested that if he is serious about the visit, better he goes there before he commences the work and if possible take his better-half too to the sacred place. His wife Sobha helps him with work in his office.

When Murty told me the next day that he had arranged their train tickets to Bapatla for that weekend itself, I sensed that Amma was drawing them to bless them to do the work. And another piece in the jigsaw puzzle fell in place with the involvement of Murty and his wife in the designing and printing of the picture book.

I also planned to be at Jillellamudi that weekend. This time too, Maha Soura Homam for that month was scheduled that day, being Sunday. Murty and his wife participated in the Homam, worshiped Amma and Hyma in the temples, had food Prasadam and returned to Hyderabad feeling blessed.

Thereafter, designing and developing the booklet became a full time preoccupation for Murty and his wife. They were involved wholeheartedly in the work. The layout and design were finalized with Baburao’s son Ravi’s useful suggestions. As the work progressed, it was felt by all those involved that the ultimate product should be of excellent quality and appeal. Ravi told Murty that cost should not be a constraint. And with the invisible direction of Amma, the picture book has come out very well and was released at Jillellamudi on the birthday of Sri Hyma.

In the course of the next eighteen months, Murty’s graphic business improved with many orders from unexpected sources. He made forays into other areas of business and succeeded appreciably. With a chauffeur driven car and flourishing business, Ramanamurty and his wife feel grateful and believe that it is due to the grace of Amma. He supplied two thousand copies of big photo posters and several smaller picture cards of Amma as his contribution.

The Picture book became popular and was brought out in several Indian languages. The Tamil version of the picture book was released, on Sri Hyma’s birthday during 2007 at Amma Temple near Chennai, the Telugu picture book on Amma’s birthday during 2008 at Jillellamudi and the Hindi picture book during Amma Anantotsavam function in 2009 at Hyderabad. Looking at the usefulness of the picture book, with the initiative from I. Ramakrishna Rao and Raghavamurty, a beautiful version of the picture book was brought out in Kannada which was released during Gowribidanur (Karnataka) in early 2009.

All are instruments in the hands of the Divine.

Attribution Policy : In case you wish to make use of any of the materials in some publication or website, we ask only that you include somewhere a statement like ” This digital material was made available by courtesy of Matrusri Digital Centre, Jillellamudi”.

error: Content is protected !!