(Continuation from previous issue)
There was a shrine next to the hut.
“This is Hymalayam, Hyma’s shrine. You will find her samadhi here,” explained the captain and led us in. A marble statue of Hyma was on her samadhi. There was a Sivalinga in front of the statue. Two women, who sat facing each other, were offering devout worship.
Another hall was being erected next to Hymalayam.
“Amma wanted this to be built and we are proceeding with the work. But only Amma knows the purpose of it,” smiled the captain.
I asked the captain why and how he had been drawn close to Amma.
He narrated how his marriage took place most unexpectedly through Amma’s blessings.
Four years ago, a friend had persuaded Dakshinamurthi to come to Jillellamudi to have the darshan of Amma. He sat in her presence for half an hour and left the room. He had not taken much notice of the other occupants of the room.
After he left, Amma asked Annapoorna, a young girl who was attending on her, if she had observed the young man who had just then gone out.
She blushed and said, “Yes, Amma, I saw him”.
“That boy is your future husband. If you marry, you will only marry him. If not, you will remain a virgin for the rest of your life,” Amma predicted.
Every unmarried girl dreams of the type of husband she would like to have. In the same way, every bachelor carves in his mind the imaginary figure of his future wife. This is but natural.
Captain Dakshinamurthi was no exception to this. He had already made up his mind about the qualifications and qualities a soldier’s wife should possess. He had observed the wives of his colleagues in the army. Hence, he wanted to marry a charming, sociable woman with a modern outlook. He was not at all prepared to surrender to his parents or relatives his right to choose his wife.
When close relatives revealed to Dakshinamurthi, Jillellamudi Amma’s prediction that Annapoorna would be his wife, he was disconcerted. From the description they gave of Annapoorna, he was convinced that she came nowhere near his dream girl, either in physical appearance or educational qualifications, ideas, social behaviour or accomplishments. Given to ultramodern ideas about marriage, he flatly refused to marry an old-fashioned, domesticated country girl, whom he had not seen or known. After this, he kept away from Jillellamudi Amma. He avoided her, lest she compel him to marry the girl she had chosen. Dakshinamurthi was stationed at the time at Ahmadnagar. One of his colleagues had married a ravishing beauty. The other officers were jealous of him. At parties and social gatherings, she was the centre of attraction. Everyone seemed to seek her company. Her husband, who had thought himself very lucky in the beginning, began to suffer mental torture and agony. The very wife whom he had thought would be a source of peace and happiness was now making his life miserable. Dakshinamurthi learned a valuable lesson from the unenviable condition of his friend.
Then, an English movie he happened to see changed his thinking completely. The hero of the story was an army officer. He married a very pretty and charming girl. Because of that he underwent untold sufferings. While watching the movie, Dakshinamurthi imagined himself for a while to be in the position of the hero. He felt all that the hero suffered was equally applicable to him also. He was altogether a new person when he came out of the show. The castles in the air he had built about the type of girl he should choose as his wife were razed to the ground before his very eyes. Far from resenting it, he was immensely pleased. He heaved a sigh of relief at having unloaded a heavy burden off his mind.
The Captain surrendered to Jillellamudi Amma without any reservation whatsoever. He told his relatives that he had no objection to marrying the girl of Amma’s choice. Everything happened quickly after that. In 1969, Captain Dakshinamurthi was married to Annapoorna at Jillellamudi, in Amma’s presence and with her blessings.
Dakshinamurthi cited his metamorphosis and the influence under which he married Annapoorna as an example of Amma’s divine qualities and spiritual calibre. He said that incident after incident may be related to vindicate the glory of Amma, but it was enough to say that all those who came under her influence considered her as the universal Mother, Bala Thirupurasundari and Rajarajeswari, because of their unique personal experiences.
“Does Amma offer daily prayers to any godhead?” I asked. “As far as I know, she doesn’t. Everyone worships her and performs pooja to her lotus feet. But Amma has never claimed to be a god or goddess. She seldom performs miracles to impress. She sits in all humility as the embodiment of divine love and universal motherhood. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less,” said Dakshinamurthi and added, “I will reveal a secret to you. Amma, who feeds hundreds of persons every day to their hearts’ content, takes only barley water and coffee. If any devotee offers her something, she will just taste it to please him or her and that, too, only occasionally.”
The more I heard about Amma, the more I read about her, the more I was convinced she was an uncommon person. Her early life was extraordinary.
Seethapathy was a petty Village Officer in Mannava, a hamlet in Gunrur District. His wife, Rangamma, gave birth to five children and lost them one by one. The sixth was a male child. They prayed to Chennakesava Perumal and Lakshmi Devi, the presiding deities of the local temple, that the child might be spared. And he was.
One day, Seethapathy was sitting under a tamarind tree deeply engrossed in thoughts about the fate that had overtaken his children. Just then, a girl of around five appeared before him. The next moment, she changed her form and presented herself as Chennakesava Perumal and Lakshmi Devi. In a split second, they vanished from his sight and, once again, the young girl stood before him.
On another occasion, Seethapathy had a dream. His house was vacant. In the inner courtyard sat a very beautiful middle-aged woman in a chair. A large round vermilion mark was prominent between her eyebrows.
“Who are you?” asked Seethapathy.
“I am Amma,” she replied.
“Whose mother?” asked Seethapathy.
“I am mother to all,” the woman replied succinctly.
Pundits who came to know of the vision Seethapathy had had under the tamarind tree and of his dream, predicted that the lucky parents were certain to be blessed with a child soon. As predicted, Rangamma became pregnant in a few months. During her pregnancy, she had many a dream of divine significance. She was always in raptures in a way she had not experienced before. She had the unique feeling of bearing the entire universe in her womb. Suddenly she would burst into laughter or shed tears of joy.
In 1923, on the 28th of March, the sacred Suddha Ekadasi day, just before dawn, when the temple bells and conches announced the inauguration of Chennakesava Perumal’s annual festival, Rangamma gave birth to a female child. They named her Anasuya.
Anasuya grew up an unusually precocious child. In her second year, she sat under a pomegranate tree one day in the Padmasana posture, with her eyes half-closed, held her breath and went into a trance. Unable to comprehend its deep significance and mistaking it for a health problem, the parents took her to a doctor for treatment. On another occasion, she was found unconscious. When she came to normal state, she explained that she was in Sambhavi Mudra.
On another day, Anasuya, who was returning from Ponnur in a bullock cart accompanied by her mother, expressed her wish to get down at a particular spot. The cart was stopped, and the mother and child got down.
“Mother, this is a nice place, let us stay here,” suggested Anasuya.
“There is no house near here. How can we stay?” asked her mother.
“It is not necessary. I shall stay here,” the girl insisted. “How can a child remain alone without its mother?” asked her mother. “Why not? After you leave, I shall be Amma,” the girl explained.
The shrine of Brahmarambika in the Sahasralingeswara Temple near Ponnur later sprang up exactly on the spot where Anasuya had stopped on her way from Ponnur.
When she was three years old, Anasuya laid down with a high fever and gave many anxious moments, to her mother. An old lady Maridamma consoled Rangamma saying that the child would recover by the grace of the Rajalakshmi yantra in the Chennakesava Perumal Temple. At that point, Anasuya opened her eyes and snapped, “It is not the Rajalakshmi yantra, it is the Rajarajeswari yantra”. When Amma was in Mannava village in later years, she showed that particular yantra to everyone. Rangamma died when her daughter was four years old. Her husband was inconsolable. The young Anasuya soothed her father by wiping the tears rolling down his cheeks with her tiny fingers.
The father, who wanted his daughter to understand the import and magnitude of the tragedy, said repeatedly, “Your mother has gone for ever. She will not come back, my child.”
“Where has Mother gone?” asked Anasuya innocently.
“Yes, yes. Where has she gone…?” the father asked himself repeatedly.
“Father, from where did Mother come?” the child was curious to know.
“Your mother is dead and gone,” her father cried in anguish. “What do you mean by death, Father?”
“She has gone for ever.”
“Mother has not gone anywhere. Just see; she is lying down here,” said the child, pointing to her mother’s body.
Someone, unwilling to frighten the child by revealing the truth, said, “Your mother is sleeping, my child”. “Why then is everybody weeping, Uncle? No one cries when Mother sleeps at night,” asked the child innocently.
Grandfather Chidambara Rao seeing the insatiable curiosity of the child and the predicament of the sorrowing father, took both of them to the terrace.
Anasuya would not keep quiet, but persisted with her
“What do you mean by dying, Grandfather?” she asked. The old man did not know how to answer her.
“From where do persons who die come from?” was her next question.
“From the mother’s stomach,” replied her grandfather.
“Are children always present in a mother’s stomach?”
“No, my child.”
“Then from where do they come?”
“God sends them.”
(to be continued..)