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Komaravolu Gopala Rao
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 6
Month : July
Issue Number : 3
Year : 2007


One of Amma’s childhood visions was to get a temple constructed in a place where there was none. Jillellamudi, where Nannagaru settled as the Village Officer was a very small village and did not have any temple.

In the mid-fifties, a few people outside Jillellamudi, having heard of Amma and perceived divinity in her, began to trickle into Jillellamudi to see Amma. One such visitor who surrendered to Amma was Dr. Anantha Seethachalam of Kommur village. Jillellamudi was then an agraharam belonging to Sri Vedala Narasimhacharyulu of Peddavaram. Amma suggested to him and to the villagers that a temple be constructed in the village. There was a ready response. Sri Narasimhacharyulu who was an expert in Agama Shastra, himself laid the foundation stone and contributed some amount. But as the construction of the foundation progressed, a crack developed which was considered inauspicious and the project was abandoned.

Dr.Seethachalam, who by then had seen and experienced enough about the divine nature of Amma, and the villagers, after prolonged and persistent request, made Amma to accept to lay the foundation stone for the temple.

Sri Brahmanandam Ramasubbarao got the conch (Sanku) made out of stone, for laying the foundation. The sculptor, who carved it, was surprised to notice a ‘flower’ come up on the conch. This, he stated, was very rare and indicates that wherever it is used, that place would become a great pilgrimage center.

It is considered inauspicious to start any venture on the day of the new moon (Amavasya). But that was the day chosen by Amma for the commencement of temple construction. Though unaware of the occasion, some people had an instinctive urge to visit Amma and brought fruits, flowers and other things needed for the function which went off successfully.

The construction work progressed slowly as if there was no hurry. Money was always short. Visitors were few. Their personal contribution did not amount to much. But under the benevolent care of Amma, children, men and women volunteered to work. Most of them had never lifted a crowbar or a basket of earth earlier. There were students, doctors, teachers and officers who sweated away all the while chanting enthusiastically the holy name of Amma. Under an improvised shelter of palm leaves, Amma used to sit watching the activity. Her enchanting smile was nectar to them. Prasadam distributed by Amma was itself rewarded enough.

No engineer was employed. Sri Achary of ILTD Company Chirala was the technical person under whose guidance chips, sand and cement used to be mixed, poured and slammed down. The foundations were fifteen feet deep. By 1958, it reached the ground level. Then there was a long pause in the construction. Amma used to spend most of the evenings and even nights within the four walls of the foundations now the sanctum sanctorum, lying on the cot surrounded by children laughing hilariously at the funny stories Amma would tell. Some functions like Diwali were celebrated there. Amma herself would actively participate and encourage everyone around to fire crackers.

It was roundabout 1958 that a Zamindar, (rich landlord) who migrated from Telangana and settled at Guntur came to visit Amma along with his lady. After performing puja and paying tributes to Amma, the Zamindar noted that the construction of the temple was proceeding at snail’s pace evidently for want of sufficient funds. In his first flush of enthusiasm, he requested Amma to permit him to complete the temple, whatever be the cost involved. Amma then explained to him and the others around her that this temple was not meant to be the work of any single individual but meant for everyone. Every one must have a feeling that it is his also; that he contributed something even if it be only an anna (Anna was 1/16th of a Rupee).

When some brothers and sisters showed enthusiasm to collect funds for the temple, Amma told them not to approach only the rich and the affluent. Every one should be approached irrespective of caste or social status, (even one’s own peon or barber should be approached) and whatever they give should be received with equal fervor. How much they give is immaterial, but their attitude while contributing is important. “If one has the intention but no means to contribute, give him a four anna piece and receive back two annas as his contribution. Be prepared to be heckled in the process”- Amma said.

A few followed Amma’s instructions in the right spirit. Sri Veeraiah Chowdary who was working as a Tahsildar and his wife were such. He was a very scrupulous and honest officer. In his spare time he went about requesting contributions from everyone, after patiently explaining the purpose. His wife Smt Mahalakshmi came from a traditional family that does not allow ladies to move out of their house in general and particularly to seek money. But in the cause of Amma and the temple, she flouted the tradition. In her spare time she would go to every house, meet the women folk, tell them about Amma and request contributions. While her transparent sincerity worked in most cases, she was conscious that some made fun of her and a few thought her crazy. But that was her sadhana. She did not care what others thought of her.

Money trickled in. In the early days, the main responsibility was taken by Dr Seethachalam and Sri Veeraiah Chowdary. Sri Lakshmaiah, a lorry owner from Chirala volunteered to transport the material required. All the stone work like cutting, sizing and sculpting took place at Purushothapatnam. To cover the top of the sanctum sanctorum, a single large stone was required. It was in 1962 that the top was covered. The sculpting was so accurate and placement so dexterous, Amma happily narrated a number of times that it was precisely set at the very first attempt.

During the construction of the sanctorum, many wonders happened. Ten stone pillars were ready awaiting transport. They had to reach Jillellamudi by the fifth of May. All efforts to procure a lorry to transport them from Purushothapatnam failed. Every lorry driver felt that the load was too much and that the weight of the stone pillars would damage his lorry. By the fourth of May, all hopes of bringing them in time were given up.

During that night, people sleeping woke up to hear the sound of a lorry coming into the village. As there was no road into the village then, the arrival of a lorry was an event. After some time, the sound of a lorry going away was also heard. In the morning, residents found the anxiously awaited ten stone pillars near the temple site. But the big question that was never answered was (how they ever came there. No lorry was arranged by any one nor did any lorry claim the transport charges. Who loaded such heavy pillars onto the lorry at Purushothapatnam? And who unloaded them at Jillellamudi? It is still a mystery).

Visitors to Jillellamudi began to ask a very natural question. What is the name of the temple? What idol would be installed? But no one knew. However the fifth May, (Amma’s wedding day) appears to be closely associated with this temple. Some new construction would be commenced on that date.

On every fifth of May, Amma would climb on to the top of the temple structure along with her husband, children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren at sunrise. A large crowd would gather below to witness one of the grandest spectacles. After receiving puja from the devotee children, Amma would get up and commence breaking of pumpkins and coconuts in hundreds. Amma used to just drop the huge pumpkins and hard coconuts without any force, but invariably every pumpkin and coconut would crack and fall down to be picked and collected by the village urchins who gather for that purpose. Amma moves about to every side so that all people gathered can have darshan while she herself can look on everyone. Amma would then take Kumkum and turmeric powder into her cupped hands and throw them on the entire top of the temple. She would also throw them on the waiting crowd. The coloured powders get scattered in the gentle morning breeze and gracefully descend on to the eagerly awaiting heads of her children. Those that receive a spatter of the powder or a single jasmine flower feel elated and blessed.

Amma now enters the sanctum sanctorum, breaks pumpkins and coconuts and spreads Kumkum and turmeric on all the sides. She would then stand in the center like a statue while the visitors garland her, break coconuts, offer Nivedana and give Arati.

Even before the temple was given any name, significant happenings took place. Some found the precincts of the temple conducive for their japa. Sri Kondamudi Ramakrishna performed abhishekam to Amma’s feet in the sanctorum in 1963. Sri Kasu Radhakrishna Reddy (Radha) , visually challenged since birth, given the title of Nadabrahma by Amma, first arrived at Jillellamudi on 12th June 1963. After paying his respects to Amma and giving a musical recital, he went into the sanctum sanctorum and was surprised to hear perfect Omkaram. That induced him to make the place his abode during his stay in Jillellamudi.

Sri Radha was much more surprised and pleased to hear not only Omkaram but also Veda Ghosha, (chanting of Veda divine music), the rhythmic sound of perfectly executed dance and even scholarly discourses on various topics, sometimes in a language he never heard before. Sri Radha who does not possess normal human sight, has the gift of identifying not only persons but also animals and even insects and in fact any living being through the sounds they make. It was by virtue of this gift he could identify the divine participants as belonging to various categories like Deva, Yaksha, Gandharva, Kinnera, Kimpurusha etc. Batch after batch came and went and Radha had a wonderful time round the clock. Himself being an expert in music, Radha was sometimes inspired and joined the party. If it was good, they felt happy. But, when they felt it an intrusion, Radha would either fall asleep, his voice would fail or he would have to rush away to answer calls of nature. Sometimes Amma would send for him. It was in the midst of a particularly enchanting concert; he would give some excuse and send the messenger away. As this news reaches Amma, all the sounds suddenly cease, forcing Radha to obey Amma. During this period, he did not feel the need for food and so his intake was irregular. Though he never kept any count, Amma told him on one occasion that he went without food for forty days at a stretch.

Meanwhile, the Hymalayam came into existence adjacent to this main temple which was still without a name. But when Nannagaru left his body on 16th February, 1981, Radha had to change his residence. The body of Nannagaru was ceremoniously placed in the underground chamber in the sanctum sanctorum, to the left. It was then that Amma gave the temple the unique name Anasuya Swaralayam. Because of this, many people guessed that this temple would be the final abode of Amma.

From 18th February, 1981, ritualistic worship commenced on lines similar to Himalayan. But the temple itself was far from complete. Amma discontinued the Fifth of May ritual on the top of the temple. She suggested that the temple construction be hastened. Doors were arranged decorated by knobs and small tingling bells. The verandah was closed by artistic iron grills. Polished black stone flooring was done. The construction of the super structure (Gopuram) was personally supervised by Sri Racharla Lakshminarayana. Experienced masons arrived from Mahabalipuram for the construction. Kumbhabhishekam was performed on 31st October 1984 to the accompaniment of Vedaghosha. During the next eleven days, Ghatabhishekam took place with 108 pots while Srisuktam and Purushasuktam were chanted by eleven pundits early in the morning. Only fifteen days later, Kalasa Sthapana took place on 14th November 1984. It coincided with Hyma’s birthday by the Telugu Almanac. Amma watched all the proceedings from her abode on the third floor of ‘House Of All’ as her health did not permit a more active participation.

Exactly eight months after the Kalasa Sthapana, it was into this holy atmosphere, purified for nearly three decades, that Amma’s body was brought and interred in the under-ground chamber of the sanctum sanctorum to the right of where Nannagaru was interred a few years earlier. That was Friday the 14th June, 1985.

For eleven days after Amma entered the temple, Parayana invoking the five deities viz, Aditya (Sun), Ambika (Amma), Vishnu, Ganapathi and Rudra took place. In addition Bhagavatham, Sundarakanda, Durgasaptasathi, Jeevitha Mahodadhilo Tharangalu etc were recited regularly. On 25th June, Poornahuthi was witnessed by thousands of people who came from far and near for the function. Lalitha Lakshya Namarchana recital took place for forty days.

The daily routine in the temple is an impressive one. It starts early in the morning with Mahanyasapurvaka Ekadasa Rudrabhishekam. Puja is performed with Ambika Sahasram and Ashtothara Sathanama Ms. (These were specifically written to worship Amma by Dr. Pannala Radhakrishna Sarma). The morning programme comes to an end with Manthrapushpam. In the evening, Puja is conducted with Ambika Sahasram, Trisathi, Khadgamala and Prasadam distributed both times.

Lalitha Lakshanamarchana takes place regularly on every Monday and Friday. In addition, Trikaala pujas and yagnas are organized on special occasions.

Many have felt a powerful impact in Anasuya Swaralayam and found the atmosphere very conducive for their sadhana. No wonder Sri Kasu Radha Krishna Reddy who had unique experiences for so many years in Anasuya Swaralayam described the temple as the life of Amma. The installation of Amma’s idol in the Anasuya Swaralayam is the commencement of a new and bright era in humanity’s quest to discover itself.

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