(continued from last issue)
- 59. Now, coming to more down to earth aspects of Mother’s sojourn on the planet, several persons, drawn by the spiritual radiance of Mother, made Jillellamudi their abode and live together in the ‘House of All’. Most of them live in the free accommodation provided and partake of meals from Annapurnalayam, the community kitchen. Is it sustainable and whether such a phenomenon can be replicated?
- If there is no sense of doership, the ego, attachments and bondage will cease. With that, desire and infatuation will loosen their stranglehold. Then this entire world becomes the ‘House of All’. It gets transformed into a beautiful world where the caste, creed and religious differences are transcended.
Amma, while appearing to have taken all required steps to ensure that the spiritual children who visit Jillellamudi are provided tasty and good food in Annapurna layam, she was not unduly anxious about the running of Annapurnalayam. In spite of not having fertile agricultural lands and steady inflows of money, somehow just enough supplies always came. Eating to heart’s content and living freely, peacefully and with humanism should be our work. At Jillellamudi, around Amma and now also, this way of living can be seen. This cozy shelter came up around Amma which is more an Asrayam than an Ashram. It is a House for All. This loving experiment demonstrates that such a way of life is possible and can be replicated with the same ingredients which Amma used.
- 60. After trying to understand Amma’s exposition on various matters, I want you to throw light on your perception of ‘Amma Tattwa Chintana Sadassu’, as it is through this event, you are reconnected to Jillellamudi after a long gap of 44 years. What is the effect of the Sadassu and how such activities would help in building up the institution?
- Before going further, I have to clarify that there is no ‘disconnection’ with Amma though I was physically away from Jillellamudi. Amma, who drew me close even before I was an adolescent, indirectly charted my life’s course. I believe that it is her influence on me in my formative years and later the tutelage of Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba for about half a century that made me up. As she is a part of my conscience, it is but natural that she flashes through my words, deeds and writings.
When the organizers informed me about the objectives of the Sadassu, I felt that it was the right step which could lead to many positive developments. The Sadassu provided an opportunity for the devotees and other participants to deeply reflect on what Amma taught through her life in a tranquil atmosphere surcharged with the grace of Amma. Religious heads like Sri Sidhheswarananda Bharati of Kurtallum Siddheswari Peetham, Sri Sitaram of Mumukshu Jana Peetham, Sri Kuppa Venkata Krishnamurthy, Vidyadhikari of Mysore Datta Peetham paid obeisance to Amma through their discourses. A galaxy of eminent devotees and speakers, by delving deep into various aspects of Amma’s life and teachings, made new forays to unveil the divine mission of Amma. The Sadassu, not only succeeded in bringing accomplished persons into the fold of Sri Viswajanani Parishat, but also laid a solid foundation for furthering its activities. The spiritual journal, Darsanam under the leadership of M.V.R. Sarma brought out ‘Mahassu’, a beautiful souvenir containing the papers presented in the Sadassu. ‘Mahassu’ was released at a public function at Hyderabad and several dignitaries participated in the programme.
After rediscovering Jillellamudi, at the invitation of Sri Viswajanani Parishat, I have been there a number of times, for over five years. The seekers who settled at Jillellamudi eagerly looked forward to the Satsangs held there. Some aspects of worship pattern in the temples could be improved upon.
Temples are meant for worship for generations. It is true that several persons are privileged to be with Amma in human form for some time. But it should not blind us to the fact that Amma is the Primordial Energy, the Mula Prakruthi which ‘is’ before and after the Avatar “Anasuya Devi”. We feel the presence of Amma more in Jillellamudi because of her physical presence for 44 years there. An ardent and sincere Sadhaka may be able to perceive Amma from afar. We have Gordon Westerlund as an example. There may be several such persons about whom we may not know because such persons do not advertise themselves. Most of us, our children and future generations of devotees need the temples and spiritual practices so that Amma, the focused Energy in the temple, can bless and guide her children.
When the infrastructure gaps at Jillellamudi were made known, organizations and people started coming forward to take part.
Vasudha Foundation, a philanthropic organization installed a water purification plant at Jillellamudi.
A big photo of Amma could be placed in Bapatla railway station. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam could be persuaded to help in the Annapurnalayam building project.
A good Gosala (diary of cows) could be started which is flourishing.
The frequent interactions with the staff and students of Matrusri Oriental College inspired them to improve their conduct and performance.
Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel (SVBC) recorded and telecast five episodes on Oriental education role responsibilities of teachers and students guided by me under Yuvatha’ programme. Series of articles of mine were published in a Telugu daily Andhra Jyothi for over 40 weeks on Amma and the anthology was brought out as “Ammatvam” and later got translated into english as “One As Many”.
Thus, I feel that the Tattwa Chintana Sadassu fulfilled its objectives. Shortly after the first Sadassu, similar spiritual conclaves were held at Nidadavole and Visakhapatnam. Such spiritual conclaves surely help in bringing about better understanding of Amma and her mission.
- 61. What is your vision for the growth of Sri Viswajanani Parishat and expansion of its various activities as its adviser? How do you perceive its role in bringing out positive changes in society?
- The activities of Sri Viswajanani Parishat are increasing in diversity and in volume. The Parishat is taking new initiatives, to enlarge its activities in the times to come.
History at Jillellamudi tells us that any activity which originated with a good Sankalpa, even though appeared gigantic initially, was implemented, albeit with some toil and struggle. The classic example was feeding over one and half lakhs of people in a single day against many odds. But it must be remembered that it was during the physical presence of Amma and her guidance was available at every step. Today also her presence is palpable and inspiring. It is left to the individual wisdom of her devotee children to assess for himself/herself as to the extent he/she is able to support the Parishat. The Parishat has to plan and implement activities in accordance with the spirit of Amma’s indications; and suitable to contemporary times.
Here, individual perceptions of a few persons perhaps cannot be totally relied upon to decide the course of the Parishat. What Amma indicated in some context several decades back to a person or a few persons, has to be followed today, perhaps tempering the same with pragmatism, present situational factors and futuristic thought coupled with sound common sense instead of taking only the textual meaning.
If one or two persons managed the affairs of the institution several decades back without any formal organization or office, we cannot afford to say that the same can be applied even today. The various activities have to be institutionalized and managed by office bearers, an executive committee etc. Reviewing the successes and shortcomings and looking to the needs of tomorrow, the Parishat could don a new Avatar. After all, change is life!
Here, we have to have some idea as to the equation between Amma and Sri Viswajanani Parishat. Whether the Parishat can be totally identified with Amma? When Amma said that the organization is our mother, it has to be definitely accepted in spirit. But practical aspects have to be looked into to ensure that the organization lives up to the ideals of Amma. If this premise is agreed, then the institution also will have to undergo changes to suit the times and the requirements.
To examine this, we have to see Amma and the Parishat with an impartial and unbiased outlook. At all points of time i.e., when Amma was in physical form or after her Alaya Pravesam, ‘real’ and ‘worthwhile’ upliftment is taking place in persons who chose to follow Amma. Here, the change agent is not the organization. The organization can take credit to the extent it can create the right ambience for more people to be benefited and to do things according to the ideals. While it is to be accepted that the orientation and some dynamics at Jillellamudi are to some extent different from the feverish developmental activities seen today in the society, we have to remember that the principles of management and leadership should work here also. An effective team with a proper organizational structure can show very good results and there is no reason why it should not happen at Jillellamudi without sacrificing the finer aspects unique to Jillellamudi. Idealism and practicality have to be balanced. Mere fervor and emotion don’t work! The organization has to study as to how voluntary work is encouraged in similar spiritual organizations. Recently, a large number of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Dal volunteers was invited to Tirumala by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and their services availed. I played a role in achieving this as a long-standing follower of Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba. The former Executive Officer L. V. Subrahmanyam, IAS and the present Executive Officer of TTD. Dr. Sambasiva Rao. I.A.S., desired this to happen and it was accomplished.
- 62. It is interesting that you are able to bring about cohesion in the followers of various divine personalities like Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba, Amma and Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. What we generally see is that the followers of a particular Avatar or Guru claim that their ways are superior to that of the others. Please comment!
- The problem arises if one is attached to the form and name. If we are influenced by their teachings and practices that they demonstrated unequivocally, we will not have any problem in accepting the great ones with the same reverence.
Adi Sankara left behind great volumes of profound knowledge and wisdom for centuries to follow.
As far as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is concerned, he advocated Vairagya and prepared mankind to get connected instantly to the ultimate Truth.
Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba carried on a great mission of loving all and Service to all which is a great elaboration of the 700th Sloka of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita. He created a confluence of three major Yogas; Karma, Bhakti and Jnana into one and flooded the whole universe transcending all the man made barriers of the nations. He made the most ancient wisdom, the most relevant to contemporary times.
In the case of Amma, she gave importance to humanism besides moral philosophy and advocated amity among all sections of the society. In our times, food being the root cause for body, mind and soul, she generously fed millions with compassion, only to ignite humanism in all those who gave and received the food.
In this background and my deep study of their philosophies. I don’t see any difference in their approach in the man making process. I always insisted that there must be cohesion among all preachers of all faiths to come under one umbrella so that the world can take a leaf out of this and make the universe one home. During my 54 years of association with Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba. I witnessed this to happen in Prashanthi Nilayam and wish the world gurus to follow the tradition.
- 63. Finally, how to sum up the aspect of Amma
- Amma is completely humane. Her sojourn is spirituality in action. Call her Divine, She is indeed THAT! (Concluded)