[Experiences as varied as life itself are derived from Mother by various devotees: and they are drawn to her thereby. In this feature is described how an elderly woman. Krishnavenamma was drawn towards Mother. She finally dedicated her life for Mother’s service and settled permanently at the feet of the mother. – EDITOR]
Among the inmates of the ashram at Jillellamudi, one of the most respected and dearly loved is Krishnavenamma, the wife of Sri Sriramula Ven- kateswarlu who is more commonly known as Haridas, How she ever came to know ef Mother and how she was lost in the flood of Mother,s grace before she settled per- manently in Her service is one of deep interest. The whole process of her inward change and experience amply illu- strate Mother’s statement that **Spritual states are achieved but are given”.
Krishnavenamma was in herently of a spritual bent of mind. She worshipped several great saints but derived no tangible benifit besides having Strange dream that often. recurred. She always used to see and worship an acquain tance of her to whom she was deeply attached, in her dreams. Once she also dreamt that she visited a small village along with her husband; she saw a fresh water tank having rocky steps with lotuses and water lillies in it. She also saw a not thatched hut in which she saw the house-wife. She had a big round of Kumkum on het forehead and she was distin- guished by her divine features. Krishnavenamma dreamt thar they settled there in that Village.
Next morning she des- cribed what all she had seen, to her husband who explained to her that the housewife is none other than the Mother of the whole universe and that she (Krishnavenamma) is sure to be saved by the Divine in a Woman’s form. This happened years before they even heard of the Mother of Jillellamudi.
Years trickled by. They were staying in a Village called Kakumanu (a few miles from Jillellamudi) when Krishnavenamma was in formed that an Enlightened lady came to the adjacent village of Kommur. On the 13th of May 1955, Krishna- venamma visited Mother for the first time and offerred her sugar as an offering. Her simplicity and absence of ostentation surprised Krishna- venamma. This marked a turning point in her Krishnavenamma who life. was distinguished for her unquen chable zeal to visit shrines and holy men in search of grace, after visiting Mother, felt an inner solace and assurance that made further quest super
Krishnavenamma visited Jillellamudi for the firist time in March 1956. She had the urge to touch Mother’s feet but it remained unfulfilled. She repeated her visit, the next Friday. During both of her visits, she retired to bed without taking any food at night. Mother sent somebody to find out the reason for doing so. Krishna” venamma said that she did not feel hungry (a lie.) and that she is prepared to take her food if Mother prepared it and served. Mother again sent word that tall tales about miracles happening with the grace of Mother are all untrue and that she need expect no such favours. This did not shake her faith. Finally Mother cooked the food, mixed it herself and fed Krishna venamma as a mother does to the child. During the conver sation, Mother asked her “Do you have any of your kinsfolk here? Had you ever been to this Village earlier?”
“By God, no! I never came here earlier” she said. Mother smiled and turned her face away.
Krishnavenamma reported this to her husband who was thrilled on hearing this ques- tion. Fer, he said that Jille- llamudi is the village which Krishnavenamma had seen in her dream far earlier ond that the holy mother is the house- wife. He also told her that Mother’s question is a REMINDER of Krisanave- namma’s visit to Jillellamudi in her dream. Krishnave- namma soon remembered that the fresh water tank with little lotuses and the rocky steps, the thatched hut and the house- wife in it all looked the same as what she had seen at Jillellamudi.
Soon Haridas accompained his wife to Jillellamudi on her second visit. He too was caught in the web of Mother’s love, enjoyed the privilege of being personally fed by Mother. He lost himiself in joy and loudly recited verses in praise of goddess Anna- purneswari with tears cver flowing in his eyes.
The Second visit proved a turning point in Krishnave- namma’s life. For, all the expereinces that followed paved the way for the perma nent settlement of her family at Jillellamudi.. Ever since she returned to Kakumanu there arose and grew in her an uncontrollable urge to gvie up whatever she had to Mother ornaments, money, utensils and everything. She went on doing this on every visit. Whether she stayed at Jillella mudi or at Kakumanu her mind constantly rested at the feet of the Mother. Her longing to be in Mother’s presence was SO intense that the walk of eight miles was nothing for her to under take once in every two days! What fanned her devotion is the extraordinary grace of mother; for, extra ordinary it was! When Kri shnavenamma tried to suppress the desire to visit Jillelldmudi, Mother used to appear before her physically, laugh at her, approach her, and suddenly vanish before she could muster enough presence of mind either to address her or touch her. She would immediately start on her walk to Jillella mudi. All the way, she was engaged by Mother with enlightening talk. Krishna venamma used to see Mother clearly, sitting at Jillellamudi and an taking active part in the conversation across the distance! For Krishnave. namma, her own experience was not hallucination but a total reality; for everytime Mother looked the same at Jillellamudi as she appeared to her across the tance-even to the minutest detail of her dress.
Mother appeard to shnavenamma in her dreams night after night sometimes she seriously dis- coursed on matters spiritual and sometimes played with her in dreams. To the utter sur prise of Krishnavenamma, whatever she saw happening in her dreams used to come to to pass unfailingly when she visited the Mother.
One day Haridas visited Mother alone. During casual conversation Mother abruptly asked him “If I visit Krishna- venamma now, can she recognise me?” The shrewed man noted the time when the question was raised. On his return to Kakumanu, he asked his wife as to what has happened to her at that hour. Krishnave- namma told him that while she was lying on a cot, she heard the door being knocked loudly, but she felt too lazy to open the door. The knock was repeated, she told him, but finally it stopped when she wanted to open the door.
On another occasion, Hari dis- das visited Jillellamudi alone. At an odd hour, a young boy of five or six came to his house at Kakumanu; he was dumb Kri and he wore a striped full shirt with folded sleeves and he begged for food by gesture. Krishnavenamma offered to serve him food then and there. But the boy insisted on taking the food with him. When she gave him the food, he left the house casting mischevous glances of recognition back at her. She anxiously watched him whether he begged at other houses also as beggars usually do. But he walked away. What first raised strange sus picion in her is the fact that while he appeared to have gone in one appeared to direction, he have gone in another direction to others! When they tried to search him out, he was not to be found anywhere!
Later when Krishnavena mma visited Jillellamudi, she broached the subject with Mother; but before she had finished her narration Mother asked her smiling, “Did he not wear a striped full shirt with folded sleeves?” This was a clear proof that she assumed that strange guise herself!
The urge to visit Jillellamudi gradually cry stallised into a stern deter mination to stay atleast for one year continuously with Mother. When it seemed impossible in view of domestic responsibilities, she used to leave her house on pretext of washing her clothes in the nearby tank, and gave vent to her feelings in incessant flow of tears and silent prayers to mother.
During her frequent visits to Jillellamudi, Mother used to detain Krishnavenamma there for a day or two. At nights when she tried to sleep. Krishnavenamma used to experience a strange feeling by which she thought that she was Then Mother used dying. to keep Krishnavenamma’s head in Her lap and hold her pulse in one hand; lulling her with the other hand. Mother used to recite the divine names of ‘Hari’ and ‘Rama’ till she fell asleep.
Finally, the awareness of Mother’s presence by her side at Kakumanu became un interrupted: In the early part of the year 1958 Krishnave namma and Haridas setlled in Jillellamudi permanently. Ever since, she dedicated her mind and body for the service of Mother-washing Her clothes, giving Her the four or five daily baths each of them demanding fiifty to sixty pots of water. These she has been doing alone or with the assis tance of some one all these years. To-day she is seen to be intimately moving with Mother. And whatever her inner development might be, its outward manifestation is very mysterious. Whenever she sits and gazes on Mother’s form she soon passes into a trance-like state when her body becomes stiff, her gaze fixed, her breath almost suspended-and stays in that state for hours at a stretch undisturbed by pinching or blowing of wind against her eyes even!
On being asked of her feelings she summed them up Her earlier thirst to visit Shrines and holy persons is now abated; her spiritual practices seem out of place amidst the surging tides of Mother’s grace that waft her ahead with no effort on her part. She said that earlier, she had experienced the desire to make offerings like cocoa nuts to Mother; but to-day she feels that the money with which a cocoanut is bought, the mind that impels one to do so, even her soul and body, are already Mother’s by Her grace. She offered herself in all entirity to Mother and there is nothing that belongs to her, to be specially offered to Her!
“Art and criticism should be related as the flower and its stem. It is only such delicate criticism that brings up good creative art.”