Certain things in the World or Universe or even in Cosmos for that matter, happen unobtrusively, the significance of which is felt only at a later, much later period. Annapurnalayam in Jillellamudi, beyond doubt is one such thing.
Feeding people has been Amma’s intent passion since Her childhood. She never bothered with two square meals a day for herself in her entire lifetime, but she could not bear the thought of anybody suffering from hunger. She used to say, “If you don’t eat, you get weak and if I don’t feed you I get weak!” Is there any parallel to such compassion!! The supreme importance and priority Amma attached to providing food is evident from Her statement that Annapurnalayam is her heart throb.
Amma considered it as the ultimate of all religious, spiritual and Vedic rites. When someone requested Amma to a Homam or Yagam performed, she blandly remarked “If I have to offer anything in to the holy fire, I do so only in Annapurnalayam’s fireplace” (“Gadi poyyi” in Telugu).
To go back to the history for a while, Amma was married to Sri Brahmandam Nageswara Rao garu, reverentially called as Nannagaru, in the year 1936. Nannagaru, by virtue of being Karanam (Village Officer) of Jillellamudi chose to stay in the village even though he hails from neighboring village Returu, hardly 3 to 4 kilometers away from Jillellamudi.
The Divine aura of Amma started attracting the outside world and inflow of visitors started somewhere from the year 1953-54, even while several limitations restrained the accessibility to the place. By 1958 visitors started increasing in number which paved the way for establishment of Annapurnalayam. Till then, Amma used to cook and serve food personally to all the visitors, dutifully discharging the responsibilities of a normal house wife.
What started as a trickle on that auspicious 15th day of August 1958 – meant to provide food to a handful of visitors to Jillellamudi who travel all the way bracing all sorts of odds to have Darshan of Divine Mother Amma, kept growing in size and stature during all these 60 plus years.
The most significant event in the history of this 60 years was in 1973, celebrating Mom’s 50th birthday, more than one lakh people were served food in Jillellamudi in one sitting and one setting – an event almost went unnoticed for record books.
Annapurnalayam, which was started in a small hutment in 1958, has today a beautiful gigantic structure as predicted by Amma. Annapurnalayam is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year as a significant instance of History.
In fact, the place Jillellamudi is almost synonymous with the word Annapurnalayam. Jillellamudi is a small place in Andhra Pradesh. A remote hamlet sparsely populated and almost secluded and inaccessible till recently.
What makes Annapurnalayam different from other dining places elsewhere is here Amma is extending food as her responsibility as Universal Mother and not as any Charitable activity. (Meeku pettukovadam naa dharmam). She denies the activity as “Annadanam” quipping that “feeding by mother to her children is not danam (meaning benevolence)”
Amma ordained that the only qualification required for partaking food in Annapurna layam is the hunger of the person, not his dress or address. All are equal here. No discrimination as to the caste, creed, race or religion.
Amma’s vision was to see a day on which no one suffers pangs of hunger, everyone eats bellyful. The Divine dispensation has got to come true today, we notice Her volition shaping into reality. Almost every spiritual center has free food distribution. Government and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are striving to offer food free of cost or for a very low price.
Whether anyone perceives divinity in Amma or not, the Universal Motherhood, the kindness, the empathy of Amma bestowed on every being – animate or inanimate is all pervading for anyone to see. What is divinity, if not a sympathetic vibration to others’ suffering!
Sadguru Sri Sri Sri Sivananda Murthy declared that each morsel of food consumed in Annapurna layam serves to mitigate the misdeeds of one’s past and present births.
Amma used to insist that people who visit for Her darshan have food in Annapurna layam first before they perform Puja to her, if it happens to be dining time. Innumerable people experienced that after taking Prasadam (food) here, their long standing problems were resolved and many incurable diseases were miraculously cured.
Truly a unique place, Annapurnalayam is celebrating the year 2018-19 as its Diamond Jubilee year. To mark its significance, Sree Viswajanani Parishat proposes to serve food as Amma prasadam in at least 60 different stations during the year long celebrations. Let us all join together in this great task.