Srimati Nori Manikyamma
Smt. Nori Manikyamma hails from a village called Poondla and has been an ardent aspirant and strict follower of orthodox Hindu religious customs, disciplines and traditions. Every Ekadasi (the 11th day of every dark and bright fortnights), she fasts completely and breaks her fast the next day after feeding a Brahmin guest.
On one of the days when she broke her fast, a pious and learned Brahmin by name Kambhampati Ramachandra Sastry happened to be her guest. During meals time, he discoursed on the significance of the several mysterious deeds of Bhagawan Sri Krishna, as depicted in the great epic Maha Bhagavata, and he posed a question as to how Divine manifestations in human forms conduct themselves for the spiritual progress of mass of human beings and answered the same that whatever the Divine incarnations do, will only be in the interests of the larger humanity and will certainly carry a majority of the persons residing during their lifetime, to a higher stage of realization of divine consciousness in their lives. He further observed that people usually consider with regard and devotion only such great puranic incarnations of the past ages but do not think for a moment such equally great Divine incarnations living in our midst at present. We do not attach any value to such human divinities because they are our own contemporaries and hence we could not understand them in their proper spiritual significance and perspective. They look like fire screened by dust.
There is a great lady in Divine Manifestation at Jillellamudi Village who is the wife of the Karanam of the Village. She is like a lone Tulasi plant among the growth of many useless plants. He suggested to her host Srimati Manikyamma to visit Jillellamudi and experience for herself. Thereupon Manikyamma pursued the subject with her queries as to his own experiences in the presence of the said Divine Mother and as to the route to the village. Sri Ramachandra Sastry replied as follows:
Those were the days when the Mother at Jillellamudi was keeping indifferent health. She was sent to Appikatla village for treatment at the house of her uncle by name Sri Lokanadham. An Ayurvedic doctor by name Nootalapati Veeraiah who happened to be in that village was requested to examine the Mother. The Doctor observed that the Mother was then having a heavy and deep vibratory changes in her body which are more Yogic in nature than that of ordinary humane diseases. This diagnosis of the doctor has created a very admirable and salubrious impression in the minds of everybody concerned that the Mother is not a patient in the medical sense but a great Yogi with undetected and silent changes taking place within herself.
On her return journey the Mother stayed for a few days in the house of Sri Yajulu at Marripudi village, who was then about to conduct a Yagnya (a sacrificial offering according to Vedic rites). It was then that he happened to have the first Darshan of the Mother. The Divine Mother, during her conversations with Sri Yajulu established the futility of mere performance of rituals and impressed upon him the necessity of breaking the iron law of sacrifices of living animals etc., for the sake of Divine Blessings in an Yagnya.
Afterwards, he went along with the Doctor N. Veeraiah to Jillellamudi to renew his acquaintance. By the time they reached the village, it was 6.30 p.m. and the sun was setting and darkness was closing. They observed that the Mother was cleaning the cattle shed personally and felt surprised. The Mother washed her hands and offered drinking water to the two guests. The Doctor asked the Mother whether she had a cow also among her cattle. She said ‘yes’ and while the Mother approached the cow and was trying to feed her, the Doctor questioned Ramachandra Sastry as to how he felt about it all. Sastry replied that he could not exactly describe in words the scene but could feel that the Mother was also the Mother of the cow as well.
After the two guests finished their baths and sat for Puja in the orthodox tradition they wanted some Tulasi leaves. The Mother replied in her affectionate tone “Nanna, in our house, the Tulasi leaves are not available. What can I do?” in her usually familiar and affectionate tone. Mr. Sastry said that the Mother herself is like the great Divine Tulasi plant. As a reaction to that expression, the Mother brought from the backyard of her house some margosa leaves and gave them to the guests to be used as substitutes to Tulasi leaves. When the guests wanted at least the loose earth on which the Tulasi plant used to grow, the mother brought some Putta Matti (the loose earth on snake pit) and gave the same with the observations that all plants etc., grow on earth only, and any form of earth could be substituted for the other variety.
By this, the Mother made them understand that the details of leaves etc., to be used in daily worship, are very minor things to be cared for and that the actual worship and consequential elevation of oneself to higher levels of consciousness within mind is more important. The same could be achieved by concentration and meditation, rather than by external and ritual practices. The Mother’s usual approaches to such dogmatic and traditional rituals was very delicately suggestive to the guests rather than by vehement assertions. By parables or by practical and realistic statements, the Mother makes the other to understand her way of thinking rather than by strongly repulsive and provocative observations. Her expressions usually will be very affectionately appealing and pleasantly convincing.
After hearing the above facts and having been spiritually attracted by an irresistible urge to have the Darshan of the Mother, Smt. Manikyamma arrived one fine afternoon on 19th December 1953 at Jillellamudi. At that time, the Mother and lady (Papa athayya), and another girl Prasanna were engaged in playing cards. The lady was pregnant and could not be allowed to sleep during daytime. That is why the Mother engaged herself in such a pastime along with Prasanna, who is a daughter of a neighbor to Lokanadham, resident of Appikatla. A minor sister of Prasanna died a few days back and her parents sent her to Jillellamudi to forget the separation of her deceased sister in the presence of the Holy Mother. To remove the loneliness of Prasanna and to engage the pregnant lady, the Mother was asked whether she could engage herself along with them in any sort of play or the pastime of playing cards, and whether playing cards is wrong and prohibited, because the near relatives and other acquaintances of Mother hitherto knew the Mother only as repository of sublime peace and tranquility of poise which are Divine and not of ordinary human. The Mother replied as follows:
“There is nothing wrong for me in engaging myself in any sort of play. There is no play which is known to me before I attempt the same, and after once attempting any and every sort of play becomes known to her thoroughly, I cannot specify that I know only a particular play and not. I can engage myself in and not others. I can engage myself in any play in which you are interested.”
Because playing cards was interesting to them, Mother engaged herself in the same in their company. At that time only Manikyamma and her servant Yellamanda arrived to seek the Darshan of the Mother. Hyma, the only daughter of Mother, told Mother that some outsiders came to seek her darshan. It suggested to the Mother at that time that it was the first time for outsiders to interest themselves in seeking her Darshan. The Mother came out of the play outside the house where the above visitors were waiting and received them very cordially and took them inside the house. The appearance of the Mother at that time was with plain and ordinary saree with very few jewelry by way of one or two gold chains and a gold Mangalsutra in her graceful neck and a good number of bangles on her beautiful hands, and with a big kumkum on her forehead. Manikyamma’s immediate reaction on her first darshan of the Mother could be ascertained by the following words to her companion Yellamanda. “Look Yellamanda! The Mother is like Goddess Mahalakshmi, coming from Vaikuntam, the abode of Mahavishnu, see Her Grace of movement and simple appearance. She must be the Goddess Mahalakshmi incarnate and none other. She is like Janaki Devi, the consort of Sri Ram coming out of hermitage (Parnasala). Another vision of the Mother is that she is like Arundhati Devi, wife of Vasishta Maharshi, an old and respectable lady but poor in appearance. Please, Yellamanda offer your pranams to the Mother”.
Afterwards, Manikyamma prostrated before the Mother touching Her holy feet. The Mother spoke very slowly but affectionately and pleasantly and directed Manikyamma to take her seat. As soon as she was seated, the Mother’s first question was “Did you take your meals, if not, please come in and take.” Manikyamma felt immediately overwhelmed by Mother’s presence and cordial and affectionate reception, particularly by the melodious and sweet tone of the Mother and replied, “we have come after taking our meals. Today is Dwadasi. Please excuse us if we have caused any disturbance to your rest and sleep”. Mother replied “I am not taking rest. To engage the children, I am playing cards with them”. On hearing this Manikyamma laughed slowly and looked at Yellamanda who closed his eyes and offered Namaskarams to the Mother with folded hands giving an impression that the Mother can do whatever pleases Her.
After some time Manikyamma wanted to take leave of the Mother and said that she would come back after about one week. “We could not even bring fruits. We started without any preparation. We are so overwhelmed by your presence that we are unable to do anything”. While saying so, Manikyamma took out a small quantity of sugar candy and placed it in the hands of the Mother and raised her hands in prayerful Namaskaram.