Editorial Note

Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 7
Month : April
Issue Number : 2
Year : 2008

Even as I was about to commence my daily puja in my Puja room one morning, a question cropped up in me – Who is a ‘devotee’? A momentary introspection over this, raised a few more questions: is it doing a ritualistic worship performed routinely and mechanically? I put them off for a while to get on with the puja.

We have ‘Narada Bhakti Sutralu’ and Adi Sankara’s ‘Sivananda Lahari’ for a comprehensive definition and description of devotion and devotees. I do not wish to go into those commentaries at this stage as it is a deep subject altogether. When I looked into the Chambers’ Dictionary for the meaning of the word ‘Devotee’, it is stated thus: one wholly or superstitiously devoted esp. to religion; one strongly and consistently interested in something.

Now, looking at this in the context of ‘Jillellamudi and the Mother’ and looking at the persons thronging Jillellamudi over the past few decades, it makes an interesting study to observe a wide spectrum of persons who conform to this meaning. Even going through the biography of Amma one comes across people who had direct visions of Amma’s real form and who silently worshiped her from a distance and some who even sacrificed their lives for the sake of Amma during the early part of her life in physical form.

Then there are silent witnesses to her tribulations during early part of her domestic life in Jillellamudi, some whose constant contemplation was on Amma which elevated them to have direct vision of what was happening to her at her home while they were engaged in the work in the fields. It is interesting to mention in this context that even a partly blind buffalo at her house used to react violently if anybody tried to do physical harm to Amma.

We then have some village folk who have implicit faith in Amma which, aided by an experience turned them into staunch devotees and most of those hailing from villages, by their sheer blind faith, keep visiting Jillellamudi, some among them to redeem their vows.

Yet, there are some silent devotees among Amma’s children who, in spite of the umpteen experiences they had with Amma, do not utter a word about them, but keep worshiping her in their own way. One category among them fills their activity during the entire day which helps them keep constant contemplation on Amma and it is difficult to distinguish them from ordinary folk. In contrast, there are people who are vociferous about their devotion, reminding everybody around how Amma had chosen them for special assignments over others.

In older and early devotees, most of whom are no longer with us, were people who had gone through the path of Yogic sadhana with different Yogis and Saints to reach the destination, the goal of their sadhana being the Lotus feet of Mother. Some of them had remarkable experiences with Amma, and they remained keen and silent observers of Amma’s ways, fully aware of her true form. One or two of them even used to make jottings of every observation and utterances of Amma while in her presence, for record, which they used to make detailed notes on returning home, adding their own observations based on their prior knowledge of Shastras and yogic sadhana, as a matter of analysis and interpretation.

Those who have been avid followers of traditional Sahastra path of worship have been worshiping her, visualizing her as Lalita Tripurasundari or Rajarajeswari, the all-encompassing form of Shakti going through all the rigors of Upasana in pursuit of their goal.

In contrast, those who have taken the path of Jnana have followed their chosen path through a deep study of Amma’s life and the message she conveyed during her conversations. Examples are a Scientist and an agnostic who turned devotees based on their first-hand experiences, which had driven them into direct discussions with Amma on several subjects of esoteric significance. They pursued this path with utmost ‘devotion’ (true to the meaning of the word) to elicit information and knowledge on a number of key issues relevant to the seekers in the spiritual path, directly from the source of knowledge and Truth, that is Amma, to be shared and passed on to the posterity.

It is much more interesting to note that there are devotees in distant lands who had never seen Amma, while in her physical form, yet transmitted their feelings of worship through letters to Amma and continue to worship her through visualizing the entire manifest world as Amma herself in all her glory! One of these devotees who had lived in Jillellamudi and tasted directly the glorious presence of Amma has gone into virtual recluse to continue his penance.

There is another class of devotees who give vent to their devotion to Amma by offering financial help to all the activities in Jillellamudi towards its development. Even among them there are those who do it silently, not wanting publicity in contrast to those who wish to demonstrate their devotion through openly making known their contributions. This is not to underrate their faith in or devotion to Amma. Some of them are, in fact, in the forefront of inculcating and propagating among the recent entrants, the message of Amma towards development of their devotion to Amma.

It is also pertinent and fascinating to mention here about a section of devotees who strive to put into practice, in their daily lives with unflinching devotion, what Amma ordained through her message, firmly asserting that this is the right way of taking Amma to the doorstep and lives of those who have not been so fortunate to have seen Amma, while in physical form.

Returning to where I started, the foregoing description of the very wide variety of hues in the types of devotees and their modes of devotion, propels me to look at what I started with and provide answer to the question I posed in the beginning – mere rituals in the form of daily routine worship or external exuberance do not make one a devotee. So? Pray Amma to bestow an unblemished vision to have a darshan of her true Glorious form, putting aside the waywardness of the child.

Jayaho Mata !!

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