The 66th Anniversary of Annapurnalayam in Jillellamudi takes place on the 15th of August 2023. It marks a momentous occasion for this extraordinary and unparalleled institution. Its establishment was driven by a purpose that extends far beyond the realm of ordinary endeavors. The choice of the term “unparalleled” is not a mere indulgence in euphoric hyperbole; rather, it stems from a noble and profound history that underlies its significance.
Annapurnalayam stands as a beacon of enlightenment, exemplifying the timeless values of compassion, knowledge, and selflessness. From its inception, this unparalleled institution has sought to create a haven where the nourishment of both body and spirit is nurtured with unwavering dedication. It serves as a testament to the vision and unwavering commitment.
In the recent years, almost every pilgrimage centre provides free food to its pilgrims. 65 years ago, that was not the case. Many major cash rich Pilgrimage Centres like Tirupati or Shirdi too did not venture to provide free food to the pilgrims because, the task involved a perennial recurring expenditure, the estimate of which beats rational calculations.
In fact, Amma’s passion to feed people around Her did not commence on 15th August 1958, when Annapurnalayam was established as an Institution. It was a natural inclination that existed within her since childhood. Right from Her childhood, She did not have two square meals like any of us not because her family could not afford it. It is because of Her preoccupation to see that nobody suffers from hunger. She used to derive immense satisfaction distributing the food offered to Her to the needy hunger-stricken people. This activity went on till She was widely recognized as a Divine figure and drawn people from far and near to the tiny village Jillellamudi during early ’50s.
Amma was married to Sri Brahmandam Nageswara Rao garu, reverentially and affectionately called “Nanna garu” on 5th May 1936 and settled in Jillellamudi from 1940 as Sri Nageswara Rao garu was the Karanam (Village Officer) of that village. The couple were leading a simple life with moderate means. However, the fragrance of Amma’s Divine Aura which remained confined to a limited circle till early ’50s, started spreading far and wide. Many people started visiting the almost inaccessible, remote hamlet Jillellamudi just to have Her Darshan. Some of them were true spiritual seekers, some out of curiosity and some to test Her. None of them went back empty handed. They were all primarily overwhelmed in Her Universal Motherly Love and affection and secondly satisfied with firm conviction that She was Divine in human form.
By mid ’50s, the number of visitors which started as a trickle started growing into tens, hundreds and even thousands on special occasions. Amma herself used to cook food in early days and feed all the visitors. Nannagaru, even with his moderate means never flinched at this growing burden. However, some of the brothers from Chirala, a Town about 30 kilometers from Jillellamudi realized that they are casting a heavy burden on the family and proposed to start a separate kitchen. Even though Nannagaru initially resisted the proposal, eventually reconciled to the reality. Thus, came into existence the noble Institution Annapurnalayam, on 15th August 1958, one which is most dear to Amma’s heart.
Amma lighted the fire in the kitchen of Annapurnalayam with a supreme motive that everybody on the face of this earth should get adequate food and nobody should suffer from hunger.
Jillellamudi today is popular because of Amma and Annapurnalayam. It is Amma’s dictum that anybody who comes to Jillellamudi should not return hungry. The world started looking at Jillellamudi with striking wonder and interest when more than one and half lakh people were served food on a single day on the 50th Birthday of Amma in April 1973.
Hunger is the visual and perceptible form of God in all living organisms. Annapurnalayam is the true form, meaning and spirit of Amma Herself the Annapurna Devi. Further, the unidentified, 1 unspecified spiritual hunger and thirst is also satisfied without the recipient realizing it. Sadguru Sri Sri Sri Sivananda Murthy garu precisely put his finger on it declaring that every morsel consumed in Annapurnalayam is potentially capable of pacifying many of the past Karmas, thus evolving the soul to the eternity. The food served in Annapurnalayam traverses through various Koshas of the soul Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vignanamaya and ultimately evolves the soul to the ultimate Anandamaya Kosha. This can be experienced by anybody with deep introspection and Sadhana.
Annapurnalayam as an Institution is not flush with funds. It is another miracle that this Great Institution has been feeding thousands of people for the last 65 years. It is the living testimony of Divine Power of Amma and unflinching commitment and devotion of the thousands of Amma’s children. The feeding did not stop even on a single day, come rain or shine epidemic or pandemic.
Amma declared that 15th August 1947 is the day when this Country achieved Independence while 15th August 1958 is the day when this World is being freed from Hunger.
SVJP Trust, Jillellamudi welcomes one and all to celebrate this holy event of 66th Anniversary of Annapurnalayam.
Jayaho Matha Sree Anasuya Raja Rajeswari Sree Paratpari