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Mannava Bucchiraju Sarma
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 12
Month : October
Issue Number : 4
Year : 2013

(Continued from the previous issue)

  1. Undefinable

I visited Amma from 1954 onwards. Each time she would tell me “Come back soon”.

It was the month of August, 1956. Coming from Guntur I got down from the bus at the seventh mile stone at about 8’0 clock in the night. The sprouted seeds were transplanted in the fields. The fields were full of slush. Since I was familiar with the place I started walking boldly. I came till the first culvert. It was pitch dark but for the twinkling of the little stars. Something made a rustling noise. I felt as if I stepped onto a snake. I got frightened. If I go back to the road there wouldn’t be any buses. If I have to walk it is seven miles to Bapatla or ten miles to Kommuru. What should I do? I was all confused.

I could see a small light from Amma’s house. Fixing my eye on it I was walking across the fields. I reached the second culvert. There was no water. I reached my destination at last. Finally I arrived at Amma’s house. The entrance door was closed. I went to the back door and stood there. Amma must have given food to Nannagaru. She opened the door to throw away the leaf plate in which Nannagaru was served food. Just then the moon came out of the clouds. Amma saw me and greeted me affectionately and guilelessly “Come dear, wash your feet and come for food”. I had food and was lying down. Amma came to me and said “Don’t be afraid. Just as you were frightened, so was that”. I had a sound sleep. It is indeed difficult to know what goes on in the minds of other human beings. How then is it possible to know the mental condition of a poisonous snake!! This incident took place somewhere in the dark. Having eyes I could not see. This is a small incident but a wonderful one. This is only an example. For what? Is it to tell us about Amma’s omniscience or her total identification or oneness with every atom in the universe or unchangeable authority? I don’t know. But I see it as Amma’s undefinable love of a mother towards her child. The stretching hand that supports the offspring, the protective armor. This I see. This is a memorable event. I have to add something very special to it. We have to pay homage to her prophetic nature. This event took place in the month of August. Six months prior to this i.e. in the month of February Amma inspired me to compose my first song. The song goes like this.

What a wonderful person you are Amma !

What a wonderful way you have Amma !

You are the divine light.

You are the pole star that shows the path.

In the most difficult course

Where one finds no path.

This verse is the supreme example of Amma’s knowledge, of the concept of time (Past, Present and Future, Trikalagnanam) and also that she prompts action at all times. Amma is the one who is omnipotent. I shall illustrate this point by another incident.

It was the year 1956. I was in Jillellamudi for Navratri. Amma said “You will perform the puja. So go and take a bath in the canal”. I said “No Amma if I have a head bath I shall have an asthmatic attack, I shall start wheezing. I shall bathe in hot water without wetting my head”. She said, “You always have something in mind. Nothing will happen. Go I’m telling you. Go have a bath. Take three dips and come back”. After being ordered and also keeping in view my previous experience I went to the canal. Amma used to call the canal ‘Omkara River’. The great poet Kalidasa said the rivers have become holy (Thirthas) when the chaste and noble Sita took a bath in the river’s ‘Janaka tanaya snana punyodhakeshu’. The waters that became holy after the daughter of Janaka (Sita) took bath in them.

I had a bath and came back. Neither did I have an asthma attack nor did I get wheezing. The Kalasha (The ceremonial vessel filled with holy waters and decorated, which and is installed at the very beginning in any worship especially when the worship is done for a long duration like nine days (Navaratri) etc., was first placed, she put a coconut on it and decorated it with a new cloth. She applied turmeric powder and vermillion powder and drew eyes and nose, decorated it with flower garlands and installed the figure of Lalitha Devi. She sat in front of the Kalasha and asked me to take the sankalpa (To take a solemn vow to perform any act like special worship or a project to complete, with special prayers). I said “I do not know how to take the sankalpa, I know only the Durga Mantrapushpam (Mantrapushpam- Is the final offering of flowers with special mantras at the end of worship)”. She said “Okay I shall do it”. Strange indeed. She took water in a spoon (Uddharini a special spoon made either of silver or copper or brass used only in times of worship), pointed it towards the Kalasha and said, “Look! I’m telling you now. I made you sit here. Sit steadily. Don’t act funny or I shall break your head”. She then turned towards me and said, “Recite Lalitha Sahasranamam etc.” When I watched the whole scene I thought to myself “My god! She is the supreme power who can command even god”. I started trembling with fear. I broke into a sweat though I was not used to it. I recited Lalitha Sahasranamam, Khadgamala, Trishati quickly with the help of the book.

Amma offered special food (Mahanivedana) and gave aarathi (Waving the camphor light in front of the deity). I recited the Mantrapushpam. Amma in her melodious voice sang a song on which Rajarajeshwari recited the Annapoornashtakam and Ambashtakam. That was indeed a blessed experience for me, a result of the meritorious deeds done in the past. The uniqueness of Amma’s incarnation!! Let us start once again.

From that day onwards when I refer to bathing I mean head bath. Even if I have a fever I take a head bath. Difficult indeed is to comprehend Amma’s grace.

“Nothing will happen. Go. I tell you to go. Go and have a bath”. This was Amma’s order. In actuality Amma was not asking me to go. The command was for the disease Asthma to leave me – and go forever.

“Nothing will happen” when these words were uttered the disease vanished as if afraid of Amma. “I’m telling you,” said Amma. Are Amma’s words as powerful as Rama’s arrow or as Brahmastra? Difficult to analyze. Except to be ever beholden to her as long as I’m alive and prostrate before her what else can I do?

When Amma used to speak, sometimes some of those who were present could not follow her. Then what I understood I tried to explain to them. Amma used to say “don’t interfere, that is to say, don’t talk”. There is a code of conduct. There are certain things that can be talked about and certain to be avoided. These are my experiences. What I have witnessed. In Amma’s words “the one who only listens criticizes. But the one who has actually seen it explains.” Anyway one’s experience need not necessarily be another’s.

Once Amma was cooking a kind of soup with vegetables and lentils etc. (pulusu). She asked me to bring a ladle from the niche in the wall (goodu). I said that the ladle was not there. So she put her finger into that boiling soup. I was petrified. I asked her “Amma! Why did you do that? Your hand will get burnt”. Only the last phalange (joint) of one finger got a blister. And the rest of the finger was alright. The blister burst and the outer skin came off. In those days I used to collect Amma’s skin, nails, hair and the dust of her feet and preserve them. I used to consider them holy and wrap them in a paper and keep them in my pocket.

Why did only the end of the finger get blistered when the whole finger was dipped in the piping hot soup? That really was unbelievable. I expressed the same to Amma. “Amma! You have great powers. Why should only one phalange get burnt and why not the whole finger?” Amma replied “Each should abide by its nature. It is the nature of the body to get blisters when it is burnt.

Two duties are allocated to the mouth-one is to eat and the other to make sounds. As a body it has fulfilled its nature”. This is not a reply to my question. I did not get a proper answer. When the finger is dipped into boiling hot soup the part that got the blister revealed its nature – a body is made up of five elements. The rest of the finger that did not get burnt revealed the power a chaste and pious woman possesses. This is the explanation I gave myself. Anyway it is very difficult to gauge the significance of the movements and thoughts both external and internal of incarnations for poor mortals like me.

In this connection Amma has revealed another fascinating aspect. “The mouth has two functions, to eat and to make sounds’ ‘. To make sounds implies, in the common man’s language, to speak. Scholars of language i.e. phonologists describe it as speech sounds uttered by combining different vowel sounds and consonant sounds or technically speaking pulmonic egressive airstream mechanism. How did Amma who never attended even a primary school know subtle technical linguistic expressions!!. Once Amma described her state as “The state where she knows and yet does not know”. She clarified, for an ignoramus like me, what that state is. “To know and yet behave as if one does not know”. That is why in one of my lyrics she made me sing the glory of the omniscient Amma thus.

You are everything you are impartial. –

You are the ignorance that is discerning.

My prostrations at the holy feet of my mother who is the embodiment of ‘The WORD’ and its import!

All are familiar with Amma’s miracles. Though physically present in Jillellamudi she used to transcend distance and the differences between castes, creeds, religions and languages to communicate. If she thought it was imperative she would be physically present and within minutes or hours she would be back in Jillellamudi. Sometimes she would be present simultaneously in both the places showering her grace on them and giving them immense joy. Amma used to have a unique way of showing her affection for the yogis who may be performing penance without food in the mountains or in the caves or dense forests or to people who almost became skeletal because of the tortures they had to face by the sadistic satanic nature of people around.

She would prepare food for four or five people who are gluttons. I shall describe the process in detail. There was a very big silver plate. She would prepare course by course, first rice and chutney, second rice with vegetable soup and last curds rice.

In those days I used to have a stock of hair. After keeping those different courses with rice ready in the silver plate, she would make huge morsels, transfix me by holding my hair and stuffing my mouth nonstop with all the rice of the three courses (This is like stuffing a small cylindrical paper tube you prepare to make fireworks called Mathabu which when lighted will give out beautiful starry sparks and light used during the festival of lamps – Deepavali). When this process was on she had a very strange unique countenance on her face.

This experience is very different from the normal and usual way Amma used to feed me, holding me close with affection, feeding us with very tiny morsels that could be placed on the big thumb and gently and tenderly put in the mouth (Gorumuddalu).

I felt that Amma used to make me the instrument or the medium through which somebody else is fed. Of Course Amma does not need a medium. Perhaps she did it because she wanted me to have that experience. During Amma’s Golden Jubilee Birthday Celebrations Amma expressed a unique wish that she wanted to see one lakh of people sitting in one batch together and have lunch, Gopi, an Auditor from Palakollu, asked Amma “Amma! What an extraordinary wish! Are you not Annapurna that feeds everyone in every house?” Amma’s prompt reply was “To make you SEE that I’m feeding everyone”.

I know my capacity for eating and how much my stomach can hold. Eating food is not like swallowing tablets. Taking small morsels, relishing the taste of food, experiencing the pleasure of eating and trying to retain the taste in the mouth till the last – this is the normal process. When I become the medium the experience is diametrically opposite. But strangely in spite of the quantities of the food stuffed in I never felt the heaviness.

Undefinable are the ways of Amma. Only she knows what she is up to. Once Amma was talking in her dream. Amma’s sleeping is not real sleep nor her wakeful condition is really the wakeful state. I am not competent to gauge Amma’s state. Sometimes she would snore while sleeping. Sometimes you wonder whether she is breathing at all.

Playing hide and seek is my way.

To hide is my way.

To keep things undercover is my way.

Is her explicit statement. What she speaks during her sleep is not babbling nor are they heedless words, they are the universal truths.

Once she said “Make hot chapatis for me, my condition is not normal. I have ascites (Accumulation of water in the stomach). The one who was sitting next to Amma asked her “For whom Amma?” Amma replied “There is a tribal couple (Koya) in Pandharpur. The suspicious husband beat up the wife not even considering that she was pregnant. She had an abortion” all – this explanation was done in her sleep. This is HER way.

So I asked Amma “Amma you are sending food through me aren’t you?” Amma, the embodiment of truth put the veil of Maya over me and said, “My dear! Where will I send it? You are eating aren’t you? You eat and say that I am sending it to someone! Don’t get such funny ideas. I am feeding you and you eat that’s all”. I used to feel bewildered.

– To be continued….

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