(rendered into English by
Dr. Shanta Sista)
“Who are you? Mother Who Are you?” Is My 14th song penned in May, 1957.
Who are you, Mother who are you? You are a loner about whom no one knows II Who are you II
This is the burden of the song. Sri Annamacharya praising the Supreme Being sings thus: “You are what others think of you. in whichever manner” (enta maatramuna evvaru talachina anta maatrame neevu). Many have had the vision of Mother as Rama,
Christ, Gayatri Devi and had experiences according to their concept of Mother – But in actuality who is Mother? Mother is alone. Ekameva adviteeyam Brahma – one without a second. Brahaman or the Supreme is One. It is beyond the intellect and hence indescribable. Though knowing fully well that Mother is the one who upholds everything (sarvartha dharitri) and giver of everything (sarvartha daatri), I still questioned her “Who are you Mother?” I questioned myself too. This question is being raised about the existence of God for eons by great seers. yogis and those who discharge their duties with great commitment and sincerity (Karmishtulu). Some said they found the answer – they found Him. Some started their journey with a doubt in their minds they say He is there but one does not really know whether He is there or not” and stopped their quest midway. When asked “What should one do to attain Brahman?” Mother answered “Whatever you do you cannot”, she paused for a moment and said” If He (God/Power) gives (one can). To have Mother’s darshan, to come close to her (developing intimacy with her) and to receive her grace there is no effort to be made by us. If we have succeeded, it is not because of our effort, or power or our penance. “Iswara Anugrahaa deva pumsaam advaita vaasana” i.e. by God’s grace alone a human being cultivates a taste for Advaita” says Sri Adi Shankara.
Who has shown the path Mother
Where there is no sarcasm in the thought? This is the first part of the first verse.
In what mother thinks, speaks and does there is no disparity. This is called Trikarana Suddhi – True honesty.
Who is it that sheds moonlight
In the dark midnight of a new moon day Mother?
This is the second part of the first verse. In This context I have had a very striking and unforgettable experience. In the past I used to travel very frequently from Jillellamudi to Kommuru. It was the last bus. It was about 9 pm. To reach my home I had to pass through a very narrow lane and take a turn. It is a very small village. The whole village was asleep. There were one or two shops in the lane. With the help of the light that was emerging from these shops. I used to take turns. The rest was pitch dark. As a matter of habit I would walk. But wonder of wonders, as I walked I could see moonlight covering about two yards distance and the light would move ahead of me as I moved forward. The moment I would reach the threshold of my home the light would vanish. Hence I said “Who is it Mother that sheds moonlight on a new moon day?” If it was ordinary moonlight it would spread all over the sky but here the light was illuminating only my path for a distance of Two Yards. The moonlight illuminated the path, only to the extent needed.
Sri Shankara in his Bhajagovinda Slokas said “Naareesthanabhara naabhee deaham, drushtva maaga mohaavesham, etath maasa vasaadi vikaaram, manasi vichintaya vaaram vaaram” (Don’t get deluded and carried away by the beautiful erotic limbs of a lady. After All they are but forms (lumps) of fat and flesh in a camouflage. Remember this Truth always) Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa too warned the sadhaks about women and gold ‘Kaamini and kanchana) and so did many other gurus. But it is difficult for an ordinary man to follow the path laid down by them. According to Mother one cannot get rid of this (attachment) so easily by saying “This has to go. This has to be swept away with the help of a broom and a winnowing pan (cheepuru, cheta). This operation (prakriya) is like spreading a wet cloth to dry on a thorny bush. Spreading the wet cloth is easy. But when the cloth is dry it is difficult to take it off the bush as the thorns would get embedded in the cloth and the cloth would tare when, if one is not careful, while it is being dislodged, from the thorns.
Mother always speaks the truth, but truth is always bitter. Therefore it is difficult to digest Mother’s words. Mother is the sadguru who shows the true path in the darkness (ignorance) through the wisdom of light.
Who is it Mother who can be envisaged
With the eyes open or closed ?
Mother said “dhyaase dhyaanam” is one pointed concentration is meditation. As stated in Srimad Bhagavata “while drinking water, eating food… etc” remembering God constantly (paaneeyambulu draav uchun, kudu chuchun… etc) that is meditation and I always remain in Mother consciousness. (naaku amma dhyaase). Therefore Mother is the light of my eyes: it is not because of my greatness; it is because of Mother’s compassion for this little being. The undeserving rather than the deserving, the useless rather than the useful ones, the mean and lowly rather than the powerful and superior receive Mother’s intense love. Her focus is constantly on them.
Who is it that constantly Dances in my heart, Mother?
During the exile in the Dandaka forest, Sri Rama offered his shoulder as a pillow for Sita. Usually when there is no pillow people use their arm as a pillow. When you rest your head on your arm you hear a humming sound. It is a common experience for everyone. But I always heard the jingling sound of the bells of the anklets. Mother made me hear the Vedic notes that emerge from the Tandava Nritya, the Cosmic Dance of Siva.
Though denied of a mother You are the mother who begot of many children.
Mother lost her own Mother in her childhood. But in her endearing sweet baby talk she consoled grandmother Rangamma that she will become the mother when Rangamma will be no more. (neevu lenappudu nene ammanai untaanugaa) Mother experienced the void of a motherless child. But she was determined that none in the world would experience this kind of sorrow. She went into the slums: She met the victims of the Tsunami.
She hugged all of them and consoled them saying “I am your mother”.
You became the shadow and the support
And filled the entire Universe Who are you Mother?
Mother always spoke of herself in the third person. She never identified herself with the physical body nor was she attached to her body. But her delicate body is bruised by the heartless behavior of innumerable, savage, sadistic people. In one context Mother said, “I feel sorry for myself”. In every age enlightenment comes only when a Christ is crucified, an innocent being is sacrificed. This is the secret of great Incarnations.” Because you think that your grief will vanish by pouring out your heart to me, you will tell me about your troubles. But I do not do so because you will be distressed. Thus Mother simplified her philosophy.
Mother’s anguish is not for any single individual; it is for everyone and for everything. Because her’s is a universal family her problems are innumerable. Once Sri Adharapurapu Sheshagiri Rao asked her, “Oh Monarch of the Universe! to whom will you turn for consolation “” To myself” was her prompt reply. Father, Mother Guru, God, Refuge… to God is God himself / herself.
Mother’s constant companion is Mother herself. But I wrote deliberately and with great effort “being within herself (tanalo taanai) a constant companion”. Here is a special feature. The letter Ta (in Telugu language) is never used as the 6th letter either in poetry or in songs. It is contrary to the rules of the language. therefore forbidden. There is an adage that if you use the letter ta’ in the sixth place there will be a death in the family (aarinta ta pedite taninta peenuga lestundi) It brings bad luck even death both to the writer and the person who got the text written. Mother used to say “he will not use ‘ta’ in the sixth place:” To recall Mother’s words, the sweet reminiscences is an indescribably nectarine experience. In Sanskrit the word ‘kalam’, means inexpressible sweetness. Mother did not criticize me; she only showed things as they are.