THE Car stopped near the River bed. The river commencing its origin somewhere in the-hills in Guntur District, flows Zig Zag in its course covering many villages and merges in the Eastern sea in the same district. Even though supplied by rain water falling over a comparatively smaller area, the river flows steadily throughout the year without any break.
The Mother, before entering into the river broke a coconut and lighted a harathi (camphor incense) perhaps to set an example to others as to how to offer obeisance to the Goddess symbolized by the river. Sister Krishnavenamma requested the Mother to remove the gold rings on the fingers of her feet, The Mother said that it was not necessary, and further observed, “Do you fear that the rings would be lost in the river” sister Krishnavenamma replied that it is so and took possession of the rings, removing them from the Mother’s feet and claimed that she is very fond of jewelry. Mother said, “What does it matter if the rings are lost. If lost, the goddess of the Earth will wear them”. Sister Krishnavenamma did not choose to reply further in the matter. Mother went a little deeper into the river and sprinkled turmeric powder and kumkum into the waters, along with some flowers. As the sun at that time was a little bit hot and scorching, a brother devotee by name ‘Tatanna’ raised an umbrella over the Mother’s head. But the Mother refused to stay under the umbrella and moved very briskly further deep into the river. The river has a lot of sinking earth underneath and the people of locality never dare to go deep and walk quickly in the river for fear of being stuck up in the mud underneath the river water. The Mother’s walk within the river is not like that of halting and hesitating walk on unseen mud within a flowing river. The knot at the end of the long and flowing hair of the Mother became loosened as if in competition with the flowing waves of the water, and the Mother did not seem to take note of it at all in her ecstatic communion with the surging waters.
Another devotee by name Reddi Subbayya in his anxiety for Mother’s safety, caught hold of Mother’s back and was following her with difficulty. Many of us who were also in the river at that time lagged behind at a distance from the Mother. Another devotee by name Khagaa Subbayya along with brother Radha, were loudly singing Mother’s name while following the Mother in the river. Mother did not go up to the opposite shore from where she started, in the river but returned back to the shore from where she started, after going upto neck-deep waters. Both Reddy Subbayya and Khagga Subbaiah who are stalwarts in physical appearance and strength flanked themselves on both sides of the Mother, and the Mother appeared like a small child in between them.
The sun was approaching the mid sky and it was very hot and scorching. The scene of the sun’s rays mixing with the waters and giving them a golden touch and the Mother in her bright and golden physical appearance, walking with a smiling face flanked by the two tall staunch devotees singing although loudly in praise of the Mother, was Divinely inspiring and elevating, and all of us felt as if we were moving in a heavenly rivulet. The Mother stood facing the north for a while and after spreading her looks on all sides, looked attentively at a distance as if something was there which deserved her notice, and after sometime played childishly with the waters. Brother Radha’s sweet tone was heard over the waters ringing with the continuous recitation of Mother’s holy name. Suddenly Khagga Subbayya, handed over the blowing conch in his hands to another standing nearby and bent himself underneath the water in an attempt to reach the Mother’s holy feet and actually caught hold of Her feet. His head and shoulder only were visible over the waters, and the rest of his body was underneath the waters and he appeared to be as if in remorseful devotion and prayerful surrender to the Mother, Mother was only looking at Khagga Subbaiah with outpouring affectionate looks and with her right hand moving gracefully and gently over his head in an attempt to console him. Subbayya was in that sitting posture only and did not attempt to raise himself to a standing
posture again. Mother bent herself a little and wiped off the surging tears from the eyes of Subbaiah and washed his face with the water and then submerged his head also underneath the water and his head appeared to have completely fallen on the feet of the Mother. All of us were looking at that scene with wonder.
Mother splashed the waters on all of us standing at a distance from Her. All of us in hurry to receive more water on our faces from Mother’s holy hands, rushed near and around her as if in a competition. Mother started to throw water at all of us, until we requested Her to stop. Little fishes came nearer to us and actually touched us and even made some scratches on our bodies, and we tolerated all that in the happy and forgetful presence of the Mother. But Subbayya covered Mother’s two feet completely with his hands as if to protect them from being scratched by the fishes around Her. Mother said “Let the fish gather around and play with me even if more harmful and so-called dangerous snakes and other varieties of aquatic beings touch me. They come to me out of love only. But Subbayya neither reply nor left Her feet and instead bent his head into her hands.
Sister Sayamma requested Mother for permission to break a coconut and throw the parts in the river. Mother gave permission saying that they would be food to the fishes etc., in the waters, Sayamma was also completely drenched in the waters thrown by the Mother. Sister Kamala requested Mother not to immerse her at all in the water. In a playful retort to her, Mother caught hold of her head and completely immersed her underneath the waters once or twice and made her drink small quantities of water and after affectionately touching her head left her off saying “This is the reward for her troubles’ ‘. So far Mother did the same thing to others around Her, Brother Radha also was treated in the same way.
Sister Hyma and some others were waiting on the shore only without even attempting to get into the waters. Mother threw water on all of them standing on the shore. Sister Hyma expressed her inability to get into the waters. Finally sister Hyma was carried by Subbayya into the waters and near to the Mother and after Mother sprinkled water on sister Hyma also, she was transferred to the shore. Because I am scribbling all these incidents sitting on the shore I was not sprinkled with water by the Mother, but I was given water to drink, Pulihora (cooked fine rice with turmeric and tamarind, citrus juices, cashew nuts) etc., and other delicacies were served to everybody in the river itself. The first one to be served was Khagga Subbayya and it filled the whole depth of his two big palms joined to form a ‘dish’. Even cowherds and other boys roaming on the shore and watching pleasantly the Mother’s playful treat in the river, got into the waters and gathered round the Mother and were served with the delicacy of Pulihora. People, who were seen standing at a distance on the shore, were called near Her and served.
Reddy Subbayya in a playful mood requested Mother for permission to raise Her in his hands and take Her to the shore, and even without waiting for permission, raised the little Mother in his big hands and walked in a most inspiring way. But Mother warned him that he would feel tired in the attempt and it actually happened! He became exhausted, unable to carry Mother after a few paces and was about to drop Her back in the waters. At that time, Khagga Subbayya attempted to raise Mother in his hands, even though he was also warned in the same way. Khagga Subbayya also failed to carry Mother even a few paces.
Subsequently Mother briskly moved out of the waters and reached the car. Afterwards Reddy Subbayya said that when he first raised Mother into his hands, she appeared to be very light, and he thought within himself that because of his great strength he could raise the Mother in his hands and immediately after that thought, Mother became very heavy and he could not bear her weight any further. Even though brother Ramakrishna who was following them tried to assist them they could not with their combined strength move even a few paces carrying Mother in their hands. All three became tired and sweating heavily as if after a heavy weight lifting exercise. After they thus realized their littleness before the Mother in the matters of estimation of Mother’s weight, Mother got down and walked quickly to the shore.