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My Pilgrimage to Jillellamudi – On the Altar of Experience

K. Ramakotiswara Rao
Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 1
Month : December
Issue Number : 7
Year : 1966

I am the karanam of Krosoor a village in the Sattenapalli taluq of the Guntur district. As in every Hindu home, there is a poojapeethem in my house too and we were often doing Rama- bhajan or Krishnabhajan. Perso- nally I had no leaning to any austere practices, but I longed to see a spiritually evolved being whose association would benefit me more than reading any num- ber of philosophical books.

I heard about a pious lady of S-and went over to that place to have her darshan. But I could not see her. I was told that men were not quite welcome there. She would not talk, but would write on a slate if need be; it is only special visitors, who can hear her speak, I felt dis appointed for not being able to see her and hear her words. One must deserve such a good fortune and obviously I didn’t- Depressed and dejected, I came back to my place.

I don’t remember if I men tioned my misfortune to my fri-, end Sri. Bhrugubanda Naraya narao, but he told me one day about his visit to Mother at jillellamudi. His account sent a thrill through my body; for here is a pious lady, whom I could see! He lost his mother while yet a child and now he tells me that, when he saw the Mother of Jillella mudi and experienced the soft touch of her hand on his head, he realised how pleasant Mother’s affection could be. “I am a changed man eversince I saw her. Do go to Jillellamudi and see her. You will get edified,” he said.

Sri E. Krishnamacharya of Guntur, had once advised me to try a stay at Balaji matham if I visited Tirupathi. On the morning of the first day of Dasara, I went over to his house at Guntur to tell him I was going to Mother. He said, That is good’, and joining his palms, “please give my namaskarams to Mother.”

Feeling doubly encouraged, I started by bus at 9. A. M. and reached Pedanandipadu in the after noon. I had only a eup of coffee at Krishnamacharya’s but I was anxious to reach Jillelamudi, I didn’t stop to have a meal. I proceeded further in a jutka and reached Kommoor by 2. P. M. Thereafter, I had to walk. Fearing that I would not be able to reach Jillellamudi before nightfall if I tarried at Kommoor, I started off walking and it was 5. P. M. when I got to Retur. Going further today is not practicable. I must spend the night here, I thought and sat on the pial before somebody’s house. Some persons, whom I told about my intent, advised me to go along the canal bund and reach Jillellamudi by that shorteut, instead of by road the next morning. My clothes were wet due to intermittent showers on my way to Kommoor, but I started off as I was, to be able to complete my journey that day itself. It was dark by the time I get to the canal bund and the lights of Retur could be seen behind me. I wasn’t sure of the way and the sound of the flowing water scared me. I hesi- tated for a moment. A distant group of trees by the side of the canal caught my eye. That village must be Jillelamudi, I thought. I walked rather quickly and rea ched that cluster but surprisingly it was not a village, and not even a hut was there! In our part of the district, one can be sure of finding a village within such a cluster. There were no signs of any movement though I an xiously looked round. A feeble flash of distant lightning showed a feeder channel before me. I got down into it to cross over and the water came up to my waist There was soft mud at its bottom and the depth appeared to be increasing. If I get stuck up in the mud, I shall have to stand in the cold water all through the hight as nobody would pass that way in the night. For the first time in my life, I was afraid fate was pushing me into danger. The cold water which enveloped more than half of my body sent a shudder in me. I didn’t know how to swim and I was afraid to move forward. But something prompted me to move my foot further and still further. In our taluqs we don’t see any canals. The rivulets we know of are seasonal: they are deep and slippery, very rarely does one venture to cross them if he does not know how to swim ! Here, the channel appeared narrow but it is not at all sha- llow! Holding my heart throbb- ing now furiously, I jerked by slow degrees to the other side. As I twisted my wear to squeeze the water out, I saw a dark moundlike prominence across the on it and look round for signs of any person! But when I walked up to it, it turned out to be a cluster of thorny branches thrown across My legs got pri- cked and two or three thorns: ran into my foot during this exploration. Moving forward was obviously impossible. Feeling cautiously in the dark for an area free from thorns, I got seated. I had no meal during the day, my clothes were wet, the sky was overcast and chill wind was blowing. I would be frozen to death if I sleep under the sky during such a night; I pulled myself up and went to the other side of the cluster and walked in the direction I did so long. There was a flash from the sky and at a distance of ten yards from me, I saw a full length snake crossing the path from left to right! I felt despe- rate. My Lord, if You do not help me now, what can I do at all?’ I prayed. Two voices at a distance! Hullo sirs, I am new to this place, I missed my way to Jillellamudi, could you kindly help me’ I shouted. My cry was heard by one of them. Somebody is shouting. He has missed his way’, he said and shouted in return, ‘Who is that?’ I missed my way to Jillellamudi.  way at a distance, I could stand I am afraid to walk to anyside. Please help. I replied.

You are new. Aren’t you? Why did you choose this way then? Anyway, don’t be afraid. Walk forth on that side of the cannal, we will be coming along this side. We will reach Jillella. mudi erelong, Reach Jillella mudi this night? I have been rushing along through the whole day to reach that place! I walked along as quickly as I could with my remaining strength to reach to the point opposite of those men, and they presently warned. me, ‘Mind the thorny obstacle ahead of you. Bypass it by getting down the bund towards the water.’ I walked along and there was the village at last! In my anxiety, I forgot to thank them: they had turned away somewhere, Where is the house of the Mother? I asked, and somebody said, Go forward. I reached the place where the temple is now situated, and got stuck up in knee-deep mud! When I pulled out one leg the other was get ting deeper and vice versa. Some one saw me gasping and lent me a hand and pulled me out. I went round that bog, and rea- ched the old hall, Sri Haridas asked me ‘Wherefrom are you?’ “Krosoor, Where is Mother? ‘She will come out presently; wash yourself at that well”, he said. I washed myself, got into the thatched hall, changed my clothes and sat between two piles of gunnies. There is no fear hereafter, I told myself. “I have reached Jillellamudi”. A lady entered the hall asking,

Who is it that came just now, please.” It is me. Here in this corner, please’, I said. ‘Mother asked me to give this coffee to you. Here! have it’, she said. I grasped at the glass and had. that first cup of jnaanadugdha from Mother. Sri Haridas came in and announced, you can all TO for meal, please. Tonight Sri Serhagirirao does the pooja’. I followed tho rest to the dining hall and had my meal..

– Translated from the record of Baala.

“If samsaara is bondage, are you not all such to me?”

 “You like it, and so it is not a bondage for you.”

 I don’t know, I haven’t felt it so far, like or dislike.”

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