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“PEBBLES ON THE SHORE” – An episode from Mother’s Life

Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 1
Month : June
Issue Number : 1
Year : 1966

[Immeasurable are the depths of Her life and boundless are the fringes of Her experience; priceless are the jewels in it but inaccessible; and such episodes as the one presented here is but a pebble which is enough to strike us as a costly gem for our short sight, when compared with the myriad mysteries that are yet to be revealed to us. 

In this feature we put before the reader some enlightening and interesting episodes from the life of the Holy Mother of Jillella mudi. It is a translation from an article published in the Telugu issue of ‘The MatruSri’ (1966 April), written by Sri Kondamudi Ramakrishna Murthy.

– Editor]

In November 1929, the old lady Maridamma Garu took her six year old granddaughter Anasuya with her to Guntur. One day, while she (Mother) was passing along the road, she heard the recitation of a purana from a house. It was the hermitage of a Swamiji who was a reputed scholar and an expounder of the Puranas. Mother visited the ashram regularly for a month. Swamiji was surprised to note that she always came and sat alone. She was reserved and never seemed to be attentive to what is read and explained by him. She did not approach him prostrate or before him. He could not understand her attitude. But in her eyes, in her looks, in the radiance of her countenance there was the suggestion of something super mundane which had strongly moved him. He could not help being buffeted by speculations as to who she was. He was a Sanyasi who had cast aside all relations with the world and its people; then what has he to do with her identity?. He was the head of an institution and it is not expected of him to address her. But the mind does not always go according to social custom and tradition. He could no longer withstand the curiosity and on the thirty first day he called her near and the following conversation ensued.

Swamiji: Amma Who are you?

Mother: I came here to know that, because I do not know who I am. 

S: To which community do you belong?

M: To the community of Shukla and Shonita

S: Well, will you stay with me? 

M: I don’t.

S: Why?

M: You are some Swamiji. I have my father, my great grandmother and my native village; I cannot stay away from them. I will come when I no longer mind them; (but) when I no longer think of them and when no relation- ship binds me, there will be no need for me to come to you!

S: I will teach you a mantra, will you be taught?

M: What for?

S: Did you not say a little earlier, that you have come to know who you are?

M: Does it mean that a mantra is essential for it?

S: Is it not essential then?

M: What is a Mantra?

S: It (the Mantra) is a grouping of some powerful syllables into some phrases endowed with some (divine) force and secretly communicated by people like me to such as yourself.

M: Among those syllables which do you consider to be the powerful ones?

Swamiji: (after a long pause) We charge the syllables with (divine) energy.

M: But erstwhile, you spoke of certain powerful syllables; if that capacity of charging them is yours, you may impart the same power to a blade of grass as well! 

S: Why all these questions? You are a kid; let me teach you what I will (i. e. the mantra).

M: I will just hear what will be said by you; I cannot be taught; to be taught means that I will have to repeat whatever you say. I will hear what you will say.

The Swamiji was stunned and wonder-struck to hear such profound words from such a young girl. Surprised as he was, he became thoughtful, that all his learning should be struck dumb in the face of these strange queries and replies of hers. In the meanwhile, the Swamiji was called inside the ashram for his bath by his disciples; “I will finish my bath and come out just now” he said as he left the place. Mother returned to her house.

Next day, Mother took roses and champak flowers with her to the Swamiji’s ashram. On the way, the scavengers were clean- ing the gutters. Though there were fragrant flowers in her own hands the foul smell of the gutters prevailed over their fragrance. Mother proceeded to the Swamiji’s abode, pondering over the mystery.

Everyone had just left the ashram after taking the offering. One of them shouted to her “There is nothing here now, go away you girl”.

M: I came only for what is here, not for that which is not.

Someone: What is it that you have here?

M: That which is not for you, but which is for me.

Someone: Who is that? Such impertinent questions! 

M: Whose questions (are impertinent)?

The Swamiji heard from inside the house and called out “Who is there?”

Someone: Here is some girl.

So saying, he slapped her for her bold retort. The Swa miji again shouted “Let her come in.” Mother went in.

S: What is that clapping noise? 

M: It is the sound of coming together of the two (objects).

S: What does it mean? Mother slapped her own cheek to demonstrate it.

S: Was that the noise of slapping yourself or that of others slapping you?

M: What you have heard with our seeing was the noise of somebody slapping; that which has heard while seeing, slapped itself.

S: Did he who answered me beat you?

M: I have heard your answer, but I have not seen the person.

Mother gave the flowers she had brought, bowed before him and sat. A few minutes passed in silence. The Swamiji was very eager to speak with her about something or the other. Not quite pleased to allow much time to melt in silence, the Swamiji commenced the conversation himself.

S: Amma, what smells most of all?

M: The gutter!

S: Why?

Mother narrated what had happened when she was coming to him on that day.

S (laughing): Of all the flowers, I mean.

M: You have not specified that in your question! I have told you what I had experienced (Ironically).

S: Tell me of all the flowers, what flowers smell the best?

M: Whatever flower one likes smells best (to him).

Again a few moments of silence ensued. The Swamiji who is usually reticent could not endure the silence.

S: Why did you not come by noon itself?

M: The appointed time (Tarunam) for (my) coming here did not arrive then: now it has come, (so) I have come.

S: What is meant by Tarunam?

M: It is what you cannot avoid even if you wish to avoid, and what cannot be accomplished even if you wish to accomplish; that which controls them (is the Taruna), child. The Swamiji was surprised to be addressed thus by her.

S: Why are you addressing me as your child?

M: That is my Vidhi

S: What does Vidhi mean?

M: Vidhana is Vidhi, Vidhi itself is Vidhana.

S: What is meant by that?

M: Vidhi is the Creator; his Way is creation.

The Swamiji had the desire to somehow initiate her with a mantra.

S: After all, will you be taught a mantra or not?

M: Your exposition of the meaning of Mantra is inadequate. If it were adequate, 

I would have learnt it.

S: Leave it aside, you tell me-

M: Then shall I give you a mantra or shall I explain what Mantra means?

S: Your pleasure – do whatever you will; both are needed.

M: Then who should I be (to you) to do that?

The Swamiji could not restrain his joy; forgetting the res- trictions of his ashram, he drew her near and kissed the child and said “You are only a girl”, yet you are motherly”!

M: “Mayi” means “Mother” only !

S: What (class) have you studied?

M: I am not attending a school- I have only come to this school. This seems to be a school without a teacher. But it is my mistake to call it a school when there is no teacher.

S: Yes amma! (Laughing) If I give you something (to eat) will you take it?

M: I dont accept rebukes, I dont tolerate blows – this. Of course, when you want to do after seeking my permission! In the meanwhile the sun has set.

S: Which fruit do you like most?

M: That ripe fruit which is not diminished by eating. that which can be enjoyed eternally, the ripe fruit of the head.

The eyes of the Swamiji glist ened with glee. He got a fruit and gave it to her saying “you may go now and come again.

On the third day, in the evening, Mother again visited the ashram and sat in a corner. The Swamiji perceived her. He was anxious to speak with her; the exposition of the purana slackened. He wound it up before the fixed time. When everyone had left, Mother approached him and gave him a melon and bowed.

S: Amma, will you tell me of something I am going to ask about?

M: I cannot tell you what you ask about; I can tell you according to my understanding of your question.

S: Why cant you accurately understand what I ask?

M: Because I have not become yourself!

S: When will you become identical with us?

M: When I become identical with you, I will become All!!

The Swamiji hugged the girl and said “Who are you Mother? You must certainly stay with me!”

M: I can’t stay, but you have me near you, child.

S: Won’t you tell what is really meant by Mantra ?

M: When you are in need of being taught by me, how did you offer to teach me ?

S: My mantras are different from yours.

M: Do you really wish to be taught? Then who will you be while learning?

S: I will become that which you make of me.

M: Won’t you tell me who I am in your opinion?

S: You are Bala Rajarajeswari.

M: By Bala Rajarajeswari, do you mean an young Rajarajeswari ?

S: No mother, She is ALL. M: Then why two titles?

S (Smiling) Because the one Reality has assumed many forms.

M: How?

While the Swamiji was searching out for an answer, Mother again continued- “For all languages, and in the writing of any letter, when the pen touches the paper, the point forms what letter is that? Which language is that? What has it originated?” S: It is the basis of ALL.

Mother paused for a while, steadily gazed into the Swamiji’s eyes and asked –

“If that is the basis, it is (in its turn) but the impact of the pen on the paper. Is it (i. e. the point) the Sastra in your opinion? Mantra means Mind. The sacred syllable (Bija) is the Sabda (the vibration of sound).

The various grades of sound are the syllables (sacred letters).

S: Is there a Pithika to your Mantra Sastra?

M: Yes there is, my child they are – अ, आ, इ, ई, अं, अः

The Swamiji got a glass of ‘payasam’ for Mother and while she was sipping it, he asked “Wont you give me some of it?”

M: Did you give it to me to drink or to give it to you?

S: At first I have given it for you to drink; but now I am desirous of drinking it also.

M: Tell me where from you had obtained it; I will fetch it and give you.

S: When I have given you a glassful, can’t you give me half of it?

M: When it is insufficient for such a small girl as myself, will that be sufficient for such a big belly as yours? That is why I had offered to fetch it for you.

S: Why do you bother about it, I will manage with it. M: Is your mind (so) contented or can you increase its quantity?

S: What is contentment?

M: The state that there is no state superior to that.

S: Oh what a mother you are! Tell me the real purpose of your coming. Which is your native place? What is your mother’s name?

M: My mother’s name is Adhara and my father’s name is Avakasa’.

S: You have mentioned Adhara and Avakasa Don’t they have distinct names and forms, M: Is not Adhara a name? Is there no form to it?

S: Tell me how there is 

M: Take your swing for exam. ple. The plank is supported by the chain, the chain is sup ported by the beam; the beam by the earth-there are several Adharas”. Everything is based upon the Basis. There fore the Basis is all-familiar”. 

S: Is there nothing extraordinary?

M: There is nothing strange to that Power (god).

Swamiji was amazed at the profundity of her replies; he was overcome with tears of joy, kept silent for two hours and again asked “Tell me (of) your real identity!”

M: Reality itself is may state”.

S: Truly mother! (pause) How do your people view you?

M: As I appear to them”.

S: Do you appear similarly to all?

M: Let us think about appear- ing similarly to all afterwards; Have you been viewing me in the same manner since the day you had seen me for the first time? My form remained un- altered. But there is difference in how I strike your under standing. But how does one appear the same to all? They view me according to their (inner) states. Mind is the measuring rod. They measure me only according to the reach (capacity) of the rod of mind. There are inches in a yard but there are no yards in an inch.

The Swamiji again drew her near saying “After all, I will keep you with me after explain ing your state to your people.” M: You are speaking of my state; do you know it?

S: Though I do not know your state, I have formulated my own opinion based on our conversation. You have said yourself that the mind is the measuring rod!

Mother started from the Ashram saying “I will take leave of you”.

S: I will send someone to escort you don’t go alone.

M: I dont want any body to accompany me.

S: No Mother! You can not go alone. You are too young”. So saying the Swamiji asked a boy to accompany her.

M: Am I an young girl only today, or am I the same everyday?

S: That’s alright: (do) as you please, I don’t send anybody. When Mother was about to bow before him, he dissuaded her by holding her hands apart.

M: Namaskara (salutation with folded hands) cannot be stop- ped by merely holding the hands! Namaskara is not mere joining of the hands.

S: What is the Askara (the place) for that word?

M: Samskara is the Askara. That Samskara itself made me bow to you.

When Mother got up to leave, she smiled and said “Bless me”. She herself immediately continued “Blessing is not what is sought or what is uttered. I have asked just for the sake of formality. I will take leave of you…..

With a heavy heart, the Swamiji sat there alone, gazing on the road she was treading. But Mother moved on.


Foot Notes

  1. Amma is the Telugu word which literally means ‘Mother’ but which is also used colloquially as a term of endearment to young children.
  2. Shukla and Shonita are the male and female reproductive fluids. To whichever community a man or a woman belongs the shukla and shonita will be similar! In fact all living things are characterized by their presence; the living cells of Shukla and Shonita are above pleasure and pain; they are imperceptible, yet they are the basis of the continuation of all races and species; they do not feed as the full grown living organisms do; they retain the race memory in the form of hereditary traits in the genes. Strange it is that Mother’s extraordinary qualities as a human being bear such a close resemblance! They are the basis of the origin, the preservation and the evolution of the new organism and stand as symbols of God who creates. preserves and dissolves All things into Himself.
  3. Ostensibly it is intended to mean that she is incapable of learning anything while there is in it a hidden implication that she is Jnana itself.
  4. The first part of the sentence narrated what had happened from the view-point of the man who is ignorant; the ignorant man perceives the effect but not the cause; that is what is meant by “what you have heard without seeing”. In the view of the common man, somebody had slapped her; the second part of the statement describes the incident from the Jnani’s point of view wherein he finds the universal spirit manifested in the form of the two individuals, slapping itself; ‘seeing and hearing together describe the complete knowledge of both the cause and the effect.
  5. This is apparently a deliberate lie on Mother’s part to save the man who slapped her from censure; but it also implies that as a perfect Jnani she does not find a second one apart from herself – She is in the perfect awareness of all (Cp Brihadaranyakopanishad II 4). 
  6. Here is indicated that his meeting with her is Divine will, determined long before it has happened. ‘Taruna’ is the word used originally.
  7. Referring to the common man living in ignorance.
  8.  ‘Nanna’ is the Telugu word which literally means ‘Father’ but is used colloquially to address a child by a Mother as a term of endearment; this address reveals clearly that she has graced him with the knowledge that she is the Mother.
  9. Vidhi means Destiny and also responsibility.
  10. Vidhana means ‘The Way’. By using these expressions Mother implied that she is the Mother of ALL that it is her responsibility to treat him as a child and reveal to him his inadequacy to save him from complacency. She further implies that She is the creator and that what we call Destiny is but the Way of the Universal Mother i. e. the phenomena of creation.
  11. The word used here is Ammayi.
  12. Splitting this word as ‘Am’ mayi’, she says that the later means Mother, i. e. while being a girl in appearance and name, she has concealed in her, the universal motherhood.
  13. The indirect quibbling reference is to the ripening of the Wisdom of the Intellect (Jnana) which is supposed to be centered in the head. That joy of the Jnani’s ripeneng is deathless.
  14. God does not stay with anyone; his memory must be kept by all.
  15. Pithika literally means the basis or the pedestal and also the preface to a book; in either sense, here it denotes the essential elements that are generally summed up as in the preface of a book say, of science.
  16. The Swamiji having realized that he is graced by the physi cal proximity with the incarnation of the universal Mother Raja rajeswari, had the idea of making her his spiritual Guide (guru) and one traditional way of doing it is partaking of the food left behind by the Guide who had tasted it. But as Mother frankly told on so many occassions, she is not a guru who discriminates between the good and the evil ones in choosing her disciples for preperation for self-reliazation. She is Mother, who gives equally to all her children, what is in their best interests to give. So Mother carefully brushes aside his request for a share in what she had tasted.
  17. Adhara means basis, support; Avakasa means probability. 5 Adhara means support; also basis; evidences in favour of an argument are also called Adharas. Here it is used in all its possible cannotations.
  18. The Basis or Support of the Creation is God; when all things are created out of Him and dwell in Him, He knows them all; nothing is strange to Him; therefore is He called all-familiar or All-Knowing.
  19. 7 cp “Brahamsatyam”
  20. Compare Lord Krishna who appeared as a friend and a mere Yadava to Arjuna before the Viswarupa is shown to him. God is the giver of this insight into divinity. He makes them view Him as he wills.
  21. Yard stands for God or Macrocosm; inch for man or the microcosm;
  22. God had been described as He who cannot be reached by Logic or knowing’ (intellectually).
  23. “After giving him a glimpse into her Divinity, Mother once again deluded him into considering her to be an ordinary girl; or perhaps he wanted to detect her residence !
  24. Asrivachana is the word used by her.


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