We are privileged to write this short account of our late father, Sri. Rajupalepu Venkata Seshagiri Rao (or known as “Seshu”, “Ragabandham Seshu” or “Vetapalem Seshu”)
The well-known Upanishad precept atmanam vidhi, know thySelf. Know the spirit within as the sole passenger sitting in a chariot. The chariot is the body associated with that spirit. The intellect sits in the driving seat and controls the horses harnessed to the chariot. Mind is the reins by which the charioteer gets hold of the horses, to make them perform in accordance with its will. “To attain God, we must ascend to the highest state and fix our gaze thereon. We do feel our father attained that state and became one with AMMA on June 7th, 2015. All this was not before a cycle of his life that he always felt started in a reverse way.
The Atman is not a subject which can be perceived through the sense organs, nor can it be understood intellectually by any kind of logical acumen, the reason being that the Atman is yourself; it is not somebody else. In your education you do not study yourself; you study something other than your own self. You go to a college or university and you have subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Geology, Engineering and what not. All these themes which are so well placed before you in great detail are external to yourself. Everything that you study, anywhere, is outside you. You don’t study yourself in any course of study that has been made available to you. Our father (Seshu Annayya) did his engineering, studied Geology, finished with a gold medal in M.A. and sought happiness in teaching others what he learnt by teaching English, Mathematics, Physics and coached several in sports and life skills. But we felt he did all this to pass on what he learnt by reading an entire library of more than 65000 books in Vetapalem. Once AMMA asked him, “Naanna Seshu, you read all those books in the library – do you see any difference before you read them and after you did?” for which he simply replied saying that “AMMA, before I read, my mind was like an empty basket and now it is like a dustbin”.
We can draw parallel to this short story from Chandogya Upanishad :
Narada, a master in all the arts and sciences conceivable by the human mind, went humbly to the great divine sage Sanatkumara, “I am unhappy, Great Master.” “What have you learned already, Narada?” “All the things in the world, all the sciences, astronomy, physics, psychology, axiology, aesthetics, ethics, civics, astrology, economics, politics, religions, philosophy – there is nothing that I do not know. But I have no peace of mind.”
The great master said, “All this that you have learned is only a word; you have not gone to the depths of things – the Atman has not been studied. You have only collected words, names, information about the outer structure of things, the name and the form complex of things has been made available to you by your studies that you have enumerated just now, as a series of learnings.”
Likewise, in the Upanishads we have instances of great seekers humbly moving towards sages and saints for the purpose of making themselves fit to receive this knowledge. Even after achieving considerable success in purifying the mind of this dross of the tendency of the mind to move in the direction of objects of sense, by duty, by service, unselfish work, the mind will refuse to concentrate on this subject.
We study sociology, history, economics and what not, external studies and empirical observations, for the purpose of acquiring freedom in life. The more you are educated, the more you seem to be free in human society. But the Upanishad says this knowledge cannot make you free. It is only the knowledge of your own self that can assure you true freedom.
Similarly, what he meant by the dustbin comparison was to seek the higher truth from AMMA, knowing himself. Eventually, what gave him the ultimate knowledge and self-realization were the diaries of his father (our grandfather – Late Sri. Rajupalepu Ramachandra Rao) where Sri Ramachandra Rao accounted his as well as many other early disciples philosophical conversations with AMMA; his exposure to various gurus early in his life which he feels paved the way for him to reach Amma and eventually become one with her. His spiritual journey to Jillellamudi started with his father when he was in his teen years.
When AMMA wrote “Nanna Seshu, nenu neelone unna” when Hyma passed away, unlike many who saw that who said to him “What more do you want, Seshu?”, he pondered over it very deeply. He started thinking deeply whether Amma meant She is inside everyone? Is She hinting that she is seeing Hyma in me? Is She saying look into thyself?
Brief account of life events
Now, let’s go back to his own comment regarding how his life started in a reverse way. After his time in Jillellamudi, to stay close to his aging grandparents, he went back to Vetapalem taking up the Lecturer position in the Junior college to fulfill family obligations (duties).
Everybody says duty must be done, but what is duty? Work done as duty can alone purify, no other work can purify the self. It is not any kind of labor that can be regarded as Karma yoga. Now, what is this duty which is going to chasten the personality of the individual, purify it? Briefly it can be called unselfish action. Looking back, he took up the unselfish act of being close to aging grandparents and of course, served them well.
Now, continuing in the reverse path he had mentioned, he entered the “Grihastha yoga” and married Padma akkayya.
For several years, he continued this journey and we are glad he did as we are here because of them. He imparted his great wisdom from the books to many of his students. Many of his students nicknamed him “Walking Encyclopedia”,
“Raymonds Sir (the complete man)”, “Bharateeyudu” etc., but we feel he was always humble with protracted self-discipline. His literary work was mostly on AMMA – “Raaga Bandham (Telugu)” and “Withered Grass (English)”.
Apart from these, he brought to life many of his father’s works related to AMMA and her philosophy. Many of these were published in Viswajanani and Mother of All.
Social Work, Library
His social work included service to the ancient library Saraswatha Niketanam in Vetapalem as the honorary secretary with many years of dedicated service where he had overseen many renovations, helped great scholars and researchers in their pursuit of knowledge. He never hesitated to get his hands dirty wherever needed.
When you conceive the Supreme Being, you have in the beginning a spatio-temporal imagination of that Being. God is very big, very large, very far away, very great, adorable: you offer your prostrations to that Almighty as something lovable. Even the Upanishads sometimes refer to the Supreme Absolute as the most lovable.
When you are attracted towards that which is everywhere wholly, the entire world will be attracted towards you as a natural consequence of the attraction that you feel towards that Ultimate Reality. As he made his final journey to Jillellamudi physically. him being a naturally shy person, touched everyone’s hands and expressed his love for everyone.
Ultimately, what he believed in was…
and he became one with AMMA.
“Jayahomatha Sree Anasuya Rajarajeswari Sree Parathpari”