The importance of this date is known to every Indian. For those attached to Jillellamudi, its importance is double in the sense it is also the Anniversary of “Annapurna layam” which was started by Amma in the year 1958.
Even though “Annapurnalayam” as an Institution started in 1958, its function, i.e., feeding the hungry is as old as Amma. Right from her childhood, Amma’s main concern was people’s hunger. She used to skip her meals very frequently or used to take the food meant for and offer the same to the hungry – be it the humans or animals.
After Annapurnalayam’s formal inauguration, Amma declared that this Institution is a perennial one and will not ever stop. It is not an exaggeration to state that Annapurnalayam is a Pioneer Institution in providing free food in many religious centers today.
Those who visited Jillellamudi during 1962-80 know Sri Gunturu Seshayya garu and his expertise in culinary art. How he joined and managed “Annapurnalayam” makes for an interesting read.
In 1961, Sri Seshayya was invited to cook on Mother’s birthday. At that time, he did not believe Amma to be different from any other house wife. –
As he was halfway through in the cooking process, Amma visited the kitchen. The sambar was boiling on the hearth in a big vessel. Amma asked Seshayya if the vegetable pieces were cooked properly. Before he could answer, or take out some pieces with a ladle. Amma dipped her right hand down into the boiling Sambar, brought out a piece, and put it in her mouth. She chewed it and nodded Her approval while stunned and dumb founded Seshayya remained a mere onlooker!
There was not any cry of pain from Amma, nor the Golden hued hand had any sign of scalding!
This was beyond the comprehension of the cook of many years standing. That made him bow down before Amma and serve her for the next two decades.
One of the brother devotees from Chirala Sri Koteswara Rao, stayed at Jillellamudi along with his family for a few days and decided to go back to his place. He came to Amma around 6.00 a.m. in the morning to take permission and leave for Chirala. Amma, while placing Kumkum on his forehead, asked him to leave after taking food. As it was too early, he said he will take food after going to Chirala which is hardly an hour’s journey (in those days). Again, Amma said she would get the food prepared quickly and advised him to leave after taking food. Koteswara Rao, surprised at the insistence of Amma, politely declined and left stating that all those arrangements are not necessary.
However, Amma sent one Sri Sriharsha Rao to convince Koteswara Rao to take food before leaving. Again he declined stating that it is not proper to inconvenience the cooks so early in the morning for his sake and Chirala is not far away after all.
Finally, he had his way and reached the 7th mile by 8.00 a.m. to catch a bus to Bapatla and from there to Chirala. They waited and waited, but no bus towards Bapatla came, while a number of buses went in the opposite direction. The Sun had become severe and his little children had to be sheltered under the bridge nearby. There was only water in the drain canal under the bridge to quench their thirst or hunger.
At 11.00 a.m. Amma was informed about their plight by one of the visitors. Immediately. Amma arranged to send food for all of them through two persons. Within 10 minutes of their taking food, the bus arrived!
Anyone in those circumstances, would send word to them to come back and have food. Who will take the extra effort and send food all the way for the entire family except Mother of All?