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Tales from Jillellamudi for children – 16

Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 6
Month : January
Issue Number : 1
Year : 2007

Dear Sweet Children,


By the time I relate these facts, let us note that Amma was just in her sixth year, living with Her junior grand-father Chidambara Rao in Bapatla. I told you earlier that he was exceedingly fond of Amma due to her superb intellect and astounding comprehension of even complicated spiritual truths. His old mother Narasamma and her younger widow sister Maridamma Thatamma lived with him. Chidambara Rao married Annapurnamma, a daughter of his uncle Venkayya, an elder brother of Narasamma.


The family owned a spacious building in Bapatla, not far from the Railway Station. A Yerukula Christian woman, by name Nalli, was the domestic servant of Annapurnamma. She luckily developed a lot of attachment and regard for Amma. She felt that though Amma outwardly looked like a tender girl, she appeared as though she carried the entire burden of the whole. universe on her tiny shoulders. Nalli felt that Amma looked like a big boss capable of administering the complicated affairs of the world with authority and poise. Nalli wondered how Amma never behaved like a naughty six year old, but always conducted herself like a mature adult commanding the respect of everyone in the household and the neighborhood.

NALLI also observed that charming perfume emanated from Amma. NALLI heard from her Christian Teachers that such inexplicable fragrance signified the presence of the Lord. Which was why, NALLI felt that Amma was beyond doubt her Lord Jesus Christ Himself. NALLI used to carry Amma on her back while sweeping the floors, and while doing so, NALLI communicated her impressions and experiences to Amma in an exuberant mood. NALLI felt that Amma was a divinity personified. Was Amma an incarnation of Mary Herself. NALLI wondered! NALLI felt that it was her great good fortune to have secured service in that household, not just as a helpless widow, but as a person singularly blessed to experience the divine company of Amma.


As days rolled by, NALLI decided to give up menial household service and devote the rest of her life in total contemplation of Lord Jesus. One fine morning she left Bapatla for good and walked away into a secluded forest retreat beyond Nellore far from the madding crowd.

The matter. We do not any more come across NALLI in the later pages of Amma’s history. Her role was brief and interesting.


One day Seethapati with Amma and her elder brother Raghavarao proceeded to Tenali by train. This was their first visit to Tenali after a long gap of one year. The first annual death ceremony of Rangamma was by then over. They had to make a traditional visit to Tenali after the demise of Rangamma. Amma’s grand-father Venkatasubbaiah and grand-mother Janakamma lived in Tenali. They were the parents of Rangamma. Venkatasubayya and Chidambararao were sons of Narasamma, the former being the senior.


The family was detained at Tenali Railway Station. Seethapathi was busy bargaining for a bullock-cart. The bull in question was sick. It appeared to be gasping at the threshold of death. Amma observed its condition and meaningfully touched it in all kindness, though the cart-man warned Amma against approaching the animal. But Amma heeded him not. In the meantime the animal slowly sank to the ground and died without experiencing further spasms of pain after Amma’s touch, as though Amma’s blessed it with painless death. For her part Amma was very much moved at the death of the innocent animal. Seethapathi disapproved of Amma’s act in disturbing the sick animal without heeding the owner’s stern objection. There was an interesting altercation between Amma and Seethapathi Amma defending her action and Seethapathi protesting against her conduct..


Seethapathi was anxious to leave the spot to avoid any unexpected embarrassing development; but no other cart was readily available. However another cart-man by name Khadar Valli who followed Amma’s replies, was obviously impressed by Amma’s superior wisdom at that tender age. It somehow struck him that Amma was a noble soul. He immediately fetched another cart and offered to drive the family to their destination. He felt he should not leave Amma alone there for a moment. He developed a sudden feeling of admiration and attachment for Amma. Venkatasubbaiah and Janakamma received Seethapathi and Amma who stayed with them for eleven days. Khadar Valli visited Amma daily and offered Salams. Amma could understand his mood of reverence. On the last day when the return journey was fixed, Khadar Valli again promptly turned up with his cart and drove the family to the Railway Station with abundant respect. He politely declined to accept any fare for his service.

He requested Amma to permit him to visit her in Bapatla. He proposed to stay in Bapatla and visit Amma daily, have her darshan and listen to her teaching. He said that he would somehow earn his living in Bapatla itself. Amma appreciated and understood his sincerity and devotion. The matter however did not proceed further.

Khadarvalli, like NALLI, does not reappear in the later pages of Amma’s history. His role was brief and interesting. 


Thus Seethapathi with Amma returned to Bapatla from Tenali. In fact, the ulterior purpose in visiting Tenali was to silently shove Amma and Raghava Rao into the care of their maternal grand-parents, Venkata Subbayya and Janakamma. In the absence of their mother Rangamma, Seethapathi felt unequal to the task of looking after the two children all by himself. He literally felt they were no different from a pair of hot bricks in his haversack. But Raghava Rao was a refractory type unwelcome anywhere, and consequently Janakamma did not at all consider him a desirable companion for her only son Seetharamayya of the same age. Janakamma also felt that the widow Maridamma in Bapatla, with no problems of her own, was the right host for Amma. At the time of her death at Bapatla, Rangamma placed the hands of her children in the hands of Chidambara Rao, solemnly entrusting them to him before closing her eyes forever. Therefore, Venkatasubbayya too felt that Chidambara Rao, his younger brother, was the right guardian for the children. The atmosphere in Tenali was thus anything but congenial after the demise of Rangamma. Seethapathi, therefore had to necessarily beat a retreat from Tenali disappointed in his mission.

On the contrary, their return to Bapatla was welcomed by one and all who felt they missed Amma’s noble company a great deal. Chidambara Rao told Seethapathi in so many words: “Do not leave the girl anywhere and thoughtlessly try to somehow get rid of her. She is not at all a burden on anybody here. On the other hand we are a burden on her. She can easily carry the burden of all of us and look after us.” His concept of Amma was holier and nobler and totally different from Seethapathi.

That was how a tumultuous welcome awaited Amma from all the members of the family in Bapatla, including their learned family priest by name Lakshmanacharyulu. About this good old man, you will be delighted to hear in an ample measure in the episode following.

– (to be continued…)

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