After entering the recently inaugurated Annapurnalayam (the MOA, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2016) the visitor would be curious to know about the Temples seen a little distance way the temples Anasuyeswaralayam, Hymalayam etc. that provide solace & peace to the ailing heart and yearning soul. It may be mentioned here that Amma used to insist that the visitor have his/her food first before having her darshan.
Before we get to know about the origin of the Temples, let us take a trip to Mannava near Ponnur in Guntur Dist. and the birth place of Amma, where the first acts of her descent were enacted starting right from the time of her birth.
Born on 28th March, 1923 to the couple Mannava Sithapathi Sarma, the village officer (Karanam) and Smt. Rangamma, her early childhood right from the time of her birth in Mannava were filled with several miraculous incidents and most of the years of her childhood spent in Mannava were replete with amazing events.
Firstly, she bestowed a vision to Nagamma, the midwife while performing the delivery. A few days later, she granted liberation to a scorpion stuck to the bottom of one of her feet (It fell dead without harming Amma). Similarly, a dog dies after licking the milk vomited by the baby (Amma) and making ambulations around Amma who was put to sleep in a bamboo sieve on the 29th day. In a similar fashion a pet cat after lying for a while by the side of Amma put in a cradle, hops on to the attic above, keeps looking intensely at Amma, mews non-stop for 15 minutes then jumps into the cradle, takes a deep breath, exhales with a loud sound and dies resting its mouth on Amma’s feet!
At the age of 5 she goes on her habitual visit to the tamarind grove in the village and on one day climbs to the top of a tamarind tree and appears as Lord Krishna to Gangaraju Punnaiah, a bhakta of Krishna when he goes there to collect tender leaves of tamarind tree. Similarly on yet another day she appears as Lord Satyanarayana Swamy to one Turumella Venkatappayya who also goes there to collect tender leaves of tamarind tree.
A few days later she goes to Guntur along with her great grandmother Maridamma and there she visits an old man who is bed-ridden with paralysis for the past nearly 20 years. There the old man Gundel Rao, a Rama Bhakta was moved to tears by the service rendered by this tender aged Anasuya and sees in her his own Lord Rama and finally passes away, thus being bestowed liberation at the hands of Amma. There are many such miracle laden incidents associated with Amma’s childhood in Mannava which may find space in an appropriate article
Now, it would be quite instructive to know how the temple(s) came to be built in Jillellamudi. We come to understand this from her autobiography in Telugu (Amma Jeevita Mahodadhi – Part I)
Once when Amma, aged around 6yrs was in Bapatla and staying with her grandfather Sri. Chandramouli Chidambara Rao, Amma goes out on an errand assigned to her by Sri. Chidambara Rao’s daughter. During her return after attending to this errand, she is delighted to find a group of beggars gathering at a choultry and eating together sharing the alms collected by them. After ascertaining from the beggars what was meant by a choultry and finding a temple opposite the choultry, making enquiry from a boy closely watching her to elicit about the temple, she immediately resolves to get a Temple constructed at a place where there was none and a choultry where people of all denominations and status live freely together going about their trades and pooling their income (the concept of ‘House of All’). Thus come into existence (through at a much later date) the twin edifices of the Temple and the House of All (along with Annapurnalayam).
Talking about the temples, it is said that when Sri. Avadhutendra Swami (formerly known as Raghuvaradas) who was renowned for popularizing ‘Harinama Sankeerthana’ in Andhra Pradesh was once invited to visit Jillellamudi. He declined the invitation saying he would not visit a place where there was no temple of any kind.
One would be tempted to surmise about Amma’s idea of getting built a House of All with Annapurnalayam and a temple which, in my view, was that while the former catered to the ‘Annamayakosha’ that could help one to pursue or strive to attain ‘Anandamaya Kosha’ and realize the final goal through meditation on the Lord in the Temple
This explains why Amma has chosen Jillellamudi for her sojourn.
There does not appear to be any attempt to build a temple there until 1955. The initial attempt by Dr. Sitachalam of Kommuru village who was also an expert in Agama Shastra. himself laid the foundation stone met with a set back and hence had to be abandoned. But Dr. Sitachalam who subsequently realized the Divinity in the Mother, approached Amma, taking the villagers along with him, and persuaded her to accept their request to lay the foundation stone. Following this the foundation stone was laid in 1955 and the construction went on since then, though slowly but steadily. But the project was short of funds and the visitors were few.
The construction progressed under Sri Achary of ILTD Co., Chirala. The foundations were 15ft deep and they reached the ground level by 1958. It was around this time the project was running short of funds and the pace of construction slowed down. At this time a Zamindar (a rich landlord) offered to take up the entire construction himself. But Amma turned down the offer and she explained to him and everyone around there that the temple was meant to be the work of everyone and for everyone meaning that everyone must have their share in the construction of the temple.
Following Mother’s instructions, funds were raised through contributions from each and every one and in many instances contributions were collected even from poor people, paying them a couple of rupees and taking a rupee or two in return as their contribution (a novel way!).
Thus the construction of the temple went on in phases and some items of construction related to each stage of the temple construction was done on the 5th of May (Amma’s Kalyanotsavam) every year. The top of the Sanctum Sanctorum was finally covered on 5th May 1962. Since then on every marriage day of Mother (5th May) she would climb on to the top of the Temple along with Nannagaru (her husband) , her own children and the daughters-in-law in the early hours at sunrise. After receiving puja from her children Mother would break pumpkins and coconuts in hundreds and she then takes into her cupped hands kumkum and turmeric powder and showers it all over the top of the temple. She also showers it on the crowd of devotees waiting eagerly on the ground.
Now the question lingering on every one’s mind was what would be the idol that was going to be installed in the Sanctum. The answer came only in 1981 when Nannagaru (Sri Brahmandam Nageswara Rao) left his mortal body on the 16th February 1981, and his body was consecrated in the Sanctum following Amma’s directions. Amma christened the Temple as Anasuyeswaralayam. Following this event, people came to more or less near the conclusion that the Temple would be the final abode of Amma. From the 16th February, regular ritualistic worship comprising Ekadasa Rudrabhishekam, Ambika Sahasram, Ambika Ashtotaram etc., was being performed daily. From then on Amma discontinued the 5th May ritual on the top of the Temple.
Experienced masons who arrived from Mahabalipuram constructed the ‘VIMANAM’ on the top. Under the direction of Sri Mallapragada Sriranga Rao, Sri Lakshmana Yatindra, the masons closed the ‘Brahmarandhra’ on 31st October 1984, and Kalasa Sthapana just 15 days later was done on the 14th November, 1984 which coincided with Hyma’s birthday during that year.
Amma gave instructions as to the type of stone to be used (Black Granite) for the idol to be installed as also the location for the body to be interned. Accordingly after Amma’s Mahabhinishkramanam (Shedding of mortal coil) on the 12th June 1985, Amma’s physical body was consecrated on 14th June 1985, in the underground chamber as per Amma’s directive and strictly according to the Vedic injunctions
Then, after going through the process of discussions as to the type and posture of the idol to be installed, cost of making the idol, transportation etc., and inviting donations from the devotee children in India and abroad, a team of brothers led by Sri. Racharla Lakshminarayana met the Chief Sthapati (Sculptor) in Mahabalipuram, placed an order for making the idol, explaining to him the sanctity attached to this idol (to be made) by the devotees of Amma all over the country
The idol of Amma was finally installed in the Sanctum on 5th May 1987, at the assigned place preceded by five days of various rituals as prescribed in the Vedic Texts_.
The visitor would be equally or much more curious to know about the adjacent Temple, Hymalayam, the temple where Amma’s daughter Hyma’s body was consecrated, but one may ask why a Temple for her daughter Hyma!. Well, when this question was raised before Sri. VSR Murty, the Spiritual Scientist, he simply said “Because we are all not Hyma (or like Hyma)!” For the information of the new comer we may say she was an embodiment of all conceivable virtues. She passed away on April 5th 1968 at a young age of 25 even before marriage. Whenever her father and other close relatives broached the topic before Amma, she used to say “Let her complete 25 years then we can think of her marriage!” True to her prophetic assertion Hyma did not live beyond 25 yrs.
When she left her body and when Nannagaru raised the question as to the way last rites are to be performed Amma said “where did she go! She has not gone anywhere, she is very much here and she will be here, she will be consecrated here in our midst. In the evening of 6th April, 1968 after giving her a ceremonial bath by Amma and all those present there Hyma was made to sit in Padmasana Posture in a pit dug at the location in the proposed site of the temple. Then Amma performed with her own hands the purificatory ritual to Hyma. The closing moments of this ceremony were shrouded in a sort of mystery with the electric power having failed suddenly even as Amma applied her thumb to the ‘Brahmarandhra’ (Apex of the head) of Hyma and covered it with a tumbler. It is reported that blood jettinging out and the body becoming warm (all this 24hrs after Hyma’s demise)!! Everyone present there during these moments were sure that Amma bestowed Divinity to Hyma! Yes, true to their belief Amma confirmed it saying she in fact bestowed divinity to Hyma, continuing to say that she gave birth to Hyma, brought her up, killed her and finally bestowed divinity to her. This is in line with one of Amma’s sayings to the effect that” complete humanism is divinity” and yes, Hyma symbolizes complete humanism. Amma assured all those around that Hyma would fulfill their mundane wishes as Goddess Kameswari; she also indicated that she is of the ‘Amsha’ of Lord Vighneshwara suggesting that people first visit Hyma before having her darshan.
Amma made a suggestion that Hyma’s idol be in white while the idol to be installed in the other temple (she did not reveal the identity of the idol to be) be in black granite. She also wanted Hymalayam to be constructed in the North Indian architecture. So a Plaster of Paris idol of Hyma was installed in Hymalayam in April 1970. Regular worship of Hyma with Ekadasa Rudrabhishekam followed by puja was commenced and continued since then. In April 2002 a marble idol of Hyma was installed in Hymalayam after performing all the rituals prescribed for such an installation, thus replacing the plaster of paris one. So, Hymalayam has a unique place of its own along with Anasuya Swaralayam.
The other temples in the adjacent complex are; an alayam for Lord Ganapati, Nava Nageswaralayam (nine-hooded Nagendra) and Matru Padukalayam (A temple for Amma’s sandals). The Temple for Lord Ganesha was built at the suggestion of and the finances provided by Dr. Brahmandam Rangasai of US and Nava Nageswaralayam dedicated to Nagendra (Nageswara or Nannagaru) was built at the instance and totally financed by brother Racharla Lakshminarayana, who painstakingly oversaw every stage of the construction right from preparing the plan till the installation of the idol (nine-hooded serpent).
The two temples Anasuyeswaralayam and Hymalayam occupy a unique place in the existing Punya Kshetra offering peace & tranquility to many an ailing heart!
May Amma shower Her Grace on all of us.
Jayaho Mata Sree Anasuya
Rajarajeswari Sree Paratpari!