Marakani Dinakar
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 12
Month : October
Issue Number : 4
Year : 2013

(Ablutions mean sacred, ceremonial baths)

AMMA always lived for others. To be precise, simply HER being is for the universal good. SHE has come to be so that others, or all other beings in the universe shall exist or more importantly thrive and flourish. That is HER bounteous boon to the entire creation involving all life, as proclaimed by HER; the animate and the inanimate, as nothing is without life force, though not perceptible always. There is nothing inert in the true sense, as every substance is imbued with life force as declared by AMMA.

Granting this, every aspect of AMMA is for the larger welfare. AMMA said the only purpose for HER is to appear before us, see us, or be seen by us. HER ailments, so called are also because of us for SHE clarified, when we are not there, SHE will have no disease. This implies that AMMA’S physical ailments are vicarious, taken over to redeem some one else of the suffering.

In the given situation, AMMA’S ablutions (ceremonial, elaborate baths or mangala snanam) also fit into this larger canvas. As most of us know, these baths used to take very long, hours many a time, involving hundreds and hundreds of liters of water. At Jillellamudi, elaborate arrangements are made for these special baths on a daily basis. Wherever AMMA visited, persons responsible used to look into this aspect and make proper arrangements for AMMA’S elaborate baths that are on par with a ritual.

AMMA used to bathe both cold and exceedingly hot water simultaneously in huge quantities. Water is to be poured on HER person abundantly, both hot and cold that used to flow generously. At times others used to take this water for their own use, deeming such water sacred. Some used to bathe in the very same water. A few others considered the same water fit for swallowing as therapeutic, curative or deemed to augur well for them.

Offering these baths needed a crew of three to four, which varied over the years. As far as my knowledge extends, usually, sisters Vasundhara, Katyayani, Seshu Brahmandam, Susila Adavuladeevi, Rama Devi Govada used to attend these ritualistic baths. A few others earlier and later also joined this ritual from time to time, or formed part of the bathing service. It can be recalled, wherever these persons are, summons used to go and their names called upon to attend to this bathing duty of AMMA daily. This is a common occurrence those days in the household of ANDARILLU (House of All), to recall fondly. One after the other, they used to come and be in readiness, alerting each other.

This is a significant process in AMMA’S daily routine. Those around AMMA usually ready to have darshan,* for those who remained after a darshan and also those having a personal chat over their problems, used to get ready to take leave of AMMA, for the time being to wait to be with AMMA later. Thus for every one in the complex, this is a very important daily event, to be taken note of. People used to wait outside till AMMA was ready after bath to give the audience (darshan). On the other floors, the usual question is “Has AMMA gone to bath or finished HER bath?

To look at it intently, this is not a simple bathing ritual. It is on par with sacred ritual like abhisheka* being performed for a deity. Water is the medium to purge oneself and redeem the bad karma, as all actions or karma involve the elements, which form the arena either to perform karma or to expunge karma. This copious bathing, in large quantities of water also had a purport for the larger welfare of the beings that fits into the overall design of AMMA in performing every act for the well being of others.

It is pertinent to observe that this ritual surpassed the gender as AMMA allowed on some rare occasions, even grown up men to participate in this ritual and such fortunate few were never at discomfiture and overcome by a child-like awe on such occasions, while beholding AMMA. Presumably, this is somewhat akin to sage Athri’s consort, Matha Anasuya treating the divine trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara) as infants, as conveyed in the legend of the past.

When we perceive the process of AMMA’S baths closely, there used to be some variety. At times AMMA used to look intently, at persons suffering from chronic, incurable diseases for decades and thereafter immediately rush for an unduly long, elaborate bath.

It is a known fact that AMMA’S public appearance (darshan) used to draw huge, thronging crowds, even without any publicity, as is the experience in most cities, towns and so on. Even in such a large audience or gathering involving a several hundred thousand or so, individual members had a personal communion or equation with AMMA that was forged in such a large gathering to be cultured later on. Many a time after such mammoth audiences, involving huge numbers, AMMA used to bathe enormous quantities of water more than ordinarily. Analytically, it can be presumed this is one medium of redemption for HER children, adopted by AMMA varying in degree and scale.

It is to be believed, whoever participated in this ritual were subject to this beneficial impact in some respect or other. Quite likely, their affliction or bad karma is mitigated on one side and on the other side; a good lot is enhanced in their lives, to be reaped in the wake of time. Yet these processes are so subtle that are beyond ordinary perception.

Thus AMMA’S ablutions have a specific context, purport and sacred significance for the beings at large. These ablutions tantamount to abhisheka* to a living deity, implying positive auspices for those involved, equally for those away, yet got included unawares in this ritualistic process.

Blessed indeed are those who could serve in any manner by carrying water or so, directly participate in this unique ritual, or could even be an external witness.

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