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The Altar of Experience

R. Venkata Rama Reddy
Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 1
Month : November
Issue Number : 6
Year : 1966

A long while ago, I heard of Mother at Jillellamudi, a village in Bapatla taluq, Guntur dist- riet. Later I read a short sketch Her in the Telugu daily “Andhra Prabha”. From then onwards, I longed to pay my Te pects to Hier. But I could ot do so as I am a native of Penugonda, Anantapur district, To go to such a far off place, would involve a lot of money and time. However. I decided to go to the place to see Her in the last week of July, ’66.

On my journy to Jillella. mudi, I reached Ongole. There I met a chemist, who was also bound for the same place. We started together for Bapatla. It began raining heavily. We were warned of the breaches on the road, But we did not heed the warning. We got into a bus at Bapatla It took us to the seventh mile. There we got down the bus to reach the end of our journey. The rain was beating full in our faces. The road was muddy. On either side of it, the paddy fields were flooded.

We walked up to the point where a small bridge was swept away by floods, Only a brick wall of the bridge was visible and that too was slowly crumb ling down. We had to cross the breach to make our way further. First I stepped into the flood water to feel its depth. Though not deep it was, it flowed rapid ly. I lost balance and slipped down in it. With me fell my diary and purse. After a little struggle in the torrent, I could gain my balance; presently, my friend too stepped into the water. My diary and purse carried away by the current, to my surprise, passed into his hands. After crossing the water, I opened my purse to see the currency notes I put in were completely soaked. I fondly thought that regaining my lost things was just a coinci- ence but not a miracle. I had to realise later that it was all due to Mother’s grace.

At last, we arrived at Jille- llamudi at 3. P. M. There we were accorded a warm welcome. We were given dry clothes, and my currency notes and diary were dried up. We were grateful to all those who helped us. They all look after the comforts of the visitors. They were simple and unostentatious and free from pride and arrogance. Their affe- ction was natural and spontan- eous. They alloted us each a room.

People there spring a sur prise on me by their report that Mother foretold my visit. Before my arrival, a devotee, as reported, entreated Mother to stop rain, She gaciuosly replied, “Child, doesn’t this rain afford pleasure to those that suffer from drought?” Her words bespoke my obvious visit there. There was none else than me who suffered the worst drought for more then a year and who longed for the pleasure of rain. I certainly need rain- spiritual rain to cleanse me of sins that wasted forthwith.

my heart for so long. I was all in a fluster at the report. I felt that I must see Mother 

Accordingly. I brough a coconut and camphor and walked into the cottage where Mother sate on a cot. My heart leapt in joy to see Her. She was exhorting those who sat round Her. Her face was cherubie, tranquil and transparent. Her eyes were radiant. I prostrated myself before Her holy feet. I burst into tears. I felt relieved of the burden of my sins. I composed myself to break coco nut and light camphor as my offering to Her.

Mother drew a benign look at me and asked, “Child, have you had your food?” Her affectionate inquiry comforted me. me. A thrill of joy animated I made a tremulous but grateful answer: “Mother, I have had heavy tiffin, I am not hungry now.” Then She invited me to sit close by Her cot. I did so with my heart pulsating. To my astonishmont, She began feeding me with banana fruits. She has become my mother and I Her waif, I consider banana which Mother gave me, is manna which refreshes my spirit. Though I ate that She gave me, I was not aware of the trammels of the world. I sat motionless and stupified looking fixedly at Her.

I visited many a holy place and met many a holy man. Yet ! was left very much to my foul self. Before them. I did not feel my soul stirred. But in the divine presence of Mother, I felt ennobled and spiritualised. In my inner being, an inscrutable change took place. The experi ence was inexplicable and un definable. I spent the rest of the day at Her lotus feet.

At supper time, Mother woke me up into the world. I had my meal and came back to Her. After a time, I had the impression that Mother Was sleepy. Therefore, I went to my room to sleep. I now realize that my impression is wrong. Ι was sleepy then and not Mother.

Next morning, I was intro duced by a kindly gentleman by name Sri A. Seshagirao. He has been a devotee of Mother for the past so many years. Now the readers know him as the editor of “Matrusri”. We both sat in close proximity to Her. I wanted to clear my mind of doubts, I therefore entered into conversa- tion with Her, and now write it in question-answer form:

Q: Mother, I know the difference between good and evil. Never theless, I live in the evil only, and live an evil life. I repent of what I do. But, I am not able to deter, myself from evil thoughts and actions. What am I to do?

A: Child, whatever was evil to you today was good to you yesterday and vice versa. There is nothing good or bad. It all depends on the attitude you adopt in a situation of life. You must know the real nature of things. Then only You will be in a position to distinguish between good and bad. When you know the real nature of things, the so called evil thought will not enter your mind. I think you have now taken a right path. to know (it). This process should go on unimpeded. It will go on. worry about it. You need not

Q: Mother, a little while ago, I saw some of your photos. Each of them manifested a distinct incarnation of God the first photo looked like the incarnation of Lord Ganesh; the second Goddes Durga! the third, Mother Herself in all tranquility; and the fourth Sree Ramakrishna. Tell me Mother what are you?

A; You have the power to conjure up a variety of visions of God in photos containing the self- same pictures of mine. Just so, there is nothing else in the photos. You observe what I am and know for yourself.

Mother deliberately avoided answering my question. There fore, I repeated it; but She was silent, I entreatingly said to Her, “Mother you don’t like to tell me”. Pat came the reply, “I don’t”. Sri Seshagirirao intervened to say, “Mother won’t tell you by Her words, but (would) by Her actions. Isn’t it Mother!” She made a sweet smile in response.

I shall now recount how accurately Mother read my thoughts. I was alone with Mother. I thought I better had a book on Mother to read. In stantly, She ordered one to bring me Her brith-day souvenir. Giving it to me, She said, “Child”, read this.” Tais certain ly could not be by chance, as the recovery of the purse and Her speaking of persons who suffered from drought even before I reached Jillellamudi could have been! I thanked Her whole heartedly and I sat by Her cot engrossed in reading it till even ing. At that time the evening prayer was sung melodiously and mellifluously. It rang the immortal nature of Mother. On another occasion, I was among many devotees who sat round Mother. Iwas very much enthral led by the evening prayer. I wished I had heard the morning prayer too. Mother turned to me saying: Sleep here itself after supper You will sten to the morning prayer.” I sat dumb founded. I could offer to Mother nothing more than tears of joy and gratitude.

In the early hours, the prayer was sung in ravishing melodies. The entire song begi nning with the beautiful line, Mother that emerges as melody out of the flute of Radhakri shna” is a musical blend of lovely phraseology and deep devotion. During those tranquil hours, the rapturous song came as though an offering to Mother by celestial beings. Nowhere else could I enjoy such a celestial bliss. And nowhere else could I enjoy the exquisite sweetness of the word “Mother”.

On another occasion, I dou bted whether I could come back there on 15th August to parti- cipate in Independence day celebrations. Mother looked at me and said softly, You can come here on 15th August. Do come”. She then ordered that upma’ should be brought. She fed me with it. Her motherly affection overpowered me.

It was time for me to start (back) for my native place. I took leave of Mother. Sri Seshagirirao accompanied me to his native place Ponnur. We both walked up to the breaches in the road. I had no sooner stepped into the water, than I saw a scorpion crawl up quietly up to my right knee. I violently shook my leg to get rid of it. But it did not fall down. It stuck te my knee and crept down only after I kept quiet. It did not sting me. Perhaps Mother sent the scorpion to teach me the lesson of equality of all beings. I was afraid of it but it was a being as much as I it too was a child of Mother, I should treat it as a fellow being. But I did not. It did not grawl down till I afforded it the peace for its getting down.

On our way, we recalled our experiences at the feet of Mother. Sri Seshagirirao, a man of genial temper, introduced me at Bapatla to Sri Radhakrishna Sarma, a good scholar and a great dovotee of Mother. After dining with the former at Ponnur, I left for Penugonda.

Days rolled by. 15th August was fast approaching. I felt an irresistable impulse to see Mother again. I took some days off and arrived at Jillellamudi a day before the celebrations.

On the Independance day, I saw in Mother the embodiment of Bharatamaata. Her visage was poised and peaceful. A large number of devotees worshipped Her. I did not notice any sign of emotion in Her face. She is clearly above all emotions of human beings. She is completely detached, She lives a life of egolessness of Her being. She is the manifestation of the allperva. ding Consciousness – Existence – Bliss.

During my second visit, I noticed one more aspect of Mother. That is her remarkable power of understanding and felicity of expression. One S. Gopalakrishnamurty was read ing an English essay of his. He wrote at one place, that Mother was replying a question by “If I did not eat, that was due to stomach trouble.” Mother improved it by substituting “Sto- mach disorder”. (Yes. The order of Her stomach is not our ‘order’). Those who know Her from Her childhood even say She did not learn the English alpha- bet. How could She do these and similar corrections and improvements if she were not in essence, the Goddess Saraswati?

Mother has an unusual power for the employment of simple words to explain a most philoso phical idea. This is revealed when Mother sat listening to a conversation about the Vedas.. She intervened in the discussion at the right point and said that a hearth, a broom, a kitchen knife, a pesle and mortar, and a winnow ing basket were to a housewife, as good teachers as the Vedas are to pundits. Incidentally. She defined a Samaaveshan’ as ‘Same-avesham’; a gathering of persons who have a much  consideration for others’ opinions as for their own.

Mother embodies the human form to wake us up into the world of Divinity that pervades each one of us. So, at the time of the Morning prayer, I asked Her “Mother, do you need people to wake you up? (In the song, there is a request to Mother to wake up!)”. She replied in an elegant tone, “I don’t. They need me to wake them up”. Certainly we need Mother to wake us up into reality, life and meaning of things.

I look back at my life’ at Mother’s feet. I realize that real happiness lies in cherishing the divine Mother. The more one cherishes Her name, the more one keeps oneself away from emotions that blind one’s vision. of life. I only pray to Mother to keep alive that divine experience.

Free rendering from Telugu by

Sri A Purushotham M.A.


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