A Promise Fulfilled
Anasuya Devi was then a child of eight months. One day while creeping upto Nagamma, she had taken a little of rice from her plate and put it into Her own mouth. That is all the traditional function, Annapra. sona, she had.
No, No. That’s wrong…” shouted Nagamma and tried in vain to take out the food from Her mouth.
In preventing the child from taking food in her house, Naga- mma never felt that a girl from a Brahmin family should not take food from her house. She just prevented the first attempt of Anasuya Devi for taking rice.
It is strange to see that in such a family which celebrated all the traditional functions. Annaprasana was not celebtated for this girl. Probably they fore saw this child would not require food and hence they ignored the function. Or it might be that she stopped taking food, because Her parents did not give Her rice in a function.
The child was brought up in the house of Nagamma for about one and half years. But she never asked for milk or rice. She took milk because it was given to Her. Later Maridamma came back from Yajali and told Nagamma:
“I’II feed the child in my house and it will be nice of you to come and stay with us for some time everyday.”
Accordingly, Nagamma brought back the child to their house, but felt that she was robbed of her goddess. As she was not her child even if she bestowed all her affection on the child, she had to bring Her back to Her parents. Touched with this feeling, she brought back the child to Her parents. But Nagamma spent most of her time at their house, due to an indefinable, indivisible and intense longing for the child. And probably to alleviate the pair of separation, the child also was not happy unless she was taken to the house of Nag amma, atleast for a short time, every day.
Maridamma spent her time fruitfully always at her house. She practised Yoga or meditation and she held philosophical discussions with other ladies. Or sometimes she sang certain. devotional songs in a melodious voice, even while doing the routine work in her house. Song came out of her as naturally as breathing. She always kept her audience spell bound, whatever was the theme of her song.
Maridamma had great patience and tolerance. She exerci sed limitless patience in keeping her house. She prepared dishes for different tastes and served them whenever they wanted. Even under trying circumstances she was uneasy. never impatient or
Widowed at the age of six and having no childern of her own, Maridamma considered the children of others as her own children and the happiness of others as her own happiness. She faced the misfortunes bra- vely, and never did she lose her her abundant soul in strife. Service for gave satisfaction.
Anasuya Devi was under the care of such a pious lady in her infancy. Hence it is but probable to think that the child learnt or inherited from her. many things like the aptitude for enquiry, Yogic practice, reading of puranas, natural Jatiere and tolerance, fine qualities of head and heart, and a zeal for service and sacrifice. But it would be hasty to conclude that a child could learn such things within two years. She used to observe every word or deed of Maridamma and under stand them even as a child.
One day Chidamabara Rao to Mannava from came Bapatla He saw the child lying in the cradle; with a hand under her head and another on her heart, and looking far into the sky. Perhaps She was lost in the world of Her thought. Then he took the child into his arms, saying:
“Blessed girl – thinking deeply!…
Suddenly he lifted Her up and kissed Her.. But soon he put Her down saying:
“Nothing of this affection” Attachment leads to affliction.
Anasuya Devi Was then nineteen months old. One evening at 5-30, she walked with Her tottering feet to the opposite house of Mantripragada Rajamma. She sat in Padma- sana and went into meditation under a pomegrenate tree in their orchard, with eyes half shut.
Returning from the well a little later, Rajamma did not notice Padmasana and thought the child had an attack of epilepsy. Then she poured water on the child. But there was no change in the child, Throwing off the vessel anxiosuly, she brought the child to Her parents. But the girl was still Padmasana and nobody noticed it. A doctor was sent for. Mannava Krishna Sarma came there and got the juice of garlic and Arka’ poured into Her nostrils. It was in vain. Knowing not what to do, all the relatives watched Her in despair. After half an hour, the child came back to senses. Some people thought that it was the result of medicines, but many people observed Her loosening Padmasana. They startled to see were also the divine radiance on Her face and eyes.
A few days later, Anasuya Devi went to Tenali along with then Her mother. There also she sat with a pomegrenate flower in her hand under a pomegrenate tree, stretching Her left leg forward in her hand and bending Her right leg behind Herself. She stopped breath for sometime and turned inside the pupils of Her eyes. With Her half-closed eyes, she was like a sleeping fish. Her aunt (mother’s elder sister) was suprised and soon afterwards, the girl came back to Her nor mal position.
Unable to suppress her curiosity, Annapurnamma asked the child:
“Why did in that?” you sit like
“Ah! That’s Shambhavi Mudr…”
Replied the girl with all ease. She was greatly surprised at the words and deeds of the tiny child. It was an age when normally children. could not speak properly. But here was a child that spoke of great things like Shambhavi Mudra and was practising it also.
“who taught you, sweet child?” said Annapurnamma.
“Grand Mother Maridamma” milk. was the reply.
She taught you? Or you saw her doing?
“I saw her doing. She told me when I asked her,” replied the girl.
.Overwhelmed with joy, said: Annapurnamma told her sister:
“Rangamma, you are very lucky even though you lost some children. This blessed child is enough for You.”
With a mixed feeling of sorrow and joy, Rangamma said:
“A mother is not content with the intelligence of her child. Even worthless children are welcome as they are also her children. Even otherwise, If I am content with this child, I should be sorry for that child”
She drew her daughter near, saying:
“You haven’t taken milk sinoe morning.
Nor you asked for it so far”…
Then she fed the child with
Rangamma started back to Mannaya and went towards the station in a single bullock cart. On the way, the cartman stopped the cart and went to a shop to buy some fruits. In the mean while an old man in saffron robes approached Rangamma and
“Your child is God. You don’t have next birth.” Thus saying he pushed off.
Rangamma was lost in thought. Another cart coming in the opposite direction, hit this cart and this cart was about to topple down, but it did not.
The cartman came back and gave the fruits to Rangamma. The girl took two gave them fruits and to the cartman. Gladness and gratitude sparkled in his eyes and with folded hands he offered Pranamams to the girl, little mindful. of her tender age.
The cart reached the station.
Rangamma went up the bridge along with her child. But the child unclasped herself slowly and walked behind. She was then touched at the sight of a blind beggar woman with her lame son and two blind daughters, sitting there, implo ring the mercy of the passers-by.
Anasuya Devi melted away at this pitiable sight. The milk of human kindness found limits in Her heart, but Her purse was slender. She hesitated to take money from Her Mother. Then she took a bangle of gold off Her hand and gave it away to that beggar. Soon she joined Her mother at her call.
Rangamma said to Her, “when did you leave me and go, my child?” Scratching Her head innocently, the child replied: “Leaving me behind, you went forward, mother.”
The engine whistled and Rangamma hurried and boarded the train. Her uncle gave her two tickets and bade her farewell. The train puffed out of the station. Looking at the two tickets, Rangamma said smili ngly: “Probably my uncle considered you also as an adult and bought two tickets”.
“For whom it is meant…. why he has bought it – (Wait and see)” replied the girl with a broad smile.
At one corner, a Railway official was checking the tickets. As somebody puld the chain. the train stopped. An young woman entered the same co partment. But at the sight of an official, she tried to get down. The train started and the woman Ws to stay back.
Then getting up from Her seat, Anasuya Devi sat in tle lap of Her mother and asked that unknown woman to sit there. She sat there, but her agitated face and bewildered looks clearly refleted her guilt and fear.
As Rangamma felt uneasy, she put the girl down and asked her to sit on the next seat.
“Mother, a person with no ticket should not Occupy even an inch of space in the compart ment,” said the girl.
The young woman who sat by them was surprised at the usual words of this sweet girl.
why do you say you have no ticket? It is here, wild” replied Rangamma and Lave her a ticket.
“This is not mine This is her ticket-” Thus saying the child passed on the ticket to that young woman.
Shortly afterwards, the Rly, official stood before that young woman. After checking her ticket he moved on to the next place. With tears of gratitude rolling down her heks, the young woman hugged the girl to her heart, that was relieved of its agony.
Rangamma looked at her enquiringly. The young woman narrated the pitiable circumstances which for ed her to travel without a ticket.
“I thought that God would save me.. Little did I know that this small girl would come to my rescue,” said the woman.
A lady who sat near them and observed everthing, immedi atly remarked:
“Why don’t you think that the one who saves, isthe Lord”
The conversation continued, but Rangamma slept later. Taking off another bangle of gold from Her hand, Ana uya Devi gave it away to that young woman and said:
“Please make use of it for your necessaries,”
The train stopped at Modu kuru station. The young woman had to get down there. But as she did not know what to do with that bangle, she looked at the girl. Devi softly said: “Go”
But a command was implied in that soft voice and the woman. found no courage to disobey this cammand.
As the train stopped at Nidubrolu, they found Sitapati and his village servants on the platform.
Taking the girl into her hands, Rangamma noticed Her bangles missing and and anxious ly reported it to her husband.
Sitapati comforted Her saying:
“Let it go. Luckily the child is safe. people don’t hesitate to do anything in these days, for the sake of money”
Then they got into a bullock cart. They reached the out skirts of Ponnur and the girl wanted to ease nature. The girl was taken down from the cart and allowed to do so.
When the girl was being taken back into the cart, she said:
“This place is good. Let us stay here.”
“There is no house here; how can we stay?” asked Ranga mma.
“Is it necessary?” the girl laughed it away.
“Can litte children stay without their mother?” pleaded Rangamma.
“Why not? when you are no more, I Myself will be the Mother,” promised Devi.
“What wonderfull words! No single word is useless.” exclaimed Rangamma.
“It is not a leathern mouth hence there is no hollow word declared the girl.
Yes; even though it is a body built of flesh and blood, every atom therein is divine and every spoken word is an infalli ble truth. No single word that comes out of that mouth is either superfluous or hollow.
Within two years Rangamma passed away without any known ailment.
Probably it was necessary that Rangamma should pass away prematurely, so that her daughter would be the “Mother”.
Fulfilling Her promise, Ana suya Devi gradually stretched out Mother hood to save the sinner and the saint with Her all embracing Love.