My first visit to Jillellamudi dates back to 1973. I was collecting information for my Ph.D on Kandukuri Rudrakavi, poet of 16th Century. I met Dr Konduri Veeraraghavacharyulu, a renowned poet at Tenali and on the next day I went to Jillellamudi. I had the darshan of Mother. Mother in her usual way told me to take prasadam (bhojanam) and leave. Her gracious looks are still in my mind.
Matrusri Anasuyadevi started a rice bank at Jillellamudi, then an unknown tiny village in early fifties with less than thousand population. Most of the villagers were cultivating small holdings. The poor villagers have to go without food for days whenever natural calamities struck. At this juncture Brahmandam Nageswrararao (Nanna garu) came as Village Officer to the village along with Amma and their elder son. Amma after going through the conditions of the villagers suggested an effective idea of starting a rice bank. The arrangement is, whenever a housewife cooks food she has to take a fistful of rice and keep it apart. The rice was pooled and Amma became the custodian. This bank saved many a soul and proved revolutionary.
Amma is of the firm conviction that no other pain is as severe as the pangs of hunger. The first question she asks a new comer to the “House of all” was, “have you taken your meals”. According to one statistics between 1958 and 2009 more than 12 million meals have been served in Annapurnalayam.
There are several people and organizations giving away food to others. It is in a way feeding the less privileged. In mother’s view it is not like that. Swami Vivekananda asked people to see “Narayana” in the poor and serve them not out of sense of doling out charity but with humility with the attitude that the person receiving has given us an opportunity to do so.
Amma is worshiped as the ‘Annavatar’ a manifestation of Annapurna, Goddess in the Kaliyuga. Sadguru Sivananda Murthy, of Vishakhapatnam who does lot of spiritual preaching throughout India, visited Jillellamudi and has suggested Annabhishekam to mother. On every 12th June, the day of Mahasamadhi of Amma, the life size image of Amma is worshiped with cooked rice. The rice is later distributed as prasadam to the devotees. On 17th February Dhaanyabhishekam with Paddy and rice is performed to commemmorate Nannagaru’s Aradhanotsvam.
I had the opportunity of visiting the Holy place Jillellamudi after a long gap of 45 years. I was not fortunate enough to visit the place while serving in Prasara Bharati. Though many intimate persons were regularly visiting the place. In 2009 an occasion came when the new housing colony built by a devotee was being inaugurated and house warming ceremony of my friend Sri Yugandhar, Bank Manager, Puttaparthi, was taking place. He invited me to the functions and so I accompanied him.
There I met several friends. Mr. Mohan Krishna who was close to me when he was at Kadapa and Sri PSR Anjaneya Prasad, brother of Kurthaalam Peetadhipati. A book-release function of Mohan Krishna was arranged and I was asked to participate in the function. It was a grand function and the second son of Mother Mr. B. Ravindra Rao was also present.
The next day there was Homam at Ansuyeswaralayam. During the day it was a pleasant moment when I met Smt. Vasundhara garu. She has presented her book to me with lot of events that took place in the presence of Mother. I am a regular reader of Mother of All for the last 10 years, courtesy Ms. Usha Mosalikanti, the able Editor. We were colleagues at All India Radio, New Delhi way back in 1987. She was with External Services of AIR and I was with Staff Training Institute, New Delhi. Her father was a freedom fighter, Mosalikanti Tirumala Rao. He was Minister in Nehru Cabinet.
I have seen lot of development at Jillellamudi. The Oriental College, run by the SVJP is well known. One of the Lecturers at the college Sri Mallapragada Srimannarayna is a renowned scholar and we were co-commentators for Tirumala Bramhotsavams, organized by Sri Venkatewara Bhakti Channel. I gave all these references to establish myself as an ardent devotee of Annapurnalayam and not to boast myself.