The Chosen Mother
"I resolved on my birth. I
decided who should be my mother." Thus answered Swami to a
question from the editor of the "Nav Kaal" (New Age) on the last
day of December 1970 in Bombay, India. Baba went on to say that
Rama and Krishna also chose their mothers.
Easwaramma a poor, middle-aged
tender-hearted, pious illiterate rural housewife had mothered seven children
before the Lord was born to her. Easwaramma was quite conversant with
Telugu ballads, legends, folk songs and tales, on Rama and Krishna. Yet, it
took years of intimate observation and hundreds of inexplicable incidents to
convince her that this child who was born in answer to her prayers to Lord
Sathyanarayana, who she had fondled and doted on, was the Cosmic
Baba has said that there are four types of
children born in this world. The law of Karma operates on the birth of
three of these four types. The fourth and foremost is one who is an Avatar.
Here the Cosmic Consciousness decides on a human role and chooses the time
and place of birth and the persons who are to be the parents.
In the Treta Yuga (age) Vishnu having
elected to be born as Rama, chose King Dasaratha and Queen Kowshalya as his
parents. The Avatar bestows glory on those chosen as parents. Sri Krishna,
the first of the Poorna Avatars (Total Advents) is the clearest example of
the immaculate conception of a Divine child. The incarnation of Buddha too
was marvelous. The night He determined to enter the world, Queen Maya, the
consort of King Suddhodana, dreamt that a splendid star from the Heavens
having shot through outer space entered her womb from the right.
Mary the mother of Jesus was similarly
blessed. The angel Gabriel was sent by God to the Virgin espoused to Joseph
of the House of David. And the angel said to her "Fear not Mary. Thou hast
found favour with God. And behold thou shalt conceive in the womb and bring
forth a son and shall call him Jesus."
The chosen mother is the first recipient of
the Avatar's Grace. The father who protects and nourishes her is rewarded
with the fame bestowed on his name. When Swami's father Pedda Venkappa Raju
died in 1963 Baba said "on the day he was known as the 'Father' he was
blessed and his life rendered holy and sanctified. This good fortune can be
won by only one individual in a Yuga (age)."
Easwaramma, the mother, with Sathya Sai Baba
More than hundred miles from Puttaparthi is
the village of Kolimikuntla. In this village lived Subba Raju an ardent
devotee of Easwara. Subba Raju built a temple for Easwara. in that village.
Easwaramma was the name given to his daughter born in the farm house soon
after. the temple was built. Kondama Raju -(Bhagavan's paternal
grandfather) decided to go on a pilgrimage and at the same time visit his
distant relative Subba Raju. He took his elder son Pedda Venkappa Raju
along with him.
On arriving at Subba Ragu's place Kondama
Raju found that place arid, unsuitable for cultivation and surrounded by
dacoits. He persuaded Subba Raju to sell his lands in Kolimikuntla and move
to Karnatanagapalli opposite to Puttaparthi, on the other bank of
Chitravathi. To sweeten the pot, Kondama Raju offered to welcome Easwaramma
as the spouse of his son Pedda Venkappa Raju. Easwaramma was barely
fourteen when she wedded Pedda Venkappa Raju. Seshama Raju, Swami's elder
brother, was born to Easwaramma within three years of her marriage. A few
years later Venkamma a daughter arrived. Another daughter Parvatamma
followed. The Rajus were happy and their home was filled with the
youngster's babble and laughter and song and prayer. But, sorrow was not
far off. Easwaramma had four abortive pregnancies in a series. Some
attributed this calamity to black magic. Propitiatory pujas (worships) were
arranged in the local temples and distant holy places like Kadri. And when
Easwaramma entered her eighth pregnancy her mother-in-law Lakshmamma offered
a series of pujas to Lord Sathyanarayana and prayed to be blessed with a
Bhagavan was once asked by a pundit
"Swami, was your incarnation a Pravesa (entrance) or Prasava (enceince)."
Turning to Easwaramma Bhagavan said "Tell Rama Sarma what happened that day
near the well." Easwaramma replied "my mother-in-law had cautioned me that I
should not be frightened if something happened through the will of God. The
morning when I was at the well drawing water a big ball of blue light came
rolling towards me and I fainted and fell. I felt the light glide into me."
Swami turned to Rama Sarma with a smile and said "there you have the answer.
It was Pravesa and not Prasava."
It took Easwaramma a long time to reconcile
herself to her son's Avataric traits. Whenever she was around, she
personally supervised the preparation of his food. She believed that Swami
would eat a few more morsels if the cuisine was Andhra and that too genuine
Rayalaseema, the region to which Puttaparthi belonged. She would witness
Swami's miracles in the company of others; but her response was anxiety
rather than awe. She feared that the miracles would drain her son's
spiritual powers. Easwaramma saw doctors and lawyers, monks and merchants,
Rajas and Princes come to Puttaparthi, sit around Swami and plead for
answers and solutions to their doubts and questions. She herself understood
only conversational Telugu. She gasped when Swami gave them His assurance
and said "Don't worry. I am with you." Easwaramma thought He was promising
too much to too many. Arnold Schulman the author of the book 'Baba' visited
Puttaparthi in 1970. He found Easwaramma complaining to no one in
particular. She was saying "why don't they leave Him alone? He does not
sleep, He does not eat enough. All they care is about themselves."
On another occasion Easwaramma referring to
Baba's Announcement in October 1940 at Uravakonda, said "when I stood before
him face to face He said, "Maya! You are not bound to me nor I to you and
He left home to be with those to whom he felt bound." 'Now many days I
lived through without eating or sleeping crying to the Gods to restore my
son to me. You call him Beauty, Tenderness and Joy and talk of me as the 'Mother'
but, do I ever get the chance to feed him with food cooked by my own hands,
give him a bath or tend to him in any way that is a mother's privilege?"
The oncoming of this overwhelming despair and even jealousy was however
often followed by a surge of self-criticism and matured philosophical
Easwaramma appreciated the earnestness and
enthusiasm of young children acquiring education. She prevailed on Swami to
send money for tuition fees, cost of books and boarding to many youngsters.
When she found that some youngster dropped out of school, she pressed Prof.
Kasturi to correspond with the parents and persuade them to get the
youngster back in school. And the sick? Easwaramma was perhaps the person
most pleased when Bhagavan announced that a twelve bed hospital would be
built on the hill south of Prasanthi Nilayam. However she queried the
wisdom of the choice of the site. "How could the ill pull themselves up to
that height?" she asked. And when women were admitted as inpatients she
climbed the hill to the hospital several times to be with them.
She was humble by nature. Humility was no
pose for her. Hers was not the humility that paraded itself, to draw the
attention of others. Many are proud that they are not proud. But,
Easwaramma was allergic to limelight. Once, while Swami stayed at the
residence of Dr. B. Ramakrishna Rao, the Governor of Kerala, she refused a
special invitation to stay at the Governor's residence with a chosen few.
She wiggled out of the attention given to her as the Avatar's mother and
stayed at the humble residence of a school Head master.
At the time Easwaramma laid down her mortal
coils there were more than a thousand college students assembled at
Brindavan for a summer course. A lecture was on and 800 youngsters were
listening eagerly. Three cars purred by the side entrance to Brindavan. In
one of them lay the body of the holy 'Mother', serene and self-satisfied.
Daughters and grand children sat close and around as they had done for years.
In the other two cars were persons selected by Swami to break the news at
Puttaparthi and keep the villagers to pay their last respects. Later the
body was reverentially laid down in a grave beside that of the 'Father'
Pedda Venkappa Raju. The date was May 6,1972.
Easwaramma Day is celebrated on the May 6th
as the culmination of a week- long festival of children all over the world.
The Easwaramma High School at Puttaparthi stands as a monument for the
Mother's abiding affection towards children and her desire to help them
unfold their talents, skills and divinity.
From The Book "Easwaramma, The Chosen
Mother" by Prof. N. Kasturi. Condensed.