Volume 9 - Issue 08
May 2011
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MOTHER TO THE AVATHAR - MOTHER TO THE WORLD

The enlightening life of Divine Mother Easwaramma

For decades now, on May 6 every year, Sai devotees across India and the world pay tribute to the Divine Mother Easwaramma. To mark this day hundreds and thousands of Balvikas students, Sai Youth and Volunteers undertake special service initiatives to reach out to the poor and distressed in every corner of the globe.

What entitled the Chosen Mother of the Lord to such acclaim and respect? Even now, almost four decades after May 6, 1972, the day she shed her mortal coil, why do thousands straddling across countries and continents out of encompassing reverence for her, dedicate a day in her memory, in sacred celebrations and service activities?

In this H2H cover story on Mother Easwaramma, we offer you glimpses of this stellar soul whose legacy and glory will inspire generations to come. It is supplemented with the reminisciences of Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath, a long serving devotee of Bhagawan Baba who has had the privilege of interacting and watching the Mother at close quarters for several years.

This elevating tale is a peek into the life and times of One who was chosen to bear a Son destined to be a Teacher to the World.

PART - 2

For the Divine Son The Mother Always Came First

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If Mother Easwaramma bore the exemplar of supreme perfection, Baba too left no stone unturned to demonstrate how a worthy son should revere the Mother. The Mother was always His top priority.

“If Baba left Puttaparthi to go somewhere,” recollected Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath, “We would find Mother Easwaramma sitting in a corner and sobbing. That was the love and concern of the Mother for her Divine Son who she felt had gone far away.”

But, the affection and concern was mutual. The Doting Son always placed the Mother first, and through her life, demonstrated to the world the ideal life a woman should lead. Taking us back to her days, Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath elaborated:

“Swami’s concern for the Mother was palpable; His eyes would light up with love when He would see the Mother. He took her wherever He went, and gave her the first preference. It was a great lesson that Baba was giving to humanity.

“Every morning, unfailingly, the Mother completed her religious rituals and pooja. From there, she would directly come away to the Mandir and sit there the whole day long until it was time to go home. Though she would have liked to be in the proximity of Bhagawan every moment, she had to take care of her house, and her husband Venkamaraju garu. Thus, she looked after her spouse as a true Hindu wife would, and attended to the needs of the house just as a mother would.”

"The affectionate mother, an ideal wife, a dutiful daughter-in-law – Easwaramma straddled all her roles with ease, for all her actions were rooted in pure and unselfish love. "

Especially, during the Birthday celebrations of the yesteryears, the Mother’s role was extremely significant. As Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath narrates:

“In those days, Swami’s birthday was celebrated in a small auditorium. A chair would be bedecked with flowers, and placed on a high dais for the anointing ceremony. There would be a village procession wherein a few senior sumangalis (married women) selected by Swami would carry lovely silver plates with kumkum (vermillion), haldi (turmeric), flowers, and the like. One among them carried a silver vessel full of scented water. With all these holy items and garlands of flowers, the devotees would then assemble in the auditorium.”

 
The Divine Mother was always the first to anoint the Lord on His Birthdays

“The auditorium would be packed with people, eager to witness the anointing of Swami. As the nadaswaram played, the Father and the Mother would go up to the stage. There, a senior sumangali chosen by Baba stood holding a small silver vessel full of scented oil and a flower. First, Mother Easwaramma would dip the flower in the oil, and daub it thrice on Swami’s head. She was succeeded by the Father, and then the other devotees who followed suit. But the first to anoint Swami was always the Mother.”

“Swami gave the first status to Easwaramma not only because she was the Mother of His physical body, but to show to the world how a son should revere the mother; in fact, it was the greatest example of a son's reverence to his mother.”


Not only did Baba amply demonstrate that MOTHER COMES FIRST but also ushered in an enlightened era of change by defying stifling social taboos and bleak conventions. For instance, contrary to the custom of those days, Swami treated widows with the same respect as sumangalis or married women. Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath recollects a touching incident she was fortunate to witness:

 
   

“This happened after the death of Venkamaraju garu. That year, for Baba’s birthday, arrangements for the anointing ceremony were made as always. Swami sat on His chair, waiting for His Mother to anoint Him. But there was no sign of Mother Easwaramma. Swami waited for a very long time. Time ticked by but the Mother did not come.

“What followed was a sight for the gods to see. Swami got up from His chair and glided down the steps on the dais. There were little rows of rooms beside the small auditorium; and in one of the rooms was the Mother. She was sitting there and sobbing. The daughters were there too, as well as a few other well-wishers.”


“What did the Divine Son do? He went up to where the Mother was, and sat on a cot there. He then sent word for the anointing oil to be brought. The Mother was weeping, her head resting on her knees. Baba consoled His Mother with so much love.

"Then, He made a statement which has forever remained etched in the hearts of those who witnessed the moving scene. He said, “Choodu, appudu Dasaratha ki mugguru bhaaryalu unnaaru… paapam. Idi melu kada? (In earlier time, Dasaratha had three wives… it was so pathetic for all the three… now you are only one… isn’t this better?).” He then asked for the sumangali to bring the bowl of anointing oil. Holding it in His hand, He asked for a flower, and held it out to the Mother.

“The Mother was seated on the floor, while Swami was on the cot. So Swami bent His head very low, took the Mother’s hand, made her dip the flower in the oil, then took her hand again and placed it on His head thrice. Oh, it was a beautiful sight that touched all our hearts!

“Such compassion, such love… None but God could have cared in such a manner for His mother. Indeed, if you ask me today what happened the day before yesterday, I would’ve forgotten, but this tender scene is ever fresh in my memory.”


Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath recalls yet another instance of Baba’s enormous concern for His mother, when she suffered a hand injury.

“Mother Easwaramma had hurt her hand very badly when the car she was in came to a halt with a jerk. Her hand hit the front seat of the vehicle forcefully as a result of which she was in immense pain.

“Baba, the ever-concerned Son, took her by the hand and brought her to the room. While a cot was being readied for the Mother, Baba consoled her saying, 'Emi ledule, emi ledule, antha saripothundi, antha saripothundi (This is nothing…really nothing, it would soon be alright).' He then took her hand and smeared a lot of Vibhuti there. After consoling her thus, He went away.

“The whole night, the Mother was groaning in pain. I was sharing the room with the Mother, and didn’t sleep as well. I did not know what to do, or how to assuage the Mother’s pain. Feeling utterly helpless, I would go up to her and say, ‘Amma, I hope it is not hurting you too much.’

 
 

“Then, in the midnight, Swami came to visit His Mother. Not once, or twice, but three times. Thrice, I was a witness to His infinite love. The Divine Son came to the mother, soothed her with love and concern, and gave her Vibhuti. For the seriousness of her injury, she should have gone to a hospital, but the great God saw to it that overnight she was cured. It was wonderful. The way she looked at Him saying, ‘Swami, noppi Swami (Swami, I am in pain)’ and the way He benignly comforted her saying, ‘Antha saripothundi, paduko (Just sleep, everything would be alright).’ These are wonderful memories, still fresh in my mind, as it happened just this moment. By the time dawn broke, Mother was completely alright.”

Although Baba treads His unique path of spiritual leadership, Mother Easwaramma’s bonding with her son was one of tender love and respect. She did not thwart His spiritual leadership in any way; instead, she let go of her concerns, and learnt to trust Him with His plans.

She was noble, kind and the personification of simple living and high thinking.

The Inspiration Behind Sai’s Inimitable Social Welfare Initiatives

Speaking on the role of the mother, Bhagawan gave the example of His own Mother on Easwaramma Day, 2002, and said:

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“The mother of this body Easwaramma looked upon all children with great love and tenderness. Whenever she saw little children, she caressed them with great affection without observing any difference whatsoever.

“Mothers should keep a close watch on the conduct of their children. Are they going on the right path? Are they working for the welfare of society? Is society approving their conduct? Are they gaining the respect of society? Mothers should keenly observe all this.

“Easwaramma was very conscious of these matters; she was, in fact, an ideal mother. When visitors came to the house, she would send her children to greet them properly, ask them about their welfare and requirements, and then offer them a seat in a respectful manner. You scarcely find such conduct anywhere today.”


Above all, Mother Easwaramma, like her Son, was full of selfless love. She was always concerned about the welfare of the needy and the downtrodden. She had but three desires; three selfless desires which have etched her name in golden letters in the story of the Sathya Sai Avatar. Few know that the Sai Education, Healthcare and Water Projects that have been serving millions at no cost owe their origin to her.

Bhagawan Baba has publicly acknowledged her as the direct inspiration for His mammoth social service projects known throughout the world.

In His Ladies’ Day discourse of 2001, Swami recounted events which provided a deeper insight into her noble life and character:

“The Mother of this body was Easwaramma. She was not a scholar. She did not know even alphabets. Yet, she always spoke good things in life. Her heart was filled with compassion.

“One day she approached Swami and said, ‘Swami, there are so many rich people in this region. Yet, the children of our village have to walk all the way to Bukkapatnam to attend school. My heart grieves to see these little ones walk miles. Swami, could you please build a small school in our village?’ I replied, ‘I don’t have money!’ She immediately removed the gold chain from her neck, gave it to me and said, ‘Swami, please sell it and build a school.’ I told her, ‘Don’t be in a haste, I said so only to test you, I will definitely construct a school.’

“On the following day, the foundation was laid, and within a short period the school building was ready. Then I asked her if she was happy. She did not appear completely satisfied. ‘What else bothers you?’ I questioned her. She replied, ‘Swami, when children fall ill, their mothers carry them all the way to Bukkapatnam for medical treatment and things may go wrong on the way. So please build a small hospital in the village.’ Thus, she always thought of the welfare and happiness of others. She used to say: ‘It is not enough if these facilities are available only in our village. They must be available to all the villagers around, and everyone should be happy.’”


Easwaramma’s concern for the village folk brought her to Swami yet again. She told Him, “You know that the River Chithravathi is in spate during the rainy season. But in summer it dries to a trickle and people do not have drinking water. So, please see that some wells are dug in this village." Swami said, “I would not stop with these small wells, I would provide drinking water to the entire Rayalaseema region.”

Today, what was once a small school has now transformed into a multi-disciplinary University! What was once a small hospital has magnified into two magnificent super specialty hospitals equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure! What was once a small well has metamorphosed into a gigantic water supply system! This is all because a noble mother asked for three little wishes from her Son.

 
 


Bhagawan revered His mother like no other and put her on a pedestal, while Mother Easwaramma herself remained her humble self. She was totally unselfconscious, never once boasting about her status as the Mother of the World Teacher. Like all devotees, she addressed Baba as Swami and was full of reverence for Him.

It was these virtues, along with her golden heart, that made Easwaramma so very special to Bhagawan. As Swami Himself elucidated in the Ladies’ Day discourse in 2001:

“Once I took Easwaramma to Brindavan. It was during the Summer Course. Students from colleges all over the country were attending the course. There were many foreigners also. She was very happy at the noble things taught to them in the classes and also Swami’s discourses in the evenings. One day I asked her, ‘Are you happy now?’ She replied, ‘Swami, what more do I need? People of so many countries are getting benefited. This is enough for my happiness.’ She had a broad mind. Today we see only narrow-mindedness everywhere. People desire that only their family and children should be happy. Easwaramma however wanted everyone to be happy. Even though she was not educated, she taught such noble qualities to everyone. Our country Bharat attained great fame because of such mothers.”

A Fitting Finale to a Glorious Tale of Selflessness

Her passing away was in itself an example to humanity.

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May 6, 1972 – At the time of her passing on, Mother Easwaramma was in Whitefield, Bangalore.

Eleven years after the event, Bhagawan Baba publicly acknowledged her goodness when He described her last moments in a public discourse. He recalled how during the summer course of 1972, the Mother had finished her bath. She had her coffee as usual and had taken her seat on the inner veranda. All of a sudden, while proceeding to the bathroom, she cried out, ‘Swami, Swami, Swami!’ And Bhagawan responded, ‘Coming, coming.’ With that, she breathed her last.

Speaking highly of His Chosen Mother and her devotion for Him, Swami pointed out that Mother Easwaramma went so smoothly and easily with His name on her lips. She had no need to be served and nursed. She did not even call out to her daughter or grand-daughter who were physically present there, but to the Lord she had borne as a Son.

In her passing on as in her life, she held out lessons for all. Her final moments are the authentic consummation that life must strive for.

As Bhagawan pointed out in His discourse: “Everyone aspires for a peaceful death. People who have evil feeling will not die such a death. Easwaramma did not have even a trace of unholiness in her. That is why she was always joyful. Even when she had become very old she used to walk 3 miles from Brindavan to the house of the Gojimeni family. When I asked her, ‘Why do you want to walk so far? Why don’t you go in car?’ She would reply, 'Swami, I desire to see them. I do not feel comfortable in car. I do not need a car, I prefer to walk!’ She always aspired to see others happy. Because of such mothers there was great progress and prosperity in society.”

The Mother is as Alive as Her Legacy

Almost four decades have passed since Mother Easwaramma passed away. But in a discourse on May 6, 2001, Bhagawan revealed to the utter amazement of all present that the Mother still continued to move around Swami in her physical body. He disclosed:

“I am telling this today because the life of ideal mothers has permanent significance.”

“In Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami takes breakfast after bhajan and proceeds to His place in Poornachandra Auditorium. Early in the morning one day, Mother Easwaramma was standing at the door in her usual form. I asked her, ‘Why did you come?’ She said, ‘Swami, I have come here with a prayer to You. You are omnipresent and omniscient, but You have to control one thing!’

"‘What is that?’ I asked.

“She said, ‘Devotees and students offer handkerchiefs to You. But, heeding my prayer, please do not receive handkerchiefs from everybody. The times are not good. These kerchiefs may be tainted with poisonous stuff. In the usual course, You use the handkerchief to wipe Your nose and mouth. Therefore, You may receive handkerchief only from those on whom You have confidence and trust as good devotees. Do not accept from all and sundry.”

 
 

What better example could there be of the Mother’s concern, who despite knowing that Her son was the Omniscient God, still came to throw in a piece of caution for His well-being! Indeed, it could only be a mother’s love that sought instinctively to protect and advice her Divine Offspring.

 
 


Unfathomable Concern for Her Divine Son

For yet again, a few days after her appearance, Mother Easwaramma came to her Son once more. As Bhagawan narrated:

“I went near her and asked her why she had come again. She replied, ‘I cannot live without seeing You often. The moment I see You, I feel happy.’

“After saying so, she gave me some piece of advice, ‘Swami, all persons describe themselves as devotees. But no one can tell who are real and who are fake. Devotees who are totally dedicated to You will be ready to carry out anything You ask them to do, but there are others who come for their own self-interest. By coming to You they get their desires fulfilled and forget You thereafter. In this matter, You should be very careful.”

“I replied, ‘I shall take due care. There is no need for you to tell Me.'

“After hearing this, she laughed and left the room.

“I am conveying this episode to you as direct testimony to the greatness of mother's love. She might have given up her body but she is always with Swami.”


That was the intimate bond between Baba and Mother Easwaramma.

 
 

The Divine Lord was the exemplary Son any mother could aspire for. Even today, several decades after her death, Bhagawan unfailingly visits the Mother’s Samadhi in Puttaparthi on her death anniversary to pay His homage to His earthly parents, and set a beautiful example to the world of the reverence one must accord one’s parents. As for Mother Easwaramma, she was not just a mother nonpareil but a peerless human being and a perfect role model as well.

Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath who had seen the Mother, as a young girl, explains why: “The Mother was wonderful. She was so simple and loving. There was absolutely no ostentation in whatever she did. She was sincere and child-like, and did whatever she could do for her God-Son. There was concern and immense love for her Son. And she knew somehow that she should go to her Divine Son and plead with Him for others, so that everyone was happy. Thus, she was a tremendous model.”

 
 

It was due to her sterling qualities that the Lord chose to bless her to be His earthly Mother. And with the Supreme Master to guide her, Mother Easwaramma absorbed vital lessons along her life’s way through His glance, His word, His smile or gesture. Through her role as a Mother, she rose to be a living saint, radiating simplicity, humility, love and purity, while, through her selfless, and ever-giving nature, she remained not only the Chosen Mother of the Incarnation, but a vital instrument of His mission.

Today, Mother Easwaramma stands out as a key player in the saga of Pure Love that unfolded on Nov 23, 1926. To the Mother to the Avatar, Mother to the World, we offer our love and reverence, and dedicate ourselves to the highest ideals she lived for and embodied.

- Bishu Prusty
Heart2Heart team

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