Is the adage familiar to many of the Indian Hindu families' The Hindu pundits interpret the word 'Annam' to mean the general staple food lot human consumption and so it happened once in Jillellamudi. One of the Pundits, who visited Jillellamudi once' uttered the above sentence while taking food, as Amma was serving food, with the mischievous intention of testing Amma's scholastic level. Pat came the question from Amma then why not 'Asuddham'!" (Asuddham means the faecal matter). Then the Pundit immediately got up and walked away in acceptance of his ignorance/defeat.

 

Thus Amma corrected the misconception about the word 'Annam' to suggest that 'Annam' means food in any form. What is 'Annam', the food lot humans (in common parlance), so is 'Asuddham' for some of the animals So, basically it is the food (in whatever form) that should be viewed as 'Parabrahma Swarupam'.

 

Hunger is most basic of the instincts of every living being and it struggles to find food to satiate this hunger' Who else knows better, the hunger of children than its mother The Mother in every creature feeds its children before it attends to its own needs So, it is tittle wonder that 'Viswajanani', the Mother of All views it as Her Swadharma' to feed her children.

 

Even as a child of live she gave away gold jewellery on her person to beggars and other needy, advising them, as a mother would to het children, to meet their needs of food, making use of the gold. Seeing, one day, some beggar gather at a choultry in Bapatla, eating their food they collected. she wondered how nice would it be it alt the children live at one place earning their livelihood and eat at one place collectively. Thus were the seeds for a future 'House of All ‘sown.

 

As Amma stated beckoning her children to Jillellamudi in mid 50’s the blue pint for the House of All started taking shape and as the number of children grew, an independent kitchen 'Annapurnalayam' emerged in 1958, relieving the burden on Nageswara Rao garu (Amma's husband) who was a village Head. 'Annapurna' stands for the deity (the presiding deity in Kashi or Banaras), serving food (Annam) to her children.

 

Ever since its inception, the Annapurnalayam has grown in its size and magnitude along with the ever-multiplying number of visitors lo Jillellamudi, providing food irrespective of time of the day. Mother would gesture to those gathered to have Her Darshan, to first have food. Sometimes she would pick up from the group a person, asking him/her to first take food, to the surprise of everybody around there. It so happens that the particular person might have been really hungry and might have missed his meal for a couple of days. There were instances during the early years when Amma used to respond to hunger cries of devotees at far_ off places. For example, on one day suddenly she ordered for some ‘roti’s’ to be brought immediately and one of the inmates who is adept at making roti’s prepares and brings them. Then Amma goes on feeding herself persuading to have some more. When one of the elderly devotees who is present there and who keenly observes Amma asked her as to why she needed roti’s so urgently, she replies that Subhadra, a pregnant lady, who has nobody to look after, was hungry and needed food immediately.

 

It was the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Amma's Birthday in 1973 that remains a Historic event in the annals of Jillellamudi and focuses our attention on the most ennobling motherly attribute, that of catering to the hunger of her children. During these celebrations Amma had shone in all Her motherly splendour, showering Her grace on Het creation. While more than 1.5 lakh children were fed on that day, the Mother of All suggested that the food that remained be thrown all over the fields and in the neighbouring canal, so that all the other creatures also have their share of Amma's Prasadam.

 

Of all the Alayams in Jillellamudi, Annapurnalayam occupies the prime of place as it is dear to Amma's heart. ln fact Amma considered this as het heart itself. So, this needs to be bestowed all the attention and care to carry on the mission she entrusted to us. May Amma give us strength to live up to that trust.

 

Author: 
Mother Of All
Source: 
Mother Of All (English) August 15, 2005