Dear sweet children!
One fine morning, Punnamma (actual name Annapurnamma),advocate Chidambara Raos wife in Bapatla, approached him with a request, while inviting him to a plate of steaming breakfast. It all opened as a pleasant scene. That was the first time such a request came from her.
I would like to have a big idol of Balatripurasundari for my daily worship" she crooned.
“Big Idol? How big?”
“Three feet” she clarified.
“Why do you need a separate three-feet idol? A similar idol-like person is moving around in our house. It is enough if we look after this person and provide food and water.”
Punnamma could not make out what he meant.
“Please tell me who that person is” she asked.
“The idol is not sculptor-made. Such persons do have hunger and thirst.”
It continued to be a puzzle for Punnamma.
“Is that so?” she expressed surprise.
Chidambararao elaborated: “As they come in human form, the body naturally needs food and water. Such persons take their birth on their own volition. They are not born like us. They have a particular purpose behind their birth. But they move amidst us like normal human beings. It is extremely difficult to identify and isolate them from the rest, because the manner and purpose of their birth is special.”
The talk of Chidambararao was still too intricate for Punnamma. She did not have her husband’s spiritual background. She was a normal housewife with routine outlook.
“What is all this long narration? Whom are you talking about?”
Chidambararao now wanted to take his wife closer to facts.
“Even if I reveal the facts to you, you may not be able to appreciate the same. In fact my own faith sometimes gets shaken in spite of what all I have solemnly spoken” pleads Chidambararao naively.
Punnamma does not want to be left half-way. She pursues with genuine curiosity.
“It matters little if my own faith later gets shaken. You may nevertheless now share the facts with me.”
Chidambararao abruptly wanted to sidetrack the issue at this sensitive stage, having stirred his wife’s curiosity. “Oh! I just cracked a joke. Don't take it seriously. Leave it there."
Really a poor unreasonable excuse at this delicate stage!
“Joke or otherwise, I would like to know about the person you are referring to.” Punnamma was insistent and reasonably too.
"Right then! Listen. Do we not have a girl three feet tall in our house? Round beautiful limbs, golden complexion, plenty of jewellery, long beautiful hair, rosy lips, handsome nose, a pair of compelling eyes, feet softer than the softest petals - these are all her attributes. Can you now identify the angel I am referring to?"
Punnamma could now make out whom her husband meant all along.
“Yes. Though she may not have all the attributes reeled off by you, I do not deny that Anasuya owns a few of them.”
Chidambararao quickly objected. Not a few. You are thoroughly mistaken. She has all of them and many more. Observe her closely. I omitted referring to the large, prominent Kumkum mark she keeps between her eyebrows even as a girl of ten. Did you watch her walking? Plenty of fragrance and sweet odour emanates from her. Did you ever sit close to her and enjoy this rare experience?"
“I have never done that. But I talk to her now and then. There ends our interaction."
“Hereafter, keep close to her. Due to personal contact you will develop faith."
“I do not understand what you mean. Do you attribute these rare features to Anasuya?"
“Anasuya has been staying with us for several years after the demise of her mother in her fourth year. I wanted to know how much you cared to observe her and appreciate her superhuman qualities."
Punnamma cut soon his conversation at this point. She was not that intensely interested in the subject. “I am not prepared to accept what all you said about Anasuya. But shall I plainly tell what I clearly think of her?"
“Good. Tell me. I shall be glad to hear the same from your lips.”
“Anasuya has immense patience. She has perfect equanimity. She accepts every circumstance as it occurs without getting ruffled at all."
“I appreciate you found what I have myself failed to observe. Please continue to do so and share your experience with me.”
“Do you thereby mean that my own request for an idol has been jettisoned?"
"No. Not at all. The idol will certainly arrive in due course."
“Do you presume that an idol is God?"
“I do not say that. But what I affirm is that God himself is available for us in his full physical form and glory right in front of us in our own home."
“I cannot accept all that however much you repeatedly harp on that."
“It has been clearly my fault to have raised the subject with you."
“It has equally been my fault to have entered into an argument with you."
Punnamma broke up the otherwise pleasant conversation with a rude repartee.
However let us hope, dear children, that the elderly couple quickly reconciled and rose for their breakfast before it got cold.
Here in this interesting case, Chidambararao, a lovely grandfather of Amma, observed awesome divinity in her over a number of years. His wife Punnamma totally failed to do so. There lay wide difference in their approach.
Chidambararao sincerely tried to enlighten and educate his wife with some noble facts which he treasured in his heart. But Punnamma stoutly chose not to rise to the occasion.
For Punnamma, Anasuya was a mere motherless child, little cared for by her widower brother Sithapati. Punnamma was a dull housewife while Chidambararao was highly learned advocate and philosopher. They were clearly poles apart.
To be continued...