Dear sweet children!
We continue to enjoy the inspiring company of Amma aged ten. She stayed with her 'junior' grandfather Sri Chidambara Rao, a noted Advocate in Bapatla. Amma’s father Seetapathi, Karanam (Village Officer) of Mannava village in Guntur District, also used to stay with Chidambara Rao during his visits to Bapatla. Having lost his wife Rangamma (Amma’s mother), Seetapathi was persuaded both by circumstances and relatives to marry again, and Kameswramma consequently strode into his life. Her father Kistayya also resided in Bapatla. Seetapathi thus enjoyed an additional facility of enjoying the hospitality of his father-in-law also in the same town.
Amma meets a Stranger:
One day Amma happened to walk through Bhavannarayana Swami Temple street in Bapatla where she suddenly stumbled on a total stranger wearing shaggy looks and sickly appearance. His attention was however riveted on Amma, though he had not known her earlier. Amma too halted for a while watching him. They were indeed total strangers to each other. Amma instinctively enquired if he needed any help. In an act of quick response, he hugged Amma and planted a parental kiss on her head, while shedding tears of joy and contentment. Amma, however repeated her enquiries. He then narrated a few interesting facts
“I am a muslim by birth. But I grew under the care of a Vysya family. The members thereof were devoted to Brahmam garu of Kandimallayapalli. incidentally, I developed deep devotion for Eswaramma. Contemplating about her, I experienced my own vision of her form. Interestingly, I now see that very form in you. In fact, I feel you are none other than Eswaramma herself. I would therefore very much like to know your address so that I may repeat my visits and experience the divine darshan of Eswaramma in you."
The elderly muslim stranger thus rounded off his narration with a bold request to Amma, a girl aged ten.
At this time when this unexpected meeting took place, Amma was actually in a hurry to contact her father busy relaxing and feasting with his wife in a different locality in Bapatla. Though Amma really wanted to stay on to know more details to extend help to the stranger, the purpose of her work was quite urgent. She had to prepare herself to accompany her father to Mannava, a journey that was already very much on cards.
Amma therefore told the stranger the location of Chidambara Rao’s house and instructed him to meet her there later. On her return from her father, she found him promptly waiting for her. She quickly ran into the kitchen and brought him food. She also conveyed to Chidambara Rao how she accidentally met a stranger and found him in dire need of help.
Chidambara Rao was a like-minded person, no stranger to compassion and charity. He at once offered to feed this man everyday as desired by Amma. It was never the habit of Chidambara Rao to object to whatever Amma wanted. He knew she was compassion incarnate for one and all, and that she would never make any inappropriate choice. He would therefore, go any length with her in relieving the poor.
Amma gave suitable instructions to the muslim stranger to regularly call at Chidambara Rao's for food.
When next Amma met the stranger, he gave his full name as Moulali. She once again enquired what he wanted, but he emphatically maintained that he very much desired her divine company. But she made it clear that she would not stick to a fixed place to be unfailingly available to him. Amma later untied her Jada Koppulu, an ornament in gold adorning her plaited hair, and directed him to dispose of the same to maintain himself.
But he countered ”I will follow you wherever you go. No particular family need feed me. They may have their own reservations. I will freely beg my food around in the village and meet you at my leisure."
Amma’s journey to Mannava with her father was finalizes. Only two days were left. Seetapathi had to hurry up to discharge his duties as Karanam (Village Officer). Chidambara Rao was personally grieved that he had to perforce miss Amma’s rewarding company. His habit was not to even touch food in any new place other than his house, whenever he went out on a legal assignment. Returning home, he would cherish to eat from the golden hands of Amma, as he cheerfully chose to qualify. They were thus immensely intimate.
Chidambara Rao enquired for the stranger who incidentally narrated some more details:
“Though I am by birth a muslim, my companions were Brahmins. I am a stranger to the traditional Namaz and Quran. My father was devoted to Lord Krishna. I am devoted to Brahmas garu. Our ancestors moved into this town long ago. All my relatives and parents died. I now find my dear mother in Amma who verily appeared to me as Eswaramma herself. I feel there is no difference between the two. I do not pretend to be a robust devotee like Siddayya. I have no one here to support me. I have firmly resolved to follow Amma wherever she goes, begging my food without inconveniencing any particular family. She steers my life hereafter."
On hearing him Chidambara Rao concluded: ”You appear to have firmly made up your mind. You appear to have chalked out your course of action. Wish you all the best.”
Thus a muslim stranger accidentally stumbled on Amma and effortlessly won her heart and compassion by unquestioning dedication. He suddenly felt an upsurge of devotion for Amma as though she were the legendary Eswaramma herself. Though he was a total stranger, Amma too quickly showered love on him in no time as was always her wont with the needy. She introduced him to Chidambara Rao too. Amma even gave consent to the stranger to freely follow her wherever she went. His burden was thereafter hers, she made it plain and sure.
Amma later left Bapatla for Mannava. Moulali met Chldambara Rao once again, took food, collected clothes and money. He then dashed off to Mannava for Amma's darshan.
He decided to halt in Doppaiapudi, a hamlet adjoining Mannava, find his shelter and food there and meet Amma in Mannava.
A sturdy plan was thus evidently chalked out. The unquestioning tenacity of Moulali is amazing. You will be told what interesting facts surfaced on subsequent days in Mannava with Moulali as a blessed witness.
To be continued...