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MOTHER TO THE AVATHAR – MOTHER TO THE WORLD

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 – 1

"I resolved on My birth. I decided who should be My mother!"

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This is what Bhagawan declared in a discourse, describing His Advent on earth. What a blessing and privilege it is to be the Chosen Mother of the Lord! Yet it came with a monumental measure of responsibility. Indeed, Mother Easwaramma’s life was replete with challenges and lessons.

Her biggest and enduring difficulty was that of acceptance – of the celestial nature of her ‘little boy’ who came into her life with a big master plan. Often, she was torn between her maternal instinct to protect and nurture her darling Sathya and the inevitable need to let go when Bhagawan declared His mission.

Eventually, she accepted His divinity and became His devotee for life, receiving His benedictions; yet, in her role as the Mother, she spurred His compassion for mankind into tangible acts of philanthropy. In retrospect, few women have influenced the destiny of this planet as silently and as significantly as this great Mother did.

Mother Easwaramma was born Namagiriamma. Modest, humble and pure, she was ordained for the rarest of honours – to be in the league of the likes of Kaushalya, Devaki, Yashodha, and Mother Mary. When she married Pedda Venkama Raju at the young age of fourteen, her father-in-law Sri Kondama Raju asked that she change her name to Easwaramma.

In the divine discourse on the occasion of His 81st Birthday, Bhagawan fondly recalled:

“Easwaramma was not the name given to the mother of this body at the time of her birth. She was named so by Kondama Raju, the grandfather of this body. He was a noble soul who had realised My Divinity even when I was a child. Realising that she was to be the mother of Easwara (the Lord), he changed her name to Easwaramma. She was not an ordinary woman; Easwaramma was a great soul who was adored and admired by one and all. Wherever she went, people greeted her with great love.”

Thus, long before Bhagawan was born, Namagiriamma was rechristened Easwaramma, meaning, the Mother of Easwara, or God.

The First Miracle

The Mother was ready, the stage was set. The Lord only had to make His celestial entry. As Mother Easwaramma was to reveal: “The mother-in-law had dreamt of Sathyanarayana Deva and she cautioned me that I should not be frightened if something happens to me through the will of God. That 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 it glide into me.”

My Birth was not a Prasava (normal labour) but a Pravesa (an Entrance), Baba has revealed;
He was conceived when a blue ball of light entered into the Divine Mother.

23rd November 1926. It was Somavaara (Monday); the holy day dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the early hours of the morning, the Chosen Mother partook of the prasad (consecrated food) given to her by her mother-in-law after the hour-long Sathyanarayana Puja. And lo! The sacred moment had arrived for the Cosmic Advent. The Lord was born in the pious household of Sri Kondama Raju.

Sathya’s Attitude Baffles Mother Easwaramma

Christened Sathyanarayana; the cherubic newborn was Mother Easwaramma’s delight. She looked after her child with love and care, and lavished all her attention on Him. With His bewitching smile and captivating demeanour, little Sathya soon grew up to be the cynosure of all eyes.

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His prodigious talent for music, dance and poetry would have done any mother proud. But Mother Easwaramma was worried. For, everything about her little boy was so unusual.

Sathya was mitha bhaashi and mitha aahaari (one who spoke little and ate little). Easwaramma was mystified by the strange behaviour of her son. Usually children are fond of eating. But her son was totally averse to food, especially non-vegetarian fare. He would not even visit the houses where non-vegetarian food was cooked.

His indifferent-to-the-world attitude extended not only to food but to clothes as well. Whenever clothes for the family were brought from Hindupur or Anantapur, little Sathya always sat aloof until the other children had taken their pick and then accepted whatever was left behind. In vain would the Mother try to get Him to confide His choice to her, but of no avail! His only response would be: “I do not need anything. Whatever you give Me, I will accept. That is enough for Me.”

Years later the Mother would recount:

“This was something I could not understand. What made Him so deeply sober and serious? At last I began to wonder whether the label Brahmajnani [a realized soul] the village elders had stuck on Him and which I had thought was a mockery was indeed a tribute after all.”

The poor mother could only wring her hands in despair, as the visitations of withdrawal in her Son became increasingly frequent. Anguish renting her heart, she watched the slow but sure transformation of her little Sathya to a little-known Sai Baba.

Bhagawan captured His Mother’s conundrum, when He once narrated a poignant incident from His childhood:

“When this body was twelve years old, I was in Subbamma’s house. I asked her to stitch a long gown for Me. She did not like it. She said, ‘Why do you want to wear a gown? You can wear dhoti.’ I replied, ‘No, time has come to do it.’ She obeyed Swami’s command and stitched a gown for Me. It cost two annas at that time. When I put on this dress, she asked Easwaramma to come to her house to see Me. She came, saw Me, and started shedding tears saying, ‘Swami, did you call me here for seeing this form of Yours?’ I told her, ‘Don’t grieve; I am setting an ideal for the whole world. When one wears the ochre robes, one’s evil desires will vanish.’”

Mother Easwaramma was shocked and sad when Swami donned the ochre robe
stitched for Him by Subbamma for the first time.

Being a mother to such a Unique Child proved to be a baffling experience for Easwaramma – one she would have to grapple with for decades to come.

Despite her son’s growing fame and stature as God, the mother in Easwaramma only saw the ‘little Sathya’ in Sai.

Baba’s Eating Habits – A Constant Concern for the Mother

Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath, who has had the opportunity of watching the Mother at close quarters for many years, recalls how Baba’s eating habits were always a subject of concern for the Mother:

Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath

“I have had the privilege of visiting the little house of Bhagawan Baba in the village and seeing Mother Easwaramma there. Once Baba constructed the ‘Old Mandir’, He asked the Mother too to come and stay there along with Him. The most wonderful thing was that the Mother would always be near Swami and would diligently see to it that He ate well because Swami was always a small eater; He never bothered about His food.

"So whenever Swami turned to His left or right in the process of a conversation, the Mother would quietly serve some food on His plate, and then Swami would look at her mischievously. That was a wonderful sight to see.

“Perhaps, the Mother knew it more than the others did that Swami was God, but at the same time she never forgot that He was her beloved son. That was the most bewitching part of their relationship. Baba would always talk to her lovingly and, at times, even tease her and she would laugh; those were her moments of happiness. But there were times when she was extremely concerned about Bhagawan, especially about Swami’s spartan eating habits.”

In fact, Mother Easwaramma would bring Swami’s food all the way from the village and personally serve it to Him. Even when Bhagawan travelled somewhere, the Mother would oversee the preparation of the menu for Swami in the host’s kitchen. Perhaps, her Sathya would eat a few more spoonfuls if He was served Andhra cuisine, or better still, authentic Rayalaseema, the region to which Puttaparthi belonged; so she believed.

Once, when Bhagawan was at Jamnagar with the Rajmatha (Queen) of Nawanagar (in Gujarat), the Mother worried that Swami may not do justice to His food as He was unaccustomed to Gujarathi dishes. She therefore smuggled herself into the palace kitchen to prepare a little chaaru – a soup based on boiled pulses – so that Bhagawan could have some food of His liking. Such was her complete concern for her Divine Son, a concern that extended to every detail of His life.

The Trip to Africa and the Mother’s Worst Fears

Another subject which troubled the Mother immensely was Bhagawan’s frequent travel. Baba was giving Himself so freely to seekers across India, and she was always apprehensive of Him leaving Puttaparthi even if it was for only a day to a nearby city or town. So when in 1968 she heard that Swami planned a trip to East Africa with a group of devotees, the Mother was aghast.

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Africa maybe under developed but for Swami this continent
is special; His Love for them is exceptional.

Africa! Where danger lurked at every step and cannibals vied with wild beasts for the taste of human blood! This was the prevailing impression of the continent way back in the 70s. So one can well imagine Mother Easwaramma’s distress who feared that Swami would be in mortal danger if He went there! She resolved to have the trip cancelled and expressed her reservations to anyone she could. It frustrated her a good deal when she realized no one was taking her misgivings seriously.

At one point, she sought out a senior devotee and conveyed her worst fears to him. This devotee said, “Mother, it is true that there are many dangers in Africa. But how can they affect Swami? He is God, is He not?” Hearing this Mother Easwaramma lost her patience and snapped back, “You fool! I know Swami is God and you know He is God. But do those savages and wild animals in Africa know He is God?”

Such was her childish yet innocent love for Swami, which many a times deluged her awareness of His divinity. Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath recalled this incident for us as her father Late Sri Vittal Rao was among the devotees whom the Mother had initially sought help from. She said:

“Baba’s trip to Africa was decided and all those who were concerned with it made all the appropriate arrangements. Mother Easwaramma came to my father and said, ‘Emi Vittal Rao, meeru andaru Swamini adaviki pampischesthunaare … Voddu, voddu! Akkada pedda pedda yenugulu unnayata, pulilu unnayata, chiratalu unnayata… Akkada unde manushulu nallaga peddaga manushulne tinestaaru ata. Ma Swami inteey unnaaru. Meeru cheppandi Swamiki. Swami akkada vellakodadu. Ma Swami yelaaga atla untaadu? Voddu babu, meeru Swamiki cheppali…”

[Mr. Vittal Rao, what is it that I am hearing? You are all sending Swami to the jungles of Africa. Please do not do this….they say that place is full of huge elephants, tigers, leopards… it seems the people there are tall and menacing like cannibals who can devour other human beings… see our Swami, He is so tiny… you all must tell Swami not to go there… how can our Swami manage there? Please…. you must beseech Swami not to make this trip…please.]

Swami with African devotees on His only foreign visit, 1968.

"She was almost weeping.

“When Swami would hear this, He would just smile, that is all. But Swami did go to Africa and it was a grand trip. All the people there revered Swami and how He loved and treated them!

“And it was only to Africa that Mother did not accompany Swami. Otherwise, Swami solicitously took the Mother everywhere in His own car. Sometimes, if she was not in Swami’s car, she would definitely be in the vehicle that would follow His car.”

The Challenge of Being a Mother and a Devotee

For Mother Easwaramma, to witness her son Sathya grow into a Divine Master, adored and hailed as an Avatar by people twice or thrice His earthly age, was a complex journey.

During those distressful moments, she vacillated between being a mother and a devotee. Clearly the transition from a doting mother to an adoring devotee was difficult.

Early in life, Sathya declared His life plans. He was here on a mission. His devotees were waiting for Him. This strange talk was a far cry from the dream of His parents; that He gets an education and seeks a top job in the government, bringing financial security and social respectability to the family.

Despite declaring her as maya or illusion, the young Sathya was always conscious of His responsibility to play every role in life to perfection, for millions would look up to Him as a role model. Hence, He continued to confer the respect, concern and love on the Mother as an ideal son should, and the Mother on her part let her son pursue His mission, despite all her misgivings about His welfare or safety.

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But it wasn’t easy. Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath recalled Easwaramma’s inner struggle to reconcile His divinity with her maternal instincts as she beautifully described the Birthday celebrations of yesteryears:

“…the birthday celebrations of Bhagawan were conducted in a wonderful way in the Old Mandir with all the festoons and decorations. The altar would be bedecked beautifully, illuminated by the huge lamps. Baba would be taken in a procession around the village. The villagers would stop the palanquin, offer their prostrations to Swami and give flowers to Him.

"And Baba would bless them with so much love. When the palanquin was gently brought to rest, Swami would get up and just shake His Kaphni (Robe). Lo! Plentitude of Vibhuti would be scattered all around. At these moments we would feel that our Baba looked so divine, so out of reach. And we lost ourselves in that wonderful darshan of our young Swami with His flock of hair and a wonderful beaming divine face…”

“But what did the Mother do? She did not go with the procession. Instead, she would sit in the Mandir and sob. There were many elderly ladies there who would ask, “Why amma, why? Your son has become God. Why do you weep?”

And she would say, “Amma, He is no more my son. He is God”.

“And that would hurt her. Had Baba remained only a son, she could’ve fondled Him and spoken to Him in whichever way she liked. But now, she always felt – ‘No, I cannot take that sort of an advantage. My son has become God.’ That was what she felt all the time.”

“And Baba would come to her and say, ‘Enduku edusthaavu? Edavoddu. Edavakodadu (Why are you crying? Don’t cry. You shouldn’t cry).’ He would be so kind to her and would give her prasadam. And the day would pass like that. Well, the Mother would wipe her tears. What else could she do? That her son has become God was one of the greatest truths one could ever erase out of the mind of anyone. So the mother eventually accepted it.”

Soon, the Sai mission grew. People from distant lands and different backgrounds came to behold her dearest son. They treated Him with reverence and sought so much from Him. She felt concerned for His well-being. But to her credit, the simple lady embraced all as her own. It was not easy. With each passing year, Baba’s time was increasingly taken up by His devotees; and Easwaramma strained to retain whatever contact she could with Swami.

Sometimes, the rumour mill around the village got to her. People spread strange and unpleasant stories about her son. She felt concerned. Often, she would come rushing to Him and pour her torrent of protests at the things He was doing like proposing the construction of the current Prasanthi Nilayam Mandir which was then a rough patch on the outskirts of the village.

At such times, Swami would only smile, and then assure her, “Why do you bother with peoples’ talk? There will be no jungle and no snakes when I go there. There will be hundreds of pilgrims pouring in every day – and that place will become a Shirdi, a Tirupati, and a Kasi.”

This is how the Prasanthi Nilayam mandir was in 1950s. Today it is the magnificent Sai Kulwant Hall.

Easwaramma learned quickly to stay open to her son’s ideas which were totally new to the local population. He promoted oneness, foretold of a future when the world would converge at their village, which till then did not even have a road connecting it to the next town.

A wonderful quality of the Mother was this – Great love and concern for her divine son and the same concern for all the devotees. Aggrieved people came to her young son seeking solace. Their sorrow pained her deeply. Mother Easwaramma had a soft heart especially towards women who were widowed by fate and ostracized by society as if their misfortune was infectious. She also sought out young women deserted by their husbands and left alone and helpless. She was always there for the devotees, and tried hard to get them to meet her son, for she knew they would find solace in Him, even if she wasn’t sure why or how. Many a times, she would put in a good word for them.

The Divine Mother (to the left of Swami) was as concerned about the devotees as she was for her beloved Son

Dr. Jayalakshmi Gopinath elucidates:

“Mother Easwaramma had no airs about her whatsoever. She never felt that her being the mother of God; people should fall at her feet and pay homage. She was as simple as a child, and was very loving and concerned about all the devotees. Whosoever came to her, she would talk to them with such love. If she found a devotee crying, she would readily console and comfort.

“If ever she took any liberty of her accessibility to Swami, it was for the sake of some distressed and disconsolate soul. For them, she would go out of the way to plead with Baba, “Swami, this family is in such a predicament. Swami, please talk to them.”

"If any devotee was unwell, she would go to Swami at once and tell Him, “Swami, that lady is sick, please, Swami, give her some Vibhuti.” Her whole life depended upon this – that all the devotees, everybody, should be happy, well and secure at the feet of Bhagawan. And this, in turn, would make her immensely satisfied.

“Ingrained in her was the sense of love and charity. She would help women who found it difficult to make both ends meet, and would even bring them sarees. Any sort of suffering, physical, financial or otherwise, would melt her heart. And if, per chance, Swami was preoccupied, the wonderful Mother would go behind Him until He had responded to her petition and pleas.

He would then come with her among the devotees and she would show Him – ‘Swami, this one; Swami, that person’ and Baba would undoubtedly help them. But it was Mother who, with her selfless recommendations, demanded solace and solutions for one and all. Swami, in turn, would have a benign smile on His face. Simply to witness the relationship between Mother and Son was an indelible experience.”

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.

Continued from Part-1

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.

– Heart2Heart team

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