Birth

The holy Mother Anasuya Devi popularly called as “AMMA” Jillellamudi was born on the 28th March 1923 at Mannava, a small village in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh, to a pious couple late Seethapathi Rao, the Village Officer of Mannava and his wife Rangamma. Seethapathi and Rangamma lived in perfect harmony and devotion but what had weighed heavily in their hearts was the loss of as many as five children. A few months before Rangamma was again pregnant, Seethapathi had a dream in which he saw a middle-aged woman of great beauty seated in a chair in the middle of his house. Her most distinctive feature is the large vermilion mark adorning the fore head.

“Who are you?” he asked her in his dream.

“I am the mother”. She replied.

“Whose mother? he again asked her.

“I am the Mother of All”. She replied.

Days and months passed. Rangamma conceived a child. Ever since conception, Rangamma experienced inexplicable joy and exhilaration. She experienced strange visions and moments of unparalleled bliss. The most significant of all was the feeling that She carried the entire creation in her womb. Occasionally, she felt momentary identification with the Infinite.

The child was born amidst miraculous experiences that every one present there had. Quite auspiciously, the exact moment of her birth coincided with a ceremonial function at the village temple. Flags were hoisted and bells, conches and other musical instruments sounded.

The child was named on the twenty-seventh day as Anasuya (one without envy). Amma exhibited the state of Perfection from the very birth. As a child barely four years old, she became stiff with suspended breath remaining in that condition for as long as four days. Such unusual physical condition not causing apparent crisis in the child’s health.

(Much later, in her married life, the most mysterious and lengthy of Amma’s trances, apparently premeditated happened. Amma called Dr Seethachalam of Kommur village to Jillellamudi and told him that she was about to embark on an eleven days journey of sorts. During the interim, he has to look after the body. Thus charged, the doctor watched Amma lie down on her cot and lose consciousness. When he examined her, he found that her breath and heartbeat had ceased. Gradually Amma’s joints stiffened and her complexion took on a blue-gray pallor. When Amma’s husband and other relatives wanted to cremate the body, Dr. Seethachalam was placed in the rather curious position for one in his profession of insisting that, though clinically dead, the body would come back to life. The physician’s faith was vindicated on the eleventh day of his vigil, when Amma awakened slowly and heavily, as if from a prolonged sleep. This is probably the longest Near-Death experience on record).

Childhood

When Anasuya was completing her second year, she once sat under a pomegranate tree in “padmasana” (Lotus Posture) and attained a transcendental state of meditation, with her eyes half closed. Every one mistook it as a fit of epilepsy and not noticing the ‘Yogasana’ she had assumed. She returned to her normal consciousness in an hour. On yet another occasion, she was seen sitting in a strange posture with her breath suspended and the eyes turned completely inside. When someone asked her later as to what she was doing, she replied she was in ‘Shambhavi Mudra’. Everyone was astounded at these words and deeds from a two year old.

As a little girl, she never asked for food just as she never cried for milk as an infant. She accepted food if it was given, only to give to somebody else who was in need of it. She was treated by several doctors to no avail. In later life, Amma would frequently go for long periods without eating, even giving up all liquids normally considered essential for survival. It is a curious paradox of Amma’s life that one who is indifferent to eating herself , spends enormous time and energy in feeding others. Amma once cited in all concern “You grow weak if you don’t eat, but I grow weak if I don’t feed”.

Since childhood, Amma always wanted to feed others and a number of ‘miracles’ such as proliferation of food to adequacy were associated with such remarkable stance. Some elders of the house used to deprecate her for giving food to the destitute and stray animals, feeding them with her own hands.

Mother never discriminated based on caste whatsoever proclaiming “My caste is that of the sperm and the ovum”. When young Amma once ran and rescued a child belonging to the scavenging community lifting up and holding the child in her arms, the elders rebuked her. Amma declared ” To me when the very character does not matter, does caste make any difference? “

After Rangamma’s death, little Amma was given almost unlimited freedom. She was kept in several towns like Bapatla, Guntur for different periods of stay with different relatives. She imparted experiences of various sorts to those she met in accordance with their diverse nature and spiritual tendency. She discarded no one. Even hard core criminals were won over by her transparent purity and a number of people completely transformed by their contact with Amma.

Marriage

On 5th May 1936, Amma’s wedding took place at Bapatla with Brahmandam Nageswara Rao who became later the village officer of Jillellamudi. When one of the few people who recognized her perfection and divinity asked her why she needs to get married, she told him that it was only to show that marriage need not be feared as an obstacle to one’s spiritual progress. It is also to set an example of an ideal housewife by practice that she has married – to be able to look upon one’s life partner as the embodiment of the Lord and thereby realize the ultimate reality – without having to suppress any of the material aspects of personal life. Just as a woman should worship her husband as God’s manifestation, he should endeavor to see God in his wife. Amma says “”God alone is the “Purusha” or Lord and that all Creation is “Prakriti” or his consort.”

At Jillellamudi as a young housewife, Amma seems to have hidden her spiritual grandeur. Instead, she looked after the needs of her family which came to include another son and a daughter. In addition to performing her household duties, Amma devised and organized a grain bank to help the poor and needy. Amma was often persecuted and harassed by the ignorant and jealous villagers who probably resented the only high-caste brahmin family in the village. A villager by name Subbaiah joined the house as a servant with sinister designs but was transformed. Another farm hand Mantrayi could see the form of Amma clearly wherever he might be.

The transformation of these individuals marked a change in the attitude of the other inhabitants of the village.