May 6, 2009 – Easwaramma Day Celebrations

Like any other day, the Sun peeped over the hills in the eastern direction. The birds stirred from their nests and their sweet songs and cheerful chirps filled the morning air at Puttaparthi. Like any other day, the Nagar Sankirtan and Veda chanting rounds went on and people got ready for darshan. And, like any other day at His lotus feet, the celebration of the glorious concept of Motherhood began. Only that, as a reminder to humanity of the great debt it owes to mothers, Swami has earmarked the May 6 as Easwaramma Day or Mother's Day in Love, Grace and Homage to the mother of God, Easwaramma.

The previous evening, Swami got it announced that there would be the "Burra Katha" (a local art form; if you are unaware of this, please refer to our earlier article:

Bhagavan had specified that it would be the narrative of Karnam Subamma and Mother Easwaramma. How apt! While Easwaramma, like Mother Devaki, the mother of Lord Krishna, was the chosen first "home" of the Avatar, Karnam Subamma, like Yashoda, was chosen to play with and raise the Avatar in all love. And a Burra Katha on both these wonderful and wonder-witnessing women was to be performed.

In the morning, Swami made a visit to the Samadhi of His earthly parents, Easwaramma and Pedda Vankamma Raju. The narrow lane leading up to the Samadhi had been cleaned and decorated with buntings and floral designs. All the shops en route were shut and people lined up against the roads to catch a glimpse, and if possible something more too, of Swami as He passed by.


The Samadhi premises had been opened only to the students who were in the bhajan group and the Veda chanting contingent. The main area of the Samadhi had been occupied only by the members from Swami's family - a privilege that the Lord has conferred on them! It was about 9:05 a.m. when Swami reached the Samadhi. A small procession led Him in and to the glee of everyone present, He was dressed in a resplendent yellow! The car halted and as Swami's chair came out, the golden rays of the summer Sun kissed His feet and the hem of His robes. It was only after paying salutations at His feet that the Sun slowly looked up and gazed at His face! Sunlit, Swami looked really beautiful and sublime. A hush of awe seemed to descend as everyone marveled His magnificence.


Swami slowly moved into the Samadhi building, blessing many members of the family on the way. Bhajans on Easwaramma were on continuously and the boys sang with vigour and vitality. Once inside, Swami's face suddenly seemed to change and it looked as though the Mother and Son were in a silent communion. Swami's face had that tender emotion and it was hard to tell whether that look of Love was that of a child or of a mother! The story of the relationship between Swami and Easwaramma is so unique. [To get a glimpse of the glorious virtues of Mother Easwaramma, please read the cover story “Easwaramma – The Crown of Motherhood” from H2H Archives]. It is hard to tell who actually mothered whom! Swami lit the lamps that had been placed on the Samadhi, and also blessed the garlands to be laid on it respectfully.


Then, from a jewelry box, Swami took out a huge golden necklace and asked for it to be placed on the Samadhi of the Mother. All this while, the bhajans were on and even though they were being held outside without any mikes, they were heard inside the Samadhi building. Whenever the word, Easwaramma, appeared in the bhajans, Swami seemed very moved and touched.


All the members of the family who had gathered inside took their turns to offer salutations at His feet and seek His blessings. Two huge garlands were placed on the Samadhi. But they kept slipping down every time they were kept. Swami told them to cut the thread that had been knotted to make the garland a complete circle and place the two ends of the thread on the two corners. The garlands now stayed in place. After a wonderful twenty minutes or so, Swami moved out of the Samadhi building, into the car, blessing everyone along the way


As Swami moved along the road, the devotees who had crammed there just to see Him, were thrilled and excited. They stood on their toes and on anything that could lend them some support and more importantly a little height, and stretched out their hands as if to receive the abundant Grace that seemed to pervade the very air as the car passed by. Swami moved into the Mandir and went into the Bhajan Hall. There, He blessed the prasadam for Narayana Seva.


Then, He moved to the stage. A massive painting of the Mother had been reverentially placed and it made a picture perfect as Swami sat beside it. Well, actually, His chair was placed in the centre, in front of Her portrait. But Swami specifically wanted to be moved to the side. He gave the Mother her due and seemed to want her to occupy the centre stage.

 Veda chanting was on and soon the prasadam distribution began. Chitraannam (tamarind rice) and sweet pongal were distributed by the efficient Sevadal volunteers. It is wonderful the way these volunteers work so silently and efficiently. They are subject to various difficulties throughout their day starting with language barriers to being taken for granted! But their love for Swami and Swami’s love for them is so immense, that they continue to toil and slog thinking of Him ceaselessly and with all Love. It is no exaggeration to say that we must all daily spend a minute silently expressing our gratitude to these volunteers in our heart at least! As the distribution went on, Swami received aarthi and retired for the morning.

As announced the previous day, everything had been kept in readiness for the Burra Katha in the evening. Swami arrived in the chair and moved through the entire Sai Kulwant Hall granting darshan to the sizable crowd that had gathered there. It is amazing how Puttaparthi, with such a sparse population a few days ago, was buzzing agog with devotees everywhere, now that Swami had returned. Swami moved towards the interview room. He entered the Bhajan Hall where the three students who were the artists of the day were seated.

Swami examined their costumes and asked them about their evening’s performance. Looking convinced that everything was in order, Swami moved out to the stage and then called for the performers to come too. As the mikes were being placed down, Swami asked for the mikes to be brought up on the stage and wanted the artists to take the centre stage. That was done and then they began, with the wonderful portrait of Easwaramma forming a splendid backdrop for their narrative!

Looking convinced that everything was in order, Swami moved out to the stage and then called for the performers to come too. As the mikes were being placed down, Swami asked for the mikes to be brought up on the stage and wanted the artists to take the centre stage. That was done and then they began, with the wonderful portrait of Easwaramma forming a splendid backdrop for their narrative!


The Burrakatha began with a prayer to Lord Ganesha. Then, it was the Sai Bhagawatham! However much one may attempt to tell the story of Easwaramma or Subbamma, one ends up narrating the story of dear Swami, for, it is Swami who makes lives fruitful and wholesome. The story of the divine Mother and Subbamma is very inspiring as they were so closely associated with God. The three artists narrated how the mothers were privileged to witness the divinity of little Sathya.


Hailing victory to Mother Easwaramma, the students gave a brief chronology of events in her life. She was born in the year 1890 to Sri Subba Raju. When she was only five years old, the family migrated to Puttaparthi.  Her name now finds a place in the list of illustrious mothers of Avatars – Kausalya gave birth to Sri Rama, Devaki to Sri Krishna and Devagiriamma to Shirdi Sai. Swami was born in the Ratnakara Vamsa (clan) to Pedda Venkama Raju and Easwaramma.

Continuing their narration, the students said, it was Subbamma, the first wife of Narayana Rao, who named Swami as Sathyanarayana Raju. One day when Subbamma wanted to feed pakodas to Swami, she saw all the fourteen worlds in His mouth as Yashoda saw in Lord Krishna’s mouth in the Dwapara Yuga. Karanam Subbamma experienced great joy in serving food to the devotees of Swami. .

Referring to the three wishes of Mother Easwaramma, the students said the present Sri Sathya Sai University, Super Speciality Hospitals and Sri Sathya Sai Ganga Water Project bore fruit due to the humble wishes of Mother Easwaramma. In those days, Bhagavan used to do Narayana Seva to the villagers of surrounding villages while Mother Easwaramma distributed clothes. On May 6, in 1972, when the Summer Course was in progress in Brindavan, Bangalore, Mother Easwaramma left her mortal coil. She called out, “Swami, Swami …” And Swami responded immediately. He came to her, and she breathed her last. The Burra Katha artists narrated that though 37 years have passed, Mother Easwaramma is still ever fresh in everyone’s minds. A few days ago in Kodaikanal, Bhagavan inaugurated a panchaloha statue (made of five metals) of Mother Easwaramma. The students concluded with a prayer, "Oh Mother! Please return to earth again. Your sojourn here has blessed us with unimaginable bounty."


As the students concluded, Swami seemed so overwhelmed and nostalgic. It is said that a pin drop silence is a greater ode to a performance compared to a deafening applause. So it was with Swami sitting almost motionless before calling the students to Him and speaking to them. He did not lavish any presents or gifts but the sparkle in His eye said it all. Then He motioned to Mr. B.N. Narasimha Murthy, Warden, Brindavan Campus to announce the names of the Burra Katha artists – Mr. Prabhakar, MA in economics, the main narrator; Mr. Arvind Sai, also an MA in economics, the student responsible for the comic element; and Mr. Raghuram, M. Sc. in Bio-Sciences who assisted in the presentation. Then Swami got announced that the same students would perform again the next day on the life of Shirdi Sai Baba. Bhajans were on and after a while Swami received aarthi. Swami then got it announced that the President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Patil, would be arriving to Puttaparthi the next day. It was well past 6 p.m. when Swami retired for the day.

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