Brother Apparao continued to talk, “I asked Mother that in order to feel ‘Everything is One’, what should I do? to which, she replied, ‘First assume, then you will feel’”.
Such beautiful words!! They meant, ‘First do sadhana, then you will attain siddhi accordingly’.
Such were her sayings, plain and simple, just as our everyday talk, yet with a profound meaning that could be understood only by those who had the ability to discern.
Same was the case with Lord Sri Ramakrishna, who expressed the highest Vedantic principles in a most simple and lucid manner. In the spiritual world, we can observe this phenomenon only in Sri Ramakrishna and the Mother of Jillellamudi.
Brother Apparao resumed. “I also had another doubt. In this universe, there are innumerable galaxies and worlds. This idea is also expressed in the verse aneka koti brahmanda janani divya vigraha (You are the Mother of countless Universes. Your form is full of light and brilliance) from Lalita Sahasranama. Likewise, the Tantras also state that everything that exists in the universe is also present in the human body. How can these two be correlated? How is it possible that everything in the universe also be present in our body? If so, where were they? How could our body verily be the universe? I was deeply intrigued by this idea. Mother cleared all my doubts by bestowing upon me an experience.
One day, while I was in meditation, I began to have an experience. I saw that all of a sudden, all the cells inside my body appeared to have split apart into individual entities. The boundaries of the body still existed. But all the organs inside the body were separated into countless individual cells and each cell was illuminated with a unique glow, while still lying within the boundaries of the body. Thus, millions of cells were spread all throughout the body, glowing as separate entities. As I witnessed all this, I was awestruck and thought to myself, ‘Oh! Is this what is meant by the verse aneka koti brahmanda!’.
As I continued to watch, in a flash, even the boundaries of my body vanished and all the individual cells dispersed into the surrounding vacuum. That meant my horizon became one with the universal horizon. Only the feeling of ‘I’ remained. After sometime I began to feel the boundaries of my body, bringing back the limited feeling of ‘I am this body’ from state of the universal consciousness and I slowly regained bodily consciousness.
That means, just as there are innumerous solar systems in the universe, there are millions of cells in the human body. Each cell is a solar system implying that our body itself is the universe. Tantra reiterates the same.
Mother not only answered all my questions verbally but also addressed them by giving me an internal experience and ensured that I practically understood it. Mother’s preachings were always such.”
I was delighted to hear brother Apparao reiterate my belief that true spirituality is not about bookish knowledge but about experience.
Brother Apparao continued, “‘Meditation means focusing on one’s breath’ - were the words uttered by Mother some fifty years ago. She had personally said this to me, but today, some people are promoting this statement as their own.
She once told me to focus on breathing. Initially, I could not understand what she meant by that. What would happen if I focused on breathing? I could feel the air flowing in and out through my nose, but did not know what to do after that. With her, everything was like that, she never elaborated much on anything, but only hinted in a subtle way and taught by means of giving us experiences in meditation or in daily life, through which we had to understand.
I started focusing on breathing and this gradually gave rise to a thought. Upon observing the source of breathing, I became conscious that the movement in the lungs, their contraction and expansion is that which causes breathing. Then I searched for the reason behind lung movement, then involuntarily, my awareness drifted to the spine. I then experienced that lung movement is based on the signals constantly emitted from the nerve centers in the spinal cord and its reflexes. Thereafter I could feel the flow of prana from the Muladhara at the bottom of the spine to the Sahasrara located at the top of the head. Further, I could also experience the energy flow from the tip of the toes to the crown center of the head. It was purely due to Mother’s grace that I could understand the flow of prana not only existed in the six chakras but also from the toes to the head. All this happened effortlessly and I mentioned about this in my book.”
As all these experiences were true, I felt very happy listening to them.
‘Brother, you were very close to Mother and you must have witnessed many incidents in her life. Could you tell us about a few incidents that were not recorded in the books?’ I asked him.
Brother Apparao said “Yes, there are” and he continued.
“There is an incident in Shirdi Sai Baba’s life, where he left his physical body while in Samadhi and returned after three days. A similar incident took place in Mother’s life. One day she told the doctor ‘I will be in Samadhi for three days, so take care of the body during this time’. Saying thus, she laid down as if she were sleeping, and after a little while, when the doctor examined her, breathing had stopped and there was no pulse, yet the body did not become cold. So, we stayed beside her and took care of her body. After three days, breathing and pulse returned and within a few minutes, Mother began to move and sat up.
This incident happened right in front us but has not been recorded in any books. There are many such incidents that have not been documented. Let me tell you about another such incident that I remember.
Once a big cucumber sized lump had formed on Mother’s lower back. Initially, we were afraid of it being cancerous, but later, the tests proved it to be otherwise. A special arrangement was made to avoid any sort of discomfort to the unending flow of devotees visiting her. A tyre was placed on the chair and clothes were arranged next to it so as to meet the level of the tyre. Then, in order to let devotees get her darshan, they had Mother sit on the chair so that the lump would fit in the hole of the tyre.
And as days went by, the lump began to cause severe inconvenience. My birthday fell around the same time. Every year, on my birthday, no matter where I was, I used to visit Mother and have her massage my hair with oil, take shower and eat food from her hands. Hence, as always, I went to see Mother on that day, but she had been suffering from the lump. All of us waited for her outside.
Mother told the doctor who was next to her inside the room, to get a new blade and cut off the lump. Upon hearing this, everyone, including the doctor was stunned. He said that he wouldn’t be able to do it without anesthesia. To this day, we don’t have a doctor in this remote village. Imagine those days ! How could we arrange for anesthesia and take her to the operation theater?
Mother simply refused to agree, so they finally had to yield to her and cut the lump with a new blade. There was an outpour of blood and pus from it. She gazed indifferently as if it wasn’t her body that was being cut. She did not express the slightest pain even through her eyes. We have read that Ramana Maharshi also watched like a spectator, as they were cutting the cancerous growth on his hand. However, this particular incident in Mother’s life occurred right in front of us, but this too has not been recorded anywhere in the books.”
I curiously inquired, “Brother, were you there to personally witness this?”
“Yes, I was there, but not inside the room. As mentioned earlier, we were all waiting outside for Mother’s darshan and this incident happened at that time. Immediately after this, they bandaged the affected area and Mother called me inside. She sat calmly as if nothing had happened. She massaged my hair with oil, gave me new clothes and fed me affectionately.
How could one be so detached with one’s own body? I couldn’t believe it but since it happened right in front of us, I had no choice but to believe. How was this possible? How could anyone be like that? - I was puzzled by such thoughts. Then one day Mother gave me an answer through an experience.
In those days we used to do ekaham for the betterment of Mother’s health. I used to participate in that. While sitting in the bhajan, I began to weep thinking about Mother’s condition. Meanwhile a miracle happened. Suddenly, a sadhaka named Kamalamma came and placed her foot on my head. Immediately, I started to have a beautiful experience.
Normally, for everyone the ‘I’ consciousness is limited to the body. But when Kamalamma placed her foot on my head, suddenly the ‘I’ consciousness in me expanded to the entire room. I could feel that everything was within me, including the room, people in the room, Kamalamma, and ‘me’ that was crying. See how strange this is. The expanded ‘I’ which occupied the complete room was happily looking at the ‘I’ that was in the body crying. There was no sadness in the expanded ‘I’, it was peaceful. I had this feeling for a very short time. As soon as Kamalamma took her foot off me, consciousness returned to my body. Again I was just myself with my body, sitting in the group and crying. It was as if there were two people in a body. The big or expanded ‘I’ in which body exists and the small ‘I’ which is inside the body.” said Brother.
I added, “Is it like the parable of two birds sitting on a tree, mentioned in the Upanishads?”
Brother joyfully said “Yes! Yes!”
Then he continued, “In this way, Mother practically made me experience how one can be in the body and yet, not be attached to it. Mother’s ways are such. Not only did she have the power to directly bestow us with an experience, but she also could do so through others. Then I understood how great saints could remain unperturbed even when their bodies were being slashed.”
I listened silently. It is true that one experiences such things in meditation.
There are two states of the feeling of ‘I’ - one is the localized ‘I’ that is within the boundaries of the body and the other is the expanded ‘I’ that is beyond this body.
When one is in the second state, the universe becomes his body. Vishwam vishnuh (The universe is Lord Vishnu Himself) is one of the beginning namas in Vishnu Sahasranama. In this state, the Earth itself feels like a speck of dust within him, then, what to speak of the body and it’s ailments? Then, would it hurt if you cut a part of the body? Isn’t it the same as not feeling any pain when we cut our hair or nails? Same is the case with the saints who are always in the universal consciousness, hence they do not have bodily consciousness. Since we are not aware of that state, it appears very peculiar to us.
Interrupting my thoughts, brother said, “Are all these experiences with me, now? I must say no. Mother gave me those experiences at that time. And even if I wish to, I cannot experience them now, but I still have memories of them.”
My wife and kids were quietly listening to our conversation. It was 10 p.m. in the night, hence we did not want to cause any more inconvenience to him. So, thanking him for sharing his precious memories with us we got up to take leave.
Brother said, “Next time, please plan to stay for a few days, as we would like to listen to the details in your book from you. I will take care of the arrangements for your stay.”
I do not prefer discussing my books as if narrating a tale, so it was unlikely that it would happen. But out of courtesy, I said that I’d try.
We took leave of him and started back to Guntur. The car left Jillellamudi and was racing towards Pedanandipadu. It was midnight by the time we reached Guntur. No one spoke much throughout the journey. We all felt Mother’s form stir our hearts with her smiling glance.
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Annapoorna B, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on June 12, 2015. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.