“I would like to know more about this Jillellamudi mother. By calling her Mother, do you mean that she is a goddess, or only that she should be respected by one and all as a mother?”
“There are no Gods and Goddesses but only one God. We Hindus believe that God permeates everything we see and everything we know. When a person is attached to, and loves, a limited company of relatives and friends, he is human. If his love extends to any living creature, man beast or tree, we say he is divine. His way of life is divine and he is sometimes called Bhagavan. If it were a lady, she is called Mother. The Jillellamudi Mother is such a lady. Very rarely do we come across a lady, who bestows motherly affection on everybody who sees her irrespective of age, caste or creed. Such a lady is named Mother. People do not worry about her name, they call her Mother. The Jillellamudi Mother is such a lady. Again. we do not hear about a lady in history or tradition, who identities herself with the Mother of the worlds. When we come by one, we name her Mother. It is for this reason too that the Jillellamudi Mother is called Mother."
“You say she loves all. Is she not a sanyasin?”
“What do you mean by a sanyasin?”
”One who lives without attachment to the body, bodily comforts, or to bodily relatives.”
“She is not worried about her bodily comforts, she doesn’t eat anything worth calling food. She is seen in Silks and cottons, but she would wear even gunnies if they are given to her. She wears jewels, but she is ever ready to spare them to relieve the distress of a visitor (girl), or a despondent householder. We see three of her own children at Jillellamudi and we are as near to her as these three. Her husband is the karanam of that village, and I saw her get up from her seat to fetch him a betel nut, when he asked for it."
“She is living with her family, is she? Does she not live away from home and relatives?”
“No. Instead, she has enlarged her home stead over a few acres round her hut. About fifty resident members, families as well as individuals, stay in that ‘House of all’. Each one selects, or is allotted if he asks, some piece of work and goes about the whole day attending to it. She tells every one of them to look upon that ‘House’ as belonging to all of them in each respect; i.e, for food, shelter, service, neatness, safety etc. Those who like to do their own cooking do so and those who would dine in the common mess, which is open to day-to-day visitors also, take their meal there.”
“Who pays for the expenses?”
“Some type of a cooperative effort may be there, but, learning from the experience of such institutions, they avoided constituting boards or committees of trustees. Through all these eight years that the mess has been running, there hasn't arisen any problem, and so he is allowed to go on without a change.”
“You said that the mess is open to visitors who invites them to come for meal?”
“In the assembly that gathers to do her worship, she makes a gesture to all to have their meal. Usually one of the girls helping the kitchen work invites all to come for meal. But after the meal time, it is usually the Mother, who sends the visitors to take meal."
"Food is served at all times. Is it?”
“Yes. Belated visitors are particularly told by her to go for meal. She suggests too that they can do the worship after meal! ‘Each one's food is always there Please don't hesitate. Go and have your meal', she would say.”
“What does she mean by ‘Each one’s meal is there?
“She means that their food for that day is in the mess. They could go and have it. One of her sayings is ‘What is hoped for would not happen, what is ours can't be avoided.' She means that their eating that day in the mess is already fixed up, they need only go through that experience without worrying about it in any way. A batch of four merchants, who were financing the feeding of a hundred visitors at Srisailam, once visited Her. Having observed what is happening at Jillellamudi, they asked Mother, "Mother, we are struggling hard to arrange for feeding just a hundred. How are you managing with these thousands?” That day being her birthday, two or three thousand visitors turned up. Mother replied, “You are hard pressed as you are arranging for their feeding. Here, they just eat what is already theirs (made for them). So, there is no worry for anyone.”
“Do all the visitors sit together, or is there an arrangement for different castes?”
“Usually all sit together. But, when individuals ask for privacy, they get it. They can even cook their meal if they so desire. No particular tradition is imposed."
“It is surprising that in these days of commercial outlook on life, feeding so many visitors could be viewed so impersonally."
“I told you that she identifies herself with the Mother of the worlds. The Great Mother had arranged for all needs of her children including food, raiment, shelter etc, for the whole period of their life. Whether they eat at 'home' or here, they eat only what is theirs already, by Mother’s arrangement. For her, who identifies herself with the Mother of the worlds, it makes no difference whether they eat from what she made available for them, there at their homes or here at Jillellamudi. That day, she means, their food is at Jillellamudi, and so they eat here."
“Please let me hear more about this aspect. I mean her identifying herself with the Mother of the worlds."
“She addresses everyone as ‘child’ irrespective of age, caste or creed. They worship her with flowers kumkum, puffed rice, betel leaves, anything they like. She sits quite unconcerned, even like the figure in the temple. She has no preference, no prohibition, in the way they worship. She relieves their disappointment at an accidental fall of a fruit from their hands, at the sight of an insect on an offering, at their inability to do all they had planned to, etc. Dogs and cats get her prasaadam as easily as men do. She was seen throwing snakes drifting in a rivulet in freshes to the shore to save their agony! There is no end to these examples for, She is the Mother all the time. Visitors too recognise the Mother in Her, some weep while looking at her.”
“Yes. They are perhaps overcome by the touch of her affection. This is common even in new visitors. She feeds such persons by offering some fruit or pudding straight to their mouth."
“This is strange! We don’t hear of people weeping when they visit holy persons."
"They do only when they are consoled by a Mother. She Says she is Mother.
"To whom?” “To you, to all. See the Mother your self.”