Easwaramma - Our Role Model
Easwaramma Day brings the memory of the glowing face of beloved Easwaramma, the chosen mother of our Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Her compassionate look teaches what true motherhood is. Her blissful smile teaches what contentment is, to be ever near Sai and nothing else, as mentioned by Bhagawan Himself.
As a little child I was fortunate to have met her every time we visited Prasanthi Nilayam. Mother Easwaramma used to stay in a small room at the back of Swami’s residence and we children used to run up and down to find out her whereabouts, to receive her blessings. Since we did not speak Telugu, we missed the opportunity of conversing with her, but her kindness and few words were sufficient to fill our hearts with joy.
Mother Easwaramma lead an exemplary life and truly embodied Swami’s teaching of ‘love all and serve all’. Though she did not have formal education and she was shy and reserved, she was a chosen instrument in Bhagawan’s mission, the inspiration behind educational and medical institutions and water projects. By her example, I learnt that if you have noble aspirations, opportunities present themselves to serve the Lord. I’ve learnt that it can be anything - your time, physical energy, good thinking, positivity, prayers, good company, inspirational and encouraging words.
Mother Easwaramma was also brave in communicating devotees' problems to Bhagawan, asking Him to bless them. She didn’t hesitate to intervene for fear of Swami chiding her, since she was confident she was only trying to help. She was prepared for any outcome. It did not matter to her whether Swami listened to her or not, but she would still try. Sometimes, for fear of getting hurt, we ignore or tend to stay away from right actions. However, I learnt from Mother Easwaramma that no matter what others say or think, we should be brave to do the right thing. I also remember Swami saying to us that the more we do the right thing, our ego gradually gets annihilated, which helps us to grow spiritually.
Bhagawan fulfilled her desires as they were selfless and beneficial to others. My first lesson from Bhagawan was 'Mother is God, Father is God, Teacher is God, Guest is God.' To me, following the above teaching gave a lot of inner peace. Since childhood, I always wanted to make my parents happy and did not want to hurt their feelings. I worked very hard to secure good grades in school as that made them very happy. This continued with every step in my life until my marriage. Afterwards, I treated my parents in laws as my own parents, as per Hindu Dharma.
Mother Easwaramma was not possessive of her son. Her only wish was to be around Swami to have His darshan. I often used to think how difficult it must have been as an earthy mother when she was unable to always be in His proximity. She sacrificed her personal interests and desires for the rest of the world and proved to be an exemplary selfless mother, for all of us.
Swami treated her as any other devotee, to help her grow out of her attachments and become closer to Him spiritually. He took care of all her needs and set an example as an ideal son. This is a great lesson for us especially when our parents grow older. We should remind ourselves that they have their own journey to God and that we should help them advance by not letting their attachment for us come in the way. The day Mother Easwaramma passed away, we were present in Brindavan, during the Summer Course. We were sitting for darshan in front of the main gate in the path towards the hall where Summer Course was being held, not knowing whether Swami would come for darshan when we heard the news. It was early morning. The gate opened, and Swami's car passed by containing the body of Mother Easwaramma and, within a few seconds, Swami walked as usual for darshan towards the hall. A lady near me cried loudly when He came near sympathising with Swami about His earthly mother’s death. Swami smiled and said “Santhosham” (“happy)!” That really shook us initially though we realized that for Bhagawan birth and death means nothing and He was happy for her to merge back in Him. By Swami’s grace, in the last stage of my father’s life, I told him not to worry about anyone and to chant only Bhagawan's name. My father nodded with a smile and I sang bhajans for him. Although it was very hard for me to control my emotions, I was determined not to distract him.
As a mother, it is natural to have attachments, but that should not interfere with the child’s opportunity to serve the rest of the world. I learnt from her that a mother should let go of her personal expectations and a true mother should wish well for all the children, as Mother Easwaramma did. Swami says:
Today, people desire that only their family and children should be happy. But Easwaramma was not like that. Easwaramma had a broad mind. She wanted everyone to be happy.
Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 34 Ch. 19, November 19, 2001
Humility, purity of thought and manners, meekness, surrender to high ideals, sensitivity, sweetness of temper, the particular blend of all these qualities is modesty. The modest woman wields authority in the home and outside, in the community as well as in the world. Her attention will always be on the limits that she should not transgress. Honour and praise come to her unasked and unnoticed.
Dharma Vahini, Ch. 4
Mother Easwaramma was an example of a simple, kind-hearted mother. This quality of hers had a great impact on me. Mother Easwaramma was traditional in her outlook but was wise and modern in her thinking, adapting to the demands of the changing world. She desired that women should be well educated and therefore prayed to Swami to start a school. She desired that widows should not be abused but treated with love and care. Thus, many widowed women and those deserted by their family found a home at Prasanthi Nilayam. Though illiterate, she had spiritual knowledge and enjoyed sharing her wisdom through moral stories with young children.
To conclude let us remind ourselves of Swami's message:
Mothers are responsible for the well-being of their children. They also show spiritual path to their children. So, never forget your mother. To set an ideal in this regard, I visit the Samadhi of My parents on My birthday.
Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 31 Ch. 40, November 19, 1998
To inculcate this good feeling in the hearts of people, even Bhagawan has undertaken this sacred activity. I humbly request every individual to adore, respect, worship, love, and remember in their prayers his/her mother without missing a day in their lives and thereby please our Divine Mother Sai.
Saraswathi Baskar, Australia