Subbamma, the Chosen Foster Mother.
Trail blazer; A most admirable devotee,
By name Subbamma of Puttaparthi.
Very well to do, but with no off-springs.
Gave in charity to one and all, with feelings:
“I am only sharing my riches, God-given.
With my fellow human beings.”-She said.
Led a pious, sacred and noble life,
Serene, equanimous, most upright.
To Sai Krishna, she was foster Mother Yashoda.
Doted on young Baba with all her soul.
Baba’s visitors and devotees, most copious,
Were fed daily, in a manner most sumptuous!
Her grinding stone worked full time, unceasing!
Preparing idlis, dosas, wadas, chutneys.
All must partake dainty dishes, savories cooked by her.
Many a time also coaxing Baba to eat some more!
She implored Baba with her one desire, ‘yearn’:
“At time of my exit from earthly sojourn,
Pour into my mouth a few water droplets
With Your Divine hands, and ensure my Deliverance!”
Baba promised that he would do so!
Six years later, Baba was in Madras.
That was the time of Second World War.
Frequent air-raid sirens, made streets bare!
Baba visited his devotees for 3 days whole.
Took Bukkapatnam return route by road.
While Subbamma, now seriously indisposed.
Was taken to Bukkapatnam, her parental home.
Alas! There she passes away! Relatives are bitter:
“Baba gave word that he would pour water,
Into her parched mouth in her last hour!
Oh! Why does He not show up?” -They inquire.
Subbamma’s brothers, cousins and relations
Make plans to take her for cremation.
Passing by the residence of Subbamma,
Baba notices, there is a crowd in mourning!
“Who is being taken for cremation?” He asks.
Washer-man Subanna who is present, replies:
“Lord! Subbamma is dead.” Baba wants elucidation:
”When did she die?” – “3 days ago!” replies Subanna.
Baba enters the house where the body is kept.
Her relatives, neighbours gather, collect,
And are about to move the body out-doors.
Her sister seeing Baba, wails and mourns:
“Baba, she pined for you so! Awaited Your presence,
To pour sanctified water to her lips,
Before she would take her final breath!
Swami! She died longing for her wish fulfillment!”
Baba tells her: “Amma, such an eventuality is not possible!”
Tells her to fetch some water in a tumbler.
Baba puts a basil leaf in the water.
Removes cloth that covers her dead features.
Ants are crawling all over her frame!
“Subbamma! He gently calls her by name!”
Wonder of Wonders! She opens her eyes, to see Baba!
Holding Baba’s hands, she asks: “Swami when did you come?”
Baba replies: “I have just entered.”
He wipes her tears gently and commands:
“Subbamma! Look here.” He pours a few drops
Of the sacred tulsi water into her mouth.
“Now close your eyes and be at rest!” He proclaims.
Subbamma quaffs the water drops from Baba’s palms!
And breathes her last! Swami keeps His Promise!
All gape in wonder at the miracle! They are in Bliss!
With eyes gleaming: “Unimaginable!” They exclaim loudly:
“Subbamma dead for 3 days! With no breath in her body!
How could she open her eyes and speak to Swami?
Swami is Divine! No mortal can explain Him!”-They proclaim!
Numerous are the ways in which God manifests His Leelas!
Goes to any extent to fulfill his pledged Promise!
Whatever religion one may profess to claim allegiance to,
The promised word must be honoured! Must be kept!