Once God asked Narada - ‘Narada, tell me, which is the greatest
thing in the whole world?’
Narada promptly answered ‘Water occupies three fourths of the
world. So it is the greatest.’
God said, ‘Fine. But did not Agastya drink the entire water in
a gulp. So is he great or is the water?’
‘But Agastya is just one star in the Saptarshi Mandal. There are
millions of such stars in the vast sky. Now tell me is one star great
or the vast sky which holds these great?’
‘No doubt about it the vast sky is great!’
‘But God in the guise of Vamana covered the vast sky in just one
step so, is God great or the vast sky?’
‘Of course, God is great!’
‘But the Bhakta imprisons such God in his heart. So is God great
or the Bhakta?
‘Bhakta is great’ said Narada! This episode shows us how
God is carried away by Ananya Bhakti.
God Himself proclaimed,
‘Mayyavesya manoyemam nityayukta upasate
Sraddaya para yopethaste me yukta tanu mataha !!
One such Bhakta whose name remains forever with Lord Venkateswara’s
name is Tarigonda Vengamamba.
2. Origin of Tarigonda
There is a story behind the name of Tarigonda. Once upon a time there
was famine in Andhra Pradesh. The villagers of Rayadurg left their place
in search of food. On the way, they halted at a village called ‘Prattimitta’.
That place appeared to be relatively better than their place. So they
led a nomadic life there.
One day, a Brahmin lady called Lakshmi Narasamma was
churning curds in a pot (It is called tari-konda). She was praying to
Lakshmi Narasimha, the local deity of their village requesting him to
have pity on those poor famine stricken souls. Suddenly her churner wasn’t
moving freely. It was making a hard stund as if it was touching a hard
stone. She was surprised and put her hand inside the pot. She could find
nothing! She laughed to herself. She thought it was only her wild imagination,
being lost in prayer. This time she concentrated on her work and continued
churning. No, she was not mistaken! These must be a stone blocking her
work. There was no free movement for the churner. Again she touched every
nook and corner of the pot, but could not feel anything. She informed
her husband of the strange experience. When he came to look at it, he
found a small statue of the Lord Lakshmi Narasimha in it. He took it out
and shared his joy with his people. They all prayed to God. They heard
the voice, ‘Oh My devotees! I couldn’t bear to see your miseries
so I appeared in this pot for your sake. You settle down here in this
village and pray to me. Good days are ahead for you. You construct a temple
As God proclaimed they prayed to Him to devoutly. Their
troubles came to an end. They built a temple for him and named Him Tarikunda
(A pot of curds) Narasimha and gradually the village gained the name Tarigonda
( It is four mile away from Voilpadu in Cuddapah District).
Krishnaiah was the descendent of this family belonging
to Vasista Gotram
3. Birth of Vengamamba
There was a devout couple called Krishaniah and Mangamamba in Tarigonda
village. They were the happiest couple but for a pin prick in their life.
They had no children. They couldn’t understand why they were not
blessed by a child though they were staunch devotees of the Lord Venkateswara.
One day while her husband was walking to her, Mangamamba thought it was
the Lord walking to her but not her husband. The same day, some children
were playing on the roadside. One of them ran into Mangamamba’s
house and said, ‘Ma, I am hungry!’ Being thrilled with his
addressing her as Ma - she offered him a morsel of curd rice - prasadam.
He snatched the bowl from her hand, gulped the whole thing in a split
second and ran out before she could see what was happening. She wanted
him to wash his hands and mouth but lo! The boy was out of sight. She
felt that he was no other than Lord Krishna - chilipi Krishna - himself.
Poor innocent lady expressed her feelings to her husband but that only
irritated him. He shouted at her. ‘Too much of anything is too bad.
You are praying incessantly to God and so you are under a hallucination.
You better put an end to your nonsensical prayer at once! So saying he
relaxed in his easy chair outside, but his mind was disturbed. When he
cooled down he reasoned to himself, ‘Did I not experience the same
feeling in the morning while I was praying to God? Then what rights have
I to shout at her? In fact though she has been laughed at by the society,
she never cursed God for her ill fate. Why should I blame God?’
These words of self reprimand made him a normal self. As atonement for
his sin, he took his wife to the local temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
Mangamamba could feel a light from the Lord’s eyes caressing her
body. Her husband too felt it was a sign of Lord’s blessings and
that they would be blessed with a baby very soon. Yes their understanding
was perfect. Within two months Mangamamba conceived. Krishnaiah’s
joy knew no bounds. He treated her as a delicate darling and wanted to
fulfil all her desires. She said ‘I like the sweetness of Ramanama.
I would like to hand it over to the offspring in my womb.’ Little
did she realize then, the tension they would face when their offspring
came out into the world with the name of God!
They longed for a boy baby but Mangamamba dreamt of Lord Venkateswara
in a feminine get up. Her husband too was told by a tribal man that a
girl baby would be born to him. So they were half prepared and drove out
their initial disappointment very easily. In fact Mangamamba laughed to
herself at her unreasonable nature. There were days when they longed for
a child, but when they really had one should they not feel happy over
The baby was the centre of attraction in their lives. Whatever the baby
did was an act of admiration to them. The laugh, the cry, a movement of
the hand or leg even a yawn was a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.
They named her Vengamamba - a combination of Lord Venkateswara and Alivelu
Manga. The composer and the singer in Mangamamba came out unknowingly
and the proud father admired his wife’s talents.
4. Childhood of Vengamamba and Education
Days rolled to months and months added to years. Three years passed by
Vengamamba became a cutie pie with rolling eyes, chubby cheeks and rosy
lips. One day her playmates made one of the girls Lord Venkateswara and
our tiny tot as Alivelu Manga. The girls were thrilled at their creation
and so was the mother who was a silent spectator to the whole drama.
Some more years passed by. Vengamamba helped father and mother in their
prayers and many a time she sat like a statue staring at the statue before
her. The parents had mixed feelings of joy and fear in such situations.
They admired her faith in God but had their own doubts about her future.
Every evening she went to the temple. She collected flowers, made garlands
out of them and offered them to God. Nobody could compete with her in
her skill of making garlands. Even amidst a thick crowd of people she
was lost in her own sweet world. Her friends made her sing songs on the
Lord. She sang them melodiously.
It so happened that once a learned man heard her songs. He was bewildered
to hear that they were composed and sung by the small girl herself. He
accompanied her to her house, introduced himself to her parents and predicted
a bright future for her if they polished her in these lines.
His words of praise sounded like words of warning to their already disturbed
minds. Any devout parent would like his child to nurture the seeds of
faith in him, but Vengamamba was pulling the strings too far. With such
devoutness, would she lead a normal life, get married and beget children
like any other normal child? Whatever were the words of the learned man,
the parents felt it was high time they woke up and put her on the normal
Promptly a guru was appointed. His name was Subramanya Desika. He was
a great Pandit. He became popular for his fund of patience and kindness.
He saw Vengamamba and guessed at once she was a bright child. He knew
teaching her would get him name and fame. He began teaching her. In no
time Vengamamba picked up whatever he taught. It was customary for him
to incorporate stories of Ramayana, Bharata and Bhagavatha in his teaching.
Little did he realize that this methodology would only add fuel to fire!
He did not know he was pouring oil over the enkindled light of Bhakti
One day when Vengamamba was not in a good mood to learn, he began the
story of Gajendra Moksha as a stimulant to her. She was engrossed in it
in no time. He narrated the story then. Once there lived an elephant king.
He went with his kith and kin to drink water to a pond. He made a big
mess there. He plucked all the flowers, threw them helter-skelter, sprinkled
water over the she-elephants and disturbed the water kingdom. This irritated
a crocodile under water he rose up slowly and caught hold of its leg tightly!
What happened to the elephant? Not until she learnt her lessons of that
day. Vengamamba could not argue but learnt halfheartedly. She ran to her
mother for the rest of the story but her mother was not good at it. Father
was not available. She had to wait till her guru came the next day. She
insisted on learning the rest of it before the lessons. This time the
master had to yield to her unsatiating desire.
So he continued, ‘The elephant fought for many years with the crocodile
and gradually he lost all his energy. When all his attempts failed miserably,
he turned to the creator of the universe, the crocodile, of his troubles
and then he. ‘Oh Lord help me! Only you can save me! Nobody else!’
Such a situation is a typical scene. As long as we have everything, we
boast about ourselves, we nourish the ego in us. When we are totally immersed
in the sea of troubles the ‘ego’ cannot help us. When we realize
it and surrender totally to God, God will take care of us.
‘A miraculous thing happened here. The elephant’s helpless,
sincere cry reached the ears of God far above to his Vaikunta. He did
not inform Goddess Lakshmi, he did not wait to wear his weapons, he did
not wait for his Garuda. He just came at once followed by his trail, Goddess
Lakshmi and his retinue and his weapons.’
‘Does he look like our Lord Venkateswara?’
‘Yes of course! Your Lord Venkateswara is another form of the Almighty!
He is touched by his devotee’s sincere prayer. So he sent his Sudarshana
Chakra to kill the crocodile and saved the elephant so now my child, shall
we proceed with our lessons?’ the Guru asked.
But Vengamamba could not come out of the story easily. ‘Does God
answer our prayers?’
‘Yes! He answers the prayers of those who pray sincerely. He can
be seen by such people.’
‘Can I also see him? Don’t I pray sincerely?’
‘Definitely, first you learn slokas and Sastras from your father.
Presently you learn the lessons I teach’ the Guru said.
She learnt reluctantly the lessons but was lost in thought. Gradually
she was lost to the world. She spent her time mostly in staring at God
or in praying to God all the time. She would laugh to herself or cry suddenly.
She spoke only of God to her friends. She was not very keen in her lessons
though the Guru was desperately trying to teach her.
One day Vengamamba was in her own sweet world when the Guru came to teach
her. He called her but she said ‘Oh I can see God? How wonderful
He is! Look He is calling me!’ so saying she rushed to the temple.
She stared long at God, took the prasad and walked back home.
The Guru asked, ‘Now tell me what happened!’ She answered
‘I saw the Lord. Lord Venkateswara. He is just as we see him in
the picture. He spoke many things to me but asked me to be silent about
it. The Guru realized that she wouldn’t listen that day, though
she had the courtesy to attend his class. He left her alone!
5. Vengamamba’s strange behaviour.
Vengamamba was slowly becoming the talk of the town through her strange
behaviour. God knows when she would go to the temple. The parents were
at a loss to understand her. One day she began dancing before the temple.
The mother came to know of it and dragged her home and scolded her. To
the question ‘Are you not ashamed of dancing before the crowd?’
she simply answered, ‘Where is the crowd? There was no one else
except my swami and myself. He made me sing and dance.’ This irritated
the mother and father all the more. Vengamamba couldn’t decipher
the reason for their anger. She followed the orders of father of fathers.
He asked her to sing and dance. So she did!
Parents shouted at her as much as they could but were moved to tears when
their only daughter cried. Generally diversion is the best medicine. So
the parents tried it out on their daughter. They entrusted lot of household
duties to her. She had to put Rangoli, attend to the cow, cut vegetables,
clean vessels etc. But their plan was an utter flop. She found pleasure
in every task. She could see God in the cow, the calf, milk, flowers,
water, fire - everywhere! Her knowledge of God expanded and her love of
God doubled. She did every task chanting the name of God.
One day she was putting the Rangoli but there seemed to be no end to it.
It became broad day light. Father came to her angrily and gave her a big
blow. His daughter’s tears or mother’s love could not stop
him. There was a reason behind it. Only the previous night one of his
relatives cautioned him, ‘If you don’t control her now, it
will be difficult to get her married. There was a rumour already that
she was mad. Her mad behaviour in the morning irritated him all the more.
He warned her, ‘From today you should not go to temple. You should
not sing songs. If you don’t obey me, I’ll imprison you in
a room’. He looked like Hiranya Kasipa. She hoped her father wouldn’t
face a tragic death like him. She knew father loved her immensely and
so had decided to obey him.
One day she heard the temple bells and ran to the temple. She cried bitterly.
‘Oh God I can’t live without seeing you or praying to you.’
The Pujari asked why she had not come for a long time. She narrated the
story amidst tears. The Pujari felt she was closer to God than himself.
He also knew she would one day turn out to be a yogin or a saint. All
the same, he advised her to go home.
She did not go home. She was putting Rangoli in the next street. Mother
made a frantic search for her and dragged her home once again.
6. Vengamamba’s Marriage trials
Krishnaiah and Mangamma let out their feelings to the Head priest, Peddacharlu.
He consoled them and advised them to perform her marriage. The neighbouring
women too suggested the same. That day only a woman astrologer came to
their house. The mother asked when her daughter would be married.
‘Her marriage is already performed. It is not an ordinary marriage.
Venkanna Babu is her husband. He will take her to Him.’ The girl
was thrilled while the mother was shocked.
The parents were forced to think of performing her marriage at once, though
they felt she was too young. Getting an alliance proved to be a difficult
task. One lady straightaway asked, ‘Will your daughter lead a family
life? We were told she was a devotee.’
The father laughed it away. They promised to come but never turned up.
They sent word saying that their son’s marriage was settled elsewhere!
To add insult to injury Vengamamba said, ‘Why do you see alliances
for me. I was married long ago.’ Peddacharyulu consoled them, ‘Don’t
worry. Your daughter is very good looking. Anybody would jump at your
alliance. The only problem is the rumours about her. See that she doesn’t
step out of the house for just one month. Everything will be alright.’
Theory is different from practice. They could not curtail the flow of
Bhakti in her. It was simply impossible for them. Krishnaiah has been
desperately searching for a boy. Time was moving on at its regular pace,
making Vengamamba grow into a young lady from a young girl. Youthful appearance
added beauty to her physical features. Her long hair, rosy cheeks, fair
complexion were a source of jealousy to her companions while they were
a source of misery for the mother. Beauty and brains don’t go together
is the saying. She wondered why God who created her so beautifully did
not give her the normal brains of any other girl.
One day Peddacharyulu brought an alliance. The boy belonged to Chittoor.
He was an educated boy. His gotram was Srivatsasa. The boy’s father
spoke warmly to them. Peddacharyulu took care of every minute detail and
settled the marriage. The parents’ joy knew no bounds. They paid
a deaf ear to the protests of Vengamamba. The marriage was performed on
a grand gala scale. It looked like the marriage of Lord Vishnu and Goddess
Lakshmi. Vengamamba treated God as her husband and she had to convince
herself that the name sake of God - Venkatachalapathi - was her husband.
7. Vengamamba’s Marital Life
The belief is marriage puts an end to mad behaviour, but this maxim did
not work out in the case of Vengamamba. She was looked after well by the
in-laws. She was loved much by her husband but these new attachments did
not bring about even a wee-bit of change in her. In fact these attachments
looked like shackles to her. She continued her prayers in her own way.
The in-laws and their relatives were initially impressed by her Bhakti
but as days rolled by, it became an irritable thing. They were filled
with displeasure and distrust. The mother-in-law drove her back to her
home with her father. The change of scene made no difference for her.
She involved herself in the household duties.
The parents tried every possible means to make her love her husband. They
consulted doctors, prayed to Gods, did Santhi Poojas. Finally they decided
that if they perform nuptial ceremony for her, the marital bliss might
pull her down to the mundane world. Even great kings or saints are no
exceptions to the weakness for the opposite sex.
No sooner thought than done. They fixed the date for her first night and
sent word. The husband hastened with his kith and kin with rosy dreams
about his Rasa-leela with his wife. Vengamamba was sent into the room.
They could deck her body but couldn’t deck her mind. She did not
have the shyness or the colourful feelings of a bride. Her husband approached
with tons of love, addressing her ‘Venku’ fondly, embraced
her. She began shivering like a deer before a tiger. He hugged her more
closely to drive her fears, but she gave him one rough push.
He asked her caressingly, ‘My dear Venku, what happened? What’s
wrong? Don’t you love me?’ Poor Venku ran out of the room,
crying bitterly. Venkatachalapathi remained in the room like a statue.
Vengamamba hid her face in her mother’s lap and cried silently.
The parents were speechless. The son-in-law came out of the room in search
of his wife. The father-in-law held his hands in his hands and pleaded,
‘Please, keep it a secret. We will convince her and send her to
you.’ The son-in-law was moved by the father-in-law’s request
and kept it a secret even from his parents, Mother explained to her in
as many ways as possible. If a baby was born to them, it would put an
end to all their problems.
Second night, she was ushered into her husband’s room once again.
Venkatachalapathi was attracted towards her. He approached her from behind.
He didn’t notice Vengamamba’s feelings. He put his arm on
her shoulder and turned her towards him. That’s all! Vengamamba
pushed him back angrily with all the force. He fell near the bed and hit
against the log of the bed. He was wounded at the head.
She said, ‘Who said you are my husband. You are not my husband.
I was married long ago to Lord Venkateswara. If you touch me again, your
head will break into thousand pieces. Go, get lost!’ She was trembling
with anger and was crying. Her husband was frightened by her mad behaviour.
The news reached the mother-in-law’s ear and she began crying, cursing
all the while his in-laws. Vengamamba went to the temple unmindful of
the commotion at home.
The news spread like wild fire in the village. The villagers were divided
in their opinions of Vengamamba. When some praised her on par with Godadevi,
Meerabai or Sakhubai some looked down upon her as a mad cap. Vengamamba
continued her practice of singing and dancing in the temple. People who
believed in her spiritual powers gathered round her.
Venkatachalapathi was scared beyond words. The words ‘If you touch
me again, your head will break into thousand pieces’ haunted him
day in and day out. He became half mad with the fears of Vengamamba approaching
to kill him. Some times she looked like a devil and sometimes like goddess
Alivelu Manga. His parents wanted to perform second marriage for him but
he was sinking day by day. He was mentally upset. One night he shouted
in his dream. ‘Venku, No, I am not your husband Don’t kill
me, don’t kill me.’
In the mean while in her village, Vengamamba’s friend, Seetha delivered
a girl baby. Vengamamba predicted that the baby would die within three
days. That night itself the baby died. Vengamamba said that she only conveyed
what God conveyed to her but this incident filled the villagers with strange
fears. They were worried that she might spell out any untoward incident
in their lives and that might come true.
So the people avoided her sight. For that matter, nobody dared to pass
through their street. This worried the father all the more and he approached
Peddacharyulu for his consultation. He was also good at astrology. So
he said, ‘Nothing to worry. Just wait for a month. You can leave
her back in her in-law’s house. In the meanwhile do the necessary
Poojas and Danas. This gave him a new ray of hope.
There, back in her in-law’s house, Venkatachalapathi’s health
came back to normalcy thanks to the talisman of the Poojari. He resumed
his duties in the farm. One day he declared, ‘I’ll go get
my wife. Mother had her own fears. She advised, ‘Please wait. You
have just recovered. If your wait your father-in-law may bring her back.’
‘Why the hell should I? Why should you object to my bringing my
own wife?’ The father could understand the young heart’s longing
for marital life. So he agreed at once. He had planned to go two days
later. Though he was eager, he was also skeptical about his wife’s
coming, but still he wanted to go. He went to bed with mixed feeling,
but did not get up the next morning.
Vengamamba’s parents were shocked but Vengamamba just smiled. The
villagers came to console her but she asked innocently, ‘My husband
is alive, why do you console me!’ They sympathized with her all
8. Dogmatic rituals for the widow - Vengamamba.
It was customary to remove the hair and Bindi of a Brahmin widow. Vengamamba
did not agree. One day an old lady came to her. She informed her of the
ritual to be performed but Vengamamba laughed it away. ‘I am not
a widow. I am a Nitya Sumangali. I am married to the Divine Lord Venkateswara.
So I don’t have to undergo this ritual.’
The villagers could not appreciate her Bhakti then. Selfishness over took
their understanding of her. They felt that her unreasonable behaviour
would bring curse to the village. They cursed her but she coolly said
that the curses would boomerang on them. That irritated them all the more.
They ill-treated her in various possible ways. They called her names,
they threw stones at her, they pulled her long hair, they made fun of
her, but Vengamamba was unperturbed. The wiseacres of the village put
their heads together to solve this problem. They unanimously decided that
they should take a barber with them and should get her hair removed by
hook or crook.
Seetha came for delivery for the second time. Once bitten, twice shy is
the saying. Seetha’s mother didn’t want Seetha to meet her
good old friend, but Seetha couldn’t resist her temptation. She
met Vengamamba secretly. Vengamamba spoke to her affectionately and said,
‘Seetha, you will be blessed by twins! You are lucky. You will beget
boy babies. She offered her a banana as prasadam. She added, ‘This
Pooja Mandir is my house, Lord Venkateswara is my husband. What else do
I need?’ Seetha was thrilled to have such a saint as her bosom friend.
Just as Seetha left, two village heads entered. They asked rudely whether
she had changed her mind. When she answered in the negative, many more
surrounded her. One tied her hands together with his upper cloth, while
the barber removed her hair on the head in a jiffy.
Vengamamba stared at them angrily. The village munsif’s leg became
paralyzed and the barber’s hand became paralyzed. The villagers,
shocked, left the place mutely. Vengamamba dipped herself in the lake
beside, chanting the name of God.
What a surprise! When she got out of water, she became her previous self
with long, black hair! The news spread like wild fire and the villagers
who cursed, teased and made fun of her all along made her an ‘Amma’
at once. They formed a queue before her house to seek her blessings. They
felt she was a reincarnation of Alivelu Manga and called her ‘Devudamma.’
The paralyzed munsif and barber had not changed for better. They developed
hatred for her and successfully poisoned the brains of a few foolish people
who in turn poisoned some more weaklings. The village was torn into two
Vengamamba made a boy eat a banana when he had not touched food for two
days. Such miraculous powers convinced some but others argued against
those. The anti Vengamamba party was still knee bent on following the
religious practice but who would bell the cat? As if answering their prayers
Sri Sankaracharya Paramparaacharyulu visited their place. The villagers
received him with all the pomp and show. They gave a written complaint
to him. Swami also wanted to see her. He opined that he could bring about
a change in her. The villagers too pinned their faith on him.
She was sent for. She said she would go after, she had her dinner. How
dare she could answer thus! She was summoned again and the same answer
was received again.
Finally she arrived with a coconut in her hand. She stood before the Swami’s
throne, lost in prayer of her Swami. She was asked to greet the Swamiji
but she paid deaf ear. The Swamiji himself asked why she was not willing
to do so. She said, ‘Swami, first you step out of that throne, then
I will fold my hands to you. The Swamiji was surprised but still obliged
her. The onlookers were eagerly staring at Vengamamba with expectant looks.
She folded her hands not in the direction of the Swamiji, but in the direction
of the throne. And Lo! The next minute the whole ‘Simhasan’
was burnt down to ashes with a thundering noise. The frightened mob ran
helter-skelter to save their skins.
The Swamiji was thankful to Vengamamba as a saviour of his life. So, instead
of giving a lecture to her, he aimed his lecture at the stupidity of the
villagers of Tarigonda. He said, ‘She is like the eclipsed sun.
She is a great Jnani, yogi, enriched by the wealth of Bhakti and Vairagya.
You don’t curse her. If you do so, you will lose all your Punya!’
The speech of the Swamiji was an eye-opener to the villagers. They praised
her and her Lord. Vengamamba sang a Keertana then in praise of the Swamiji.
Sankaracharya guruni sannuthimpare
Nishkalanka paramayoga mabhyasimpare.
Vengamamba questioned the Swamiji, ‘O.K. I will oblige you and get
my hair cut totally, but can you assure me that it won’t crop up
again?’ The Swamiji had no answer. He in turn, advised the crowd
to pray to her as a saint.
One day Seetha saw Vengamamba on her way to the temple. What a glow in
her? She looked exactly like Alivelu Manga. When she called her friend,
she took her to the temple with her. They both sat on the temple steps
for a long time. Vengamamba sang many songs. Seetha asked her to bless
her sons. Vengamamba named them Sreenivas and Venkatesh and asked her
to call them Sreenu and Venku. Seetha was delighted at the blessings of
Devudamma and decided to call them so whether others liked it or not.
9. Spiritual Growth of Vengamamba
Time was passing by. Vengamamba was becoming more and more spiritual.
She had been writing many books. She had been composing many songs. She
was spending her time in Lakshmi Nrusimha temple in her village. Her food
was Prasadam, her water was ‘Kolanu’ water, her pastime was
dance. Devotees who came to the temple prayed to her too!
Great people create enemies to themselves without their knowledge. She
still was not free from petty jealousies of the Brahmins. They could not
bear her prayers to God; they could not bear a woman opposing them. They
all decided to chain her with iron chains. The villagers came to know
of it and gathered there to watch the Tamasha. Some felt sorry for her
and even prayed for her.
Vengamamba approached them with ‘Tulasimala’ in her hand.
Some tried to warn her, but she ignored them. She saw the chains in the
Brahmins hands and volunteered to be chained. The Brahmins tied her hands
with the chains and jeered at her ‘Come on; pray now to your God.’
Unable to bear their atrocities some onlookers closed their eyes.
Vengamamba burst out into laughter and the iron chains broke open! What
a sight! The people fell to her feet but the Brahmins ran out of sight.
Human psychology is unpredictable. Some doubt masters doubted her capacity
still. They said the chains must have been brittle. Whatever it was, the
Brahmins still could not come out of their petty jealousies.
Vengamamba, unmindful of the bitterness of her enemies was lost in her
Keertanas. She was composing songs on God, in the temple. The Brahmins
decided to close the temple doors against her.
The next morning, when Vengamamba reached the temple with flowers, the
doors were closed! ‘Won’t my God allow me inside?’ She
thought as she put her hand on the door. Lo! The doors opened on their
own letting her into her God’s presence. Vengamamba went in and
started her prayer.
The priests who were watching her from a distance came to the temple to
enter it. Oh no! The plan boomeranged on them. The door closed against
them. Still they were not disheartened. They waited outside till she came
out and tied her feet with ropes. They were cut off as thin threads. They
threw stones at her but they became a shower of flowers. The shoulders
which helped them to throw stones suddenly became very painful. They showered
their complaints to learned pundits but in vain.
Vengamamba was lost in her prayer. Her name and fame spread far and wide
and people flocked together to have her darshan. But unfortunately the
priests who live in the presence of God could not see God in her. There
was practically no transformation in them. They went to the extent of
building a brick wall against her.
God takes care of his devotees when nobody takes care of them. There was
a tunnel behind the brick wall. She came out of it through the tunnel
and reached Venkatachala Aranya.
On the contrary the priests here were not happy with their evil deed.
They threw stones waste material and what not, inside. Their sadistic
pleasure grew to its peak one day. They wanted to burn her alive. They
gathered junk there and lit fire. The tongues of flame let the tongues
of people utter different opinions. Some kind hearted people could not
sit with their fingers crossed when a staunch devotee had to face a miserable
death. So they fought with the priests and broke open the wall. What a
wonder There was no trace of her alive or dead! How could she disappear
so mysteriously? The villagers were worried that this might bring ill-fate
to the villagers. They cursed the priests. They wondered as to where Vengamamba
10. Vengamamba at Tirumala
Vengamamba walked through the thick forest crying and praying all the
white. As she reached the feet of Lord Hanuma, all her energy was sapped.
She fell to his feet. Ever since then the place called Mogilipenta became
Vengamamba began her severe penance, at the feet of Hanuma. Days rolled
by biting cold gave place to scorching heat. Seasons changed, years rolled
by but there was no movement in Vengamamba. People gathered to see her.
She composed songs on Hanuma and sang them. People joined hands with her.
The devotees decided her to take her to her Lord’s presence, Tirumala.
The news of Vengamamba had already reached the ears of the priests there.
So they gave her a grand gala welcome and provided her a shelter in East
Mada Street, beside the stone chariot. Vengamamba treated her hut as Vaikunta
and was engrossed in her prayers. Vakula Devi looked after well she was
provided food from the Lord’s kitchen.
She arranged a Brindavan there. She was serving her lord with Tulasi Malas.
She needed provision for water for her garden. She got a well dug but
there was no trace of water. She stepped down into the well and sang a
Keertana on Siva and lo! Siva Ganga flowed down!
The people around were stunned! They praised her as Bhagiradhi. She received
them with equanimity. She began to compose ‘Raja Yoga Saramu’
It is a spiritual discourse between Kapila Maharshi and his mother Devahooti.
Later she composed Bhagavatam in couplets. It covers the conversation
between Aswathama and Draupati.
Later she composed Venkatachala Mahatyam. Her every thought, word and
deed was centered round the Lord. So she explained the ‘Leelas’
of God vividly and dedicated her book to the Lord himself. Lord Venkateswara
showered his blessings on her and Goddess Vakula Devi was taking good
care of her.
One day, she praised Vakula Devi, ‘Oh Mother! How lucky you are!
You were Yasoda in Dwapara Yuga and now born as Vakula Devi to serve Varaha
Swami and subsequently the Lord Venkateswara! How lucky I am too! One
who looks after my Lord looks after me and sends me food!’
‘God’s Leelas are unpredictable! Is it not strange that Tarigonda
Vengamamba has come to Tirumala! Why don’t you sing His Leela?’
said Vakula Devi.
‘Which episode do you want?’
‘Any thing is wonderful. God is Omnipresent. I am eager to know
the Lord’s feelings on His first meeting with Padmavathi. I would
like to hear your description of it.’
Vengamamba sang that episode melodiously for some time. Tallapaka Chinnayya
having heard of her faith, made her shift to a brick house from the hut.
Such differences don’t make difference for a true devotee! She established
a Tulasi Vanam and a well there. She continued her writing and praying.
Life is same anywhere! Holy places too are not devoid of unholy people!
This time trouble cropped up to Vengamamba in the guise of one Mr.Akkaramayya.
He was the senior most priests, but had the mind of junior most level
of human beings. He started spreading rumours about her. He defamed her.
He made others throw their food leftovers and wastage into her garden.
She bore it patiently. She once tried to reason it out with him but he
said she had no character. Vengamamba felt it was a waste of time talking
to him. But he took undue advantage of her. He continued his rumours against
her and paid a deaf ear to any good words about her.
He was waiting for an opportune moment to drive her away. One day she
was singing away happily her song on Lord Venkateswara. It was sung so
melodiously that one could feel the presence of God and Goddess there.
She was dancing too in ecstasy. Akkaramayya, with a villainies laugh appeared
before her. God sees the truth but waits. He made Vengamamba curse him.
‘You sinner! You and your family will be destroyed totally. Get
A true devotee’s word doesn’t go in vain! Suddenly his family
members died of cholera. One day Akkaramayya died all of a sudden. Only
one member was left out. The whole town trembled at her Godly powers.
They treated her as the incarnation of the Goddess! Vengamamba was in
her own stoic state.
One day a young man reached her door step and pleaded for his survival.
He was the lone survivor of the family. She took pity on him and amended
her curse. Only one heir will be there in the family. Ever since, there
was only heir in their family.
11. Vengamamba’s Harathi.
Days rolled on.
The number of devotees increased. People gathered in her house in the
evenings to listen to her songs, to see her dance, to ask her question
to get their children blessed and so on. Sometimes she spoke to them,
some times she laughed; sometimes she cried and sometimes remained silent.
Sometimes she wouldn’t open the doors. She would say God was inside.
She would sing various songs to Him to wake Him up, to serve Him food
or to send him to bed.
One day she heard footsteps in her Tulasi Vanam. When she followed them,
they led into the temple. She took it as a message of God. God wanted
her to give Harathi to Him.
The next morning accordingly she went. God was decked in precious stone
jewellery, was garlanded with various flowers. Her joy knew no bounds.
She stared at Him to her heart’s content. She continued giving Harathi
to God everyday. She sang melodious songs while offering it. Devotees
liked her songs and gathered round her.
Naturally it brought sore eye to the priests. They wondered why they should
allow an ordinary woman like her to offer Harathi to God. ‘How can
a widow offer it? Is it not harmful? What does she think of herself? Is
this temple her private property?’ When they were engrossed in such
discussions, Vengamamba walked in finished her job and left. One priest
wanted to stop her but others stopped him for that day.
The next day she brought the Harathi as usual and she heard the comments,
Oh God! Kindly don’t punish us for this crime of a widow! Vengamamba
did not want to trouble them any more! Won’t God accept her sincere
prayers? Does he require external show? When she mused thus, she gave
up this act and practiced it at home. Those who were keen on her Harathi
went to her house. The priests were gloating over their success over a
That day was ‘Radhostav’ day. The priests arranged a special
chariot for the God. They made Him seated on it. They took Him in a procession
over the Mada streets. Thousands of people took part in it. The chariot
was moving fast. It reached the North Mada Street and stopped just before
My God! The chariot refused to move from there! It stood transfixed to
the ground like a big mountain. However hard people and the priests pulled
it there was no use! They sent for horses and elephants but no way! It
was beyond 2 at night. What to do? What sin did they commit? Adding two
and two together, was it because they were cruel to Vengamamba? Immediately,
like spring action they rushed to her, fell to her feet and apologized
to her. ‘We are sorry; we couldn’t realize your faith in God
or God’s concern for you. Please come and offer your Harathi to
God. It is already late in the night.’
Vengamamba smiled and said, ‘I don’t mind coming, but will
God come back to temple?’ The minute she offered it with sincere
heart, the chariot moved on like a flowery ball. It was an eye opener
for the priests. From that day onwards she was given a warm welcome into
Vengamamba was tuning herself more and more towards God. At dawn, one
day, she felt somebody was waking her up. When she woke up, she could
hear laughter, footsteps and the pleasant sound of anklets. She came out
of her room. She was in Venkatachalam. God stood before her, smiling away
at her? He said, ‘Why don’t you tell me, my greatness?’
She could feel a caressing touch over her body. Tears of joy rolled down
her cheeks. She heard foot steps again and cried, ‘Oh God! Are you
leaving?’ She ran to her front door and became unconscious there.
She woke up again at the cry of the calf. She heard the pleasant ringing
of the bells from the temple. Her heart was filled with new found joy.
She was delighted to be in the holy place! She composed new songs in praise
of the beauty of Tirumala. She did not leave a single description. She
decided to dedicate it to the holy feet of the Lord Venkateswara. The
very thought made her shed tears of joy. She thought of various titles
and finally named it Sri Venkatachala Mahatyam. She wanted to compose
it in both Sanskrit and Telugu. She added the description of ‘Naimisaranya’
to it. At night she would sing aloud melodiously those songs and people
gathered round to listen to her. Sometimes it appeared God Himself came
down to listen to them. Now and then she would suddenly become silent
and the audience filled the gap with their chanting of Govindanamams.
One day Vengamamba appeared to be in high spirits. One of the devotees
asked out of curiosity whether she was composing new songs. Vengamamba
smiled and said, I’ve invited my Lord for dinner tonight.
She prepared delicious dishes and was eagerly waiting for the arrival
of her swami. She was singing Keertanas. Suddenly she heard footsteps,
smelt a sweet fragrance and could feel Swami’s presence beside her.
She stood up and danced ecstatically. She could feel a caressing touch
over her body. The whole night through she was dancing.
The news spread round that the Lord visited Vengamamba at night after
the temple doors were closed. In the morning He was there with His smile.
Vengamamba was deeply immersed in her writings. She completed six volumes.
When she went through her writings once again she wondered at them!
Did she compose all those? Did her hands write them? Did her mind experience
them? Was it not the God’s making from behind? Oh God Did you turn
me into a poetess too besides making me a devotee?
As she penned the words, ‘Krishnayamatya tanubhava Vengamamba pranitambaina...
(Written by Vengamamba the daughter of Krishnayya), she came to a stand
still. The whole flash back story reeled before her-her childhood, her
village Tarigona, the temple in her village, her marriage, her mother,
the rumours against herself so on! She felt all alone in the vast world
all of a sudden but consoled herself ‘Is my Lord not there to take
good care of me? She placed her Sri Venkatachala Mahatyam at the lotus
feet of Lord and a feeling rose in her heart that God wanted her to write
Gradually Navavidha Bhakti Tatparata was seen in Vengamamba, but still
God wanted to test her.
12. Vengamamba’s Miraculous Powers
One night, God appeared before her. She was singing away happily and God
danced in tune with the song. The garlands in his neck moved gently, the
diamonds in his chains shone brightly and the whole place was filled with
a glow. It looked as if Vaikuntam was brought down to door step of this
Vengamamba wanted to make a plea! She felt no harm in it. Was she seeking
riches, was she seeking power? All she wanted was a simple desire. Whom
else could she ask? All she had was the God alone. So she asked humbly,
‘Oh Lord! You should eat the food I cook, live with me’ and
accompany me wherever I go. You should not leave me for a single moment.
The Lord smiled and touched her head and back gently. He held her hand
in His hand. Could she take it as a positive sign? She was about to be
excited about it when God expressed his inability. ‘There are thousands
of devotees who think of me, pray to me, seek me, praise me, call me and
extol me! How can I limit myself to one devotee?’
Vengamamba was no ordinary person to be carried away by his answer. ‘No,
I don’t agree, Are you not Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient?
Are you not present in a minute atom and in the whole universe? I won’t
leave you. She held His lotus feet tightly crying all the while, but God
Vengamamba was disappointed. She wanted to compose Yakshagana that day.
She was not ready to give up her desire. She wanted to request God once
again. Won’t he fulfil her desire? Is he not known for his love
for his devotees?
She was recollecting the story of Parijatha Vriksham, she came to the
lives where Satyabhama was calling one by one - come Rukmini, come Jambavathi,
come Mitravinda, come Radha - she felt herself being called. Then she
recollected how she called her friends during Sankranti and how they sang
Gobbilla songs. She blended Krishna Leela into it. She was so engrossed
in it, that she longed for God’s arrival that night. She thought
if God came, she would display her anger. She would not offer Him milk.
God came as she longed. She held his feet tightly and said, ‘Oh
Lord I won’t leave you.’ It’s becoming dawn. Shall I
leave? The priests would open the temple doors!’ God asked her gently.
She said, ‘No you stay in the temple of my heart!’ God answered,
‘Every heart is a temple for me.’
‘No Swami! I will do all the Sevas for you from dawn to dusk.’
The priests began the Suprabhata Seva chanting, Kausalya supraja rama
- purvasandhya pravarthathe…
‘I should hurry up.’
Vengamamba held His silk dhoti tightly. That part of the dhoti remained
in her hand and God disappeared. She heard the chanting of the Bhaktas
from the temple. She grieved over the fact that swami left her. Finally
she reconciled herself to the piece of His dhoti left in her hand.
She preserved that piece as a garland in a safe place. She prayed to that
as the lord Himself with flowers and Tulsi leaves. She wanted to complete
her Yakshagana that day she wrote the song.
Suvvi, Suvvi Yadukulesa Suvvi.... and sang it aloud. Then the Bhaktas
gathered round her to give Harathi to her Lord. She took them to that
dhoti piece left in her hand. They sang a song and offered Harathi to
In the meanwhile, the priests who opened the doors of the temple were
dumbfounded to see Swami’s silk dhoti being torn. They couldn’t
understand how it happened. Did any one break open the doors and robbed
Him of His precious belongings? Was anything else missing? No! Strange
but true! Only the dhoti was torn, not a single thing was touched. They
at once informed the temple authorities. Could it be the work of any staunch
devotee of the Lord? Did they want to preserve it as a token of God? They
decided to search the Bhaktas houses! They searched too but in vain.
The astrologers predicted it as a bad omen. They suggested some Santhi
measures. They wanted to offer another new dhoti to the Lord on an auspicious
Then suddenly it dawned to some one that it might be with Vengamamba.
Some others laughed it away. How could a poor lady break open the doors
Why could she not? Did not the chariot come to stand still before her
house? Did she not make it move was the counter argument.
Nobody dared to search her house. Finally the head priest decided to do
so along with a few. They reached her house no doubt, but nobody had the
guts to search her house. They were worried the Lord might get angry.
She gave them a warm welcome. They prostrated before her and sheepishly
expressed their problem. She coolly said, ‘It’s there in the
other room. Go, take it.’ But can you believe it? It was not a torn
piece of a dhoti, the silk dhoti was shining away brightly with the borders
on either side. When they observed it closely, it was undoubtedly Swami’s
The priests hastened to the temple. The torn Pithambaram was missing.
They were flabbergasted at the attachment between Vengamamba and the Lord.
They performed Sahasra Kalasabhishekam to the Lord, dressed Him up with
the Pitambaram brought from his devotee’s house and prayed to Him
That incident multiplied the number of devotees to her house. They spread
the news that God slept in her house and they felt themselves lucky to
step into her house.
13. Vengamamba’s Intimacy with God
Vengamamba’s Bhakti knew no bounds. She began offering delicacies
to the Lord in a place called Pandava Tirdh. She chose a particular corner
there, cleaned it, arranged all the items and began singing melodiously
to the accompaniment of Tambura. Birds, parrots and peacocks gathered
round her. Nature herself seemed to dance with the peacocks.
She had been patiently waiting for God to come and have food served by
her. God wanted to test the sincerity of her prayer. One day a wild elephant
trumpeted before her. Another day a lion roared, but there was no fear
in her. Yet another day a wild tiger attacked her ferociously.
Vengamamba was unperturbed. She could guess that it was nothing but the
leela of God. So she prayed to the tiger patiently. Oh God why test me?
Why don’t you come and enjoy the feast? Suddenly there was a change
in Nature. Flowers showered over the tiger. Cuckoo was singing, parrot
was chirping and peacock was dancing. Why this ecstasy in Nature? It was
because God appeared before them. God blessed them with his Darshan with
Sankha and Chakra.
Vengamamba was excited beyond words. She served Him food personally to
her hearts content, offered Him Tambula and sang many songs in praise
of Him. This practice continued for long.
Curiosity kills the cat. The temple authorities and the priests were curious
to know where Vengamamba was going and whom she was serving. So they followed
her secretly and hid behind a tree. A tiger came to her ferociously. Some
of them fainted; some ran for their lives, some thought the tiger would
have killed her. When she went back home safe, they guessed it was not
the real tiger but the Lord Himself. They prayed to God to forgive them
and promised to offer some money as atonement for their sin.
The authorities developed faith in her. She completed her Yakshagana.
She composed various songs on Him but she liked the one which invited
Him to the feast.
Sri Lakshmi sthitanga chidrupa chinmaya sivanuta subhansa
Mailina bhakshyamul chala techchinanu ravayya.
Vengamamba continued her writings. She was thinking of Lord Krishna all
the while she was describing every feature of the Lord. His eyes, his
nose, teeth, lips cheeks and so on. She was lost in her writing.
One day she was sitting on a stone and was lost in writing ‘Sri
Krishna Manjari’. A big snake crawled in her direction. People passing
by shouted, ‘Snake! Snake!’ Many gathered there. Some shouted
words of caution to her, but they didn’t reach her ears. Some brought
big bamboo sticks to frighten it. But lo! When they came back with the
sticks, the snake reached her and spread its hood over her like an umbrella.
The people at once folded their hands and prayed to Vengamamba. A shower
of flowers fell there as if the Devatas were blessing her.
The snake was moving its hood making a hissing sound. The crowd was scared.
Surprisingly from the hissing sound arose the Mantra – ‘Hari
Om.. Hari om.’ The people prayed to Nagendra and Vengamamba.
14. The Background Story of Ekantha Seva
Some more years rolled by Vengamamba became very old but her faith in
God did not lessen. One day, as the Lord came to her house, she said,
‘Swami! You are so kind to me, but sooner or later I’ve to
give up this physical body. Swami! Will you fulfil my desire? I wish to
be remembered forever in your temple.’ God smiled and disappeared.
Did she demand too much? Is she the only devotee? Doesn’t he have
many greater devotees than her? She cried over her stupidity.
That night also she took her Harathi to the temple. What a wonder! God’s
reflection was seen in the Harathi. She took it as a message. Yes God
had answered her prayer. She explained the same thing to the priests.
She said her Harathi should be given to God every night. That should become
an eternal one.
The priests naturally did not like to fulfil her desire. God appeared
in their dreams and told them not to conclude the night without accepting
her Harathi. They had no other go!
Vengamamba adopted her sister’s daughter Mangamma to continue the
ritual after her. Ever since that day Vengamamba or her family had the
privilege of the final Harathi.
The priests could not bear it silently for long. Human tendency is unpredictable.
They had many a proof of her miracles but once again they wanted to put
an end to, what they felt, her atrocities! Why should God accept a widow’s
Harathi? Aren’t there many rich people, pundits or other devotees?
What’s special about her?
So they put their heads together to scheme against her. They decided to
close the temple doors before Vengamamba landed there! They put their
vicious plan into action. Vengamamba came! Not a soul around! The temple
doors were closed. But God’s heart was not closed against her. The
doors opened on their own, giving her a right royal entry. She carried
on her ritual undisturbed.
The priests came to know of this miracle and they were frightened out
of their wits. They ran to Vengamamba and requested her to forgive them.
They promised to pray to her on par with the God. The Devudamma forgave
them. It was decided then and there that her Harathi should be the final.
It is called Ekanta Seva.
The priests named it MutyalaHarathi. At Ekanta Seva pearls will be arranged
in the form of one of the Dasavatharas of God in a basket and Harathi
would be given. The devotees received the Mutyala Harathi. Vengamamba
was pleased and God smiled!
This ritual is continued even to this day.
15. Mysterious Midnight Seva
Vengamamba was tired of her life. She wanted to give up her physical body.
She wanted her Jeevathma to join Paramathma. She turned to Bhagavat Geetha.
She learnt all about Bhakti Yoga, Moksha Sanyasi yoga, Karma Phala Tyaga
and so on. She sang aloud Bhajans and Keertanas.
One day, when swami came down, she requested, ‘Oh God, I cannot
continue for long. You liberate my soul.’ God said that there was
still time. ‘You pray to me here itself for some more time.’
‘If that is the case, at least hide me from the human beings around.’
Was that a difficult task for God? He held her hand and took her to a
beautiful forest twelve miles away. A cave was formed then and there with
a roaring sound. There was a tunnel from there. He said, ‘You live
in this cave. You come to me through this tunnel and pray to me. Nobody
can see you.’
She was thrilled, ‘Can’t any body see me?’
‘Only my devotees can see you. They will be blessed by your Darsan.
Whoever listens to your story or whoever praises your faith, become very
close to me like you.’
Vengamamba was leading a peaceful life there, far from the madding crowd.
She sang to her heart’s content. She went through her writings.
She recited her Krishna Manjari again and again.
There, back in her house the next morning, the neighbours were surprised
to see Vengamamba missing. The doors were wide open, but no trace of her.
Some cried for her. ‘Devudamma left us to our fate’ they felt.
Some said she was liberated. They did Pradakshinas to her Brindavan. Many
of them missed her. They continued to come to her house even in her absence
and prayed in her Brindavan. Many days passed by, but she was not to be
seen. They took it for granted that her atma joined Paramathma.
On the other hand, she was praying to God every night. She entered the
temple after the priests left, removed the garlands and offered the garlands
brought by her. Early next morning she left.
When the Brahmins opened the temple the garlands were different. Those
flowers were different. They belonged to the forest. Who brought them
every night? Only Vengamamba had such a right royal entry to the temple.
So could it be her work? But how was it possible? Was she not liberated?
It looked like a crossword puzzle.
They had a strong feeling it could the miraculous work of Vengamamba but
a strong reasoning power pointed out to them that Vengamamba was physically
no more! Whose work could it be then? They wanted to get it solved through
the spying of Mahantu.
Mahantu hid Himself in a secret place at night before the temple gates
were closed. Could he justify his action of spying on God? But how else
could he unravel the mystery? He convinced Himself of his crime thus and
He waited for long! Sometime after midnight, he could suddenly feel a
fragrant smell. It was followed by a glowing light. He felt his nerves
and senses tickled. He stared in that direction.
A wonderful personality, God knows from where she landed, appeared before
Him with Tulsi Mala in one hand and a garland of wild flowers in another
hand. She embraced God! Lo it was Vengamamba undoubtedly. He thought he
cried out her name, but his voice did not co-operate. There was such a
glow in her face that he couldn’t even look into her eyes. She was
hugging the deity. She was kissing the Lord. She was calling Him ‘Oh
my beloved, oh my Lord! She removed the garlands she did various Sevas
for Him applied Gandham, sprinkled Panneeru and applied Tilakam. She danced
in ecstasy before Him. She sang songs from her Krishnamanjari. She fell
down unconscious. Mahantu was about to let out a cry but controlled himself.
Again he saw a glow of light and the next minute Vengamamba disappeared.
Mahanthi closed his eyes, unable to bear the glow.
The next morning the priests opened the doors to see the Mahantu in a
dazed state. He couldn’t believe his own eyes. Did he see really
Vengamamba? But had she not attained Moksha? He started uttering meaningless
The priests were shocked. What happened to Mahantu? Was Vengamamba really
alive? The crowd gathered round him in no time and showered a number of
questions on him. Finally when he explained, they exclaimed what a blessed
soul he was! They fell to his feet and they began to search for Vengamamba
in the surroundings of Tirumala. They continued to visit her Brindavan.
16. Vengamamba’s Union with God
Vengamamba was gradually becoming older and weaker. She could not put
a step forward easily. She could not see properly. She was angry with
her God. She recollected the stories of Sabari and Ramadas. She remembered
how Ramadas suffered. She felt the devotees could not escape such suffering.
She wondered why God was not kind to her. What sin did she do? Whatever
it was, she would not go to the temple anymore. Yes that was decided once
When she stopped going, God came to her Tumburu Kona. Why would he leave
her thus? He received all her Sevas. Sometimes He would be tired, some
times he would say his legs were aching. Poor Lord has to go round 14
Lokas. She would serve Him in various ways as Bhakta Sabari, as Yasoda,
as a guru, as a lover, as a friend and what not. She would press His feet
or offer Him fruits.
Back in Tirumala people couldn’t find Vengamamba however hard they
tried. They began doubting the words of Mahanthi. Some were still hopeful.
Some even said they saw an old lady just like Vengamamba. They did not
stop visiting her place.
One night Vengamamba work up suddenly. She opened her eyes to see her
swami becoming her. He was running around like Krishna and she ran behind
Him like Yasoda and he disappeared. She cursed herself that she couldn’t
serve Him anything.
Suddenly she heard a painful cry. She walked in that direction to see
a man suffering from leprosy. She went to him and touched his head. He
said, ‘Oh! I am hungry. Everybody has deserted me.’ She served
him a plateful of fruits fondly.
She wanted to be away from people. But here was a human being before her!
He showered a number of questions on her once his hunger was satiated.
She laid a condition, ‘You should not reveal the fact that you had
seen me. You forget the matter here itself.’ He promised accordingly
but still she said, ‘In case you open your mouth your head will
break into thousand pieces.’
She asked him to close his eyes. The minute he opened his eyes, guess
where he was! He was in Pushkarini. He had a dip in the holy water and
stood up. What a surprising thing! He was cured of his leprosy. He was
hale and healthy. He could guess it as the blessing of the old lady.
The other pilgrims, who were having a bath in the Pushkarini then, were
shocked to witness this miracle. What a great Bhakta he should be! They
gathered round him and showered him with many questions. He remembered
his promise and threatens behind it. So he dared not open his mouth. The
pilgrims took it for granted that he was a saint and started offering
him fruits and various eatables.
Vengamamba continued her prayers to God but this ordinary human being
could not assess her greatness. As days passed by, his determination to
keep quite was weakened by the heaps of offerings to him. He thought it
was his minimum courtesy to oblige them. He felt after all the old lady
would have died.
So he blurted out the truth. ‘There lived a great devotee called
Vengamamba in Tumburu Kona. She…’ He could not complete. His
head broke into thousand pieces.
The devotees now knew her whereabouts. They wanted to bring her back to
her Tiru Mada Veedhi. They made a frantic search for her.
Vengamamba cried to the lord that night, ‘Where else should I go,
my Lord? Won’t they leave me in peace?’
God smiled to her and said, ‘You will be with me.’
‘Swami!’ Vengamamba was excited.
‘I won’t send you any where else.’
‘Swami!’ tears of joy rolled down her cheeks. God showered
graceful looks on her. Her feet danced. The next minute Vengamamba’s
face was seen in God’s Kaustuba Har.
A big light flashed around. The Pranavam - Om – reverberated melodiously
in the vicinity. Vengamamba merged with Paramatma.
She lived many long years in continuous prayer of God
and finally reached God. She is a blessed soul.
Whoever reads her story or listens to her story, will be blessed with
health and wealth. Her name and fame will remain on earth for ever. She
will be blessing all the devotees of Lord Venkateswara!
O Mother beloved Tarigonda Vengamamba! Bless us all!