Thursday 29 November 2012

A grandmother's tale of Rayaru

In one of my earlier articles, I had written about how Rayaru made my grandfather walk.
Now please allow me to relate a few incidents from the life of  my grandmother.
My grandmother, Sharadamma, is 95. She is absolutely hale and hearty for her age. She is now in Bangalore and she has traveled with her son and daughter-in-law by car from Mysore where she lives.
My grandmother was the first women in my grandfather’s house. My grandfather had two brothers and their mother had died when Bangalore witnessed a plague in the early 1900s. Since then they had been brought up buy their father and there was no woman in the house.
The first rules of the house, the way Pooje should be performed and other daily rituals were laid down by my grandfather. She was not only the sister-in-law to two brothers of my grandfather but also their well-wisher and guardian.
My grandmother went to Purana every day in the evening at Krishna Mandira in Shivaramapet, Mysore. I cannot recall a single day when she bunked the Purana. It was her calling every evening and she attended it come rain or hailstorm.
She was a great devotee of Raghavendra Swamy, Chamundi  and of course Ranganatha of Srirangapatna. Many were the days when I boarded the passenger train from Mysore to Srirangapatna along with her  for taking a dip in the Cauvery every Karthika Masa or any other special occasion.
My grandmother had a special knack of  learning mantras. I was once bitten by a scorpion and even as my grandfather went to get some medicines, my grandmother recited mantra and the pain and swelling went away. Years after the incident I tried all my tricks to ensure that she blurted out the mantra. She, however, refused, saying that she had been taught the Mantra by a holy man during one of her visits to Srirangapatna and that she had been told not to reveal it to anybody.
Grandmother was had a bedtime tale to tell-they all dealt with the Puranas and Shastras. These stories have remained with me and given me an everlasting interest in religion and philosophy. She was also an excellent singer and she could sing many Devaranamas.
A devotee of Mantralaya Prabhu, she fated frequently and always for others and never for herself. The first time she fasted was when my mother was in the maternity ward KR Hospital almost four decades ago. Rayaru gave my grandmother Mantrakshate and told her not to worry. A girl child was born and there was a great deal of rejoicing at home. Grandfather ordered masala dosas and my uncles whooped with joy. All my grandmother did was to go to the Pooja room and light a lamp and pray for the mother and daughter.
Another time, my grandmother ordered her younger son back home from an assignment in Sandur. She did not want her son to be so far away. My uncle came back and grumbled about how he had lost a job.
My grandmother did not reply. She fasted for three days and Rayaru gave her bananas and told her son would get a job at Mysore. My uncle got that job and he stayed on there till he retired, one of the best in his field.
When one of her daughters was suffering from kidney failure, she prayed to Rayaru to relieve her of pain and take away her life quickly. My aunt, that is the other daughter of my grandmother, passed away without much suffering two years ago.
My grandmother told me she has full faith in Rayaru and the last time he gave her mantrakshate was when she was in the house of her granddaughter near Vidyapeeta in Bangalore a few weeks ago.
My grandmother prayed for me and my sisters and her other grandchildren every time they had examinations, interviews or faced some problems or the other. She has always been sending money to perform seva to Rayaru, Vadiraja Theertha and Anjeneya.
Even today, she is an ardent devotee of Rayaru and her vast knowledge of Rayaru would put us all to shame. While I gave excuses to my wife today for not taking her to the Raghavendra Swamy Temple today, my grandmother who came home insisted that she wanted to visit both the Raghavendra Swamy Temples in Jayanagar and she did so in an autorickshaw.
She says she will be back home tomorrow and she wants to visit the Srinivasa and Narasimha Temple in Jayanagar. It is, after all, Rayara Krupe.       

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