Kochu Amma All-in-All for Little Balan

Having lost his biological mother at a very young age, Kochu Amma was the only mother Balan knew. She brought him up along with her children and lavished so much love on him that he firmly believed that she was his mother. In fact, when his father remarried and moved to Thrissur, little Balan refused to go with him. For the child, Kochu Amma was the mother and Poothampalli House the only home.

Next: Reminiscences of Family Members

Reminiscences of Family Members

Even after receiving sannyasa diksha, Swamiji did not hesitate to express his affection for his mother openly. Where there is no attachment, love alone shines forth in its full glory. Whenever he visited the ancestral home, Poothampalli House, he would shower her with his love.

During his childhood, his mother used to mix the rice with vegetables and other dishes and make rice balls, called urula, to feed him. In the later years, every time he visited her as a sannyasi, he highlighted his special bond with her by insisting that she give him the first morsel of food, the urula. Kochu Amma’s grandchildren (through Bhaskara Menon), Indira and Sarasa, recall those days.

Next: Mother's Love For Him

Mother’s Love for Him

The son loved her immensely, but the mother also had a very special place in her heart for this unique son. Whenever he was to visit her, she would go into an overdrive, clean up the house personally, make special preparations and wait eagerly for him to arrive. As she grew older, she made her granddaughters do the cleaning up and Swamiji would play pranks on them.

In spite of financial constraints, Kochu Amma would be ready with sadya (special feast food of Kerala) for her favourite son. And she would spend time with him, one on one, confiding in him about all her concerns, problems and worries.

The famous studio picture of Kochu Amma is very special because Swamiji made her wear the traditional Kerala two-piece saree known as kasava mundu, took her to the studio himself, arranged and adjusted her clothes and hair for the picture to be taken.

Next: Spiritual Instructions to Mother

Spiritual Instructions to His Mother

Swamiji used to give spiritual advice to Kochu Amma periodically, telling her to do japa etc. She followed these instructions scrupulously. She began to observe mauna in the mornings regularly. Gita chanting became an integral part of the puja, along with the chanting of Vishnu Sahasranama. Moreover, she conducted study classes in Poothampalli House.

Next: Service to Mother

Service to Mother during her Cataract Surgery

Swamiji served his mother tenderly and diligently, taking care of her needs wherever he could. When she had to undergo a cataract surgery, he called her over to Coimbatore where he was conducting a yajna (sixth jnana yajna from 09.05.1954 to 30.05.1954), arranged for the surgery, stayed with her and served her personally.

Next: Travels with Mother

Travels with Mother

Having undergone a lot of trials and tribulations in life, Kochu Amma found great peace and solace in Swamiji’s presence. He would attend to all the arrangements of her travel and stay. Once he personally brought her from Delhi to Cochin by flight. In the evening, when the two of them were sitting in the verandah of Poothampalli house, Swamiji asked her, “Amma, when I was small, you would warn me and dissuade me from climbing the window sill because I might fall and hurt myself. Now you have flown at such a great height. Weren’t you scared?”

Next: Mother's Long Hair

Mother’s Long Hair

The little child Balan loved Kochu Amma’s long and thick hair that flowed till her knees. He would often play with it. In her old age, she developed psoriasis and the doctors had advised that her hair should be cut short. When Swamiji visited her next and saw her with short hair, he was very upset and scolded the family members.

Next: Mother an Ideal to be emulated

Mother an Ideal to be Emulated

Many were the occasions when Swamiji referred people to his mother, to be groomed in the traditional values and culture. He sent Leela Rangaswamy (late Swamini Pavitrananda) to Poothampalli House to be taken care of by his mother. She made the young girl eat nourishing food and strengthened her body, as well as her mind. Listen to Leela’s sister Indira Rajaram talk about it.

While recommending Indira, the daughter of Bhaskara Menon (his cousin and Kochu Amma’s biological son), for a marriage alliance, he wrote, “The girl is the daughter of my own ‘mother’s’ son … She reared me up; she reared this girl also.”

Next: Mother leaves her mortal body

Mother Leaves Her Mortal Body

Kochu Amma passed away peacefully on March 26, 1967. At that time, Sarasa was at home by her side and Indira was with Swamiji in Calcutta. On hearing the sad news, Swamiji told Indira, “The whole of last night, I was with my mother.” Kulam pavitram janani kritartha – the entire family is blessed and the mother is fulfilled when a son attains such a high spiritual status.

Next: Photo Gallery


Gurudev and His Mother - A Gallery

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