Indira and Sarasa, the granddaughters of Kochu Amma, describe the bond between Gurudev and Kochu Amma (his mother)

Transcript of the interview

Swamini Kaivalyananda: What is that striking quality of Kochu Amma that Gurudev adored?

Indiraji: Not one single quality, I should say. Swamiji used to appreciate each and every aspect of her character. The way she used to command things, the way she used to guide people and she… and she used to be a role-model for everyone, because whoever used to go to her she would have a solution to the problem.

Swamini Kaivalyananda: Could you please tell what type of people Gurudev would send to her to learn things from her?

Sarasamma: Bangalore…

Indiraji: One person from Bangalore he was very rich but there was some problem with his… (incomprehensible words). He said, “you go, you stay with her, you’ll be alright”. And he was from such a very wealthy family but he came, he stayed with us and he was very happy. Then, but there was no problem with that… still, Leela, Pavitra, she’s no more no? She was very lean and thin and all, so Swamiji would say, “You better go and stay with my mother”, “Amma, look after her”. Like that I mean, all of them he used to send her. And then whatever they do, so many devotees always come with Swamiji, so even to them I have heard Swamiji telling that “see, watch her, learn from her”, like that. So one particular aspect I cannot say, that’s why I say, she was an institution all by herself.

Indiraji: He comes with outstretched hands – “Amma, I have come”.

Sarasamma: From the gate only he’ll come like this and he’ll hold Achamma like this and “Amma”, he’ll tell always. Every time Swamiji goes no, she’ll start crying. Every time.

Indiraji: Then I told you no, then after that she will console her… saying no…

Swamini Kaivalyananda: You tell in detail Amma, you tell in detail.

Indiraji: I mean, the moment the letter comes that he is coming, there is festivity in the house. She will start cleaning this that and what not, arranging… otherwise she won’t climb the stairs upstairs – Gurudev’s room was upstairs. Once he has fixed his program of visit she will go upstairs, watch the arrangements, every little bit she’ll watch, do it, very excited that Gurudev is coming. After he leaves she will be full of tears but immediately, it won’t take much time, she’ll console herself… “no, everybody wants… Chinmaya is for everyone”. She had that magnanimity and that outlook.

Sarasamma: After 5 minutes she will be ok but for the time he left…

Indiraji: And that all things that we learnt from her rather, because see, not that very… though she would like to, she was not over possessive, she wants the world wants him. That was her attitude in everything – every little thing – and he too, he’s not that Swamiji who’s roaring in the yagnashalya. He’s like a child, sitting next to her, holding her hand, talking to her and all. And at times, when we all go there he’ll say, “go go, let me sit with my mother”. Like that, just to…

Sarasamma: Achamma will call him Chinmaya only.

Indiraji: It was really like that I told you, everything – when he sits for khaana also, she has to make a big morsel. In Malayalam we say urla, she’ll mix everything, make a big morsel, give it to him, and he’ll take that first only then he’ll start his food, till the last.

Sarasamma: Once when Swamiji was there no, she started eating, she forgot to give the urla to Swamiji. Then after two minutes she sees, “ah, you have not started yet”? “Why, you have not given the urla no, how can I start the khaana?”

Indiraji: And morning immediately after his bath and all, he will come down to her room, downstairs, sit in the bed, talk to her for at least 15-20 minutes, then only start his work, always.