Faces In Focus
The Yadalams of Bukkapatnam
They had known the sublime in Bhagawan
Literature on the experiences of devotees of Bhagawan particularly in the 50’s and before, are full of reference to the Yadalam family of Bukkapatnam, who provided refreshment and conveyance for pilgrims heading towards Puttaparthi.
The family they talked about was that of Yadalam Venkataramanappa and Yadalam Nagamma. They were one of the first families outside Puttaparthi to recognise Bhagawan’s divinity.
They became devotees of Bhagawan in a very interesting manner. Yadalam Venkataramanappa had come to Puttaparthi hearing of Bhagawan’s glory. He had in mind three questions that he intended to ask Bhagawan: his own health, his business and his daughter’s family problem. When he arrived at Puttaparthi, he was disheartened to see a huge crowd of devotees in front of the house where Bhagawan was staying. Venkataramanappa lost hope and stood at the rear. Within a few minutes, Bhagawan sent for him. Venkataramanappa was taken by surprise, more so when Bhagawan recounted all the problems and assured the latter of His grace and protection. Venkataramanappa then invited Bhagawan to his house at Bukkapatnam, offered Him padapuja and even took Him out in a decorated procession.
|Bhagawan became a regular visitor to the Yadalam house. He was very playful with the entire family. He proudly wore the garlands they made and went about singing songs. He would even take out ornaments family heirlooms, put them on and ask others how He looked. When His legs ached out of exhausting walks, Yadalam Nagamma would arrange hot water, turmeric powder and amudham oil for His bath.|
|The Yadalams were the first people to get a robe made for Bhagawan. It was light grey in colour and not of full length. Bhagawan materilised a Peetham (pedestal) to keep idols. He did not give any idol. He said, "I am here in the centre of the Peetham. On either side me stand Parvathi and Paramaeshewar. On another occasion, He materialised a yellow Kafni worn by Sai Baba of Shirdi for Yadalam Nagamma.|
Once in 1946 Yadalam Venkataramanappa, suddenly lost sensation in his knees and was bedridden all the time, unable to walk. People at Bukkapatnam teased the Yadalam family: "You have allowed a Bhat Raju to enter your house. That is when you are suffering so much. Can your Sai Baba cure you? Some even went to Puttaparthi and asked Bhagawan: "Your devotee Venkataramanappa is suffering with leg pain. You have not done anything. Can you not cure him?" Bhagawan replied, " I know what to do, I will walk to Bukkapatnam and cure his disease." That night, some one called out for Venkataramanappa is front of his house. On opening the door, the family was pleasantly to see Bhagawan Himself standing there in the middle of night. Bhagawan went to Venkataramanappa, held his hand and asked him to get up and walk. He even materialised dates for him and personally made him eat them. By the time, Bhagawan left for Puttaparthi in this morning, Venkataramanappa was perfectly well again.
The following year another touching episode occurred in connection with the Yadalam family. Yadalam Nagamma had gone to Mudugubba, 38 kilometres from Puttaparthi to attend the marriage of a close relative. She had been injured in a fire accident, suffering from burns on the body and face. Nagamma did not want to go back to Bukkapatnam with her swollen sepsis-infected face. She went instead to her native place, Kothakota. In His own mysterious way, Bhagawan was aware of the accident. He instructed Nagamma’s daughter-in-law, Janakamma, who had by then reached Puttaparthi with the terrible news, to arrange to fetch Nagamma to Puttaparthi. They Yadalam family did as Bhagawan bid them. Bhagawan materialised vibhuti and applied it all over her body. He even mixed it in some food and made her eat it. Early next morning, to everybody’s surprise, Nagamma’s face was whole and clean.
Bhagawan had once suggested to the Yadalams to open a grocery shop at Puttaparthi, but they did not want to do business in Bhagawan’s place and develop desires. They wanted to keep business away from devotion. Such was their faith and devotion to Bhagawan.