Easwaramma – the chosen mother in poverty, scorned by her husband!
Posted by robertpriddy on May 10, 2013
The Westerner with the absolutely most privileged access to the family of Sathya Sai Baba, who lived for years in Prashanthi Nilayam with his sister Venkamma and tended her on her deathbed, ‘Divya’ (Eileen Weed) has told what she knew about Sai Baba’s mother, Easwaramma. Her information shows how the glorified presentation of the fate of this poor woman was falsified. Known as “the Chosen Mother”, Eashwaramma had died in 1972 – long before Divya came to India. Divya has written:
“I only know stories the family told me. Such as, how much she suffered disgrace when her husband Pedda Venkappa Raju left her to live with his concubine! Easwaramma had to deal with sb joking about her “sister” (the concubine) and sending her the same silk saris he sent Easwaramma!
Easwaramma had to suffer a lot of tragedy when her children underwent troubles, too. Like when her daughter Venkamma’s baby daughter died only 10 days after being born, and how her other daughter Parvatamma accidentally dropped her newborn son and he died several days later, from head injuries. Or when Venkamma’s husband died young of rabies due to a dog bite, and Parvatamma’s husband died young of cancer. Parvatamma had told me of how blood came out of all the openings in his body – gruesome! Parvatamma’s son lost his hearing due to a childhood disease and had to be sent away, at age 7, to Madras to a school for the deaf & dumb.
Easwaramma also must have suffered a lot when her son Janakiram got TB as a teenager and had to stay for a year in an Anantapur hospital, losing a lung in the process. His sister Venkamma nursed him back to health but it is not clear to me why Easwaramma wasn’t the one staying there. All this, not to mention all the long and ongoing stories of ill-health and tragedy in the family. Hospital stays of someone or the other were always going on.
If the family members had been spared from so much awful tragedy, we could have said it was the blessings of God. But no opportunity to say that. However, that means nothing to devotees! Everything is a blessing, and sb must have taken away all their karma so they don’t have to be reborn again!”
Shamefully, these facts about the tribulations and separation in family of the ‘full avatar’ and the ‘mother of God’ etc. have all been carefully buried in all the Sai literature so that the mythology seems perfect. In another mail, Divya (Eileen Weed) replied to a linked page I sent her about the possibility investigated by an ex-devotee psychologist from Sweden that Easwaramma lost some babies through infanticide, as follows:-
Re: the first link you sent, “Abortive pregnancies or Sathya Sai Baba’s missing sisters?“
“Since I knew that Indians regularly call miscarriages “abortions,” I didn’t think much of Easwaramma’s four failed pregnancies, except to wonder how she easily had three children but then four miscarriages in a row? Odd! However, after reading this article it suddenly struck me – yes, there is a possibility of girl children being born but then “disposed of”. Everything that Asa Samsioe wrote of regarding the preference of girl children and many people outright murdering girl babies, is completely true. Girls are a burden and if one after another was born, there is tremendous pressure from other family members to quietly dispose of them. I do not recall Venkamma saying anything specific about it, though, other than the four failed pregnancies – she was probably still quite young and unaware of what was going on.
Besides that, Sai Baba’s father was already settled down with his “keep” (I think he had children with her also) and struggling financially so, it is entirely plausible that he would not want more girl children. Venkamma told me many times that now and then Easwaramma would send her to the keep’s house, to beg her father for clothes, as they had no money. Venkamma said she would stand at the door crying and crying, being very young, and asking for money to buy clothes. And even when sb made it big and sent them over frequent baskets of produce and money, I think it is a well-known ‘open secret’ that sb’s father (Venkappa Raju) died in the keep’s house, and the body had to be quickly brought to Easwaramma’s house, where he had not been living for years, before his death was announced. Venkamma also complained bitterly to me how, after sb became better known, he would send lavish silk saris and other items to the keep, along with sending them to the rest of the family! He would even merrily laugh and give an extra one to Easwaramma saying, “Give this to your husband’s wife,” or some such thing. (I wonder what happened to the keep’s family? I never inquired about it – the subject would make Venkamma tooooo mad!
After years in India mingling with Telugu villagers, I never got over the shock that it was widely practised for men to have one or more keeps besides their wives. Here in the West, people may have affairs and often go their separate ways. But if married men “ruin” a women in an Indian village, they often have to take care of her for life! Especially because since their reputation is ruined, their families don’t want them to live at home any more (and of course, they can never get married!) I’ve met women who were wives and keeps – and sometimes they have to live together in the same house (which gets really, really ugly – but what the man says, goes!), sometimes in a separate house, and sometimes in a tent in some field, depending upon the man’s financial capabilities – but it is understood that the guy just can’t walk away from his indiscretion.”
Venkamma: There’s also the terrible thing that happened to Venkamma’s son (her only child) – after three children were born, when the youngest, a girl baby, was only 3 months old, her mother (Venkamma’s daughter-in-law) died. The three young children were instantly without a mother and Venkamma took them all in and raised them (her son later remarried and had an additional three children). That was several years before Easwaramma died so she would have seen the awful tragedy up close.”
“I posted a letter recently where I describe Venkamma getting ill, first sai says, “It’s nothing, it will get better” and he doesn’t give permission for her to go to the hospital – until it gets much worse (and docs probably convince him she has to be sent there, or die!). Just another aspect of how he was so often so, so wrong. He played with people’s lives and they STILL continued to have faith – awful! Everything was met with the assurance, “He is God – he knows what he is doing!”
One wonders how much sb was supplicated by his relatives, begging for blessings? However as his sisters told me time and time again, ‘”It was never useful to tell Swami anything. Swami always just laughed at us and our problems, and would answer, “What can I do?”
Many close devotees have reported about sb’s lack of compassion. I might have written before about once in darshan when an elderly lady in front of me cried out prayerfully that her eyesight was failing. The answer from sb? “What is there in this world to see?” Said with a self-confident smirk and a chuckle as he walked by. Ultimately, he got his karma I guess, if all that crying in the later days means anything.”
And not least his calling out to devotees ‘Save me’ when he was taken away by his minders to the hospital, then his sufferings, gradual destruction of his organs and disconnection from ‘life support’!
See also Venkamma Passes Away – Sept 1993 http://www.wattpad.com/7119533-letters-from-india-part-2-62-venkamma-passes-away