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Saturday, 16 November 2019

NaBloPoMo 2019: Day 16: Sowing the right seeds – Discipline and Bhakti

Picture this scene.

A lady lying on the floor with a pillow beneath her head, holding a book in her hand and reading from it. Twirled around her are 4 little girls – one each on her left and right sides, one near her legs, and one lying with her head on the lady’s tummy. Once in a while, the woman’s eyes close, her voice slurs, and the book slips from her hand….the girls immediately shake her awake, and urge her to continue reading and finish the story…

Guess which super-interesting story this woman may have been reading that the girls were listening to with such rapt attention? 

I'm sure you got it wrong.....

Every afternoon during school vacations, Amma read to her daughters, stories of saints like Gora Kumbhar, Kanhopatra, Chokhamela, Sakhubai, Tukaram and many more from the book called “Bhakti Vijaya” ! 

My sister Vatsala remembers:

We would wait for lunch to get over and for Amma to come and read the stories. She would be tired after having worked non-stop from early morning and so, while reading, would doze off in the middle. We all would shake her awake, saying, “Don’t sleep, read this story, read that story,” each one asking for her own favorite. Till today, I can remember that scene. I have no words to describe how I feel …. so grateful for all the effort she took, despite her own exhaustion, to sow the seeds of Bhakti (devotion) in us, little children!

During Deepavali and Christmas holidays (and summer vacations when they didn’t go to our native place), Amma would wake the kids up at 5 am. The 4 girls would sit on the sofa, and she would teach them stotras (devotional hymns) such as Venkatesha Suprabhatam and Mukundamala. They followed the “santhe” system of learning – Amma would say a line once, and the girls had to repeat it twice. This went on until 6 am.

After this, the kids could go back to sleep and wake up later by 8 am, or they could have coffee and relax and then go for a bath. No such relaxation for Amma though – she’d begin her day’s work and keep at it till after lunch when she took a small break.

Amma didn’t just preach discipline to her daughters, she led by example. Weekday, weekend, holiday, working day – breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner – all would be on time just as usual. No relaxation in her routine ever. When there was more work to be done – as on festival days, Amma would wake up earlier to deal with the extra work – no compromise on any of the rituals ever.

My sister Vijaya adds:

Amma used to tell us how she would enjoy going for early morning walks with her father and Chinnattai, and they would chant the mantra “Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.”

Amma used to push us to wake up early on holidays as she had learned from her father that it is healthy and the right thing to do.

Once when we visited our grandfather’s house during some function, Amma saw that her own younger siblings were sleeping till later in the morning and that her father had not managed to change it. Seeing this, she talked to us about it, and from then on, she relaxed her conditions a bit for us kids.

Amma’s father had told her to recite the Sristuti (composed by Vedanta Desikar) as it will bring good things her way. So she used to recite it daily. 

Whether she was cooking, or doing the housework, she would be reciting some or the other stotras. By creating a saatvik atmosphere for all of us at home, she provided an environment that fostered the sense of Bhakti in all her daughters.


  1. Very touching and we'll captured Anu

  2. Aunty truly personifies how a mother can through simple living and high thinking transform lives of her children. Anu, you have truly imbibed so well her profound thinking and values and aunty continues to change lives through You!

    1. What an insightful comment, Meena! Thank you so much for summing up in just one sentence what I've been writing reams about! Thank you so much for complimenting me - I'm still working at it!

  3. Truly inspiring 💐💐💐👌🏻


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