Miracles of Sudhamani
Secretary, D. K. Rationalist Association
FOR THE UNFAMILIAR, Sudhamani is the name of the multi crore-empire proprietrix who goes by the name Mata Amritanandamayi. Her story is a typical rugs to richer one and a fairy tale of one who made good despite all the odds. It is also an insight into how through a combination of rustic charm, “spirituality” and a shrewd business sense can make one rich in this country beyond ones imagination.
Today, her business draws donations from all over the world and to some of the largest single foreign exchange earners of Kerala are her trusts. In her name we have various professional colleges, schools, technical institutions whose earnings must be astronomical. Though ostensibly these are charitable education like all the other good things of life does not come free. Her medical colleges charge a good 2.75 lakhs per student as annual fees; other institutions too collect fees depending on the market forces of demand and supply. The schools running in her name are also collecting hefty donations. One should say definitely not bad for a villager who knows only one language and is barely literate.
Born in a fisherman’s family about half a century back, Sudhamani is the third child of Sugunanandan and Damayanthi. All together thirteen children were born to this couple of whom four died at birth and one before 2 months of age. Going by the hagiographical account of her life entitled Mata Amritanandamayi- her birth itself was a miraculous event. The mother did not feel any pain or discomfort and the newborn had a beaming smile on her face. The baby had a dark blue complexion, lay in padmasan and her fingure were held in chinmudra (all acclaiming her saintly deportation). Her genius became manifest at a very tender age. She started speaking at the age of 6 months and by the age of two, purportedly without any instructions from any human agency started singing prayers and short songs in praise of Sri Krishna.
Her childhood was spent with siblings and at school. Again at school she was ahead of her class getting the Ist rank and scoring full marks in all the subjects despite that she was often absent from school because of her household responsibilities. At a young age she used to go into trances and manifest “possession”. She used to spend long hours in meditation. Naturally she had to leave school and home too. After sometime she started staying astride the house and a small hut was built which finally became her ashram.
Not that she had no enemies. Her enemies tried to kill her by various means starting from black magic to attempting to stab her directly. Every time her divine power got over the evil and nothing happened to her. The main villains here were the rationalists.
In every possible way, the rationalists movement tried to get at her. She was given deadly poison laced milk, which she consumed knowingly and then vomited out. One rationalist tried to stab her, she gestured and he collapsed. He was hospirtalised and could not be saved despite the best of medical care! The opposition by the villainous rationalist movement continues even now. Anyway more about it later.
Coming to the miracules of Sudhamani, there are three very notable ones. The first is lighting lamps without oil. It was not the rationalist movement that was her enemy then. Her chief detractor was at home. It was her brother. He tried his best to spoil her worship. One day he broke the oil lamp that used to be lit in the temple when she used go into Krishna Bhava ( for the ignorant, Krishna Bhava is when she used to act like Sri Krishna after going into a state of trance. The devotees who came for darshan were very disappointed as seeing the lamp broken. So they were told to bring sea shells, place wicks in them and light them. Lo, the miracle happened. The wicks lit and burnt throughout the night. Such was the power of the great miraculous woman.
The second miracle was that of Dattan, a leper. At a very young age he contracted the disease and was an outcast. People spat on him because of his ugly looks and foul smelling wounds. He went to visit the ‘mother’ during her Bhave Darshan day, she invited him in licked his wounds, sucked out the pus, blood and applied sacred ash all over his body. Dattan was transformed. All his wounds healed, his eyes opened, there is no more blood and pus oozing. And a new medicine for leprosy had been discovered. Apply the spittle of the “divine mother” and it shall heal.
Yet another miracle of note has to do with the multiplication of food. As usual, her ashram was overcrowded with devotees. There wasn’t enough prasadam. The “divine mother” applied her miraculous power and the food multiplied. It was more than enough to go around.
With miracles like this, there should not be dearth of gullible devotees. In September 2003 when her birthday was celebrated, the Deputy Prime Minister, the President of India all rushed to greet her. Besides, thousands of devotees have come to the celebrations from all over the world. The rational (!), hardheaded Chief Minister of Kerala is her devotee. In Karnataka, she is going to be a state guest.
Well it is the good fortune of the people of Mangalore that this great divine personality is coming over here. A local committees has been set up with very prominent people at the helm of affairs, many of them being doctors.
Shall we have the opportunity of witnessing the miracles of this lady when she visits Mangalore? Shall we have one or more of the following?
1. Light lamps around Mangala Stadium with seashells with wicks in them, which will burn with her power?
2. Will she be kind enough to go to the leprosy wards of two important hospitals in Mangalore to heal the patients?
3. Will she be kind enough to perform a miracle of multiplying food so that we shall not have anymore-hungry people in our city?
From what I foresee, nothing of the sort shall happen. One more villain will be added to the group of rationalists who tried to displease her.
Prof Nayak is the Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the Centre for Basic Sciences, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore. He is known for his contribution in the field of rationalism. Since 1976 he has been the Secretary of the Dakshina Kannada Rationalist Association. He is also the Joint Convenor of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Organizations, which is an apex body committed to the development of scientific temper and humanism in the country.