By : O. K. Varda Rao
Krishna says in the Bhagawad Gita that a true devotee – a bhakta, is one who “is not hateful towards any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, who has no idea of egoism, who is the same in sorrow and happiness, who is forgiving, who is ever content, who has self-control and who has firm conviction.” Sri Narasimha Swamiji was a true devotee with no personal desires or undertakings. His desires coincided with the desires of Lord Sainath.
Swamiji’s mother Angachiammal brought him up as a true Bhakta right from his childhood. She directed the child Narasimha to water the Tulsi plant and feed a cow every day before taking food. When Narasimha wanted to know the reason, she said. “It is not proper to take food before offering it to others.”
Angachiammal used to give alms to beggars whenever they approached her. One day, seeing her give alms to a well-built beggar, Narasimha prostrated that she was being kind to a man who did not deserve it. In reply, his mother said, “Narasimha, who are we to judge who is worthy and who is unworthy? All who come to us for help are
God in human forms. So, we must provide whatever help is within our means.” She was also very considerate towards the so-called untouchables and it was from her that Narasimha learnt that “he who gives is a God, but he who withholds is a devil.” Angachiammal’s utterances taught Narasimha that service performed in the right spirit of ‘karma yoga’ becomes ‘worship of Shiva in the Jiva,’ which is one of the most effective means of self-purification and God-realization.
Narasimha’s mother used to serve neighbors in times of need. On one occasion when a neighbor was indisposed, she went to cook for them having finished her own cooking at home. Disapproving this, Narasimha said, “Mother, you are selfish. Why didn’t you cook for them first and then do our cooking?” His mother replied, “If I cooked their food first, it would get cold by the time they ate it.” The answer went straight into Narasimha’s heart.”
The large hearted Angachiammal was an effective Guru to her son. In his later life Sri Narasimha Swamiji hardly talked about himself; he occasionally used to speak of his mother’s influence on him.