India gave birth to several devotees of god and spiritual stalwarts and sacred souls. There have been innumerable great persons, who evolved and propagated different methods of worshipping god. They removed the ignorance of the people of treating the worldly enjoyments as the final goal of life and helped them to get salvation or the realization of supreme self or god.
The family of Ailavajjala of Bhaaradwaaja gotra in Paatakoduru village in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh was well known for several great men who were experts in the Shakta cult of worshipping Mother Goddess. In this family was born in 1917, Shree Venkataramanayya. He became a great expert in the tradition of worship of Shakti or Mother Goddess. He was blessed by the Goddess Mukkantamma, who was the family deity and also the village deity. He was a great scholar in Ayurveda, Astrology, Telugu, Sanskrit, Vyaakarana and others. He was also a poet and was an expert in Avadhaanam, a specific process of poetry requiring miraculous memory power and high and remarkable poetic skill. For a decade he traveled throughout the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. He spent one year in Srishailam, the abode of lord Mallikarjuna and goddess Bhramaramba, everyday bringing water in a pot from Paataalaganga- river Krishna about one thousand steps deep below- and perform Abhishekam to goddess Bhramaraamba. His life style, food habits, dress and others were so simple that no one would believe that he was such a great person. He was called as Ayyagaaru by the disciples with great respect and affection.
Ayyagaaru started a group called Sri Chamundeshwari Seva Samithi Shaaktamandal in 1968. From its inception onwards a programme of worship of Sri Chamundeshwari is performed once in a month of Telugu calendar, with the name Samaavesham. In this program the deity is worshipped in the form of a photo and a holy vessel.-Kalasham-and Shreechakram. Recitation of holy scriptures, Homam (fire sacrifice) of Saptashati, Kumaripooja and Mahapooja in the night are performed. Some celebrations were performed for three and five days and some were held at many holy places like Kashi, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Badarinath Pushkarraj and others. Members of the Samithi attend all the celebrations with their own expense and render service. Five days program at Alampur-the abode of goddess Jogulaamba- with the lighting of one lakh lamps and another five days program at Feelkhana in Hyderabad for the installation of Shri Tripurasundari were held in an unparallel grand scale.
Ayyagaaru used to lay more stress on the clean and pure mind rather than traditionally prescribed practices and on the Annadanam –feeding-than the Tantric practices which are popularly followed by many stalwarts of Shakta cult. Treating all women as mother is the most important requirement for a Shakta devotee, in his view. He joined the goddess on Jan 31, 1988. After him his son Shree Subrahmanya Shastry is managing efficiently the Samithi and the temple.
Installation of Sri Chamundeshwari Devi…
While the monthly celebrations were going on for several years, Ayyagaru thought of establishing a temple for Sri Chamundeshwari Devi. He visited several places and selected the eastern bank of Manjeera near Jogipet in Medak district. The land was first purified by ploughing and by performing sacred rites. The stone for the idol was selected from the rocks near Dharmapuri in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. The idol of Sri Chamundeshwari Devi was carved by the sculptors of Tamilnadu. The nine feet high idol with eighteen arms and a flamy crown is very attractive and impressive. The idol was consecrated on Jan 2, 1983 corresponding to Ananda year Pushya month and seventh day black fortnight. Thousands of people thronged for the installation ceremony, though it was in the night.
Normally the temple is fully constructed and then the idol is installed. But here the idol was installed initially and then the work of construction of temple and other facilities is still going on. The pace of work of different buildings, the continuation of arrangement of free food to the visiting devotees and the increasing number of devotees day by day are surprising. The statement of Ayyagaaru that it would become a second Varanasi is to become true very shortly,the developments show.
Opposite the Chamundeshwari devi, three other idols of Braahmi, Kaali and Vaishnavi are installed. Devotees get their desires fulfilled by worshipping the goddess in different ways. Taking bath over head and directly circumambulating, without wiping the body and without changing the dress, the temple eleven to more number of times according to one’s capacity or tying a coconut in a cloth and offering it as mudupu are some methods to get the desires fulfilled