Parama Pujya Acharya Sri Ekkirala Bharadwaja

            It is no exaggeration to say that Pujya Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja, who is fondly called as ‘Master’ is known to every Sai devotee. Inspite of being born in theistic and traditional family, Master E.B. doubted the very traditional doctrine and continuously indulged himself in the Quest for Truth thus setting an ideal example to both the theistic and atheistic sessions of the society. In his quest for Truth, he analysed modern science and proved the existence of God in a scientific manner and thus became a beacon of light to the students of the present day and to the very system of education. His works in Telugu viz. "Edi Nijam" (What is reality?), "Matham Enduku?" ("Why Religion"), Vignana Veechikalu ("Waves of Scientific Knowledge") amply prove that the moral and spiritual values can be imparted to the youth even through Scientific Education of today.

In his natural quest for truth, he intensively studied religious scriptures on Hinduism, Buddism, Islam,Christianity and Tao; and also the lives and teachings of saints of these religions. After a thourough research, he started thinking as to why the finer aspects of all these religions did not culminate into one divine manifestation so far. With this agitating query in mind, Master happened to visit Shirdi and did find an answer by the Grace of Lord Sai which he experienced there immensely in his very first visit. After two decades of intense research on the life of Sri Sai, Master enlightened the world that Sri Sai Baba is an unparellelled Saint in the very history of mankind. We shall witness in the days to come, the impact of Master’s works on the people across the continents, which has already started in some parts of the world today.

The youth,on proper study of modern science get converted into earnest seekers of Truth which in turn helps them to develop a complete and comprehensive outlook towards life. Such youth on studying the life and teachings of Sri Sai, which is the harmonious blend of all religious, realise that this entire universe is the manifestation of Sadguru (i.e. Spiritual Master ) and thus lead to the wiping out of communal and religious differences in the society. If it is understood that each one of us is a manifestation of God, then the people can lead affectionate, ethical and happy life. Reverred Master says that there is no other alternative beyond this to reinculcate moral values into the mankind of today. He has dedicated his entire life towards this goal. As per an ancient spiritual tradition (Arsha Dharma), the quest of an earnest spiritual seeker will not be strengthened unless he visits Purna Purusha ( i.e. Perfect Person). This is again relived in the Master’s life and works.

Through Master E.B., Sri Sai is conveying to the society that Sri Gurucharitra Parayana (reading) is undoubtedly a means to seek the Grace and association of Holy saints Master’s works on great saints have given invaluable insight to many a spiritual seeker.

According to Master E.B., there are a good number of people in this world who have no spiritual bent of mind and who are ignorant of the very spiritual quest. It is our prime duty to morally awaken them and untill there is transformation in them, we all have an atonement. Without giving any weightage to our likes and dislikes and without getting bogged down by any amount of difficulties, each one of us should undertake to propogate Baba’s philosophy and his preachings, says Master. According to a Sanskrit verse "Swadhyaya Pravachanabhyam Napramaditavyam .." i.e. "to know what is not known and without any laxity, it should be made known to the unknown (people)". The above doctrine was practised and preached thoroughly by Master thus leading to a new school of thought.

Master clearly emphasised that he who experiences and demonstrates that the entire universe is his form only, the entire universe is his form only, just as Sri Sai proved, can only be called as Spiritual Masters or Spiritual Guides. Thus the very desire of projecting oneself as Masters for the sake of name and fame without attaining self realization, is being nipped in the bud itself by the Master.

Master cautions us that when there are great saints who even after attaining Mahasamadhi are still blessing their devotees both materialistically and spiritually, people for mere fullfilment of desires and hardships are still running after fake masters for initiation etc., which is suicidal to the society. Master works authoritatively prove that miracles, spirit processing, fortune telling are all simply deviating the mankind from the true spiritual path. He gives no scope for baseless allegations against theism.

According to Master, repeated parayana (reading) of the life and teachings of various incarnations of Lord Datta and constant craving for grace and association of holy saints will definitely lead to come and this should be the ultimate goal of each one of us.

Finally, Master showed us the very way to see the ultimate Truth from the point of view of modern science on one hand and from the point of view of eternal reality on the other and also from the angle of different religious traditions.

Jai Sai Master

Divyajanani', 'Matrusri' Alivelumangamma lovingly called as 'Ammagaru' is born in Mannava village of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh. Her parents Sri Mannava Balakrishna Sarma & Smt. Ranganayakamma hail from a traditionally devoted family. They named her after a goddess as 'Alivelu Manga Tayaru'. Ammagaru is the 6th child in the family of 6 girls and 2 brothers.

She is brought up in Guntur untill her SSLC examinations (age of 15). The family had a close relation with Matrusri Jillellamudi Amma's family belonging to the neibourhood in Mannava. Jillellamudi Amma is well known lady saint who was married to Sri Nageswara Rao garu of Jillellamudi village of Bapatla District. A big Ashram got developed around her at Jillellamudi and is famous for its Daily Meals donation for thousands of people every day. Ammagaru went to Jillellamudi in 1963 to render service in the Ashram. Their batch of girls belonging to Ammagaru team used to do lot of hardwork like bringing water from a distant rivulet to the ashram, harvesting the crops in season, helping in providing facilities to the alloted visiting devotees etc. They used to work 20 to 22 hours a day (!!) and were seen sleeping in standing postures during the early morning service hours just before Suprabhatam at 3 a.m. or so. They used to enjoy by giving nicknames and deny answers to those devotees who doesn't work and just enjoy the facilities. Jillellamudi Amma used to take special care & express love to Ammagaru's active group of girls. In later days Ammagaru's father has expired in 1964. And it seems like Ammagaru was drawn to the spiritual umbrella and was much involved into spiritual evagation just before that big jolt to the family.

During Ammagaru's days at Jillellamudi, His holiness Master garu came to Jillellamudi and stayed there for an year. As an active person in rendering services and maintaining key activities of the Organisation he came to know about the qualities of Ammagaru. Though he wanted to remain as a celibate for his life, Master garu was later pushed into Gruhasta-Ashrama (married life). By the consistent advice and assurance of his spiritual progress by Avadhuta Sri Chirala Swamy and later by His greatness Sri Paakalapati Guruvugaru, Mastergaru has married Ammagaru on March 6th of 1975. It is worth mentioning the process of their initial talks, Master garu wrote a letter to Ammagaru telling about his proposal and adding that he will leave the house whenever 'call' comes from Baba. It may be for a while or for ever. He asked her to think about it and be clear and known about his future spiritual endeavours.

Some day during that period Ammagru got a dream. In the dream she is doing pradakshina (circumambulating) the Brahmamgari Matham (Potuluri Veerabrahmendra Swamy temple) in Banaganapalli. SaiBaba was sitting below the Neem tree in the temple premises. He called 'Tayee, Come here'. He was calling Ammagaru as 'Tayee' which is her childhood nickname often used by her mother. Then he made her to sit in a chair, asked her to do Gauri Pooja (praying goddess Gauri is a mandatory custom for ladies just before marriage) and blessed her. Following this dream, and a sharp & good thought Ammagaru conveyed her acceptance to the marriage proposal by Mastergaru.

Vedavathi, their daughter & first child is born in 1976 November 7th at Banaganapalli. Later Dwarakanath Jnaneswar is born in 1981 July 23rd in Ongole. By the time the family has migrated to Ongole. During those days Ammagaru's condition of Rheumatoid Arthritis got aggriviated to the levels of paralysing one hand and restricting the movement of legs. Later after few years she was restricted to the sitting position only. Surprisingly, as ever with Baba & his acts, the very wife of his best if not the most beloved devotee had to suffer with worldly ties. One way it is not a surprising thing as she has to go through the karmic duties in this single life to be liberated by rule, being the wife of a poorna jnani (i.e.) Master garu. Master garu has persued medication to get it cured, he also offered Ammagaru that if she really want to get it off at any time, she can ask Baba for it and it will be done. But Ammagaru's thought was very matured spiritually and she chose to bear with it and continue the worldly medication for soothing the symptoms.

Ammagaru has ever supported Mastergaru in his life style and was a perfect match to him. Many students (and later devotees) of Mastergaru thought that it was the end of a chapter and Mastergaru may not be available as ever after the marriage. But surprisingly Mastergaru continued to be the same after the marriage. It was seen in terms of allowing student to freely move & take part in spiritual meetings etc. with him. Mastergaru used to take food anytime in the late night, unexpected number of persons used to join him.He spent all his money for Sai Tatwa pracharam (Spreading Sai Culture) and in times the family was in mud house, left to Baba though. Those were the days when Mastergaru resigned his job & moved to Ongole. He never took free money offerings and encashed only his hard efforts for Baba. We know Mastergaru worked on SaiBaba very rigorously for 14 long years. A smooth & strong support in idealogy & routine from Ammagaru made it possible. Finally the hard days passed away and SaiBaba Mission formation and funds flow from Books like Saileelamrutham were just enough to run the family and maintain the press. The bottomline is that Ammagaru was now seen as the best match and the couple is a true made for each other. Mastergaru often said, "If she doesn't support me, I could not do these things, and I might not be available to you like this". It is true by Gruhasta-Ashram as we all known the importance of a wife and her acceptance, by Manu-Dharma. Mastergaru is a person who claimed "If I miss in Dharma, it is like God Sun act of rising in the West". In lieu of it, we should see the importance and support Ammagaru rendered as great as any thing in holy scripts.

Golden Days went on when thousands of people were admired and turned towards Sai by Master garu. Many more thousands realised Mastergaru's greatness. More found him as none other than god and incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. Then were the true sweet days in A.P.'s history when strong foundations of Saibaba were layed in the region and now we all see the effect of it even in Shirdi, outclassing numbers of so many devotees are visiting Shirdi from this part of the world. Days have come in the history, Ammagaru has to face bigger shock by realising that Mastergaru has taken Samadhi, quite unexpected as it was, in terms of timing as he is just 51 & left with young kids. Ammagaru said that, she thought Mastergaru may leave to Himalayas or so, but she didn't expected this. Ammagaru has absorbed the shock and took to the taking care of the children. Her prime objecting is to see her children grown up and got settled. Vedavathi was married in 1999 to Mr. Adidam Srikanth a country manager of a MNC, coming from a traditional family from Vijayawada. They are living happily at Hyderabad. Ammagaru's second child Chi. Dwarakanath is graduated in computer sciences but now totally dedicated to taking care of Ammagaru whom he considers gurupatni and above everything. Spiritually both the children are very much elite. Great Avadhutas like Sri Nampalli Baba, Sri Gulab Baba, Sri Polayya Swamy has specially shown there love to the family and blessed them. After all Mastergaru is known as 'Mahatmula Muddu Biddadu' (the loving son of Mahatmas).

Pujya Sri Ammagaru took Samadhi on June 3, 2021. A Samadhi Mandir is being constructed near Gummalampadu Village on the outskirts of Onloge.

A book, the biography of Ammagaru is under final touches and is going to be published. We shall see the golden pages in our hands soon.

Now Ammagaru is staying at Hyderabad giving a chance to various devotees to get the blessing of Mastergaru in the form of Ammagaru. She is the Gurupatni and Thus the Guru and Thus the God Almighty as defined by the holy scriptures. Devotees are experiencing the grace of Baba & Master garu ever before at Ammagaru and many miracles are unfolding. Devotees are getting their good desires met by her blessings.

A quote from a revered devotee of Sri Gajana Maharaj says,

"We salute the very dust particles on the Feet of saints. Liberation does not hold any charm to us. Only saints are great. Nothing is greater than them. He is a Bhrahmajnyani, who thinks of saints always. Such a person treats saints as God. He doesn't need to think of any thing else."

                     Master Ekkirala Bharadwaja was born in 1938 to Sri Ekkirala Ananthacharya and Venkata Lakshmi in the small township of Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh. He lost his mother early in his childhood. His father was highly learned in the ancient Hindu Scriptures – the Vedas and the Shastras. (Sri E. Ananthacharya is the author of several books on the Vedas and the Ayurveda School of medicine. His book in English, The Vision of Aryan Glory (first published in 1938) was used as Indology course material for three years in the University Of Hamburg, Germany.) While many would everyday gather around his father to get their doubts cleared regarding various intricate questions on the Vedas, young Bharadwaja appeared to be indifferent. He was adept in cricket. Once when one of his father’s friends heckled him for sitting outside, while others were crowding inside to hear his father speak, Bharadwaja requested him to answer only one question of his, regarding the epic Mahabharata (which is known to every child in India). That one question astounded the man in its penetrating intelligence. He had no answer.

In 1955, Bharadwaja’s initiation ceremony (akin to the Christian baptism) was performed. On that very day his nephew passed away. “The initial heartbreak had left and, in its wake, several fundamental questions arose in me: “Is there a Supreme Spirit? What is its nature? How can we contact it? What is life? What is death? Is there a soul? Why hasn’t man found a way out of death? What is time?” and such others. The search went on unanswered…”(pg.1,’The Master Calls Me’, Sai Baba the Master).

In 1959, Acharyaji completed his post-graduation in English Literature. He began working as a Lecturer in English and appeared for the rigorous Indian Administrative Services exam in 1961. The following year, he was declared selected and sent an appointment letter. Much in the vein of prince Siddhartha who gave up a life of power and wealth and later became known as Lord Buddha, Acharyaji also turned down the offer. He became ‘converted’ after a profound spiritual experience at the Samadhi Mandir of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi (9th February 1963, Shirdi is in Maharashtra, India).

"In 1968 I resigned my job (as English Lecturer at Bapatla, Prakasam Dist., A.P., India) and lived at the ashram of a Mother for a year. After that, on a specific indication from Baba I left the ashram and settled in my present job here, at Vidyanagar (Neloore Dist., A.P., India). At first I was very much disappointed with the life here which had stifled my spiritual longings. There was none that shared my aspirations, none to join me in Satsang. Life looked dreary and barren even like the rocky soil here. I yearningly prayed to Baba either to take me to a place where I could have Satsang or to secure it here for me. Within a few months there was Baba’s response in the most seemingly casual manner. A Christian boy, a student, started criticizing me for adoring a human being like Sai Baba. A discussion ensued which went on for days and drew large numbers of students to participate in it. Out of these a small group took shape and decided to have weekly Satsang (devotional or spiritual gathering) on Thursdays for Bhajan. The Bhajan, by the grace of Baba, has been going on for the last nine years without interruption even for one week…Baba’s grace has been manifesting in the most miraculous ways to the participants in the bhajan…” (pg7, ‘The Master Calls Me’, Sai Baba the Master). Indeed, several saints such as Sri Ranganna Babu of Guntur and Sri Samarth Narayana Maharaj of Harihar themselves came to bless the devotees rather than the devotees going to them.

Many such groups sprung up at several places and Pujya Acharyaji began to travel extensively to spread the message of Baba. All the devotees came together and decided to set up the Sai Baba Mission (now Sri Master Universal Sai Trust) to propagate Baba’s teachings and furnish the materials for the same. They elected Acharyaji as their head. Through their united efforts and Baba’s grace, a temple dedicated to Sri Sai Baba came up in Vidyanagar in1981, the forerunner of many others.

Meanwhile on the personal front: “…Baba has been guiding me in my material life also. Owing to my keen reflection on joy and sorrow in life I came to a decision to remain a celibate all my life and dedicate all my energies to the spiritual quest…In1973, I visited Shirdi to pray for explicit guidance in the matter…(the) message from Baba (was)…you should get married and that thereby your karmic ties would be worked out”. Pujya Acharyaji entered matrimony with respected Smt. Alivelu MangaThayaru (fondly known to us as Ammagaru) on March 6th 1975.

                   After 1981, Pujya Acharyaji resigned his job and devoted himself full time to intensive research into the lives and teachings of several saints, travelling extensively and personally contacting many of them. He studied in depth seven branches of science and five of the major religions of the world (Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and Taoism). In 1983 began the fortnightly magazine Sai Baba. He met personally all those who had been fortunate to have lived with and observed Sai Baba – the man and the master - and recorded their experiences. He also translated many spiritual works from other languages and brought to light spiritual traditions of yore The culmination of all this is a series of books on Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, Sri Akkalakot Maharaj, Sri Tajuddin Baba of Nagpur and numerous others in English and Telugu.

Since Pujya Acharyaji had himself been an agnostic before becoming a believer, his books such as Edi Nizam (What is the Truth?), Vignana Veechikalu (the Marvels of Science), Matham Enduku (Why Religion?), explore and prove the existence of God in a scientific manner and the necessity of resorting to a Sadguru (the Supreme Master) who can guide us on spiritual and worldly matters alike.

By now he was father of a daughter and son. His dynamic life of spiritual ministration continued undisturbed despite a host of domestic troubles. Many would come to him for succor – spiritual and physical. He used his personal funds to educate many young students with no means and for many other social purposes. Pujya Acharyaji made those who contacted him start spiritual disciplines easily and live richer, purposeful, righteous and peaceful lives. Great stalwarts such as the Christian missionary Paul Reps (Seattle,USA) have also testified as to how reading the life and teachings of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi have enabled them to understand the Christ and Christianity all the better.

Indeed in the past century India has borne many great men and women. But Pujya Acharyaji’s life and work cannot be summed up. What distinguishes him? His work was not for himself, not just for those around him but is for all the coming generations. The Quest for Truth, which is as hard as treading the edge of a razor, is now for us an open book.

Acharyaji was a realized soul. But, along with his spiritual activities of visiting and taking 'darshan' of saints in remote parts of India, he was belabored on the one hand by the humdrum of everyday existence of writing books, giving lectures, book binding, attending to correspondence, collecting funds etc. and on the other, fulfilling the responsibilities of a family man. Acharyaji's life sets an example for us. His life showed that Realization neither elevates nor eliminates us from the world, but establishes one in fullness, which is evident in all that he did.

To the everlasting grief of his followers, admirers and devotees, the magnificent saga of Pujya Acharyaji’s earthly existence came to an end in 1989. Though he has left his mortal frame, even now He responds to the call of the devotees.

It is now nearly twelve years since our beloved Pujya Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja Master attained Mahasamadhi (April 12th, 1989); years in which we have often felt his absence in flesh and blood and yet have been immensely assured, of his response whenever called to, of his sure but remote guidance of our lives. Devotees acquainted with Pujya Acharyaji during his lifetime or through his books would know the story of Pujya Acharyaji’s spiritual quest for truth.

Date Historical Event
February 8 Pujya Master E.B.’s first visit to Shirdi
February 9 Pujya Master’s experience of Enlightenment by Baba
March 6 Pujya Master’s Marriage with Ammagaru
April 12 Pujya Master’s Mahasamadhi - Master leaves his mortal presence
July 23 Pujya Master’s son Dwaraknath Jnaneswar (second child) Birthday
November 7 Pujya Master’s daughter Vedavathi (first child) Birthday
October 1 Pujya Master's Wife Smt.Alivelu Manga Tayaru Birthday
October 30 Pujya Master's Birthday

Jai Sai Master