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Thathagaru Life

Shri Kotha Ramakotiah Garu originally hailed from a small village Ghantasala on the banks of Krishna river. He belonged to a farming family. Over a period of time, due to life circumstances and economic reasons they moved to a village on the banks of river Tungabhadra, a small hamlet near Tenali called Sangam Jagarlamudi. Since they came into agrarian work in this area from Krishna district they were referred to by the villages as “ Kotha " family, meaning "new' family. This name stuck and so it evolved into the surname of this family. The family patriarch was named Venkatadri. He had a son names Subbiah. Subbiah had three sons, Kotiah, Lingiah and Bujji Kotiah. The elder son Kotiah had one son and six daughters. The son was Venkata Subbiah. He in turn had one son and one daughter. This son was Shri Kotha Ramakotiah, 1909. He was born in Sangam Jagarlamudi village. The daughter was Saamrajyam. She was married to Jampala Venkata SubbaRao from Duggirala village.

Shri Kotha Ramakotiah Garu's parents were father Venkata Subbiah and mother Yasodhamma. Shri Ramakotiah Garu's mother passed away when he was four years old. His father remarried a lady named Ramachandramma, who had no offspring Shri Venkata Subbiah Garu who was the father of Thathagaru was a very well built tall man. He was a man of few words. He was well revered in the village of Sangam Jagarlamudi His daily routine included walking to his farm with a copy of the Bhagavatam in one hand and a water keg in the other. He did not speak much to any of the villagers. As soon as he reached the farm, all his workers sprang to attention and focused on their farming tasks with increased discipline. It was not as if Shri Venkata Subbiah gave them direct orders, it was just his presence and demeanor which demanded such zeal from the farmers. Even as the Munsif (Treasurer or Bookeeper) of the village, Shri Venkata Subbiah was very diligent and meticulous in his job of supervision of the village taxes, gently prodding everyone to be punctual in their taxes duties. The village elders spoke very highly of Shri Venkata Subbiah Garu. Shri Venkata Subbiah was a staunch advocate of the British Raj. He admired the progressive construction of railways, roads and irrigation achievements of the British. He was the karnam of the village, which was a ranked position of leadership created by the British for village administration Thathagaru was raised by his aunts at Chinak akani after his mother's death. He joined school at four years of age. Due to his circumstances, he did not attend school daily. It was a partial participation and learning. Hence Shri Venkata Subbiah Garu brought his son to Sangam Jagarlamudi to ensure his discipline and education. 

Shri Ramulu Pandit was his teacher who ensured his strict regimen and school routine until he reached 7th grade.  He also ensured the child's extra hobbies through village plays. Thathagaru enjoyed his early you the tutelage of his teacher with great enthusiasm.  Shri Kotha  Jagannadham Garu who was his uncle had served as Joint Secretary at Madras Government and also as a local District Minister in Guntur.  He had ensured his own son Shri Kotha Raghuramiah's education at Guntur High School. Hence Thathagaru was also ensured admission at Hindu College from 8th grade in 1923 to 1927, until he completed his SSLC examinations successfully Al Hindu College, a Professor named Shri Lanka Narasimha Sastry Garu instilled a love for Telugu Literature in Thathagaru. The works of great scholars such as Nannayya and Thikkanna were taught to Thathagaru in these years. There is a beautiful Guntur incident that happened many years later, when an old man suddenly approached Thathagaru and his friend who were taking a walk near Shankar Vilas hotel. The old man was in his nineties. He came up close to Thathagaru and peered at him, and suddenly exclaimed with recognition "Oh Ramakotiah it's you! Thathagaru was stunned. "Sir I have not recognized you, my apologies and respects to you." He greeted him with folded hands. Upon which the old man replied, "I have taught hundreds of pupils over the years. It is not easy to forget a student such as yourself, even after fifty years" The elder was none other than his Professor Shri Narasimha Sastry from Hindu college. Post SSLC Thathagaru moved to Bandar for his graduation. He procured admission in Hindu College at Bandar. Thathagaru took Telugu Literature and History as his majors.

He was fortunate enough to have Professor Viswanatha Satyanarayana as his guide and mentor. The interest in literature of English, French and German authors such as Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Victor Hugo, Dumas and Tolstoy was inculcated by his professor in Thatagaru, as also Telugu literature works of many authors such as Kalidasa were read by him avidly as a youngster. Thathagaru was an independent thinker, an active participant in college debates wherein he administrated as juror tremendous forward thinking such as swarajya patriotism. [ independence for India from the British Raj | Although it was not very encouraged or conducive for a college student to advocate for Swarajya, Thathagaru nevertheless had a vision towards this, and coached his friends and fellow students! about this frequently. This comprised the life of Thathagaru until 1943. All of this was his life experience prior to meeting with Master Veturi Garu Prabhakara Sastry Garu. Master VPS was everything to Thathagaru. Their bond was so unique that every breath of Thathagaru was saturated with his guru, Sastry Garu. Everyday began with a communion in the 6am prayer and continued with each moment of the day. Patients, teaching yogam, rumination, living his day; Thathagaru incessantly was absorbed utterly in his own inner conversation with Sastry garu. This intense dialogue charged his soul so much that for every activity he would just respond with “Guruvu Garu ni adugudaam, prayer cheyyandi." (Let's ask my guru, lets pray once. Thathagaru was his guru in thought, word, action and breath. It was a union of yogam, predestined and continuous.