GHHF Remembering and glorifying Mother
Remembering and glorifying Mother
on Mother’s Day (May 12, 2013)
O Mother! May the society appreciate your potential? May they seek your blessings from east, west, north, south and everywhere. And may you bless them with prosperity and happiness. (Yajur Veda: 6:36)
As we celebrate Mother’s day as per the traditions in the west on May 12, let us pay tribute to the role of mother and her contribution in shaping the family as well as a nation. In Hindu way of life, mother is always remembered, reminisced, cherishes, respected, honored, glorified and worshipped.
Mother is considered the pillar of Hindu family; pinnacle of sacrifice; embodiment of love; affection and compassion; source of inspiration and encouragement; personification of peace and harmony; foundation of strength and courage; epitome of age-old wisdom and prudence; hallmark of patience and endurance; quintessence of solace and comfort; exemplification of kindness and gentleness; reservoir of inexhaustible blessings; and personification of patience and tolerance.
How can we forget the forbearance of mother who conceived us and carried us for nine months in her womb; suffered months of morning sickness; saw us grow day by day; fed us through the tube; allowed us to take shape as we developed backbone, skin, fingers, nails, eye lids, eye brows, nose, ears, hands, legs, toes, heart, head, brain, and so on for nine months; and carried all the weight all these months; endured all the sounds and kicking’s; spent countless nights without sleep; withstood all the discomforts; and finally gave birth. How can we forget the mother’s endurance and tenacity during those nine months?
How can we forget anxious mother’s first look at the baby in spite of all the pain and suffering during the delivery; her instant motherly instinct to hold him and caress him; her longing to feed the baby; her excitement to hear the sounds of her infant; her delight in putting him to the bed; her constant vigil of looking at the sleeping bay; her thrill at looking the baby crawl and walk; her prompting at baby to talk; her enjoyment of feeding the baby; her constant concern for the safety of the child; her passion to narrate bedtime stories; and countless efforts to make the child grow with confidence, trust and love. Who can forget and how can we forget?
Hindu religion has given her exalted position compared to any other religion. Matru Devo bhava is the dictum no body can forget. Mother is divine. It is important to remember that only Hindus worship God in the form of Divine Mother. In Hinduism we have Sri Lakshmi, goddess of wealth; Saraswati, the goddess of learning and knowledge;Parvati, goddess who bestows women with long married life; and Kali, the power of time and other goddesses who protected the human race from demonic forces. Women as goddesses are worshipped in all religious festivals. During Navaratri time, different manifestations of Devi are worshipped for ten days. And no function is complete without the participation of women as mother. The social inconsistencies and injustices in the role of women did not arise from Hindu scriptures, but from the external forces that constrained the movement of women as well as the foreign rule that forced women to take a protective role.
Hindu scriptures extolled the virtues of woman starting from her birth as an infant, daughter, kanyaka, bride, wife, daughter-in-law and a mother. Whether one is young, middle aged or old, he gets immense joy and pleasure thinking and remembering the mother. There is no one that can be compared to mother. Lord Rama addressing his brother Lakshamana said: “Api Swarnamayi Lankaa na me Lakshmana rochate, Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargaadapi Gariyasi” Lakshmana, even this golden Lanka does not appeal to me; mother and motherland are greater than heaven.
From the early Vedic times,women have played vital role in preservation of Hindu heritage. They include such women as Sati, Sita, Anasuya, Arundhati, Draupadi, Queen Kunti, Shakuntala, Maitreyi, Gargi, Madalasa, Savitri, Ahalya, and others. Many believe that simply reciting their names removes sins and remembering their names gives enough strength. Vedas, Upanishad, Puranas, Manu Sastra, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other scriptures have eulogized the role of mother.
Manu Dharma Sastra gave unparalleled respect and honor to mother. Friedrich Nietzsche, a Western philosopher and spiritualist, says: “I know of no book in which so many tender and kind remarks are addressed to woman as in the Law Book of Manu; these old grey-bearded saints have a way of being polite to women which has perhaps never been surpassed.”
Manu Dharma Sastra
Following are some of the examples of the statements found in Manu Dharma Sastra about the status of women:
"Where women are honored there the gods are pleased; but where they are not honored no sacred rite yields rewards," (III.56)
"Women must be honored and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands and brothers-in-law, who desire their own welfare." (III, 55)
"Where the female relations live in grief, the family soon wholly perishes;but that family where they are not unhappy ever prospers." (III, 57).
"Wherever women are given their due respect, even the deities like to reside, and where they are not respected, all action remains unfruitful."
Similarly Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharvana Veda also glorified the status of mother, beseeched her blessings, sought her advice, obtained her wisdom, reminisced her smile and cherished her unparalleled compassion.
Rigveda 10.17.10: O Mothers! Purify us with your compassion, understanding and enlightenment. The women cleanse us all from all our sins, corruption and defects. We come out firm, pure and noble from their blessed company.
Rigveda 6.61.7: O enlightening Mother! You have the potential to destroy the evil. You have a character as pure as gold. You have the potential to destroy the clouds of frustrations and doubt. You are brave and you only aspire for our well-being and success! We are indeed blessed!
Atharvaveda 7.68.2: O enlightening Mother! May you always shower your blessings in form of peace, happiness and success. May you always be pleased with us and may we never conduct any act that excludes us from your blessing gaze.
Atharvaveda 3.13.7: O pure and blessing Mothers! I am your beloved son. O powerful mother, please guide me towards fulfillment of my noble aspirations.
Yajurveda 6.17: O pure and blessing Mothers! Cleanse us all from sins, immorality and pollution. Purge us from falsehood, hatred, jealousy and frustrations.
Yajurveda 6.31: O pure and blessing Mothers! Satisfy our mind, speech, life, eyes, ears, soul and society with nobleness.
Shankara Bhagavadpata on Mother
Shankara wanted to take up Sanyasa at a tender age. Mother refused. But he convinced her that he would be present at her deathbed no matter where he was. Later on, when he realized that her mother was on deathbed, with his divine powers he appeared instantly near his mother, and did funeral ceremony. At that he was supposed to have written “Matru Panchakam” paying a tribute that would bring tears to any son or daughter who reads or listen to it. Nothing surpasses this moving tribute to a mother. This is the only composition on a human being. Shankara never composed any slokas other than Gods and Goddesses except Matru Panchakam, which contains five verses.
Suffice it to read the last verse about Mothers constant shower of blessings on her child:
Oh, pearl mine,
Oh jewel mine,
Oh my dearest eyes,
Oh mine prince dearest,
And oh my soul of soul,
Sang thou to me,
But in return of that all,
Oh my mother dearest.
I give you but dry rice in your mouth.
Bhishma’s accolade to Mother
Following Kurukshetra war, Lord Krishna takes Panadavs to Bhishma who lying on the bed of arrows. Pandavas requests Bhishma to impart knowledge about Raja neeti and various other topics. Bhishma pays glowing tribute the place of Mother in the hearts of every human being and the need for her guidance to avert calamities in the society. In Shanti Parva, Bhishma says that the mother is the panacea for all kinds of evils. Even mention of mothers name would avert the grief and sadness. Even if a mother has a son ofhundred-year-old man, in her eyes is like a two year old kid to be taken care of. “There is no shelter like the mother. There is no refuge like the mother. There is no defense like the mother. There is no one so dear as the mother. For having borne him in her womb the mother is the son’s dhatri. For having been the chief cause of his birth, she is his janani. For having nursed his young limbs, she is called amva (Amma). For nursing and looking after the son she is called sura. The mother is one’s own body.”
Devi-Mahatma goes even farther by saying that she is source and sustenance of the cosmos:“By you this universe is borne, by you this world is created. By you it is protected, O Devi: By you it is consumed at the end. You are the Supreme Knowledge, as well as ignorance, intellect and contemplation...”
Wife and husband are equal partners in married life. Sage Agastya tells his wife Lopa mudra, “In this world, we will overcome all adversities if we two exert ourselves together.” A wife is called Ardhaangini (‘half of oneself’), Sahadharmini (a comrade in life), an equal participant inperformance of and in reaping fruits of good deeds),Pathni (the one who leads the husband through life), Dharmapathni (the one who guides the husband in dharma) and Sahadharmacharini (one who moves with the husband on the path of dharma--righteousness and duty). Mother is God herself.
Let us all remember our MOTHERS, their sacrifices, their compassion, their guidance, their wisdom, their watchful eyes, their smiles, and their bountiful and unconditional blessings.
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