Woman is the superior creation of God. It is stated in the Taittiriiyopanishad, “Matru Devo Bhava (मातृदेवो भव) –See God in mother; revere your mother as God.”
Motherhood is the highest stage of womanhood. Along with the Vedas, mother’s power –strength has been highly glorified in all other principal Hindu treatises and it can be well comprehended from the above quoted couplet of the Taittiriiyopanishad as well, in which woman has not only been accorded full respect, but also has been placed at par with the Creator Himself.
In society we get familiarity with different forms of woman as mother, daughter, wife and sister. But, the introduction of the most powerful and the best form of woman we get is the Mother with her best feminine attribute –Motherhood.
It, therefore, clearly appears in the Santana-Hindu Dharma –the Vedic philosophy that in the chain of the masters –Gurujanas, mother emerges as the first and she is, thus, entitled to be worshiped first of all. Mother gets one to realise the existence of Atmatattva within and develops consciousness and capability to identify the Paramasatya (soul and God, both). Hence, Mother exists everywhere as the goddess of intelligence.
Every relation in the world is guided by self-interest in one way or the other. It is a bitter truth. But, relation of a mother who as the first Guru awakens consciousness in her progeny remains selfless. This very selflessness of woman accords her the highest place in the society.
In the Sanatana-Hindu Dharma mother is accepted as the embodiment of power –strength (Shaktiswaroopa). Shiva –the masculine energy Himself is incomplete in the absence of the Shakti –the feminine energy. It evidently reflects in His Ardha narishvara form (half female and half male form equally split down the middle). Brahman (the Ultimate and the Highest Reality) is the Satya–truth and the illusion-created world –the universe is the vibrated form of that Reality –the Truth. Getting energy from the truth vibrated creation, the search and attainment of Brahman –the Ultimate and the Highest Reality is the fulfilment of the purpose of life. Jagatjanni (the Mother of the Universe) Herself is the energy and vitality of the true form of Brahman:
“Brahman Satyam, Jagatsfuurti, Jiivanam Satyashodhanam/”
Integral expression of human nature has been comprehensively discussed and analysed in the basic treatises of the Sanatana-Hindu Dharma –the Vedic way of life. Accordingly, the integral form of parents reflects in progeny –offspring. Psychic-spiritual unity of the both (parents) appears in the form of a daughter or a son. As Brahman and the Power are inseparable from one another, the parents are also indivisible from each-other. Presence of their soul in childbirth is the cause of vitality –perfection of our birth. It has been mentioned in the Balakanda of the Shriramacharitamanasa:
“Bhawaani Shankarau Vande, Shraddhaa Vishvaasa Ruupinau”
The father form of God reflects in one’s confidence (Vishvasa) while His mother form becomes evident in faith –reverence (Shraddha). Unity of reverence and confidence is the purpose of the creation. Therefore, the Supreme Power, Ishwara is seen in the form of mother; mother is seen in form of reverence. The Durgaasaptashatii states:
“Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshu Shraddhaaruupena Sansthitaa/”
The duo of reverence and confidence takes one to the Paramasatya –Paramatma, the Ultimate Reality. It could be attained with the grace of mother. Yogeshwara Shrikrishna obviously says in the Shrimadbhagavad-Gita (4:39):
“Shraddhaavaana Labhate Jnaanam –Those whose faith is deep...(they) attain divine knowledge.”
Mother guides us to know the Supreme Regulator –Adminis-trator of the universe. She is, therefore, the true form of wisdom. She is the source of attaining enlightenment –the Prajna.
Mother is the first master –Guru. She is entitled to possess the postulation of each aspect of human development. Mother gets us acquainted with our father. She introduces the world to us. She teaches us to move, speak, know and realize, understand and everything else in primary stage. It is also she who for the first time teaches the lesson of humanity and accords the knowledge to tread the right path in life. It is, to repeat again, stated in the Taittiriiyopanishad that God should be realised in mother –“Matru Devo Bhava”, and after her in father –“Pitru Devo Bhava”.
Those who accept illusion as untrue –unreal and take the Brahmanjnana (the divine knowledge) as real and true, they, (the awakened ones) salute to the grace of motherhood. Maharshi Dayananda ‘Saraswati’ has in the beginning of the Satyaarthaprakaasha quoted the following verse from the Shatapathabrahmaana:
“Atha Shikshaa Pravakshyaamah Maatrimaan Pitramaanaachaaryavaan Purusho Vedah –one can attain knowledge only if he is blessed with three good Gurus –mother, father and teacher.”
Mother has been kept at the first place. It has been further stated:
“Prashastaa Dhaarmikii Vidushii Maataa Vidyate Yasya Sa Maatrimaana/”
The Rigveda is the basic and the supreme scripture of the Santana-Hindu Dharma. Glorifying the grace of mother it has been said the Rigveda, “O dawn-like life-giver mother! Inspire us to tread a right path, give us the knowledge of rule-system and bless us with glory-grandeur and prosperity.”
The Santana-Hindu Dharma, undoubtedly, accords a supreme status to a woman. It explains causal theory behind all existence and divulges that God Himself has created the universe from His (own) Nature. The Sanatana Dharma further clarifies that Paramatma –God has everywhere presented himself in the form of motherhood. Along with creating good he himself destroys the inauspicious and ill-fated. The Durga form of God is the symbol of this process:
“Tvamhi Durgaa Dashapraharana Dhaariniim/ Kamala-akamala Dala Vihaariniima/ Vaanii Vidyaa Daayineem//”
Power, learning and prosperity are the foremost fundamentals of human development. Our Principal Goddess, the mother of the universe –Jagatjanni is the Ruler and Regulator of all these three. The Goddess of Power is Mother Durga (in Her various forms), the Goddess of learning is Mother Sharada and the Goddess of Prosperity is Mother Mahalakshmi.
In the Vedas, Mother Gayatri is called the immortal nectar like sacrament. We all know it well that the Gayatri Mantra is known as the best Vedic Mantra. Further, the Vedic Rishis have used the word ‘Shrutimata’for Shrutis. For Smritis the word ‘Smritimata’ remains in practice and for the unprecedented and the most leading spiritual and welfaristic message, the word ‘Gitamata’ is in use.
The Earth is revered as a goddess –Devi by the Sanatanadharmis –Hindus, and is addressed as a Mother. It is, in fact, one of the unique concepts of the Hindu Dharma and Indian culture. Mother is seen in different forms –the Earth is believed to be the wife (Bharaya) of God (Vishnu):
“Samudravasane Devi, Parvatastanamandale/ Vishnnpatni Namastubhyam Paadasparsham Kshamasvame// –Oh Mother Earth, the Devi, Who is having ocean as Her Garments and mountains as Her Bosom, Who is the Consort of Shri Vishnu, I bow to You; please forgive me for touching You with my Feet.”
Bharatbhoomi –the Indian land is called the Bharatmata and it is worshiped by Sanatanadharmis as their mother:
“Jananii Janmabhuumishcha Swargaadapi Gariiyasii –mother and motherland, both, are superior to heaven.”
Needless to say, the followers of the Sanatana Dharma, Hindus, realise motherhood in every life-giving consciousness. Rivers like holy Ganges, Yamuna and Narmada, which expurgate humanity of all sins and evils, are revered as mothers. Cow, which gives us life sustaining milk, is accepted as holy mother.
“Maatarah Sarvabhuutaanaam Gaavah Sarva Sukhapradaa –cow is the mother of all; cow as the giver of all kinds of happiness is respectable in all manners.”
The Nature is also a mother perceptive existence, responsible for the regulation of the physical universe. The holy Tulasi –Ocimum sanctum (Ocimum tenuiflorum), well representing the Nature is considered as a life-giver mother. Hareetakee (Harad) –Terminalia chebula like virtual herb is equated with mother. For Hareetakee it has been stated:
“Yasya Maataa Grihenaasti Tasya Maataa Hariitakii/”
Language is known as mother-tongue, not the father-tongue, as mother is the first teacher of expression for a child.
The Sanatana-Hindu Dharma calls for respecting and worshipping girls taking them in as the source of power –strength. Through the Navaratri Sankalpa (nine nights and ten days Hindu festival twice in a year) the Sanatanadharmis are called for seeking blessings of the mother power for the welfare of the whole of humanity.
Ours is a male dominated society. Almost all powers remain in hands of men. The Sanatana-Hindu Dharma in its true form, however, declares women to be the symbol of power and entitled to be worshipped. Not only this, women have been held entitled to all respect, reverence and worship first of all deities as the goddesses of strength. More especially, the Sanatana-Hindu Dharma eventually accepts that there is no shade to offer solace like one’s mother and no protection equal to her. She is without parallel and the most beloved in the whole of the universe:
“Naasti Maatrisamaa Chhaayaa, Naasti Maatrisamaa Gatih/ Naasti Matrisamam Traana, Naasti Maatrisamaa Priyaa//”
In the Sanatana-Hindu Dharma reverence towards womanhood is unquestionable. Mother is unparalleled from sacrifice, asceticism, selfless service for her progeny and their wellbeing viewpoint.
Currently, it seems that everything is passing through an infection period. Moral values are on the decline continuously. Tendency of indifference towards discharging individual and collective responsibilities towards society, the nation and the humanity, is widening day-by-day. A serious situation created by growing trend of isolation in life and surfacing of consumer culture –Bazarvad, reality of which is well before us, has badly hit the honour, grace and dignity of a woman in India, a country of the Sanatanadharmis–Hindus. Consequently, despite unprecedented development in all walks of life especially in the field of science, technology, space research and the means of communication, moral values, necessary for purity and sustenance of the universal structure, have rigorously declined.
In such a situation, only the unique motherhood concept of the Sanatana-Hindu Dharma and endeavours accordingly could build a clean, immune, peaceful and a prosperous society.
We the Sanatanadharmis–Hindus direly need to introspect. We need to get familiar with the fundamentals of the Sanatana-Hindu Dharma and to come forward to wash our society of discrepancies and impermanent evils. Keeping the woman in the centre –comprehending well the basic spirit in the root of the womanhood philosophy of the Sanatana-Hindu Dharma, we need first to adopt the respect and honour of womenfolk as our Dharma –the prime duty and to practise it accordingly and to see the nation as our Mother–Bharatmata dedicating ourselves to the cause of her unity, safety, prosperity and integrity. As a furthering step we must dedicate ourselves to protect the Mother Earth in all manners having the spirit of love and compassion as the nuclei. The distinctive Hindu concept related to woman –the philosophy of motherhood expects this from us today on priority.
— Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a Former Vice Chancellor of CCS University, Meerut; he is also the Editor-in-Chief of Global Peace International Journal and Mrs. Prerna Sharma is the Joint Director of SRC Museum of Indology and Universal Institute of Orientology, Jaipur (India).
[The view expressed here are personal and don’t reflect those of the government]