It`s Mothers Day! The day to make a call, send a nice card or visit and bring some flowers and say `thank you, my dear mom`. Of course that`s wonderful. But is it enough? Once a year a few flowers and some chocolate? How can we ever repay our det to our mother?
Some years back I had an experience that made me think a lot about my relationship with my own mother. While I was chanting at Thakur Haridasa Samadhi in Puri some pilgrims entered the temple room and bowed down to the deity form of the Lord. One lady in her mid 60‘s was struggling to get up again due to her age and overweight. I can still see the expression on her face, the drops of perspiration on her forehead and how her body was shivering. While observing her struggle, I all of a sudden had a strong feeling of compassion for her. And not only for her, but for all women, for all mothers. Her struggle to get up became in this moment a symbolic picture for the struggle of every mother in this world. How every mother carries such a heavy burden, the burden of raising children! It‘s difficult to explain what really happened to me in that moment but it was a deep experience. I had tears gliding down my cheeks remembering my own mother and her struggle to raise my brother and I. I was one and a half years old and my brother only six months when our father died from cancer at the age of thirty-six. But my mother was there for us and accepted her destiny. How glorious are mothers? Hard to describe!
In the Mahabharat we find the same thought in the episode of the Dialogue between Yudhisthira and the Yaksha. The Yaksha asked the great King, „What is heavier than Earth, higher than heavens, faster than the wind and more numerous than straws“? Yudhisthira answered, „One's mother is heavier than the Earth, one's father is higher than the heavens, the mind is faster than the wind and our worries are more numerous than straws“. 1 So `One's mother is heavier than the Earth` means that the burden she is carrying is heavier than what the planet Earth has to carry. This is in other words an expression of appreciation for the struggle a woman goes through while accepting the task of being a mother. In Vedic culture the role of a mother is highly praised: „One’s mother is equal to ten fathers, or even to the whole earth. There is no senior person equal to the mother. Indeed, she is above all others in terms of the reverence and respect due to her. It is for this reason that people offer so much respect to their mother.“ 2
Unfortunately, in the age of Kali people often do not feel much gratitude, what to speak of responsibility to care for their aging parents. Neglecting one‘s duty towards one‘s mother and father is described as one of the prominent symptoms of Kali Yuga. The following analogy is given to express this fact: A person emptied water from a bucket into five cups and then poured the contents back into the bucket and found that there was almost no water left, even though he had not spilled any water. How is that possible? What does it mean for us? The bucket symbolizes the parents, the cups are the children and the water represents the love. Although parents invest so much time, attention and love in their children, from the adult children hardly anything comes back after they have left home.
On this Mothers day, and hopefully not only on this day, let us remember the Glory of Motherhood. There is no one in this world who is not indebted to his or her mother. „Behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begins“. 3
1 - Mahābharata, vana-parva `Yaksha Prashna`
2 - Mahābharata, anuāsana-parva 105.15-1
3 - Statement by Mitch Albom (59), American author, journalist and musician
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