In all religions, the female deity is referred to as ‘Mother’. Even as early as the Middle Ages in Europe, the female worship cult was prevalent and one of the names which counts is ‘Mother Julian’ of Norwich. Her spiritual testament, the book ‘Revelations’ describes her spiritual visions, teachings which are like the Durga-mata of Hinduism. Her writing style, exemplary words and lucid style pleased the minds of people of that age who were spiritually hungry. She did not care whether her teachings were logical or not.
She espoused, “On the path of spirituality, numbers don’t count and ignorant people don’t count because they are only humanity in bulk.” Her vast following of female devotees experienced inner peace and spiritual power just by taking her name. Another female deity in Europe and globally is ‘Mother Mary’ or ‘Madonna’, the mother of Lord Jesus Christ. The belief, she gave birth while still a virgin, was popular in Egypt too, since ‘Goddess Osiris’ was born under similar circumstances or so the people of Egypt believed.
Osiris was revered to bestow favours on girls to find good husbands and also in times of difficult marriage and problems in conceiving a child. She also had a tremendous following and expectant mothers prayed to her to ensure milk-supply and a safe delivery. Shades of ‘Avan Ardivsur Banu!’ At present, a lot of people believe in another female deity, Saint Clare, since it is believed that she has the power to grant all your wishes, no matter how impossible they are.
In India, the earth is referred-to as ‘Dharti-Maa’ because the Earth gives us grains, food which we eat and from which the atoms of our body are formed. Our country is our mom, ‘Motherland’. Holy rivers are also referred to as our mother (Ganga-maiya); the cow, which is considered sacred in Hinduism is called ‘Gao-Mata’ because she gives milk and nourishment to everyone, particularly to children. Even Mother Nature is for everyone. In the Hindu Pantheon of Gods, we find the female aspect of Deity in various forms like Saraswati, Laxmi, Durga, Mahakali, Jagdambey, Narayani, Gayatri, Gautami, Ambey-Mata etc.
In a Hindu household, a matriarch is given the highest status and has the last word on most matters. Shivaji used to touch his mother’s feet every morning. Napoleon literally worshipped his mother. We all love our mother. She is the centre of our Universe, especially in our formative years. Of course, as teenagers, some of us rebel and for another decade or so, we can possibly have a love/hate relationship with our mother that can be both painful and happy. But your mother is an integral part of you that you can never get rid of.
A mother’s influence on her child is tremendous. She can nurture the kid, bring out the best aspects and make him/her a success in life. But let’s not put blinkers on our eyes and pretend that all our mothers are sacrificing and loving. Just think of the Sheena Bora case! Similarly, all children do not bring joy to their mothers. Think of abusive children. This is because friends as well as enemies of a past lifetime can come to you as children to teach you certain lessons of pain so that you may evolve faster on the spiritual path. There are also abusive mothers who stifle the child and stunt his or her personality.
A mother’s influence on the child is most significant, whether it’s slightly acknowledged, fully admitted or completely denied as in some of today’s children who say, “I didn’t ask to be born, you are not my mother, just because you gave me birth, doesn’t make you my mother.” In spite of that, the biological imperative and mom’s genes run strong in us. Love her or hate her, be nice to her or hurt her tremendously, but still, she has the undeniable power over you because it is the umbilical-cord connection and as you get on in age, you realise that you have so much of her in you perhaps physically, or emotionally or in how you think. However, there’s one thing I am sure that we can never repay a mother for giving us the gift of life and the various life experiences that we shared with her making us the person we have evolved into today.
Call her by any name mommy, mummy, mums, mom, maa, aai, mamma, matru, mumsy, matoshree, amma, maiji, a mother is the single-most impactful influence in a child’s life. You can buy almost anything in the world except a mother’s love. Sadly, in many cases, we realise this only after she has gone and say, “I wish I was more loving, giving, forgiving and kinder to her!”
If you are reading this and your mom is around, go to her AT ONCE and give her a big hug. If she is no more, kiss her photo and say “I love you ma.” Your kiss will reach her.
Maa Tujhey Salaam!