Motherhood
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       =======  Understanding Hinduism  =======

Motherhood

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Mother
From the Mahabharata

Three Miracles

Wifehood versus Motherhood

Why religion is necessary?

Hindu ideals versus Western ideals
_________________

Motherhood

From The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 1, verses 40

Arjuna said:

In the destruction of a family, the immemorial religious rites of that family perish;
On the destruction of spirituality, impiety overcomes the whole family.
_________________

The position of women in any society is a true index of its cultural and spiritual level.
- S. Radhakrishnan, (Vice-President of India, 1953)
_________________

Mother
From the Mahabharata
Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva
Section CCLXVI
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Bhishma said:

The mother is the panacea for all kinds of calamities. The existence of the mother invests one with protection; the reverse deprives one of all protection. The man who, though divested of prosperity enters his house, uttering the words, "O mother!"- has not to indulge in grief. Nor does decrepitude ever assail him. A person whose mother exists, even if he happens to be possessed of sons and grandsons and even he himself is hundred years old, but in the eyes of his mother he looks like a child of two years of age. Whether the mother is able or disabled, lean or robust, the son is always protected by the mother. None else, according to the ordinance, is the son’s protector. Then does the son become old, then does he become stricken with grief,then does the world look empty in his eyes, when he becomes deprived of his mother. 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.

There is no mode of life that is superior to serving one’s mother.
_________________

Motherhood

Three Miracles

From ‘Woman’ to ‘Mother’
Based upon a talk by Prof. Gunvantbhai Shah

The miracle of childbirth.

The act of giving birth is the only moment when both pain and pleasure converge in a moment of time. It is in the manner of the sharp point of a needle, astride upon that point are both pleasure and pain, simultaneously assailing the female that is undergoing the miracle of childbirth.

This is the only instance where both pleasure and pain work in unison. also a miracle. This is the second miracle.

Before the childbirth, the lady was a woman. After the childbirth, the woman is transformed into a mother. This is a revolutionary act; an evolutionary happening; in the manner of the silkworm getting transformed into some winged angel; a miracle. This is the third miracle.

This experience of transformation into motherhood is a privilege reserved exclusively for women. Men do not undergo such miraculous transformation.

Motherhood is another name of devotion. The selfless love and devotion towards the infant or child are grown from the seeds of innocence; no cunning, scheming, selfish motives here.

The Family Unit

The future happiness and well being of the child is absolutely dependent upon the proper preservation and functioning of the family unit.

The future well being of the society, of the community and of the nation is absolutely dependent upon the proper preservation and functioning of the family unit.

The measure of the level of happiness and well being of a nation is measured by the happiness and well being of the families.

Family is a pious phenomenon productive of goodness that acts as a shield against the eroding influences that melt and distort culture and noble values.

Well functioning family is verily a temple that transforms a house into home. The single male or female lives in a house of bricks and mortars. The male ego and the female ego reside in the mind of the male and the female. Unbending and rigid male and female egos are destructive of family units. For married couples especially, let there be more love and less ego. Second in importance after the word ‘love’ comes the word ‘Sorry’. It’s characteristic is pious humbleness. Where the male and female egos are about to collide, let the word ‘Sorry’ intervene. It will encapsulate the egos.

Mother’s time with children, guided by wisdom and properly utilized, lays the proper foundations for nation building. A well-balanced individual with solid psychological foundations is the quality thread that goes into making the fabric of the nation.

At the root of nation building are the three miracles.

Proper understanding of this fact and its
implementation will be  the fourth miracle.
_________________

Wifehood versus Motherhood
By Swami Ranganathananda
Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Belur Math

It is in this sphere that Indian thought, with its spiritual view of life, has much to contribute to steady the feet of men and women in East and the West. Motherhood is a spiritual transformation of wifehood. The wife may and does demand and take; but the mother feels it her privilege to give. If woman as wife is socially significant, woman as mother is spiritually glorious. The culture of the Hindu trains him to look upon all women as forms of the one Divine Mother. The mother is more worthy of reverence than father or teacher according to our scriptures.
Says the manu Smriti (ii. 45):

"From the point of view of reverence due,
a teacher is ten fold superior to a mere lecturer,
a father a hundredfold to a teacher, and a
mother a thousandfold to a father."

_________________

The role of women as the builders of nations:
By Swami Shivananda, Divine Life Society, Rishikesh

The performance of domestic duties, the management of her household, the rearing of children, the economising of the family means- these are a woman’s proper office. She is already endowed with divine power. She already governs the world by her power of gentle love and affection. To make noble citizens by training her children, and to form the character of the whole human race is undoubtedly a power far greater than that which a woman could hope to exercise as a voter or a law-maker, as a president, minister or judge.

The mother's impressions strike deep root in the brain of the foetus that dwells in the womb. If the pregnant woman does Japa (repetition of Lord's name with or without rosary) and Kirtan (Singing the Lord's glories), if she studies religious books and leads a pious life during pregnancy, the foetus is endowed with spiritual inclination   or spiritual tendency.

A woman’s natural sphere of activity is the home, where she can prove most helpful to man, because she is the most adored. She can be patriotic by living in a simple homestead, bringing forth noble, cultured citizens, politicians, warriors and saints.

 In the West babies are born and brought up in nursery schools and maternity homes. They do not know the health giving, affectionate, tender and soul-expanding caresses of their mothers. They do not know what it is to sleep in the warm embrace of a loving mother. Brought up in the atmosphere of bargain and economics, they develop even in their teens, an unceasing devotion to the dollar and mammon.

The social atmosphere in the West is overcharged with sex. Early marriages may be rare in the West but not early sex-indulgence. There cannot be real love between the parties. Marriage becomes a contract, not a sacrament. Hence there are countless divorces.

India recognises the ideal of motherhood as the highest for a woman. There is so much talk in the West about the emancipation of women. Scrutinise her closely and you will find her a slave of appetites, fashions, and the dollar. In our Vedic period women enjoyed an honourable and exalted position. They occupy a high position now also. The object of marriage is mutual happiness of the parties, the raising of children, and worship and service of the Lord.

Coming to the forefront in blazing daylight is certainly not the test or criterion of the true greatness of a woman.

The happiness for a woman lies not in catering for carnal passions, not in challenging man in his own field by forgetting her natural course of duties, but in leading the ideal life as taught in the sacred scriptures; the crowning glory of womanhood. Then alone will woman be restored to the original dignity of the Universal Mother, which she is to every Indian now.

Woman’s place is in the home

The eternal fidelity of a Hindu woman to her husband makes her an ideal of the feminine world. It makes her sublime. This lofty virtue of fidelity runs deep in the heart of every Hindu woman of India, superior to any of the other countries in national integrity and honour.

The inspiring force of the home is the woman. The home is the origin and beginning of every form of social organisation. It is the nursery of the nation. It is the sweet place wherein children are trained for future citizenship. The woman illumines the home through the glory of motherhood. Man is incapable of doing the domestic duties incident upon the rearing of children. Good habits, right conduct and formation of good character are created in children spontaneously in a well regulated home under the personal influence of the mother. The loving kindness and the cultured gentleness of the mother help

the children to unfold their native talents and dormant capacities quickly. Children absorb ideas by suggestion and imitation. Early training and impressions formed at early age are lasting. The mother at home can do the formation of character very efficiently. Therefore, home is the most beautiful training ground for the building of character in children under the personal guidance of the mother.

Woman is the backbone or bedrock to sustain religion and
national strength, peace and prosperity. Manu declares:

"The woman who always does good, who is efficient in work, sweet in speech, devoted to her duty and service of her husband, is really no human being but a goddess."

If the mother trains her children on the right lines from the early age, she is rendering great service indeed to the nation and national culture. Women have good and ample opportunities of improving national health and increasing prosperity. It is they who really build the nation. They can utilise their talents and abilities in making the home a cradle of culture, character, personal ability and religious revival. It is therefore wrong to say that their lives are cramped and stunted by attending to the duties at home, and that no scope is given for their evolution and freedom. This is a sad mistake indeed.

The life of a woman is as noble and serious as that of a man. There is no doubt about this.

It is the women who keep up the life and happiness of the home through their smiles, tender affection, sweet speech, grace, angelic presence and charming personalities. The home will be a real void without them. It will lose its peculiar charm and beauty without their presence.

Women are the mothers of the home. The extraordinary ability, intellectual attainments and magnetic personalities of modern women are standing monuments of their undoubted equality with men. The personal influence of women at home is essential to unify the various interests of the family. It is women alone who can rear or nurse children. Hindu wives are queens of their own homes. The husbands should treat their wives with intense love and respect. They should be regarded as equals in all respects and held in the light of partners in life.

If a man earns and the wife stays at home, it does not mean that the woman is a parasite and a slave. She is indeed the builder of the nation. Verily, women exercise an authority over their husbands through their love, tenderness, affection, grace, beauty, selfless service, fidelity, purity and self-abnegation.
_________________

Why religion is necessary?

Take religion away from human society and what remains is a forest of brutes
-Swami Vivekananda
(The foremost disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa)

"The two great pillars upon which all human well being and human progress rest are, first the spirit of religion and second, the spirit of science. These two groups of sciences - the science of inner nature and the science of outer nature - need to pull their resources together to advance man on the evolutionary path of total fulfilment. Without the spiritual nourishment coming from religion, the phenomenal progress of the modern age has become wobbly in its movement and blind in its course."
-Swami Ranganathananda
Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Belur Math
_________________

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Hindu ideals versus Western ideals
By Swami Shivananda, Divine Life Society, Rishikesh

In the West the wife governs the home.
In an Indian home it is the mother who controls.

In the West the woman is wife. In India she is the mother. The mother is worshipped as the goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity) of the house. The Sruti (Taittiriya Upanishad) emphatically declares:
"MATRU DEVO BHAVA" (Let thy mother be thy God).

In the West the wife governs the home. In an Indian home it is the mother who controls. In the West the mother has to be subordinate to the wife. In India the wife has to be subordinate to the mother.

If a woman is pure she can save and purify man. She can purify the race. She can make a home a sacred temple. Hindu women have been the custodians of the Hindu race. Hindu religion and civilisation still survive in spite of the many foreign invasions. Other civilisations have come and gone, but only Hindu civilisation has survived on account of the purity of Hindu women. The women are taught to regard chastity as their most priceless possession, and the loss of it equal to the eternal damnation of their soul. From their very childhood religion is ingrained in Hindu women. As such they illumine and enliven the home through the glory of their purity. This is the secret of the endurance of the Hindu religion, civilisation and culture.

That home is a miserable place, a veritable hell on earth wherein the husband moves up in spirituality and the wife pulls him down into sensual grooves, and vice versa. Both should be harmoniously blended or joined by the sacred thread of self-knowledge, each aspiring eagerly for God-consciousness. That home really is heaven where the husband and wife lead an ideal divine life, singing the Lord’s name, repeating His mantra, studying sacred scriptures, controlling the senses and serving devotees and renunciates.

Manu Smriti says:
"Where women are honoured, there the gods are pleased, but where they are not honoured, there no sacred rite is fruitful."
Such is the glory of Indian womanhood.

The woman in the West is dazzled by the glamorous rush and speed of the modern age. She does not like to do her household duties. You can find her now in the house of parliament or at the typewriter. She is a telephone operator, a pilot, a film star and a shop assistant. She compliments herself in the thought that she is sharing and lessening the work of man. She vies with him in his field and tries to oust and replace him.

She has asserted her rights and broken the four walls of her home. She works in the war zones and industries. She thinks that she lives a glorious life but it is not so. She is not really peaceful and happy.

Women can no more do the work of men in the world than men can do that of women. … If they withdraw from their homes, the result will be disastrous. There will be subversion of domestic discipline and family order, and social decay will set in. Children will grow up uneducated and sorely neglected.

[The above highlighted text was written by Swami Shivananda some decades ago. The predictions set out in this text are with us here and now. In an article featured as a major report in ‘TIME’ magazine dated 29th January 1996, Richard Zoglin wrote the following]

Teenage Tome Bomb

They are just four, five and six years old right now, but already they are making criminologists nervous. They are growing up, too frequently, in abusive or broken homes, with little adult supervision and few positive role models. Left to themselves, they spend much of their time hanging out on the streets or soaking up violent TV shows. By the year 2005 they will be teenagers- a group that tends to be, in the view of Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, "Temporary sociopaths- impulsive and immature. If they also have easy access to guns and drugs, they can be extremely dangerous."

Calm before the crime storm

Between 1990 and 1994, the crime rate for homicide jumped 16% for youths between 14 and 17,  the age group that in the early '90s supplanted 18-to-24-year-olds as the most crime prone. And that is the age group that will be booming in the next decade. There are currently 39 million children under 10 in the U.S, more than at any other time since the 1950s. "This is the calm before the crime storm," says Fox. "So long as we fool ourselves into thinking that we are winning the war against crime, we may be blindsided by this bloodbath of teenage violence that is lurking in the future."/pr>

Super-predator

Nearly all the factors that contribute to youth crime- single parent house holds, child abuse, deteriorating inner city schools- are getting worse. At the same time, government is becoming less, not more, interested in spending money to help break the cycle of poverty and crime. All of which has led John J. DiIulio jr, a professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton, to warn about a new generation of "SUPER-PREDATORS," youngsters who are coming of age in actual and "moral poverty," without "the benefit of parents, teachers, coaches and clergy to teach them right or wrong and show them unconditional love."

Strengthen religious institutions

Can anything defuse the demographic time bomb? Fox urges "reinvesting in children": improving schools, creating after-school programs and providing other alternatives to gangs and drugs.
DiIulio, a law-and-order conservative, advocates tougher prosecution and wants to STRENGTHEN RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS TO INSTILL BETTER VALUES." A failure to maintain existing welfare and health commitments for kids," he says, "is to guarantee that the next wave of JUVENILE PREDATORS will be even worse than the one we are dealing with today."

The performance of domestic duties, the management of her household, the rearing of children, the economising of the family means- these are a woman’s proper office. She is already endowed with divine power. She already governs the world by her power of gentle love and affection. To make noble citizens by training her children, and to form the character of the whole human race is undoubtedly a power far greater than that which a woman could hope to exercise as a voter or a law-maker, as a president, minister or judge.

The mother's impressions strike deep root in the brain of the foetus that dwells in the womb. If the pregnant woman does Japa (repetition of Lord's name with or without rosary) and Kirtan (Singing the Lord's glories), if she studies religious books and leads a pious life during pregnancy, the foetus is endowed with spiritual inclination   or spiritual tendency.

A woman’s natural sphere of activity is the home, where she can prove most helpful to man, because she is the most adored. She can be patriotic by living in a simple homestead, bringing forth noble, cultured citizens, politicians, warriors and saints.

In the West babies are born and brought up in nursery schools and maternity homes. They do not know the health giving, affectionate, tender and soul-expanding caresses of their mothers. They do not know what it is to sleep in the warm embrace of a loving mother. Brought up in the atmosphere of bargain and economics, they develop even in their teens, an unceasing devotion to the dollar and mammon.

The social atmosphere in the West is overcharged with sex. Early marriages may be rare in the West but not early sex-indulgence. There cannot be real love between the parties. Marriage becomes a contract, not a sacrament. Hence there are countless divorces.

India recognises the ideal of motherhood as the highest for a woman. There is so much talk in the West about the emancipation of women. Scrutinise her closely and you will find her a slave of appetites, fashions, and the dollar. In our Vedic period women enjoyed an honourable and exalted position. They occupy a high position now also. The object of marriage is mutual happiness of the parties, the raising of children, and worship and service of the Lord.

Coming to the forefront in blazing daylight is certainly not the test or criterion of the true greatness of a woman.

The happiness for a woman lies not in catering for carnal passions, not in challenging man in his own field by forgetting her natural course of duties, but in leading the ideal life as taught in the sacred scriptures; the crowning glory of womanhood. Then alone will woman be restored to the original dignity of the Universal Mother, which she is to every Indian now.

Woman’s place is in the home

The eternal fidelity of a Hindu woman to her husband makes her an ideal of the feminine world. It makes her sublime. This lofty virtue of fidelity runs deep in the heart of every Hindu woman of India, superior to any of the other countries in national integrity and honour.

The inspiring force of the home is the woman. The home is the origin and beginning of every form of social organisation. It is the nursery of the nation. It is the sweet place wherein children are trained for future citizenship. The woman illumines the home through the glory of motherhood. Man is incapable of doing the domestic duties incident upon the rearing of children. Good habits, right conduct and formation of good character are created in children spontaneously in a well regulated home under the personal influence of the mother.

The loving kindness and the cultured gentleness of the mother help the children to unfold their native talents and dormant capacities quickly. Children absorb ideas by suggestion and imitation. Early training and impressions formed at early age are lasting. The mother at home can do the formation of character very efficiently. Therefore, home is the most beautiful training ground for the building of character in children under the personal guidance of the mother.

Woman is the backbone or bedrock to sustain religion and
national strength, peace and prosperity. Manu declares:

"The woman who always does good, who is efficient in work, sweet in speech, devoted to her duty and service of her husband, is really no human being but a goddess."

If the mother trains her children on the right lines from the early age, she is rendering great service indeed to the nation and national culture. Women have good and ample opportunities of improving national health and increasing prosperity. It is they who really build the nation. They can utilise their talents and abilities in making the home a cradle of culture, character, personal ability and religious revival. It is therefore wrong to say that their lives are cramped and stunted by attending to the duties at home, and that no scope is given for their evolution and freedom. This is a sad mistake indeed. The life of a woman is as noble and serious as that of a man. There is no doubt about this.

It is the women who keep up the life and happiness of the home through their smiles, tender affection, sweet speech, grace, angelic presence and charming personalities. The home will be a real void without them. It will lose its peculiar charm and beauty without their presence.

Women are the mothers of the home. The extraordinary ability, intellectual attainments and magnetic personalities of modern women are standing monuments of their undoubted equality with men. The personal influence of women at home is essential to unify the various interests of the family. It is women alone who can rear or nurse children. Hindu wives are queens of their own homes. The husbands should treat their wives with intense love and respect. They should be regarded as equals in all respects and held in the light of partners in life.

If a man earns and the wife stays at home, it does not mean that the woman is a parasite and a slave. She is indeed the builder of the nation. Verily, women exercise an authority over their husbands through their love, tenderness, affection, grace, beauty, selfless service, fidelity, purity and self-abnegation.
___________________________________

Extracts from the book 'Great Women of India'
(Advaita Ashrama, Himalayas)

Motherhood

In both men and women, especially in women, there is a deep desire to reproduce their kind. This is not a product of social conditioning. The satisfactions and creative opportunities are well known. A woman bears the suffering caused by the pains of labour, but she forgets them in the joy of creation. She is essentially not the object of man’s lust, but is the mother, the maker, the leader. It is the privilege of a mother to bring up her children, to help them to develop their distinctive gifts, physical and mental, ethical and spiritual. Matru-devo bhava- treat your mother as a goddess- is the injunction of the scriptures. Marriage without motherhood is incomplete.

Weakening of the union of marriage and consequently weakening of the family ties should be cause for widespread concern. A successful marriage requires personal adjustments. They are possible when we accept and practise proper ethical and religious standards.

Women are the great conservators of our culture. They adhere to the household ritual, cradle song and popular poetry. A definite philosophy of life is bound up with these. By the very quality of their being, women are the missionaries of civilization. With their immense capacity for self-sacrifice they are the unquestioned leaders in Ahimsa.

S. Radhakrishnan (Then Vice-President of India, 1953)

Dignity of Life

A married life, where the wife enjoys the respect of her husband and authority over her household, holds as much dignity as the most esteemed of careers, because it gives her the opportunity to create, preserve and protect the most precious possessions of her country, namely, the children of the nation.

In India, the servitors of a household address the mistress of the house as mother. The total stranger addresses every woman as mother. The deities of learning and prosperity are represented in the images of beautiful women, as motherhood incarnate. Before going on a journey and on returning, most Hindus touch the feet of their mothers. This apotheosis of motherhood is not the cult of a physical fact, but the idealization of the most sublime qualities of motherhood, of self-less devotion, unquestioning love and complete self-abnegation. From a woman worthy of being called mother, the Indian tradition expects perfect purity, loyalty and unselfishness. These qualities have a beauty of their own, and the Indian mother very often cares for no other aid to beauty.
_________________

India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grand mother of tradition.
-Mark Twain. 
_________________

FromThe Bhagavad Gita
Chapter 1, verses 40 to 44

Arjuna said:

In the destruction of a family, the immemorial religious
rites of that family perish;

On the destruction of spirituality, impiety overcomes the whole family.

By the prevalence of impiety, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt; and women being corrupted, there arises intermingling of castes.

Confusion of castes leads to hell the slayers of the family, for their forefathers fall, deprived of the offerings of rice-ball and water (libations).

By these evil deeds of the destroyers of the family, which cause confusion of castes, the eternal religious rites of the caste and the family are destroyed.

We have heard, O Krishna, that inevitable is the dwelling for an unknown period in hell for those men in whose families the religious practices have been destroyed.
===============
Related articles:
Mother, Father & Teacher
Women
Marriage
Alluring adornment
Empty chamber

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