4 - Issue 04
MOTHER DIVINE – MOTHER, THE GREATEST
By Kartick Ramesh,
Aum Sri Sai Ram! I offer my most Humble and Loving Pranams at the dearest, Divine Lotus Feet of Sai Ma. Before I begin, I would like to make a dedication to the Principle of Motherhood without which, I would not be standing in front of all of you.
In Honour of the Universal Mother
I dedicate this speech to the Universal Mother Sai Ma who is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient and with all of us at all times. And, I also dedicate this speech to my physical mother who though physically is not present with me at this point of time is with me in every thought, word, deed and action.
All of us share a very special relationship with our mothers. In our family we had a strange problem. In my generation, there were no male children. In total desperation, my mother sought the refuge of the Divine Lotus Feet of Sai Ma in the form of Santoshi Mata.
And 25 years ago till this date, and for the rest of her life, my mother took a vow that she would observe a fast which would grant her the privilege of having a son. When I heard the story from my mother and when I saw her fasting I felt pained. I told her: “Mother! If it has taken a Santoshi Ma Vratam for me to come to your lotus feet, I will also take a Santoshi Ma Vratam to go back to the Lotus Feet of Sai Ma.”
And for 3 years, I undertook the Santoshi Ma Vratam to become a student of Shri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. In these 3 years, I did not see any result. And the horoscope suggested that I would never become a student. But it was just the pure Grace and Love of Sai Ma that I am standing today in front of you as a student of Sai.
Today is the most auspicious day of Navaratri Celebrations, the Festival of Nine Nights. What does this signify? According to ancient Indian Mythology and our culture the scriptures reveal that it was during these nine days and nights that the Devi Ma, Sai Ma, in the form of Durga Mata destroyed evil from the face of the earth, evil which was present in the form of the demon Mahishasura. It is also during these days that Bhagavan in His previous Incarnation of Shri Rama prayed to the Devi Ma before beginning His battle with the evil Ravana. It was this day when Arjuna acquired the Divine weapons for fighting in the Kurukshetra.
And it is on this day that I will venture to describe the qualities of Motherhood, the Godhood of Mother and the Motherhood of God.
The First Touch of His Love
A little child was clinging to the gate of his kindergarten class and refusing to attend classes. At this juncture, a group of teachers tried to pull the boy but the boy stretched out to his mother who was standing on the other side of the gate. And it was not until the mother assured the boy that she would come back to him in the evening to pick him up that the boy agreed to go to the class.
This vivid description of this incident in my childhood flashed across my memory on the very first day I joined the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. 54 fortunate boys were chosen by Bhagavan this year to be part of the M.B.A Programme. But unusually instead of joining Prashanti Nilayam directly, Bhagavan commanded those students to come to Brindavan and seek His Blessings.
This incident was flashing in my mind as I held Sai Ma’s hand on the Gardens of Trayee Brindavan. And in the same innocence I prayed to Mother Sai because we were leaving from Brindavan that day.
“Swami, please come to Puttaparthi! Please don’t stay at Brindavan.” At this juncture Swami looked lovingly at all of us. All the 54 boys who had sacrificed great careers, boys who had left great academic opportunities, to be with the Greatest Divine Form.
Bhagavan looked at us and said: “I will come day after tomorrow.” When Swami Wills, it is “Vajra Sankalpa” (firm determination) - nothing can go against it! And just in two days, as promised, Swami made a trip all the way from Brindavan to Puttaparthi to see His 54 students!
Glimpses of Divine Motherhood
And during our stay in Brindavan at that time, we received some glimpses of Motherhood. We saw the amount of care, the amount of Love which Swami showers on His students. How many questions Swami was asking the warden! Whether the boys were accommodated well, whether we were being fed well and about the trip that we had to make to Puttaparthi.
No Need to Run
But is this Motherly Nature of Swami only exhibited towards students? The answer is no! Divinity does not distinguish between people to shower its Grace! I am reminded of an incident when as a devotee of Swami and I had made a trip to Brindavan. It is customary for all devotees and students alike to run after Swami’s car when Swami goes out.
In my enthusiasm I also chased Swami’s car and I was very fit at that time. I raced ahead of others and we reached a particular point of time when there was only Swami’s car and myself. I kept running and running and after sometime I lost my breath. I went down on my knees and gave up. I told Swami ‘I give up.’ Swami looked at me, rolled down the glass and said in Tamil: “Porum, Porum! (Enough) Don’t run!” What compassion this is! For a devotee who is running behind His car, we think that Swami sometimes ignores us, Swami has forgotten us!
Can God Forget?
Talking about forgetting, how can Swami forget! During one festival, Bhagavan was concluding His discourse with the Bhajan Hari Bhajan Bina Sukh Shanti Nahin, and Bhagavan forgot, or apparently seemed to forget, a particular line. Then a student enthusiastically looked at Bhagavan and Bhagavan asked him “What is the next line?” and the student immediately sang the next line to Bhagavan.
And Bhagavan said: “Good!” The same incident was repeated for several festivals! And on one particular festival Bhagavan approached the student and asked him, “Did you really think I forgot? If I forget, the sun will not rise and the sun will not set!” Who else can make such a statement other than the Divine Mother! It is left to us to understand that this Divine Energy is present with us at all times and at all places!
The Greatness of Gayatri
In our Puranas, it is stated that ‘Gayatri Chandasaam Mata’, that is, before Creation, Gayatri Mata, the Mother of Vedas, that Primordial Force Adi Shakti gave birth to the Trinity, as Three Babies. And She blessed each of the Babies with the Gunas of Rajas, Sathwaa and Thamas. Mother Gayatri left the scene and the Babies started crying and Mother Gayatri came to that particular scene assuming the form of a five-headed God. And that is how we picture Mother Gayatri today.
Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha Tat Savitur Vareniyam
The Gayatri Mantra is the single most potent and powerful mantra which even Bhagavan has confirmed. Bhagavan says, “This is the Mantra which will guarantee protection to the chanter, if chanted correctly, at all places and at all times.”
The Sacred Upanayanam
When I read this, I found a deep desire within me that I should also have my Upanayanam (Hindu Sacred Thread ceremony) done and I should also have the chance of chanting the Gayatri Mantra. But my age was 21 years and my father did not believe in rituals. So he refused to perform the Upanayanam for me. At this juncture every Darshan I used to give Him a letter asking Him for two things “Swami I want to be your student and please perform my Upanayanam.”
It took a year but at the end of one year, Bhagavan organized an Upanayanam ceremony in ‘Sundaram’ at Chennai, the place where I reside. 108 boys were selected. But unfortunately, an age limit was set of 18 years. And I was 21 years.
In total anxiety and depression, I wrote a letter to Bhagavan quickly saying “You have to perform my Upanayanam!” and I placed it in my aunt’s house in front of the photo. The next day, kumkum (vermillion) materialized on the letter! And I was sure that this was a sign from Bhagavan that He would perform my Upanayanam.
The primary motive of having my Upanayanam done by Swami was not only to chant the Gayatri Mantra, but to get the opportunity to chant it once in front of Swami - and to get the blessings of the Divine Mother, Sai Gayatri.
So Bhagavan had said: “Bring those 108 Vatus (participants) to me after the function.” But at the beginning of the function, Bhagavan sent another message “If those boys come to Brindavan, they will have a lot of problems in terms of accommodation.” What kind of Motherly Love is this again!
Swami was concerned about the strain which the 108 boys who were coming to seek His Blessings would undergo! So Swami sent word “Tell those boys that I am with them all the times at all places! Wherever the Gayatri is chanted, I am there!”
As soon as I heard this, I almost felt as if I didn’t want my Upanayanam to be done. Even though I knew that Swami would be with me but, I would lose a chance of coming to the proximity of Sai Gayatri.
At the end of the function, I told my mother “Mother, why don’t we make a trip to Brindavan despite Swami having told us not to come?” My mother looked at me a little bit surprised and told me “Tomorrow is your final University examination! This is a matter of life importance!”
I told my mother: “This is a matter of live's importance mother! It is a result of the penance of several lives that I have this opportunity to get my Upanayanam performed by Swami Himself!” And my mother consented and we went to Brindavan.
As soon as we went to Brindavan, we found a couple of other boys who were equally enthusiastic to seek Swami’s Blessings. And we arrived just in time before the music began. As we sat for Darshan, Bhagavan sort of glided towards us and looked at us so lovingly.
And I had no hesitation, no doubt in my mind that I was looking at the Gayatri Roopam (form of Gayatri) of our beloved Swami! Swami then gave us Padanamaskar and materialized Vibhuti. And that was really an amazing incident in my life which showed me that with Faith and Devotion, you can definitely win the Love of Sai Ma!
Mothers are the Gift of God to Man
As an English saying goes: “God could not be at all times with all people; so to ensure that they were getting the same amount of Love, God created Mothers!” What a great gift God has given to us! Bhagavan says: “A true Bharatiya, a true son, is one who can strive to earn the Grace and Love of his mother.”
Take the example of Ravana, who was a great Shiva devotee and who had intense love for his mother. When he saw his mother worshipping an earthern lingam, he asked her “Mother why are you worshipping an earthern lingam?” She said: “Son, I want a place in Kailasa.” Ravana said: “For you, I shall bring Kailasa here.” And he proceeded to the Himalayas and started lifting Kailasa! This was the amount of devotion that Ravana had towards his mother! But the same Ravana forgot the Mother Principle when he abducted Sita! And so, he had to pay for the consequences of his action.
Sai Gives a Beautiful Voice
I am reminded of a personal incident of mine. I for one was never used to public speaking, be it an audience of one or ten people. At the end of one unsuccessful talk, I went home and literally burnt the pages of my speech! And my mother was silently observing me from the back. She called me and said: “Son, what are you trying to do?” I told my mother that I never want to speak again in my life!
My mother said: “Don’t lose courage! You will speak one day; not in front of one, two or ten but in front of thousands of people!” And it is that very grace, the very words of my mother, which I feel has come true today!
When I came into the Sai fold, I was really attracted towards Bhajan singing. But fate had blessed me with a hoarse voice! When I used to sing, people used to close their ears! But I did not lose hope; for I knew My Mother would again come to my rescue! Both the physical and the Divine Mother.
My mother, a trained classical singer, tried her best to teach me the basics of Karnataka music. But, I did not relent - or my voice did not relent. So my mother commanded me “Go and seek the Blessings of Swami. He will definitely shower grace upon you!”
That particular trip I made coincided with Shivaratri festival in 2000. And as a devotee, I came and sat in the lines at 12 o’clock in the night because of the crowds. As Bhagavan willed, I got the first row and I got a chance to take the Padanamaskar of Swami. But then I had a desire in my mind: “Swami, if you can give me some Prasadam; something which will make me sing well in front of you.” Suddenly, Swami started distributing chocolates to the students. Bhagavan looked at me, aimed a chocolate and threw it at my head!
And ever since I took that chocolate I have sung in almost every bhajan group in every state which I have visited. And today, it is only by the grace of Bhagavan that I had the opportunity to sing in front of Him also! All that we need to do is to offer our Love to such a Mother!
The Godhood of the Mother and the Motherhood of God
The Vedas declare Matrodevo Bhava. In our culture we are elevating the Mother to the level of God; in other words, we declare the Godhood of the Mother. We also talk about the Motherhood of God - but which is greater?
The answer can be seen by considering a ticket. This ticket represents the physical Mother. Without the seal of authenticity of the Divine Mother that ticket is useless! And with such an attested ticket, you can take a journey to any destination, be it a worldly or a Spiritual destination. So both the Godhood of Mother and the Motherhood of God go hand in hand.
Becoming Swami’s Gold
I would now like to narrate very quickly a small incident. It happened in the final year of my Engineering course. I had made another prayer to Bhagavan, “Bhagavan whenever I come to you as a student I should have first class with honors and distinction; I should be a gold medalist.” In Engineering, 80 percent is considered as a benchmark.
So every letter I wrote to Bhagavan, I begged “Bhagavan at least give me 80 percent!” Bhagavan used to be so kind - He used to give me 5% extra! I used to get around 85% and once even 90% in my Engineering!
In the final semester, I fell very sick. And Swami knows what happened at that particular point of time. He probably wanted to increase my faith and devotion. My mother made me take mock exams but I could not even sit to write the exam. So my mother started her usual prayer routines for me day and night and she accompanied me to each and every exam!
We had around 10 papers. Every time I sat in the examination hall I visualized that I was not writing, but Bhagavan was writing. Because even the doctor told that “I have no hope for you! Please depend on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.”
At the end of the examinations, I knew that I would barely have passed. But when the results came the total average came exactly to 80 percent. And I got the gold medal which I had desired - not for myself - but to offer at the Lotus Feet of both my Mothers.
An interesting statement which Swami made to us on the first day “It is not enough to just earn an academic gold medal! You should really be the Gold of Swami!”
And we got an opportunity that time to express our love to Swami. We told Swami "We are Your strength" and Swami said “Yes! Students are My strength!” And this particular interaction showed us how much Motherly Love Lord Sai showers on all of us!
Now I will come to the closing part of my speech where I would just like to say that we need to just surrender ourselves not only to the Feet of the Lord but also to the Lotus Feet of our physical Mothers. Bhagavan has said: “Mother and Motherland are greater than Heaven!”
In one of the trips I made to Malaysia, I looked back and saw I was leaving this great country and my physical Mother and I almost cried! But I remembered the words of my mother “Don’t worry! By the time you reach Malaysia, Swami would have already come there!”
And believe it or not the accommodation which I was given in Malaysia, was right opposite to the largest Sai Centre in Malaysia. And the devotees there were so full of devotion! So many people who had never come to see the Physical Form of Swami were so devoted in whatever activities they were undertaking! Whether it was chanting Vedas, whether it was singing bhajans, or whether it was participating in Service activities! This is the kind of Universal Love which Swami is spreading!
The Three Mothers
All that Swami is saying is “Let us remember to honour not only the two Mothers but also the third Mother - that is Mother Nature. Let us never be ungrateful to all these three Mothers.”
We are Children of Mother Sai
I would now like to conclude by just saying that whatever we do let us just behave like an innocent child at the Feet of our Divine Mother. An innocent child is a beautiful sight! It is the sight of God Himself! All that we have to do is just surrender ourselves, give our love and believe in the fact that Mother Sai - the single Principle which runs through all these Mothers - will take care of us at all times!
With these few words, I would just like to conclude with a small prayer:
“O Lord, take my Love and let it flow in devotion to Thee.
Jai Sai Ram!
- Heart2Heart Team
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Vol 4 Issue 04 - APRIL 2006
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