SATHYA SAI SPEAKS
Noble Mothers: The Key to a Great Nation
It was because Aryamba was a devoted and pious woman, and observed sacred practices that the great world-teacher, Adi Shankaracharya was born to her. For Vivekananda to achieve worldwide renown, his mother's sacred life was responsible. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was able to preach the sacred doctrine of love to the world and achieve greatness because of his mother's good qualities.
Gandhi earned the appellation of "Mahatma" (great soul) because of the sacred "Kokila Vratha" observed by his mother. Gandhi's mother used to observe everyday a vow ritual known as "Kokila Vratha". As soon as she completed the ritual, she would wait for the call of the Kokila (the Indian cuckoo) to have her breakfast.
However, on one day, she waited for a long time, without taking food, for the call of the cuckoo. Noticing this, the young Gandhi went out of the house, imitated the cooing of the cuckoo, and then told his mother, "Now, that the cuckoo has made its call, please, mother, take your food."
Unable to contain her grief, the mother slapped on the cheeks of Gandhi and wailed: "What sin have I committed that such a liar should be born to me! What a great sinner am I to have begotten such a wicked liar as son, Oh Lord!" She shed tears as she spoke. Deeply moved by his mother’s words, Gandhi made a promise to her: "In my life, henceforth, I will not utter falsehood."
In those days, the mothers used to watch the behaviour of their children and strove to keep them on the right path. Gandhi became a 'Mahatma' because of the severe punishment meted out to him by his mother.
As Is the Seed, So Is the Plant
Mothers of those days led a pure and pious life, cherishing sacred thoughts, fostering virtues and setting an example to the world. If the mothers are good, there will be no room for bad behaviour by the children. Although parents may appear innocuous like fig fruits, they are responsible for the misbehaviour of their children, like worms inside the fruits.
"Dear son, do not be concerned about worldly education. One should study that which frees him from death. Only spiritual knowledge can lead to immortality. It is enduring. Worldly knowledge is temporary. For earning one's livelihood, worldly education is necessary. But this education should be acquired only to lead an independent life, with limited desires. Therefore, dear son, while pursuing studies,
embark also on the spiritual quest."
There have been many mothers in the world who have sought, by their strenuous endeavours, noble thoughts and sacred practices, to bring up their children in the path of righteousness. In the city of Calcutta (now Kolkota), there lived a mother and his son. For the education of the son, the mother made many a sacrifice.
She, however, impressed on the son one lesson: "Dear son, do not be concerned about worldly education. One should study that which frees him from death. Only spiritual knowledge can lead to immortality. It is enduring. Worldly knowledge is temporary. For earning one's livelihood, worldly education is necessary. But this education should be acquired only to lead an independent life, with limited desires. Therefore, dear son, while pursuing studies, embark also on the spiritual quest."
Human Life Should Be Used For Service
In this manner, the mother taught her son the true aim of education. The boy completed his education and took up a small job. One day, in that village, there was a folk festival.
The womenfolk of the village donned their best clothes, and jewellery to attend the festival. The mother also went, but with tattered clothes. The son could not bear to see that sight.
He said: "Mother, you have no good clothes or jewellery. I am distressed to see you like this. Please let me know what ornaments you wish to have, mother!" She replied: "This is not the right time. I shall let you know at the proper time."
The Three Ornaments Sought By the Mother
Thanks to the good behaviour and diligence of the lad, he rose to higher positions in service. Once again, he returned to his mother and asked what ornament she desired. "I shall get them as fast as I can," he said. The mother told him that she wished for three ornaments, but she would disclose what they were later on.
The son, in the course of years, reached a very high position. Once again he entreated: "Mother, I now have some money. Please let me know what jewels you would like. I shall get them for you." The mother said, "Dear son! I am now not in a state when I can wear jewels.
"However, there are some ornaments in which I am interested, and I shall tell you what they are. Drawing the son nearer to her, she said, ‘In our small village, I am grieved to find that the children have to go to distant places for education.
"The first ornament I desire is that you should set up a primary school in the village. Secondly, our people have no facilities for medical relief even for small ailments. I spend sleepless nights thinking about their plight.
"When you set up a small hospital for the village folks, it will be your second ornament for me. The third ornament is something, which you have to do by yourself. In the days to come, your reputation may grow.
"If anybody asks, 'Who is your mother?' you may mention my name. Your conduct must be such that you will uphold your mother's name. You must share with others the benefits of the education you have received. Do not go after wealth. The worshipper of mammon will not yearn for God. The seeker of God will not seek wealth. Observance of this is the third ornament I desire from you."
The young man who heard these words from his mother, and later became famous and earned the people's esteem was none other than Eshwar Chandra Vidhyasagar. He earned a great name in the city of Calcutta.
"You must share with others the benefits of the education you have received. Do not go after wealth. The worshipper of mammon will not yearn for God.
The seeker of God will not seek wealth."
Eeshvar Chandra's mother shed tears of joy when she realised the great fame her son had achieved. "Having begotten such a son, my life has been redeemed. It does not matter what happens to me hereafter," she said to herself.
The Moving Tale of a Mother and Her Son
In this manner, from ancient times the relations between mother and children have been hallowed as a result of the purity, virtue and integrity of the children. The relationship was full of love, mutual esteem, intense devotion and nectarine sweetness. The children had deep love for the mother. It is because of the pampering of the children in all sorts of ways by the mothers that the children tend to go astray.
After the Burma war (in 1940s), a mother and her son came to Madras as refugees. This son used to go out begging for food, and bring home whatever he could for both of them to eat. Seeing the pathetic condition of the young one, the mother said that from the next day she herself would go out for getting food, leaving the boy in the shed. Moreover, no mother would like to see her son going out as a beggar. So, she decided to go out herself.
For some days, she did this, but could manage to get only a small amount of food. She gave the food to the child and starved herself, but told him that she had already eaten. After some time, the woman was too weak to go out for begging.
The son started again and kept feeding his mother. Her condition deteriorated every passing day; she could not bear the pangs of hunger. The son went out and begged for food at an officer's residence.
The gentleman, who was glancing through the day's newspaper, heard the boy's cry for food. He brought some food and gave it to the boy and asked him to eat it in his presence. The boys said he would not eat there, but take the food home. The officer questioned him why he would do that when he was so hungry.
"You are not really hungry. You are lying," shouted the officer. The boy was too weak to stand and dropped down at the feet of the officer with the food in his hands. The gentleman noticed that the boy was muttering some words to himself. He went close to the boy's mouth and heard him say: “First for mother, first for mother." Saying those words, the boy passed away.
Mothers are Living Gods
The nation needs noble mothers who lead an exemplary life. They should manifest in their life the great culture of Bharath. Then, that culture will be transmitted to their progeny. These days, fathers, instead of chastising children who take to wrong ways, pamper and encourage them.
Children who misbehave should be severely dealt with. Youth today are forgetting God, revelling in sensual pleasures and ruining their lives. They have no reverence for the mother or the Motherland. After the war in Lanka, when Rama was entreated by Vibhishana and others to crown Himself as the ruler of Lanka, Rama told them that ‘Mother and the Motherland are greater than Heaven itself’ and nothing on earth would tempt him to give up his love for Ayodhya.
Only when there are good mothers and good sons, will the nation be free from troubles. Otherwise, the nation will break into pieces.... What the nation needs today is not material prosperity or high education. It needs men and women of character.
How many today are observing the great teachings of Rama regarding love of the Motherland? Once Rama told Sita, while they were staying on the Chitrakoota mountain, that as a few could comprehend the subtle principle of Divinity, people should adore their parents as the visible embodiments of God.
Only when there are good mothers and good sons, will the nation be free from troubles. Otherwise, the nation will break into pieces. This is the lesson of the Mahabharatha where the wicked Kauravas brought ruin upon their entire clan by their evil ways. What the nation needs today is not material prosperity or high education. It needs men and women of character.
People should develop faith in God, have concern for the good name of society, cherish fear of sin and dedicate themselves to Godly activities. Then, the nation will enjoy peace and security. Every mother should be regarded as an embodiment of the divine. Then, every son will enjoy peace and prosperity.
~ Divine Discourse on Easwaramma Day, May 6, 1993
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