Saturday 18 May 2024

Mother - A Window To The World

 – Dr. M. Lakshmi Kumari (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume, April 1995)

Meditations on Mother - are never ending. Once one starts exploring, vistas after vistas open up revealing more and more beauties, glories and above all, a unique wholesomeness inherent in that dearest sweetest being whom we address as mother.

Mother is indeed the first window through which a child looks at the world, through which visions and perceptions enter into a child. If that window is broken, dust covered or opaque, so will be the vision of the child, fragmented, patchy, and caricatured. How important then that the mother- window be ever kept clean and transparent, affording wholesome panoramic views of the world beyond.

Before the children start using eyes as their instruments of vision, another awareness is already implanted in them, of a special fragrance and warmth that emanate from the mother whose touch assures them of safety and security. This is the basic emotional awareness that takes care of the child's further growth into a full human being. That is why as soon as the child is born, it is cleaned up and given to the mother to hold, to assure that he or she is not alone. If the little one is deprived of this elementary feeling, it grows insecure, uncertain and afraid of himself and the world and always remains mistrustful. Unfortunately, the modern mothers are averse to handle that tiny little bundle and keep it away as far as possible doing untold harm to the child and later through him to the world. Young girls who rush towards motherhood unaware of its pros and cons are perpetrating a double tragedy when they leave an unwanted child to fight on its own. They are the number one culprits in creating a generation of "unwanted" human beings who turn to social crimes as they grow up to fill up the vacuum within.

The West has suddenly woken up to this reality and are encouraging the would-be mothers to deliver in the safety, sanctity, and comforts of their own homes so that the newborns remain with the mother and are not taken away and kept in solitary confinement as in a hospital. A social movement is on in countries like Holland to bring in the awareness that there is no better medicine to assure normal growth of human beings than the love and warmth which a mother radiates in the early phase of childhood. Strangely, what we have lost in the East is gaining ground in the West and maybe, it will all come back to us sooner than later as part of our imitation culture.

Imperceptibly simple are the ways by which a mother can enlarge the vision of a child, by pointing out to the moon, the stars, the sky and relating them all with the child as its friends. It is she who can instill in the child the first lessons of 'bhutayagna' by asking him to share his food with the crow, the sparrow, the cat and the dog and fill his mind with the joy of sharing. The beauty and fragrance of flowers, the sweetness in the fruits, the coolness in the shade of a tree, the miracle of the rain, the freshness in the breeze are all opened out to the young child by the mother thus integrating him with the nature around. If the mother is ill-equipped to give these primary lessons, the vision of the child remains forever impaired. Mothers cannot escape the responsibility of providing their children with the right vision at the right time. They just can't neglect this early foundation laying of their tiny-tots. If they do, they would regret for it their whole life.

Through the behaviour of the mother, the child learns of that holiest of holy emotions - Love. It is up to her to teach the child the best working definition of love as the experience of unity. Love is the basic emotion on which the child has to build up all the other emotions and if there is any lacuna in the quality and content of this first love, all other emotions will remain tainted through selfishness and a variety of other mental distortions.

"Love is not a mere impulse, it must contain Truth", says Tagore. When the whole of their life instead - Love marriage, child bearing, etc. which normally should contain and express Truth rests on impulsiveness, how can the young mothers give this all- important lesson to the children, that love is not feeling, it is a state of being, a state in which you are ever in contact with your deep-most self. This is the love that children should be taught to think about, feel, seek and express. Love as an expression of the Eternal Truth within us, the origin and the fountainhead where all life in the Universe has to find its ultimate rest. When such a love blossoms into understanding, it acquires the power to heal, remove the threat and bring in security.

With mother as the central point, a child equates himself with the people around him and acquires automatically the subtle likes and dislikes towards men and matters that pervade in a family. Whether he would have a universal outlook or would be petty- minded, would be decided by these early equations. The child learns the samskaras from the mother, habits of cleanliness and sanitation, traditions in worship and other observances, lessons in hospitality, kindness, compassion and what not. It is through these that the child relates itself with the world as it grows up.

Father and other elders who go out of the house collect the various data on life and its happenings and bring them home in toto. Invariably it is the mother who will have to sieve them, amalgamate the experiences with values and pass them on to the child as principles of life which will help him to grow and face his own life. Unfortunately, with mothers also spending most of their time outside, there is no leisure to ponder over the daily rush of data, and children receive them without screening and absorb them haphazardly. The overbearing impact of these undigested experiences, ill- conceived actions and reactions boggle up the child's brain and all his actions in turn become impulsive. Thinking, contemplation, meditation, etc. being unknown to the child its whole life becomes characterized by impulsiveness. His thoughts, words, and, actions remain fragmented, never attaining mature wholesomeness.

Seeing the Whole in the part, one of the greatest achievements of a realized soul, is in a small but unique part of every mother. This wonderful capacity helps her in locating the right ingredient for the right curry from a mind-boggling variety of masalas in her kitchen, in readily replacing the missing button from a shirt, and in understanding the need for immediate repair of a loose switch or a leaking tap in her household. This also helps her to rightly judge the hurt behind the pouting lips of her child, unhappiness in the frown on her husband's face and the anger with which her eldest one bangs the door as he or she goes out. The remedies for all these are prepared by the mother with those very same ingredients of love and understanding and are served through small but thoughtful acts and words which bring to balance the delicate movements in any home or matters before things go out of control.

As a mother bathes her child just returned from play, or combs the hair of her daughter after the day's school work, she is giving, knowingly or unknowingly, one of the best psychological treatments to the children, first of helping them to unburden all their feelings to their hearts' content and later gently but firmly pointing out the flaws in their behavior and interactions. With the breakdown in this natural communication system, barriers come between the mother and child, mother losing the wonderful potentiality inherent in her blessed motherhood and the children the most wholesome, unconditional support and strength necessary to build a strong personality.

To be an understanding and resourceful mother helping her children to fit themselves into the framework of the Universe is indeed too blessed a profession not to be taken lightly. Who says the mother is inferior? Who says the mother has no role to play? Probably they do not know that "the hands that rock the cradle rule the world." 

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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