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The Glory of Motherhood

Sri Swami Chidnandaji

The heritage of Indian womanhood has been a glorious one. It would be no exaggeration to say that there has been no sphere of human endeavour for the uplift of mankind, in which our women have not gladly and efficiently shared the burden along with the men. Whether it is on religious, social or political ground, nowhere have our women been found lagging behind.

The Indian or Hindu concept is that man and woman, purusha and sakti, are one and indivisible. Wife is ardhangini. She ever dwells in her husband. She occupies half the body of her Lord. Sita did not think of herself as a separate entity. She was in and of Rama. The Indian woman always identifies herself completely with her husband in all domestic, religious and social life. No religious ceremony can be performed by the husband without his wife. The Vedic hymns chant of her: "Be an empress to your father-in-law; be an empress to your mother-in-law; be an empress to your husband's brothers and sisters." She is the queen of the house. She illumines the home through the glory of motherhood. Woman is the backbone or bedrock or the basis for sustaining religion and national strength and prosperity. There is no difference between her and Lakshmi, the Goddess of beauty, grace and prosperity. Manu says, "That woman who does always good, who is efficient in work, sweet in speech, devoted to her dharmas and service to her husband, is really no human being but a Goddess."

The inspiring force of the home is the woman. The home is the origin and the beginning of every form of social organisation. It is the nursery of the nation. It is the sweet place where children are trained for future citizenship. Good habits, right conduct, formation of 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 are lasting. If the child is placed in the hands of a paid servant, what can you expect when it grows up? The child needs the constant contact of the mother. She is the first teacher or guru. She alone can give to the child the milk of knowledge and culture and shape its destiny. The rising generation depends entirely upon the training given by the mothers. The improvement and strengthening of the nation is in the hands of the mothers.
It is therefore the most important duty of parents to create religious impressions in the minds of their children by telling them stories from the Ramayana and the Bhagavata, by making them do kirtan and recite prayers. They should make their sons perform sandhya regularly in the morning, noon and evening. They should encourage the children to study the Gita, the Ramayana and other scriptures. They should make them do japa daily.

Napoleon's mother always kept pictures of Greek and Roman heroes with her and sang songs of these heroes. Thus the heroic spirit was created in Napoleon even while he was in his mother's womb. Sachi, the mother of Gauranga, rocked the cradle of her son with Hari's Name on her lips-Hari Hari Bol, Bol Hari Bol, Mukunda Madhava Govinda Bol. This infused in him the honey of devotion and brought forth to the world a Gauranga who changed the mentality of India.

Women have got ample opportunities to improve and increase the national health and prosperity. They really build the nation. They can utilise their talents and abilities in making the home the cradle of culture, character, personal ability and religious upheaval. It is therefore wrong to say that their life is cramped or stunted by attending to the duties at home and that no scope is given for evolution and freedom. This is a sad mistake indeed! The life of a woman is as noble and serious as that of a man.

If a woman is pure she can save and purify man. Woman can purify the race. Woman can make a home a sacred temple. The Hindu women have been the custodians of the Hindu race. The Hindu religion, the Hindu culture and civilization still survives in spite of the many foreign invasions, when other civilization have come and gone, on account of the purity of Hindu women. The women are taught to regard chastity as their most priceless possession. Religion is ingrained in the Hindu woman from her very childhood. Hindu women illumine and enliven the house through the glory of their purity. This is the secret of the endurance of the Hindu religion, civilization and culture.

A Mother Charges Nothing

A mother found one morning at breakfast a bill made out by her small son, Bradley, aged eight: "Mother owes Bradley: for running errands, 25 cents; for being good, 10 cents; for taking music lessons, 15 cents; for extras, 5 cents. Total 55 cents." Mother smiled, but made no comment. At lunch Bradley found the bill with 55 cents and another piece of paper neatly folded like the first. Opening it he read:"Bradley owes Mother: for nursing him through scarlet fever, nothing; for being good to him, nothing; for clothes, shoes and playthings, nothing; for his play-room, nothing; for his meals, nothing. Total: nothing."

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