Introduction: Mother and her Caring Nature
Mother does not need any introduction. Isn’t right? But the topic does. 🙂
In India, we have a great respect for our mother. She gives birth to us and protects us before and after we are born. When we were kids, we were totally dependent on her. Literally for everything – food, shelter and all other necessities.
Even today, when in danger or pain, we cry out “O, mother!”. Involuntarily, we call her in our respective languages for help. We ought to respect her with gratitude for all that she had done to us. Our Upanishads command us to adore our mother as divine:
Matr devoo bhava | – Shiksha Valli, Taittiriya Upanishat
Meaning: Treat your mother as God.
Usually, relation-wise, all of us are closer to our mother than the father. Reason is plain and simple! We know: mother is generally more considerate and accommodative in giving/getting us whatever we want!
Fine. Let us come back to the topic of discussion now.
Shridevi, as the Divine Mother
Shridevi is worshiped as Mother Goddess in India. In the South, She is called Amma and whereas in the North, She is addressed as Maa. Both of these words mean the same – “Mother”. Esoteric Scripture Lalita Sahasranama starts with addressing Shridevi as Mother! Thus:
Shrimaata Shrimaharajni ….. |
Meaning: Divine Mother, Divine queen, …..
Now, our fundamental question:
Why should we consider Shridevi as our Divine Mother?
Although, the question is simple, answer can be quite complex. As always, we will try to explain it in an easier way, avoiding greater depths.
The Scripture Devi Mahatmya in Tantrokta Devi Sukta says:
Ya Devi sarvabhooteshu matr roopena samsthitaa |
Namastsyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namah ||
It Means: We salute Devi Durga, who is present as motherly nature(i.e. caring) in every being. We salute Her, We salute Her and We Salute Her!
In other words, the caring motherly nature in all of us is nothing but Shridevi Durga. So, we call that affectionate and caring nature in us as our Mother Shridevi.
Our Shaivate Scripture, Shiva Sutras provides another authoritative perspective:
Jnanaadhistanam Matrika | – Shiva Sutras 1.4
Meaning: It is un-understood Mother, or power of sound inherent in the alphabet is the basis of our limited knowledge.
So, nicely said. What is the limited knowledge? Our understanding and feeling of: we are different from the Universal Self. This sense of difference is called ignorance or limited knowledge.
The inherent power present in the alphabet or words creates our world. Who is that power? That is none other than Shridevi ! So, she is the Mother of our world. That is why She is also called Jagajjanani (Mother of the Universe). Just ponder: very concept of world comes to us from words!
Shridevi is also called Vak (speech). In his famous vagarthaviva sloka of Raghuvamsha, Greatest Poet Kalidasa says: “I pray parents of the world, Parvati and Parameshwara who are always together like speech and its meaning, to know the speech an its meaning” What a great statement indeed! Notice that, here also, Shridevi(Parvati) is referred as Mother.
The feeling of difference (duality,two-ness, the other, etc.) is nothing but maya (illusion). Shridevi – present as Mother power in words – brings the illusion of difference. Therefore, she is also called Devi Mahamaya (Goddess of Great illusion).
As Mahamaya, Shridevi creates our body, psychic chakras and entire psycho-somatic system and finally, rests in Muladhara as Shri Kundalini Devi. So, She is the Mother who is responsible for our creation.
Sorry, I did not get it. It is becoming very abstract. How can you say – the world is created by words? What about physically challenged such as dumb who cannot speak a word?
Just think about it. Why do you have a name? To distinguish yourself from other people. Right? To give you an identity of your own for yourself. The name or a word is a label to understand the things as separate. If you do not have words to distinguish, everything becomes the same and reduces to that One Truth (Brahman, Universal Self)! as our Scriptures Upanishads say:
Sarvam khalvidam Brahma |
Means: Everything is Brahman.
Even the physically challenged like dumb, distinguish different things by words internally. Words serve as mandatory labels for everybody to differentiate things.
Thus, the important message is: the word creates our world!
Words are very potent too. Whenever power of words is discussed, we remember mantras. Mantras are potent phrases used for various purposes in Sanatana Dharma(a.k.a Hinduism). Now, a related question:
From where does the power come to mantras? Is there a link between Shridevi and mantras?
Of course! In short, Shridevi herself is the power of mantras! She is present as un-understood Mother power of words(matrika shakti) in mantras. This is the secret of mantras. We can unlock the power and understand the mantras, by following prescribed methods as per tradition and Scriptures under the supervision of a Realized Master.
How do other attributes of a mother apply to Shridevi?
Good question. As we discussed earlier, Shridevi creates us as Mahamaya. As Matrika, i.e. maternal power of words, She also creates our world through words. Thus, She plays the role of the creator.
She protects and controls everything in our body as Supreme Mother Kundalini. So, She is also our sustainer.
When she is awakened, She helps us to achieve the real goal of yoga and human life, i.e. to merge our Individual Self with Universal Self. Thus, She also as protects us from infinite birth and death cycle by giving her divine abode as Mahadevi. This is due to her power of dissolution.
So, Shridevi performs the functions of creation, sustenance and dissolution of Hindu Trinity Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva. Just like mother, She is affectionate and caring too. Whenever we pray her, She is here to help us in any danger. As mentioned in the Scripture Devi Mahatmya:
Durge smrita harasi bheetim-ashesha jantooh | – Saptashloki Durga, Sloka #2
Meaning: (Durge Devi!) In any danger, if you are prayed, you destroy fear of every beings.
Thus, Shridevi as the creator, gives birth to us. As Matrika power, She lives in the words to create our world. As the sustainer, She helps us to live. As the destroyer, She eliminates ignorance and gives us Her divine ultimate refuge. She is there to protect us whenever we pray her for help. So, Shridevi has all the attributes of a Super Mother, i.e. Shrimata. So, we adore Her as our compassionate divine Mother calling her as Mother, Amma, Maa etc.
If we surrender to Shridevi and pray with devotion, She takes care of everything for us. As our Great Master, Shri Shankara Bhagavatpadah puts it:
… Param jaane matah tvadanusaranam klesha haranam | – Devyaparadha Kshamapana Stotra, Sloka #1
Meaning: Mother(Shridevi!, I do not know how to worship you properly…), But, I know one thing: surrendering to you destroys difficulties and pain.
Could you please tell me the bottom line of the entire discussion?
Omnipotent Mother Shridevi resides in alphabet and words as Matrika power. She is responsible for creation, sustenance and dissolution of ourselves and the world. So, She is the Greatest Divine Mother. Since She is the mother- by her very nature – She is very compassionate and caring.
If we pray Her with devotion, by definition of the word Shridevi, She will surely bestow us with whatever we want- including material prosperity(bhoga) and liberation from life and death cycle (moksha).
OK. What is the action item from the discussion?
Taam aadi shaktim pranatah sma nityam |
Let us pray that primordial power(Shridevi) always (for her kind Grace)!
Om Namah Shivaya ||