INTRODUCTION:- The short poem consisting of five verses (hence
called panchakam) is attributed to Shri Shankaracharya. The following
abbreviations are used in the comments. 1) BG Bhagavat Gita. (2) BH-
Shrimad Bhagavatam. (3) VR-Valmiki Ramayanam. (4) MB-Maha Bharata.
ON DEVOTION TO MOTHER
JOY AND SORROW:- We all desire happiness and only happiness and that
too we want it to last all the time. But we find that such a state
of unalloyed bliss eludes us. It is punctuated with periods of
unhappiness. In fact, Krishna (in BG 8-15) calls life as ਦੁਃਖਾਲਯਂ
ਅਸ਼ਾਸ਼੍ਵਤਮ੍। the repository of sorrow and impermanent. Even the
brief spells of joy we experience are followed by periods of sorrow or
pain. It is ,then, clear that what we term as ᳚happiness᳚ is not true
happiness. Hunger and thirst stalk every one right from birth. Further as
one advances in age, infirmity creeps in and so do many diseases and
on the top of every thing looms the fear of impending death. Because of
these reasons Krishna stresses the fact that life is the repository
of sorrow and impermanent. We also find that some people appear to
be blessed with greater quota of happiness than some others. Some are
born in rich families and are surrounded with all the comforts of life
while some are born in destitution. Such situations are intriguing. We
would like to know the reasons behind these variations so that we can
avoid those things that beget unhappiness and do whatever is needed to
get happiness. It seems that we, with our limited intellect, are not
able to unravel the mystery. If it were not so, we should have found the
secret key to happiness and living on cloud nine. But unfortunately
it is not so. We seem to be caught in a hopeless situation.
THE REMEDY:- But we need not despair. This is where our scriptures come
to our aid. They give the formula for a happy life. They say that
if one does the right deeds he gets merit or punyam and if he does
wrong deeds he gets sin or pApam. Punyam yields happiness and pApam
unhappiness. ਸ਼ੁਭਕਚ੍ਛੁਭਮਾਪ੍ਨੋਤਿ ਪਾਪਕਤ੍ਪਾਪਮਸ਼੍ਨੁਤੇ।
VR(VI-114.24.5) Our unhappiness is attributable only to our
failure to do the ᳚right᳚ deeds and doing the ᳚wrong᳚ deeds.
ਵਿਹਿਤਸ੍ਯਾਨਨੁਸ਼੍ਠਾਨਾਤ੍ ਨਿਨ੍ਦਿਤਸ੍ਯ ਚ ਸੇਵਨਾਤ੍ ।
ਅਨਿਗ੍ਰਹਾਚ੍ਚੇਨ੍ਦ੍ਰਿਯਾਣਾਂ ਨਰਃ ਪਤਨਮਚ੍ਛਤਿ ॥
says Yagnavalkya Smriti. The deeds include
actions done by the body, words and also thoughts.
ਕਾਯੇਨ ਕੁਰੁਤੇ ਪਾਪਂ ਮਨਸਾ ਸਂਪ੍ਰਧਾਰ੍ਯ ਚ ।
ਅਨਤਂ ਜਿਹ੍ਵਯਾ ਚਾਹ ਤ੍ਰਿਵਿਧਂ ਕਰ੍ਮ ਪਾਤਕਮ੍ ॥ VR-II-109-21.
DHARMA:- The question, then is, how
to know which deed is right and which is not right and who is to decide
this? What appears to be the right deed for one may not be so for some
one else. Also, in similar situations, but at different circumstances,
one may have to act differently. So, there may not be one answer for
this question. Such questions have been asked by people all the time
and answered by our acharyas. Right conduct is called dharma. Leading
a life in dharmic way, then, is the formula for happiness. Dharma has
the ability to destroy pApam or sins. Mahanarayanopanishad (79-7)
says this.ਧਰ੍ਮੇਣ ਪਾਪਮਪਨੁਦਤਿ। Once sins are removed, the way
is cleared for happiness. Sage Vyasa bewails saying that I keep on
saying this, but sadly no one listens to me.
ਊਰ੍ਧ੍ਵਬਾਹੁਰ੍ਵਿਰੌਮ੍ਯੇਸ਼ ਨ ਚ ਕਸ਼੍ਚਿਚ੍ਛਣੋਤਿ ਮਾਮ੍ ।
ਧਰ੍ਮਾਦਰ੍ਥਸ਼੍ਚ ਕਾਮਸ਼੍ਚ ਸਃ ਕਿਮਰ੍ਥਂ ਨ ਸੇਵ੍ਯਤੇ ॥
Manu -the author of Manusmriti – says that
by doing deeds in the right way ( that is following the dharmic path )
one can get all he wants (happiness) here and in the life hereafter
ਤੇਸ਼ੁ ਸਮ੍ਯਗ੍ਵਰ੍ਤਮਾਨਃ ਗਚ੍ਛਤ੍ਯਮਰਲੋਕਤਾਮ੍ ।
ਯਥਾ ਸਂਕਲ੍ਪਿਤਾਂਸ਼੍ਚੇਹ ਸਰ੍ਵਨ੍ਕਾਮਾਨ੍ਸਮਸ਼੍ਨੁਤੇ ॥
SOURCES TO KNOW ABOUT DHARMA:-Manu clarifies his statement and says that all
vedas are the basis to define dharma. What the vedas say is further
elaborated by texts like smritis written by scholars well versed in the vedas,
the conduct of the noble men or sadhus and finally what contributes
ਵੇਦੋऽਖਿਲੋ ਧਰ੍ਮਮੂਲਂ ਸ੍ਮਤਿਸ਼ੀਲੇ ਚ ਤਦ੍ਵਿਦਾਮ੍ ।
ਆਚਾਰਸ਼੍ਚੈਵ ਸਾਧੂਨਾਂ ਆਤ੍ਮਨ੍ਸ੍ਤੁਸ਼੍ਟਿਰੇਵ ਚ ॥
Sage Vyasa said the same, but in different words in Mahabharata. (Anusasana
ਵੇਦੋਕ੍ਤਃ ਪਰਮੋ ਧਰ੍ਮਃ ਸ੍ਮਤਿਸ਼ਾਸ੍ਤ੍ਰਗਤੋऽਪਰਃ ।
ਸ਼ਿਸ਼੍ਟਾਚੀਰ੍ਣੋऽਪਰਃ ਪ੍ਰੋਕ੍ਤਸ੍ਤ੍ਰਯੋ ਧਰ੍ਮਾਃ ਸਨਾਤਨਾਃ ॥
Krishna told this to Arjuna in Bhagavd Gita. He said that scriptures are to
be taken as the guide for deciding what is right and what is not
right. If one chooses to ignore the scriptural injunctions and acts
according to his sweet will he will be doing so at his own peril and
will not find happiness.
ਯਃ ਸ਼ਾਸ੍ਤ੍ਰਵਿਧਿ-ਮੁਤ੍ਸਜ੍ਯ ਵਰ੍ਤਤੇ ਕਾਮਕਾਰਤਃ ।
ਨ ਸ ਸਿਦ੍ਧਿ-ਮਾਪ੍ਨੋਤਿ ਨ ਸੁਖਂ ਨ ਪਰਾਂ ਗਤਿਮ੍ ॥
ਤਸ੍ਮਾਚ੍ਛਾਸ੍ਤ੍ਰਂ ਪ੍ਰਮਾਣਂ ਤੇ ਕਾਰ੍ਯਾ-ਕਾਰ੍ਯ-ਵ੍ਯਵਸ੍ਥਿਤੌ ।
ਜ੍ਞਾਤ੍ਵਾ ਸ਼ਾਸ੍ਤ੍ਰਵਿਧਾਨੋਕ੍ਤਂ ਕਰ੍ਮ ਕਰ੍ਤੁ-ਮਿਹਾਰ੍ਹਸਿ ॥ BG(16-23 and 24).
The scriptures are taken to mean the vedas and the secondary texts like the
Manu Smriti, the puranas like Shrimad Bhagavatam and (ithihasas) works
like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The secodary texts are also accepted
as authoritative because they faithfully reflect the ideas contained in
the vedas. Thus the Mahabharata is considered as the fifth veda. Of
Ramayana it is said that when the Supreme Being chose to be born as the son of
Dasaratha, the vedas too took birth as Ramayana through the sage Valmiki.
ਵੇਦਵੇਦ੍ਯੇ ਪਰੇਪੁਂਸਿ ਜਾਤੇ ਦਸ਼ਰਥਾਤ੍ਮਜੇ ।
ਵੇਦਃ ਪ੍ਰਾਚੇਦਸਾਦਾਸੀਤ੍ ਸਾਕ੍ਸ਼ਦ੍ਰਾਮਾਯਣਾਤ੍ਮਨਾ ॥
Similarly Shrimad Bhagavatam is said to be the quintessence of the vedas and
the secondary texts. ਸਰ੍ਵ ਵੇਦੇਤਿਹਾਸਾਨਾਂ ਸਾਰਂ ਸਾਰਂ ਸਮੁਦ੍ਧਤਮ੍। (1-3-42).
Because they all carry the essence of the vedas we can take them as a guide to
our conduct without any reservation. By reading them or listening to
their expositions by scholars we may learn the rules of conduct.
To sum up, there are four sources for knowing about dharma. Firstly,
one can read about them from the vedas which are the primary source. We
have to remember that the vedas which prescribe dharma are not of human
origin. They were given out by the Lord Himself at the time of creation
for the good of the people. Purusha Suktam says this as: ऋਚਃ ਸਮਾਨਿ
ਜਜ੍ਞਿਰੇ । ਛਨ੍ਦਾਁਸਿ ਜਜ੍ਞਿਰੇ ਤਸ੍ਮਾਤ੍ । ਯਜੁਸ੍ਤਸ੍ਮਾਦਜਾਯਤ। The Lord
withdraws everything (including the vedas) into Himself at the time of
dissolution (pralayam) and releases them again at the time of creation.
ਅਵ੍ਯਕ੍ਤਾਦ੍ਵ੍ਯਕ੍ਤਯਃ ਸਰ੍ਵਾਃ ਪ੍ਰਭਵਨ੍ਤ੍ਯਹਰਾਗਮੇ ।
ਰਾਤ੍ਰ੍ਯਾਗਮੇ ਪ੍ਰਲੀਯਨ੍ਤੇ ਤਤ੍ਰੈਵਾਵ੍ਯਕ੍ਤ- ਸਂਜ੍ਞਕੇ ॥ BG(8-18).
Thus they are eternal. Since they were given out by Bhagavan they are known as
Bhagavata dharma (ਭਾਗਵਤ ਧਰ੍ਮਾਃ।).
If one is unable to access or read and understand the vedas, he can next go to
the smritis and other secondary texts. If one is unable to do that also, he
can observe the conduct of noble people or sadhus and follow in their footsteps.
Since they are great devotees and enshrine the Lord in their hearts, one can be
certain that they will not stray from the path of dharma.
One cannot call himself a devotee of the Lord if he does not, in the first
place, obey His commands contained in the vedas faithfully. Shrimad Bhagavata
says that, even under force of circumstances, such a devotee commits an
act that appears to be improper or adharmic to the bystanders, the
good Lord will condone it. (Book11-5-42).
ਸ੍ਵਪਾਦਮੂਲਂ ਭਜਤਃ ਪ੍ਰਿਯਸ੍ਯ ਤ੍ਯਕ੍ਤਾਨ੍ਯਭਾਵਸ੍ਯ ਹਰਿਃ ਪਰੇਸ਼ਃ ।
ਵਿਕਰ੍ਮ ਯਚ੍ਚੋਤ੍ਪਤਿਤਂ ਕਥਞ੍ਚਿਤ੍ ਧੁਨੋਤਿ ਸਰ੍ਵਂ ਹਦਿ ਸਨ੍ਨਿਵਿਸ਼੍ਟਃ ॥
This, then, is the third alternative. What happens if the sadhu himself gets
a doubt about how he should act in a particular situation and he cannot find
the proper guidance in the scriptures? In such a tight situation he
goes by the dictate of his conscience. Here again, we should remember
that the devotee who has enshrined the Lord in his heart cannot
take a step in the wrong direction. The poet Kalidasa says this in
his work Abhijnana Sakuntalam: ਸਤਾਂ ਹਿ ਸਨ੍ਦੇਹਪਦੇਸ਼ੁ ਵਸ੍ਤੁਸ਼ੁ
ਪ੍ਰਮਾਣਮਨ੍ਤਃਕਰਣਪ੍ਰਵਤ੍ਤਯਃ। Dharma is classified as ਸਾਮਾਨ੍ਯ
ਧਰ੍ਮਃ or general dharma and ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਧਰ੍ਮਃ or special dharma.
The former includes those rules of conduct that apply to all, irrespective
of caste, sex or any other division. They include rules such as ᳚᳚one
should not steal or covet another man’s property, should not spit or
urinate in the water᳚ etc. The latter apply to people of a particular
class like a house holder or a sanyasi or on special occsions like birth,
death, travel etc.
GENERAL DHARMA:-One of the basic rules of conduct
(general dharma) belonging to the first category given in the Vedas is:
ਮਾਤ ਦੇਵੋ ਭਵ। ਪਿਤ ਦੇਵੋ ਭਵ। (Taittiriya Upanishad.I-9-2).
These ask us to venerate our mother and father like God. They are
commandments. No conditions are attached to them. They are, thus, to be
obeyed implicitly. Not obeying them amounts to deriliction of duties and
results in sin or pApam which in turn causes sorrow or suffering.
Our puranas are secondary texts. They act like the magnifying glass. They
elaborate the cryptic statements contained in the Vedas through
the vehicle of stories and advices by wise people like the sages. Some
references from puranas and other secondary texts are given in support
of the above vedic dictum.
DHARMA VYADHA:- First is the popular story
of Dharma Vyadha. This appears in the Mahabharata-Vana Parva. A brahmin
by the name Kaushika decided to go to the forest and perform penance
for his own development. But, in the process he left behind his aged
parents to fend for themselves. This is a serious lapse of dharma. As
he performed penance, he gained some supernatural powers. One day, as he
was sitting in meditation under a tree, he felt some bird droppings
fall on his head. He was disturbed by this incident. He looked up in
annoyance. The two cranes who were responsible for the misdemeanour
were reduced to ashes by his gaze. The brahmin did not expect this to
happen, but was pleased at the happening. He became puffed up by his
achievements. One day he went to a nearby village to beg for alms. He
was made to wait at a house. He became annoyed at this. Soon he heard
a lady’s voice from inside the house asking him to wait and not to take
her to be the cranes. The brahmin was taken aback at the statement. How
did the lady of the house know the incident that happened in the remote
forest? The brahmin decided to wait and meet the lady of the house
who could read his innermost thoughts. After some time the lady came
out and offered him alms. She offererd her apologies for making him
wait, but said it was because she was serving her husband which was
her primary duty. This strict adherence to dharma was the cause of
her eminence. She advised the brahmin to go to a particular village
and meet a butcher and learn more about dharma. Kaushika was amazed
to hear that he -a brahmin- was asked to meet a butcher and learn about
dharma. Anyway, he felt small by now, since his ego had been pricked
by the lady. He went to the village mentioned by the lady and after some
enquiry found the butcher who was attending to his customers. He stood
at a distance. When he found some respite, the butcher, washed his hands
and hurried to Kaushika. He apologised for making him wait and said he
had a duty to perform. It may be inferior and unglamourous. But that
is what he had inherited and carried on with devotion. He said he can
talk to him in detail in his house. He took the brahmin to his house. But
he said that he had to wait till he had ministered to his parents. The
butcher came to Kaushika after attending to his parents. He said that he
knew that Kaushika was sent by that particular woman to learn about
dharma from him. He said that doing one’s duty is the highest form of
dharma and this included serving the parents with devotion. In the
following verses he narrated how well he looked after his parents. He
added that this took preccedence over other duties such as receiving
guests. That is why he made Kausika wait till he finished serving his
parents. He advised Kaushika to correct his mistake, go home and look
after his parents. Kaushika was full of remorse. He hastened to his
home.and started serving his parents with devotion.
ਪਿਤਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਚ ਭਗਵਨ੍ਨੇਤੌ ਮਦ੍ਦੈਵਤਂ ਪਰਮ੍ ।
ਯਦ੍ ਦੈਵਤੇਭ੍ਯਃ ਕਰ੍ਤਵ੍ਯਂ ਤਦੇਤਾਭ੍ਯਾਂ ਕਰੋਮ੍ਯਹਮ੍ ॥
ਤ੍ਰਯਸ੍ਤ੍ਰਿਂਸ਼ਦ੍ ਯਥਾ ਦੇਵਾਃ ਸਰ੍ਵੇ ਸ਼ਕ੍ਰਪੁਰੋਗਮਾਃ ।
ਸਂਪੂਜ੍ਯਾਃ ਸਰ੍ਵਲੋਕਸ੍ਯ ਤਥਾ ਵਦ੍ਧਾਵਿਮੌ ਮਮ ॥
ਉਪਹਾਰਾਨਾਹਰਨ੍ਤੋ ਦੇਵਤਾਨਾਂ ਯਥਾ ਦ੍ਵਿਜਾਃ ।
ਕੁਰ੍ਵਨ੍ਤਿ ਤਦ੍ਵਦੇਤਾਭ੍ਯਾਂ ਕਰੋਮ੍ਯਹਮਤਨ੍ਦ੍ਰਿਤਃ ॥
ਏਤੌ ਮੇ ਪਰਮਂ ਬ੍ਰਹ੍ਮਨ੍ ਪਿਤਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਚ ਦੈਵਤਮ੍ ।
ਏਤੌ ਪੁਸ਼੍ਪੈਃ ਫਲੈਃ ਰਤ੍ਨੈਸ੍ਤੋਸ਼ਯਾਮਿ ਸਦਾ ਦ੍ਵਿਜ ॥
ਏਤਾਵੇਵਾਗ੍ਨਯੋ ਮਹ੍ਯਂ ਯਾਨ੍ ਵਦਨ੍ਤਿ ਮਨੀਸ਼ਿਣਃ ।
ਯਜ੍ਞਾ ਵੇਦਾਸ਼੍ਚ ਚਤ੍ਵਾਰਃ ਸਰ੍ਵਮੇਤੌ ਮਮ ਦ੍ਵਿਜ ॥
ਏਤਦਰ੍ਥਂ ਮਮ ਪ੍ਰਾਣਾ ਭਾਰ੍ਯਾ ਪੁਤ੍ਰਃ ਸੁਹਜ੍ਜਨਃ ।
ਸਪੁਤ੍ਰਦਾਰਃ ਸ਼ੁਸ਼੍ਰੂਸ਼ਾਂ ਨਿਤ੍ਯਮੇਵ ਕਰੋਮ੍ਯਹਮ੍ ॥
ਸ੍ਵਯਂ ਚ ਸ੍ਨਾਪਯਾਮ੍ਯੇਤੌ ਤਥਾ ਪਾਦੌ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਵਯੇ ।
ਆਹਾਰਂ ਚ ਪ੍ਰਯਚ੍ਛਾਮਿ ਸ੍ਵਯਂ ਚ ਦ੍ਵਿਜਸਤ੍ਤਮ ॥
ਅਨੁਕੂਲਂ ਤਥਾ ਵਚ੍ਮਿ ਵਿਪ੍ਰਿਯਂ ਪਰਿਵਰ੍ਜਯੇ ।
ਅਧਰ੍ਮੇਣਾਪਿ ਸਂਯੁਕ੍ਤਂ ਪ੍ਰਿਯਮਾਭ੍ਯਾਂ ਕਰੋਮ੍ਯਹਮ੍ ॥
ਧਰ੍ਮਮੇਵ ਗੁਰੁਂ ਜ੍ਞਾਤ੍ਵ ਕਰੋਮਿ ਦ੍ਵਿਜਸਤ੍ਤਮ ।
ਅਤਨ੍ਦ੍ਰਿਤਃ ਸਦਾ ਵਿਪ੍ਰ ਸ਼ੁਸ਼੍ਰੂਸ਼ਾਂ ਵੈ ਕਰੋਮ੍ਯਹਮ੍ ॥
ਪਞ੍ਚੈਵ ਗੁਰਵੋ ਬ੍ਰਹ੍ਮਨ੍ ਪੁਰੁਸ਼ਸ੍ਯ ਬੁਭੂਸ਼ਤਃ ।
ਪਿਤਾ ਮਾਤਾਗ੍ਨਿਰਾਤ੍ਮਾ ਚ ਗੁਰੁਸ਼੍ਚ ਦ੍ਵਿਜਸਤ੍ਤਮ ॥
ਏਤੇਸ਼ੁ ਯਸ੍ਤੁ ਵਰ੍ਤੇਤ ਸਮ੍ਯਗੇਵ ਦ੍ਵਿਜੋਤ੍ਤਮ ।
ਭਵੇਯੁਰਗ੍ਨਯਸ੍ਤਸ੍ਯ ਪਰਿਚੀਰ੍ਣਾਸ੍ਤੁ ਨਿਤ੍ਯਸ਼ਃ ।
ਗਾਰ੍ਹਸ੍ਥ੍ਯੇ ਵਰ੍ਤਮਾਨਸ੍ਯ ਏਸ਼ ਧਰ੍ਮਃ ਸਨਾਤਨਃ ॥
WHAT THE PURANAS SAY:- Kurma Purana says that one should look after
his parents with total dedication.
ਯਾਵਤ੍ਪਿਤਾ ਚ ਮਾਤਾ ਚ ਦ੍ਵਾਵੇਤੌ ਨਿਰ੍ਵਿਕਾਰਿਣੌ ।
ਤਾਵਤ੍ ਸਰ੍ਵਂ ਪਰਿਤ੍ਯਜ੍ਯ ਪੁਤ੍ਰਃ ਸ੍ਯਾਤ੍ਤਤ੍ਪਰਾਯਣਃ ॥
Brahmanda Purana says that one gets the results of performing sacrifices.
austerities, offering gifts etc., by being devoted to the parents.
ਯਜ੍ਞਾਨ੍ ਵੇਦਾਂਸ੍ਤਥਾ ਕਾਮਾਂਸ੍ਤਪਾਂਸਿ ਵਿਵਿਧਾਨਿ ਚ ।
ਪ੍ਰਾਪ੍ਨੋਤ੍ਯਾਯੁਃ ਪ੍ਰਜਾਸ਼੍ਚੈਵ ਪਿਤਭਕ੍ਤ੍ਯਾ ਨ ਸਂਸ਼ਯਃ ॥
But if one chooses to neglect them, then all the good deeds done by him will
go waste says Mahabharata (Anushasana Parva).
ਯੇਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਣਾਤਿ ਪਿਤਰਂ ਤੇਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਃ ਪ੍ਰਜਾਪਤਿਃ ।
ਪ੍ਰੀਣਾਤਿ ਮਾਤਰਂ ਯੇਨ ਪਥਿਵੀ ਤੇਨ ਪੂਜਿਤਾ।
ਯੇਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਣਾਤ੍ਯੁਪਾਧ੍ਯਾਯਂ ਤੇਨ ਸ੍ਯਾਦ੍ ਬ੍ਰਹ੍ਮ ਪੂਜਿਤਮ੍ ।
ਸਰ੍ਵੇ ਤਸ੍ਯਾਦਤਾ ਧਰ੍ਮਾ ਯਸ੍ਯੈਤੇ ਤ੍ਰਯ ਆਦਤਾਃ ॥
ਅਨਾਦਤਾਸ੍ਤੁ ਯਸ੍ਯੈਤੇ ਸਰ੍ਵਾਸ੍ਤਸ੍ਯਾਫਲਾਃ ਕ੍ਰਿਯਾਃ ॥
The Padma Purana says that blessed is the one who has
his parents with him and makes them happy by his services and good behaviour.
Because he need not go on a pilgrimage and take bath in Ganges to earn merit
or punyam. He gets the same result daily in his house itself.
ਪਿਤਰੋ ਯਸ੍ਯ ਤਪ੍ਯਨ੍ਤਿ ਸੇਵਯਾ ਚ ਗੁਣੇਨ ਚ ।
ਤਸ੍ਯ ਭਾਗੀਰਥੀਸ੍ਨਾਨਮਹਨ੍ਯਹਨਿ ਵਰ੍ਤਤੇ ॥
It is said that one gets the result of going round the world six times,
going on pilgrimages to Kashi ten thousand times and taking bath in
Ramasethu hundreds of times by sincerely saluting one’s mother.
ਭੂਪ੍ਰਦਕ੍ਸ਼ਿਣਸ਼ਟ੍ਕੇਨ ਕਾਸ਼ੀਯਾਤ੍ਰਾਯੁਤੇਨ ਚ ।
ਸੇਤੁਸ੍ਨਾਨਸ਼ਤੈਰ੍ਯਚ੍ਚ੍ ਤਤ੍ਫਲਂ ਮਾਤਵਨ੍ਦਨੇ ॥
Another purana goes one step further and says that the wretch who ignores his
parents living with him and goes visiting holy places seeking to harvest
merit or punyam will, instead, garner only pApam or sin at those places
and return home with a big load of sin. So, these injunctions are
meant to tell us that one can easily earn all the merit or punyam one
looks for easily, staying right in his house, by serving his parents
sincerely and with devotion. They also alert us of the consequences of
not obeying them. To neglect the parents, particularly in their old age,
when they become weak and dependant and to cause anguish is a heinous
act for which there is no atonement available says Brahmanda Purana.
ਪਾਤਕਾਨਾਂ ਕਿਲਾਨ੍ਯੇਸ਼ਾਂ ਪ੍ਰਾਯਸ਼੍ਚਿਤ੍ਤਾਨਿ ਸਨ੍ਤ੍ਯਪਿ ।
ਮਾਤਦ੍ਰੁਹ੍ਯਮਵੇਹਿ ਤ੍ਵਂ ਨ ਕਿਂਚਿਤ੍ ਕਿਲ ਨਿਸ਼੍ਕਤਿਃ ॥
Though the above verses talk of service to mother, we should take the word
to imply parents.
CONDUCT OF GREAT PEOPLE:- The puranas and other scriptures contain many
statements by great people who served their parents devotedly. Here we should
remember Manu’s words quoted earlier – that the conduct of noble people should
be taken as the guideline and followed by us also.
Manu-the author of Manu Smriti – points out that people cannot requite in full
for the suffering undergone by the parents in giving birth and bringing them up.
ਯਂ ਮਾਤਾਪਿਤਰੌ ਕ੍ਲੇਸ਼ਂ ਸਹੇਤੇ ਸਂਭਵੇ ਨਣਾਮ੍ ।
ਨ ਤਸ੍ਯ ਨਿਸ਼੍ਕਤਿਃ ਸਕ੍ਯਾ ਕਰ੍ਤੁਂ ਵਰ੍ਸ਼ਸ਼ਤੈਰਪਿ ॥ (II-227).
RAMA AND KRISHNA:- It is said that Lord’s human incarnations are intended to
teach dharma to humans. They are not merely for the purpose of killing the
demons. BH(5-19-5) ਮਰ੍ਤ੍ਯਾਵਤਾਰਸ੍ਤ੍ਵਿਹ ਮਰ੍ਤ੍ਯਸ਼ਿਕ੍ਸ਼ਣਂ ਰਕ੍ਸ਼ੋਵਧਾਯੈਵ
ਨ ਕੇਵਲਂ ਵਿਭੋ । The Lord in His incarnations as Shri Krishna and Shri Rama
and Shri Shankaracharya scrupulously followed the dharmic path and set examples
to others. Sages considered Krishna to be the embodiment of dharma.
ਯੇ ਚ ਵੇਦਵਿਦੋ ਵਿਪ੍ਰਾਃ ਯੇ ਚਾਧ੍ਯਾਤ੍ਮਵਿਦੋ ਜਨਾਃ ।
ਤੇ ਵਦਨ੍ਤਿ ਮਹਾਤ੍ਮਾਨਂ ਕਸ਼੍ਣਂ ਧਰ੍ਮਂ ਸਨਾਤਨਮ੍ ॥ MB.Vanaparva.
Rama was also the personification of dharma – ਰਾਮੋ ਵਿਗ੍ਰਹਵਾਨ੍ ਧਰ੍ਮਃ।said
Maricha, an enemy of Rama. So, we may study their lives and follow their
footsteps, as advised by Manu. We find that they exemplified the role
of good sons by the love and respect they showed to their parents.
We know that Krishna fought with the evil Kamsa and killed him. Then
Krishna hastened to the prison where His parents were incarcerated. He
released them and repeated what Manu said above. ᳚Even if one were
to live for a hundred years, one cannot pay back his parents who gave
birth and nourished his body in which he can realise all the four
goals of life.᳚
ਸਰ੍ਵਾਰ੍ਥ-ਸਂਭਵੋ ਦੇਹੋ ਜਨਿਤਃ ਪੋਸ਼ਿਤੋ ਯਤਃ ।
ਨ ਤਯੋਰ੍ਯਾਤਿ ਨਿਰ੍ਵੇਸ਼ਂ ਪਿਤ੍ਰੋਰ੍ਮਰ੍ਤ੍ਯਃ ਸ਼ਤਾਯੁਸ਼ਾ ॥ Shrimad Bhagavatam (10-45-5).
The Ramayana has many instances where Rama talks about
this subject. One example is wherein he talks to sage Vashishta – his
guru. The sage, along with Bharatha, tries to persuade Rama to return
to Ayodhya from the forest. He felt that Rama will obey his words as
he happened to be Rama’s guru. But Rama did not take the advice,
and in the course of his reply, said what Manu had said and what He had
said earlier as Krishna (viz.) that one cannot adequately repay his
debt to his parents for all the love and attention they have showered
on him when he was a child.
ਯਨ੍ਮਾਤਾਇਪਿਤਰੌ ਵਤ੍ਤਂ ਤਨਯੇ ਕੁਰੁਤਃ ਸਦਾ ।
ਨ ਸੁਪ੍ਰਤਿਕਰਂ ਤਤ੍ਤੁ ਮਾਤ੍ਰਾ ਪਿਤ੍ਰਾ ਚ ਯਤ੍ਕਤਮ੍ ॥ VR(II-119.9).
HIGHER PLACE FOR MOTHER:- Though our scriptures
advise us to treat the parents like God, they give a higher place to
one’s mother. Manu says that the mother is thousand times worthier
than the father. ਸਹਸ੍ਰਂ ਤੁ ਪਿਤਨ੍ਮਾਤਾ ਗੌਰਵੇਣਾਤਿਰਿਚ੍ਯਤੇ ।
The popular saying that there is no god equal to one’s mother. ਨ
ਮਾਤੁਰ੍ਦੈਵਤਂ ਪਰਮ੍ । is probably based on this. We find that the
puranas and other texts also echo this sentiment. Mahabharata (Shanti
Parva) says that the father deserves more respect than tens of acharyas
and the mother more than tens of father. She is weightier than the
ਉਪਾਧ੍ਯਾਯਾਨ੍ ਪਿਤਾ ਦਸ਼ । ਪਿਤਨ੍ ਦਸ਼ ਤੁ ਮਾਤੈਕਾ ਸਰ੍ਵਾ ਵਾ ਪਤਿਵੀਮਪਿ ।
ਗੁਰੁਤ੍ਵੇਨਾਭਿਭਵਤਿ ਨਾਸ੍ਤਿ ਮਾਤਸਮੋ ਗੁਰੁਃ ॥
In another place MB says that there is no shade (to offer solace)
like one’s mother and no protection equal to her. She is known as
dhatri because.she carries the child within her, as janani because
she gives birth to the child, as amba since she helps to develop its
limbs, as virasu since she got a bold son and as shushru since she
nurses him. In effect she is one’s alter ego.
ਨਾਸ੍ਤਿ ਮਾਤਸਮੋ ਛਾਯਾ ਨਾਸ੍ਤਿ ਮਾਤ ਸਮਾ ਗਤਿਃ ।
ਨਾਸ੍ਤਿ ਮਾਤਸਮਂ ਤ੍ਰਾਣਂ ਨਾਸ੍ਤਿ ਮਾਤਸਮਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਯਾ ॥
ਕੁਕ੍ਸ਼ਿਸਂਧਾਰਣਾਤ੍ ਧਾਤ੍ਰੀ ਜਨਨਾਜ੍ਜਨਨੀ ਸ੍ਮਤਾ ।
ਅਙ੍ਗਾਨਾਂ ਵਰ੍ਧਨਾਦਮ੍ਬਾ ਵੀਰਸੂਤ੍ਵੇਨ ਵੀਰਸੂ ॥
ਸ਼ਿਸ਼ੋਃ ਸ਼ੁਸ਼੍ਰੂਸ਼ਣਾਚ੍ਛ੍ਸ਼੍ਰੂਰ੍ਮਾਤਾ ਦੇਹਮਨਨ੍ਤਰਮ੍ ॥ MB (Shanti Parva)
The ᳚YakSha Prasna᳚ episode appears in the Aranyaka Parva of the Mahabharata.
It is in the form of questions by an YakSha and answers by Yudhishtira, the
son of Dharma. The answers illustrate various aspects of dharma. One of
the questions posed by the YakSha is: ᳚Which is weightier than the
earth itself?᳚ ਕਿਂਸ੍ਵਿਦ੍-ਗੁਰੁਤਰਂ ਭੂਮੇਃ?. The answer given by
Yudhishtira is : ᳚The mother is weightier than the earth.᳚ ਮਾਤਾ ਗੁਰੁਤਰਾ
ਭੂਮੇਃ। Rama also says to LakShmana that the mother and the motherland are
more precious than the heavens. ਜਨਨੀ ਜਨ੍ਮਭੂਮਿਸ਼੍ਚ ਸ੍ਵਰ੍ਗਾਦਪਿ ਗਰੀਯਸਿ।
The reason may be that right from the time of conception,
the child becomes a part of the mother’s body and grows drawing sustenance
from her food.Even after birth, the child is taken care of by her and
spends more time with her. She is the one who introduces others, including
the father, to the child She, in effect, becomes the first guru. Krishna
said this to his friend Kuchela when they met in Dwaraka.
ਸ ਵੈ ਸਤ੍ਕਰ੍ਮਣਾਂ ਸਾਕ੍ਸ਼ਾਦ੍ ਦ੍ਵਿਜਾਤੇ-ਰਿਹ ਸਂਭਵਃ ।
ਆਦ੍ਯੋਂਗ ਯਤ੍ਰਾਸ਼੍ਰਮਿਣਾਂ ਯਥਾਹਂ ਜ੍ਞਾਨਦੋ ਗੁਰੁਃ ॥ BH(10-80-32).
Thus the bondage with the mother is stronger than with others.
In view of this one finds that
at Gaya, where a Hindu is expected to offer oblations to his departed
parents, the custom prescribes offering of one pindam or ball of rice
to the father but sixteen to the mother. During the ceremony one says
verses that recall the hardship the mother had to endure when carrying
him in her womb for ten long months and later on also for several years
when he was a child unable to take care of himself. The content of the
verses are moving in their appeal.
EXAMPLE OF SHRI SHANKARACHARYA:-
The Skanda Purana says that even an ascetic who is adored by all should
worship his mother. ਸਰ੍ਵ ਵਨ੍ਦ੍ਯੇਨ ਯਤਿਨਾ ਪ੍ਰਸੂਰ੍ਵਨ੍ਦ੍ਯਾ ਪ੍ਰਯਤ੍ਨਤਃ।
He may sever his attachment with everyone but not with his mother. The
bondage continues. He has to attend to her during her final moments and
perform the last rites. Shri Shankaracharya was a great ascetic. He was
a realised person and so not bound by any rules and conventions. Still,
he wanted to set an example to other people. So, he bore the scriptural
injunctions in mind and was with his mother during her last moments. He
performed the customary rites after her death. At that time his
feelings got the better of him. He poured them out in five verses in
which he describes the pain and sufferings his mother had undergone
for his sake and the great love she had for him. The verses are given
below with the meaning. The translation is not exact, but general
enough to convey the contents.
॥ਅਥ ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਮਾਤਪਞ੍ਚਕਮ੍ ॥
ਮੁਕ੍ਤਾਮਣਿ ਤ੍ਵਂ ਨਯਨਂ ਮਮੇਤਿ
ਰਾਜੇਤਿ ਜੀਵੇਤਿ ਚਿਰ ਸੁਤ ਤ੍ਵਮ੍ ।
ਇਤ੍ਯੁਕ੍ਤਵਤ੍ਯਾਸ੍ਤਵ ਵਾਚਿ ਮਾਤਃ
ਦਦਾਮ੍ਯਹਂ ਤਣ੍ਡੁਲਮੇਵ ਸ਼ੁਸ਼੍ਕਮ੍ ॥ ੧॥
Into your mouth, that said: ᳚You are the pearl of my eyes, my prince, may you
live long, son!᳚, O Mother! I now offer only dry grains of rice. (1)
ਅਂਬੇਤਿ ਤਾਤੇਤਿ ਸ਼ਿਵੇਤਿ ਤਸ੍ਮਿਨ੍
ਪ੍ਰਸੂਤਿਕਾਲੇ ਯਦਵੋਚ ਉਚ੍ਚੈਃ ।
ਕਸ਼੍ਣੇਤਿ ਗੋਵਿਨ੍ਦ ਹਰੇ ਮੁਕੁਨ੍ਦ
ਇਤਿ ਜਨਨ੍ਯੈ ਅਹੋ ਰਚਿਤੋऽਯਮਞ੍ਜਲਿਃ ॥ ੨॥
At the time of child birth you cried out loudly –
᳚᳚Mother!! Father!! Shiva!! Krishna! Govinda! Hare! Mukunda!.᳚ To
that mother I now bow with folded hands. (2)
ਆਸ੍ਤਂ ਤਾਵਦਿਯਂ ਪ੍ਰਸੂਤਿਸਮਯੇ ਦੁਰ੍ਵਾਰਸ਼ੂਲਵ੍ਯਥਾ
ਨੈਰੁਚ੍ਯਂ ਤਨੁਸ਼ੋਸ਼ਣਂ ਮਲਮਯੀ ਸ਼ਯ੍ਯਾ ਚ ਸਂਵਤ੍ਸਰੀ ।
ਏਕਸ੍ਯਾਪਿ ਨ ਗਰ੍ਭਭਾਰਭਰਣਕ੍ਲੇਸ਼ਸ੍ਯ ਯਸ੍ਯਾਕ੍ਸ਼ਮਃ
ਦਾਤੁਂ ਨਿਸ਼੍ਕਤਿਮੁਨ੍ਨਤੋऽਪਿ ਤਨਯਸ੍ਤਸ੍ਯੈ ਜਨਨ੍ਯੈ ਨਮਃ ॥ ੩॥
At the time of giving birth to me, O mother! you suffered from
unbearable pain. You did not speak about the suffering of your body nor
of the painful condition while lying in the bed for almost an year. For
even one of the sufferings that you underwent during pregnancy, O mother!,
a son is unable to offer atonement. To that mother I offer my salutations! (3)
ਗੁਰੁਕੁਲਮੁਪਸਤ੍ਯ ਸ੍ਵਪ੍ਨਕਾਲੇ ਤੁ ਦਸ਼੍ਟ੍ਵਾ
ਯਤਿਸਮੁਚਿਤਵੇਸ਼ਂ ਪ੍ਰਾਰੁਦੋ ਮਾਂ ਤ੍ਵਮੁਚ੍ਚੈਃ ।
ਗੁਰੁਕੁਲਮਥ ਸਰ੍ਵਂ ਪ੍ਰਾਰੁਦਤ੍ਤੇ ਸਮਕ੍ਸ਼ਂ
ਸਪਦਿ ਚਰਣਯੋਸ੍ਤੇ ਮਾਤਰਸ੍ਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਣਾਮਃ ॥ ੪॥
When in a dream, you saw me dressed like an ascetic. You cried aloud and came
running to the school (to see me). The whole school then immediately cried
before you. At your feet, O mother! I offer my salutation! (4)
ਨ ਦਤ੍ਤਂ ਮਾਤਸ੍ਤੇ ਮਰਣਸਮਯੇ ਤੋਯਮਪਿਵਾ
ਸ੍ਵਧਾ ਵਾ ਨੋ ਦਤ੍ਤਾ ਮਰਣਦਿਵਸੇ ਸ਼੍ਰਾਦ੍ਧਵਿਧਿਨਾ ।
ਨ ਜਪ੍ਤ੍ਵਾ ਮਾਤਸ੍ਤੇ ਮਰਣਸਮਯੇ ਤਾਰਕਮਨੁ-
ਰਕਾਲੇ ਸਮ੍ਪ੍ਰਾਪ੍ਤੇ ਮਯਿ ਕੁਰੁ ਦਯਾਂ ਮਾਤੁਰਤੁਲਾਮ੍ ॥ ੫॥
I did not offer you water at the time of your death, Oh mother! I
did not even offer the oblations as per funerary rites on the day of
your death. Nor did I repeat the mantra that delivers one across the
ocean of this world. Alas! I have come at an inappropriate time! O
mother! Bestow upon me your unequalled compassion. (5)