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Matripanchakam of Shankaracharya ॥ માતૃપઞ્ચકમ્ ॥ Gujarati

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.
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 દુઃખાલયં
અશાશ્વતમ્। 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. શુભકૃચ્છુભમાપ્નોતિ પાપકૃત્પાપમશ્નુતે।
VR(VI-114.24.5) Our unhappiness is attributable only to our
failure to do the ᳚right᳚ deeds and doing the ᳚wrong᳚ deeds.
વિહિતસ્યાનનુષ્ઠાનાત્ નિન્દિતસ્ય ચ સેવનાત્ ।
અનિગ્રહાચ્ચેન્દ્રિયાણાં નરઃ પતનમૃચ્છતિ ॥
says Yagnavalkya Smriti. The deeds include
actions done by the body, words and also thoughts.
કાયેન કુરુતે પાપં મનસા સંપ્રધાર્ય ચ ।
અનૃતં જિહ્વયા ચાહ ત્રિવિધં કર્મ પાતકમ્ ॥ 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.ધર્મેણ પાપમપનુદતિ। 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.
ઊર્ધ્વબાહુર્વિરૌમ્યેષ ન ચ કશ્ચિચ્છૃણોતિ મામ્ ।
ધર્માદર્થશ્ચ કામશ્ચ સઃ કિમર્થં ન સેવ્યતે ॥
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
તેષુ સમ્યગ્વર્તમાનઃ ગચ્છત્યમરલોકતામ્ ।
યથા સંકલ્પિતાંશ્ચેહ સર્વન્કામાન્સમશ્નુતે ॥
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
to self-satisfaction.
વેદોઽખિલો ધર્મમૂલં સ્મૃતિશીલે ચ તદ્વિદામ્ ।
આચારશ્ચૈવ સાધૂનાં આત્મન્સ્તુષ્ટિરેવ ચ ॥
Sage Vyasa said the same, but in different words in Mahabharata. (Anusasana
Parva. 141-65)
વેદોક્તઃ પરમો ધર્મઃ સ્મૃતિશાસ્ત્રગતોઽપરઃ ।
શિષ્ટાચીર્ણોઽપરઃ પ્રોક્તસ્ત્રયો ધર્માઃ સનાતનાઃ ॥
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.
યઃ શાસ્ત્રવિધિ-મુત્સૃજ્ય વર્તતે કામકારતઃ ।
ન સ સિદ્ધિ-માપ્નોતિ ન સુખં ન પરાં ગતિમ્ ॥

તસ્માચ્છાસ્ત્રં પ્રમાણં તે કાર્યા-કાર્ય-વ્યવસ્થિતૌ ।
જ્ઞાત્વા શાસ્ત્રવિધાનોક્તં કર્મ કર્તુ-મિહાર્હસિ ॥ 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.
વેદવેદ્યે પરેપુંસિ જાતે દશરથાત્મજે ।
વેદઃ પ્રાચેદસાદાસીત્ સાક્ષદ્રામાયણાત્મના ॥
Similarly Shrimad Bhagavatam is said to be the quintessence of the vedas and
the secondary texts. સર્વ વેદેતિહાસાનાં સારં સારં સમુદ્ધૃતમ્। (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: ઋચઃ સમાનિ
જજ્ઞિરે । છન્દાઁસિ જજ્ઞિરે તસ્માત્ । યજુસ્તસ્માદજાયત। The Lord
withdraws everything (including the vedas) into Himself at the time of
dissolution (pralayam) and releases them again at the time of creation.
અવ્યક્તાદ્વ્યક્તયઃ સર્વાઃ પ્રભવન્ત્યહરાગમે ।
રાત્ર્યાગમે પ્રલીયન્તે તત્રૈવાવ્યક્ત- સંજ્ઞકે ॥ BG(8-18).
Thus they are eternal. Since they were given out by Bhagavan they are known as
Bhagavata dharma (ભાગવત ધર્માઃ।).

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).
સ્વપાદમૂલં ભજતઃ પ્રિયસ્ય ત્યક્તાન્યભાવસ્ય હરિઃ પરેશઃ ।
વિકર્મ યચ્ચોત્પતિતં કથઞ્ચિત્ ધુનોતિ સર્વં હૃદિ સન્નિવિષ્ટઃ ॥
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: સતાં હિ સન્દેહપદેષુ વસ્તુષુ
પ્રમાણમન્તઃકરણપ્રવૃત્તયઃ। Dharma is classified as સામાન્ય
ધર્મઃ or general dharma and વિશેષ ધર્મઃ 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:
માતૃ દેવો ભવ। પિતૃ દેવો ભવ। (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.

વ્યાધ ઉવાચ:-
પિતા માતા ચ ભગવન્નેતૌ મદ્દૈવતં પરમ્ ।
યદ્ દૈવતેભ્યઃ કર્તવ્યં તદેતાભ્યાં કરોમ્યહમ્ ॥

ત્રયસ્ત્રિંશદ્ યથા દેવાઃ સર્વે શક્રપુરોગમાઃ ।
સંપૂજ્યાઃ સર્વલોકસ્ય તથા વૃદ્ધાવિમૌ મમ ॥

ઉપહારાનાહરન્તો દેવતાનાં યથા દ્વિજાઃ ।
કુર્વન્તિ તદ્વદેતાભ્યાં કરોમ્યહમતન્દ્રિતઃ ॥

એતૌ મે પરમં બ્રહ્મન્ પિતા માતા ચ દૈવતમ્ ।
એતૌ પુષ્પૈઃ ફલૈઃ રત્નૈસ્તોષયામિ સદા દ્વિજ ॥

એતાવેવાગ્નયો મહ્યં યાન્ વદન્તિ મનીષિણઃ ।
યજ્ઞા વેદાશ્ચ ચત્વારઃ સર્વમેતૌ મમ દ્વિજ ॥

એતદર્થં મમ પ્રાણા ભાર્યા પુત્રઃ સુહૃજ્જનઃ ।
સપુત્રદારઃ શુશ્રૂષાં નિત્યમેવ કરોમ્યહમ્ ॥

સ્વયં ચ સ્નાપયામ્યેતૌ તથા પાદૌ પ્રધાવયે ।
આહારં ચ પ્રયચ્છામિ સ્વયં ચ દ્વિજસત્તમ ॥

અનુકૂલં તથા વચ્મિ વિપ્રિયં પરિવર્જયે ।
અધર્મેણાપિ સંયુક્તં પ્રિયમાભ્યાં કરોમ્યહમ્ ॥

ધર્મમેવ ગુરું જ્ઞાત્વ કરોમિ દ્વિજસત્તમ ।
અતન્દ્રિતઃ સદા વિપ્ર શુશ્રૂષાં વૈ કરોમ્યહમ્ ॥

પઞ્ચૈવ ગુરવો બ્રહ્મન્ પુરુષસ્ય બુભૂષતઃ ।
પિતા માતાગ્નિરાત્મા ચ ગુરુશ્ચ દ્વિજસત્તમ ॥

એતેષુ યસ્તુ વર્તેત સમ્યગેવ દ્વિજોત્તમ ।
ભવેયુરગ્નયસ્તસ્ય પરિચીર્ણાસ્તુ નિત્યશઃ ।
ગાર્હસ્થ્યે વર્તમાનસ્ય એષ ધર્મઃ સનાતનઃ ॥

WHAT THE PURANAS SAY:- Kurma Purana says that one should look after
his parents with total dedication.
યાવત્પિતા ચ માતા ચ દ્વાવેતૌ નિર્વિકારિણૌ ।
તાવત્ સર્વં પરિત્યજ્ય પુત્રઃ સ્યાત્તત્પરાયણઃ ॥
Brahmanda Purana says that one gets the results of performing sacrifices.
austerities, offering gifts etc., by being devoted to the parents.
યજ્ઞાન્ વેદાંસ્તથા કામાંસ્તપાંસિ વિવિધાનિ ચ ।
પ્રાપ્નોત્યાયુઃ પ્રજાશ્ચૈવ પિતૃભક્ત્યા ન સંશયઃ ॥
But if one chooses to neglect them, then all the good deeds done by him will
go waste says Mahabharata (Anushasana Parva).
યેન પ્રીણાતિ પિતરં તેન પ્રીતઃ પ્રજાપતિઃ ।
પ્રીણાતિ માતરં યેન પૃથિવી તેન પૂજિતા।
યેન પ્રીણાત્યુપાધ્યાયં તેન સ્યાદ્ બ્રહ્મ પૂજિતમ્ ।
સર્વે તસ્યાદૃતા ધર્મા યસ્યૈતે ત્રય આદૃતાઃ ॥

અનાદૃતાસ્તુ યસ્યૈતે સર્વાસ્તસ્યાફલાઃ ક્રિયાઃ ॥
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.
પિતરો યસ્ય તૃપ્યન્તિ સેવયા ચ ગુણેન ચ ।
તસ્ય ભાગીરથીસ્નાનમહન્યહનિ વર્તતે ॥
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.
ભૂપ્રદક્ષિણષટ્કેન કાશીયાત્રાયુતેન ચ ।
સેતુસ્નાનશતૈર્યચ્ચ્ તત્ફલં માતૃવન્દને ॥
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.
પાતકાનાં કિલાન્યેષાં પ્રાયશ્ચિત્તાનિ સન્ત્યપિ ।
માતૃદ્રુહ્યમવેહિ ત્વં ન કિંચિત્ કિલ નિષ્કૃતિઃ ॥
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.
યં માતાપિતરૌ ક્લેશં સહેતે સંભવે નૃણામ્ ।
ન તસ્ય નિષ્કૃતિઃ સક્યા કર્તું વર્ષશતૈરપિ ॥ (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) મર્ત્યાવતારસ્ત્વિહ મર્ત્યશિક્ષણં રક્ષોવધાયૈવ
ન કેવલં વિભો । 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.
યે ચ વેદવિદો વિપ્રાઃ યે ચાધ્યાત્મવિદો જનાઃ ।
તે વદન્તિ મહાત્માનં કૃષ્ણં ધર્મં સનાતનમ્ ॥ MB.Vanaparva.
Rama was also the personification of dharma – રામો વિગ્રહવાન્ ધર્મઃ।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.᳚
સર્વાર્થ-સંભવો દેહો જનિતઃ પોષિતો યતઃ ।
ન તયોર્યાતિ નિર્વેશં પિત્રોર્મર્ત્યઃ શતાયુષા ॥ 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.
યન્માતાઇપિતરૌ વૃત્તં તનયે કુરુતઃ સદા ।
ન સુપ્રતિકરં તત્તુ માત્રા પિત્રા ચ યત્કૃતમ્ ॥ 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. સહસ્રં તુ પિતૃન્માતા ગૌરવેણાતિરિચ્યતે ।
The popular saying that there is no god equal to one’s mother. ન
માતુર્દૈવતં પરમ્ । 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
earrth itself.
ઉપાધ્યાયાન્ પિતા દશ । પિતૄન્ દશ તુ માતૈકા સર્વા વા પૃતિવીમપિ ।
ગુરુત્વેનાભિભવતિ નાસ્તિ માતૃસમો ગુરુઃ ॥
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.
નાસ્તિ માતૃસમો છાયા નાસ્તિ માતૃ સમા ગતિઃ ।
નાસ્તિ માતૃસમં ત્રાણં નાસ્તિ માતૃસમા પ્રિયા ॥

કુક્ષિસંધારણાત્ ધાત્રી જનનાજ્જનની સ્મૃતા ।
અઙ્ગાનાં વર્ધનાદમ્બા વીરસૂત્વેન વીરસૂ ॥

શિશોઃ શુશ્રૂષણાચ્છ્શ્રૂર્માતા દેહમનન્તરમ્ ॥ 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?᳚ કિંસ્વિદ્-ગુરુતરં ભૂમેઃ?. The answer given by
Yudhishtira is : ᳚The mother is weightier than the earth.᳚ માતા ગુરુતરા
ભૂમેઃ। Rama also says to LakShmana that the mother and the motherland are
more precious than the heavens. જનની જન્મભૂમિશ્ચ સ્વર્ગાદપિ ગરીયસિ।
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.
સ વૈ સત્કર્મણાં સાક્ષાદ્ દ્વિજાતે-રિહ સંભવઃ ।
આદ્યોંગ યત્રાશ્રમિણાં યથાહં જ્ઞાનદો ગુરુઃ ॥ 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.

The Skanda Purana says that even an ascetic who is adored by all should
worship his mother. સર્વ વન્દ્યેન યતિના પ્રસૂર્વન્દ્યા પ્રયત્નતઃ।
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.

॥અથ શ્રી માતૃપઞ્ચકમ્ ॥

મુક્તામણિ ત્વં નયનં મમેતિ
રાજેતિ જીવેતિ ચિર સુત ત્વમ્ ।
ઇત્યુક્તવત્યાસ્તવ વાચિ માતઃ
દદામ્યહં તણ્ડુલમેવ શુષ્કમ્ ॥ ૧॥

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)
અંબેતિ તાતેતિ શિવેતિ તસ્મિન્
પ્રસૂતિકાલે યદવોચ ઉચ્ચૈઃ ।
કૃષ્ણેતિ ગોવિન્દ હરે મુકુન્દ
ઇતિ જનન્યૈ અહો રચિતોઽયમઞ્જલિઃ ॥ ૨॥
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)
આસ્તં તાવદિયં પ્રસૂતિસમયે દુર્વારશૂલવ્યથા
નૈરુચ્યં તનુશોષણં મલમયી શય્યા ચ સંવત્સરી ।
એકસ્યાપિ ન ગર્ભભારભરણક્લેશસ્ય યસ્યાક્ષમઃ
દાતું નિષ્કૃતિમુન્નતોઽપિ તનયસ્તસ્યૈ જનન્યૈ નમઃ ॥ ૩॥
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)
ગુરુકુલમુપસૃત્ય સ્વપ્નકાલે તુ દૃષ્ટ્વા
યતિસમુચિતવેશં પ્રારુદો માં ત્વમુચ્ચૈઃ ।
ગુરુકુલમથ સર્વં પ્રારુદત્તે સમક્ષં
સપદિ ચરણયોસ્તે માતરસ્તુ પ્રણામઃ ॥ ૪॥
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)
ન દત્તં માતસ્તે મરણસમયે તોયમપિવા
સ્વધા વા નો દત્તા મરણદિવસે શ્રાદ્ધવિધિના ।
ન જપ્ત્વા માતસ્તે મરણસમયે તારકમનુ-
રકાલે સમ્પ્રાપ્તે મયિ કુરુ દયાં માતુરતુલામ્ ॥ ૫॥
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)

Matripanchakam of Shankaracharya ॥ માતૃપઞ્ચકમ્ ॥ Gujarati

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