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 ದುಃಖಾಲಯಂ
ಅಶಾಶ್ವತಮ್। 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. ಶುಭಕೃಚ್ಛುಭಮಾಪ್ನೋತಿ ಪಾಪಕೃತ್ಪಾಪಮಶ್ನುತೇ।
VR(VI-114.24.5) Our unhappiness is attributable only to our
failure to do the ᳚right᳚ deeds and doing the ᳚wrong᳚ deeds.
ವಿಹಿತಸ್ಯಾನನುಷ್ಠಾನಾತ್ ನಿನ್ದಿತಸ್ಯ ಚ ಸೇವನಾತ್ ।
ಅನಿಗ್ರಹಾಚ್ಚೇನ್ದ್ರಿಯಾಣಾಂ ನರಃ ಪತನಮೃಚ್ಛತಿ ॥
says Yagnavalkya Smriti. The deeds include
actions done by the body, words and also thoughts.
ಕಾಯೇನ ಕುರುತೇ ಪಾಪಂ ಮನಸಾ ಸಂಪ್ರಧಾರ್ಯ ಚ ।
ಅನೃತಂ ಜಿಹ್ವಯಾ ಚಾಹ ತ್ರಿವಿಧಂ ಕರ್ಮ ಪಾತಕಮ್ ॥ 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.ಧರ್ಮೇಣ ಪಾಪಮಪನುದತಿ। 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.
ಊರ್ಧ್ವಬಾಹುರ್ವಿರೌಮ್ಯೇಷ ನ ಚ ಕಶ್ಚಿಚ್ಛೃಣೋತಿ ಮಾಮ್ ।
ಧರ್ಮಾದರ್ಥಶ್ಚ ಕಾಮಶ್ಚ ಸಃ ಕಿಮರ್ಥಂ ನ ಸೇವ್ಯತೇ ॥
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
ತೇಷು ಸಮ್ಯಗ್ವರ್ತಮಾನಃ ಗಚ್ಛತ್ಯಮರಲೋಕತಾಮ್ ।
ಯಥಾ ಸಂಕಲ್ಪಿತಾಂಶ್ಚೇಹ ಸರ್ವನ್ಕಾಮಾನ್ಸಮಶ್ನುತೇ ॥
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
ವೇದೋಽಖಿಲೋ ಧರ್ಮಮೂಲಂ ಸ್ಮೃತಿಶೀಲೇ ಚ ತದ್ವಿದಾಮ್ ।
ಆಚಾರಶ್ಚೈವ ಸಾಧೂನಾಂ ಆತ್ಮನ್ಸ್ತುಷ್ಟಿರೇವ ಚ ॥
Sage Vyasa said the same, but in different words in Mahabharata. (Anusasana
ವೇದೋಕ್ತಃ ಪರಮೋ ಧರ್ಮಃ ಸ್ಮೃತಿಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಗತೋಽಪರಃ ।
ಶಿಷ್ಟಾಚೀರ್ಣೋಽಪರಃ ಪ್ರೋಕ್ತಸ್ತ್ರಯೋ ಧರ್ಮಾಃ ಸನಾತನಾಃ ॥
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.
ಯಃ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವಿಧಿ-ಮುತ್ಸೃಜ್ಯ ವರ್ತತೇ ಕಾಮಕಾರತಃ ।
ನ ಸ ಸಿದ್ಧಿ-ಮಾಪ್ನೋತಿ ನ ಸುಖಂ ನ ಪರಾಂ ಗತಿಮ್ ॥
ತಸ್ಮಾಚ್ಛಾಸ್ತ್ರಂ ಪ್ರಮಾಣಂ ತೇ ಕಾರ್ಯಾ-ಕಾರ್ಯ-ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥಿತೌ ।
ಜ್ಞಾತ್ವಾ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವಿಧಾನೋಕ್ತಂ ಕರ್ಮ ಕರ್ತು-ಮಿಹಾರ್ಹಸಿ ॥ 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.
ವೇದವೇದ್ಯೇ ಪರೇಪುಂಸಿ ಜಾತೇ ದಶರಥಾತ್ಮಜೇ ।
ವೇದಃ ಪ್ರಾಚೇದಸಾದಾಸೀತ್ ಸಾಕ್ಷದ್ರಾಮಾಯಣಾತ್ಮನಾ ॥
Similarly Shrimad Bhagavatam is said to be the quintessence of the vedas and
the secondary texts. ಸರ್ವ ವೇದೇತಿಹಾಸಾನಾಂ ಸಾರಂ ಸಾರಂ ಸಮುದ್ಧೃತಮ್। (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: ಋಚಃ ಸಮಾನಿ
ಜಜ್ಞಿರೇ । ಛನ್ದಾँಸಿ ಜಜ್ಞಿರೇ ತಸ್ಮಾತ್ । ಯಜುಸ್ತಸ್ಮಾದಜಾಯತ। The Lord
withdraws everything (including the vedas) into Himself at the time of
dissolution (pralayam) and releases them again at the time of creation.
ಅವ್ಯಕ್ತಾದ್ವ್ಯಕ್ತಯಃ ಸರ್ವಾಃ ಪ್ರಭವನ್ತ್ಯಹರಾಗಮೇ ।
ರಾತ್ರ್ಯಾಗಮೇ ಪ್ರಲೀಯನ್ತೇ ತತ್ರೈವಾವ್ಯಕ್ತ- ಸಂಜ್ಞಕೇ ॥ BG(8-18).
Thus they are eternal. Since they were given out by Bhagavan they are known as
Bhagavata dharma (ಭಾಗವತ ಧರ್ಮಾಃ।).
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).
ಸ್ವಪಾದಮೂಲಂ ಭಜತಃ ಪ್ರಿಯಸ್ಯ ತ್ಯಕ್ತಾನ್ಯಭಾವಸ್ಯ ಹರಿಃ ಪರೇಶಃ ।
ವಿಕರ್ಮ ಯಚ್ಚೋತ್ಪತಿತಂ ಕಥಂಚಿತ್ ಧುನೋತಿ ಸರ್ವಂ ಹೃದಿ ಸನ್ನಿವಿಷ್ಟಃ ॥
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: ಸತಾಂ ಹಿ ಸನ್ದೇಹಪದೇಷು ವಸ್ತುಷು
ಪ್ರಮಾಣಮನ್ತಃಕರಣಪ್ರವೃತ್ತಯಃ। Dharma is classified as ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ
ಧರ್ಮಃ or general dharma and ವಿಶೇಷ ಧರ್ಮಃ 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:
ಮಾತೃ ದೇವೋ ಭವ। ಪಿತೃ ದೇವೋ ಭವ। (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.
ಪಿತಾ ಮಾತಾ ಚ ಭಗವನ್ನೇತೌ ಮದ್ದೈವತಂ ಪರಮ್ ।
ಯದ್ ದೈವತೇಭ್ಯಃ ಕರ್ತವ್ಯಂ ತದೇತಾಭ್ಯಾಂ ಕರೋಮ್ಯಹಮ್ ॥
ತ್ರಯಸ್ತ್ರಿಂಶದ್ ಯಥಾ ದೇವಾಃ ಸರ್ವೇ ಶಕ್ರಪುರೋಗಮಾಃ ।
ಸಂಪೂಜ್ಯಾಃ ಸರ್ವಲೋಕಸ್ಯ ತಥಾ ವೃದ್ಧಾವಿಮೌ ಮಮ ॥
ಉಪಹಾರಾನಾಹರನ್ತೋ ದೇವತಾನಾಂ ಯಥಾ ದ್ವಿಜಾಃ ।
ಕುರ್ವನ್ತಿ ತದ್ವದೇತಾಭ್ಯಾಂ ಕರೋಮ್ಯಹಮತನ್ದ್ರಿತಃ ॥
ಏತೌ ಮೇ ಪರಮಂ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮನ್ ಪಿತಾ ಮಾತಾ ಚ ದೈವತಮ್ ।
ಏತೌ ಪುಷ್ಪೈಃ ಫಲೈಃ ರತ್ನೈಸ್ತೋಷಯಾಮಿ ಸದಾ ದ್ವಿಜ ॥
ಏತಾವೇವಾಗ್ನಯೋ ಮಹ್ಯಂ ಯಾನ್ ವದನ್ತಿ ಮನೀಷಿಣಃ ।
ಯಜ್ಞಾ ವೇದಾಶ್ಚ ಚತ್ವಾರಃ ಸರ್ವಮೇತೌ ಮಮ ದ್ವಿಜ ॥
ಏತದರ್ಥಂ ಮಮ ಪ್ರಾಣಾ ಭಾರ್ಯಾ ಪುತ್ರಃ ಸುಹೃಜ್ಜನಃ ।
ಸಪುತ್ರದಾರಃ ಶುಶ್ರೂಷಾಂ ನಿತ್ಯಮೇವ ಕರೋಮ್ಯಹಮ್ ॥
ಸ್ವಯಂ ಚ ಸ್ನಾಪಯಾಮ್ಯೇತೌ ತಥಾ ಪಾದೌ ಪ್ರಧಾವಯೇ ।
ಆಹಾರಂ ಚ ಪ್ರಯಚ್ಛಾಮಿ ಸ್ವಯಂ ಚ ದ್ವಿಜಸತ್ತಮ ॥
ಅನುಕೂಲಂ ತಥಾ ವಚ್ಮಿ ವಿಪ್ರಿಯಂ ಪರಿವರ್ಜಯೇ ।
ಅಧರ್ಮೇಣಾಪಿ ಸಂಯುಕ್ತಂ ಪ್ರಿಯಮಾಭ್ಯಾಂ ಕರೋಮ್ಯಹಮ್ ॥
ಧರ್ಮಮೇವ ಗುರುಂ ಜ್ಞಾತ್ವ ಕರೋಮಿ ದ್ವಿಜಸತ್ತಮ ।
ಅತನ್ದ್ರಿತಃ ಸದಾ ವಿಪ್ರ ಶುಶ್ರೂಷಾಂ ವೈ ಕರೋಮ್ಯಹಮ್ ॥
ಪಂಚೈವ ಗುರವೋ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮನ್ ಪುರುಷಸ್ಯ ಬುಭೂಷತಃ ।
ಪಿತಾ ಮಾತಾಗ್ನಿರಾತ್ಮಾ ಚ ಗುರುಶ್ಚ ದ್ವಿಜಸತ್ತಮ ॥
ಏತೇಷು ಯಸ್ತು ವರ್ತೇತ ಸಮ್ಯಗೇವ ದ್ವಿಜೋತ್ತಮ ।
ಭವೇಯುರಗ್ನಯಸ್ತಸ್ಯ ಪರಿಚೀರ್ಣಾಸ್ತು ನಿತ್ಯಶಃ ।
ಗಾರ್ಹಸ್ಥ್ಯೇ ವರ್ತಮಾನಸ್ಯ ಏಷ ಧರ್ಮಃ ಸನಾತನಃ ॥
WHAT THE PURANAS SAY:- Kurma Purana says that one should look after
his parents with total dedication.
ಯಾವತ್ಪಿತಾ ಚ ಮಾತಾ ಚ ದ್ವಾವೇತೌ ನಿರ್ವಿಕಾರಿಣೌ ।
ತಾವತ್ ಸರ್ವಂ ಪರಿತ್ಯಜ್ಯ ಪುತ್ರಃ ಸ್ಯಾತ್ತತ್ಪರಾಯಣಃ ॥
Brahmanda Purana says that one gets the results of performing sacrifices.
austerities, offering gifts etc., by being devoted to the parents.
ಯಜ್ಞಾನ್ ವೇದಾಂಸ್ತಥಾ ಕಾಮಾಂಸ್ತಪಾಂಸಿ ವಿವಿಧಾನಿ ಚ ।
ಪ್ರಾಪ್ನೋತ್ಯಾಯುಃ ಪ್ರಜಾಶ್ಚೈವ ಪಿತೃಭಕ್ತ್ಯಾ ನ ಸಂಶಯಃ ॥
But if one chooses to neglect them, then all the good deeds done by him will
go waste says Mahabharata (Anushasana Parva).
ಯೇನ ಪ್ರೀಣಾತಿ ಪಿತರಂ ತೇನ ಪ್ರೀತಃ ಪ್ರಜಾಪತಿಃ ।
ಪ್ರೀಣಾತಿ ಮಾತರಂ ಯೇನ ಪೃಥಿವೀ ತೇನ ಪೂಜಿತಾ।
ಯೇನ ಪ್ರೀಣಾತ್ಯುಪಾಧ್ಯಾಯಂ ತೇನ ಸ್ಯಾದ್ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮ ಪೂಜಿತಮ್ ।
ಸರ್ವೇ ತಸ್ಯಾದೃತಾ ಧರ್ಮಾ ಯಸ್ಯೈತೇ ತ್ರಯ ಆದೃತಾಃ ॥
ಅನಾದೃತಾಸ್ತು ಯಸ್ಯೈತೇ ಸರ್ವಾಸ್ತಸ್ಯಾಫಲಾಃ ಕ್ರಿಯಾಃ ॥
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.
ಪಿತರೋ ಯಸ್ಯ ತೃಪ್ಯನ್ತಿ ಸೇವಯಾ ಚ ಗುಣೇನ ಚ ।
ತಸ್ಯ ಭಾಗೀರಥೀಸ್ನಾನಮಹನ್ಯಹನಿ ವರ್ತತೇ ॥
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.
ಭೂಪ್ರದಕ್ಷಿಣಷಟ್ಕೇನ ಕಾಶೀಯಾತ್ರಾಯುತೇನ ಚ ।
ಸೇತುಸ್ನಾನಶತೈರ್ಯಚ್ಚ್ ತತ್ಫಲಂ ಮಾತೃವನ್ದನೇ ॥
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.
ಪಾತಕಾನಾಂ ಕಿಲಾನ್ಯೇಷಾಂ ಪ್ರಾಯಶ್ಚಿತ್ತಾನಿ ಸನ್ತ್ಯಪಿ ।
ಮಾತೃದ್ರುಹ್ಯಮವೇಹಿ ತ್ವಂ ನ ಕಿಂಚಿತ್ ಕಿಲ ನಿಷ್ಕೃತಿಃ ॥
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.
ಯಂ ಮಾತಾಪಿತರೌ ಕ್ಲೇಶಂ ಸಹೇತೇ ಸಂಭವೇ ನೃಣಾಮ್ ।
ನ ತಸ್ಯ ನಿಷ್ಕೃತಿಃ ಸಕ್ಯಾ ಕರ್ತುಂ ವರ್ಷಶತೈರಪಿ ॥ (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) ಮರ್ತ್ಯಾವತಾರಸ್ತ್ವಿಹ ಮರ್ತ್ಯಶಿಕ್ಷಣಂ ರಕ್ಷೋವಧಾಯೈವ
ನ ಕೇವಲಂ ವಿಭೋ । 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.
ಯೇ ಚ ವೇದವಿದೋ ವಿಪ್ರಾಃ ಯೇ ಚಾಧ್ಯಾತ್ಮವಿದೋ ಜನಾಃ ।
ತೇ ವದನ್ತಿ ಮಹಾತ್ಮಾನಂ ಕೃಷ್ಣಂ ಧರ್ಮಂ ಸನಾತನಮ್ ॥ MB.Vanaparva.
Rama was also the personification of dharma – ರಾಮೋ ವಿಗ್ರಹವಾನ್ ಧರ್ಮಃ।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.᳚
ಸರ್ವಾರ್ಥ-ಸಂಭವೋ ದೇಹೋ ಜನಿತಃ ಪೋಷಿತೋ ಯತಃ ।
ನ ತಯೋರ್ಯಾತಿ ನಿರ್ವೇಶಂ ಪಿತ್ರೋರ್ಮರ್ತ್ಯಃ ಶತಾಯುಷಾ ॥ 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.
ಯನ್ಮಾತಾಇಪಿತರೌ ವೃತ್ತಂ ತನಯೇ ಕುರುತಃ ಸದಾ ।
ನ ಸುಪ್ರತಿಕರಂ ತತ್ತು ಮಾತ್ರಾ ಪಿತ್ರಾ ಚ ಯತ್ಕೃತಮ್ ॥ 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. ಸಹಸ್ರಂ ತು ಪಿತೃನ್ಮಾತಾ ಗೌರವೇಣಾತಿರಿಚ್ಯತೇ ।
The popular saying that there is no god equal to one’s mother. ನ
ಮಾತುರ್ದೈವತಂ ಪರಮ್ । 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
ಉಪಾಧ್ಯಾಯಾನ್ ಪಿತಾ ದಶ । ಪಿತೄನ್ ದಶ ತು ಮಾತೈಕಾ ಸರ್ವಾ ವಾ ಪೃತಿವೀಮಪಿ ।
ಗುರುತ್ವೇನಾಭಿಭವತಿ ನಾಸ್ತಿ ಮಾತೃಸಮೋ ಗುರುಃ ॥
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.
ನಾಸ್ತಿ ಮಾತೃಸಮೋ ಛಾಯಾ ನಾಸ್ತಿ ಮಾತೃ ಸಮಾ ಗತಿಃ ।
ನಾಸ್ತಿ ಮಾತೃಸಮಂ ತ್ರಾಣಂ ನಾಸ್ತಿ ಮಾತೃಸಮಾ ಪ್ರಿಯಾ ॥
ಕುಕ್ಷಿಸಂಧಾರಣಾತ್ ಧಾತ್ರೀ ಜನನಾಜ್ಜನನೀ ಸ್ಮೃತಾ ।
ಅಂಗಾನಾಂ ವರ್ಧನಾದಮ್ಬಾ ವೀರಸೂತ್ವೇನ ವೀರಸೂ ॥
ಶಿಶೋಃ ಶುಶ್ರೂಷಣಾಚ್ಛ್ಶ್ರೂರ್ಮಾತಾ ದೇಹಮನನ್ತರಮ್ ॥ 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?᳚ ಕಿಂಸ್ವಿದ್-ಗುರುತರಂ ಭೂಮೇಃ?. The answer given by
Yudhishtira is : ᳚The mother is weightier than the earth.᳚ ಮಾತಾ ಗುರುತರಾ
ಭೂಮೇಃ। Rama also says to LakShmana that the mother and the motherland are
more precious than the heavens. ಜನನೀ ಜನ್ಮಭೂಮಿಶ್ಚ ಸ್ವರ್ಗಾದಪಿ ಗರೀಯಸಿ।
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.
ಸ ವೈ ಸತ್ಕರ್ಮಣಾಂ ಸಾಕ್ಷಾದ್ ದ್ವಿಜಾತೇ-ರಿಹ ಸಂಭವಃ ।
ಆದ್ಯೋಂಗ ಯತ್ರಾಶ್ರಮಿಣಾಂ ಯಥಾಹಂ ಜ್ಞಾನದೋ ಗುರುಃ ॥ 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. ಸರ್ವ ವನ್ದ್ಯೇನ ಯತಿನಾ ಪ್ರಸೂರ್ವನ್ದ್ಯಾ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನತಃ।
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.
॥ಅಥ ಶ್ರೀ ಮಾತೃಪಂಚಕಮ್ ॥
ಮುಕ್ತಾಮಣಿ ತ್ವಂ ನಯನಂ ಮಮೇತಿ
ರಾಜೇತಿ ಜೀವೇತಿ ಚಿರ ಸುತ ತ್ವಮ್ ।
ಇತ್ಯುಕ್ತವತ್ಯಾಸ್ತವ ವಾಚಿ ಮಾತಃ
ದದಾಮ್ಯಹಂ ತಂಡುಲಮೇವ ಶುಷ್ಕಮ್ ॥ 1॥
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)
ಅಂಬೇತಿ ತಾತೇತಿ ಶಿವೇತಿ ತಸ್ಮಿನ್
ಪ್ರಸೂತಿಕಾಲೇ ಯದವೋಚ ಉಚ್ಚೈಃ ।
ಕೃಷ್ಣೇತಿ ಗೋವಿನ್ದ ಹರೇ ಮುಕುನ್ದ
ಇತಿ ಜನನ್ಯೈ ಅಹೋ ರಚಿತೋಽಯಮಂಜಲಿಃ ॥ 2॥
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)
ಆಸ್ತಂ ತಾವದಿಯಂ ಪ್ರಸೂತಿಸಮಯೇ ದುರ್ವಾರಶೂಲವ್ಯಥಾ
ನೈರುಚ್ಯಂ ತನುಶೋಷಣಂ ಮಲಮಯೀ ಶಯ್ಯಾ ಚ ಸಂವತ್ಸರೀ ।
ಏಕಸ್ಯಾಪಿ ನ ಗರ್ಭಭಾರಭರಣಕ್ಲೇಶಸ್ಯ ಯಸ್ಯಾಕ್ಷಮಃ
ದಾತುಂ ನಿಷ್ಕೃತಿಮುನ್ನತೋಽಪಿ ತನಯಸ್ತಸ್ಯೈ ಜನನ್ಯೈ ನಮಃ ॥ 3॥
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)
ಗುರುಕುಲಮುಪಸೃತ್ಯ ಸ್ವಪ್ನಕಾಲೇ ತು ದೃಷ್ಟ್ವಾ
ಯತಿಸಮುಚಿತವೇಶಂ ಪ್ರಾರುದೋ ಮಾಂ ತ್ವಮುಚ್ಚೈಃ ।
ಗುರುಕುಲಮಥ ಸರ್ವಂ ಪ್ರಾರುದತ್ತೇ ಸಮಕ್ಷಂ
ಸಪದಿ ಚರಣಯೋಸ್ತೇ ಮಾತರಸ್ತು ಪ್ರಣಾಮಃ ॥ 4॥
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)
ನ ದತ್ತಂ ಮಾತಸ್ತೇ ಮರಣಸಮಯೇ ತೋಯಮಪಿವಾ
ಸ್ವಧಾ ವಾ ನೋ ದತ್ತಾ ಮರಣದಿವಸೇ ಶ್ರಾದ್ಧವಿಧಿನಾ ।
ನ ಜಪ್ತ್ವಾ ಮಾತಸ್ತೇ ಮರಣಸಮಯೇ ತಾರಕಮನು-
ರಕಾಲೇ ಸಮ್ಪ್ರಾಪ್ತೇ ಮಯಿ ಕುರು ದಯಾಂ ಮಾತುರತುಲಾಮ್ ॥ 5॥
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)