All of us greatly love our mother and we seek an opportunity to express our gratitude for the blessings which we received from her. Mother’s Day is looked upon as an occasion to present her with valuable gifts, take her out for dining, shopping, etc. Our expression of gratitude is limited to the birth-giving mother but the Vedas explain there are six other mothers.
atma-mata guroh patni brahmani raja-patnika
dhenur dhatri tatha prthvi saptaita matarah smrtah
(1) One’s own mother (2) The spiritual master’s wife (3) Brahmana’s wife (Brahmana is not by birth but by qualification) (4) The king’s wife (5) The cow (6) The nurse (7) The earth.
(1) atma-mata: Birth-giving mother is the personification of compassion, love and affection. She is the epitome of care and selflessness. She is the first teacher; she is most forgiving. To such a personality how can anyone payback or even express gratitude?
We may express gratitude by various means but still they remain inadequate. Srila Prabhupada explains that an excellent way to payback one’s mother and express gratitude is by presenting the most valuable gift ― the gift of immortality. Immortality means free from birth, old age, disease, death and all tribulations of this material world. This is possible only by practice of Krishna consciousness.
By seriously practicing Krishna Consciousness, not only can we reach the kingdom of God but we can also liberate our parents, irrespective of their position in spiritual realization. What else can be a better way to express gratitude?
(2, 3, 4) guroh patni brahmani raja-patnika: The spiritual master guides everyone on the spiritual path, a bona fide brahmana guides the society as per Vedas, a real king ensures that all his citizens are well protected and have the facility to follow dharma. As per the Vedas, the above mentioned three personalities are respected like fathers, and their wives are considered as mothers for everyone.
(5) dhenur: The cow gives its most valuable milk to the entire human society, and thus she is also accepted as a mother. By drinking cow’s milk one can develop finer brain tissues to understand the science of God. Instead of giving protection, love and care to our mother cow, modern civilization is killing her. Killing one’s own mother shows the degraded status of civilization. How can a degraded civilization be happy and satisfied? The cow must be protected and provided with a healthier and happier environment. This Mother’s Day, let’s take a vow to contribute for cow care and protection.
(6) dhatri: The nurse is accepted as a mother because she nourishes the child just as the mother does and plays an important role in the child’s upbringing. One must respect and treat her in the same manner as one does his own mother.
(7) prthvi: Mother earth is called sarva-kama-dugha mahi. She produces food, jewels, minerals, medicines and every necessity of all living creatures including humans. Therefore she is always addressed as mother. Tragically, modern civilization is exploiting her beyond limits, for its own sense gratification. Mother earth is the source of our sustenance and we are duty bound to protect her. But our irresponsible behavior is causing all kinds of pollution, global warming, calamities, etc., and hurting mother earth.
Out of gratitude we can plant trees, utilize her resources only for need without any greed and avoid polluting her resources. Vedas say the best way to express gratitude to mother earth is to utilize everything produced by her in the service of Lord Sri Krishna and sustain ourselves with those offerings.
Vedic culture does not limit itself to recognizing the above seven mothers. It is such a rich culture wherein apart from one’s own wife, every other woman is considered as mother ― matrvat para-daresu. Unlike modern civilization which portrays women as the highest object of sense enjoyment, Vedic culture gives the highest respect to every woman by treating her as good as one’s own mother. This makes the society safe and secure for women to live in.
Modern civilization has to learn how to treat all mothers appropriately. This will make Mother’s Day celebration more meaningful. This is easily possible by adopting the process of Krishna consciousness.