||Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
|Mother at Veeraboga Temple|
It is very rare indeed to have a dear and true friend that has practically been with you throughout your life. The Sanskrit term for such a bosom buddy is mitra. Swami Vimokshananda always brought to our attention how the English language fails to effectively convey the true essence of Sanskrit words when translated. The word ‘friend’ in the English dictionary is so weak and vague and is used to describe even circumstantial bonds, which hold no sincere value as they are mere words uttered, that sully the institution of friendship. If one wants to understand friendship and ascertain the depth of the term mitra - a wonderful read of the Bhagavad Purana will unveil the pure unalloyed friendship between Shri Krishna and Sudama.
I am indeed grateful for some mitras who have had the love and compassion to support and inspire me. In fact, this blog was inspired by my mitra Dhesigan. An avid reader of the blog, he messaged me early on Monday morning with a Russian proverb. He said: “Why don’t you blog on this next?” At the time, I was really not sure how the proverb would dovetail into the discussion, but was immensely pleased at his contribution. The Russian proverb that he messaged was: The rich would have to eat money if the poor did not provide food.
The more I read this proverb, it became evident how relative and connected this message is to contemporary times. The media this week was inundated with incidents of service delivery protests by disgruntled citizens who are being short-changed by corruption; and an emerging bourgeois class that amass wealth with no consideration for the poor and downtrodden labour class.
It is with the foresight and deep insight and knowledge of a model society that Swami Vivekananda proclaimed that the plight of the masses and downtrodden must be raised if India were to prosper. It is clear that if the elite continue to enrich themselves without paying heed to the poor, then unrest shall follow. Swamiji boldly declared: “I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense pays not the least heed to them! I call those men who strut about in their finery, having got all their money by grinding the poor, wretches - so long as they do not do anything for those two hundred millions who are now no better than hungry savages.”
Shree Krishna advised Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita that He comes age after age to help mankind find his way. Tuesday dawns a very auspicious month, observed more by the South Indian community, known as Aadi - and is dedicated in its entirety to the Divine Mother in Her form as Mariammen (Mother of Rain). Rain is the symbol of rejuvenation of life. Without period rains, life on earth will cease to exist. Mythology reveals that the Mother appeared in a village Samayapuram in South India that was plagued by drought and an outbreak of the measles epidemic. Her unique concoction of syringa and turmeric paste brought much relief to the suffering and pain of the afflicted, whilst Her simple meal of porridge delivered sustenance to the starving in the drought-affected region. Those who were cured welled with curiosity as to the identity of the yellow-sari-clad Mother who released them from the maladies of life.
The Mother revealed Herself as the ‘Mother of the Universe’. She asked that annually in the time that she appeared; her devotees congregate, worship Her, and distribute blessed porridge to everybody. She promised to guide and protect them always.
|Devotees carrying Gargum|
She then disappeared leaving torrents of rain to bathe the earth and aid the growth of crops. She then became known as Samayapuram Mariatha with Her scripture being the Mariammen Thalatu. It is, therefore, in this great month of Aadi (July – August) that the Mother Mariammen is venerated as the protector and curer of all miseries. The gargum - symbolising Her crown - is carried honoring Her as the Queen of the Universe.
The lesson we take from this divine form of the Mother is that irrespective of your bank balance, status in society or the mansion you live in; when calamity strikes in the form of a drought or disease all your money or fame can be of no use to bring relief. It is the pure and simple things in life that can assist you. Love for God is the porridge of sustenance. Fill yourself with the divine love alone and share it with humanity. This can satisfy their hunger for peace. Faith in God is the paste of syringa, while turmeric can ease the irritations of desires and their ugly manifestations that make you look unsightly.
Sri Ramakrishna said: "So long as the child remains engrossed with its toys, the mother looks after her cooking and other household duties. But when the child no longer relishes the toys, it throws them aside and yells for its mother. Then the mother takes the rice-pot down from the hearth, runs in haste, and takes the child in her arms.”
Preoccupied with our worldly endeavours - our rivers and wells of compassion, love, discrimination, honesty, integrity, righteousness and peace have run low and into a trickle; and some have even dried up. All these qualities form the basis of us being human. We are in desperate need to fill up and resuscitate our divinity. Let us lay surrendered at Her feet to let free Her merciful rain of grace to rejuvenate our divinity and help us live like Her children on earth.
Let us learn to share, work together and enjoy the bounty of nature which is the divine inheritance of all. May that Mother of the Universe, Shree Mariamma, shower Her mercy and divine grace upon us all, is my sincere prayer.
With love and prayers always