|Holy Mother(pic Google Images)|
The great treks have begun and people will become nomads - in search of a place of happiness, joy and fun for a few weeks - before returning to the 'rat race' masked in the euphemism of a better life. The arterial roads of the country have all started to bulge at the seams. Resisting the scorching heat, the traffic jams and the madding crowds... the train of cars will gravitate towards the famous resorts and destinations predominantly located at the coastal areas.
The period under review finds deep resonance with a term coined by the British -the “silly season”- defined by frivolous spending, irrationality and upsurge in the use of intoxicants. This however becomes highly justified under the banner of festive merriment.
As many people scurry around the market places in search of the best bargains and discounts to attain the maximum out of their holiday bonuses, there is the huge potential and possibility to find in the midst of the silly season... a highly spiritual season if one is prepared to dig a little deeper beyond the festive-fancy-festoons. From a South African perspective, we cannot deny that it was a turbulent year leaving us a bit battered and bruised with deepening anxiety as to whether the year ahead would usher in new tidings to a nation failing to crystalise development in many valleys and hills of the country. We find ourselves at a perilous dichotomy of helplessness and hope.
It is against the backdrop of these multitude of challenges that gnaw at the world that India finds its eternal relevance and status of a comforting Mother with a tonic and balm for the various malaises before us. India has never failed millennia after millennia, age after age, century after century to produce highly evolved and enlightened beings who have refreshed the fatigue and despondency of humanity. The month of December is privileged and blessed to be awarded the singular honour of hosting the birthday of our primordial Shakti: Holy Mother - Sri Sarada Devi.
Arriving to the world in the state of West Bengal in India on 22 December 1853... Mother was instantly yoked with the misery, pain and suffering of the masses of India under colonial British rule. Poverty and hardship entertained the daily life of the majority and conjoined as twins with despondency they displaced the faith, hope and vigour of the people who were being attacked by exploitative missionary forces veiled as saviours of an abandoned and neglected people. It was within this landscape that Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother and Swamiji (Vivekananda) arrived with the mission to reinstate faith in oneself and religion as well as hope and vigour in life.
It was 16th December 2016 - a public holiday in SA. I found myself seated on the banks of the Indian Ocean... my eyes squinting and face frowning as a result of the effulgent reflection from the coruscating waters... I involuntarily gazed up to avoid the annoyance. My eyes caught site of a squabble of seagulls hovering in tune with the melodious winds conducting the symphony of the waves below. Each wave hooded by its foamy edges felicituously bathing and embracing all at the beach indiscriminately. It was a sight to marvel... beholden with such love, peace, compassion and joy. At once, it redirected my thoughts to Holy Mother who in Herself was an ocean of compassion. Mother dispensed Her love and grace indiscriminately with the view that She was the mother of all, the mother of the virtuous and the wicked.
Mother is to us a towering beacon... a glowing example and ideal of humanness in a world that is fast alienating itself from virtue, character and basic qualities that distinguish us from the animal kingdom. The world has become so transfixed on material wealth accumulation that the simple basic qualities have been polarised from everyday life.
Although Holy Mother was highly venerated for Her spiritual status and literally worshipped as the Divine Mother, She continued to live like a simple village mother - washing clothes, sweeping the floor, bringing water from the pond, dressing vegetables, cooking and serving food. At Jaybrambathi, she lived with her brothers and their families who gave her endless troubles... but, established as she was in the awareness of God and divine Motherhood, she always remained calm and self-possessed... showering love and blessings to all who came into contact with her. Sister Nivedita very succinctly captured Her life as one long stillness of prayer.
Holy Mother's simple yet practical teachings have been able to scaffold humanity out of hardship and suffering with Her grace constantly providing a safety net. We may not know whether there will be everlasting peace in the world, whether the ozone will be replaced or whether there will be equality... but one thing is for sure, we will always have a mother in Holy Mother Sarada Devi.
May Mother's grace bless us all over this festive season and beyond. May peace, joy and bliss inundate the world... is my sincere prayer. Be safe and have a happy and joyous festive season and a Happy New Year.