The Mother Divine
Change Font Size 
By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja

In a remote village of Bengal there was a very nice intelligent chap of ten of the name of Mithu. Mithu used to spend his boyhood days most cheerfully in the company of his much aged but much beloved grandfather and grandmother. Mithu loved his grandfather really much more than his own father. But most unfortunately his father so often neglected and humiliated his grandfather who could not protest at all out of shame and fear as he was, in all respects, so dependent on his unworthy son. Mithu could hardly tolerate this situation and he was so often out to revolt But his old grand-pa used to control or console him with the plea that he was no exception as this was the situation in every household. He used to argue that respect or sympathy for parents are rare now a days, for this aged parents are now well practiced to never mind when commonly treated as ‘old fools’ or ‘old haggards’ by their next generations.

One day the situation reached a climax and Mithu could not help a strong outburst: ‘I won’t tolerate this anymore, I would teach my papa a very good lesson. But my dear grandfather, please don’t come to protest me in whatever I do. Rest assured that everything will be peaceful and okay just after what I do. ‘I don’t just understand even a word of what you say’ – murmured the old grandfather. ‘Well’ advised the grandson, ‘Please do me a favor to come out of the discomfiture. This is what I want you to do and this is the plan I have hit upon! I see the stony plate you eat from is in a very shattered condition. After your lunch is over today please throw it down the drain as if unintentionally.’
Old man was reluctant at first, but on repeated requests from the hot favorite grandson the old man did the same as he was dictated to do. And thereafter to his utter amazement he marked the grandson shouting in a very rough manner, ‘O my rascal grand pa! You don’t know what you have done – you don’t understand at all what unpardonable sin you have committed!!’ ‘Let me call all’ rejoined the angry boy ‘And look for its remedy. But before that’ he shouted once again on the top of his voice ‘But before that I want to give you a befitting thrashing with this iron rod in my possession!’
He was about to strike his grandfather with the rod his father came out of his room with so much excitement and exclaimed– ‘What nonsense!! You are going to attack my old father with this iron rod? Have you lost all your senses? You were so fond of your grandfather!! Weren’t you?’
‘But you hardly know what grave sin your father has committed!’– returned the angry son.
‘Sin!! What do you mean?’

‘He has broken into pieces the stone plate you had bought for him!’

‘What of that? It was already in a deplorable condition. I shall purchase him a new one.’

‘O Heavens! You cannot see through my problem!’

‘Be at peace with you! What is your problem? If the plate is broken that is your grandfather’s problem and not yours. Why do you bother so much unnecessarily?‘

‘Alas! You absolutely fail to see through my problem! The main problem is this, take it from me: Now that the old plate is broken just think on what plate would I serve you when you grow old? Is not that my own problem?’

And Mithu’s father saw the light.

We have to struggle through many a difficulty in this life. We come across both friends and enemies. The enemy of course directly shows antagonism, but sometimes even the friends work like our enemies behind our back. The general sentiment is, whoever does a beneficent act is a friend and whoever inflicts harm is an enemy. But if we delve deep, we find that in this whole wide world, there is neither any friend nor a foe. It is our own karmas (past deeds) which fructify in the form of friends and enemies. The fruit of some of our karmas are obtained instantly, while that of others continues to issue over several lives. These take the shape of our destiny. It is through our own karmas, which have begun to yield by way of destiny; people bring us tensions and harm us acting inimically. Then a sense of enmity is roused in us, we burn with a growing desire to seek revenge and we are filled with tension. When caught in such situation, remember the chaupai (four-syllabled verse) of Tulasidas:

Kaahu Na Kou Sukh Dukh Kar Daataa,
Nijakrit Karam Bhoga Sabu Bhraataa.
(Sri Ramcharit Manas: Ayodhya Kanda)

Nobody in this world is capable of giving happiness or sorrow to anyone. Everything is the fruition of one’s own deeds.

As soon as we think that all our sorrow is self-created destiny; that we are ourselves responsible for it, our tension disappears and our minds are naturally filled with strength and courage. We stop blaming others and calmly endure the sorrow. The fruits of karmas are inevitable; they have to be endured any way. There is no way to escape it. Lord Krishna declares in Srimad Bhagawat—

Avashyameva Bhoktavyam Kritam Karma Shubhashubham
One has to reap the fruits of one’s actions, both virtuous and sinful.

Here is a tragic scene from the pages of the Ramayana —the most popular classic epic of the East. This teaches us a very necessary lesson on how to face or tackle peacefully and philosophically any dire adversity or situation which baffles us terribly.

On the eve of the coronation of Sri Ram as the king of Ayodhya at the behest of his old father King Dasharath, there was a total topsy turvy , an unexpected setback in the entire kingdom. In short this is the story. Sri Ram’s stepmother queen Kaikeyee stood on the way as a bolt from the blue and demanded the sovereignty in favor of his son Sri Bharat instead of Sri Ram, his elder brother. All in the kingdom were so disturbed, so unhappy, so excited – all tenants, all ministers, all members of the royal family including the family Guru Sri Vashistha dev. But Kaikeyee was so selfish, so adamant, so arrogant that after a good deal of drama Dasharath had to give way to her finally to the utter frustration of the entire kingdom. But while all others of the capital, were so hopeless and speechless, Sri Ram’s another brother Sri Lakshman could not digest the situation at all and as a result lodged a vehement protest. He had of course his strong grounds but Sri Ram a rarely divine personality appeased all – one by one with his prudence, forbearance, forgiveness and all that. With all his unique calm and equilibrium, He tried to console also his younger brother, totally dedicated to him. He argued:

‘Dearest brother Lakshman, no one in this entire world – not even Mother Kaikeyee is at all responsible for this total disaster. It is destiny, only our destiny who is solely responsible for all this calamity – Destiny is the root cause of all this embarrassment and harassment. None but Destiny. You know it for certain that I maintained absolutely no difference among my three Mothers – Kaushalya, Kaikeyee and Sumitra. I served them all the three with the same devotion and surrender. Not only that – even mother Kaikeyee also was so much pleased with me that she used to express sometimes – Sri Ram and Sri Bharat are equally very dear to me of all the sons, but if you allow me to tell you the truth— frankly speaking, I would say Sri Ram is much more dear to me than even Bharat’.

‘Who could have thought’ Sri Ram began to contend, ‘Who could have thought that Princess (daughter of King Kekay) Kaikeyee, Queen Kaikeyee of such extraordinary qualities and divine nature would utter such vile words just like a very common woman of the street? No! She can never behave in such a shameless manner. It is in fact, all the manipulation of the goddess Destiny whose ways are unpredictable as well as invincible.* Who can fight the Fate who appears all on a sudden and can never be foreseen? And even when seen, who can fight against Fate who is mightier than the mightiest?’
Sri Ram Continued, ‘In weal or woe, in fear and anger, in loss or gain, in cosmos or chaos, whatever strange or unpredictable happens, take it for certain – that is nothing but the sole play of the Destiny’
Taking serious note of this character of Fate, I have been able to control my mind, and tide over all sorts of depression or frustration. You just follow in my footsteps setting aside all grievances.’

In the Adhyatma Ramayana (by) we see Lakshmanjee absolutely a changed man. It must be under the divine influence of Sri Ram. When leaving Ayodhya when Sri ram reached Sringaberpur, the kingdom of his dear friend Sri Guhak, this is how Sri Lakshman tried to pacify Sri Guhakjee who was so much depressed on the same ground:

‘Dear friend nobody can be the cause of weal and foe to anybody. It is absolutely foolish to identify somebody for our pleasure or pain.’

Sri Lakshman goes one step further when he declares, ‘It is equally it is equally a misconception to decide we ourselves are responsible for the good or bad fruits of our deeds. Because we have no freedom whatsoever to do either good or bad. Just as, by the help of the rope the skilful doll player tackles from behind the wooden puppets and make them dance in a variety of ways, similarly All Powerful Divinity through the rope of our karmas (deeds) make us do whatever we do, good or bad. And thus we have, in fact, definitely no freedom at all.’ (-Sri Sri Adhyatma Ramayana. Ayodhya Kanda 6/6)

Some four hundred years ago William Shakespeare, the most celebrated dramatist throughout the centuries reveal the same truth in a different way so sarcastically:

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods
They kill us for their sport
(King Lear Act-IV, Scene-I)

Gloucester the Duke expounds this philosophy of life in these oft-quoted lines from Shakespeare’s King Lear. He compares the Gods or Divinity to immature cruel children and man to most insignificant flies – helpless creatures’ victim to their sportful ruthlessness.

All this may sound too much pessimistic. But sages also declare that every person has come to this world with his own destiny. They confirm that one’s lot is cost at the very birth and imprinted on the lines on the palms on the bosom on the forehead. Sri Sri Omkarnath used to say, the book has been written already, just keep on turning the pages.’ He used to clarify the role of karma (deeds) as well as Destiny with the following comparison: Karma and destiny are the two wheels of the same bullock-cart. They are joined to each other with the same rod, and rolling simultaneously. What is karma at one end is destiny at the other. In other words what was ‘Karma’ in our past life has taken the shape of ‘Destiny’ in this life.

Sri Ramkrishna Paramhamsa explains the free will of human being with his usual brilliant example: Have you noticed the cow in the rural area – grazing in the field tied down to a strong peg tightly by the help of a long rope? Has the cow any freedom to move? – Yes and No. the cow can move from here to there only within the limit of the rope. No more. Similarly all human beings have been tied tightly to the peg of their destiny – They can do whatever they want to do only within the limit fixed by their fate. No further.

Man is endowed with wisdom, strength and capability. Should he lead his life like a helpless animal? There is a saying in English: “Man is the maker of his own destiny.” Every human being may also be the architect of his own destiny. The ancient scripture Yoga Vashishta Ramayana clearly states that a human being, by dint of exerting on one’s purushartha (will–power), can certainly change the destiny. We may revisit the metaphor of the cow in this context. If the cow is strong enough she can uproot the peg to which she is tied by a rope and flee. Similarly, man can overcome his destiny with will-power and hard work. This is exactly why Lord Krishna tells Arjuna:

Klaibyam ma sma gamah paartha naitat tvayyupapadhyate
Kshudram hridaya-daurbalyam tvaktvottishtha parantapa (Sri Sri Gita 2/ 3)

-O Partha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy (and fight!).

Hato va praapyasi svarga jitvaa va bhokshyase mahim
Tasmaad uttishtha kaunteya yuddhaay kritanischaya (Sri Sri Gita 2/ 37)

If you lose in the holy battle and die, you will win heavenly region and attain to me, and if you prove to be a victor, you will enjoy earthly kingdom. Thus O son of Kunti, get up and fight with determination.

Maamanusmar yuddham cham (Sri Sri Gita)

Therefore, think of me and fight.
So what should be our stand now? Should we succumb to fate………
This divine gospel of Sri Krishna is valid even today for anybody and everybody. One has to confront several difficulties in the struggle for existence in this material life. We have to pass through all these ordeals of life with strong will power within and God overhead. It is the bounden duty of all virtuous persons to try to make all possible arrangements for material, intellectual and spiritual prosperity for their own selves, for their family members including the children as well as for the neighbours and the society they live in. they must take every care for the secular as well as spiritual education of their next generations. They must try to nurture and bring them up properly with good moral faring. But after all these endeavours, they must leave the entire thing on the hands of the Almighty or Divinity. No more stress or strain no more fretting or brooding, no depression or frustration, only firm faith in god and in his divine mandate: Whatever God does , He does for our good!