The Mother Divine
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“With your pen drenched in tears write an essay on the Durga puja”. At the behest of Dayal Maharaj, Sitaramdas Omkarnath wrote the essay “Chokher jole Maayer puja” (Worship of Divine Mother with tears), his first ever published work.
This is how the Divine Mother got the tears of Sitaramdas Omkarnath.

The Mother has always been crying and has been making Her children cry as well. Just as how every mother thinks about her child and cries. And the child, in turn, cries for the mother when away from its mother.

We have seen this love play out from time immemorial. When Chandi Ma wanted to look at the entire world with these eyes of compassion, two were not enough and a thousand-eyed Goddess Sahasrakshi came into being to look after her children. The Mother is fiercely protective about the child, like how Goddess Parvati seeing that her beloved child Ganesha was the object of ridicule cursed the moon. Yashodhara could not be away from little Gopal even for a fraction of a moment. Ramakrishna was immersed in tears, pining for darshan of Mother Kali.

This unique leela of mother and child pining for each other is both a spiritual phenomenon of the higher realm as well as an established way of life at a very mortal level. And this, by no means, is a mere coincidence. Mother Kundalini, coiled like a serpent, begins to rise and transform this mortal pining into a desperate cry for the Divine Mother, in the process giving rise to sattvika bhavas.

This sattvika bhava is one of the essential ingredients of bhakti rasas. It refers to the moods when the heart of the bhakta is overwhelmed by emotions with respect to the relationship with God. Among the different sattvika bhavas, Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath has often alluded to tears as a supreme bhava and one that is most dear to the Lord. Other than “Chokher jole Maayer puja”, he has also written “Ashru Badal”, a play on the unparalleled love of the gopis for Krishna, both these books celebrate tears.

Even in contemporary parlance, deep emotional feeling is often expressed as melting of the heart, flooding of the heart, overwhelming emotions – all of them somewhere indicating a copious overflow of tears.

A mother looks at her new born child and soon her broad smile gives way to tears. Lovers meet, and their joy of union finds expression in tears. An athlete sprints for life and upon touching the winning line at the Olympics finals, breaks into unstoppable tears. Any positive emotion, when it scales its peak, eventually culminates into tears.

Given that traditionally, tears have stood for expressing sorrow and misery, one may often wonder why tears become irrepressible when in a state of experiencing deepest ecstasy. A possible reason for this is perhaps founded in human’s natural love for God.

Divinity is characterized by sat-chit-ananda. Since human beings are naturally divine, ananda is a natural state too. Sorrowfulness is an artificial state. While bliss is natural. Infinite joy is natural. When we are in a state of deep happiness, we are close to our natural divine self but still not quite there. And it is perhaps the acute awareness of this distance from divinity that becomes profoundly intense during moments of deep ecstasy that leads to tears. It is a desperate need felt at that sacred moment to unite once again with the source of infinite joy. It is possibly a sharp and a painful recognition of the limitation of the finite-hood of existence and separation from infinity that manifests in a flood of tears.

Tears have also been often compared to Ma Ganga. Just as Ma Ganga is both pure as well as She purifies, tears that are shed with an intense desire for a vision of the Lord are both pure as Ganga and cleanse the heart of the seeker.

At a purely visual level, the very physical act of tears rolling has a mystical synergy with the emotion it connotes. The eye is the container of tears, the heart the container of emotions. When powerful emotions contained in our heart cross a certain threshold, that is, when emotions overflow, the tears which are held by the container (the eyes), also overflow and there is a marvelous aesthetic convergence of emotional truth with physical manifestation. No wonder then, among the myriad miracles of the Lord, tears are celebrated as an obvious one.

The practice of incessantly calling the Lord’s Name, listening to the stories of Lord, Leelachintan, singing the glories of the Divine through bhajans and kirtans, and all other methods of engaging with the Divine are aimed at flooding the heart with love for the Lord, in the form of tears. The path of Bhakti Yoga would have indeed been a ‘dry’ walk without the presence of this asset.

Let us hope every precious tear of every seeker gathers together like pearls and precious stones and are offered at the lotus feet of Mother Goddess, who gives fruition to the seeking.

~ Lopamudra Roy
Executive Editor