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Motherhood enriched by Detachment

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

12 August 1997

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I wish you to continue with your detachmental note. But this should not hinder your affections and closeness with your child which are necessary for his growth. Any attachment is troublesome. It is a load or a burden. Love without attachment is pure and noble.

Revered Swamiji,

Pranām. Trust this finds all of you well. With your blessings I have a son. Now I need your blessings and guidance to bring up the child properly. I may be selfish and narrow-minded in saying so, but I hope you will forgive me and continue to help me. I have received Ma’s inspiring letter. I could not write to Ma promptly. I am sorry for it.

Poojya Swamiji, I do not want to get unduly attached to my child. I do not want to get into a situation where I expect too much from him as he grows up, and I become solely dependent on him. All that I want in life is to constantly remember God’s name and be in total surrender to the Lord. Of course, I realize that so long as my son is young and unable to distinguish the right from the wrong, I should devote my full attention to him. Later on too, I must fulfil all my duties, but remaining all along unattached everywhere. As a small beginning in this direction, I try to keep him for some time everyday away from me, with other family members.

Please help me in accomplishing my aim. Kindly advise me how far my thinking is correct and what are the practical ways of reducing my desires. I want to let you know how sincerely I seek this state of mind – free from desires.

My family members, especially my parents-in-law, are so attached to my son that they become too emotional and miserable when he is away from them. I wonder why can’t we direct this kind of love or fondness to God! Is it because God is not visible? I am not sitting in judgement over others — they have their own attitude and behaviour. For myself, I must follow the right path and please show me that. Kindly spare some of your valuable time for me so that I may get rid of my doubts.

With reverence,

S

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Dear and blessed S,

Harih Om Tat Sat. Your letter of Aug 12 is quite hearty and touching. I wonder what has made you write such a letter and think in such lines of detachment and caution right now. In the joy of excessive involvement of motherhood, the heart generally refuses to think of anything beyond – in terms of any lasting welfare of both the child and the mother!

Certainly, some kind of spiritual undercurrent is in you. Only then the mind will begin to think and want to grow with such an insight and detachmental note. Possibly, Ma’s letter has appealed to you immensely. On the basis of what you have written, here are some thoughts which you should reflect upon and follow earnestly:

1. Birth of the first child must give any woman instantly the great feeling of motherhood – a status which the great nature bestows! But, for deserving such a position, has she really done anything? I always wonder about this. You too should. The handiwork of Nature has, just in nine months, shaped a child in the mother’s womb, without making her conscious of the intricate process or thrusting upon her any burden on this account.

If this be so, is not the event of delivery and motherhood, in itself, sufficient to make any mother feel a great deal of divinity, a sense of surrender and sublimity about the whole episode? If such a note verily sprouts in the heart, how can attachment ever creep at all? You are blessed with an opportunity now to tend and nurse a baby shaped and bestowed upon you by God. What you will do with God, the same should be the approach towards this child also. There is no question of any negative or troublesome notes coming in between.

2. It is not true that God is not visible. What is visible in the form of your body and world is God Himself. Yes, this world itself is the visible body of God. Dwell upon this truth and replace all other conventional inferior notions.

There is a saying that the child is God. That is why people feel so tender, warm and sublime about a child. Only when the child grows into an adult, he begins to express his ego and will. And then the others’ attitude also changes.

One feeling godly about another is one thing. But one feeling godly about oneself is altogether different. So the child loses its position gradually, but the others need not and should not. They must be able to hold on to their feeling, deepening and widening it at every stage. And this would call for great depth of devotion. This is where sadhana comes in.

3. So, in your case, I wish you to continue with your detachmental note. But this should not hinder your affections and closeness with your child which are necessary for his growth. Any attachment is troublesome. It is a load or a burden. Love without attachment is pure and noble. May you have it.

4. Take a mantra or a nāma and go on chanting it. Preserve it as a treasure. Learn to see God in everything — every person, place, incident and circumstance, literally. By ceaseless practice, trial and error, this should be possible.

Feel wholesomely, deeply whatever you want to be. Suggest the values and the ideals you love to yourself repeatedly. Speak to God or the Guru, bringing him to your mind; converse with Him as if He is there. Tell Him heartily whatever you want.

Every look of yours, thought, attitude and aim, must be soaked in this note of detachment. See whether it is so, and improve every time. When the child grows, then also tell him about your attitude and bring him up in that light. The child is yours and you can mould him as you wish.

5. Ma sometimes reads out from Saints’ biographies. The other day we came across one instance, in which a mother went to a Saint with her child in arms. Placing the little one at the Saint’s feet, she implored: “Maharaj, this is your child. Bless him to be yours for ever. Let him become a sannyasin under your care dedicated to your work.”

And the child, dear S, did grow and become one as the mother wished and expressed, prayed and strove for. This happened just 50 years ago.

I appreciate your noble thoughts. You are blessed, your parents also are. Your child too is blessed. Now let the blessedness grow and begin to spread and radiate. Wish him the best in human life, the best from God and also for God. Become divine yourself, in the process. All love and Ashirvād in this mission.

Your own Self, Swamiji

1997

– From the book–“Dear and Blessed Soul”.

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“Feel wholesomely, deeply whatever you want to be. Suggest the values and the ideals you love to yourself repeatedly ”

“Is not the event of delivery and motherhood, in itself, sufficient to make any mother feel a great deal of divinity, a sense of surrender and sublimity about the whole episode? If such a note verily sprouts in the heart, how can attachment ever creep at all? ”

“You are blessed with an opportunity now to tend and nurse a baby shaped and bestowed upon you by God. What you will do with God, the same should be the approach towards this child also.”

“Learn to see God in everything — every person, place, incident and circumstance, literally. By ceaseless practice, trial and error, this should be possible.”

“Every look of yours, thought, attitude and aim, must be soaked in this note of detachment. See whether it is so, and improve every time. When the child grows, then also tell him about your attitude and bring him up in that light. The child is yours and you can mould him as you wish.”

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