Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mathru Devo Bhava - Aryamba's Sankara

788 CE, Kaladi, present Kerala
             "Aryamba! Finally God heard your prayers. You are pregnant. It seems a baby boy."
             "Thanks Kuchala. God has given a happy ending for 14 years of tragedy. Thirussur Vadakkunathar is a powerful God. I have to say my husband the good news.", said Aryamba.
             Aryamba and Sivaguru were couples lived in Kaladi. They were married since fourteen years and were childless.
             "Anna! Anna! Good news."
             "What is the news?", asked Sivaguru.
             "We are going to have a baby boy. Our prayers have been heard by God. Yes, I'm pregnant. Physician confirmed it."  
             "That too a boy. Siva himself will be born as our child."

After nine months,

It was a fine day in Kaladi. Sivaguru's house was located in the banks of river Poorna. Aryamba started to feel heavy pain. Sivaguru rushed to doctor's house.
             "Where is the doctor?"
             "She has gone to Poorna river to take bath. She will be back in ten minutes."
Sivaguru ran towards Poorna river. Doctor was taking bath then.
             "Doctor! Doctor! Aryamba is feeling heavy pain. Can you please come?"
              Doctor started to Sivaguru's home.
Sivaguru walked from end to end in entrance of the home. He was not able to bear the pain of his wife. He walked towards Poorna river. The sound of his wife out of pain was audible even there. He suddenly realized that the sound of pain stopped. He ran towards the home. While he neared the home, he heard the sound of a baby crying. The door of the home was locked from inside. He waited curiously for the doctor to come out. Doctor came out and said.
             "Sivaguru! Your son looks exactly like you. Aryamba wants to see you. Go in. Get me sweet tomorrow. Paladapradaman with excess of sugar."
             "Sure."

Sivaguru ran to the room and stopped two steps before his son. He saw his face and went silent for couple of minutes. He slowly moved towards his son and touched his right palm. He saw his wife and moved towards her.
             "God has showered his love towards us. What are we going to give back?", he said and tears started to come out of his eyes. He held Aryamba's hand.      
                                                         
                                                                                               
After ten days, naming ceremony
             "Sivaguru, what name you have chosen for your child?"
             "Aryamba!", Sivaguru called his wife.
             "He is a God's Gift to us. We are naming our child Sankara after him."
Aryamba said child's name Sankara thrice in his ear. So as her husband.

             Sankara showed great brilliance, patience, cleverness and he started to say mantras with his mother when he was one and a half years old. He had a good affection and love towards his parents.
One day when Sankara was 4, Sivaguru fell ill. He was not able to breath easy. Doctor came to their home and was not able to figure out the reason why it had happened so. She tried different herbal leaves and formulas. But Sivaguru's sickness aggravated day by day. He passed away. Sankara was four then. The age which could not understand death. People started to come and see Sivagiri before he was taken to burial ground. Sankara became happy since everyone started to visit his home. He was not able to understand why his father was sleeping for such a long time. He also did not understand why everyone was crying seeing his father. He went to Aryamba and said,
             "Mother. Why all are crying after seeing the father? Ask him to get up and say the goat joke so that everyone will laugh. No. No. Don't disturb him. I'll go and say."
Sankara opened his mouth to say the joke which his father used to say him. Aryamba stopped him. She hugged him and started to cry again.
              "Mom! Why are you crying? Why are you crying?"
              Sankara started to cry seeing his mother and everyone crying.
              He did all funeral duties to his father without knowing what was happening.
           
After four years,
              "Aryamba! Why can't you come with me to Thirusur. I take the responsibility of performing Sankara's Upanayanam. He is seven now. Let us put him in the Patasala. Why should you starve here in Kaladi? There is no one to take care of you.", said Aryamba's brother.
              "No Reghu. I won't. I have Sankara to take care of me and he has me to take care of him. I want to live in the place where his father lived with me."
              "People around me will talk evil if I leave you alone."
              "I'm not coming. Tell them that I am mad. Tell them that I will be troubling everyone if I come there."
              "Arya I don't know why are you doing like this. You are spoiling Sankara's future."
              "Thank you very much for your wishes. I'm making lunch for you. Please eat and go. You can come here at anytime to see your sister and to see how your sister's son is being spoiled."

After two days in Aryamba's home
             
              "Sankara!"
              "Mom."
              "Did you finish saying Slokas?"
              "Yes."
              "Do you like to live in uncle's home in Thirusur?"
              "For how many days, mom?"
              "Once for all."
              "Will Loganathan come with me?"
              "No. His parents stay here. How will he come?"
              "Hmmm. Will Poorna river flow in Thirusur?"
              "No."
              "Okay."
              "I will not be staying with you in Thirusur. Your uncle will bring you here once in 15 days."
              "No, mom. I'm not going there. I can't go without Loganathan."
              "So. Not for me?"
              "Hmmm. I don't know."
              "Amma. Loganathan is wearing poonal. He said we have to do upanayanam to wear it. When is my upanayanam, mom. He also said father has to do it. Then who will do my upanayanam?"
             "I... I will ask our pandit about your upanayanam. Your uncle will do all rituals that has to be done by father."
            "When mom?"
            "In an auspicious day."
            "When is it?"
            "I have to ask pandit."
            "Okay. What should I do after my upanayanam?"
            "You have to learn all Vedas and become a scholar. All have to say that Aryamba's son is a great scholar. Will you do that?"
            "Yes, mom. I will."

In Pandit's home
            "Sankara will be seven in coming month. This is the right time for his upanayanam."
            "Very brilliant boy. I have seen him telling slokas in Krishnan temple. There is an auspicious day 4 days after Visu. We will have it on that day."
            "Thanks. I am planning to send him to you for learning Veda.  I want him to become a Vedic scholar."
            "All is in the hands of Eswara."

On the day of Upanayanam in one of the local houses,
            There was a local couple who were back from the upanayanam,
            "Lalitha. She has succeeded. Aryamba is a great woman.  She has raised the kid without her husband. She has managed to serve good food for each everyone. She did not borrow money from anyone."
            "Ya. She is. She brought up her son very well. Sure he will become a scholar. Did you see how nicely Sankara help her mother? Very nice boy. God have to give blessings to him. Aryamba came to me and cried. She said how the event mattered to her. She is living each and every second for Sankara. Her prayers has to come true."
            "It will."


         Sankara learnt Vedas from the pandit. He learnt all the three Vedas Rig, Yajur and Sama in a span of five years. He was able to say any verse in Veda.
            "Mom. I have kept the bhiksha rice here."
            "Okay."
            "Mom. I have learnt all the three Vedas. I feel I have to renounce my life and take Sanyasa."
            "Don't ever talk like that. Close your mouth. Why should you take Sanyasa? It is not that easy."  
            "I know it mom. I understood that one can be enlightened only when he knows oneself. Renouncing is a route to it."
            "I like to see my grandchildren. I want to play with them. I want to go to Krishna temple and say sloka with you daily. I don't want to sit and think about your whereabouts. You are fourteen years now. This is the time for you to get married and not to become Sanyasi. You can go and help Pandit. You can learn more."
            "My wish is to take Sanyasa and travel all holy places and to know more about God and religion. But fulfilling mother's wish is a Dharma for every son. As you wish."                  
           Aryamba got a guilty feeling that his son would leave from her. She wanted him to stay with her forever. She started to see bride for Sankara.
         
Next day morning in the Poorna river,
           "Mom! It has been a long time I swimed to the opposite shore. Water is flowing very slow. Shall I swim to the shore in the other end?"
           "Be careful."
Sankara started to swim in the river which was about 50 meter wide. He crossed to the opposite direction and started to swim towards the other end. Suddenly the flow of river increased. Sankara started to move towards the direction of flow of water. He became invisible at a point of time. Aryamba ran towards river to rescue him. People around stopped her.
           "I want to save my son. Leave me.", yelled Aryamba.
           "Don't be silly. If you go in now, you will die.", said Parvathi, a local woman.
Aryamba tried to jump into river. Parvathi stopped her and took her to home. Aryamba started to cry.
           "Mahadeva! He wanted to stay away from me by taking Sanyasa. I said no to him. Now you took away him from me.Why do you take his life? I would have said yes when he asked. Please give him back to me. I will send him to  Sanyasa as he wished"
           "He is not dead. There are chances he will come back. Why chances? He will comeback for sure. Why are you giving such promises to God?"
           "He has to live. He has to."
           "He will."
Sankara came inside the room. Aryamba ran towards him. She slapped him and hugged him.
           "Why are you crying mom?", asked Sankara.
           "You are free to take up Sanyasa. I won't be a barrier.", replied Aryamba. She continued to cry. Parvathi left the home meanwhile.
           "Mom. Please stop crying."
           "Tomorrow. You can start."
           "Mom. Please stop crying."
 Aryamba wiped her tears. She stopped crying and continued in a bold tone.
           "My wish is that you have to take Sanyasa."
           "As you wish mom."

The next day morning Aryamba got up. Sankara was taking bath and was wearing saffron dress. Her mind insisted to stop him. But she could not.
A voice from Aryamba's home entrance, "Bhavathi Bhiksham Dehi. Bhavathi Bhiksham Dehi."
Aryamba took rice to give as Bhiksha. When she came out she found that the boy is Sankara. Her heart said stop him. But her hands were placing rice in Sankara's plate. Sankara took his first Bhiksha from his mother after renouncing.

Days gone by. Aryamba spent her days thinking about Sankara's childhood days. She used to offer prayers daily in Krishnan temple for Sankara. She got news that his son has been called as Sankaracharya by every one and he was treated like God. Sankaracharya created Atharvana Veda, the fourth Veda. He acted as ambassador of God. Some even took him as an avatar of God.


He spread the belief of Hinduism in all corners. He wrote new slokas. When he went to Moogambika to worship Goddess, she literally saw his mother's face through the Goddess idol. He thought of going to Kaladi.
       
                     "Aryamba! Sankaracharya is going to visit Kaladi. We are blessed. Avatar of our very own Eshwara."
                    "(Coughs) I have to get out of here."
                    "Why?"
                    "He is Sankaracharya. Avatar of Eswara to everyone. He could be. He challenged his death when he was 14. But he is Sankara to me. The same old Sankara. I know he will come back. To see me. But he is Sanyasi now. How can he have feeling of relationship being a Sanyasi? Definitely he will come and see me. That is incorrect. I leave(Coughs rigorously)."
                    "You are not looking good today. (Touches her neck) Oh my God. It is very hot. Come let me take you to doctor."

After two months,

                    "Sankaracharya has come to Krishnan temple. He will be giving a speech today."
                    "Aryamba will be happy if she sees him. She died in young age. Unlucky woman."
                    "What?"
                    "Yes. She died today morning."
                    "What?"
                    "Yes."
                    "I'm going to say this to Sankaracharya."

Parvathi in temple. She ran towards the place where Sankaracharya was meditating. He was in deep meditation then.
                                  
                   "Guruji. Guruji. Your mom has died today morning. Just few hours before. Guruji. Guruji."
         
Sankaracharya did not open his eyes. He continued to be in meditation. Parvathi left from there as his disciples said her to go away and not to disturb. When Sankaracharya finished his meditation, one of his disciples went to him and said that his mother has died. Sankaracharya marched towards Aryamba's home.
                             
                   "Guruji. You are not supposed to come here.", said one of the persons waiting for her funeral.
                   "She is my mother.", replied Sankaracharya.
                   "She was. You are a Guru. It is not necessary to explain you that there is no mother, father or any other relation for a Sanyasi."
                   "Eshwara! Please allow me."
                   "I won't"
                   "Let me do the funeral rituals to my mom."
                   "We won't allow a person who do rituals to God to do for a human being."
                   "She is my God."
                   "Be like a Guruji. We won't let you in."

The local pandit interrupted and said, "It is not correct to stop Guruji. What he said is right. Whatever he does is correct. Mother is a prime God. Let him do the rituals."
                   There was intense discussion.
                   "Whom do you call a God?"
                   "The one who crated us, the one who protects us,"
                   "Yes. I'm here because of her. She is my God.She is the first God I've seen in the earth. You said it is duty of me to do the rituals to God. Let me do my rituals to God."


                     
The people who opposed became silent. Aryamba's body was taken to the banks of river Poorna and was burried.

Sankaracharya sat near the place where she was burried and did meditation for more than 10 days. He created slokas for mother and chanted it. He bowed near the place where his mother was buried  He started to leave. He injected belief of Hinduism. He is called as Adisankaracharya even now. He is in high praise in everyone's mind since he said mother is the prime God - Mathru Devo Bhava.