I recollected a beautiful story when I read of your habit of losing things like shawls etc. on a regular basis and your mother's admonishing you by saying you may even lose your limbs but for the fact that they are firmly attached to you.
Once upon a time, a man woke up only to realise that his ear was missing. He searched the house and questioned his family all in vain. He decided he would make do with one ear. After all, one is enough. On another occasion, he awoke to find one eye missing. Once again, he convinced himself that he would be able to go through life with one eye. One fine day, he lost a ten rupee note. He searched high and low, questioned his family, and finally threatened his wife with police action if the money is not returned to him. His wife was surprised at his harshness and queried, "How is it that this ten rupee note is more valuable than losing a part of your eyesight and hearing?". The man rebuked her saying that "paise paedh pe nahin ugte. (Money does not grow on trees.) You must realise that earning money requires a lot of hard work".
This seems to be the condition of the world today. There is apathy towards wisdom. Wisdom has been the biggest casualty in this materialistic world. The destruction of centuries of wisdom in the form of libraries and educational institutions in the name of supporting "isms" is just one example of the same.
I could cite many more examples, but all in vain.
With best regards,
R. K. Agarwal
Superb piece Madhu. Happy Diwali.
That was very touching indeed.
Harsha V. Dehejia, email@example.com
It was a touching piece Madhu. Wish you and your family a very happy Diwali.
AJ Philip, firstname.lastname@example.org
The article does indeed ring true and is full of noble sentiment.
Do light a lamp in others' hearts like your mother did, and like all mothers do for their children.
Rakesh Goyal, email@example.com
Happy Diwali from us all. This was a wonderful write up. Just yesterday, a friend from Jodhpur ( Naseem's Godfather) was visiting us. He mentioned this article to me in some context, but could not recall your name. And lo, today I read your article on the internet. I was travelling so I could not use the internet, and nor could I get mt hands on the Bhaskar.
This is a very incisive piece, forcing us all to reflect. On similar lines, I have been reiterating that patriotism is not merely supporting India during cricket matches, hoisting flags, singingthe national anthem, donning Khadi cloths, and so on. I think patriotism also means paying taxes, not adulterating food or medicines and other commodities, and so on. In response I was told by an elderly friend that "then there are very few Indians who are patriotic!"
This piece of your must be preserved and circulated in my circle for wider publicity among those who have lots of money and all kinds of means. Keep teasing/confronting India, Madhu.
Enjoyed the insights.
As the saying goes, God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~ Jewish Proverb
Just shows how difficult it is to keep a balance between attachment and detachment.
Hope you learn to be there and also move on.
Abhay Dixit, firstname.lastname@example.org
So touching, so beautiful.
Michelle Harrison email@example.com
I respect the deep love that you seem to have for your mother. I had tears in my eyes while going through this article. My own mother was illiterate, but she always generous to anyone who was in need. Mothers are great.
Wish you a happy and prosperous Deepawali.
SC Aggarwal, firstname.lastname@example.org
No, it is not a sentimental piece. Motherhood is holy. Our mothers regarded their duties at home as a holy service. I can understand your thoughts: I was blessed with such a mother too.
I just felt like thanking you for your thoughts on Deepawali Day and your reminding us of the true meaning of the festival. Deepawali is not just about gambling, or worshipping account books and other ostentatious displays of wealth.
You write so simply and so well. Good wishes for Diwali.
I am a bit surprised with read this piece of yours. It is very different from others. I feel I cannot agree with some of your impressions.
Asha Kachru email@example.com
We wish you all a very Happy Deepavali.
Please know your own SELF or Atma and you will know it all - Laxmi, Kali and Sarasvati, including even your mother. Love everybody and don't be attached to anybody or anything including your own body. YOU are not the body, you are also not Madhu. It is the name given to your body. Memories of loved ones shall always remain as long as we live but attachment with them will not help us. If you don't remember the name of your mother's great grandmother rest assured your daughter's great grand daughter shall never remember you. This is a transient world. Be in the union of your SELF and you will know it all, thereafter you would not need to know anymore - that is the Vedant.
It is a good article, though somewhat lengthy. I hope that the people whom you sent it to enjoyed reading it. Thanks again.
With best wishes, and regards.
Durgashanker Nagda, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an excellent article. I was born in a Punjabi family, and since childhood I have seen my parents performing Lakshmi puja on Deepawali. It is only when 24 years ago that my job took me to the North East that I started witnessing Saraswati puja. What you said about North India is true, especially with the Punjabis. Unfortunately, Assam is also following north India now.
Jagdish Lal Dawar, email@example.com
Thanks for sharing your personal memory linked to our cultural history. It is a beautifully written. Article.
Malashri Lal, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for this beautiful and moving piece. I do not find it soppy in the least.You will be glad to know that at least we Tamilians still diligently worship Saraswati on Navaratri. We place our books at the altar, and apply kumkum to our musical instruments.
There is no balm for personal loss. But to cope, perhaps you could do something on Dipawali that celebrates your mother's presence in your life rather than something that merely reminds you of her absence. Something in her name that helps someone feel better about their circumstances. You've done so much to raise social awareness. You could perhaps dedicate some initiative expressly to her. If this sounds presumptuous, please forgive me -- your piece resonated so much with me that I wanted to reach out.
Deepavali ki bahuth saari shubh kaamnaayein!
What a lovely moving letter in your mother's memory.
My Diwali has been made special by this :)
I am sure she is looking at you with pride from her roost.
If you don't mind, is it okay if I share this on my FB page? (krsn kasturi)
With lots of love,
Your thoughts and feelings are extremely moving and reflect the kind of decent, upright and sensitive human being that you are. Wherever your mother is, she must be proud of you, as indeed are all of us who are priviliged to read your ideas. Your mother is truly ''amar'' for bestowing on you the kind of values that she has.
Take care...people like you are rare, and extremely precious.
"Soppy and sentimental", but indeed relevant ..
The very best on Diwali to you Madhu ..
Venkitesh Ramakrishnan email@example.com
The piece is well written and captures many facets of Deepawali from a broad representative perspective! The gentility of your Ma's personality also comes out with substantive impact!
Pankaj Das, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for sharing your 'soppy' piece with us. I am not that good with scripture but someone more knowledgeable once mentioned to me that Diwali was not about prayers for just one Devi, the goddess Laxmi. It was also a day for Mata Saraswati and Mata Gayatri. Talking about missing our parents on Diwali, it does take long to overcome that void. In my case, it took almost 20 years after their passing. I was at peace after I visited their birthplaces in Sindh in 2006, having fulfilled their last longing. I am grateful to you for having published my tribute to my mother in Manushi as a short story "Under the Starry Sky" many many years ago.
Bhai Balwant, email@example.com
You have written great, beautiful and inspiring piece. What you have written consists of the essence of India's spiritual heritage. May God inspire you to continue thinking and writing like this for many more years to come, This is my Diwali wish for you on the evening of the festival of lights! May God bless you.
With best wishes again,
Natwar Thakkar, firstname.lastname@example.org
An interesting article, thanks for sharing your thoughts about the disservice done to Goddess Saraswathi. You are correct when you say that Goddess Lakshmi is the goddess sought after, neither Kali nor Sarawathi.
Means justify ends or ends justify means, do they convey the same meaning? Reference is contextual. I agree with your statement that ill gotten money goes the way it is earned.
Wishing you a Very Hapy and Prosperous Deepawali.
Anand Rao, email@example.com
Dear Madhu, I remember your mother very well. I am truly sorry to know that your Mother is no more. I don't have the heart to wish you for Diwali, but I do wish you and all at Manushi a peaceful day .
Dear Madhu, thank you for sharing your moving thoughts on Dipavali. Mother Lakshmi to me, represents the source of all personal and social fulfillment and enrichment which goes beyond material wealth. For Telugu people She is courage, skill and spontaneity incarnate as Lady Satyabhama, who unhesitatingly grabbed the weapons of her unconscious consort Lord Krishna and slew the mass abductor and rapist demon Narakasura.
May Her blessings and power enrich our country and its people.
K.V. Bapa Rao, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abhi pooja se uthakar aapka yah lamba lekh padha.
Vicharottejakta ki aapki shaili ne kam kiya.
Ab sochte huye hi sona hoga.
Hindi ka lekh bhi mile to ham jaison ko adhik hridayangam hoga.
Dear Ms.Kishwar, Just a piece of information for you - if you already not aware of it - down south, and especially in Tamil Nadu, during the Navaratras , the 9th day is actually Saraswathi Puja --- and also Ayudha Puja ( for the instruments of one's profession - machines , implements and so on ).
Just as we have imposed our likes and dislikes on a goddess, " A Goddess, no matter what her avatar, does not like ugly noises and uncouth behavior." People interpret their definition of Laxmi according to their own cravings. God is beyond likes and dislikes. Devis and Devatas are different flavours of conciousness. Laxmi is what takes you towards your Lakshay.
Since we think of wealth in terms of currency and bank balances, we forget that wealth actually represents all the means which can fulfill a task and everything from a needle to space station are wealth, and being in this world we fulfill our wishes and intentions by means of wealth only. A poor woman's hearth is her wealth, and so on and so forth.
If you go deeper then Laxmi is sub divided into 8 forms called 'Asht Laxmi' namely :-
ADILAXMI (AWARENESS OF YOUR ORIGIN FROM EKONKAR SATNAM AKAL MURTA AJUNI SAIBHO)
DHAIRYALAXMI (HAVING GUTS)
RAJLAXMI OR BHAGYALAXMI (ABILITY TO RULE, OR THE QUALITY WHICH MAKES PEOPLE LISTEN TO YOU)
All these are means to fulfill your intentions. If you are poor in these different "wealths", you are a DARIDRA. God never discriminates and he is LAXMINARAYAN as well as DARIDRANARAIN.
Nothing in our tradition is superficial. It has place for all including shallow people produced as a result of western education and 1000 years of slavery followed by self rule by so called 'Secularists', 'leftists' and a whole lot likes the ones who say that 'A hospital should be built at Ram JanamBhoomi'. These rulers are cut off from tradition, and in the absence of higher values, breed corruption and terrorism.
Even then everything is a part of the divine game, and we can be happy only if we play our role well as taught by Shri Krishna to Arjuna in the Gita.
So my blessing to you is - BE HAPPY AND WITHOUT RANCOUR TOWARDS ANYBODY.
JAI GURUDEV ( Let the higher consciousness always triumph.)
Jai Prakash Jain, email@example.com
Thank you Madhu for this beautiful heartfelt tribute to your mother. One who has such a beautiful spirit as yours will never fail to be happy. Wishing you a beautiful Diwali.
Linda Eilene, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was moved when I read your thoughts on Dipavali, and about your mother. I lost my mother in 2003, and it hurts even to think about how empty I feel without her around me. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
On a different note, I must tell you that Bengalis (you may have gathered that I am from Bengal) celebrate Dipavali to offer puja to goddess Kali who gets rid of all evil from the world and who protects us. In Bengal, we celebrate Durgapuja for five days in the devipaksa, ending the festival on the tenth day (6-10), which we call Vijaya Dashami, not Dussehra because it is the celebration of the victory of Durga who killed the demons and saved everyone including the gods who then regained heaven. Five days later, goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on the day of the full moon, which we call Kojagri ("Who wakes for the devi?") Purnima. On the following amavasya, after our Lakshmi Puja, comes Dipavali and Kali Puja. Fifteen days later, on the next purnima, the goddess is worshipped in the form of Jagaddhatri. Goddess Sarasvati is worshipped in the month of Magh (end of January or early February). It is a big festival for students, teachers and lovers of books, music, the arts and knowledge.
I will be in Delhi to attend the World Sanskrit Conference and will be staying at IIC from 4-6 January. Perhaps we can connect.
Mandakranta Bose, email@example.com
It really was a beautiful article. I will definitely cherish it as one of my favorites for a very long time. It just pours out your true sentiments, Please keep writing as your writing is truly blessed by Ma Saraswati herself.
Manasi Save, firstname.lastname@example.org
I did not like the unusually religious tone of your essay. I must admit, I myself am a bit contradictory in my views about religion. I feel I am an atheist. At least I would like to be one, because I get very angry when I sometimes see good and just people suddenly losing someone dear and precious to them, or an economic disaster happening to them. I wonder whether God would like to do such unjust things? On the other hand, I am very fond of the symbolism in our religion. I love the what goddess Saraswati represents, namely the synthesis of the rational and emotional, science/wisdom and the arts/music/dance etc. My friend gave me a small idol of Saraswati when I left for Germany in 1965, and since then I carry her with me and pray to her everyday to give me more knowledge, joy and inner happiness. I like her beautiful form. So in a way, I am religious and hence I felt your missing the symbolism of Laxmi puja at Diwali rather strange. Also, I have a very different relationship with my mother and goddess Laxmi has never been my favourite. My mother has been a source of pain for me for so many years. She has always preferred her sons and given me false impressions about the affection she holds of me. Since I lived in my own independent way, my brothers, being traditional husbands, never approved of me and never showed solidarity with me. Though they have tremendous problems with my mother too. You have made me feel your nature is autonomous. Other Delhi women may not agree with you, but I have always admires you. And this is the first time that I feel differently. I just wanted to share my true emotions with you.
I admit to a similar disquiet about the worship of goddess Lakshmi, and the complete absence of Saraswati. However, among Bengalis, Maharashtrians and Kashmiris, it is customary to worship a notebook, book and pen, along with rice etc. on some designated day. Once I asked a seller of idols at Dilli Haat as to why no image of Saraswati could be sighted amongst his ware. His reply, ''Saraswati kabhi bechi nahin jatin'' ! By the way, there is no reason to term your deepest longing as being soppy! Your sentiments glow with warmth! The world is better agar rishton ki tanabein mazboot aur gehreen hon.
Poonam Kaul, email@example.com
I really liked your piece, especially the memories that you shared of your mother. I don't think it is soppy or sentimental.
Like occasional gambling, on occasion, one can be soppy and sentimental.
You have written straight from the heart.
Shastri Ramachandaran, firstname.lastname@example.org
I enjoyed going through your thoughts on Deepavali.
You can read Sri Aurobindo's essay in the form of a booklet called 'The Mother' to find the answers to many of the questions you have raised. Just a thought..
Warm regards and happy Deepavali!
Sachidananda Mohanty, email@example.com
This is a very moving and apt piece. I miss my mother very much during the Diwali festival which is a 5 day long one for us Gujaratis.
Your comments on the Goddess Laxmi are apt. Every one bows down to her from the 3 piece pin striped suits of North America and Europe, to the bearded Mullahs of Iran! There is ONLY ONE God today and She is Laxmi! When allowed to lead she veers towards catastrophe and that is what we, as a species , are facing today !!
Bindu Desai, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a very touching article indeed. It reminded me of my father's loving presence. He left this world two years ago, but is still an abiding presence in my life. Diwali is not the same any more, but I continue to cherish his impish laughter and his complete detachment from this world of buying and selling. Your write up on your mother has left me with food for thought. Thank you for sharing the piece.
Happy Diwali !!