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From a Concerned Mother
by Maharani devi dasi

My dear son Umapati Swami,

You may be a little startled to hear me address you this way, but since you so frequently address me as "Mother," I feel it is appropriate. Srila Prabhupada told us that just as a man should see every woman as mother, similarly, a woman should see every man as her son. In the Mahabharata, Maharaja Pandu instructs his wife Kunti devi that the ninth kind of son is the child who is "self-given." I consider you to be my self-given son because you have accepted me as your mother.

There are many responsibilities attached to motherhood, all connected with a mother's duty to see after the well-being of her children. Occasionally, a child may act in such a way that is dangerous to both himself and others, or in manner that is destructive to his good name and the character of his family. In these situations it is the unpleasant duty of the mother to attempt to correct the wayward child. My son Ramacandra is 16 months old, and sometimes, as toddlers will, climbs onto things that he might easily fall off of and hurt himself. In these cases, I first ask him very nicely to come down please. Sometimes he comes down, and sometimes not. On the occaisions when he doesn't I have to ask repeatedly, and tell him that he will be sent to bed if he doesn't behave. If he still refuses, then I firmly tell him "No," in a loud voice and put him in his crib for a short time. I never do this for my own amusement, but rather out of a sincere love for my son and genuine concern for his safety and happiness.

After reading your distressing letter to Krsna Avatara prabhu, I feel that the time has come for me to use my loud voice with you, out of love for you and concern for your well-being. I cannot conceive what might have led you to write such a defensive, ill-thought out, and generally insulting letter to a devotee who, although clearly mistreated in this movement, has yet chosen to remain, probably solely out of affection for Krsna and His devotee, Srila Prabhupada, and Their real message. My only advice to you, as a concerned and loving mother, is to fall down with genuine humility at Krsna Avatara prabhu's feet and beg his forgiveness.

I am also concerned that you do not immediately distance yourself from people like Vaisnava Dasanudas, who openly insult your mother, Niscala dasi. It is always nice to have support in an argument, but it seems that you should be more discriminating in what kind of support you accept, and whom you accept that support from. It should be on a philosophical, rather than on a personal level. If Niscala feels that she needs to address your shortcomings in a strong manner, then that certainly should be acceptable, since you have repeatedly addressed her as your mother.

I am reluctant to speak so strongly myself, but I feel that you have not been responsive to my gentler attempts. Since it is clear that you, my son, are behaving in such a way that is harmful to yourself and hurtful to others, and in a way that is destructive to your reputation and that of your entire family, I feel that I must use my loud and firm voice to help you understand the effects of your actions. I hope that you will not be too hurt by my reprimand, but will take advantage of this opportunity to set yourself on a more thoughtful and productive course of action.

In the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata, section CLXLVIII, Vaivahika Parva, Maharaja Yuhisthira, in the presence of Srila Vyasadeva said,"It is said that obedience to superiors is ever meritorious. Amongst all superiors, it is well known that the mother is the foremost."

To this statement Srila Vyasadeva, Who you so admire, replied,"There is no doubt that what Yudhisthira hath said is quite conformable to virtue."

With love from your affectionate mother,
Maharani dasi

© CHAKRA 29 October 2001

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