There couldn’t have been a better day than today this year; 7th March 2016 to remember and offer my love and tributes to my dear mom on her 21st anniversary. I say this; as it is her favourite Lord’s day. Today is Mahashivaratri.
Lord Shiva and mom had a deep connection. She was almost a fanatic shiva devotee. None of her days would be complete without writing atleast 3 to 4 pages of ‘Om Nama Shivaya’ or reading the Shiva Purana. Every Monday evening saw her ready with the abhishekam kit (consisting of milk, flowers, oil, agarbatti etc) for offering to her Lord at the local Shiva temple.
Every Shivaratri was the much awaited day of the year for her. Her preparations would start one month ahead; when she would spear head the collection drive of clothes, rice, pulses, potatoes and onions for the leprosy camp held every year on the shivaratri day near the shiva temple. Our house would be overflowing with all the donated items; leaving us barely with a little place to sleep. Her enthusiasm would be infectious. Her little admirers and assistants (her Balvikas children) would insist their parents to give stuff and help out with the collection and sorting. They were like her vanar sena (the monkey army who helped Lord Rama). The joy and satisfaction in her face was a sight to behold when the truck would come the previous day of Shivratri to pick up the collected stuff.
On the Shivarati day she would be up early morning and after finishing the home puja go to the big temple for the worship and then serve the lepers and get back home. In the evening she would again be a part of the rudrabishekam prayers held at a friend’s place. Perhaps the only year she couldn’t go to the temple was her last Shivarati in 1995; she was very weak and was in her last days. My brother and I were visiting her then. She insisted that both of us go and offer abhishekams to lord Shiva and was very happy that we followed her tradition.
Perhaps her mind was drawn from young to Lord Shiva as her father (my grand dad) was a great exponent of Sri Rudram and would chant it daily and conduct rudram classes every Monday at his place. Also our very first Guru being Sri Shankaracharya; the influence of Lord Shiva was tremendous. On one of the occasions my mother had the blessings of Sri Shankacharya of Sringeri and he just looked at her and told her that he knew she was not keeping good health and doctors would not be able to help her and she should leave everything in the hands of Lord Vaidyanatha. (who is the doctor of doctors). Also when Swami entered our lives she saw Him only as Shiva and whenever she got an opportunity to sing bhajans she would sing only Shiva bhajans.
The connect between the Lord and devotee could be seen and experienced. The first time she had a mild attack (she was a heart patient) when she was barely 29. It was just the day after the Shivalinga at our home altar slipped from my dad’s hands after his regular prayers breaking it into two. 21 years back, this day when she left us; her balvikas children were praying for her at another teacher’s place where the huge picture of Lord Shiva just fell down to the floor and broke into pieces; perhaps indicating that He has broken the barrier and accepted His true devotee to merge into Him.
Dear Ma; though when you were around I didn’t realise the value and importance of what you were doing then; ie your spirituality, prayers, Balvikas, seva etc; but today I am able to understand and thank Swami when my heart tells me that I have done something good. Your life has rubbed off in me many of the values for which you stood and practised. I am indeed very blessed to have had you and my dad as my parents who practised what their Master had taught and are my role models to follow.
Thank You and Love You dearest Mom