Mothers Day, Seven Mothers

Here in the West Mothers Day is being celebrated; a day to honor our Mothers.

…According to scriptures also, there are seven mothers: (1) the real mother, (2) the wife of the spiritual master, (3) the wife of a brāhmaṇa, (4) the wife of the king, (5) the cow, (6) the nurse, and (7) the earth. All of them are mothers.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swaim Prabhupada
from Canto 1, Chapter 11, Text 28-

Seven Mothers

praviṣṭas tu gṛhaṁ pitroḥ
pariṣvaktaḥ sva-mātṛbhiḥ
vavande śirasā sapta
devakī-pramukhā mudā

praviṣṭaḥ—after entering; tu—but; gṛham—houses; pitroḥ—of the father; pariṣvaktaḥ—embraced; sva-mātṛbhiḥ—by His own mothers; vavande—offered obeisances; śirasā—His head; sapta—seven; devakī—Devakī; pramukhā—headed by; mudā—gladly.

After entering the house of His father, He was embraced by the mothers present, and the Lord offered His obeisances unto them by placing His head at their feet. The mothers were headed by Devakī [His real mother].

It appears that Vasudeva, the father of Lord Kṛṣṇa, had completely separate residential quarters where he lived with his eighteen wives, out of whom Śrīmatī Devakī is the real mother of Lord Kṛṣṇa. But in spite of this, all other stepmothers were equally affectionate to Him, as will be evident from the following verse. Lord Kṛṣṇa also did not distinguish His real mother from His stepmothers, and He equally offered His obeisances unto all the wives of Vasudeva present on the occasion. According to scriptures also, there are seven mothers: (1) the real mother, (2) the wife of the spiritual master, (3) the wife of a brāhmaṇa, (4) the wife of the king, (5) the cow, (6) the nurse, and (7) the earth. All of them are mothers. Even by this injunction of the śāstras, the stepmother, who is the wife of the father, is also as good as the mother because the father is also one of the spiritual masters. Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of the universe, plays the part of an ideal son just to teach others how to treat their stepmothers.

tāḥ putram aṅkam āropya
sneha-snuta-payodharāḥ
harṣa-vihvalitātmānaḥ
siṣicur netrajair jalaiḥ

tāḥ—all of them; putram—the son; aṅkam—the lap; āropya—having placed on; sneha-snuta—moistened by affection; payodharāḥ—breasts filled up; harṣa—delight; vihvalita-ātmānaḥ—overwhelmed by; siṣicuḥ—wet; netrajaiḥ—from the eyes; jalaiḥ—water.

The mothers, after embracing their son, sat Him on their laps. Due to pure affection, milk sprang from their breasts. They were overwhelmed with delight, and the tears from their eyes wetted the Lord.

When Lord Kṛṣṇa was at Vṛndāvana even the cows would become moistened by affection towards Him, and He would draw milk from the nipples of every affectionate living being, so what to speak of the stepmothers who were already as good as His own mother.

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