Akincana

“Mother,” no other address

The nutshell of education is defined by Canakya Pandita that “Who is pandita, learned?” So he does not say that one who has passed MA, PhD, DAC, no. He doesn’t say that. He says, “Any person who has learned to see like this.” What is that? Matrvat para-daresu: “Everyone’s wife should be considered…” Para-dara. Para means others’ wife. Matrvat, mother. Therefore the Vedic system is, when we address another woman, “Mother,” no other address. “Mother, can I do this? Would you like this?” The address should be “Mother.” Practice.

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.23 — Honolulu, May 23, 1976)

 ‘Your question is how much or how little brahmacaris should associate with the unmarried brahmacarinis in the temple. As brahmacari you should not mix at all with brahmacarinis. Actually they should not at all see the face, but that is not possible in your country. But so far as possible, remain separate and talk almost nil. Brahmacari is advised not to go near a young woman anywhere. A brahmacari should always address every woman as mother. In your country it is a little difficult, but the principle is to avoid. To talk secretly or privately is strictly prohibited. If you want to discuss philosophy and other matters you can discuss publicly in a meeting, but not privately. A brahmacari and unmarried woman in the same room together alone is strictly forbidden.” (SPL to Sankarsana, 30th September, 1972)

 From five years old, if a child is trained to call all woman as “Mother,” naturally his culture is different. Because he has learned to call all woman as “Mother.” He has no other idea. A small child, any woman comes before him, he knows “(S)He is my mother.” So this was the practice. That is not only religiously, but morally, it is so good, to look upon all woman as mother. That is the system still in India, any unknown woman who has no introduction with you, (s)he is addressed “Mataji.” Address her. She may be just like daughter or granddaughter, but one would address, as a respect to the woman, as “Mother, Mataji.” This is Indian system. Now some rascals have introduced “Bhaginiji, sister.” But that is not shastric. In the sastra, all the woman, except one’s wife, should be addressed as “Mother.”

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.10 — Los Angeles, January 7, 1974)

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