Vaishaaka Shukla Triteeya, the third day of the bright fortnight of the month Vaishakh of Vasanta Ritu (Spring Season) according to Hindu calendar, known as Akshaya Triteeya, is a day auspicious for the worship of Sri Bharatamata. Mother Earth is productivity and plenty incarnate and the Spring season is resplendent with the natural glory of Mother Earth.
Adoration and worship of the Motherland is the hallmark of Hindu way of life. There is no greater Divinity than the Motherland and no higher form of worship than the service of the Mother. Since times immemorial, the Rishis of our land have glorified Mother Earth as the manifestation of the Supreme Mother and declared: ‘jananee janmabhoomischa swargaadapi gareeyasi” – “Mother and Motherland are greater than the heavens”. “Maata bhoomi putroham prithivyaaa”—This land is my mother and I am her child – is the emphatic proclamation of the Vedic Aryan expressing his intense devotion to his Motherland. “Oh Motherland, we humans have been born from your womb and we move upon your surface. It is you who nourish the bipeds as well as quadrupeds. All humans are your children,” he declares in unequivocal terms expressing his gratefulness to his Mother who is the nourisher and sustainer of his life. The mark of a true Hindu is not whether he worships any god or goddess in the Hindu pantheon, follows any system of Hindu philosophy, cult or guru, practises Hindu rites, traditions or rituals and visits Hindu temples, Mathas and pilgrim centers, but whether he adores and worships his mother and Motherland that are greater than heaven. If he is not, he is a mlechcha – a non-Hindu and an outcaste. The word mlechcha was used in the past to denote those who came from outside India, who had no loyalty to this nation and to those who accepted the culture and religion of the aliens and gave up the precious cultural and spiritual heritage of the Motherland.
Rishi Bankim Chandra eulogizes Sri Bharata Bhavani in his famous Vande Mataram song with the words: “Mother I bow to Thee! Rich with thy hurrying streams, bright with Thy orchard gleams, cool with Thy winds of delight, dark fields waving, Mother of Might, Mother free”. This is the Spring Glory of our Motherland. “Life on this earth, to be prosperous and happy, needs a suitable mental outlook. Such an outlook is said to dawn upon humanity with every glimpse of the slender moonlight of the crescent moon that appears on the third lunar day of each bright fortnight (shukla triteeya). Hence the selection of this tithi for the worship of the Mother”, says Skandanarayan, a renowned scholar and writer on Hindu scriptures and astrology. This day is also auspicious because it is the day of the commencement of Treta Yuga, which saw the advent of Maryaadaa Purushottama Sri Ramachandra. It is also the auspicious day of Sri Parasurama Jayanti. The womenfolk of Bharat adore the Divine Mother in the form of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali and go in for purchase of ornaments etc., which mark the prosperity of the family.
During the struggle for India’s freedom, Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo who dreamt of setting up a Bhavani Mandir, a temple dedicated to Bharatamata, presented his ideal in inspiring words:
“We cannot get strength unless we adore the Mother of Strength. We will therefore build a temple to the white Bhavani, the Mother of Strength, the Mother of India. This temple will be the centre from which Her worship is to flow over the whole country…. This is also what the Mother has commanded.”
“The Shakti we call India, Bhavani Bharati, is a living unity of the Shaktis of 300 million people (then in about 1907). It is not a piece of earth, nor a figure of speech, nor a fiction of the mind. This is our mother country.”
“Adoration will be dead and ineffective unless it is transmuted into Karma (action). We will have, therefore, a Math with a new Order of Karmayogins attached to the temple, men who have renounced all in order to work for the Mother.”
If we go by the definition of the word Hindu—
Aasindhu sindhuparyetaa yasya Bhaarata bhoomikaa,
Pitrubhoo, punyabhoo sa vai Hinduriti smritah
—”All those who adore and worship this Bharatavarsha extending from the River Sindhu in the north to the Sindhu, that is Hindumahasagar or Indian Ocean, in the south, as the land of their forefathers and the holy land, alone are Hindus”—then the majority of the people living in this country do not qualify themselves to be called Hindus. How many of the Hindus in our land today adore and worship the Motherland every day? Breaking a coconut while doing bhumi pooja once or twice in a lifetime, on occasions like laying of foundation for a house or shop, is not adoration or worship of the Motherland. It is an utterly selfish act prompted by a superstitious belief that something will happen to the structure if it is not built after bhoomipooja. How many of the so called Hindus touch the Mother Earth every morning when they get up from the bed, uttering the traditional prayer to the Mother to forgive them for the sacrilege of placing their feet on Her holy dust—
Samudravasane devi, parvata sthanamandale
Vishnupatnee namastubhyam paadasparsham kshamaswa me—
“Oh Mother Bhudevi, the Divine Consort of Lord Vishnu, who wears the oceans as cloth, whose breasts are the mighty mountains, salutations unto You; please forgive me for the sin of placing my legs on you”
—and touch the sacred dust of Motherland with both the hands and place them with all reverence on their heads and hearts?
The great Tamil poet-philosopher, Mahakavi C. Subramania Bharati, addressing the little kids of his Motherland, sang:–
Atai deivamenru kumbidadi paappaa—
“Oh little child, adore and worship the Undivided Hindustan—Akhanda Bharat—as your Goddess.”
This ideal of adoration and worship of the Motherland and elevating patriotism as the highest creed upheld by the Hindu race deteriorated when Hindus started founding various religious sects and creeds and started dividing the Hindu society into blind followers of various Gods and Goddesses without understanding the import of the Vedic dictum, “Ekam sat, vipraah bahudhaa vadanti”—“The Ultimate Reality is one and men of wisdom call Him by different names.” Swami Vivekananda points out the fall of the Aryan race: “Over the course of time….the descendants of the Aryans deviated from proper conduct; they lost their spirit of renunciation and their sharp intelligence and became deeply attached to popular customs. They even failed to understand the import of the Puranas, thinking them contradictory to one another because each one taught by emphasizing only a particular aspect of the spiritual ideal and because each taught people of ordinary intelligence the abstruse truths of Vedanta by using concrete imagery and elaborate language. They divided the whole of Sanatan Dharma–the sum total of all religious ideals–into many sects. They enkindled the fire of sectarian jealousy and anger and tried to throw each other into it. When the degraded Aryans had almost turned India, the land of religion, into a hell, Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna incarnated himself to demonstrate the true religion of the Aryan race. He made visible the unity among the innumerable sects and denominations of Hindu religion that had cropped up throughout the country over a vast period of time. At that time, the Hindu religion had been devastated by continuous sectarian fights, and was seemingly divided into many sects. Its various sects were overrun by hideous customs, and Hinduism had become confusing to Indians and an object of contempt to foreigners. Over time, this eternal religion had been debased, but Sri Ramakrishna incorporated its universal and eternal aspects in his own life to become a living example of the eternal religion, which he lived before all for the good of humanity.”
Swamiji never wanted to create a new sect in the name of Sri Ramakrishna. He made it clear when he proclaimed: “The impulse is constantly coming nowadays to my mind to do this and to do that, to scatter broadcast on earth the message of Sri Ramakrishna and so on. But I pause again to reflect, lest all this give rise to another sect in India.” He asserted, “As for me, I again repeat–I form no sect, nor organization–I know very little and that little I teach without reserve.” He emphatically declared, “I haven’t been born to found one more sect in a world already teeming with sects.” Swamiji had clearly realized that the various reform movements that sprang up in the name of various reformers and new Sampradayas achieved no purpose other than disintegrating the Hindu society. Therefore he categorically declared, “Again, a piece of wood can only easily be cut along the grain. So the old Hinduism can only be reformed through Hinduism, and not through the new-fangled reform movements.”
Swamiji’s plan of action was to restore once again the most ancient ideal of worship of Motherland. Nethaji Subhas Chandra Bose quotes Sister Nivedita on Swami Vivekananda: “The queen of his adoration was his motherland. There was not a cry within her shores that did not find in him a responsive echo.” Swamiji thundered, “If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed Punya Bhoomi, to be the land to which souls on this earth must come to account for Karma, the land to which every soul that is wending its way Godward must come to attain its home, the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness, above all, the land of introspection and of spirituality – it is India.” Swami Vivekananda said: “I was asked by an English friend on the eve of my departure, ‘Swami, how do you like now your motherland after four years’ experience of the luxurious, glorious, powerful West?’ I could only answer, ‘India I loved before I came away. Now the very dust of India has become holy to me, the very air is now to me holy; it is now the holy land, the place of pilgrimage, the Tirtha’.”
His illustrious disciple, Sister Nivedita, was embodiment of the spirit of patriotism that the Swamiji upheld and she declared: “Age succeeds age in India, and even the voice of the Mother calls upon Her children to worship Her with new offerings, with renewal of their own greatness. Today she cries for the offering of nationality. Today she asks, as a household Mother of the strong men whom she has borne and bred, that we show to Her, not gentleness and submission, but manly strength and invincible might.” Her patriotic colleague in India’s freedom struggle, Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo echoed: “Nationalism is a religion that has come from God.” Swami Rama Tirtha, who was inspired by Swami Vivekananda and followed his footsteps asks, “Is it not high time now to deify the entire Motherland and let every partial manifestation inspire us with devotion to the whole? Through praana pratishthaa the Hindus endow with flesh and blood the effigy of Durga. Is it not worthwhile to call forth the inherent glory and evoke fire and life in the more real Durga of Mother India?” And Sir John Woodroffe, the renowned Western exponent of Tantra Shastra, reminds the Indian people that “They will gain power (shakti) to uphold their race and will receive all their desires if they serve their country in the belief that service (seva) of Shri Bharata is worship (seva) of the Maha Shakti. Shri Bhagavati who, though appearing in one of her forms as Bharata Shakti is not merely a Devi of the Hindus but their name for the one Mother of the World.”
Sri Aurobindo heard God’s voice speaking to him, “I am raising up this nation to send forth my word. When you go forth, speak to your nation always this word, that it is for the Sanatana Dharma that they arise, it is for the world and not for themselves that they arise. I am giving them freedom for the service of the world.” As Sri Aurobindo envisaged in his scheme of Bhavaani Mandir, “We have to create an order of dedicated missionaries who are prepared to offer their everything at the altar of the Mother. And what will be the work of these missionaries?” Sister Nivedita delineates their task: “Let the missionary travel with the magic lantern, with collections of post cards, with a map of India and with head and heart full of ballads, stories and geographical descriptions. Let him gather together the women, let him gather together the villagers, let him entertain them in the garden, in the courtyard, in the verandas, beside the well, and under the village tree with stories and songs and descriptions of India! India! India!”
Akshaya Triteeya, the auspicious day for the worship of the Divine Mother Sri Bharatamata, falling on Vasishaka Shukla Triteeya, every year must be celebrated in all Hindu institutions all over the country and abroad as the day to celebrate the worship of Sri Bharatabhavani. Temples, ashrams, mutts and religious congregations where the image or idol of Sri Bharata Bhavani is not installed and worshipped are all non-Hindu or Mlechha institutions and true Hindus must ignore them as useless tinsels. Sri Guruji Golwalkar gives his clarion call: “Devotion to Motherland of the intense, dynamic, uncompromising and fiery type is the life-breath of a free, prosperous and glorious national existence on the face of the earth. And we, the Hindus, are the inheritors of the most sublime devotion of the Motherland. Let those ancient embers of devotion lying dormant in every Hindu heart be fanned and joined in a sacred conflagration which shall consume all the past aggressions on our motherland and bring to life the dreams of Bharata Mata reinstated in her pristine undivided form.”
Sri Bharatamta Mandir at Srinivasanagar in Krishnarajapuram of Bangalore is a sacred abode where Sri Bharatamata is installed as Bharata Bhavani with Chandi Homa, pooja and abhisheka etc, and the Prana Pratishtha of the temple was attended by H.H. Sri Vishwesha Teertha of Udipi Pejawar Mutt on December 8, 2004. The devotees of the temple celebrate the Akshaya Triteeya as the day auspicious for the worship of Sri Bharata Mata with Bharata Chandi Homa, Abhisheka, Pooja etc., and the mothers and sisters offer Pongala to the Divine Mother.
— Sadhu Prof. V. Rangarajan
[Founder Trustee, Sri Bharatamata Mandir, Krishnarajapuram, Bangalore 560 036]