The most beautiful word in any language is mother and its equivalents. Because the word mother not only epitomises and encapsulates all that’s lovely and beautiful in this world, but also the most divine in the whole universe

— John Stuart Mill, English philosopher

Indeed, ‘mother’, or its equivalents, is the most beautiful word in any language. It evokes a spectrum of emotions and a gamut of feelings in the heart of even the most ruthless individual. It moves even insensate mountains. This very quality of selflessly loving of her offspring elevates a mother and places her on the highest pedestal of veneration. “Putra Kuputra Bhaye / Mata Kumata na Hoye” (A son may go awry but a mother cannot become anything other than a mother).

The umbilical bond between a child and his or her mother is much stronger than that of man’s love for god. Because god cannot be everywhere, he created mother. Even divine love is measured with respect to mother’s love. The Koran states that Allah has in his heart, the love of 70 mothers. Without getting into the hair-splitting comparisons, it can be aptly said that mother’s love is boundless because she carries her child in her womb for nine months. It creates a bond that is peerless in the spectrum of human relationships and emotions. The way a mother relates to her child, a father cannot. Emotionally as well as affectionately, the father forever remains on the fringe but a mother instantaneously takes centre stage and the core of closeness. There are two reasons for this. The first is a mother’s inestimable love (for her child) and the second is that mother is a woman, so she has to be always emotionally superior to father, a man. A mother understands even her child’s smallest need; it’s an uncanny trait. A mother is always telepathically bound with her offspring.

In the Mahabharata, Gandhari shuddered and had a premonition of the death of her 100 sons in the battle of Kurukshetra, whereas the blind Dhritarashtra required Sanjaya to know that his sons were regularly dying in the battlefield. Even Duryodhana, who was so close to his father, wanted to meet his mother, not his father, before dying. And Gandhari also came to know of her wayward son’s violent end much before his one-to-one fight with Bhima.

This underscores the depth of love and affection between a mother and her child.

Edward Gibbon wrote poignantly of how the Roman emperor Nero’s hands shook before he killed his scheming mother, Agrippina the Younger. Even a man like Nero, whom British historian Sir Arnold Toynbee called “cruelty personified,” thought twice before killing his mother.

This love transcends the entire canvas of closeness between two individuals or two creatures. No other relationship is so poignantly interwoven as that of a mother and child. Mother is a glimpse of heaven on earth. To quote the original Persian couplet, Agar Firdaus “war-rue saminast/Haminast, haminast, haminast (If there’s a heaven anywhere on earth, it’s here, here, here).” And after paraphrasing it, “Agar Khuda war-rue zaminast/Haminast, Haminast, Haminast (If there’s god anywhere on earth, it’s here, it's here, it’s here).”

No language in the world has enough and the most apposite superlatives to articulate a mother’s unconditional love for her child. It’s something that needs to be felt and experienced from inside, not described from outside.

sumitmaclean@hotmail. com

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