Many years back, when I was engaged in a research programme on maritime archaeology, I remember coming across a quote in the Bible about two most beautiful sights on earth. One of them was spiritually connected to the inquiry I was into: a lonely boat in a vast ocean, and the other, a mother with her child on her lap. Both are beauties deeply aligned with nature, which to some also refer as the ‘forms of god’.
For quite some time, I have been going through a few hours of silence every day. This is perhaps the most beautiful moment of my life allowing me to reflect on my past memories. One of these reflections has been on my personal encounter with a mother and her eight odd year son, a few years back in the Khadia locality of Old Ahmedabad. The occasion was Janmasthami, the Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. I was wandering in the neighbourhood of Dwarakadheesh Math (Haveli Temple) with my camera. I had no agenda; just wanted to observe the celebration.
The three hundred years old Dwarakadheesh Temple in Boua Ni Pol is a holy place for the members of the Vaishnava Sect practicing Pusthi Marg, a system of worship that worships Lord Krishna. The temple is an architectural marvel and aesthetic wonder, thanks to the initiatives of its restorers, who have painstakingly worked for its restoration, which was partly damaged in the year 2001 earthquake. And in the year 2008, the context of this story, the temple had re-emerged as a hub for the Janmasthami celebration.
My curiosity had dragged me to the temple complex, where the temple of Krishna stands with an attached goshala (cattle pan). There were scores of kids spanning ages 3 and 12, all draped in attires akin to child Krishna, and their lovable mothers. The sight was a mix of spiritual and merrymaking scene filled with myriad colours and flavours. I was perhaps the only stranger in the midst of a deeply connected community. But no one treated me as a stranger. Soon I was made one of them. As the festivity grew more intense, the dividing line between me and the others appeared blurred.
As we were all deeply engrossed in the merrymaking, I saw one woman walking towards me and asking for a favour. The woman was the mother of her 8/9 years old son, who was beside her, draped in a silk dhoti, uttariya (a piece of dress, scarf-like descending from the back to the neck to curl around both arms), a peacock feather glued to his hairs and holding a bansuri (flute), akin to child Krishna. The bond between the two souls had turned into a divine form that was pure and honest. It appeared to me as if I was having a darshan (glimpses) of Krishna in human form in the 21st century and his beloved mother, Yasoda. The request was to capture the moment through the camera I was holding. I agreed to it and tried to capture the moment using the best of my photographic skill.
Years later, when I encountered Guru with his mother at Loving Centre and heard Meghna about her transformation after attaining motherhood in the recently concluded retreat on giftism at Sugad, arranged by Moved by Love, I flashed back the event of 2008 Janmasthami. Truly the relation between mothers of all likes and their children are sacred and there is an invisible beauty in it. For an Indian mother, Krishna is the ultimate form of beauty, divine and at the same time the truest form of childhood, loving yet restless. It is perhaps the same for the mothers of the other parts of the world, where Jesus replaces Krishna. And now I realize how the second quote from the Bible rightly justifies its words.