For many families in the west, Mother’s Day is about visiting their mothers with gifts of flowers, perfume or chocolates, or simply sending a card. The London Balika Mandal, however, celebrated the day in a uniquely inspirational way. On Sunday 18 March 2007, at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden (London), over 300 mothers and daughters gathered to celebrate Mother’s Day as ‘Matru-Devo Bhava’ – a colourful cultural event centred on the Vedic sentiments of revering one’s mother as one reveres God.
The programme started at 11am in the Mandir Haveli in front of a beautifully decorated stage. After being introduced to the ‘Matru-Devo Bhava’ theme and its significance in today’s estranged family setup, everyone enjoyed a touching presentation about a mother’s love for her young child.
This was followed by a moving play about a teenage girl’s demands for more freedom from her mother and the ensuing friction between both. Only after a guardian angel reminds the girl of her past – a past of being ungrateful and spiteful towards her mother – and then brings her back to the present, does the teenager understand her mother’s intentions to protect her from harmful worldly influences. The play ended with the young girl being transported to the future where she, too, is a mother and has to face the responsibilities of motherhood herself. The play creatively highlighted Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s message of love, mutual trust and effective communication as essential tools in a successful parent-child relationship.
The programme concluded with young balikas conducting a special Vedic ceremony. The ritual served as a prayer for mothers and daughters to strengthen the loving bond between each other, and also to pray for Swamishri’s good health. Everyone departed after being treated to a delicious lunch. For both mothers and daughters, it had been an enjoyable and inspirational day.
A similarly themed event was also celebrated by the Leicester Balika Mandal at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Leicester, where 170 mothers and daughters also enjoyed a colourful and inspirational programme.