tvameva maataa ca pitaa tvameva
tvameva bandhu sca sakhaa tvameva
tvameva vidyaa dravinam tvameva
tvameva sarvam mama deva devaa
This is a popular Hindu prayer, which is Universal like most Hindu prayers.
A self-centered worldly man thinks that his mother, father, relatives, friends, knowledge and wealth are all for his own use. He wants to have them under his control and wants them to be at his disposal, to fulfill his whims and fancies. Looking at it superficially, it might not appear so. But on questioning deeply, this expectation can be discovered. Obvious to others, but unfortunately not obvious to himself, this control is never going to be achievable. This is an unreasonable and impossible expectation. This results in various conflicts in life.
Hinduism proposes two attitudes. Both these attitudes can be read as meanings of the above prayer.
One of the core tenets of Hinduism is that it is God alone that appears as this world and the living beings in it. There is nothing apart from God. There is nothing other than God. God alone is. The Veda says, “ekam eva adviteeyam” – “There is only One, not even a second.” (Chandogya Upanishad, 6.2.2) Bhagavad Gita says, “mattah parataram naanyat kinchit asti” – “There is nothing at all beyond or apart from Me (God).” (Bhagavad Gita, 7.7) Sri Ramakrishna says, “There exists only One, and not two. It is Satchidananda alone that has taken all these various forms; He alone has become the world and its living beings.” (Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, p.746) This is one of the meanings of this prayer.
Oh Lord !!! It is You who plays the role as my mother. It is You who appears as my father. You alone are present around me as my relatives and my friends. You have manifested as the knowledge of various kinds. You have manifested as wealth. You alone are everything here. You are the Lord over all natural phenomenon.
Complete emotional independence from everything is called moksha. Bhagavad Gita says, “na anusochanti panditaah” – “The wise man does not have any grief.” (Bhagavad Gita, 2.11) That is the goal of life. We do not depend upon the external people, objects and situations for our security, happiness and peace. External things can never give us absolute unconditional security, happiness and peace. These three are intrinsic to us. It is our real inherent nature to have the sense of security, happiness and peace, unconditionally. Bhagavad Gita says, “aatmani eva aatmanaa tushthati” – “The wise man is completely satisfied within himself” (Bhagavad Gita, 2.55) We only have to discover it. When we have discovered it and owned it up, we would be free from the psychological defects like lust, anger, greed, infatuation, arrogance and jealousy. Bhagavad Gita says, “veeta raaga bhaya krodhah” – “The wise man is free from desire, fear and anger.” (Bhagavad Gita, 2.56) There are other verses with more of the list. This freedom is the goal.
We need to reach the goal step by step. The first step is to see the Lord in everything, which was implied by the first meaning of the prayer. When we see that it is God alone who has become everything, our attitude towards the world will be of reverential service.
The second step is to see everything in the Lord, which is implied by the second meaning of the prayer.
Oh Lord !!! I do not depend on anything in this world. You are my real mother. You are my real father. You are my only eternal relationship. You are my real friend. Knowledge about You is real Knowledge. You are the only permanent wealth worth seeking. You are everything to me. You are the light of lights, pure Consciousness, the Essence of Life and Being.
Seeing a magnificent palace, if someone asks, who built the palace, no one tells the name of the brick layer. It is the name of the king or the architect that is always mentioned. Similarly, the Lord is our real mother and father. It is the Lord who has brought us forth and takes care of us through our earthly mother and father. It is the Lord who gave us this mother and father. Bhagavad Gita says, “pitaa aham asya jagato maataa daataa pitaamahah” – “I (God) am the father, mother, sustainer and grand father of this Universe.” (Bhagavad Gita, 9.17) It is the Lord who has sown the feeling of parenthood in them. It is the Lord’s feeling of parenthood that reflects in the heart of all parents – human and animal. One popular Hindu prayer says, “yaa devi sarva bhuteshu maatru roopena samstithaa namastasyayi” – “I bow down to that Universal Mother who exists as the motherhood in all mothers of every species.” (Devi Mahaatmyam)
Thus the devotee gets all his emotional needs of security, happiness and peace fulfilled through his relationship with the Lord. This makes him completely free from any expectation from the people, objects and situations in the world. This frees him from the psychological defects mentioned before.
When serving the living beings in the world, he assumes the first attitude and sees the Lord in everyone and everything. When facing situations in the world, he assumes the second attitude and does not expect anything from the world.
With these two frames of mind, he serves the people of the world with compassion and dispassion. He does not seek anything for himself from the external world and its people. His emotional needs are already more than fulfilled through his relationship with the Lord within. His life on earth is a sport with no selfish agenda. This is the freedom that is called moksha. The person who moves about with this freedom is called the jivanmukta – one who is free while living. This freedom is the goal of life. Everything else is preparation for it.