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Do mythological shows undermine a father's love?

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..RamKiJanaki..

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Posted: 14 January 2012 at 7:07pm | IP Logged
Hey Guys,
 
Anyway, I was watching BRC's Vishnu Puraan today (the episode where Sukracharya does tapasya to Shivji for the Sanjeevan vidya) and in it, Lakshmi and Vishnu were having a conversation about a mother's love (based off of Sukracharya's mother). I was kind of shocked, because Lakshmi Ma herself said that a mother's love is so great that it even surpasses a father's love for a child, and that though a child does share characteristics of a father, it belongs more to the mother because it is an expansion of the mother, and only a mother can understand a child's pain and suffering.ErmmThumbs Down
 
I know our scriptures hail a mother's love, but they do not undermine a father's, do they? I've never read anywhere before that a mother's love is greater than a father's (aren't they considered equal?), and not only BRC's Vishnu Puraan, but even in RSK, during discourses between Rukmini and Krishna, have that quite often. I don't remember whether BRC's MB or JSK had it, but to my understanding RSR and ASR didn't have that wrong message (correct me if I'm mistaken or forgot a scene).
 
I don't know...I guess I found it a bit offensive for the serial having Lakshmi Ma's character herself saying that, because she's directly insulting her Lord, Bhagwaan Shri Vishnu, who is the father of the world just like she is its mother. If some other character said it, it wouldn't disturb me so much, but there's so much weight and importance in the dialogue of Lakshmi and Vishnu that script writers of a mytho show/movie really should be careful what kind of lines they give them.
 
Is it just me, or do mythological serials tend to over-emphasize a mother's love and often underestimate that of a father's? 
 
What are your thoughts on this?
 
-Janu


Edited by JanakiRaghunath - 14 January 2012 at 7:16pm

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Posted: 14 January 2012 at 9:17pm | IP Logged
Well I would have to say yes and no.

In the mythos, the mother is portrayed as a loving and sometimes overly possesive character who is willing to do anything for her child, to even cross all the limits of prudency. Take Gandhari for example. She cursed Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead himself, after witnessing the death of her sons. The father on the other hand, loves his children very much, but is more prudent and conscious of his duty.

In both SK and JSK, they showed Devaki and Yashoda to be more affected by the thought of losing Krishna than Vasudev or Nand. It was Vasudev who would hand over the children to Kans while Devaki would weep. And even during the Dwarka scenes, it was Devaki who had begged to have her lost children back. That doesn't mean that Nand or Vasudev didn't love Krishna. Of course they loved him! He is called Nandlaal, the darling son of Nand. It's just that Devaki and Yashoda were more overcome by "moha" the emotional aspect of love.

But I agree with you. It was incorrect to undermine Shri Vishnu, the jagatpita, like that. One cannot say that he is unattached to his bhakts, his children. He is, after all, Deenanath and Bhaktvatsal.



Edited by AishuJSKfan - 14 January 2012 at 10:32pm

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Posted: 15 January 2012 at 6:28am | IP Logged
Originally posted by AishuJSKfan

Well I would have to say yes and no.

In the mythos, the mother is portrayed as a loving and sometimes overly possesive character who is willing to do anything for her child, to even cross all the limits of prudency. Take Gandhari for example. She cursed Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead himself, after witnessing the death of her sons. The father on the other hand, loves his children very much, but is more prudent and conscious of his duty.

In both SK and JSK, they showed Devaki and Yashoda to be more affected by the thought of losing Krishna than Vasudev or Nand. It was Vasudev who would hand over the children to Kans while Devaki would weep. And even during the Dwarka scenes, it was Devaki who had begged to have her lost children back. That doesn't mean that Nand or Vasudev didn't love Krishna. Of course they loved him! He is called Nandlaal, the darling son of Nand. It's just that Devaki and Yashoda were more overcome by "moha" the emotional aspect of love.

But I agree with you. It was incorrect to undermine Shri Vishnu, the jagatpita, like that. One cannot say that he is unattached to his bhakts, his children. He is, after all, Deenanath and Bhaktvatsal.

 
Nice reply, Aishu, I agree with you!
 
Yes, I acknowledge the fact that a mother may be the more emotional person in parents, but that's not wrong because like you said, it doesn't mean the father doesn't love the child, he just hides his pain to comfort his wife.
 
I'm not talking about a mother being over-exalted in our scriptures, but mytho shows. While I do love all the mother-son or mother-daughter scenes in our mytho shows, I often crave for the father-centered ones, which are rare if you know what I mean. How many times do we see Nand holding baby Krishna compared to Yashoda? In fact, he's barely in the show compared to Yashoda Maiyya.
 
But even al these are insignificant to the insulting dialogue we sometimes hear, like Lakshmi's in BRC's Vishnu Puraan. Words speak more than actions, and often we can ignore the actions because we know a mother and father are equal in a child's life, but when a mother (or father) verbally declares that a mother's love is greater, I get really offended because that's not true. My mom and dad both love me equally, and even in families where only one of the parent cares for the child, it could be a father just as much a mother, we can't really make delcarations like that, you know? That's why I wish the script writer of Vishnu Puraan had been more careful before making Lakshmi Ma herself say that.

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Posted: 15 January 2012 at 6:57am | IP Logged
Very very nice thread Chelli.

Let me give my personal theory first here.

According to me, personality of Supreme God is Ardhanaarishwar with half part of male and half part of female.

As per Swaroday shaastra (Naadi vigyaan), we all have subtle bodies (sookshma sharir) apart from our gross bodies (sthool sharir). The subtle bodies of all of us are Ardhanaarishwar bodies. Our left part is of female (Idaa naadi/Chandra naadi) and right part is of male (Pingalaa naadi/Surya naadi). In the center (spinal), Sushumnaa naadi is placed joining all 7 Chakras. These 3 are major naadis out of 72000 naadis with only 14 of them recognized which connect our various parts of the body and various systems. These naadis and chakras are part of our subtle body of course and not gross bodies so they can't be seen by surgery obviously like our physical organs. To see any subtle element or aura or divine bodies, one needs to have subtle eyes or divya drashti. In short, we all are partly female and partly male but only biologically we are of a particular gender depending upon predominance of nature or guna when we take birth.

Conceptually I look at this like this. Whenever we are emotional (and emotions can be positive or negative - Love or Hatred), our feelings are generated from our female part and whenever we are rational (and rational aims can be positive or negative - Justice or Material wealth), our male is active. Male is logical and female is faithful. That's why possibly Gopis were sages to gain the right knowledge (right object to devote to - proper direction given to mind with flexibility of thoughts with intellectually open mind) and became Gopis eventually to establish rigidity or solidity or determination in their faith on identified object or form of God to love.

Now coming to Dwait-Adwait concepts of SK.

Radha: Don't you love anybody?
Krishna: No.
Radha: Why? Nobody deserves your love?
Krishna: Look Radha. In order to love, you need someone else. When I can't see others as others different from me, how can I love them? How can I love myself when I see myself in you and everone?

So there is difference in their way of looking. Radha has the theory of duality (Like Hanumanji, Lakshman, Bharat) and she loves Krishna because she sees Krishna as different from her and despite ever eligible of mukti, she wants only this duality eternally in tact to feel the pain & pleasure of that love. Krishna has the vision of equality and understanding.


Relating the above theory with your topic of father & mother, both would love their child but there will be difference in approaches. Mother's care will be in the nature of worry more about child's physical safety and happiness. Father's care will be in the nature of worry more about child's abilities and virtues or virtuous aims. Mother will understand more child's pains & sorrows. Father will understand more child's philosophies, thoughts & aims. So saying that mother's love is greater than father's love will be unfair but saying that mother's expression of feelings for child's material happiness and protection will be more than father is fair because father will be constantly looking at child's fame and achievements and not at his/her struggle for it. Mother worries about outcomes in child's life. Father worries about the foundation of those outcomes laid down in child's life. Mother takes pain of child. Father prepares child to fight with the pain. Like we don't care to suffer pains in order to achieve our aims, father understands us and can tolerate our pains but feels more proud and happy to see us achieving our aims. Mother doesn't look at our sense of duty but takes on her (absorbs) the negative fruits of our past actions. She doesn't care how good we are for others but wants others to be good with us and if we are not good, she absorbs the outcomes of our wrong actions to protect us. Now when I say mother, I don't mean mother but mother element. Similarly father element, not father. There is father in every mother (like Devaki ordering Akrur to bring Krishna to Mathura to sacrifice son for husband and to ensure the duty fulfilled) and mother in every father (like tender Vasudev getting excited to get the news from Garg that his 8th child is still alive).

Well the mytho shows do seem to glorify mother in many scenes when it comes to comparison with Father or Guru or even God - Like Vashisth after Gurukul episodes telling RLBS the glory of mother, Garg glorifying Devaki while taking from her the two baby shirts, Krishna discussing with Radha in Golok when Devaki is singing lullaby and is able to see the baby but Vasudev is not able to see...and so on. When it comes to subjective comparison when it leads to degrade father, guru or God, I don't like such glorifying scenes at all (because emotionally I have more attachment with my father than my mother and also more attachment with God than any relative and because intellectually I believe that Father-Mother-Guru all are our closest menifestations of God - God can come in them and can empathize our philosophy, empathize our pain and guide us in life respectively - and also all these 3 elements are there in all three of them - parents can be our Guru and Guru can be our father-mother - and God can take any form for us and assume any role) but that is the general mentality of people that mother is the greatest (because that is the karunaavatsal form of God). I would therefore like to ignore the comparing part (superlative part) of above glorification and would like to look just at absolute and objective part of it. It is glorification of mother entity of the universe (call it Amba, call it Parvati, call it Radha, call it Sita or call it DAYAALU KARUNAANIDHI Ram, call it BHAKTVATSAL Krishna, call it BHOLE Shankar or whatever). All are mother qualities of God. Api chetsu duraachaaro bhajate maam ananyabhaak; Api chedasi paapebhyah sarvebhyah paap krittamah; Aham tvaa sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shuchah. It is the mother entity speaking these verses of Geeta. Mother won't see virtues and vices of children but will only see their genuine love and true surrendership. It is the ENTITY which is glorified rather than a gender or a type of relation. A virtue or guna of Sagun form of Nirgun Brahm. We can say it is the DWAIT theory which is glorified again and again over ADWAIT theory (As in the dialog/quote "Sagunopaasak moksha na lehi"). In absolute sense, mythos even glorify father - or Adwait approach (though never relatively calling better than mother perhaps) like Ram ready to sacrifice anything for Dashrath, Ram preaching Lakshman when Lakshman was ready to lift the weapon on Dashrath, Bhishma's character, Indrajeet's character. So, summarizing my reply to your question - yes, mytho shows have relatively glorified motherhood relationship possibly to reflect the mentality of mass only but we need to look objectively at it as female GUNAS in any biological gender and not as RELATIONS or PERSONAL INDIVIDUAL ROLES. We do see fathers who are tender and mothers who are strict (again for children's good only) but it is the tenderness (rather than mother) which is glorified to be superior as compared to strictness (rather than father) over here IMO which again is not really necessary to be in the form of comparison to degrade the other strict approach.

P.S.(unrelated to the thread)

Alternatively, instead of Male-Female, DWAIT concept can also be looked at as two elements of Supreme - Lord & devotee. Ram & Hanuman. Lordship & Surrendership. When we are in action and realizing self and knowledge, and rescue someone seeking our shelter, that's Lord element in us; and when we surrender ourselves and trust HIS powers, that's surrendership element in us. When Hanuman worships Ram, he is his devotee. When Hanuman rescues Ram from the trouble when Ram surrenders to him, he performs the role of lord himself becoming active for rescuing function. Such is the beautiful relation of HariHar. Nothing related to our topic (this last para) but just completing the incomplete interpretation of mine about Dwait concept which I used to reply here above in the thread.


Edited by ShivangBuch - 17 January 2012 at 5:13am

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Posted: 15 January 2012 at 9:06am | IP Logged
For me both mother and father hold equal importance in life
And a child is as dear to his/her father as to a mother.

Father being a man would not express his emotions that openly as a mother does, but believe me, he can feel the pain of a child just the way mother can. It's that majority men love to be practical  then emotional.

But when their child is in question even a father cannot hold his emotions.

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Posted: 15 January 2012 at 9:14am | IP Logged
mother and father are definitely equal !! well, i don't know too many mytho shows since i have only seen old and new ramayan, but showing mother as greater than father is definitely wrong! both love child equally and both also feel equal pain when the child is in danger !! i just think mothers show more emotion and fathers hide their emotion, but that doesn't make mothers greater.Embarrassed

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Posted: 21 January 2012 at 8:24pm | IP Logged
I second Shivang bhaiya's post - it's just representative of the "male" and "female" qualities that our scriptures tell us are within each individual. In fact, most of the shows do a very good job of clarifying that they're not trying to say ALL mothers are one way and ALL fathers are another.

For example, there's the scene right in the beginning of RSR that shows Kaikeyi telling Dashrath just that after the four princes head off to Gurukul, that as a father, he can't fathom the pain and anxiety she was experiencing in the absence of her sons. That affects Dashrath deeply and he goes to Kaushalya to ascertain whether or not Kaikeyi was right, whether he was being as dry and uncaring as she suggested and has no idea about a mother's love. Kaushalya says of course that isn't true; it's natural for Kaikeyi to feel emotional just as it is for him to want to push his sons towards the right goals and see them succeed - even if it means suppressing his own emotions so that he can handle the process - such is the greatness of a father's love. On a superficial level it may seem as if she is confirming the stereotype, but the fact that SHE is saying it proves that there is that sort of understanding in her as well. And the fact that the scene ends in Dashrath asking her to give him some of her strength and understanding because he is restless without his son tells us that HE too has some those qualities attributed to motherhood.

Later, in Ayodhya Kand, we see Dashrath further demonstrating that empathy and protectiveness, while Sumitra is the epitome of those attributes of fatherly love - emotional stability, understanding, and a goal-oriented outlook in that she saw this as an opportunity for her sons to be of service and prove their worth rather than a time of distress for them. During Bharat Milaap, she asks Sita if Lakshman has been serving them well enough, and when Sita praises him, what she says is to the effect of "now I can hold my head up high".
That's not a lack of love compared to Kaushalya's worry for Ram; it's just a different form of love. Another Ayodhya Kand example is Vashisht's eulogy of Dashrath after he passes away - he says "the world has always sung the greatness of motherly love; now, you have set an example because of which a father's love, too, will be glorified for all eternity".

SK gives plenty of moments in which a father is shown expressing the sort of worry or affection otherwise attributed to mothers. When VD have to give up Kirtimaan and she accuses him of not being able to understand what it would do to her, he says that "if you think that this isn't breaking me apart too, you are gravely mistaken", indicating that whether or not he's expressing it the same way, the love is there. When Nand Baba reminisces over the cherished moments with Krishna while returning to Gokul after Kans Vadh, the song we hear and the behavior we see is full of the characteristics of associated with motherly love.

While there are some dialogs that do specifically honor a mother's love (e.g. Garg-Devaki before Krishna's naming ceremony, Vashisht-Kaushalya-Kaikeyi-Sumitra after the boys return from Gurukul), they are a reflection of cultural conceptions. It's a societal thing. Thus, they are not particular to just mythos. The tragic anthem of patriotism from the '80s movie Naam that I often quote on sigs, "Chitthi aayi hai", has the line "main to baap hoon; mera kya hai? teri maa ka haal bura hai." The song is set up as a letter from a father to a son who has left his whole family back in India to go earn money abroad, and the father is telling him how that has devastated everyone; the line I quoted means, "I'm just your dad, (don't worry about me) - your mom is the one who's really in a bad shape."  One of my favorite contemporary films, Wake up Sid, shows a father and son who don't talk to each other or see each other for a while because of a fight, but the mom can't control herself due to love for her son and secretly goes to check up on him and send him his favorite fruit when he isn't home. Not even just Indian stuff - watch any episode of Law and Order that focuses on child abuse or neglect, and they'll always suspect the father before the mother... and if the mother ever becomes a suspect, someone on the unit wil,l without fail, say something like "why would a mother ever do that to her child?" as if a father doing it is so much more plausible. So, yeah, what you've observed and not approved of is not a peculiarity or injustice on part of mytho shows but a long-standing social construct that they once in a while just happen to incorporate.

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Posted: 22 January 2012 at 6:18am | IP Logged
Originally posted by lola610

watch any episode of Law and Order that focuses on child abuse or neglect, and they'll always suspect the father before the mother... and if the mother ever becomes a suspect, someone on the unit wil,l without fail, say something like "why would a mother ever do that to her child?" as if a father doing it is so much more plausible.
 
This is exactly what annoys me to no end! It's not that I don't like seeing a mother eulogized. Why would I, being a woman myself? But I like to see both the mother and father given equal importance since I know (due to my parents) that both love and care for the child equally, just in their own ways. It's this societal preference for mothers over fathers which bothers me, because I really feel bad for all those loving and caring fathers out there who will always be secondary in the eyes of society compared to mothers. It's not fair that fathers are suspected first in crimes against children. Isn't a woman capable of doing wrong things, she too being human? But we can't change society and I understand that. I just wish mythological shows would take a more mature outlook on this at times.
 
The scenes you described above in RSR and RSK I do not have any problem with, because they don't insult a father's love. The one in BRC's Vishnu Puraan was the one I have a problem with. It had Lakshmi explicity telling Vishnu that he wouldn't understand a mother's pain because a mother's love and position in a child's life is greater than that of a father's, and Vishnu moreover agreeing with her instead of trying to explain how he too loves his children equally.Confused I think that's the major scene I have a problem with. Everything else is fine.
 
Btw, will reply to yours and Shivang's posts in detail soon. I really love both your explanations.Embarrassed

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