As I was writing this post- जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी l , on my other blog, I began to think about how it is, that addressing our country- Janmabhoomi– as our Matrubhoomi, is so integral a part of our culture.

Even before a child is born, when still in the mother’s womb, a bond is created between the child and his mother. She gives the child nourishment, both physical and mental, and helps him mature and evolve. The child in turn, trusts her and reveres her.

Later, this type of bond is also created with his father, other members of the family, teachers, etc.  As the child’s horizons begin to widen, he begins to realize that there are more things worthy of reverence.

In our literature of earlier times, rivers are addressed as mother, the cow is addressed as mother, because they too, give nourishment.

And finally, our nation is addressed as our mother, because our motherland nourishes and protects all her children.

It is said in the Vedas – माता भूमिः पुत्रोऽहम् पृथिव्याः 

[The earth is my mother, I am her child.]

What exactly is this motherland- this Matrubhoomi-of ours?

Only the earth beneath our feet? The crops which grow in the soil and feed us? The natural resources buried deep in the ground? The rivers which give us life-sustaining water?

The majestic Himalayan, Vindhya and Sahyadri mountain ranges which inspire awe in us? The forests which give us Sandalwood, Teakwood, medicinal plants, and a wide variety of fruits ? Animals and birds of a multitude of varieties?

The places of pilgrimage, from Rameshwar to Kashi? Somnath and Omkareshwar and Konark? Guruwayur and Tirupati? Where the people of this land have been praying for thousands of years?

Our Motherland is all these and more, too.

Most important- our Motherland is the people living in this land.

From Kanyakumari to the Himalayas, From the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea, there are people speaking different languages, following different ways of worship, living different lifestyles.

Some live in the cities, some in the villages, some in the hilly regions. All are children of our motherland.

There is a verse in the Taittariya Upanishad which says-

Matru devo bhava, Pitru devo bhava, Acharya devo bhava, Atithi devo bhava

One should worship Mother, Father, Teacher and Guests as God- meaning that one should fulfill their duty towards them.

To show our regard for our motherland-whom we revere as our mother- we declare-

“Vande Mataram!”

We do not mean that we revere only the piece of land that is our country-  we revere all of the above, which taken together make up our motherland.

And we vow to fulfill our Dharma– our duty- towards our Matrubhoomi.

Vande Mataram!