I would like women to attain to motherhood. But to have to give birth to children for that attainment is absolutely unnecessary. Yes, to feel every child as your own child is certainly an inevitable necessity for that attainment. It is necessary to let go of jealousy, animosity, envy, to attain to motherhood. And then in our country where there are already so many children without mothers, any woman wanting to give birth to her own child to experience motherhood will never really have it. Where so many children are crying as orphans in search of a mother, to be trapped in the mere idea that the child should be born through your own body? Holding on to such a petty view, no woman can attain to that exalted state of motherhood.
When there are so many children suffering as orphans, there is no need to give birth to a child. Make these children your own. In adopting them, in making them your own, that gap called “mine” and “not mine” will disappear. In making them your own, the petty emotions of jealousy, envy and animosity will disappear. And the bliss that will be attained by raising them, in seeing them grow and blossom, cannot be attained by watching your own children becoming thieves, becoming dishonest, becoming beggars, rotting inside jails.
Motherhood has nothing to do with biology; hence, except for humans, no animal can attain to motherhood. Every female can become a mother but the possibility of motherhood is available only to woman. And that opportunity is available everywhere.
The first thing: motherhood has nothing to do with the physical, biological birth. Rather, it has to do with a spiritual love, a feeling. The moment you make someone your own, as if you have given birth to them yourself… And what is the difference? Who has given birth to a child makes no difference at all.
So there are many opportunities for motherhood. If so many orphans can find mothers, there will remain no need for people like Mother Theresa, who are exploiting these children. And these orphans are being adopted by Catholic families while the women of India are busy experiencing motherhood through giving birth to their own children!
The second thing: it is true that a woman’s fulfillment is in her becoming a mother. Hence, when I started initiating people into sannyas, for men there was the traditional word swami for their name, but for women there was none. For thousands of years women have been suppressed so badly, destroyed so badly in India, that they have never been given the opportunity to be initiated into sannyas. So there was no word for them. After great consideration I accepted the word ma, the mother, because it is in motherhood that her fulfillment lies. But this fulfillment of a mother is in the experience of your love becoming so exalted that everyone in this whole world becomes your child – even your husband. And this is how the blessing of the sages of the Upanishads goes as well.
Whenever a couple approached the sages of the Upanishads for a blessing, the sages used to bestow a very unique blessing found nowhere else in any other scripture of the world. The sage would say, “Oh young woman, may you become a mother of ten children and finally may your husband become your eleventh child. Until this happens, understand that life’s journey has not been fulfilled.” And the day a woman can take, can know, can live with even her own husband as her son, who in the whole world will not then be her child?