By Devakinanda Pasupuleti
Ashtottaram 47) OṀ MĀTRUBHŨMYAI NAMAH:
OṀ (AUM) –MAA-ṪRU-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-H
ॐ मातृभूम्यै नमः
(Mātru: Mother, one who is honored or worshipped)
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The land that gave us birth is our mātrubhōmi. Just like one of the five elements of nature, our bhōmi gave us our gross body and that’s why with love and affection we call our bhōmi-Bhōomata. We worship her as goddess Bhōodevi. In this Kali Yuga (Dark Age), according to Vishṇu Purāṇam, Sri Venkateswara Swamy has self-manifested in Tirumala Tirupati. He kept her on His chest along with Sri Lakshmi. Bhōomāta has the same tolerance and forbearance like our own mother who gave birth to us. She bears all our mistakes and provides everything that is necessary for our livelihood from food to fruits. We stand on her, step on her, urinate on her, throw garbage on her and do so many unmentionable things to her but still she does not keep any grudge, anger or hatred towards us. We build skyscrapers on her and she stands still without shaking except when there are earthquakes due to movements within the earth’s crest and then the buildings collapse. We do not realize that nature has its natural built in phenomena and we cry over natural calamities. With greed and selfishness we dig and drill the earth for oil, gold, diamonds and valuable minerals and despite that our mātrubhōmi provides us with Annam -the food without which we cannot survive.
Our ancient seers and sages recognized and realized the sacrifices bhōomi makes for our survival and praised her with hymns and mantras. Even today, as soon as we get up from the bed and before we put our feet on the ground, some of us pray to Bhōodevi with the hymn- Samudramikhile devi, parvata sṭhanamandalī, Vishnu patnēm namasṭhubhyam, pādasparśha kshamasvame (‘having the ocean up to your waist and mountains up to your chest, Oh wife of Vishnu! My salutations unto you; Oh Bhōodevi, please forgive me for putting my feet on you’).
Mother India is the mother of the Indian people, the mother of civilizations and the mother of world’s knowledge. That’s why in schools, even today, before they start their regular classes, children often offer morning prayers to our Bhōomāta with the national song Vandemātaram.
The only land in the world which treats the earth as ‘Bhōodevi’, and ‘Bhōomāta’ is our motherland and hence, it is ‘Mātru Bhoomi’.