Today's Beautiful Gem: `Every Woman as My Divine Mother' by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

"On being questioned as to the reason of his determined celibacy, although he had a wife, the Master once replied by narrating the story of the God kArtikeya. Kartikeya, leader of the heavenly hosts, once gave a scratch to a cat. Returning home, he saw the mark of a scratch on his mother's face. `How in the world, mother,' he asked, `came that ugly scratch on your cheek?' `Why, child,' replied the Divine Durga, `it is your own handiwork, the mark of your nail.' `But how can that be?' said the astonished Kartikeya, `I never remember scratching you.' `No,' said his mother, `but think what you did this morning to the cat!' `Why, yes,' said her son. `Still how could that touch you?' `Dear child,' said his mother, `nothing exists in this world but Myself. I am the whole creation. Whatever you hurt, I suffer.' Kartikeya was deeply impressed by this, and determined henceforward never to marry. For every woman was his mother to him.

"In the same way, I look upon every woman as my Divine Mother. When I see good women of respectable families, I behold in them the Divine Mother in purity; and when I again look at public women of the city, seated in their open verandahs, arrayed in the garb of immorality and shamelessness, in them also do I see the Divine Mother sporting, only in a different attire. All women are portions of that Blessed One and should be looked as mothers. Women whether naturally good or not, whether chaste or unchaste, should always be regarded as images of the Blissful Divine Mother."

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao