7 Types of Mothers in Hinduism

7 Types of Mothers in Hinduism

In Hindu texts, Shakti is the powerful force of the Divine, often depicted as a motherly Goddess. She’s described as loving, compassionate, and nurturing, but also fiercely protective. This energy is crucial for both material and spiritual growth. The Vedas acknowledge this feminine aspect of the Divine by identifying seven types of mothers in the world. These mothers are recognized for their essential roles in our lives, symbolizing various aspects of nurturing and support.

1. Audau Mata (the biological mother)

Audau Mata

The biological mother, just like the cosmic force of creation, sustenance, and transformation, plays a vital role in shaping us into the best versions of ourselves. She not only provides for our physical needs but also acts as our first teacher, guiding our spiritual growth. Even before we are born, a mother’s thoughts and actions leave lasting impressions on us, laying the groundwork for our spiritual journey.

An ancient Hindu tale from the Bhagavat Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam) illustrates this beautifully. When the power-hungry king, Hiranyakashipu, went off seeking invincibility through intense penance, his pregnant wife, Kayadhu, was left vulnerable. Gods, fearing the birth of a child who might rival his father in cruelty, planned to eliminate the unborn child. However, sage Narada intervened, protecting Kayadhu and imparting spiritual wisdom to her. Though still in the womb, the child, Prahlada, absorbed these teachings deeply. Despite his upbringing by a tyrant, Prahlada grew into a selfless individual devoted to Vishnu.

This story showcases the profound influence a caring mother’s actions can have on her unborn child. It also underscores the power of fearless compassion, exemplified by Narada, which triumphs over the fear-driven violence attempted by the gods.

2. Guru Patni (the wife of one’s teacher)

In ancient India, kids at five years old typically headed to a gurukul for education. Gurukul was a schooling system where students lived with the guru (teacher). The guru’s wife played a crucial role, acting like a mother to the kids. She provided them with care, love, and guidance while they were away from their families. This setup ensured that besides worldly knowledge, children also received spiritual education and the nurturing they needed for their overall development.

3. Rishi Patni (the wife of a sage)

In ancient Vedic society, spiritual leaders known as sages held a crucial role. They guided both the philosophical and moral aspects of society, providing a spiritual direction for kings who were responsible not only for the material welfare of their people but also their spiritual growth. However, at times, these sages became overly fixated on the rituals prescribed in scriptures, losing sight of the essence of spirituality — to cultivate compassion, love, and selflessness.

An illustrative story from the Bhagavat Purana depicts this tendency. Once, while Krishna and his friends were out herding cows, they grew hungry. Krishna suggested asking nearby sages, who were performing Vedic sacrifices that involved preparing various foods, for some nourishment. However, upon approaching the sages, the boys were ignored. Undeterred, Krishna advised them to seek help from the sages’ wives instead. Overwhelmed with love and compassion upon hearing of the boys’ hunger, the wives immediately prepared a feast for them.

This incident highlighted the sages’ oversight. Witnessing their wives’ selfless love, the sages realized their mistake and felt remorse for their indifference. They understood that the ultimate goal of Vedic sacrifices was to cultivate love and service, qualities exemplified by their wives’ actions.

In Vedic culture, the compassionate and loving nature of a sage’s wife served as a spiritual anchor, reminding the sage of the true purpose of spiritual practices — to foster a more compassionate and loving society. Just as a mother guides a father to prioritize love and compassion in raising their child, the wives of sages ensured that their husbands never lost sight of the divine goal of life amidst their guidance of society.

4. Raj Patni (the queen)

In ancient Vedic India, the ideal ruler wasn’t just a king; he was seen as a caring father to his people. Likewise, the queen was regarded as a revered mother figure to all in the kingdom. Together, they worked to create an environment where everyone could thrive, both materially and spiritually. The queen’s role was particularly significant as she inspired and supported the king in implementing policies that aimed at the well-being of every individual, treating them as her own children. This nurturing atmosphere fostered a sense of unity and prosperity throughout the society.

5. Gomata (the cow)


In ancient India, communities thrived on agrarian lifestyles, where the bond between humans and cows was cherished deeply. The cow, known for its gentle nature, played a vital role in sustaining life through its milk production. This milk was used to make various food items, essential for survival in Vedic times. The people felt immense gratitude towards the cow, seeing it as a mother figure, providing more than it required in return.

Traditionally, when a cow gave birth and began producing milk, its calf was allowed to stay with it for around two weeks. During this time, the calf would drink its fill, ensuring its needs were met before humans took any surplus milk for consumption. This practice exemplified the respect and care given to both the cow and its offspring.

The underlying belief in ancient Indian society was the recognition of the divine maternal aspect present in all beings, including animals. This perspective fostered a sense of gratitude, encouraging people to treat others with love and respect. Ultimately, this approach aimed to create a more harmonious and joyful world.

6. Dhatri or Dhai (the foster mother)

It’s important to appreciate those who care for us when we’re not feeling well, whether they’re doctors, nurses, family members like daughters, sons, sisters, nephews, or nieces. This role involves showing deep gratitude because it taps into a nurturing energy that’s within all of us, regardless of gender. This caring, motherly energy requires strength and sacrifice, especially when dealing with grumpy or unappreciative people. It’s a role that should always be respected and valued

7. Dharitri Mata (the Earth)

Imagine the Earth as a nurturing mother, generously providing all the essentials for life without expecting anything in return. Just like a mother tirelessly cares for her children, the Earth sustains us with food, water, air, and shelter. However, despite her selfless giving, many in society thoughtlessly exploit her resources without considering the consequences.

This exploitation has led to climate change, a global crisis affecting us all. Extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and environmental degradation are just some of the harmful effects we’re experiencing due to our disregard for the Earth’s well-being.

It’s crucial for us to recognize the Earth’s nurturing role as a profound expression of unconditional love, akin to the nurturing love of a mother. This love is pure and powerful, yet often taken for granted. By acknowledging the Earth’s maternal care, we can cultivate a deeper appreciation for her and strive to protect and preserve her for future generations.

In essence, we should learn from the selfless love of a mother and actively acknowledge the Earth’s presence in our lives, treating her with the respect and gratitude she deserves.

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