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What is the basis of classifying the “Saptamata”?Where do we find this categorization?

Those I’ve heard are:

1)Atma mata(your own mother)

2)Guru patni (Wife of guru)

3)Queen of your country

4)Brahmin Patni

5)Earth(Bhumi)

6)Dhaatri(foster mother?)

Can anyone correct and complete the list also?

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  • Interesting but where did you read about this concept?
    – Rickross
    Mar 3 at 17:15
  • @Rickross I heard an acharya of Shaiva vishishtaadvait casually quote this in a YouTube lecture of his;I will get the link.
    – Amethyst
    Mar 4 at 4:36
  • okay .... @amethyst
    – Rickross
    Mar 4 at 6:32

1 Answer 1

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Yes, there's a notion of 'Sapta Mātā' or 'the Seven-Mothers'.

Śrīla Prabhupada in the Purport to ŚB 7.12.8 quotes the relevant verses as follows:-

There are seven kinds of mothers:

आदौ माता गुरोः पत्नी ब्रह्मणी राजपत्निका ।
धेनुर्धात्री तथा पृथ्वी सप्तैता मातरः स्मृताः ॥

ātma-mātā guroḥ patnī brāhmaṇī rāja-patnikā
dhenur dhātrī tathā pṛthvī saptaitā mātaraḥ smṛtāḥ

These Seven Women are said to be Mother:

1. One's own Original Mother
2. the Wife of the Teacher or Spiritual Master,
3. the Wife of a Brāhmiṇa,
4. the King’s Wife,
5. the Cow,
6. the Nurse, and
7. the Earth.

Prabhupada quotes these references in various chapters in the Bhāgavatam.

Although, Śrīla Prabhupada doesn't cite any sources for these verses, he just quotes these verses as "According to scriptures", for instance in ŚB 1.11.28

Searching for the source of this verse, I finally ended at the Mahāsubhāṣitasaṃgraha

So this verse may be traced to the Mahāsubhāṣitasaṃgraha Verse No. 4764.



Interestingly, a variant of this verse may be found in the Cāṇakya-Nīti, but here we get a list of 'Pañca-Mātā' or 'the Five Mothers'.

राजपत्नी गुरोः पत्नी मित्रपत्नी तथैव च ।
पत्नीमाता स्वमाता च पञ्चैता मातरः स्मृताः ॥ ०५-२३ ॥

Verse 5.23.

Know these five as the five mothers of a person:-

  1. Wife of the king,
  2. Wife of the teacher,
  3. Wife of the elder brother,
  4. The wife's mother and
  5. One's Own mother



Finally, a more traditional list of 'various Mothers' maybe found in the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa 1.10.154-155 as follows.

We get 'Caturdaśa-Mātā' or 'the fourteen Mothers'.

अन्नदातुश्च या पत्नी भगिनी गुरुकामिनी ।
माता च तत्सपत्नी च कन्या पुत्रप्रिया तथा ॥ १५४ ॥
मातुर्माता पितुर्माता श्वश्रूपित्रोः स्वसा तथा ।
पितृव्यस्त्री मातुलानी मातरश्च चर्तुदश ॥ १५५ ॥

Know these fourteen Women as Mothers:

  1. The Wife of one who gives food or

  2. The Sister of one who gives food.

  3. Wife of a Teacher.

  4. Mother,

  5. Stepmother.

  6. Daughter.

  7. Daughter-in-Law.

  8. Mother's mother.

  9. Grandmother.

  10. Daughter-in-Law.

  11. Mother's sister.

  12. Father's sister.

  13. Aunt.

  14. Maternal aunt.

English Translation by Parimal Publications

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