There’s no doubt that a mother plays the most pivotal role in shaping her daughter, not just today but since time began. In fact, the effects of this mother-daughter bond are so strong, that long after a mother has passed, a daughter will continue to remember her smile, touch, things that were taught to her and how her mother made her feel. This is then passed on in the way she loves her children, and that love will go on down the generations!
So, if we take the life lessons of Mata Sahib Kaur Ji, who was bestowed the title ‘Mother of the Khalsa’ by none other than Guru Gobind Singh Ji themselves, we can begin to trace incredible qualities from her own relationship with her mother, Mata Jasdevi Ji. Mata Jasdevi Ji moulded Mata Sahib Kaur Ji from birth to imbibe the highest qualities of a Warrior Princess – a strong and courageous leader, yet full of wisdom, warmth and grace. With these qualities, not only Mata Ji, but current and future Kaurs will continue to make this world a better place.
Here are 5 qualities that we can learn from the life of Mata Jasdevi Ji
1. Mutual love between parents Mata Jasdevi and Bhai Rama Ji.
Psychologists all over the world agree on one thing when it comes to raising healthy and happy children – that the way parents interact with each other form a template for a child’s future psychological make-up.
If one parent is continually critical, the child learns to see everything from a critical, negative worldview. Interestingly enough, the child will also view itself in the same self-critical way and question even into adulthood, whether they are good enough.
If a parent is excessively argumentative, a child adopts this way of communication or, alternatively develops such a high antennae to stress that they have to avoid the source of it at all costs.
The foundation for successfully raising a strong and healthy daughter can be found from the life of Mata Jasdevi Ji. Jasdevi’s Ji’s husband (and little Sahib Kaur Ji’s father), Bhai Rama agreed with everything Mata Jasdevi said. He respected his wife’s opinions and gave her emotional support and space to share and discuss ideas. Contrary to misogynistic culture at that time, Bhai Rama Ji never tried to control or overpower Mata Jasdevi Ji. The secure attachments between husband and wife, and each parent and child is evident in the life of Mata Sahib Kaur Ji.
2. Mata Jasdevi’s devotion to her husband, Bhai Rama Ji.
Is there something your daughter sees you do for your husband which could teach her something about love?
A lot of times when we are looking for love, we tend to think “what can this person do or give to me?” Rare are those who think “what can I give or invest in my marriage. But if we take the life of Mata Sahib Kaur Ji, we see that her parents treated each other with love and respect. This had a positive impact on young Mata Sahib Kaur Ji’s outlook on life and relationships, as she in turn grew up happy and confident.
Mata Jasdevi Ji’s symbolic way of expressing her love for her husband consisted of not eating before her husband. Rather than work against each other or as separate entities, Mata Ji physically showed how she cared for Bhai Rama Ji’s wellbeing.
Mata Sahib Kaur Ji’s desire to share a selfless love with Guru Gobind Singh Ji developed from this. From the day she was married to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Mata Sahib Kaur Ji did not consume a drop of water or a morsel of food without their sewa and darshan first. This level of love is an example of the highest level of unconditional love, which Mata Sahib Kaur Ji also passes on to all her Khalsa children. It is also done in Gurdwaras daily across the world, where food is first offered for bhog (blessings) to Guru Granth Sahib Ji, before the sangat consumes.
3. Mata Jasdevi and Bhai Rama Ji’s unconditional love for a girl child (Mata Sahib Kaur Ji)
One of the biggest problems today is the inequalities and treatment of females today. For centuries, the majority of females have led helpless and downtrodden lives. How many of us have heard elders ridiculing a daughter in law for having a baby girl or forcing them to try for a boy?
On the contrary, Mata Jasdevi and Bhai Rama Ji were overjoyed with the birth of their daughter Mata Sahib Kaur Ji! Even though she was a girl and an only child, they treated her with respect and love. Mata Jasdevi Ji and her family celebrated Mata Sahib Kaur Ji’s birth with great joy and distributed sweets around the entire village. All this during a time of great religious and cultural persecution!
If we take the lessons from Mata Ji’s parents and apply it to our own relationship, we can begin to challenge our unconscious gender beliefs and stereotypes. We start to see our daughter as a soul and a part of the Creator themselves. A child knows when it is wanted or unwanted. And a welcomed and loved child will go on to make many thousands feel loved and wanted!
4. Dedicating time for play and exploration
Only recently have psychologists began to understand the importance of playing with your child. Research shows this builds not only their confidence in the world with social skills, but they become ready for school with a natural ease with vocabulary and exploring skills. Playing and connecting with your child also boosts their self-esteem, where they feel worthy and valued.
As Mata Sahib Kaur Ji grew up, her parents played with her and kept her happy. In fact, the whole village adored her and would visit her with gifts to play with! Mata Sahib Kaur Ji was not only delightful to her own parents, but to everyone.
Through this time together with her mother, Mata Sahib Kaur Ji grew up happy and confident.
5. Mata Jasdevi and Bhai Rama’s values in raising their daughter (Mata Sahib Kaur Ji)
Central to Mata Sahib Kaur Ji’s rearing was how her parents, Mata Jasdevi and Bhaia Rama Ji believed in her. As mentioned, Mata Sahib Kaur Ji’s positive qualities and love for sewa grew due to Mata Jasdevi and Bhai Rama’s encouragement and role modelling.
So, how can we encourage our daughter? The key is to be interested in her! What are her aspirations, her talents and experiences at school or work? Taking even half an hour everyday out of our busy schedules and just having that one to one time could provide your daughter with a mountain of strength. But to take this one step further, Mata Sahib Kaur Ji’s mother taught her daughter where she can truly fulfil her potential – through spirituality.
Mata Jasdevi’s household was one true to Sikh principles – ‘Kirat karo’ (work honestly), ‘Naam Japo’ (meditate on the Name of God) and ‘Vand ke Shakko’ (share your earnings). Alongside teaching her Gurbani, Mata Jasdevi and Bhai Rama Ji respected their daughter and held high expectations for her. Throughout her life, Mata Jasdevi and her husband felt Mata Sahib Kaur Ji’s pain, celebrated her joys and always tried to help her fulfil her wishes.
All the above qualities contributed in making Mata Sahib Kaur Ji the most unique and pious female figure in Sikh history. Like a true warrior, Mata Sahib Kaur Ji went on to lead the Khalsa army for forty years after Guru Gobind Singh Ji left this world. Mata Ji protected the downtrodden, whilst as a gracious princess served and looked after the needs of everyone, regardless of gender, caste, religion or background.
If we take the qualities taught by Mata Jasdevi Ji and join our daughters to their spiritual mother, Mata Sahib Kaur Ji, there is no doubt they will live their lives full of strength, love and happiness!