|Canto 3: The Status Quo||Chapter 33: Activities of Kapila|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.33.21
vanaḿ pravrajite patyāv
jñāta-tattvāpy abhūn naṣṭe
vatse gaur iva vatsalā
vanam — to the forest; pravrajite patyau — when her husband left home; apatya-viraha — by separation from her son; āturā — very sorry; jñāta-tattvā — knowing the truth; api — although; abhūt — she became; naṣṭe vatse — when her calf is lost; gauḥ — a cow; iva — like; vatsalā — affectionate.
Devahūti's husband had already left home and accepted the renounced order of life, and then her only son, Kapila, left home. Although she knew all the truths of life and death, and although her heart was cleansed of all dirt, she was very aggrieved at the loss of her son, just as a cow is affected when her calf dies.
A woman whose husband is away from home or has taken the renounced order of life should not be very sorry, because she still has the presence of her husband's representative, her son. It is said in the Vedic scriptures, ātmaiva putro jāyate: the husband's body is represented by the son. Strictly speaking, a woman is never widowed if she has a grown son. Devahūti was not very much affected while Kapila Muni was there, but upon His departure she was very afflicted. She grieved not because of her worldly relationship with Kardama Muni but because of her sincere love for the Personality of Godhead.
The example given here is that Devahūti became just like a cow who has lost her calf. A cow bereft of her calf cries day and night. Similarly, Devahūti was aggrieved, and she always cried and requested her friends and relatives, "Please bring my son home so that I may live. Otherwise, I shall die." This intense affection for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although manifested as affection for one's son, is spiritually beneficial. Attachment for a material son obliges one to remain in material existence, but the same attachment, when transferred to the Supreme Lord, brings one elevation to the spiritual world in the association of the Lord.
Every woman can qualify herself as much as Devahūti and then can also have the Supreme Godhead as her son. If the Supreme Personality of Godhead can appear as the son of Devahūti, He can also appear as the son of any other woman, provided that woman is qualified. If one gets the Supreme Lord as a son, one can have the benefit of bringing up a nice son in this world and at the same time get promotion to the spiritual world to become the face-to-face associate of the Personality of Godhead.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness