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Role of women

Role of Mother

“The Mother is held as the object of affectionate reverence in Indian Culture. She is the home-maker, the first teacher of the child, the person who lovingly transmits the culture of this ancient land to its heirs in their most formative years. The mother and the father are the first examples in social behavior that the child sees and learns to imitate. They should teach Bhakthi and Prapatthi (adoration of God and surrender to the Highest); they should be embodiments of Shanti and Prema (equanimity and love). Thus, they should aid in the spiritual awakening of the child.

Nation and Mothers

“Everyone has a mother as the source of his life and body. So the mother has to be strong in mind and body, steeped in culture and good character, sanctified by holy thoughts and full of love and dedication. Good mothers make a good nation. They have to be repositories of Thyaga, Yoga and Bhakthi (Detachment, Discipline and Devotion). Every activity of theirs must be prompted by these three cardinals,” Baba says.

“If you want to know how advanced a nation is, study its mothers; are they free from fear and anxiety, are they full of love towards all, are they trained in fortitude and virtue.” This has been the message of Baba.

The art of making a home

Once, in His discourse to the girl-students of His College, Baba said,

“Woman has been extolled in ancient scriptures as well as classical poetry as Grihalakshmi, the Goddess who brings prosperity to the home. She is the Dharmapathni, who accompanies the husband in the fulfillment of the duties and rights of householder’s life. In addition to keeping the home happy, healthy and harmonious, you also have to learn how to steer clear of hatred, malice, greed, anger, anxiety, pride and other obstacles that come in the way of inner peace. It is not enough if the home budget is balanced; the wife must learn the art of having a balanced view of life, which will not be affected by triumphs and troubles, gains or losses, victory or defeat. This balance can be got only by placing one’s faith in the in-dwelling God.”

Duty of the mother

Baba counsels, “The mother herself should look after the children during the early years instead of placing the child in the custody and care of baby sitters and servants. The mother must set the example in making the shrine the heart of the household. She must enforce discipline over the children in personal cleanliness, in humility and hospitality, in good manners and acts of service. She must persuade the children by example and precept to revere elders and to allot some time both in the morning and evening for prayer and silent meditation.

The ideal for women

“Women should live up to the ideal of a faithful wife and a loving mother. According to the Indian belief and ideals of marriage, husband and wife form the right and left halves of the same body respectively; they are complementary parts of the same unit.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – VI, Chapter – 12

“Woman is neither meant to surpass man, nor to be trampled under his foot. She should stand as his equal, his companion in his joys and sorrows of life,” Baba says.

The gentle art of sacrifice and service

Speaking at the Maharani's Women's College, Mysore, on 12th of Sep 1963, Baba exhorted the girl students thus:

“Learn to adjust your likes and dislikes to those of others, learn the gentle art of sacrifice and service. Try to appreciate the view points of elders. They have greater experience and greater sense of responsibility; they may have greater forethought and know more about people and things than you, who are fresh entrants in their household.

The family of the husband which you enter after marriage is a good training ground; it is a Sadhana-kshethra (field of spiritual practice). When people find fault with you, do not fly into a rage. Examine your own conduct and discover the faults in you; self-examination is the first step to self-improvement and peace. Do not exaggerate the faults of others; on the other hand, magnify your faults and strive to get rid of them fast. Consider all faultfinders as your friends and well-wishers, for they give you warning-signals in time.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. - III, Chapter – 24.

Mother – man’s primary wealth

Giving the Inaugural Discourse at the symposium on "The Role of Women in Social Change" organised by the former girl students of the Anantapur campus of the Institute, September, 1983, Baba said,

“The mother's lap is the first school for every child. It is his first temple; mother is his foremost God. Mother is every man's primary wealth. It is the duty of every person to recognize this truth. Everyone should cherish their parents as embodiments of the Divine. The father and the mother are inseparable like the word and its meaning. The mother and father may be physically separate, but spiritually, they are one.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. – XVI, Chapter - 24

Women and the Community

Stressing on the role of women in the building of the society and the nation, Baba says,

“Women have a very crucial role in individual and social uplift. They are the makers of the home, the nation and the world. They are the mothers who shape the generation to come. So, they must enshrine in their hearts the spiritual urge towards Light and love, wisdom and bliss.”

Women and Education

Speaking to the girl students of the Sathya Sai College in Jaipur on the 10th of April, 1975, Baba said,

“To save at least the next generation, women have to be educated in a well planned manner and endowed with the wisdom, fortitude and faith that can equip them for the great responsibility that rests upon them…

Girls who are studying in this college today will become mothers tomorrow. It is therefore necessary that they should equip themselves with the culture, learning and wisdom that they will need in the future. In India, we assign a special place to women. It is therefore all the more important that the girls who are studying here should train themselves in such a way that they can live up to the ideals and aspirations of an Indian woman.

We consider women as Grihalakshmi, Dharmapathni and so on. A woman has to maintain her house. She is not only the housewife, but on her depends the glory or otherwise of the whole country. That is why we say this is our motherland. It is in this spirit that we refer to our country as Bharatmatha. We also find that women are given the first position when they are associated with their consort as in Sita-Rama, Lakshmi-Narayana, Radha-Krishna and Parvathi-Parameshwara. It is only to establish this prominence given to women in our country and to train our young girls on these lines that we took up the task of opening such colleges.

I expect the young girls studying in this college to cultivate such good qualities that bring name and fame to their families. The girls of the Sathya Sai College should maintain the ideals of the institution and keep the prestige of their homes, their society and their culture. It is only then that the purpose of establishing this college can be served.

Women students and teachers have to be ever vigilant that they do not adopt fashions that outrage the traditions and conventions of this country and its culture. Do not bring dishonour to your parents or disappoint them by acting contrary to their aspirations.”

Women must emerge from this college armed with deep rooted virtue and firm faith in the ideals of womanhood laid down in our sacred texts. Then only can they, as mothers, mould their children as bright, beautiful, virtuous and strong citizens of the world.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. XIII, Chapter – 10.

Illustrious Mothers of India

“The Puranas and Shastras (Indian scriptures) stress the role of women as mothers and extol the mothers who instilled high ideals in the minds of the children of the land. The Vedas speak of Maitreyi and Gargi as great scholars and spiritual heroines. Gargi was well revered in the assembly of Vedic pundits for her mastery over abstruse problems of the spirituality. In recent history, we have the mother of Chatrapathi Shivaji who raised him on the epics and Puranas, and brought him up as a brave representative of the best of Hindu Culture,” Baba says.

Many a time Baba recalls many illustrious women of India’s history to emphasize the importance and the character of women. Speaking at the College of Home Science, in Bangalore on 26th of July, 1969, Baba said,

“Women have proved throughout the centuries in Indian History that they have the courage, the vision, and the intelligence needed to dive into the depths of spiritual science and discipline. Maithreyi, Meera, Gargi, Sulabha, Choodala, Mahadevi, Aandal are shining examples of mighty heroines in the spiritual realms.”

Ref: “Sathya Sai Speaks”, Vol. IX, Chapter – 13.

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