This Issue
The Power Of Women
 

Wife and children come and go; Truth alone is permanent.

Pleasures of kingdom come and go; Truth alone is permanent.

Brothers and relatives come and go; Truth alone is permanent.

Status and power come and go; Truth alone is permanent.

The Path of Truth bestows all prosperity and auspiciousness.

In this world there is no prosperity greater than Truth.

November 19th is celebrated as Ladies Day to
delve into the sacred qualities of women and disseminate them. Women are the repositories of Truth and culture. Though earth is one, the plants vary, depending on the seeds sown. The womb of mother symbolises mother earth. As is the seed of thought sown in it, so is the fruit it yields. You cannot expect mangoes by sowing a neem seed. So, the motherís womb should be filled with good thoughts, goods words and good deeds. Only then can she beget virtuous children. Today we find many children with bad character and bad behaviour. The reason for this are the bad thoughts of their mothers. Aryamba was a woman of virtues of noble character. She spent all her time in the contemplation of God and undertaking noble deeds. As a result, Jagadguru Sankaracharya was born in her sacred womb. Noble souls like Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa could attain exalted positions in their lives only due to the sacred feelings of their mothers.

You must have heard about Putlibai, the mother of Mahatma Gandhi, who spent her life in the contemplation of God. She used to observe a vow wherein she would not partake of food unless she would hear the cuckoo sing. One day the song of the cuckoo was not heard. When he saw his motherís adamant refusal to eat, Gandhi, who was a small boy then, went behind the house and mimicked the singing of the cuckoo. He came inside and told his mother that she could have her food as she had heard the song of the cuckoo. Putlibai felt very sad, as she knew that her son was uttering a lie. She cried, "O God! What sin have I committed to give birth to a son who speaks untruth?" Gandhi realised that he had caused immense grief to his mother by uttering a lie, and took a vow that he would never indulge in falsehood thenceforth. So, it is imperative that the mother train her children in moral values, right from their childhood. She should not overlook the mistakes of her children. She should punish her children whenever they stray away from the right path and reward them for their good deeds. The children change either for the good or the bad, because of their motherís qualities.

Here is a small example. After the conclusion of Rangoon war, a mother and her son somehow managed to reach Madras having lost their near and dear ones. They neither had shelter nor food. The mother would beg for food from house to house. She gave most of the alms to her son and partook a little herself. Whenever she did not get much alms she gave everything to her son and would starve herself. She put herself to many difficulties for the sake of the well-being of her son. Consequently, she got emaciated day by day. One day the son, unable to see her suffering, told her, "Mother, it is not proper on your part to feed me and starve yourself. From today, you take rest and I will fetch food for both of us." But the mother protested that she could not bear the sight of her son begging for alms. One day, however, the son had to go begging for alms as the mother was too weak even to walk. He stood in front of the house of an officer and cried, "O sir, I am hungry, I am hungry." The officer, who was relaxing on an easy chair in the verandah, brought food on a leaf and told the boy to sit down and partake of it. But the boy insisted that he would take it home. The officer replied, "I donít think you are really hungry, otherwise, why should you take the meal home?" Even as the officer was uttering these harsh words, the boy felt giddy and fell down in a swoon. He was trying to say something, but the words were hardly audible due to his weak condition. The officer went close to the boy and tried to hear what he was saying: "Sir, I would like to give food to my mother first, only then will I eat. First, to my mother, to my motherÖ"

With these words, the boy breathed his last. Can we find such noble sons today? We cannot find such mothers and sons today. It is not merely the effect of Kali Age, but the result of modern educational system. The present educational system only trains students for earning a livelihood. The educated do not think of the welfare of the society and the country at large.

Gandhiís mother was a strict disciplinarian and pure-hearted. As the saying goes, ĎYatha Raja, Thatha Prajaí (as is the king, so are the subjects). She had a servant-maid, who used to look after the children with love and care. One day, Gandhi came running to her and told that he was haunted by fear. She told him, "My dear one, why do you succumb to fear when the all-protecting Ramachandra is with us always. Recite the name of Rama, whenever you are fear-stricken." From then onwards, Gandhi chanted the name of Rama till his last breath. Can we ever find such noble-hearted women today? It is because of such women that the children took to the path of righteousness.

You all know the story of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar. He lived with his mother in a village near Calcutta. They were very poor. She used to feed her son with whatever she could earn everyday and did not care to look after herself. Her sonís well-being was uppermost in her mind. She wanted him to lead a peaceful and sacred life. A hard working student, Vidyasagar would study under street lights. He completed his studies and took up a job. Initially, his salary was very low, just enough to take care of his mother and himself. Gradually, he attained a good position. Once a fair was held in the village and Vidyasagarís mother wanted to go to it. She wore an old sari and visited the fair. Vidyasagar felt very sad at his motherís worn out dress, and immediately bought a few good saris.

One evening, during the course of their conversation, Vidyasagar asked his mother if she had any desires. She said, "Son, the people of our village face hardships due to lack of drinking water. I feel pained to see them trekking long distances to fetch water. I will be happy if you can get a well dug in our village."

Vidyasagar immediately got a well dug and fulfilled his motherís desire. Her joy knew no bounds. She said, "Son, water is the life sustainer. You have quenched the thirst of the villagers. I am extremely happy that I have given birth to a noble son like you."

On some other day, Vidyasagar asked his mother if she had any more desires. She said, "Son, the children of our village go to the distant neighbouring villages to attend school. I am unable to bear the thought children walking such long distances every day. So, please construct a small school in our village." Accordingly, Vidyasagar established a school in the village, giving immense joy to his mother. She remarked, "Son you have set an ideal not merely to our village but to the entire nation. Your life is sanctified."

After a few days, one evening, when Vidyasagar returned home from office, he found his mother in a pensive mood. On being asked the reason, she said, "Son, you have given water to the village and also established a school for children. But, the lack of medical facilities in our village troubles my mind. Please build a small hospital here." As his mother wished, Vidyasagar had a hospital constructed in the village.

The reason why I am telling you all this is only to emphasise that the feelings of mothers are noble. Each one has to resolve to fulfil the sacred desires of the mother. One should never act in such a way as to cause pain to the mother.

Similar to Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar also happened in the case of this body too. One day while I was having food upstairs, the Griham Ammayi (mother of Swamiís physical body) came to Me. I asked, "Mother, what is the reason for your coming here? She replied, "You finish eating first, then I will tell you." After I finished, she said, "Swami, ourís is a very small village. Here people are put to a lot of suffering due to the absence of medical facilities. They have to run to Bukkapatnam for every small problem." Then I assured her that I would build a hospital in the village. As promised, I got a small hospital built immediately.

Another day, she again came upstairs and prayed, "Swami, please donít think otherwise, I have one more desire." I chided her saying that she should not have desires. She answered, "Swami, you are fulfilling the desires of thousands of people who are coming to You. Why canít You fulfil my desire?" Then I relented, "Tell me your desire." She said, "Swami, the wells of our villages have dried up. Please get a well dug in our village." As she wished, I got a well dug in our Mandir itself. All the people of the village used to take water from this well. Griham Ammayi expressed her extreme happiness, but added that she had yet one more desire. She implored, "Swami, the children of our village are going to Bukkapatnam for their studies. Poor children, they donít have the strength even to walk such long distance. Please, construct a school here." I fulfilled that desire also. Griham Ammayiís joy was boundless she gratefully concluded that she had no more desires left.

Just as a small seed becomes a huge tree, the small school I established then has become a big university now. The small hospital that I constructed then has become a Super Speciality Hospital now. The small well that I got dug here in the village has assumed gigantic proportions of a water project for the entire district. If the feelings of the mother are sacred, so too will be the feelings of the children.

If thoughts are sacred, they will certainly turn into a reality. One need not think that one does not have enough money and power. If you resolve to do something good, you are bound to succeed. The power of noble thought will give you the necessary strength. Once Chaitanya went to a temple along with his mother Sachidevi. He prayed. "O Lord, I donít have any worldly desires. You are the Master of the world. You are the Master of the body, life and soul. You can grant any wish that I ask for. But I donít have any worldly or physical desires. I do have one desire. You are the embodiment of Love. Love is our life, so please grant me the strength to love you. I donít want anything else."

Mother Sachidevi pointed out, "Son, you need food, shelter and raiment in order to carry on your livelihood. But you say that you do not want anything." Chaitanya replied, "Mother, though you are advanced in age, you have not understood even a fraction of the Divine principle. Once you become the recipient of Godís love, all your needs will be taken care of. We should not waste our life with petty desires." Chaitanya used to go round the streets singing the glory of Krishna. Good and bad, auspiciousness and inauspiciousness co-exit. Where there is light, there is bound to be its shadow around. Likewise, good people are bound to face difficulties. But those difficulties will enhance the goodness in them.

Pleasure and pain, good and bad co-exist; none can separate them. You cannot find pleasure or pain, good or bad to the exclusion of the other. Pleasures result when difficulties fructify.

When Chaitanya was singing the glory of Krishna in the streets, some evil-minded people snatched away the cymbals from his hands. But he was the least perturbed. He continued to sing the glory of Krishna with firm faith and devotion. Seeing Chaitanya, the children would get inspired and they too would join him in singing the Divine name. Chaitanya used to make children sit around him and impart sacred teachings to them. Chaitanya became a noble soul because of the noble feelings of his mother. So, the mother should have pure thoughts and good behaviour. Only then will she be blessed with ideal sons.

Since time immemorial, Bharat has been the land of merit, the land of spirituality and the land of sacrifice. The greater the sacrifice you do, the greater will be the Tejas (divine effulgence) around you. I am giving you a small example. I always have Tejas around Me. But some people who came during the last 15 days said, "Swami, your Tejas is ever increasing." Right from the beginning, I have the welfare of the villagers in view. But as I got involved with education, health and water projects, I could not pay much attention to them. A month ago, while I was sitting on a chair, I noticed a small piece of paper. When I picked it up, I found the photographs of the dead bodies of a mother and her son. The mother could not bear the sight of her son sufferring from hunger. Neither could she go for alms, as there were incessant rains. This incident took place last month only. As there was no possiblity of the rain stopping, she felt very dejected and mixed rat poison in water, gave it to her son and drank it herself. As a result, both of them died. This was published in the newspaper.

The newspapers ignore the good news and published such bad news items. They are always in search of wicked news items. Their hands donít write and their intellect does not function when it comes to publishing good news. This is the effect of the sins accrued over their past lives. It hurt me so much when I came to know that such an incident took place in this land of Bharat, known as Annapoorna (land of food). Immediately, I stopped all other activities and started village service programme. Food and clothes were distributed in various villages giving encouragement and happiness to people.

Our students are like gold. They worked hard right from morning till night with enthusiasm. They went to each and every house in the villages and distributed food. I felt very happy.

The more one sacrifices, the greater will be oneís Tejas. Though I eat very little, My Tejas is ever increasing.

Immediately, after bhajans in the morning, I take a little ragi sangati and chutney or curry made of leaves. This is what I used to eat before and do so even now. There has been no change in it. the Tejas comes not because of food but because of the spirit of sacrifice. One gets a lot of strength through social welfare activities. When I walk slowly among devotees, some used to wonder if I had hurt my legs. Neither is there pain in My legs nor do I get any disease. I walk slowly among the devotees only to give them Darshan for a longer duration of time. I donít have any pain in My legs nor do I have any disability. I am always blissful. My bliss is ever increasing day after day.

Consider service to humanity as your very life breath. Then you too will have Divine effulgence. God is not separate from you. Do not be under the impression that God is present only in temples. Deho Devalaya Prokto Jeevo Deva Sanathanaha (Body is the temple and the indweller is God). So you do not need to go in search of God elsewhere. Turn your vision inward. Then you will find God who is the embodiment of bliss. You get drowned in illusion on account of excessive attachment to the body. Get rid of body attachment and develop attachment towards God. Then you will become God yourself. God and man are not separate from each other. They are like image and reflection. God is in everybody. This temple of the body is able to move around because God is within. It is said, Sathyam Jnanam Anantham Brahma (Truth, Wisdom and the Infinite is Brahma).

One has to tread along the path of Truth in order to understand the principle of Brahma. You need not go here and there. Have the total faith that body is the temple of God. Only then you will get infinite bliss and tremendous strength. This capacity is acquired as a result of meritorious deeds done in many past lives. Consider every work as Godís work. Some people may wonder how can going to office be Godís work? That is also Godís work because God is all-pervasive. Sarvadah Pani-padam Tat Sarvathokshi Siromukham Sarvadah Sruthimalloke sarvamavruthya thishthati (With hands, feet, eyes, heads, mouth and ears pervading everything, He permeates the entire universe). You may undertake any action but do it as an offering to God. Since ancient times, Bharatiyas fostered such noble feelings. That is why the country Bharat has attained the exalted position of a teacher to the rest of the world.

This land of Bharath has given birth to many noble women like Savitri, who brought her dead husband back to life; Chandramati, who extinguished wild fire with the power of truth; Sita, who proved her chastity by coming out of blazing fire unscatched and Damayanti, who reduced an evil-minded hunter to ashes with the power of her chastity. It is because of such women of character that Bharat has attained the reputation of being the land of plenty, prosperity and opulence. It is the teacher of all nations.

There are many scholars, intellectuals and educated in this country. But all their learning and intelligence is proving futile because they are immersed in selfishness and self-interest.

Embodiments of Love!

Foster Love, speak the truth. Do not waste time in mere acquisition of bookish knowledge. One cannot be called educated in the true sense just because one acquires degrees. True education is that which confers good intellect and noble qualities like adherence to Truth, duty, devotion and discipline. You have to sanctify your life with good thoughts, good words and good deeds. Only then the ancient culture of Bharat will be revived. Chant the name of God incessantly. It should be like your pulse beat. Body becomes lifeless if there is no pulse beat. Likewise, you will become a living corpse if you do not chant the Divine name. Consider whatever happens as good for you. When you foster such good thoughts, they will naturally turn into good actions, which will set an ideal to others.

Embodiments of Love!

Today people are prepared to undergo many difficulties in pursuit of Sri (wealth). But Chaitanya considered Hari (Lord Vishnu) as his only wealth. He gave up Sri and contemplated on Hari. That is why I often sing, ĎHari Nama Bina Ananda Nahií (One cannot have bliss without chanting the Divine name). So, chant the Divine name, take to the service of the society. Do not make distinctions between your people and other people. Consider everybody as a member of the universal Divine family. Experience bliss by cultivating the spirit of unity. Do not give scope for any differences whatsoever. Treat each body as a temple and offer your salutations. Have the firm conviction that God is present in all. When you cultivate such noble thoughts, God will certainly become manifest to you.

Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, "Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Shanthi NahiÖ."

Ladies Day

19th November 2000, Prasanthi Nilayam