Message derived from Sri Akka’s writings
Read out at International Women’s Day celebrations of Nandalala, Bangalore Chapter, held on 9th March 2019
We come across all or exclusive women bank branches, police stations, compartment etc.
In the same spirit, we try to celebrate International Women’s Day – largely exclusive gathering of the women and honouring the great achievers. This celebration, in fact, should be the initiative of men.
Let us look at the heritage and culture of our country flowing from Vedas and Puranas.
Uma enjoys the privilege of being the left-half of Shiva. After all, the heart- the source of compassion, is on the left side of the human body. When Markandeya was saved from Yamaraja, Shiva used his left leg to kick Yamaraja. Left part of Arthanareeswara belongs to Uma, the feminine force. Thus, compassion and valour emanate from the feminine force.
Mahalakshmi occupies the heart of Lord Vishnu. That is why He is known as Sridhara/Srinivasa.
Our epics/ scripture placed the responsibility on the men to protect the honour of women. They also elucidate what represents womanhood and also through characters like Sita, Draupathi, Savithri and so on.
Coming to the current worldly context, because of our having lost touch with the rich heritage of our country- India, we have pushed ourselves to the stage of enacting laws for gender equality, for protecting women in workplaces and so on. Women are forced to depend on the legislature dominated by men to pass such laws.
Law can only threaten. Change has to come from within. Our beloved Holiness Pujyasri Mathioli Saraswathy says that “ In current context, the transformation has to happen both in men and women”.
She has laid down the following pointers in many of Her writings and speeches.
- A woman has to express herself through compassion and love and not ego. It is not ‘I can also be like a man in every respect; why should I cook and serve him? Why can’t he cook and serve me? The alternate mental transformation is that both share the work with love for each other. Food prepared and served with love binds the family. The same example applies to sharing financial responsibilities, bringing up children , etc.
- Women’s liberation and independence are not in ‘decision making’. Independence is the ability to influence each other in a positive way and not imposing one’s view on the other but arriving at a view based on healthy discussion.
- Divorce is not the immediate solution for any conflict. In most cases it is the conflict of two egos that result in incompatibility.
- The expression of beauty from a woman emanates from her words and love and not from her appearance. In fact, Avayar ( Legendary Divine Tamil Poet) prayed to Lord Vinayaga to make her look old, so that she would not be a source of physical attraction that distracts men. Same was the case of Kaaraikaall Ammayar . The goal of womanhood is not external beauty or going after jewelry but one of dominating through expression of unconditional love to everyone around her. Her role is to get the man also to practice unconditional love. The role of ‘Transformer” or a “Change Agent” is very natural to women.
- Women alone are capable of playing the role of mother as well as father. If a woman brings up her male children with values grounded in respecting women and not even by default treating them as a ‘mere object’ or ‘ an object of pleasure’ such a boy will become the protector of women from misguided male elements.
- A society that does not respect women or demeans them will destroy itself rapidly. At the same time a woman has to apply her faculty of discrimination carefully so that she invites respect, honour and dignity and certainly leadership. (Not position but a role- model not just to women but to everyone).
The most important saying of Sri Akka, is that ‘why celebrate women rather womanhood just on 8th March. Womanhood has to be celebrated every hour and minute especially by the men.