Acharya Ratnananda Award
Acharya Ratnananda’s life was dedicated to the service of humanity, especially to uplift and empower rural women.
The 5th International Women's Conference saw the inception of the Acharya Ratnananda Award, instituted and awarded in honor and fond memory of Acharya Ratnananda, the father of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He was learned in the scriptures, a father of Ayurveda and medical astrology. His passion to serve the poor is remarkable. He is the founding member of the Ved Vigyan Maha Vidya Peeth, where we sit today - an educational non-profit institution that supports 723 free schools providing free education to over 72 000 children across India and of Vista India, Value integrated service to all, supporting the education and empowerment of 1000s of women. The Acharya Ratnananda Award recognizes the outstanding commitment of individuals in the field of literature and humanitarian service.
Read Acharya Ratnananda’s inspiring speech at the 3rd International Women’s Conference, 2009
The Light of Leadership is there for all people. What is the speciality of women? The speciality of women in the Light of Leadership contains grace and charm. Only with grace and charm the Light of Leadership of women comes.
In my travels to Europe many times I came across the slogan 'women belong to the fair sex'. I agree, there is so much fairness, it is the quality of womanhood but does it mean that the men-folk belong to an unfair sex? I don't think so, being a man myself. But I have to concede that in many parts of the world, men are unfair, and unfortunately they are afraid of leadership.
The challenge of womenfolk remains that you have got to correct the balance. What is a woman? A woman is one who owns men- she owns man as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter. By love, by faith, perseverance and performance- by all these things, women have to set right the balance.
Let women get the Light of Leadership with grace and charm. To achieve this, there are 5 ways, the Pancha Tantra.
I have been associated with an organisation which has focused on women welfare, managed by women, benefitting only women for the last 17 years - VISTA 'Value Integrated Services for to All'. In these 17 years, more than 2000 women have been trained to uplift their lifestyle, to earn more and to live better. More work and less words is what we have done and this is what we have to do.
So, in here is the Pancha Tantra, for the entire gathering here, you have to carry these five ways of wisdom:
- Patience - the world is large and half of it contains womanhood. In India, which is as big as Europe without Russia, having a population of more than 1 billion, more than half of it are women, 70% of those women live in villages and in villages, their life is not a life, it is just existence. This is our challenge. To work there, we must have patience. All women here must have patience to uplift women.
When you carry all these five, I am sure you will all succeed beyond measure, Jai Gurudev!