(The International Women’s Conference (IWC) brings together women leaders from various spheres of society such as politics, arts, business, media, and academia to engage in meaningful dialogue. Below is the transcript of What Gurudev Said at the Inaugural session of the conference)
Usually someone holds the mic for me. Today, it is such a pleasure to hold the mic for all these wonderful women.
Spirituality Transcends Gender
You wonder, what has spirituality to do with gender? Really, it has nothing to do with gender because spirituality transcends gender.
What is spirituality? Is it something that is not normal or natural? No! We are made up of matter and spirit. Our body has amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and all that. And our spirit is made up of love, compassion and peace. All that which enhances the value of spirit is spirituality, and women need it all the more because women are the greatest influencers.
A woman influences her children, influences her spouse, influences her parents, and the society. A woman is very gentle and soft so she needs the strength. Spirituality is what gives her that strength and inner peace. If you don’t have inner peace, you can’t have peace in the family.
A Peaceful Woman Can Remove Conflicts
A woman is a woman’s best friend and worst enemy as well. Many conflicts arise between two women. If families are splitting, mostly the cause of it would be a woman because a woman is emotional. This is why it is important for women to find inner strength and peace. If she is peaceful, she can manage all other conflicts at home. But if she is disturbed, and has tears in her eyes, it keeps everyone on their toes.
Having said this, I would also like to say to all the women here today -
- Women don’t need to go and ask someone to empower them. They already have the power.
In this country, from ancient times and in mythology, all the power has been kept with the goddesses. The ministry of wealth is Devi Lakshmi, the ministry of education is Devi Saraswati, and the ministry of defense is with Devi Durga. What is left? Nothing much is left with the man actually. So, the main power is with Devi, and so is the same with woman.
In India, we don’t say ‘Mr. and Mrs.’, we say ‘Shrimati and Shriman’. So women empowerment is already there. Take it for granted.
- Don’t take things too seriously, have fun.
If you have fun, you can create fun all around. If you are uptight, you create such an uptight atmosphere around you. So, humor, entertainment, wisdom – all these qualities help you be your natural self.
You know, in this country, women have created 56,000 types of food. You go to Tripura, which is a small province near Myanmar and Bangladesh border, this little state alone has some 180 types of food varieties. People do not know this.
Similarly, music and dance, without all this life is so dry. And creating an atmosphere where people talk about wisdom rather than complain about each other or create problems is natural to women. Creating an atmosphere of celebration is inbuilt in women. You have to make use of this tendency, this strengths that you have.
If there were more women religious leaders, perhaps there wouldn’t be so much conflict in the world today. Either there would be no conflict or there would be much worse conflict.
- Don’t listen to people who say that women cannot lead religious or spiritual areas.
Gender equality is to be honored in every country, and if religious leaders take up gender equality, we can move forward very fast.
So, there are areas for women to take a lead in. Don’t wait for someone to invite you. Just jump in and take the lead, like the wonderful women present here have already done.
Innovation and inspiration will come when we have inner peace. A peaceful individual only can make peaceful families. And peaceful families can make peaceful localities and communities. And if communities are peaceful, only then can the nation be peaceful. So the root cause is to find the inner strength, inner peace and that you can do through meditation, yoga, selfless service, and music. There are so many ways to find inner peace.
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