Woman Power - The Latent Potential

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We should not underestimate the power of women.

Swami Vivekananda, in one of his speeches abroad, said, ‘For India to grow, we have to admire, accept and utilize the power of women.’

Once, a female disciple of Swami Vivekananda happened to meet the great Tamizh poet, ‘Mahakavi’ Subramanya Bharati, in a freedom-struggle gathering when she was on a visit to Tamil Nadu.
She enquired of the poet’s wife Chellamma and asked him why she did not make it to the meeting. Bharati replied that she was at home. The disciple quipped, ‘Your talks are revolutionary and stress on women’s liberation, but you don’t bring your wife along. Only if you recognize the power of women and use it for the sake of the country can we attain independence and nurture growth.’ The great poet humbly agreed.

Beginning with our scriptures, throughout history, we see the importance that has been accorded to women. Never have our scriptures, at any point, failed to portray the prominence and power of women.

In the Brahadaranyaka Upanishad, Sage Yagnavalkya decided to renounce his family and go to the jungle for penances. He turned to his two wives and asked them how they wanted his property to be shared between the two. One of them jumped forward and demanded the riches and the most expensive of his wealth.
Maitreyi, the other wife said, ‘You have decided to renounce these riches and embrace an ascetic life. Would someone do that without any rhyme or reason? To me, that verily indicates that there is something more valuable than these material riches. Pray impart to me that knowledge before which these possessions are but trifling.’

Yagnavalkya was pleased at the quest of his astute wife Maitreyi and taught her the supreme Truth of the Vedanta.

In Ramayana, Soorpanaka wanted Sri Rama alone. She was injured by Lakshmana. Ravana wanted Sitadevi alone and he too met his end. Hanumanji wished to have darshan of Sita-Rama and therefore He remains as a chiranjeevi to this day and revered by one and all. Ramayana thus shows the importance of worshipping Devi along with the Lord.

Long ago, there was a great scholar in Andhra Pradesh by name Bilwamangala. One day, he met a beautiful maiden by name Chintamani and fell in love with her at first sight. He started leading a licentious life and always longed for her company. On a terribly stormy night, he wanted to have her company and risked his life to meet her. As soon as she saw him, she rebuked him for having led such an amorous life and advised him that if he expressed even a fraction of the longing and devotion that he had for her, towards Sri Krishna, the Lord will appear before him.

Great realization dawned on Bilwamangala and he immediately fell at her feet, beseeching her to accept him as her disciple. With the feeling of guilt writ large in his mind, he pierced his eyes with a needle and blinded himself. Later he went to Brindavan and became an ardent devotee of Krishna and subsequently had His darshan too.

Bilwamangala, who later came to be known as Lila Suka, composed a spectacular work called ‘Krishna Karnamrutham’ which is a mellifluent masterpiece on Lord Krishna.

But for Chintamani, we would not have had the great Mahan by name Lila Suka in our history, nor his glorious work on Sri Krishna.

Goswami Tulasidas lived the life of a householder and loved his wife very much. One evening, after he returned from a tour, not finding his wife at home and learning that she was at her parental home, he rushed to see her in the middle of the night. Seeing that Tulasidas came to see her unmindful of the grave perils of the night, instead of reciprocating his fervour, she admonished him, ‘You have so much love for this fleeting body, which is nothing but a bag of flesh and bones! If you had the same passion and thirst for Sri Rama, you would have see Him face-to-face!’
Tulasidas took these very words of his wife as Upadesa. The rest of his life was spent in Rama Dhyana.

We should realize that it was verily his wife who made a Saint of the otherwise commoner. But for his wife, we would not have got the great Tulasi Ramayana today.

In the recent past, we see the life of Janaki Mata, a great Rama Bhakta from Tanjore. She was a standing example to the fact that even women can attain Realization in spite of being in family life. We see the same being illustrated in the life of another great woman-saint, Andavan Pichai too.

There have been so many such instances where women have been great Mahatmas or have played an important roles in the lives of great Mahatmas.

It is high time that we revived our glorious past by upholding, celebrating and utilizing the power of women and using it for the welfare of the world.

Let us bring this latent power to the fore and use it to propagate Mahamantra Kirtan throughout the world.