Ladies Day in Prasanthi Nilayam
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Ladies Day Celebrations, Evening Programme -
19 Nov 2014 |
Ladies Day Celebrations, Morning Programme - 19 Nov 2014 |
Today, 19th November, is Ladies’ Day,
the day to honour and pay reverence to Womanhood, the day The
Supreme Mother Divine bestowed upon to the makers of the home, makers of the
nation, makers of the world. It was in 1996, 19 years ago, Bhagawan declared
the inception of Ladies’ Day, to be celebrated on 19th November every year.
Ever since this day
has been a very special day in the Prasanthi Festive Calendar, with women
from Sai fraternity around the globe celebrating the event with great
devotional zeal. This day stands apart in the annals of human history, as
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Bab, with His Divine vision, designated it to extol
and glorify, for the world to follow… honouring, respecting and worshiping
Womanhood. The ‘fraternity’ that boasts of the glory of women of exemplary
virtues, of the likes of Sita, Sati and Savitri joins Prasanthi Nilayam
today recounting the occasion with much religious passion.|
Prasanthi Nilayam celebrated the occasion, 19th Ladies’ Day, this morning with great devotional fervour, attended by a minuscule of devotees from different parts of the globe.
The programme commenced at 0800 hrs. with Vedic chanting by the students of the Anantapur Campus of SSSIHL. A brief ‘Band Display’ by the Anantapur Brass Band followed next, who played a couple of scintillating pieces straight into the Heart of Beloved Mother Sai.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba 89th Birthday Celeberations
|Invocatory Vedam by the
Anantapur students followed next.|
Dr. K.P. Sai Leela then delivered a brief speech, introducing the ensuing session. Three speakers, Dr Snehalatha Deshmukh, Ms Madhuri Naganand, Prof. (Miss) Madhu Kapani were the three speakers for the session.
Beginning with greeting the audience in Telugu, Dr Snehalatha Deshmukh, formerly Vice Chancellor of the University Of Mumbai, elucidated on the importance of the day, pointing how and why womanhood is important. Hailing disciplined Prasanthi Nilayam and ‘its’ holy environs…speaking of virtues through beautiful ‘live’ anecdotes the speaker exhorted the audience to be disciplined, to be courageous. “I came here to appreciate, learn good habits, even at this old age, as old age is no bar for learning” concluded the speaker on a positive note.
The next speaker Ms Madhuri Naganand, Trust Member, Smt Easwaramma Woman’s Welfare Trust, spoke about the Trust’s inception by Bhagawan with a view to uplift womanhood. Enumerating statistical highlights of the Trust’s achievements in the field of service, Ms Naganand reminded women of the responsibility of mothers in tending children by being role models in their lives. “Be aware of Sai and His Teachings to follow and to uplift our souls in our journey of life” said the speaker in conclusion.
“There is no higher God than Mother” highlighted Prof Madhu Kapani, Director of the Anantapur Campus at SSSIHL, speaking on the profundity of womanhood. Delivering a structured speech laden with profound practical wisdom, Prof Kapani hailed women as Embodiment Of Sakthi, who become one with Divine in the process of creation. ‘What better fortune can be expected than to be equated with God, The Creator,’ concluded the speaker, ending her inspiring speech with a prayer hymn.
Divine Discourse on the occasion of Ladies’ Day was played next on the Public Address System. Bhajans continued and ended with Mangala Arathi at 0950 hrs.
II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II
Why Ladies Day?|
Monday, November 19th
|Ms Rita Bruce, author of four fast selling books on Bhagawan including the popular “Sathya Sai Parenting”, has been a long time devotee. She has travelled to 18 countries overseas as a great speaker at public meetings, conferences and seminars on the Philosophy and Teachings of Bhagawan, besides being a facilitator for the material contained in her writings, especially Sathya Sai Parenting and Love of Conscience.|
In 1995, Sri Sathya Sai Baba inaugurated Ladies Day on November 19. Since then He has declared that every month 19th should be honoured as ladies day.
We can ask ourselves, why did Sathya Sai Baba inaugurate Ladies Day? What was the purpose of this momentous occasion? Many ideas can come to our reasoning mind searching for an answer. Could it be that Swami thought ladies should have special recognition or perhaps, to bring awareness to the lack of equality that exists? I’m sure there are obvious and not so obvious, known and unknown reasons that Swami has called attention to ladies by celebrating this event.
If we, ladies, look at the inner significance of this special day, perhaps in the transformation of the role of feminine energy on this planet. We need to re-evaluate, re-examine, re-structure, restore and resurrect the role of ladies that has sometimes been dishonoured to less than human in society. Are we disregarding the virtues that are attributed and exhibited to the Divine Mother?
They are being lost, forgotten, unseen in the world at large and unless the Sai Organisation takes the lead and make the necessary changes how can Sai expect women who do not have the benefit of knowing Him change? We must be role models for the world but instead we are role modelling the world.
Women are the fabric of the home. When their roles dramatically change it creates problems in our family’s valued tradition. In my overseas travels, I have listened to many heartfelt problems from devotees. These are few examples:
There was an old Indian couple that was living with their son and his family. The son told them to leave his home and they were living in a hotel. They did not know what to do. Then there was a woman who told me that her 22 year old son was sitting at his computer all night most of the day, locked himself in his room and would not allow her to enter. In one of our young adult sessions a young man said that he would live with a girl before marrying her, to make sure she was the right one, if not he would find someone else.
Devotees living abroad have spoken to me about children doing drugs, alcohol, attempted suicides, divorces, spoiled and disobedient children, enormous stress, and children telling me their parents have no time for them. The list is endless. They are seeking help from the Sai Family and their needs are not being met.
We must remember that women have a major responsibility for future generations of Sai Children. A great number of new devotees are coming from children being born into the Sai family. And what are we doing to prepare these parents to mould the character of their children?
The problem of raising children with the strong outside influence lacking values is a world consciousness that has arrived in the land of Bharat, the country of God. In India today you are experiencing changes in your culture that I experienced in the 50’s and 60’s in America. The drastic changing role of women is one of the main causes for the deterioration of the family. Women are the pillars of the home, and when the pillar is removed the roof collapses. The western societies have lost many of their family values and the same media influence that caused this deterioration is happening to India today.
Throughout the last fifty years we have modelled our behaviour after men, trying to succeed in the avenues of the business world. Are we asleep? Can we see the extreme changes being made in the role of women, wife and mother? The basic identity of women is being lost. Thus confused we do not have a clear vision of who we are as women, and even a lesser view of who we are as Sai Ladies, the feminine energy of the Divine Mother.
It is time for the Sai Ladies to begin a movement that can spark a new change in the manner in which women behave. The virtuous character of women, their precious gem, purity has been replaced with fake, imitation glamour.
Female glamour is commercialised in all the advertisements, films, magazines and newspaper articles. The word virtue seems to have vanished, struck off from the worldly vocabulary. We are told to shape up, dress-up, make-up, sell yourself, pamper yourself, indulge yourself, and do everything you can…to catch a highly educated man.
When looking for a bride for his son, does a father ask the girl, “Will you stay-at-home and raise my son’s children?” If looking for a husband for your daughter, will you ask the boy, “Can my daughter stay-at-home to raise your children?”
Sathya Sai Baba says, “Some parents while trying to fix up marriage alliance ask, ‘My daughter has completed her post graduation. She is good looking. What about your son? Has he completed post graduation? Is he handsome?’ In fact, beauty is related to character, not to the physical appearance. Beauty of character is what one should aspire for.”
Ladies, do we need a wake up call? The multi-media community is selling our female character with damaging marketing techniques. Why are we allowing ourselves to be sold in the market place? Even more tragic, we are not only buying the products they sell but we are conforming to their hidden message.
We are being programmed in a very radical manner, so subtle that many are not even aware. And yet we find ourselves acting sometimes in a manner that is contrary to our own belief and wonder why? We are not taking the time for self-inquiry.
Sathya Sai Baba says, “Young people are all the time subjected to a barrage of falsehood. But no one has the time or the patience to guide them and correct them, both parents and teachers. And society couldn’t care less!”
Women are the highest gift given to mankind, because we are the vessel in which God’s creation continues. In addition, we have the guardianship of preparing the life of our children by moulding their character. There is no higher position given to mankind by God than the honour of being a female, the first teacher, setting the stage of right conduct and love of God that is formulated in the early years of child development.
God cannot teach each child on the planet, unless it is through the feminine energy in the role of motherhood. We are the instruments and what kind of a tune are these instruments playing, a worldly or a spiritual tune. We have lost the venerable idea of what it means to be woman. We have lost the meaning of a primary role for the spiritual advancement of souls who are seeking to find the meaning and purpose of their lives. I have to ask each of you what mission is more worthy, glamour or virtue?
Sathya Sai Baba says, “The present – day education is leading to unhealthy competition and conflicts. I do not say that girls should not pursue higher education. If I am against women’s education why should I establish women’s colleges? I have established various educational institutions with the sole purpose of inculcating virtues in students.”
Higher education for women accelerated in the 1950’s, and today in America more women are graduating from high schools and universities than men. Education has motivated to trade in their apron for the corporate world. Along with higher education for women came the propaganda and the careers will bring them fulfillment, achievement, and self-esteem and it has in some cases. But equal acclaim must be attributed to stay-at-home mothers. Or else, the number of women in the work place will increase. Today, in America, 76% of all mothers work and finally children under the age 5 are sent to day care centres.
The propaganda of selling career paths to women versus staying at home with the children is what I witnessed in the 1960’s and 70’s. Now with my aching heart I see that the same messages are expounded here in the India I love. I cannot believe I am watching history repeat itself. It’s like going to a bad movie twice.
In a recent Indian newspaper a popular women is being interviewed and says, “The sons of professionally qualified well-placed mothers treat women differently, perhaps more respectfully, than sons whose mothers are home-makers. They believe women are supposed to be just that – have children and be in the kitchen.” She is saying that professional mothers are most respected by their sons than a mother that is a home-maker. Listen to the humiliation. Women who are stay-at-home mothers are not even equally treated in the eyes of women who have careers. Women are not supporting women.
In many cultures, where women are regarded as less valuable than men, when given opportunity they will take the chance to prove once and for all that they too are equally as intelligent and capable as men. But, the price tag for these accomplishments is exorbitant, because it is the children who are paying the price. They are being neglected and left on their own.
Praising and encouraging women to work and degrading stay-at-home mothers is a message that has left a tragic mark on many households and, in my opinion, increased the divorce rate, because it has placed enormous stress on husband, wife and children.
Women are extremely stressed out trying to play super-moms. And now that the dust has settled through the events of the changing role of women for the past fifty years in America, we discover that the children are suffering the price of these careers. They have literally fallen through the crack of the working family.
Sathya Sai Baba says to His students, “Mothers! You expect me to go for a job that offers a fat salary. But, high salaries are not as important as a virtuous life. If we give preference to money instead of a noble life, our life itself will be ruined.”
Women enjoy working outside the home because they get recognition. They can communicate with their peers and not be burdened with what in society is considered a worthless occupation, motherhood. Their self-image is improved because society tells them this, but, in reality, they are struggling with the overdose of guilty every time they leave a sick or clinging child who wants its mother. Yes, working women have contributed to society, but we need to discriminate between what we are being told and what is truth. What is the remedy for the fading virtues of women in society? We female devotees need to begin by addressing these issues that pertain to females. The education of Sai’s teachings for the role of women is long overdue. We need to have our own study circles, Sai Ladies conferences, and educational programmes that enhance the principles, understanding, implementation, motivation and inspiration that is needed for the Sai Spiritual transformation of women to occur. We need to support and unite in a sisterhood that never existed before.
This job is critical not only to us, and our family but it is critical to Sai Baba’s Mission. It is the dharma of women to bring their famiies to God, because devotion is the basis of their nature. We have the inherent ability to be prayerful examples of love that can raise the consciousness of mankind.
I ask you, “Who else is going to be His instruments to stop the onslaught of immorality?” It is women. Why? Because our original nature given to us by God is one of nurturing, sacrifice, sweetness, and devotion. This job is essential not only to us, and our families but it is essential to Sai’s Mission.
This is our dharma. Women, we do not need to prove anything to our self as being worthy. Don’t listen to the commercials beating their tunes with ulterior motives. When we observe over centuries the sacrifice of women, we see the countless hours of caring for the family, in sickness or health, we see the silent suffering, the lack of recognition, humiliation, hours on hours of giving with very seldom hearing a simple “Thank You”. And yet our devotion to God continues and even though our lives are filled with many obstacles, countless hardships and tragedy.
Look what we have accomplished for generations with little acknowledgement or tribute. How can we question our worthiness? Is there anything further that we have to prove? Of course not! We are the feminine energy of the entire creation. Look inside and you will find rare, priceless, precious jewels of strength, self-confidence, love, devotion and purity of intent. We are all Divine Mothers of Love!
Let us pray that our Beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba blesses us with this mission and inspires us to work towards the goal of “dharma for women”.
Dharma for women – Is our fervent cry
II Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II