In the West, the women, just like men, take jobs and have careers. I wonder with either married or unmarried women, what is the spiritual point of view of women working?
Spirituality is one and the same for
all, whether woman or man. Being a woman makes no difference--they are
all souls. Soul is of the same essence as that of God. The possibility
is the same for a woman as for a man. Simply, in the beginning it is a
little easier for a woman to go up because being a householder by nature,
she has fewer irons in the fire. In the majority of cases, with few exceptions,
women are concerned with a small area. They work within that area and therefore
have not got many irons in the fire. Men have got so many things on their
minds, so in the beginning, it is a bit difficult for them to withdraw
from all outside and go in. In the beginning, it is the reverse for a woman.
It is easier--not like a rich man passing through the eye of a needle.
Men have had the upper hand so far, but we are now seeing the other side too, as women are now participating in all affairs in life. And this is growing more from day to day in the East and West both. This trend is less in the East but is still going on nevertheless. In India the Prime Minister is a woman; in England, the Queen. About the question of work, it appears even in India that there are some classes of people where men don't work at all; only the women work and earn the livelihood. As for spiritual development, all have the same possibility, but the elementary steps are easier for the women. Now in the West, women are vying like anything with the men. In due course, they will lose all the . . . [Master searches for a word here] femininity. I don't find a word to exactly describe that womanish character that is being lost in the West.
Generally the woman has to control the kingdom of the house. When children are born, they have to train them daily as they are in the very commencement of man-hood. Even when the child is in the womb, the mother's thoughts will affect his character. If she's of high character, you see, then that very character will be embedded in the very construction of the man-body. Women have been giving birth to Godmen. Are such Saints not born? Buddha was born where? He did not fall down from Heaven. If all go on with their own, l cannot find any English word for that . . . In Punjabi and Urdu we have got so many words. Sincerity, you might say. The womanhood character, true womanhood. If they have that, then I think the world could change. After all, the man body is made from the combined working of both man and woman, you see. Outward impressions and thoughts affect the very child in the womb.
We are losing that femininity--modesty... We have women in India who have never seen the face of any man. They live in their own area, quite humble, meek, in dignified womanhood. Not in the wrong sense, but in the true sense. If the women change to their true womanhood nature or to a more spiritual nature their very thoughts will bring out Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte, and all other great heroes, all the Saints. Don't you think that side is more important now than ever? They have never gone deeply into their own province of working and keeping the home. Modesty, I think the word modesty might suit. If they attend to their own areas well, then the future generations will be changed. But this will not occur as the situation is now. Do you think future children will become Saints with this hub-bub and heat going on like anything of women and men both alike, changing from one to the other? So many attachments, so many companions: now one is sitting with one, the other is sitting with the other? Just see the degraded position we have come to. When women just control their own area, quite modestly, with sanctity, chastity, and true remembrance of God, that will affect all of the coming generation. They can bring up heroes. Where did all Saints, all great men come from? Their beginning started in the womb. Of course, some reactions of the past also brought them to that point. So in India, the women are called Goddesses. There is good and evil in both sides; we cannot invalidate either. But if they remain in their own province, they'll do wonderful work. Women are in no way lower than men, so far as God is concerned. From reactions of the past they have taken the body of a woman or a man. But if they work in their own province, area, sincerely, I think the whole world can change. One doing this part of the work, the other doing the other part. So true modesty of women is going down, headlong down.
Will women's modesty return in the Golden Age?
After all, Golden Age will arise from
this Iron Age, you see. It won't come down from Heaven. These thoughts
that I am giving you are not new thoughts; they are the thoughts which
have been working in the past, and the times have been changing. But this
revival will again pick up. At one time in India, even the king could join
in any worship only in the company of his wife; without his wife, he could
not. And now, each is going in a different way. That was the custom in
the past. When Sita was exiled, Lord Rama could not join any worship. So
he had to make a statue of Sita and then he could join in the worship.
They are good counterparts, you see; after all, nature has provided that.
Where the men have the upper hand, they think women are their slaves; where
the women have the upper hand, they say men should be their slaves. And
this is what is going on. So I have respect for both. If they work in their
own provinces, they can do wonderful work. Now both husband and wife are
working. They go away together and their servants are left at home with
the children. When the mother is looking after the household, all goes
well; after all, she is bringing up the children and training them. This
is a very important job for the coming generations. They are the budding
hopes. There's nobody better fit to do this job. Instead, they are sent
to the colleges, to the hostels, to be trained by others for convenience
sake. After all, children cannot have the same influence from others as
they can have from their mothers, who are ideal mothers; mind not all are
ideal. They may get fed all right and the training is all right at schools,
but that influence is not there.
I think "modesty" might cover what I mean to say. Modesty. Each person in his own province maintaining it in the proper way. Women leave their hearth and home and join their husbands. This is their nature. They will go on together as real selfless friends in the worldly affairs. Both should help each other to know God, which is the ultimate goal. So this side is ignored. Naturally what is ideal cannot be had. Making a home, then going to work, earning money is all right; share at home. But the controlling of all household affairs and children, helping to form their future lives is very important. Although the husband may say that he has nothing to do with the province of work at home, if he helps very buoyantly and smilingly, that will make a sweet home, and on that you have formed roots, is it not?
So we have great intellects, great mathematicians, among women, also great spiritual women. Was not Mary, whom many worship, a woman? She gave birth to Christ Jesus. Mary was the mother, was she not? Just see what I mean to say.
To be either a man or a woman is very helpful if each goes on spiritually advancing, because on spiritual health depends the life of mind and body both. Women have got more chances, I tell you, than men. Men have so many irons in the fire. And women have only a small kingdom to control, looking to the proper keeping of the household. Their work is not less than a man's, I will tell you. If you exchange their duties for say a month, you will come to know how hard their duties are. But both sides have their own view. A sweet home can be had only when both go on jolly in their proper ways. The lack of these basic attitudes is one of the causes of why our homes have been deteriorating, I would say. How many men can you love at a time? Love which changes is no love.
When a woman has a sweet home, is bringing up her children, is very disciplined outwardly as well as developed spiritually, how much influence she has got! When her husband comes home, he will feel joy. He will feel buoyant. This does not mean sensual enjoyment; no, not in the least. That is to be used only when you want children, one or two. We have misused everything, you see. How many have got sweet homes nowadays? I am just putting the ideal before you. You will find very few such ideal marriages. Husbands are fighting with the wives, and wives with the husbands; and children going this way and that way. When the men or women both fall below their dignity, modesty, the whole thing becomes topsy-turvy. But this is not spirituality I am talking to you about. I'm just telling you how spirituality works in outer ways, in outer environments, outer living, socially and otherwise. So basic teachings are the same, you see. All this is happening because we have lost our third aspect--the Bread of Life. We do not have loaves of the Bread of Life, but have instead loaves of intellectual bread. Loaves of other things, but not the Bread of Life. Man should develop all around. Only then he will be able to feed others. So these are different aspects discussed from the level of the Bread of Life, and how it works in your daily life.
Go home! What is accomplished by going into the wilderness leaving hearth and home sitting there? Make sweet homes. Then you can also feed others. Now you will find that the majority of the people cannot stand on their own legs--they are quite like children. So there's good and evil in both, you see. You cannot negate either. I'm only talking from the idealistic point of view: women are making sweet homes and men are earning the living by honest means. The result: the tiredness acquired during the day is washed away even by coming into the house where such an ideal wife lives.
If a seed is sown and it is not watered, then? If Nature's elements are there, the earth, air, and heat, even with all that, without water, the seed won't grow. This is the watering, you see. Then it will bloom forth in all outer respects very gracefully. All these troubles arise because our third aspect, which is our own Self, is ignored, in practicality. Theoretically we know so many theories. If you speak about water, "water is life, gives life, it takes away dryness, it helps this way and that way," but you have
no water, then... ? So speaking about water is one thing but to have the water is something else. So watering of the seeds is required. The seeds will grow and bloom into big trees. Trees will be ornamental, maybe shady, maybe fruit-giving. But the whole growth depends on the watering, does it not? If they are not watered, then...? In a week or ten days, even the trees dry up unless they come in contact with the perennial source underneath the earth. Big trees don't need any watering, do they? Why saplings? Those who are fully developed get that food from within, but for the others, water is necessary.
By coming in contact with that Bread of Life, and Water of Life, all virtues take an abode within you. This will come about of itself. You are not to be anxious for it. It will follow naturally. How important is this phase of life--like the example I gave you of watering. Without water, even nature's other elements cannot help you. All nature depends on what? This very Water of Life. Does it not? Then even the dry trees become quite green by their roots searching deeply. You'll find there's one tree here, a very big tall green tree. It was all dry from a fire, and it was to be cut down. They wanted to cut it, but I asked them not to -- "Why don't you let it stand?" Now it is green. Why?
So do you understand now, from the example of watering, how it works in all phases of life whether social or in your household affairs, or anything? Just like the watering of trees that we have forgotten, try to make up the neglected areas by putting more time (water). Even if you put in some time, less time, another thing that will help you is to surrender. When you surrender to somebody, He is always in you. In India when a girl is married away, she never cares about what she will eat or what she will wear. She is married away. When the soul is married away to God, then? There are no anxieties left, you see.
Well, go on watering and everything will be all right, that's all I can say.