Society is the expression of Divinity into manifold phases, with its love, its ardour, its eagerness to comfort and console. Women have a central role in foundation, strength and resilience of society, culture and the values expressed therein. Sathya Sai Baba cites many examples of exemplary women, and speaks of such women with great pride. He urges women also, to be proud of being women and all they can do. Thus, women have a central role to play in shaping and forming society, culture and the values expressed therein.
At the 10th World Conference in Prashanti Nilayam, a presentation was given on the Sacred Role of women in the Sathya Sai International Organisation. The following excerpts from the introduction are given, and the full document is available for download on this page.
The 19th day of each month is known as Mahila (women’s) Day in the Hindu culture and this sacred celebration of women takes place every month on this day. ‘Ladies Day’, as it is known by students of Sai Baba of all cultures, is held on 19th November each year and most years, from 1995-2003, Sai Baba gave a discourse on this day.
Sai Baba says that women are the guardians of Dharma, the embodiments of righteousness, and it is our role to instill purity of thought, word and deed both within ourselves and with our children and families and also, society. He says, “As today is a sacred day dedicated to women, they should change themselves and help to change the men and the children. They should develop the qualities of sympathy, compassion, love and sacrifice. Study the lives of our great women who were models of patience, fortitude, compassion and sacrifice. I desire that you should take up the reins of leadership and bring peace and prosperity to the nation by leading ideal lives.”
Sai Baba places enormous emphasis on the need to educate children so they grow up to become outstanding citizens. He is not interested in our children becoming great or famous persons, except in so far as the goodness of our children shines like a light which inspires others to light their candles of goodness as well.
Sai Baba asks men to see women as Divine Goddesses with a sacred role to inspire Dharma within the household and society. In the Sathya Sai International Organisation women do a lot of service with a great deal of cooking and cleaning for various functions. While this role is highly valued, women often comment that they have no time for themselves; there is no time to develop their own spirituality – no time even for Sai Ladies Program meetings which offer a spiritual and educational service. But Swami says, “Nowhere in any sacred text is it stated that women should only cook and not do work like men.”
He says, “They (women) are not encouraged to show their ability. Even in the family, they have to face obstacles and confrontations. If women are given due recognition and encouragement, they will shine with brilliance in all fields and will serve the house, country, and the entire world gloriously, contributing to the welfare of the entire humanity.”
It is therefore important that women give special time to their own education and spiritual development, which is why Sai Baba has given Ladies Program three strands: spiritual, education and service.