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text: Christmas

Swami This Bharat (India) is the land of sanctity and chastity, which has given birth to such great women of exceptional character, who lent glory to Bharat as a nation of heroic women.

From ancient times, the presiding deity of Gayathri Mantra, Gayathri Devi, has been worshipped as the Mother of the Vedas, which are held as the most ancient and authoritative scriptures of wisdom. The Gayathri Mantra originated in this holy land. The glory of this mantra has spread all over the world. The people of Bharat have worshiped Gayathri in several ways and have redeemed their lives. Gayathri has been worshipped in four forms: (1) Sathyavathi (2) Angavathi (3) Anyavathi (4) Nidhanavathi. All four are equally sacred and elicit limitless the grace of the Divine. The world is symbolized by these four forms of Gayathri. That is why ithe world is described as nature (prakriti), a female form (stree). We refer to our native country as the motherland.

The woman at home has been held in high esteem as the "goddess of prosperity of the home (grihalakshmi)". When her husband faces difficulties, the wife readily shares the burden and is prepared to do anything, undergo any suffering, or even sacrifice her life for the welfare of her husband and family. It is the woman of the home who is behind the home's good reputation. The woman is the embodiment of sacrifice. Though the male counterpart may also do sacrifice, it will be with a selfish tinge, while woman's sacrifice is absolutely selfless. Therefore, we should be proud of our women.

Women devotees in Sai Movement are participating in large numbers enthusiastically in service activities such as helping the women of weaker sections to learn some useful trades like tailoring, so that they can earn some money for the family and also spend their time usefully. If such activities are taken up all over the country, the country will prosper. This sacred work is typical of the culture of our ancient country. Women are the heirs of our ancient culture. Culture means refinement. Women are the torch-bearers of refinement, and they are toiling for the emancipation of the nation.

In order to teach the subtleties of the scriptural texts and encourage women to play their role in society, 19 November is fixed as Lady's (Mahila) Day. Dharma can be made to occupy its position in society and restored to its pristine glory only by women.

Divine Discourse: 19 April 1998

A married lady has many great titles like "righteous wife (dharma patni)", "goddess of the house (grihalakshmi)", "lady of the house", and "equal partner of the husband (ardhangi)". These titles have more value than socially recognized titles like "padma bhushan" and "given by the government (padma vibhushan)". A lady must look after the home first and then work outside, if necessary. A house without a mother is like an empty hall of a temple (choultry). A lady should be an ideal to her children, look after her husband, and then do outside work. She can study, get degrees, enter politics, or do any other work, but she should not neglect the home, which is the very foundation of her life. The husband and wife are equally responsible for establishing harmony in the home. But times have changed. Womanly ideals are not being practiced, and there are no ideal men and women today. That is why the world is in such a sorry state.

Divine Discourse: 19 November 1997

It is not my view that women should not get educated. They should have education. You may also take up jobs. But they should live up to the obligations and glory of womanhood. The first title given to a woman is the goddess of home (grihalakshmi). A woman is expected to confer all prosperity, honor, and good name on the home and the family. She is characterized as home-Lakshmi and not office-Lakshmi. Another title for a woman is the better half (ardhangi). This means she is the better half of the husband and not a partner in his job. The third title is the mistress of the Home (illalu). She is the mistress in the house and not in the office. Dharmapathni is the fourth title conferred on a married woman. This implies that the home is the dwelling for all righteousness. The home is the birth place of all the rules of right conduct (dharmas) hallowed by usage from ancient times.

What we have to safeguard and protect today are truth and righteousness, and not the nation. When truth and righteousness are protected, they will protect the nation.

Hence, righteousness should be fostered in the home. A home is no trivial place. The home is the abode of dharma. which protects and safeguards the country. The home is the beacon that illumines and sustains the world. Women should realize that, regardless of their education or position, their foremost obligation is to protect the home.

Consider, for instance, this fact. There any number of women have tried to bring back their dead husbands or to venerate their memory. How many men have done likewise for their wives? Many hasten to acquire a second wife.

Wherever women are honored, there is prosperity and happiness. Women should never be slighted or treated with disrespect. A home in which the housewife sheds tears will be bereft of all prosperity. This is the ancient conception of the role of women in the home.

Divine Discourse: 19 November 1996

Man is the chosen one in this whole world teeming with millions and millions of creation. Woman is very superior in the whole creation including man. There are many examples to prove that woman is really superior. Is it not because of the boons granted to Kausalya in the form of giving birth to Divine that Rama became famous and worshiped as God? Is it not by Seethaa's fostering and rearing that the twins Kusa and Lava became so great? Again, Shivaji became great and valorous because of the upbringing of his mother, Jijabai. Gandhi gained reputation and fame because of encouragement from his mother Puthlibai. Several great sages (rishis), warriors, various heroes, and wicked people were also born from the womb of the mother. That mother is the very embodiment of nature (prakriti).

The Gayatri is the very source of all Vedas. Gayatri is the embodiment of woman (stree). Veda is the mother. When we see all these things, we feel that the woman has got a very high place; her birth is something very great and virtuous. The woman has been praised by the Vedas throughout the past and the present. The woman has an exalted place in the various rituals of the ancient times like, vaidika pooja, vaidika upasana and vaidika aradhana.

The house becomes a forest when the woman is not there. Men have to think today that they should not make the women shed tears. They should respect and revere them. Then only will there be prosperity and happiness. Wherever the women shed tears, that house will go to ruin. Men have to carry on their lives by respecting and revering women to the extent possible. The woman with nine different powers is the very embodiment of Adhi Sakthi. Sabda Brahmamayi, Charaacharamayi, Jyotirmayi, Vaangmayi, Nithyanandamayi, Paraatparamayi, Maayaamayi, and Sreemayi are the names given to women. This principle is nectarine. So the woman has got the worthy name sthree.

Women have the strength of mind and the courage to fight for the country and bring about harmony and peace. So Valmiki ,who described women in many ways, said that women are the very embodiment of sweetness. What is the main reason for this sweetness? It is the quality of sacrifice in her that makes it sweet. The mother is prepared to go to any length and sacrifice for the sake of the children. She will sacrifice even her life to protect her children. This sense of sacrifice is there only in the women. The father will say it is alright when the children are suffering from some disease. The mother tries hard to protect them. The quality of sacrifice causes her to be known as the embodiment of sacrifice.

Mother is the very foundation of everything. A ma —Amma— is the very first word. Therefore, she is called mother-god (matrudevi). The four important sayings in the culture of Bharat (India) are "revere the mother as God (matru devo bhava)", "revere the father as God (pitru devo bhava)", "revere the guru as God (acharya devo bhava", and "revere the guest as God (aathiti devo bhava)". The mother gives birth to the children. She shows the father. Nobody has the authority to show the father. Only the mother has the authority to show the father. Then the father shows the guru. The guru leads the child to God. This is the ancient tradition and culture of Bharat (India).

We say that this world is full of discord. From where has this discord come? It has come from within. So every time we celebrate Ladies Day (stree dina) on November 19, we should propagate this type of thought. Not only should good thoughts be propagated, but they should start right at the home. You should train the children with good thoughts. You have to remain peaceful even if the husband is wicked.

This is an auspicious day, dedicated for women. If women change, men will definitely change. Women should take to the right path. Then men will also take to the right path. Because the women can be a leader, she shares half the body of the man. She can change the men either today or tomorrow if she has good thoughts. So women should inculcate compassion, love, and sacrifice. There is no quality greater than sacrifice.

Divine Discourse: 19 November 1995