Women's liberation and oneness-satisfaction15

Women have one common name: sacrifice. They can sacrifice everything that they have and that they are, either for their dear ones or for an unknown, if not an unknowable, supreme Reality. From time immemorial, Indian women have been revealing the supernal beauty of sacrifice. An Indian wife is synonymous with an Indian sacrifice-heart. The Indian goddess Sati could not bear the unending insults which her father Yaksha lavished upon her husband Shiva. Her love for her husband could only be felt and never described. Finally, she destroyed her life, for she felt that death was unquestionably preferable to enduring her husband's humiliation-life.

In the hoary past, Maitreyi, wife of the great sage Yagnavalka, received a call from the Absolute Reality. Therefore, she found it impossible to be satisfied with earthly riches and fleeting happiness. Easily she could have wallowed in the pleasures of earthly prosperity, but she chose the path of renunciation. Her immortal utterance will forever and ever reverberate in the Indian firmament: "What shall I do with the things that will not and cannot make me immortal?" In the Ramayana, Sita became an incarnation of sacrifice. She cheerfully and unconditionally accepted the life of exile for fourteen years in order to be with her beloved Rama. Urmila, the wife of Rama's younger brother, Laksmana, made a similar and ever-memorable sacrifice. She allowed her beloved husband Laksmana to follow his eldest brother into exile, although she could not go with him. She sacrificed the company of her dearest husband by cheerfully letting him fulfil his desire to be with his brother Rama.

Savitri's love for Prince Satyavan touched the very depth of Immortality. When death snatched him away, Savitri continued following the spirit of her husband until she proved to death that nothing in God's entire creation could stand between her and her husband. Finally, death had to return Satyavan to the world of the living, for the power of Savitri's oneness-love for her husband far surpassed the division-power of death.

Even an ordinary Indian woman can be an emblem of sacrifice. A certain Rajput king was killed in battle by another king, and the enemy's soldiers entered into the palace to kill the king's family. The maid Panna, seeing the grave situation, carried away the infant prince and put her own child in the prince's place. She said to herself: "I am an ordinary human being, and my son will always remain an ordinary human being. But this infant will one day be a king. The king and queen were always kind to me. Can I not do them favour now? If God takes care of this infant prince through me, he will grow up and someday may be able to regain his kingdom. My sacrifice is no sacrifice when I am doing something for a noble cause."

The soldiers came and killed Panna's infant immediately, but in the course of time the real prince did regain his father's kingdom.

Satisfaction can be achieved in various ways. These women, by their matchless sacrifice, got satisfaction. Some present-day women, especially in the West, try to achieve satisfaction in another way. They try to achieve satisfaction by equalling or transcending men. Achieving satisfaction by sacrificing or serving is the Indian way. Achieving satisfaction by equalling or surpassing is the Western way.

To get satisfaction, you can stand on someone's head, you can be at his feet or you can be inside his heart. Some women want to compete with men and defeat them. If these women want to get satisfaction by surpassing others, then they can, provided they are not affected by others' jealousy. Some want to get satisfaction by becoming equal with others. This is another way.

Again, by remaining at the foot of the tree, a woman can also get satisfaction. When she remains at the foot of the tree and serves others, no one is jealous of her. Those she is serving show her all love. At that time, she does not feel that she is inferior. In a family, if the youngest thinks that he is inferior, he feels miserable. But if he feels that God wanted him to play the role of the youngest, and that the older children are not superior to him but merely have a different role to play, then he will get satisfaction. Similarly, these women get satisfaction by fulfilling the role of serving and sacrificing.

Satisfaction can come by serving others, by equalling others or by surpassing others. But the satisfaction that comes in these ways will not last. In India they tell about three kinds of disciples. An absolutely useless disciple will try to stand on top of his Master's head. A foolish disciple will feel that he is one person and his Master is someone else, and that they are equal. A devoted disciple will try always to be at the feet of the Master. But if someone is a devoted disciple and, at the same time, wants to conquer insecurity forever and live all the time in oneness-joy, then he will try to live in the heart of the Master.

The satisfaction that one gets by serving, equalling or surpassing others will not last. Only oneness-satisfaction will forever last. In the heart's oneness, there is no superiority or inferiority; there is not even equality. There is only oneness-joy. Here it is not a competition-game but a oneness-game.

Today we hear a lot about women's liberation. Many women are trying to equal or surpass men. But I wish to say that real liberation does not lie in equalling or surpassing others, but in becoming one with them. Liberation is satisfaction, and satisfaction is found only in oneness.

Man's inner strength is his poise. Woman's inner strength is her love. When poise and love blend together in oneness-game, at that time true satisfaction, constant satisfaction, perfect satisfaction, infinite and immortal Satisfaction will dawn on earth.

IR 23. 2 March 1981.