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.
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, Lakshmana, made a similar and ever-memorable sacrifice. She allowed her beloved husband Lakshmana 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.
Many ordinary Indian women have also become emblems 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 family of the defeated king. 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 the queen were always kind to me. Can I not do them a favour now that they are dead? If God takes care of this infant prince through me, he will grow up and some day he 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 child but, in the course of time, the real prince did regain his father's kingdom.
Satisfaction can be achieved in various ways. These women, through their matchless sacrifice, which was nothing other than their oneness-love, attained satisfaction.
Some present-day women, specially in the West, try to achieve satisfaction in another way. They try to achieve satisfaction by equalling or transcending men. But the satisfaction that comes from equalling or surpassing others will not last. Only oneness-satisfaction will forever last. In the heart of oneness, there is no superiority or inferiority; there is not even equality. There is only oneness-joy. 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. 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.
UN 13. 2 March 1981↩