The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Rules the World

Posted: 29/06/2013 in Routine part 2

May there be the woman at home with husband and children. May there be born to the worshiper heroic youths with the will to victory, the best of chariot-fighters, fit to shine in assemblies.

 

Women’s Liberation

Anbe Sivamayam Satyame Parasivam! “God Siva is Immanent Love and Transcendent Reality!” This morning we are going to talk about a vast subject, one that is important to every Hindu family: stri dharma, the dharma of the Hindu wife and mother. In Sanskrit stri means “woman.” Dharma is a rich word which encompasses many meanings: the path to God Siva, piety, goodness, duty, obligation and more. Stri dharma is the woman’s natural path, while purusha dharma, we can say, is the man’s.

There is much controversy about the role of the woman in society these days. In the West, a strong women’s liberation movement has been at work for many years, and now there has arisen an equally vigorous opposition which defends traditional values. The struggle for women’s liberation has affected women the world over — in India, Iran, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. In North America, I began a campaign informally called the Hindu Women’s Liberation Movement. It is not what you might expect. Its purpose is to liberate our Hindu women from the liberators, to save them from worldliness and to allow them to fulfill their natural dharma as mother and wife.

For a religious woman, being liberated starts with resigning from her job and coming home. Once she is home, she is liberated and liberated and liberated. Working in the world keeps her in the outer dimensions of consciousness, while being at home allows her to live in the depth of her being. I have seen this work many times. There are so many distractions and influences in the world today that divert women away from being a wife and mother. In the West a woman is a wife first and a mother second, but in the East her traditional duties as a mother are foremost. She is trained from early childhood in the arts of homemaking, trained by her mother who was trained in exactly the same way by her mother, and so on right down through history. It’s an old pattern.

The Hindu woman is looked upon as most precious. Two thousand years ago Saint Tiruvalluvar observed: “What does a man lack if his wife is worthy? And what does he possess if she is lacking worth?” (Tirukural 53) There is more respect in the East for women and for their role in society. Here in the West, the woman is not fully appreciated. Her contribution is underrated and misunderstood. In fact, this is one of the reasons she seeks fulfillment and recognition in other spheres, because Western society has become oblivious of her unique and vital role. Abused by neglect and disregard, she seeks other avenues where she may be appreciated, recognized and rewarded.

Masculine And Feminine

Don’t forget that in the East the ties of the extended family are traditionally very close. Women live in a community, surrounded by younger and older women, often living in the same house. They enjoy a rewarding life which includes helping the younger ones and being helped by those who are more mature. Several generations work together in sharing the joys as well as the burdens of household culture. It is different in the West. Women here usually do not have the advantages of close association with other family members. Naturally, they become a little lonely, especially if they do not have a religious community of friends. They get lonely and want to get out in the world and enjoy life a little. This is another reason women leave the home. It is very unfortunate.

In the East there is a better balance of the masculine and feminine forces. In the West the masculine is too strong, too dominant. The feminine energies need to be allowed greater expression. But that does not mean women should start doing what men do. No. That only confuses the forces more. A better balance must be found. In Asia the woman is protected. She is like a precious gem. You don’t leave it unattended. You protect it, you guard it well because you don’t wish to lose it. Hindu women are guarded well. They are not allowed to become worldly. They are not exposed to the looks and thoughts of a base public, nor must they surrender their modesty to contend in the tough world of business affairs. She can be perfectly feminine, expressing her natural qualities of gentleness, intuitiveness, love and modesty. The home and family are the entire focus of a Hindu woman’s life.

Many of you here this morning are too young to know that this was also the prevalent pattern in America up to World War II, which started in 1939. Before World War II, Western women were very much reserved in public appearances and were nearly always chaperoned. It was that war that broke down the ancient roles of men and women. The men were taken away from industry by the army, and women were forced out of the home into the factories and businesses so that production could continue. Earlier they had been protected, seldom seen unaccompanied in public. Throughout history, women had been the caretakers of the home and the defenders of virtue. They valued their purity, their chastity, and were virgins when they married. Many people don’t know that the old values were upheld quite strictly until 1940 or so. Then the Second World War broke up the family and disturbed the balance between men and women. For the first time, women were seen alone in public. For the first time, they left the home and competed with men for their jobs.

Society in Transition

I speak often of the change humanity is going through in moving out of the agricultural era and into the technological age. This change has affected the dharma of the woman and the dharma of the man in an interesting way. During the tens of thousands of years of the agricultural age, families lived and labored mostly on farms or in craft guilds. The entire family worked on the farm. The men all worked in the fields; the women and children mostly worked in the home. Children were a great asset. More children meant more help, a bigger farm, more wealth. There were many chores that a young boy or girl could do. When harvest time came, everyone joined in. It was a one team, and everyone contributed. When the crop was sold, that was the income for a combined effort from all members — men, women and even children. In a very real sense, everyone was earning the money, everyone was economically important.

With the onset of the technological era, only the man of the house earns the family income. Everyone else spends it. The husband goes to work in a factory or large company office while his wife and children stay at home. There is not much they can do to help him during the day with his work. His work and his wife’s are not as closely related as in the old days. He is the provider, the producer now; she and the children are consumers. Because the children cannot help much, they have become more of an economic liability than an asset. This, coupled with the population problems on the Earth, devalues the economic importance of the woman’s traditional role as wife and mother. Whereas raising children and taking care of the farmhouse used to be a woman’s direct and vital contribution toward the family’s livelihood and even the survival of the human race, today it is not. Whereas they used to be partners in a family farm business, today he does all the earning and she feels like a dependent. The answer is not to have women join their men in the factories and corporations. The answer is to bring traditional religious values into the technological era, to find a new balance of karma that allows for the fulfillment of both the man’s and the woman’s dharma.

When young couples marry, I help them write down their vows to one another. He must promise to support her, to protect her, to give her a full and rewarding life. She must promise to care for him, to manage the home, to maintain the home shrine and to raise fine children. I ask them each to respect the other’s realm, to never mentally criticize the other and to make religion the central focus of their life together. I ask the young bride to stay at home, to be a little shy of involvement in the world. I instruct the young husband to provide for her, throughout her life, all that she needs and all that she wants.

Working in The World

A mother’s place is within the home and not out in the world working. When she is in the home all day, she brings love and security to the children, sensitivity and stability to the husband. By raising her children, she changes the course of history. How does she do that? She raises strong children, good and intelligent children. They will grow up to be the great men and women in the community, the leaders of the nation. They will be the worthy farmers, artists, businessmen, the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the architects, the presidents and, most importantly, the spiritual leaders. They will be the good mothers, the homemakers and child-raisers, scientists and inventors, pioneers and poets, artists and sculptors and creators in all dimensions of life. It is such men and women who change the course of human history. This is the great power held by the mother and by no one else: to properly mold the mind and character of her children. And she trains her daughters to do the same by example and gentle guidance.

Of course, she also holds the opposite power, expressed through neglect, to allow her children to grow up on their own, on the streets where they will learn a base life. Such children will as surely change society and human history, but negatively. They will be the common men and women, or fall into mental and emotional abysses, there to express the instinctive nature and become the exemplars of violence and lust, of dependence and crime. The very direction of mankind is right there in the early years, to be turned toward a great potential through love and attentiveness or allowed to decay through neglect. The mother is the child’s first guru, and she alone can shape the mind in those impressionable years. So, you can all see the truth in the old saying: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Take the case of a mother who is at home every day, morning and night, attending to her children. As she rocks the cradle, her love and energy radiate out to the infant, who then feels a natural peacefulness and security. She has time for the child, time to sing sweet lullabies and console when the tears come, time to teach about people, about the world, about the little things in growing up, time to cuddle for no reason except to express her love. On the other hand, the working mother has no time to do extra things. When the infant cries, she may, out of her own frustrations of the day, become impatient and scold him, demanding that he keep quiet. “I told you to be quiet!” she shouts. The infant doesn’t even understand the language yet. You can imagine this helpless child’s feelings as he receives an emotional blast of anger and frustration directed toward his gentle form. Where is he to turn? He cannot find refuge even in his mother’s arms.

What will the next generation be like if all the children are raised under such circumstances? Will it be strong and self-assured? Will it radiate kindness to others, never having had kindness given to it? Will it be patient and understanding? No. It is a proven fact that most prison inmates were seriously neglected or beaten as children. It is also a proven fact that nearly all parents who mistreat their children were themselves mistreated by their parents. Unless mothers care for and love their children, society will inherit an entire generation of frustrated adults who were once frustrated children. These will later be the people who rule the world. Then what happens? They in turn raise their children in the same manner, for that is the only example of parenthood they have. They will think that neglect is natural, that children can get along on their own from an early age or be raised by a governess or nurse or at a day-care center. It’s a circle: a childhood of neglect produces a bitter adult life; a childhood of love and trust produces a loving and happy adult life.

The Psychic Force Field

We learn so many important things from the mother. This learning is not just from the things she explains to us, but from the way she lives her life. If she is patient, we learn patience. If she is angry and unhappy, then we learn to be angry and unhappy. How wonderful it is for a mother to be in the home and give her children the great gifts of life by her example. She can teach them so many things, bring them into profound understandings about the world around them and offer them basic values and points of view that will sustain them throughout their life. Her gift of love is directly to the child, but indirectly it is a gift to all of humanity, isn’t it? A child does not learn much from the father until he is older, perhaps eight or nine, or ten years of age.

We have a book in our library which describes a plan made by the Christians to destroy Hinduism in Sri Lanka and India. One of their major tactics is to get the Hindu women out of their homes and working in the world. They knew that the spiritual force within the home is created by the unworldly woman. They knew that a secure woman makes for a secure home and family, a secure husband and a secure religion. They knew that the Hindu woman is the key to the perpetuation of Hinduism, as long as she is in the home. If the woman is in the home, if she is happy and content and the children are nurtured and raised properly, then the astral beings around the home will be devonic, friendly and beneficial. But if she is out of the home and the husband is out of the home, the protective force-field around the home disintegrates, allowing all kinds of astral asuric beings to enter. Such a neglected home becomes inhabited by base, asuric beings on the lower astral plane. You cannot see these beings, but they are there, and you can sense their presence. Things just don’t feel right in a home inhabited by negative forces. You have the desire to leave such a home as soon as you enter it. The children absorb these vibrations, these feelings. Children are open and psychically sensitive to such influences, with little means of self-protection. They will become disturbed, and no one will know the reason why. They will be crying and even screaming. They will be constantly disobedient. Why should they become disobedient? Because there is no positive, protective force field of religion established and upheld by the mother. This leaves the inner force field vulnerable to negative and confusing forces of all kinds, especially in modern, overpopulated cities where destructive psychic influences are so strong. These negative vibrations are penetrating the inner atmosphere of the home, and the children are psychic enough to pick them up and suffer.

People Caring For People

Religion begins in the home under the mother’s influence and instruction. The mother goes to the temple to get strong. That is the reason Hindus live near a temple. They go to the temple to draw strength from the shakti of the Deity, and they return to the home where they maintain a similar vibration in which to raise the next generation to be staunch and wonderfully productive citizens of the world, to bring peace on Earth, to keep peace on Earth. There is an ancient South Indian proverb which says one should not live in a city which has no temple.

If a child is screaming in its cradle, and the babysitter is yelling at him and couldn’t care less about his feelings, and the mother is out working, that child is not a candidate for keeping peace on Earth. That child is going to keep things confused, as they are today. So, it’s all in the hands of the mother; it’s not in the hands of the father. Religion and the future of society lie solely in the hands of the mother. It is in the hands of the father to allow or not to allow the mother to be under another man’s mind out in the world.

Just as World War II took women out of the home, so did another change affect mankind. When the automobile came along, people forgot about breeding, because it replaced the horse, which they cared for and learned to mate with other horses to strengthen the genetics. The automobile did one terrible thing: it made people forget how to breed and how to take care of one another. When people kept horses, horses were a part of the family. People had to care for their horses, and in the process learned to care for one another. People also had to breed their horses, and in that process learned about the value of intelligent breeding. In those days you often heard of the “well-bred” person. You don’t hear of the well-bred person anymore. Although among biologists there is much talk about heredity, ordinary people no longer consider that humans, too, are involved in the natural process of breeding. They have become forgetful of these important laws, and this has led to lack of forethought and discipline, to bodies indiscriminately procreating more bodies. Who is living in them nobody quite knows, and too many simply don’t care. That’s what we as a society forgot when the automobile replaced the horse. When you had a horse, you had to feed and water it. You had to train it, you had to harness it, curry it, stable it and breed it. In breeding, you had to choose a stud for your mare or find a suitable mare for your stallion. The qualities of both the sire and the dam were closely observed, and the resultant combination of genetics was consciously planned. It was therefore natural for people in those days to seek proper mates for their children, and the results were the vital, creative and industrious children of the children. As a civilization, we are slowly forgetting such basic things, being more and more careless about our children’s future, about their lives and their mates.

The Impact Of Television

Television has not helped society to raise its children. In fact, it has virtually stopped the proper education of the child in those communities where it is watched for hours each day. Instead of developing an active curiosity by adventuring for hours through a forest or climbing a tree, instead of discovering the wonders of nature and art, music, literature and conversation, instead of becoming involved in sports and hobbies, children are mentally carried along by television stories through positive and negative states of mind. They become uncreative, passive, inactive, never learning to use their own minds. Admittedly, not all television is negative. Some of it can be quite educational; but hours and hours each day of passive absorption is not good for a child’s mental and emotional development. Children need to be active, to involve themselves in a wide variety of experiences.

If the mother is there, she can intelligently guide their television, being careful that they do not get in the habit of watching it for hours on end, and watching that bold sex, casual and brute violence, raw language and other bad influences are not a daily experience. When the program is over, she can send them out to play. Or, better still, she can take a few minutes to explain how what they just saw on TV relates, or often does not relate, to real life. Of course, if she is gone, they will watch anything and everything. For the young, television is one of the most senseless pastimes there is, carrying the mind further and further away from the true Self.

I think you will all agree that our values, the values found in the holy Vedas, Tirukural and other sacred scriptures, are rarely found on television. Instead, TV, at this time in our history, gives our children a brutal, romantic and unbalanced view of life which distorts in their minds how life really is. These are very serious issues. It is the mother who protects her children from negative influences, guiding their young minds into positive channels of expression.

Take the case of a farmer who raises livestock, who milks cows and goats. He works hard. He gets up early and takes care of his animals. He cannot succeed if he is also working part-time in the grocery store downtown. Those animals need attention. There is no sensible man who would run a farm, with cows and goats and chickens, and not be there to take care of them, because those animals need a lot of help. He stays there and takes care of his business. He is a farmer and that is his duty, and he knows it.

Well, what’s more important than the child? He needs twenty-four-hour-a-day care. He is learning to walk, to speak, to learn, to think. He falls down and needs consoling. He catches the flu and needs to be nursed back to health. It is the mother’s duty to provide that care. No one else is going to do it for her. No one else can do it for her. She brought that soul into a physical body, and she must prepare that child for a positive and rewarding life.

If the farmer neglects his animals, he creates a serious karma. The animals suffer. The farm suffers. The community suffers when the farm fails, and the man himself suffers. There is a grave karma, too, for the woman who neglects her stri dharma, who goes out into the world and does not nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of her children. She knows this within herself, but she may be influenced by ill-advised people, or by a mass movement that tells her that she has only one life to live and that she cannot find fulfillment in the home, but must express herself, venture out, seek her own path, her own fortune. You have all heard these ideas. I tell you that they are wrong. They spell the disillusionment of the mother who heeds them, then the disintegration of the family that is sacrificed by her absence. Finally, they result in her own unhappiness as she despairs at the loss suffered by her family and herself.

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