Why Celebrate Ladies Day?
Sathya Sai Baba initiated Ladies Day celebrations to emphasise to the whole world the crucial role of women in society. He has emphasised that women have a special duty to restore reverence and right action in the home. In Prasanthi Nilayam, Ladies Day is celebrated on the 19th November each year. Swami has said:
This day of 19th November is celebrated as Ladies Day in order to delve into the sacred qualities of women and disseminate them. Women are the repositories of Truth and Culture. Though earth is one, the plants vary depending on the seeds sown. The womb of mother symbolises Mother Earth. As is the seed of thought sown in it, so is the fruit it yields. You cannot expect mangoes by sowing a neem seed. So, the mother should be filled with good thoughts, good words and good deeds. Only then can her children be virtuous.
Divine Discourse, November 19, 2000
Contemporary society is focused on the external world, including physical appearance, acquisition of wealth, status, selfishness, and chasing temporary pleasures. The world needs its women to fulfill their sacred duty more than ever. God has given women enormous strength and Swami has emphasised that women have the capacity to transform the home and also society.
Women as Agents of Change
Sathya Sai Baba makes some very powerful statements about the strength of women and the role of women as agents of change. He describes the innate sacred qualities of women as patience, fortitude, sacrifice, compassion, love and repositories of truth and culture. He teaches that in the Bhagavad Gita, it is revealed that women have seven kinds of powers whereas men have only three, highlighting that the basis of prosperity and happiness comes from women being honoured and respected.
As well as having the capacity and the responsibility to transform the home, Swami reveals that women also have the power to change society. He indicates that the current degradation of society is because there is no encouragement for women to pursue these high ideals. He states that when women come up in society, the whole world will become sacred.
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.”
Divine Discourse, April 19, 1998
Ladies Day has been heralded by Sathya Sai Baba as an opportunity to remind women to develop Self confidence and Self respect. Self confidence is the first step towards Self realisation and a woman cannot transform her family or society unless she is aware of her own innate divinity. Sathya Sai Baba acknowledges the many obstacles in the path of most women in the development of this Self confidence and the pursuit of their spiritual development. He urges men to recognise and honour the importance of women as sacred agents of transformation of the world.
Swami urges women to take up the reins of leadership and bring about prosperity and peace by leading ideal lives.
Women as Leaders
Along with the embodiment of divine qualities comes the responsibility of women to assume leadership roles in the restoration of values-based living, peace and harmony. Sathya Sai Baba makes it clear that women have the strength and qualities to be leaders in all aspects of society–family, community and nation
Women are capable of ruling the nations and even the whole world if they make up their minds. Men should not consider women as mere slaves. Today our country is on the downslide because we take our women very lightly. There is nothing in this world that women cannot achieve. Recognising the nature of such women we must encourage them and give them equal opportunities in society. No such encouragement is being given today. Men do not tolerate women joining together for a good cause in an Organisation. Because of their own selfish interest, men are unable to recognise the good that women can do to the society.
Divine Discourse, November 19, 2001
Reflections on the Importance of Ladies Day
The teachings given by Swami in these discourses are aimed at men as well as women.
What legacy do we want to leave our sons and daughters regarding the sacred role of women?
As women, are we teaching our sons and daughters by our own example our sacred role as embodiments of divine love? Are we demonstrating in the home the values of truth, love, peace, right conduct and non-violence? Do we demonstrate the value and respect we place on ourselves as women and are we reaching our own potential to be an example to our daughters? Are we demonstrating to our sons the value we place on womanhood so that they will in the future respect their own wives as partners and as mothers?
As men, are we honouring and respecting the women in our lives? Do we express appreciation for their sacrifice and selflessness? Do we show our daughters by the manner in which we treat our wives and all women the reverence and respect due to women so that they will recognise and value these same qualities in a future husband?
Through acting on such reflections we will be living by the highest teachings, enabling our own transformation into the divine beings we really are. Thus women by their own transformation will also help transform society.