By Sheila Maharaj
Hindu Human Rights
The Women & Equality Unit at the DTI, Hindu Council UK with Hindu Human Rights arranged a short talk by a visiting Swamini Geetha Atmaprakashnandaji to the Department of Trade and Industry'sWomen and Equality Unit.
The topic of the discourse that Swaminiji expounded on was the male-female principle underpinning the cosmic reality of the universe.
Swaminiji began her talk by chanting some Sanskrit shlokams in a most melodious manner which created an atmosphere that facilitated the receptivity and understanding of the listeners.
The practice of Hinduism helps the individual to free the self from such complexes and to totally accept the self for what it is. In fact it is a real achievement for the person to understand and to accept the self for what it is. Hinduism, therefore is a way of life based on a given vision and this is a fact and not a contention.
In order, however, to come to this understanding that the self is the Lord then the understanding of this fact requires some preparedness. The whole of life is designed for the preparation of this understanding. Any undertaking that advances this preparedness is called Yoga?asanas, pranayama. In fact any learning that disciplines and prepares the mind for this knowledge is called Yoga.
Marriage can also be called a form of Yoga. It is not just a social institution but beautifully designed for emotional and spiritual growth. This too is a preparation whereby two individuals first learn to give up their ego for each other, she explained.
The whole of life is designed to prepare oneself for this greatest realisation. Any human knowledge is learned methodically and yet our thirst and seeking is quenched only when this great fact is acknowledged and understood, she said.
The only reality is manifested as the whole. Innumerable causes are manifested as innumerable countless effects. There are however two main causes. A wooden table is a creation of a product. At first glance we are aware that it has been created but not by whom. It has been manufactured and very beautifully designed. The wood is manifested as the table. It is the material cause and inseparable from the table. However for the wood to become the table it has to be touched by the intelligent hand of the carpenter. We say, therefore, that the wood is the material cause and the carpenter'sknowledge and skill is the efficient cause. The car is a product of many things put together in an intelligent way. If one cannot put the parts together intelligently the car cannot be put together as a car. The two causes are inseparable?the entire vast cosmos is a result of many things intelligently put together, she said.
These two causes?the material and the efficient?manifest as the whole and it is the manifestation as reality. This is true and a fact. The reality being manifest and the two different causes of manifestation are the male and female principles. A plant cannot come into being by itself. Neither a man nor a woman can beget a child by himself or herself. There is the Sanskrit term?stree?meaning she who bears the child. The one who bears and rears and sustains the human race. This is one of the reasons that women are revered and respected in Hinduism. If we look at the ocean we see the waves of the ocean. If we look at the water, it is still but then comes a movement?a projection of the water. That is called the wave. The still water embodies the male principle and the projection of the water?the wave is called the female principle.
In the marriage man and woman become the knife and the sharpener?they both grow emotionally and become mature and eventually become greater than the sum of their two parts. The man understands the importance of the woman within his life and within greater society.
At the end of her discourse Swamini fielded a number of questions on the difficulties encountered in becoming a spiritual teacher, the roles of men and women in Hinduism, the status of single people and same sex couples within Hinduism though majority of these questions were answered, quite eloquently, by Hindu Human Rights representatives.
Swamini Geetha is the disciple of Swami Dayanand Saraswati of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. He has initiated several centres of Vedic and Sanskrit teachings such as Arsha Vidya Gurukulams in North and South India and the USA. He has founded the All India Movement for Sewa (AIMS), a charity for bridging the gap between urban and rural poor, and initiated the first ever Acharya Dharma Sabha (gathering of Hindu spiritual leaders) in India in 2003.
Hindu Human Rights distributed individual copies of David Frawley'sbook, Hinduism?The Eternal Tradition, to the audience.