On this vital and – unfortunately – necessary International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, HH Param Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji spoke-out against the increasing violence enacted against women, declaring that “these incidents are shaming humanity!”
“In the UK, the US and other countries around the world, nearly one in three women are victims of domestic violence; innumerable more are victims of rape and other atrocities. In India, sixty-eight percent of women are abused – and, because of Covid-mandated lockdowns, that number is even higher. Even when they are not being hit, many of our mothers and sisters in India are still prone to abuse, fearful every night, when they must forage outdoors away from home for a place in which to heed the call of nature, simply because they have no toilets. Nearly twenty-five percent of India’s daughters will drop out of school, mainly for the lack of toilets, adding to an unseen toll of poverty, desperation and pain. And, environmental issues – which affect women more than men because they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change – are just another form of violence enacted against our Divine Shakti.
“Indian spiritual culture has always put the role of women first. They were not just objects but actually the essence of reverence and divinity. We must bring these values and this respect and reverence back to women and to children in order to empower them to come forward to build a better world for all.
“We have to make our daughters brave, educate them and make them empowered and self-reliant. More than that, we must teach sons to respect humanity and to show compassion to women. The development of society is not possible without giving respect and equality to women. Swami Vivekananda ji has said, ‘As it is not easy for a bird to fly with one feather, similarly, the welfare of this society is not possible without improving the situation of women. ‘ And change in this area must begin in the home. Family members must educate sons that women are a beautiful masterpiece of God and give them respect and equal rights.
“Women have the power. They can empower the world! That is how much power women have! God created women for a very special purpose. They are the power. Without women, there can be no existence. The world exists because of women. When women are there, everything else is there. Women must recognize that power, and inundate the world with that power.
“Whatever question arises, women will provide the answer. Women are not the problem – they are the solution! The time has come that – through the power of women – the world must rise.”