How to Ease the Suffering of Women?
FOLLOWING HER FIRST pilgrimage to South India, which was almost ten years after Sri Ramakrishna had left the body, Gauri Ma returned to Calcutta. She recognized that Sri Ramakrishna's instructions to her needed to take more definite shape.
With his divine vision, Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna had seen that the prime cause of the decadence in Hindu society at that time was the lamentable situation of women – crushed by ignorance, full of foolish ideas and irrational beliefs, deprived of their rightful status and position, with no faith and confidence in themselves. Furthermore, without education based on spiritual foundations, the advancement of women was impossible, and without such an uplift, the steady and long-term progress of India was impossible.
Thus it was that for the reformation of his age, Sri Ramakrishna brought with him to this imperfect world the Divine Power in the form of Sri Sarada Devi. He also brought Gauri Ma and other women among his closest disciples. And that is why he was eager to direct Gauri Ma to use her knowledge, strength, and abilities in the service of women. Seeing that restless urge in Gauri Ma so many years earlier had made him sow the seeds of service to the veritable living forms of the Divine Mother in the heart of his dearest disciple. For Gauri Ma, those seeds were now beginning to sprout.
A new chapter was now beginning in Gauri Ma's life – she who had been perfected by the practice of tremendous austerity. Her many travels had brought her into direct contact with the lives of countless women of her day. She had realized that without proper education, women could not be ideal housewives, they could not train or discipline their children well, and, above all. they could not have peace and happiness in their lives. It was not just a matter of physical strength, for without mental and spiritual strength they would have to face a lot of misery for the most minor of reasons. Their lives were meaningless and without use.
Being a woman herself, she could fully understand the Intense pain in the lives of women. While earlier she had observed many pitiable incidents with a detached mind, now those same incidents filled her with pain and compassion. She felt an intense desire to sacrifice her life to the service of women, living images of the Divine Mother.
But how could she start this great work without workers, money, or support from anybody? This thought at first made her restless, but finally, she left everything in the hands of the Lord and waited for Him to show her the way. Gauri Ma knew that if there was a task Sri Ramakrishna wanted her to do, it would not remain long unfulfilled.
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.