The unsung divinity

The unsung divinity

'A courageous woman doesn't need anyone to complete her, she is complete on her own.'

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8 with a view to recognise the achievements of women and to highlight, in effect, the nobility of womanhood which has undoubtedly made life on this planet beautiful and meaningful.

A popular tale of Goutama Buddha and his wife Yashodhara runs thus: Buddha left Yashodhara in the middle of the night to seek enlightenment, leaving her devastated. Though she did not complain, her life lost all meaning. The only reason for her to live now was her son. Her well-wishers advised her to forget the man who had deserted her and start life afresh by remarrying, which she refused. One fine day Buddha came back.

 “They call you Buddha now, I hear; what does it mean?” she gently enquired. “I think it means the enlightened one, a knower,” he replied calmly.

She smiled and spoke after a brief silence. “I suppose we both have learned something. Your lessons, O Buddha, will make the world richer in spirit, but my lesson will unfortunately remain unknown,” she said pensively. “What lesson is that?” he probed. Her eyes shone with unshed tears. “That a courageous woman does not need anyone to complete her, she is complete on her own.”

While womanhood deserves a salute for its ‘Yashodhara spirit’, the greatest irony is that the sanctity of the month-long celebration of this occasion is soon replaced by myriad reports of heinous sexual crimes and abominable acts of female foeticide and infanticide.

Nevertheless, it is amazing and thought-provoking that the world population on the whole has an almost equal number of men and women. This itself is ample proof that at least Mother Nature does not discriminate among her children and it is our regressive mindset  that is trying to upset the balance of Nature — an unpardonable sin indeed!

I can never forget a touching incident involving a lady from a humble background whose life has been a shining example of forgiveness. She spent all her life as a cook at my father-in-law’s house. Married off at a tender age of nine, she hardly lived for a couple of days with her husband who turned out to be a deba­uch. Deserting her mercilessly, he went on to lead his life with several women.

Not once did he, in the course of nearly 60 years, so much as remember his legal wife. When he became a destitute and was bed-ridden due to self-inflected mala­dies, she rushed to his place, nursed him till his death and arranged for his crema­tion after clearing the dues owed by him to several agencies with her savings. A true ‘Kshamaya Dharithree’ indeed!

I wonder if the ‘superior sex’ would have displayed the same degree of forgiveness had the roles been reversed!