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From One Extreme to Another

From: "Mirabai" To: Subject: From One Extreme to Another Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 23:36:01 Baba "Ma'nus' yeno ma'nus'er tare sab kichu kare ya'y..." (P.S. 2192) Purport: Great persons-- proper human beings-- do everything in their life for the upliftment of other human beings. In their mind they also never forget that animals, birds, and plants also belong in their vast family. For such sadhakas, no one is alien because in their heart they understand that each and every being wants to survive. Why do human beings remain crying, feeling isolated in their own suffering after losing their path in the Cimmerian darkness. Our love and care will bring everyone close to us; nobody will be left behind-- crying and suffering in frustration. On this auspicious crimson occasion we will save everyone and provide them shelter from the burning flame of illiteracy, starvation, and all kinds of troubles. Elevated human beings come on this earth to serve everyone, all humanity plus the birds, animals, plants, flora and fauna, & animate and inanimate objects-- the entire creation...
Namaskar, As we know the Tantra of AM is Madhyama Ma'rga, or 'the middle path'. Because with our rational approach, we can always find a balanced answer. This is the beauty of our Marga. Currently, right now around the globe, there are two extreme positions being put forth with regards to certain women's issue-- in particular with regards to dress. On the one side there is the suffocating approach of Islam where females are forced to be covered from head to toe in a "burka"; and in the opposite corner there is the degrading approach of western capitalistic society where females openly move around half-naked. Needless to say, neither venue is doing the world an ounce of good-- nor are either of these approaches beneficial to the healthy growth and development of our female population. So let us take a look at the forces and mind-set behind these two divergent ways as well as apply the balance of AM's middle path. By that way we can come up with a just solution: How females--and males-- can present themselves in public properly, i.e. in a comfortable yet sentient manner.
First let us take at one of Baba's famous guidelines. On 12 December 1979, while addressing issues of women's welfare, Baba beautifully expressed:
"You, as the most dignified section of human society do something for the universal human beings".
Here the point is that in our Tantra, 'motherhood' is regarded as something very special and sacred. Because it is a mother's great compassion that instills love and warmth within the heart of each and every infant that is born on this earth. Without that motherly love, children become drowned in a sea of emptiness and rejection and their whole adult life turns into an aimless search. Whereas those fortified with a mother's tender love and compassion develop into whole human beings who are ready to courageously serve the society. Hence due to their motherly status, females hold a special place in human society-- and are deserving of tremendous respect. Baba says, "Always endeavour to save the prestige of women. As the mothers of men, women can claim this much as a right. Special attention should be paid to the comforts of women during festivals, at spiritual conferences, and on other occasions." (CC-1, chap 24)
Unfortunately, due to an array of negative propaganda, the dignified and motherly status in the west is all but lost-- it is hardly present anywhere. Now the streets, homes, recreation areas, and workplaces are filled with females showing off the curves and slopes of their bodies-- leaving themselves half or 3/4 naked for all to see. This is the regular way females dress in the USA, Europe, South America, Australia etc. Again, I will emphasize that this is degrading display is totally rampant in the so-called free societies of the west. As a margii sister living in the west I find the whole thing quite appalling and outrageous-- totally intolerable. Because with Baba's guidance, we have come to elevate the standard of women yet all around us females are being more and more objectified as mere sex symbols. Even highly educated females are falling into this trap: They think their chief asset in life is to be a sensuous showpiece to the male eye.
While there are any number of avenues we can point to that are the cause of the sheer degradation of females in the west, two of the most prominent are: Hollywood and the dogma of open-mindedness. Here Hollywood refers to the whole film, advertising, and pseudo-culture industries of the west that project women as the mere sex toys of men. They have created the female icon as all legs and top-- with no real mental faculty. Just more and more skin is exposed as the competing firms dress up females in increasingly provocative outfits. And the worst part of it is that women have bought into this: Consciously or unconsciously they have come to believe that this is where their real worth lies-- in their ability to awaken and attract the male appetite. So the projected Hollywood image of the half-naked women has become an icon of western life-- deeply embedded in the female psyche. Some might say that we women are at fault-- but in truth we are victims. Victims of the male dominated capitalist society that has projected the female body as the ticket to selling anything: films, computers, shampoo, automobiles or anything under the sun. Side by side it has become proof of one's "open-mindedness" to accept this half-naked approach of female life. Because for years and years the dogmatic churches put harsh restrictions on female expression in society. So in response to that era of extreme suppression, a whole new era of so-called open-mindedness has developed. This is an opposite extreme where females can 'do what they want'-- including dress in a way that exposes all their body parts. And this is wholeheartedly supported by various western men and women who want to project themselves as being open-minded-- so as to prove that they are not shackled by church dogma. About all this much more can be said but certainly these are the two main operating factors with regards to the acceptance and support of female nakedness in the society.
Seeing the situation in the west, the crude clerics and leaders of various Islamic factions have declared that females in the west are openly displaying themselves as "pieces of meat". Of course what so-called solutions such Muslims are going to offer we are all well aware. Their answer is to push women back in the stone ages: Dressed head to toe in a burka, locked in a dingy home, barred from education, and enslaved as one of several wives of their Muslim man. About the strict female dress advocated by Muslims, Baba has said the following. Baba says, "Females were forced to cover their whole body by using a burka', but this is not at all logical or rational. This burka has little eye holes or slits, and by looking through these holes females have to see and move carefully while walking on the street etc. These are some examples of inhuman tortures-- a kind of animalistic treatment. Those who are civilised people of a civilised society or country should not accept such type of negative dogmatic rules. These are all nothing but dogma. These are all the naked examples of dogma." (Nagpur, MGD, 16 Oct '79) So while Islam may be quick to point out the defects of the degrading style of dress in the west, the Islamic answer is not at all the guiding light. Rather it casts females into the dark.
So from one side to the other, there is just an extreme reaction going on with regards to female dress. Because when one suffocating approach has been in vogue for ages and ages then people over-react and move to the extreme in the opposite direction. That is part of the mind-set why in the west females are flaunting their new-found freedom and exposing their bellies to the world. All done as a show of their ability to 'do as they please' and as a slap in the face to centuries of religious dogma. And such over-reactions happen in numerous aspects of life. In India there is a long history of taking strictly sattvik food, but now the people of India have taken solace in the vast array of fast-food and junk-food items. So they are eating to their hearts delight and inviting innumerable problems for themselves. Although sentient food is a positive attribution whereas religious dogma is negative, still the point is that when people break away from any type of rule then often they sway far in the opposite direction. That is why we see in the west a growing number of atheists. In response to the antiquated ways of the church the people have given up God entirely. This is just an over-reaction to the suppressive mandates of the church. So this is one mental weakness where people jump far in the opposite direction in reaction to a particular set of parameters.
The question then arises as to who is the big-winner in this ordeal. Some may say females, but this is not true. Their "freedom" of being able to dress half-naked has not brought many rewards. Date rape and sexual assault are on the rise as the society has become infested with sexual innuendoes and it is often the females who suffer the most from the half-naked appeal. And even if they are not sexually attacked, still the female mind has become entrenched in the idea that we are mere sex toys in the hands of males. In that case all the sentientness and dignity of women has been lost. Gone is our divine motherly status and gone is the compassion of the female heart. All that has gotten sold out to sexual allurement. This is the price the common women of the west have had to pay. So is it the male gender that has benefited. That is also not true. Now countless males have been tagged for life as wife-beaters, sexual assualters, and rapists. Their names have been permanently printed on public websites such that they can never get a decent job again. Plus they are totally barred from so many social activities. Rather they are under constant watch by the police. Plus for all the males who have not been accused of rape etc, it is also sad to note that often their mind is just engrossed in female fanaticizing. This can be evidenced by the gossip heard in any tavern, move theatre, restaurant, board meeting etc. Males too have been plunged in this degeneration. So then who are the big victors? It is those greedy capitalists who have won the game and ensnared everyone in carnal pleasures. Because by this way the common public is just drowned in sunken lustful thoughts and they keep a blind eye to capitalist exploitation. So it is a big topic that is multi-dimensional in nature because the tragedy reaches to all sectors of society-- and most of all to females.
Yet Baba's divine blessing upon all females is:
"You, as the most dignified section of human society do something for the universal human beings". (12 December 1979)
We should all keep this above golden teaching in the inner casket of our heart and make it a reality in our social life. Namaskar, Mirabai
Instead of getting stuck in the dogma of religion or being enticed by the Hollywood pseudo-culture of the west, we should adopt that Madhyama Ma'rga, or 'the middle path'. That is what we are to preach to the humanity and indeed that is what we are doing. Baba advocates that the dress of both men and women should be neat and clean, appropriate to the occasion, and ensure safety and welfare to oneself and the society. Baba says, "You should wear dress according to your own preference and convenience. It is proper to always wear clean clothes so that others do not unnecessarily form a poor impression about you. While going out of their house, women should wear simple and decent clothes and cover their bodies properly. Dress norms for women may be slightly relaxed during festivals, or when they are accompanied by male guardians, or when good security arrangements have been made." (CC-1) Here below Baba further gives His rational guidelines with regards to dress. Baba says, "There should not be any prescribed national or international dress. Selection of dress depends upon the climatic conditions of a particular place. There should be complete freedom in the choice of dress." (PNS-4) Plus we should not give in to any religious dogma with regards to dress. Baba says, "In social life no father would wish to see his widowed daughter forced to dress in an austere fashion, persecuted socially, or debarred from attending social functions. You must not support these things. Rather, you must provide equal opportunities for all." (5 November 1978, Calcutta) By all this and His other teachings we can say that males and females have great freedom in the selection of their dress. May it be comfortable, practical, and befitting of our human integrity.
In all facets of life-- including with respect to dress-- we should rise up against depraving forces and establish humanity in its glory. This is Baba's explicit directive. Baba says, "This cycle is life and life is a struggle; life is a fight. You come from the abode of peace and go to the abode of peace, but life is a constant struggle to maintain an equilibrium. Life is a fight against depraving forces and degenerating propensities. But you are not only to fight against these depraving forces, you are also to encourage elevating forces. If you try to keep at a safe distance from this fight, you cannot say that you are a human being." ('The Great Universe')
******************************************** - The Solution -
Baba says, "Whenever there is a conflict between the brain and the heart, intelligent people should respond to the call of the heart. The books in A'nanda Ma'rga philosophy are all absolute knowledge. The proper mark of identity of absolute knowledge is that it must be universal, rational and psychological. Certain instances of absolute knowledge are as follows -- the goal of human life is the attainment of Brahma; human beings are the progeny of Parama Purus' dint of sa'dhana' or spiritual practices human beings gradually become divine." (PNS-18, p. 10)

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