The Global Peace Initative for Women(GPIW) and Jnana Pravaha are hosting a gathering titled “Rediscovering Mother Sita and Her Relevance Today” on March 8-9, 2019 in Varanasi, India. This gathering intends to be a reflection on the life message of Mother Sita as it relates to so many of our current challenges we face today.
Sita is a beloved figure for Hindus around the world, as well as for non-Hindus throughout Southeast Asia. But the message of her life extends beyond these audiences and bears universal import, particularly relevant for the modern age when a new understanding of feminine wisdom and leadership is needed, and when we are facing an unprecedented ecological crisis. Mata Sita and Sri Ram were instrumental in setting the foundation for a new civilization during a time of transition from one era, or yuga, to another. We stand at a similar time in history, where we are experiencing the passing of one era and intuitively feel the birthing of another, as yet unknown. One thing seems certain, however, that the new society we are striving for must be ecologically-based. There is great value in looking to lessons of the past in order to move forward.
During Sita’s time on earth, humanity was beginning to shift from a nature-based way of life toward greater material development. Many concepts were implanted in the collective mind at that time that guided the subsequent development of human civilization. We have now reached the pinnacle of this development and are reaping the results of our abuse of earth’s resources—its land, water, and air. To survive as a human community, we will need to incorporate into our lives a new-found appreciation, respect, and love for the natural world, a love that was exemplified in the life of Mata Sita.
Looking back to the time when humanity was beginning to divorce itself from nature and to cultivate more of a separate, individual identity will help us understand the pitfalls of this separateness in consciousness. Seeing ourselves as disconnected from nature has given mankind the false impression that we can control nature and recklessly deplete it, discounting the rights of other life forms and ignoring our interdependent relationship.
One cannot go backward in time, nor would one want to. The goal is to incorporate the wisdom and knowledge of the past into the developments and scientific advances of today. We can learn again how to care for and love the earth and all her communities of life. There is much that Mata Sita can teach us if we invoke her. She and Sri Ram are living presences, not just historical figures, still very much engaged with the lives of those who turn to them. During the life journey of Mata Sita and Sri Ram, each assumed roles that were different but equal in importance. Neither could achieve their life’s mission without the other. Their lives exemplify a balance of the masculine and feminine qualities and energies, despite how patriarchal forces have tried to shape the Ramayana narrative to suit later social norms. It is time to shed those imposed gender biases, which have so deeply scarred society. We have become used to approaching the Ramayana narrative through a darkened lens, reflecting the understanding of a less enlightened or Kali yuga age. If we recapture something of life during the higher ages we can see the story with new eyes and perceive the inner dynamic that drove the outer narrative. Remembering the harmony that existed during the higher ages will help us recalibrate our society so that it honors the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine, both of which are needed to help restore balance to our society and to the earth.
Mata Sita is a shining example of feminine courage and capacity, qualities that were honored and treasured by Sri Ram. This gathering is an opportunity to reflect on Sita’s life and message, and to explore how we can benefit from her wisdom as we seek to respond to the challenges of today.
The Global Peace Initiative of Women
The basis of GPIW’s work is the dynamic expression of unity, emerging from the heart of wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions, and our own hearts, into a new story for the human community. This new narrative can help animate social and economic structures and systems that better reflect our natural evolution toward greater wholeness. An essential part of this shift is the coming into a sacred relationship with the earth and all the living forces of the universe. Feminine wisdom and the power of love can serve as the fulcrum for this inner and outer transformation.
Indic Academy is proud to extend support to this gathering by providing an event grant of Rs 50,000 to the organizers.