WOMAN and THE FEMININE PRINCIPLE – Part II
Selections from the Agni Yoga Series
Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, May 4, 2004
The approaching great epoch is closely connected with the ascendancy of woman. As in the best days of humanity, the future epoch will again offer woman her rightful place alongside her eternal fellow traveler and co-worker, man. You must remember that the grandeur of the Cosmos is built by the dual Origin. Is it possible, therefore, to belittle one Element of It?
All the present and coming miseries and the cosmic cataclysms to a great degree result from the subjugation and abasement of woman. The dreadful decline of morality, the diseases and degeneration of some nations are also the results of the slavish dependence of woman. Woman is deprived of the greatest human privilege–complete participation in creative thought and constructive work. She is deprived not only of equal rights but, in many countries, of equal education with man. She is not allowed to express her abilities in the building of social and government life, of which, by Cosmic Law and Right, she is a full-fledged member. But a woman slave can give to the world slaves only. The proverb “great mother, great son” has a cosmic, scientific foundation. As sons mostly take after their mothers, and daughters after fathers, great is cosmic justice! By humiliating woman, man humiliates himself! This explains today the paucity of man’s genius.
Could the terrors and crimes of today be possible if both Origins had been balanced? In the hands of woman lies the salvation of humanity and of our planet. Woman must realize her significance, the great mission of the Mother of the World; she should be prepared to take responsibility for the destiny of humanity. Mother, the life-giver, has every right to direct the destiny of her children. The voice of woman, the mother, should be heard amongst the leaders of humanity. The mother suggests the first conscious thoughts to her child. She gives direction and quality to all his aspirations and abilities. But the mother who possesses no thought of culture can suggest only the lower expressions of human nature.
The woman who strives to knowledge and beauty, who realizes her lofty responsibility, will greatly uplift the whole level of life. There will be no place for disgusting vices which lead to the degeneration and destruction of whole countries.
But in her striving toward education, woman must remember that all educational systems are only the means for the development of a higher knowledge and culture. The true culture of thought is developed by the culture of spirit and heart. Only such a combination gives that great synthesis without which it is impossible to realize the real grandeur, diversity, and complexity of human life in its cosmic evolution. Therefore, while striving to knowledge, may woman remember the Source of Light and the Leaders of Spirit–those great Minds who, verily, created the consciousness of humanity. In approaching this Source, this leading Principle of Synthesis, humanity will find the way to real evolution.
And woman is the one who should know and proclaim this leading Principle because from the very beginning she was chosen to link the two worlds, visible and invisible. Woman possesses the power of the sacred life energy. The coming epoch brings knowledge about this great omnipresent energy, which is manifested in all immortal creations of human genius.
Western woman is awake and realizes her powers. Her cultural contributions are already evident. However, the majority of Western women–as with all beginners–start with imitation; whereas, it is in original self-expression that real beauty and harmony are found. Would we like to see man losing the beauty of manhood? The same is true about a man who has a sense of beauty. He certainly does not wish to see a woman imitating his habits and competing with his vices. Imitation always starts with the easiest. But we hope that this first step will soon be outlived and that woman will deepen her knowledge of Mother-Nature and will find true, original ways of self-expression. Letters of Helena Roerich I, 1 March 1929
Woman–mother and wife–witness of the development of man’s genius, can appreciate the great significance of the culture of thought and knowledge.
Woman–inspirer of beauty–knows all the strength, all the synthesizing power of beauty.
Woman–bearer of the sacred power and knowledge of spirit–can indeed become “The Leading One.”
Let us, therefore, without delay raise the great Banner of the New Era–the Era of the Mother of the World. Let every woman enlarge the boundaries of her hearth to encompass the hearths of the whole world. These countless fires will strengthen and embellish her own hearth.
Let us lay into the foundation of Woman’s Unity the striving toward true knowledge, that which knows no human demarcations and limitations. But we may be asked how the true knowledge is to be reached. We shall reply, “This knowledge exists in your spirit, in your heart. Be able to awaken it!”
Humanity should realize the majestic cosmic law of equivalency, the law of the dual Origin, as the foundation of existence. The predominance of one Origin over the other has created a lack of balance and destruction, which may now be observed in all of life. But let not the woman who has realized this law, and who strives toward equilibrium, let her not lose the beauty of the feminine image; let her not lose tenderness of heart, subtlety of feelings, the self-sacrifice and the courage of patience. Letters Of Helena Roerich I, 7 October 1930
Thus, let us remember that only an enlightened heart or a mind illumined by the light of the heart can become a reliable guide in reading all the Sacred Scriptures. Religions which allowed, or rather affirmed the humiliation and subordination of woman are destined to extinction. By humiliating woman, the later religions were indeed serving Satan; knowing the power of woman, the Prince of this World, for the fulfillment of his plan, first of all schemed to demean her–the bearer of the higher energy.
But when woman (who, by a strange paradox, is the main supporter of the church) awoke and understood where her age-long oppressors were hiding, the downfall of the church took place. Religion, or rather quests of the spirit will never leave the people, but the awakened consciousnesses will demand new forms and new ways from spiritual teachers and leaders.
The most ancient Teachings always highly regarded the Feminine Principle, and even female divinities were considered by them to be the most sacred. We can now find traces of these most ancient cults among the American Indians, whose priesthood is headed by women; women also head the clan, and the whole line of inheritance is considered as coming from the woman’s side. Likewise, there is no distinction between the two Origins in the Teaching of Buddha, and woman, as well as man, can reach the state of Arhatship. And even now in India, in spite of the fact that the later Brahmins humiliated woman because of greed and self-interest, the cult of the Goddess Kali is nevertheless spread most widely. The last of the known sages of India, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, were worshipers of the Divine Origin in its aspect of the Mother of the World. Indeed, it is the ignorant and avaricious distortion of the cosmic law that has placed woman in a subjugated position. Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 17 May 1937
According to the Sacred Teaching, the fall of humanity began from the time of the abasement of the Feminine Principle. Therefore, with the beginning of the Epoch of the Mother of the World, woman should realize that she herself contains all forces, and the moment she shakes off the age-old hypnosis of her seemingly lawful subjugation and mental inferiority and occupies herself with a manifold education, she will create in collaboration with man a new and better world. Indeed, it is essential that woman herself refute the unworthy and profoundly ignorant assertion about her passive receptivity and therefore her inability to create independently. But in the entire Cosmos there is no passive element. In the chain of creation each manifestation in its turn becomes relatively passive or active, giving or receiving. Cosmos affirms the greatness of woman's creative principle. Woman is a personification of nature, and it is nature that teaches man, not man nature. Therefore, may all women realize the grandeur of their origin, and may they strive for knowledge. Where there is knowledge, there is power. Ancient legends actually attribute to woman the role of the guardian of sacred-knowledge. Therefore, may she now also remember her defamed ancestress, Eve, and again harken to the voice of her intuition in not only eating of, but also planting, as many trees, bearing the fruits of the knowledge of good and evil as possible. And as before, when she deprived Adam of his dull, senseless bliss, so let her now lead him on to a still broader vista and into the majestic battle with the chaos of ignorance for her divine rights. Letters Of Helena Roerich II, 9 August 1937.