Spiritual revolution of Hindu women

Asha Pandey discusses the status of women in the Hindu faith. She tells the story of modern female

In Hinduism, women are considered a form of energy and are given due importance at every stage of life - as a daughter, as a daughter-in-law and as a mother. Out of these roles some come out as women gurus.

During the Vedic times we had seers and philosophers like Ghosha, Apala, Lopamudra, Vishwvara, Surya, Indrani, Yami and Romasha (all women). In a theosophical debate between Shankaracharya and Mandana Mishra (Sanskrit scholars of ancient times), the latter's wife was appointed to be the judge – obviously because of her superior knowledge and spiritual attainments.

In modern times we also have a number of female gurus with large followings. Some of the TV channels like ‘Aastha and Samskaara’ in India continue showing the gatherings and preaching of women gurus. Ma Anandmayee, Amma, and Mata Nirmala Devi are famous female gurus. I have attended one of Mata Nirmala Devi’s big congregations in New Delhi. Let me tell you about her and her work and how she is helping to change the face of women in the spiritual evolution.

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi was born on March 21, 1923 in Chindawara, India. Her parents called her Nirmala, which means 'Immaculate’. She is married with children and is currently living in Italy. She travels extensively in India and abroad.

Shri Mataji began experimenting with awakening the spiritual power of every human being (which the Hindus call the Kundalini) and was surprised at the results. She experimented first on people near her and noticed they were transformed physically, mentally and spiritually. Slowly she found out that this process had the potential solution for all human problems and decided to make her work more widespread.

Since 1970, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has been traveling around the world teaching the techniques she developed of Sahaja Yoga meditation (Sahaja is Spontaneous and Yoga is Union with the Self). Large numbers of people acknowledge the value of her teachings and Sahaja Yoga centers are now in more than 75 nations. The yoga and meditation allows people to tap into their inner spiritual power and achieve balance in their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives.

Some members of the Hindu faith have accepted Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi's guru status today. Nirmala Devi has dedicated her life to helping with the spiritual ascent of mankind and in doing so has "reclaimed the role of women in the spiritual evolution."

Dr. Asha Lata Pandey is the chairperson of the Sanskrit Department at Delhi Public School in New Delhi. She has written numerous articles on the subject of the role and view of Hindu women. She has also presented papers in the World Sanskrit Conferences in India and the United States.
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RMT poised to rejoin the Labour Party

The transport union is set to vote on reaffiliation to the party, with RMT leaders backing the move.

Plans are being drawn up for the RMT (the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) to reaffiliate to the Labour Party in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s significant gains in the general election, the New Statesman has learnt.

The union, which represents tube drivers and other workers across the transport sector, was expelled from the Labour Party under Tony Blair after some Scottish branches voted to support the Scottish Socialist Party instead.

But the RMT endorsed both of Corbyn’s bids for the Labour leadership and its ruling national executive committee backed a Labour vote on 8 June.

Corbyn addressed the RMT’s annual general meeting in Exeter yesterday, where he was “given a hero’s welcome”, in the words of one delegate. Mick Cash, the RMT’s general secretary, praised Corbyn as the union’s “long-term friend and comrade”.

After the meeting, Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary at the RMT, posted a picture to Facebook with John McDonnell. The caption read: “With the shadow chancellor John McDonnell arguing that we should affiliate to the Labour Party after consulting fully and democratically with our members”.

The return of the RMT to Labour would be welcomed by the party leadership with open arms. And although its comparably small size would mean that the RMT would have little effect on the internal workings of Labour Party conference or its ruling NEC, its wide spread across the country could make the union a power player in the life of local Labour parties.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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