The following is an excerpt from the second part of the interview with Indira Sakhi Devi Dasi (Indira Meshram –, author of the book “How I Achieved Real Success – A Happiness Guide for Modern Women”.

TMF – If ‘nurturing ought to be based on nature’ (pg 5 Respect and Protection) then contrary to keeping women protected, they should be taught more self-defense techniques, don’t you think so?

Indira – You are suggesting that by nature women are physically weaker, so the nurturing should be such that they can overcome that weakness. But research has shown that a woman’s nature is such that she wants to be protected and a man’s nature is such that he wants to provide that protection. It is not just to do with physical weakness or strength. Teaching self-defense may help a woman overcome the need to be physically protected by a man but emotionally she may still desire the security of having someone look out for her.

The point I was making in that particular section was that Vedic culture takes these intrinsic tendencies of men and women into account and provides a framework such that they can both work according to their natures, not contrary to them. The common understanding is that the restrictions placed on women was just unfair and resulted in their exploitation. But actually, in a properly structured society, women are happy to remain sheltered by loving family members. They don’t need self-defense; not just their husbands, but most men in their community would be ready to even lay down their lives to keep them safe. How wonderful it would be if we could revive such a culture!

TMF – Since human morality is at all-time low nowadays, what’s the harm in the state protecting women and not leaving them at the mercy of some humans (read the husband)?

Indira – The harm is that it becomes a vicious cycle. The more the women turn to the state the more they turn away from their families, and the more families disintegrate. We see this vividly in the Western countries. The state provides all kinds of support for single women but at the end of the day it remains an impersonal machinery which can never replace the support of a loving family. Yes, in case there is no loving family, the state must step in. But the point is that because the state is prepared to step in, women are encouraged to leave the shelter of their parents’ home or walk out of their marriages, even under circumstances that are not completely intolerable.

The sad part is that many such women realize only too late that living alone comes with its own set of problems, that are often more severe than the situation they left behind. The state must provide protection in dire situations, but in general one should expect one’s family to be the primary source of protection and comfort.

TMF – You have explained very well why love marriages fail. But even arranged marriages fail today? What do you think is the reason behind all these divorces?

Indira – I don’t think it is a question of whether it’s an arranged marriage or a love marriage. It is the attitude with which one approaches one’s married life. The system of arranged marriage that exists today has almost nothing in common with the system followed in a traditional Vedic society. Earlier the most important consideration was to examine the prospective bride’s or groom’s personal character and conduct. But these days the two main criteria are the educational qualifications – in order words, one’s earning potential – and physical appearance. So while the method of entering into marriage may be different, at the end of the day whether it is an arranged or a love marriage, if one’s desire to ‘have fun’ and ‘have a good life’ is greater than one’s sense of duty, it is likely that as soon there is conflict between husband and wife, they begin to contemplate divorce.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I would like to emphasize that unless one is God conscious, unless one takes shelter of the instructions given in our scriptures about how to lead life, it is difficult to even have a peaceful, family life. Speaking for myself, after I married my husband, I realized how different our personalities and backgrounds were. Romantic ideals quickly fly out of the window when one is hit with the practical realities of managing a household. If both of us were not committed to following the Vedic injunctions – such as not seeking divorce, developing a service attitude and being patient and tolerant – our petty conflicts could very well have taken a nasty turn and we may have separated. Instead, here we are, twenty years down the line – parents of two lovely girls and happily living our lives in the holy land.

To read the full interview click here –

To read the first part of the interview click here –

To read the book review click here –

To grab your own copy of the book click here –

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