8. What is a Housewife?
(Darshan given on June 6th, 1995.)
A visitor: I want my daughter to stop studying.
Swamiji: Then what will she do afterwards? What is her fate?
Visitor: I want her to be a housewife.
Swamiji: For that she need not study. Anybody can become a housewife. Then she need not go to school at all.
Visitor: But she is insisting that she graduate.
Swamiji: But she is not utilising that knowledge when she becomes a housewife. A housewife is the lowest thing that you can think of in life, and you are just identifying her as a housewife, which is a very unfortunate definition. But she is something else. There cannot be a worse word than ‘housewife'. It simply means a kind of attendant to keep the house in order. That is the definition of a wife: “You have to keep the house in order, and for that you need not study further.”
Visitor: But Swamiji, it is a very difficult thing to keep the house in order.
Swamiji: You want a good painter and carpenter and an architect, and he keeps everything in order. It is like a judge keeping two parties in a court in order. Two contending parties are there; you keep them in order by your operations. You don't come into clash with them.
The ‘house' is also a word that has to be explained. What do you mean by ‘the house'? A building of brick and mortar is called a house, isn't it? You have to keep it in order. She is not the wife of a building, so why do you say ‘housewife'? Is it the building that you mean?
Visitor: That is the language, Swamiji.
Swamiji: But anyway, the idea is there in your mind. Every word has to be explained etymologically. Does it mean a building that has to be kept neat and clean? It is a concept. A house is a concept; it doesn't exist physically, really speaking. The concept has to be kept in order. It is an organisation of ideas, and she is an idea. She is not a person. She is neither a man nor a woman. She is an idea that is sitting here, and that has to be set in tune with other ideas which jointly operate and call themselves a family. So a family is nothing but an organisation of ideas, thoughts, feelings, aspirations. It is the mind actually that is operating. The physical body is not the person.
It is very difficult to understand this concept. A philosophical root is there even in the notion of a family. We are neither men nor women. We are ideas only. This is what Plato has cried with force in so many volumes, saying that ideas are the ultimate reality. You exist for ideas only, and thoughts and feelings. There is nothing else existing in the world. If ideas do not cooperate, human beings do not exit. They cease to exist at that moment.
A little bit of philosophy is not bad, so that we may know what is behind our ordinary thoughts. Do you understand what I am saying?
Visitor: [Does not reply.]
Swamiji: He doesn't understand what I said. What to do? Anyway, God bless you. If God blesses you, everything will be all right.
You have got very intelligent daughters, and you want to convert them into instruments like a fountain pen, to be used by somebody. Now they are totally independent intellectuals, and suddenly they should be converted into fountain pens or some nut and bolt, or a screwdriver or something. That is the whole concept of the wrongly understood family life. One must understand, first of all, what is the meaning of the family. Nobody knows what it is, and nobody can know it easily because that type of education is not imparted in our universities. Useless knowledge is given, and a useless outcome also follows from that useless education, and the person is as ignorant after coming out of the university as he or she was before going in. As far as ignorance is concerned, they are identical before and after. In the middle there was a drama; it played, and it brought out nothing. They cannot answer this question because they have not been educated in that line of thinking. It is abstract. They know concrete things, but abstract things they don't know.
There are subtle abstract forces working within us, and they are the realities which control us. What you see with the eyes are not the realities. They are neither your daughters, nor anybody's. They are totally independent entities, actually speaking. But you are thinking they are yours. That idea is not correct. They have come from somewhere due to their own karmas, and they will pass through that.
Visitor: In that area I would like to decipher.
Swamiji: They do not belong to you. Actually, nobody can belong to somebody else. A human being is not a property. That is a very strange concept. A human being cannot become a property of another human being.
Visitor: Maybe my ego is working. I can't say.
Swamiji: No, no ego can work there. A human being cannot be called a property of some other human being. Because all are human beings equally, how is one subservient to the other? How is it possible?
Visitor: In very concrete terms, what should I do?
Swamiji: This is a highly subtle matter. You convert a human being into a tool of another human being? Is it possible? Each human being is as important as another. They have got a soul of their own, and cannot merge with another person's soul, nor can it serve another soul. It has its own destination. She will reach God independently, not with the help of an instrument or a house. A house will not go with her. She independently will go to God, irrespective of all the so-called social associations which seem to be ruling her life.
This is a very high concept of educational philosophy which is completely obliterated from the minds of even the professors, let alone the students. They are told to mug up something and so they have mugged up, and they say they have got knowledge. But the secret behind it, they do not know. Why they have gone to college, God knows; and now what is happening to them, that also nobody knows. What happens the next day? What is the future? After ten years, fifteen years, what happens? You must know even now what your future will be after ten years, to some extent at least. Though it is not entirely in your hands, you must at least know what you would like it to be. If even that knowledge is not there, then you are living a humdrum, routine life. One day passes; let it pass. Tomorrow another day passes; let it pass. But you have no aspiration and no concept of the interlude.
Though you don't know what will happen tomorrow, at least you must have some idea as to what it would be like, or what you would like it to be. That itself could be a guideline for you: “I would like tomorrow to be like this.” And perhaps it will be like that because of your intense determination. Otherwise, you think only today, just now, and the next moment you don't know anything.
This is the art of thinking in terms of causes and effects. All these lives that we are living is a bundle of effects. The causes thereof are completely thrown out of our minds. So we live like puppets on strings pulled by somebody, and nobody knows who that somebody is.
Visitor: Then Swamiji, what is the answer?
Swamiji: Only a judge knows. When two parties come, how will you find out who the right man is? You only know that.
Visitor: Swamiji, that decision is for reasons.
Swamiji: It requires years and years of education in thinking rightly.
Visitor: But what is the answer that can answer all the questions?
Swamiji: That is the answer. You must know what are the ultimate causes that govern life. If you know the ultimate causes, you will know everything.
Visitor: That is Self-realisation.
Swamiji: I don't want to use any word because these words do not help us finally. There is something which must be understood. You may call it Self or non-Self or anything; what does it matter? It is necessary to know what that thing is that controls you. Don't think that you are independently acting. Next moment, another thing will come.
But your thoughts have great power. That is important, and they will rule your destiny to some extent; but if you cannot even think properly, then it is a great tragedy. “Somebody is controlling me. I am a servant of somebody.” If always you think like that, that is very unfortunate. I belong to somebody. That person belongs to somebody else, and that somebody belongs to somebody else, so that nobody is by herself or himself. Everybody belongs to somebody else only, so there is no owner of anything. Only the property is there, which is hanging somewhere. It looks like that.