Relationships between genders —An alternative perspective

by BK Jayanti

The relationship between two humans is governed by the qualities found in each individual and also the exchange of give and take through thoughts, words and actions. In particular, the key to good relations between genders is the quality of respect. Spirituality enables the individual to maintain the awareness of the eternal identity of the self as a child of God and to see others also as the same. In this awareness, there is inherent dignity and stability in a state of self-respect that allows the soul to be free. Without this, one always needs to be supported by receiving respect from the other and this creates a state of dependency and attachment, which inevitably leads to pain. In the awareness of the eternal self, the freedom of self-respect allows the individual to give respect to others without dependency. In terms of the relationship between genders, spirituality allows each one to express the highest in the self and see the highest in the other, so the relationship of respect, trust and pure love can develop.

Two personal stories best illustrate these points. My mother was 24 years old when she adopted the BK spiritual lifestyle and my father was 31 years old at that time. Today, my father is now 80 and my mother has passed away. The relationship I was fortunate to observe, and benefit from in terms of parenting, was one in which I saw the qualities of care and concern for each other and love expressed as wanting to give to the other. Although my father came to the path of meditation only decades later, because of his love, he was able to accept the spiritual lifestyle my mother had chosen to lead, supporting and co-operating on every level. My mother, recognising in ways that it was an act of sacrifice on his part so the marriage could hold together, was also flexible and adapted to circumstances and situations in order to please him. They recognised qualities in each other and with this appreciation were able to stay together for their entire lifetime.

At a certain point, my father also chose to follow a spiritual lifestyle and brought my mother immense joy: the quality of partnership was of incredible beauty once this happened. They were able to support each other mutually in difficult points in life. When my father had to deal with business challenges, he was obliged to settle things in England and return to India. Again, it was by putting each other’s needs first that enabled them to create a life together despite problematic circumstances. Perhaps without the power of spirituality and their trust and respect for each other, this move would have been a difficult one. However, they were able to continue to share happiness in changed circumstances. The faith and contentment that my mother had throughout the years definitely sparked the faith that gradually ignited and developed in my father.

But the time came when it was my father’s faith that inspired courage and hope within my mother when she went through a period of illness in the latter years of her life. It really has been a remarkable partnership of giving and taking based on love and concern for each other.

Transformation in relationships

When our vision becomes materialistic and physical, then instead of seeing a being of light, the soul, we simply see the body and this, I believe, is the cause of the pain we experience in terms of relationships between men and women. A reason for many frustrations and unfulfilled desires is that we have unrealistic expectations of relationships. Seeing each other as bodies means having feelings of lust, attachment, violence and jealousy, which lead to anger and discontentment. When expectations are unrequited we have the ingredients for causing pain to explode and create great suffering.

I witnessed transformation in a relationship as a direct result of a changed vision. A young couple, successful in the professional world, came together to learn meditation and it was meditation that probably saved their relationship. The woman had been demanding, needing a lot of attention personally and the husband at some point had been able to give the attention. Later on he had been distracted and diverted his attentions to another woman. He had managed to keep this affair secret for a while. The wife had been suspicious but had no tangible proof. She had been seeing he was no longer attentive and caring and this created great dissatisfaction and restlessness within her. Of course, the moment came when she did find out and there was an explosion of anger, jealousy, sorrow and confusion. The husband repented and yet still his new attachment wasn’t so easy to break. So together with guilt, the pain continued. Both decided that they would give each other another chance and start afresh. But now they would try a spiritual approach using meditation to heal their selves. The recovery process was slow, but steady, and they were able to support each other spiritually and today are very much together as a couple. The lesson both have learnt is that it is absolutely vital to keep a spiritual consciousness and relate to each other with that purity of love instead of relating to each other as bodies and simply having a physical relationship. They have discovered different dimensions within the relationship through which there can be mutual respect and partnership. They have taken their relationship to a point that goes further beyond the physical.