Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863 - July 4, 1902) was a Vedantic monk who at one time saw women as an obstacle. However on realising the highest truth he saw no distinction between sex and saw in women the presence of the Divine Mother.
Swami Vivekananda worked effortlessly to try and uplift the plight of women, in particular Indian Women. These are few of the collection of his thoughts on women.
~ Soul has no sex, it is neither male nor female. It is only in the body that sex exists, and the man who desires to reach the spirit cannot at the same time hold sex distinctions. (CW ,V.4, P.176)
~ The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.
~ There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved.
~ Woman has suffered for aeons, and that has given her infinite patience and infinite preserverance.
~ The idea of perfect womanhood is perfect independence.
~ It is very difficult to understand why in this country [India] so much difference is made between men and women, whereas the Vedanta declares that one and the same conscious Self is present in all beings. You always criticize the women, but say what have you done for their uplift? Writing down Smritis etc., and binding them by hard rules, the men have turned the women into manufacturing machines! If you do not raise the women, who are living embodiment of the Divine Mother, don’t think that you have any other way to rise
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