Importance of Family

A successful society stands on the strength of its families, and on our roles and relationships with each other. Shri Mataji often expressed her vision of such a balanced society, and throughout her life, she was an ideal example of the varied roles a woman can fulfill in the family, in the community, and on the world stage.

She assumed responsibility within her family at an early age. Though not the eldest, she took care of her many siblings while her parents were busily engaged in the struggle for Indian independence — a movement she, too, would join as a young woman. When a wife and mother, Shri Mataji cared for her children and supported her husband as they travelled internationally for his work with the United Nations Maritime Organization. Though her concern for humanity was on a global scale, she waited until her daughters were married and settled before beginning her public work.

When you make a good family, then you create a beautiful, very beautiful, universe around.
Los Angeles, 29th Oct 2000
On the dynamics of the relationship between a husband and wife, Shri Mataji once said, “You have to be in the balance. It’s not the husband or the wife, but both of them. They should respect each other, love each other, share everything with each other and exist in such a way that people should see that there are two wheels of a chariot, one on the left and one on the right.” And balance necessitates equality. “There’s no imbalance. They are equal, but not similar.”

Shri Mataji compared the qualities of a wife to those of the Mother Earth: she is nourishing, she is generous and loving, and she can create beauty. She is also the peacemaker, helping to keep the relationships in a family harmonious. She is the source of a family's strength, and her contribution expands beyond the family sphere. "The woman gives power … to your son, your husband, to all the society."

A husband has the responsibility of looking after everyone in his family and making sure that their needs are met. There should be mutual respect between husband and wife, as their roles are interdependent and equally valuable.

After Titian's Aldobrandini Madonna by Graham BrownOther important aspects of family life include the relationships between children and parents, brothers and sisters, younger family members and elders. When there is balance and peace in the family, it reverberates, creating a peaceful and balancing effect on society.

According to Shri Mataji, “When you make a good family, then you create a beautiful, very beautiful, universe around.”

With these values and vision, while fulfilling her role as a wife and mother (and grandmother and even great-grandmother), Shri Mataji’s attention remained global. Like all truly great leaders, she considered the whole world her family.  And all people - regardless of race, religion or nationality - equally worthy of her concern and care.