Woman’s Perspective on the Bhagavad Gita: When I first expressed a desire to write full time, a lot of people remarked that it would be a waste of time, it would be very difficult, there would not be enough opportunities etc etc. These informed comments were before they had ever read anything written by me and I wondered what was driving this kind of feedback!
I would find out soon enough. After a few years, when I shared that I wanted to write my first book on spirituality, what had only been hinted at earlier became obvious. “Who would want to read a woman’s perspective on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita?” asked many a well-meaning relative and even the casual acquaintance. “Perhaps I should stick to romance and chick- lit which is a woman’s domain?” Ah, should have guessed this was going here. The strange part was that many of them sincerely believed they were sharing their valuable inputs for my own good.
Faced with these questions (and some of my own), I spent a lot of time in self-doubt, finding it difficult to move ahead. I sat for many weeks or was it months, just staring at the blank screen of the computer, unable to write a single sentence.
But as they say, the bigger the challenge, the bigger one’s preparation should be to face it.
The discouraging voices certainly took their toll but I didn’t let them keep me down for long- instead I listened to the encouraging ones of family and friends who pushed me to make my own choices and to explore my potential. I learnt to believe in myself, to stand up for my beliefs and most importantly, to not silence myself. It was not easy or quick but I’m glad I kept at it, making slow but steady progress.
Strangely enough, it had never struck me that I was exploring spirituality as a woman writer before the said relative pointed it out to me. What is a woman writer anyway, one may ask? A writer’s a writer, yes?
Well, that’s true and also not the full picture.
When I write I am influenced by my specific lived experiences which are obviously unique and sometimes gender-related. So, a certain aspect of our identity can and will unconsciously seep into what we observe, what we imagine, and what we create and that is fine. Our journey is ours to explore, understand, and draw inspiration from and no one else can do it in a way we can.
And anyway, is it not more interesting to listen to diverse voices so we can discover something new, something different? But we are so used to women’s voices, participation and contribution being pushed away from so many spheres, that we often accept the status quo.
But let’s not any more. Let’s not accept the restrictive labels or boxes that others have made for us. Let’s make our voices be heard and counted. Let’s speak/ write on romance, or spirituality, or science, or maths or chess or on anything we want- not because of what others are saying but because we want to and we can.
Because we owe it to ourselves.
Richa Tilokani’s first book The Teachings of Bhagavad Gita- Timeless Wisdom for the Modern Age was published in Feb 2021. This is an article by direct contribution. Views and info expressed is author’s own and not that of SheThePeople.