After presenting the Gandhi-King Award for Nonviolence to Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi on October 7, 2002, Mrs. Jane Goodall said, “Amma, the Universal Mother, has been able to provide love and compassion for people throughout the length and breadth of the world through her loving embrace. For the last three decades, over 21 million people were transformed into angels by [her] touching their hearts.” Amma gave the following address to the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders.

This award is in the name of two great beings who fearlessly devoted their lives towards the cause of peace, harmony and equality. Amma accepts this award on behalf of all those who pray and work for peace the world over. May this be an inspiration for people everywhere to redouble their efforts in bringing peace to our planet. Gandhiji and Martin Luther King, Jr. were able to fulfill their mission in life not only due to the support they received from people but because they were pure at heart.

Women are the power and very foundation of our existence in the world. When women lose touch with their real selves, the harmony of the world ceases to exist, and destruction sets in. It is therefore crucial that women everywhere make every effort to rediscover their fundamental nature, for only then can we save this world.

Through their willpower and spiritual practices, women should overcome their weaknesses. In the process of striving to regain their rightful position in society, women should never loose their essential nature. This tendency can be seen in many countries, and will never help women to achieve true freedom. It is impossible to attain real freedom by imitating men. If women themselves turn their backs on the feminine principle, this will culminate in the utter failure of women and society. Then the problems of the world will not be resolved, but only aggravated. If women reject their feminine qualities and cultivate only masculine qualities, the imbalance in the world will only become greater. This is not the need of the age. The real need is for women to contribute all they can to society by developing their universal motherhood, as well as their “masculine” qualities. In one way, it is woman herself who is responsible for narrowing her own world.

Amma feels that the forthcoming age should be dedicated to awakening universal motherhood. This is crucially important. The future of humanity lies in the hands of women. Women everywhere have to actualize the qualities of motherhood within themselves. This is the only way to realize our dream of peace and harmony in the world, and to further progress in life.

No genuine religion will look down upon women. For those who have realized God, there is no difference between male and female. If anywhere in the world there exist rules that prevent women from enjoying their rightful freedom, rules that obstruct their progress in society, then those are neither GodÕs commandments nor the teachings of great masters, but are born out of the selfishness of men. Rather than becoming rusty, living out their lives inside the four walls of the kitchen, women should come out and share with others what they have to give, and fulfill their goals in life. Let the coming era be dedicated to the resurrection and awakening of universal motherhood.