Loophole in Religion
Next to Ramanand Swami's ashram
there lived an ordinary family. There was a hole in the common wall
between the ashram and the neighbor's home. Through it the ascetics
of the ashram exchanged flintwood with the housewife next door. Neelkanth
did not approve of such an exchange. He said, "This hole is a loophole
in our religion and not in the wall." Neelkanth had the hole plugged.
He then introduced the practice of holding separate congregations for
men and women.
Eight-fold celibacy for ascetics is enshrined in the Hindu scriptures.
Lord Swaminarayan revived this practice among the sadhus together with
abstinence from wealth. Thus the monastic order was enriched with chastity
and sublime devotion.
Shri Kishorelal Mashruwala has commented, "Lord Swaminarayan instituted
not only separate arrangements for darshan for ladies in the mandirs,
but also launched a drive for separate discourses by the ladies themselves."
This promoted literacy amongst women, liberated them from ignorance
and blind faith, and made them into excellent preachers.