Gurumaa at Shakti Udaan
Gurumaa: What’s your name?
Girl: Neeta
Gurumaa: What are you learning in Shakti Udaan?
Neeta: I am a student of sewing course here.
Gurumaa: Why are you learning this course?
Neeta: This will empower me and give me the confidence to be independent in life.

This is just an excerpt of the most intriguing interactions that Gurumaa had with the girls undergoing various courses at Shakti Udaan. On 27th August 2012 Anandmurti Gurumaa met with girls at Shakti Udaan vocational training centre. This centre was set up two years back with the guidance and inspiration of Gurumaa and has empowered more than 1500 girls till date. Looking at this it is not a surprise to know that currently fourth batch of 400+ girls is pursuing the host of courses from here. They are learning. They are earning. They are being empowered. Most important is that they want to keep learning more while at the same time they earn their own livelihood.
It is veritably a great feeling to notice the enthusiasm of these girls. It became apparent when couple of girls came forward to express their gratitude to Gurumaa for making available this unique opportunity to learn vocational courses free of charge. One of them began her expression with an inspiring poem aiming to emphasise the fact that she has got a new life from Shakti Udaan and also that the training has unleashed her creativity and filled in her a new zeal to live with dignity and pride.
Girls were excited to present their work in front of Gurumaa. Since there are number of courses taught in Shakti Udaan, so was the variety of the work. Some were the marvellous designs, some unique embroidery, and some creative mehndi expressions while others were the exquisite make-over expressions. On seeing their dedicated efforts Gurumaa not only encouraged them with words of appreciation but also recommended to the teachers to award the most creative work from time to time.
While girls were having an interactive session Gurumaa made them understand the importance of vocational training in their life. “It is not just about teaching you a skill. It is about empowering you to live a dignified life”, said Gurumaa. This gave them clarity as to what is the significance of getting trained. Making them realise their potential as a woman, Gurumaa told them, “Woman is complete in herself and doesn’t need any other person to make her complete. Today’s prevalence of male chauvinism has made everyone believe that woman is weak. But this is absolutely baseless. No woman is ever weak. No woman is ever inferior to man. If anyone ever tells you that you are weak, just ignore and let them know that you are not. You are Shakti.”
Besides motivation, inspiration and immense encouragement Gurumaa also gave them the pearls of wisdom, “You must do mantra japa [at least one rosary] every morning. You may choose any mantra in which you have faith. This will not only give you peace of mind but will also keep you happy all the time. Happiness is not out there but within. So find it inside and not outside. Be happy always.” Adding it further Gurumaa also told them that whenever they have anything to ask they can reach out to her without any hesitation. This brought a sense of assurance on their faces.
In the times to come Shakti is going to add two more dimensions to this training of empowerment. These verticals are personal hygiene and healthy wellbeing through yoga. Plans are afoot to teach authentic yoga techniques to all the students of Shakti Udaan. So they will be empowered mentally and physically. Thus, the interaction that began with exchange of words ended with the bond of love and care.