Osho on Woman Enlightened Mystic Lalla
Kashmiri saint and mystic poet Lal Ded (Mother Lalla), also known as Lalla or Lalleshwari (1320–1392), was born in Pandrethan (ancient Puranadhisthana) some four and a half miles to the southeast of Srinagar in modern-day Kashmir. Kashmir has produced many saints, poets and mystics. Among them, Lal Ded is very prominent. There, some people consider her a poet, some consider her a holy woman and some consider her a sufi, a yogi, or a devotee of Shiva. Some even consider her an avatar, an incarnation of the Supreme Being. But every Kashmiri considers her a wise woman. Every one there has some sayings, called vaakhs of Lalla on the tip of the tongue.
She was married at the age of 12 into a family that reportedly mistreated her regularly. Her marriage having been unhappy, Lalla renounced her material life and marriage at age 24, becoming a disciple of the Shaivite Guru Siddha Srikantha (Sed Bayu) and devotee of the god Shiva. As a mystic, she wandered naked, reciting her proverbs and quatrain-based poems, spreading her philosophy of love. She often used her poetry as a peaceful means of engagement with both Shaivism and Sufism.
Lalla continued the mystic tradition of Shaivism in Kashmir, which was known as Trika before 1900. She was a creator of the mystic poetry called vatsun or Vakhs, literally “speech”. Known as Lal Vakhs, her verses are the earliest compositions in the Kashmiri language and are an important part in history of Kashmiri literature. She inspired some of the later Sufis of Kashmir.
Osho compared Mahavir and Lalla and says Mahavira and the great woman mystic of Kashmir, Lalla, both are exactly the same — both are masculine types. Mahavira lived naked, Lalla also lived naked. She is the only woman mystic who has lived naked. Both were the same type, the meditative type.
Out of few women who attained enlightenment, lalla was the one and that is why her poems are deep and beautiful.
One of Her sayings-
“I discovered the Lord Within the walls of my own soul.”
WHY HAVE THERE BEEN NO WOMEN ENLIGHTENED MASTERS?
Man suffers from a great inferiority complex because he cannot give birth to children. It is one of the deepest unconscious inferiorities in man. He knows the woman is superior, because in life there can be nothing higher than giving birth to life.
Man’s function, his participation in giving birth to life, is negligible. It is not more than a syringe injection. It can be done by a syringe — he can be absolutely relieved of taking part in reproduction. He must have felt it from the very beginning. And the only way to overcome this inferiority complex was to reduce the woman in every possible way to such an inferior position that man can forget his inferiority complex and start believing that he is superior.
All the societies of the world, all the cultures, all the religions in different ways have been doing the same: reducing the woman to a secondary category of humanity not equal to man — so inferior that in China, for thousands of years, to kill your own wife was not even considered a crime. The husband was not punished, for the simple reason that the woman was understood to be only a possession like your furniture. If you want to kill your chair, it is not a crime. You can destroy all your furniture; it is your furniture. The law has nothing to do with it. The woman has been thought of as just part of the furniture. The husband is the owner. In India, the woman has been taught for centuries that she is a dassi, a slave, and the man, her husband, a swami, a master — an owner. She has not been allowed by any culture to be educated, to be financially independent, to move in the society as freely as man. Her house is the periphery; she should not get out of it. The house is almost an imprisonment. How can you suppose a woman can be a spiritual master? For centuries she has not even been allowed to show her face in half of the world.
In India, the husband and wife cannot talk in the daytime in front of the elders of the family. They can only whisper in the darkness of the night. For hundreds of years many husbands have not been able to see their own wife’s face, because in the daytime they cannot meet. In a joint family there is always some elder there. Only in the darkness of night…. And then too, in a joint family where fifty or sixty people are living in one house like cattle, there is no possibility of communication, of discussing something philosophical, something religious. Almost all the religions have denied women the possibility of entering into paradise from the body of a woman. She can be virtuous. Her husband is her god. She should serve the husband with total commitment and devotion. This is the only religion as far as the woman is concerned. This will bring her into the body of a man in her next life, and then the doors open. Then she can strive for spiritual heights. Then she can become an enlightened master. There are religions which don’t allow women to read the religious scriptures. There are religions which don’t allow the women to enter in their temples. She has been enslaved. She has been reduced into producing children, taking care of them her whole life. She has not to be respected as a human being. She is just a reproductive mechanism. Man has done everything wrong that can be done, everything inhuman that can be done…
You have to understand that in the past, man has not behaved compassionately, lovingly, respectfully with women. His behavior has been very criminal. In spite of all this, you have to know that there have been women who were great spiritual masters. In spite of no education, no possibility to read the scriptures, no possibility to enter into the shrines, into the temples, into the synagogues.
All the religions were prohibiting it, even the best of religions like Buddhism — even a man of the qualities of Gautam Buddha. Perhaps no other man has ever walked on the earth with such divine qualities. H.G. Wells has written about Gautam Buddha that he was the most godless man, yet the most godly. But even this godly man was afraid to initiate women into Sannyas. For almost half his life he denied to give thousands of women initiation into his commune. It seems to be very uncompassionate from a person like Buddha, whose whole preaching is compassion.
What was the fear? Why was he denying women? It was just a coincidence that the woman who had brought him up… because his own mother died immediately after giving birth to him. His mother’s sister sacrificed her whole life. She remained unmarried, so that she could give her whole attention and love and care to Gautam Buddha. Buddha never knew his own mother, he only knew this woman as his mother, who had proved more motherly than any mother and who had sacrificed more than any mother could do. In her old age when she came to ask to be initiated, he could not refuse. Reluctantly he gave initiation to her. But the statement he gave afterwards is a condemnation of women. He said, “My religion was going to last five thousand years. Now that I have allowed women into my religion, it will last only five hundred years.” Just by giving initiation to women, your religion has shrunk from five thousand years to five hundred years? You have really a great religion! Who is so afraid of women? But the fear arises because all these religions have been sex repressive. They have been saying that sex is against spirituality.
Sex is a simple, natural phenomenon, and nature is not against spirituality. Anything that is against nature cannot be spiritual. Spirituality is the growth of the natural to its ultimate potential.
But all the religions have been sex repressive, have been teaching celibacy — which is absolutely impossible…. And I simply cannot conceive that in the whole world there are thousands of great surgeons, millions of medical doctors, physiologists, biologists and chemists who all know that celibacy is impossible, but none of them speaks the truth. It goes against the traditions — against Christianity, against Hinduism, against Jainism, against Buddhism, against all the religions of the world. Millions of people know the truth, that there is no control of the mind over your biology…But it is a strange phenomenon that for ten thousand years no thinker has been against celibacy, has not said the truth that it is criminal to teach such an unnatural thing. This was the fear of Gautam Buddha. And because his monks were celibate, when women were initiated there was a danger that the women and men would be close together. This very fear shows that he knew perfectly well that all these monks had only repressed sex. If the woman becomes available, all that repression will disappear. That’s why the religion that was going to last for five thousand years, was going to last only five hundred years…
In spite of all this condemnation of the woman by all the religions, there have been great masters — of course very few.
There would have been an equal number of great masters from women if they had been allowed the freedom, the same opportunity. But in spite of all the barriers for their growth, I would like to give you a few names…
In Kashmir there was another woman — her name was Lalla. She also lived naked her whole life, and she is thought to have been one of the most beautiful women. Kashmir produces very beautiful people, some of the most beautiful people in the world. And in Kashmir, because now it is ninety percent Mohammedan, it is said that Kashmir knows only two persons to worship: one is Allah and the other is Lalla. Lalla was not a Mohammedan, but she impressed the Mohammedans,
who won’t even allow their women to remove the curtain that they continue wearing on their face — the mask. You can see only the Mohammedan woman’s eyes, nothing else. Every Mohammedan woman looks beautiful.
I have heard that when Mulla Nasruddin got married…
This is a ritual — that the woman in Mohammedan families first asks her husband when she enters the husband’s house for the first time after marriage: “Before whom can I remove my veil?” It depends on the husband. He can say, “These are the people before whom you can reveal your face, otherwise you have to keep your face veiled.”
Mulla said, “I have not seen your face myself. First reveal to me, and then only can I decide.” He was a man of intelligence. The woman removed her veil; Mulla closed his eyes and he said, “Except me, you can open your veil to anybody. Just forgive me!” He had never seen such an ugly woman!
You cannot look before marriage, you can only see the eyes, and through the eyes it is very difficult to decide.
Mohammedans don’t allow even the faces of their women to be seen, but they worship Lalla equal to Allah. The woman must have impressed the whole of Kashmir tremendously. I have traveled all over Kashmir and I have heard it repeated again and again that Kashmir knows only two names: Allah and Lalla. She was a great master with a great following. And she had one great quality that I appreciate: she never belonged to any organized religion, she was an independent master. Still, people from other religions worshipped her, had to worship her…
There have been just a few more women around the world. They can be counted on the fingers. I have given you these three examples, but they are enough to prove that there is no intrinsic incapacity in being a woman that prevents you from rising to the status of being a master. But the woman needs to assert her equality in every other field too. She has to assert herself in education, in finance, in service, in jobs. Everywhere she has to stand by the side of man and assert her equality and her qualities, talents, her genius. Remembering one thing: she has not to imitate man — which is what is happening in the women’s liberation movement. That is again a wrong step. It happens always: one starts moving from one extreme to another. Man has repressed woman so much, that the woman can start imitating the man. In that way she will never become equal to man, because a carbon copy is a carbon copy; it can never be the original.
So I don’t want you to become like a man. You have to be a woman. You have to keep your uniqueness, you have to keep your differences — and yet, you have to assert your independence, your freedom in every field. Only then will it be possible for you to declare your freedom in the spiritual field too, because alone the spiritual field is not possible. It depends on many other factors. In all the other factors the woman has to be expressive. You have to be artists, you have to be poets, you have to be painters, you have to be sculptors, you have to be musicians, you have to be dancers. You have to assert yourself in all the dimensions, wherever your talent and your genius lead you. Don’t imitate man. Remain grounded in your womanhood.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Sword and the Lotus
Chapter title: A device to find yourself
6 February 1986 pm in
Osho has also spoken on women mystics like Daya, Lalla, Sahajo, Mallibai, Magdalen, Rabiya, Teresa in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- And the flowers showered
- Showering without clouds
- Books I have loved
- The Last Morning Star
- The Perfect Master
- The Razor’s Edge
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Turn On, Tune In, and Drop the Lot
- Come, Come, Yet Again Come
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha Vol.8
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Come Follow To You Vol.1
- Tao: The Three Treasures Vol.2
- Beyond Enlightenment