The Sword and the Lotus 17

Seventeenth Discourse from the series of 24 discourses - The Sword and the Lotus by Osho.
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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 dasi, 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.
In Hinduism, if the husband dies, the woman has to jump alive into his funeral pyre. She cannot live without a husband – she was just a shadow. Now what is she going to do without a husband? Man has been so possessive, that not only when he is alive should his woman remain his, but he is afraid even after death. When he is no more, who knows? – the woman may fall in love with someone else. He has taken every precaution. What works best is that she jumps into the fire with the dead body of her husband. It is not an easy job.
Just put your finger in the flame of a candle, and you will know what it means to throw your whole body alive into a funeral pyre. But millions of women have done that – have been forced to do that. If they had chosen not to do it, that was a sure sign that they had betrayed their husband. They were condemned for the rest of their lives. So rather than living a condemned life it was better to suffer a respectful death. But it was such an agony that the brahmin priest had to manage it in such a way that nobody else became aware of the agony the woman was going through.
Whenever a woman had to jump on a funeral pyre tons of ghee, purified butter, had to be poured over her and over the funeral pyre. This created great smoke, a cloud of smoke; nobody could see what was happening. And there were priests standing around the funeral pyre with long torches, burning. If the woman tried to escape – because that is human and natural that she may start getting out of the funeral pyre – they pushed her back into the funeral pyre, with those burning torches.
And then there was always a crowd of musicians playing as loudly as possible on musical instruments so that you could not hear the screams of the living woman that you were burning.
This was thought to be something spiritual. This is pure murder – and a very crude and primitive murder. For millions of years it was a great spiritual thing, but it is strange that the man never did such a great spiritual thing. No man in the whole of history has ever jumped into the funeral pyre of his dead wife. No brahmin followed the rule that he has made for women.
If it is true, then is it not very strange why the man is not doing the same? No, for the man things are totally different – a double standard of values. While the dead body of the wife is burning, people are thinking about the man – when he should get married again and to whom.
It was with difficulty that this ugly ritual of murdering people was stopped, although it still happens once in a while.
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. Do you have any control over your blood? It is only three hundred years ago that man came to know that blood circulates in the body continuously. For thousands of years it was believed that blood is a filling inside. There was no question of circulation because you don’t become aware of the circulation – but it is circulating. We have only been aware of this after surgery became capable of understanding the inside of the human body.
Do you have any control over your digestion? Can you manage to eat something and transform it into blood? Do you know how your male sperms are created?
If you don’t know anything about your biology, and even if you do know, there is no way to control it. Then it is a stupid teaching to tell people to be celibate. You are creating schizophrenia in those people’s minds; you are cutting them into two parts. You are condemning their bodies and you are making them feel guilty each time they fail to fulfill your requirements – and they will fail, because they have no power over nature.
If you eat food, if you breathe air, if you exercise, walk…the male sperms are going to be created, and you have only a very small space for them. They demand release because they are living creatures, and if you don’t release them, they will find a way to be released by themselves.
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 fact it did not last even that much. You know it. Buddhism was born in India and completely disappeared from India – totally – so much so that even the temple which was raised as a memorial, where Buddha became enlightened…The priest was a brahmin, because there was not a single Buddhist left to be a priest in that temple. And still the priest is a brahmin.
The brahmin does not believe in Gautam Buddha. He does not believe in his teachings – nor was Buddha in favor of Brahmanism and the teachings of the Hindus. Still, a strange thing: the statue of Buddha needed a priest, and no Buddhist was available in the whole of India. And brahmins are professionally priests, they can worship anything – you just pay them! They don’t care what you are telling them to worship. It has nothing to do with their own inner convictions, it is simply an expertise.
Jainism, another great religion, has denied women to enter into their liberation from the body of a woman. First they have to be born as a man. And it is strange that these same people are continuously saying that the soul, that the innermost consciousness, is neither male nor female.
If consciousness is neither male nor female, then what is the problem? Why can a woman not attain to liberation, to the ultimate truth from the body of a woman? Consciousness is not a woman. The body never goes to liberation, so there is no problem. Neither is the man’s body going to enter into the ultimate, nor is the woman’s body going to enter into the ultimate. The bodies will be burned here on the funeral pyre!
Do you think consciousness is also male and female? None of these religions have the courage to say that, because that will be absolutely untrue. Still, they go on insisting that woman cannot attain. And do you know what the reason is? The reason is that the woman cannot control her monthly period. She has a visible symptom of sexuality – she cannot be celibate.
But these people are absolutely blind that man cannot be celibate either, even though he does not have a periodical expression of his sexuality. He may have to release his sexuality more often – not less, but more.
Even Mahatma Gandhi, at the age of seventy, was having nocturnal emissions…trying hard to be celibate. It looks so stupid. And he was feeling guilty that he had not been able to control his sex. But all the monks in the monasteries of Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists and Jainas – none of them is celibate. And if anybody is celibate, he should come out to a medical institute and be examined.
I challenge it:
Nobody is a celibate; nobody can be.
The poor woman has suffered much because of her monthly period, because she cannot hide it. Perhaps now, if Mahavira the great Jaina prophet comes back, he will have to change his mind, because if a woman remains on the pill, the period stops. That means a woman is more capable of being celibate than a man – and has more potential to become liberated than a man. All that she needs is just to continue on the pill.
The pill is the great revolution sexually, spiritually. There has never been anything which can be called a greater revolution. Now the woman can say to Mahavira and all these people who have been preventing her, “The period has stopped completely. Your monks are not reliable, but the pill is reliable.”
The pill functions biologically. This period was the problem, and all over the world it has been thought that particularly when a woman is in those four or five days of menstrual period she is dirty. She cannot be touched, she cannot be allowed to make food.
The more orthodox Hindus and Jainas kept the women in a dark room in the house so not even her shadow fell on anybody, because even her shadow is dirty. This was a very simple method to make the woman feel guilty and helpless. What could she do about it? And this is all nonsense. She is not dirty! She may have been dirty the remainder of the month. Inside she was thought to be pure, but when she was cleansing it out, then she was dirty. I don’t understand the logic.
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 – and man has been so cunning that he has even changed the names.
One of the tirthankaras of the Jainas – they have twenty-four great masters – one of them is a woman. But they have changed her name from a woman’s to a man’s name, so anybody reading about those twenty-four names will not detect that one of them is a woman. You go to a Jaina temple, and you will find twenty-four statues. They are all of men. Strange…what happened to the one woman?
One woman, Mallibai, become a tirthankara. She must have been a woman of great and immense courage, because first she had to fight the whole of the orthodox monks, the whole of the man-made society. Secondly, in Jainism one can become ultimately liberated only when one renounces everything including clothes. That means unless one becomes naked and remains naked, one cannot attain to liberation. Mallibai must have been a tremendously courageous woman. She remained naked, and she proved to have all the qualities of a great master. In spite of all opposition she had such a charismatic personality that people had to accept her finally. But the moment she died they changed her name.
Unfortunately I was born into a Jaina family. In my childhood I thought always that all these twenty-four tirthankaras were male – their names were male. Mallibai I never heard, I heard always Mallinath. Bai indicates a woman. Bai means sister. Nath means swami. They changed the name from Mallibai to Mallinath. And they never made the statue of a woman. It was only when I grew up and looked into the scriptures…I was so angry with my parents that I said, “You have been deceiving me.”
I was angry at the priest of the Jaina temple and told him, “You have been deceiving the whole of humanity.”
I was so angry. You will not believe – I removed one of the statues from the temple, and I told them, “Unless you make a statue of a woman, that place has to remain empty to indicate to everybody what has happened – and you will have to answer. And if you replace it with a male statue, I am going to remove it. While I am here in this town that place either has to remain empty or you have to put a statue of a woman.”
That place remained empty until I left the town. Later on I heard that the moment I went to the university they replaced it with another male statue.
You think these people are religious, spiritual – who for centuries have been lying…? But this is not the case only with Jainism, it is the case with all religions. For example, Christianity accepts twelve apostles, but the day Jesus was crucified, all the apostles had escaped out of fear – great males! Only three women who loved and respected Jesus…One was Jesus’ mother, Mariam, one was a prostitute, Mary Magdalen, and another also was a woman, the sister of Martha – her name was also Mary. So all three Marys, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, the prostitute, and Mary, the sister of Martha – these three remained while all the twelve apostles escaped, fearing that if they were caught they would be crucified. Those three women proved more courageous.
And when Jesus’ body was brought down from the cross, none of the apostles were present there. These three women brought the body down – and Jesus had never been respectful to these women. Even to his own mother he had never been respectful.
There is an incident….
Jesus is preaching to a crowd and somebody says to him, “Your mother, Mary, is standing behind the crowd and she wants to meet you. She has not seen you for years.”
And Jesus says, “Tell that woman…” Not even mother – “Tell that woman that nobody is my mother. I have my father above in heaven; I am the only begotten son of God. I don’t have any mother…”
“Tell that woman…” It is ugly, disgusting! And this man is thought to be the prince of peace. He is not even cultured. He does not even know how to behave.
But that woman was present at the crucifixion without any fear. Everybody knew that she was the mother of Jesus. She was the first to help the body, to bring it down from the cross.
Jesus never included in his apostles a single woman. Although these women, Mary Magdalen; Mary, sister of Martha; his own mother – they were far more close to him and they were far more understanding of his teachings. They were all better in every way than those twelve fools who had become apostles – they were all uneducated fishermen, woodcutters, farmers. Jesus himself was a son of a carpenter.
Mary Magdalen was far more cultured – she was one of the most beautiful women in Judea. She was a prostitute who stopped her profession the moment she became interested in Jesus. But because she was a woman she could not be included in the apostles.
In the Christian holy trinity you can see the strangeness: God is the father; Jesus is the son. One wants to ask, “Where is the mother?” No, there is no mother. That would have been a good, simple family – a family who believes in birth control, very contemporary.
But there is no woman. Just to avoid a woman in the trinity – because to give that much height to a woman no man can tolerate – they have replaced the woman with a strange figure, the Holy Ghost. Nobody knows who this guy is, what is his purpose, and why he is needed in the trinity. He is a strange fellow. Nobody knows whether he is a man or a woman – or neither! Most probably he belongs to a third sex…just a ghost? I have never heard that ghosts have sex! He belongs to the third sex.
But a woman has not been accepted in the highest trinity just because man is so much against it. Although in the whole of history, just as I have said, Mallibai proved that Jainism is wrong. A woman can attain to perfection in the body of a woman because it is not the body which attains perfection, it is awareness, and awareness has nothing to do with the body.
A blind man can attain, a dumb man can attain, a man who has lost both his legs can attain, a man who cannot hear, is deaf, can attain…then what is the problem? Why cannot a woman attain?
Mallibai is not only an exception, she has really destroyed the whole doctrine of Jainism and proved that this doctrine is male chauvinistic, and that women should assert themselves.
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.
In Arabia there has been a woman, a Sufi mystic, Rabiya al-Adabiya….
Mohammedanism is not a great religion, but it is the second greatest religion as far as numbers are concerned. As far as quality is concerned, it is the last of all. But it is a strange thing, that a few religions have produced a small rebellious section which has risen to the highest peaks of spirituality. Mohammedanism is a very earthbound, ordinary religion. Just in name only is it religion. But it has created an offshoot which has reached to the highest peak of spirituality – and that is Sufism.
Sufis are one of the best products of all the religions. There is no comparison. And in Sufism there is no one compared with Rabiya al-Adabiya. She is at the very top. One of the great Sufis was Hassan. He was a very respected saint.
I am reminded of one incident….

Just to make it clear to you, Rabiya is far above even the great masters.
Hassan is a great master, has a following of thousands. He was staying at Rabiya’s house, and as usual, in the morning he wanted to read the holy Koran. But he had not his own copy with him so he asked Rabiya for her copy. Rabiya gave him her copy. As he opened it he was surprised that in many places Rabiya had edited it – which is very much against Islam. The Koran is the last message of God, and Mohammed is his final messenger. Now there is not going to come any other message. Nobody can edit the Koran; nobody can change anything. And Rabiya had even crossed out a few words, dropped a few paragraphs – she had simply cut them out…!
Hassan said, “Rabiya, somebody has destroyed your Koran.”
Rabiya said, “Why should somebody destroy my Koran? All that has been done is done by me. I had to do it. For example, just look at the page you are at.” There was a sentence that said, “When you come across the Devil, hate him…” Rabiya had cut out this one word, “hate him,” and had written “love him.”
Hassan said, “But Rabiya, this is God’s message; you can’t change it.”
She said, “It doesn’t matter whose message it is, it is against my experience. Since I became aware of myself, there is only love left. Even if the Devil comes in front of me, I cannot do anything but love him. And this is my copy of the Koran! It reflects me. It has to be according to me and my experience. Hatred has completely disappeared from me, so I am helpless. I cannot follow this sentence.
“Even if God comes to tell me, I am going to argue against it, because this is not my experience. And I can say with authority that there comes a moment when you are pure love. Then whoever comes in front of you, you simply can look with love. You can share your love, you can radiate your love. It does not matter who the person is, whether it is God or the Devil. Even if you are sitting alone, a man of realization radiates love, although there is nobody to receive it. It is simply the nature of enlightenment.”
Hassan had to agree. He said, “I had never thought in that way.”

On another occasion, another great Sufi mystic, Junnaid, was praying in front of a mosque. He always used to pray outside the mosque where people leave their shoes, because he used to say, “I am not yet so pure as to come in to meet God. The day I am ready he will call me and I will come in.”
He was praying there and Rabiya was just passing by. She stood and heard what Junnaid was saying. Junnaid had his eyes closed and he was saying, “My God, open the doors and call me in. How long have I to wait?”
Rabiya went behind him, shook him holding his collar – and this must not be done; it is against Mohammedanism. When somebody is praying, you should not disturb him.
Rabiya shook the man in the middle of his prayer, and he had to open his eyes. She said, “You seem to be absolutely stupid. The doors are always open and he has always been calling. You are deaf! And you are blind! If I hear again, ‘My God, open the doors!’ I will hit your head because the doors are always open. God’s doors are never closed, and he does not wait for a certain moment to call you. His call is a standing call – he is always calling you. Don’t be stupid, and stop all this nonsense. If you want to go in, go in. If you don’t want to go in, remain out. But this prayer I will not allow.”
This woman must have been courageous – and Junnaid, a master of thousands of people, a master of masters. Al-Hillaj Mansoor, who became a very famous mystic, was his disciple. But Rabiya was certainly right, and Junnaid had to touch her feet and thank her, saying, “You are right. I am blind. Perhaps the doors are always open. I am deaf. Perhaps he is always calling. I will not make such a prayer again. You forgive me, Rabiya.”

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.
Your differences with man are your attraction, your beauty. Your differences with man are a necessary tension, otherwise life will become flat. A woman has to be a woman. A man has to be a man. The farther they are from each other, the greater will be the attraction between them. They are polar opposites, and that is the reason for their love and their fights.
But the women’s liberation movement is creating a very stupid ideology around the world: just imitate men. Because they are smoking cigarettes, you smoke cigarettes. Don’t be ugly. If they are stupid, you need not be stupid to be equal!
The woman’s liberation movement has gone towards insanity. Now they are teaching that women should not love men, that women should love each other. They are teaching lesbianism. This is sheer insanity, the same kind of insanity that all the religions have been teaching in the past – that men should be monks. And monks naturally become homosexuals; there is no other way.
Lesbianism is an ugly phenomenon, as is homosexuality – perversion. This is not the way to prove your mettle. You have to prove your womanhood, your separateness, your differences, your seeing things in a different way to man. You have to preserve those qualities. Those qualities are your treasures. Yet you have to demand equal opportunity to be expressive, to do whatever you want to do. It has to happen in all the spheres of life. Only then can you hope to have the opportunity of becoming spiritually free, independent, even to the extent that you can attain to masterhood.
It is possible. It has happened before, and there is no natural hindrance. All hindrances are created by men. The people who love me, who understand me, should start dropping those hindrances. That will be your great work of compensation. What your ancestors have done to women, you have to undo. Then men and women can live in a friendship. There is no need for man to be the master and woman the slave. They are equal. But for thousands of years you have been taught that you are not equal.

The ancient biblical story is that God created Adam. The word adam means mud; he created Adam from mud. The word human also means humus, mud. God created man out of mud.
It is strange that even your God – it is created by man; God is created by man – makes a difference. He does not create Eve with the mud – as if mud is such a costly thing! He does not want to give equality. From the very beginning he sows the seeds of inequality. He creates Eve from a rib of Adam. He performs the first surgery in the whole history of man. While Adam is asleep, he takes out one of his ribs, and out of the rib he creates the woman, the first woman, Eve.

I have heard that when Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, before they were expelled, every night when Adam came home and went to sleep, Eve would count his ribs. She was always afraid that God may have created another woman – hiding somewhere…otherwise, why was he late?

But I cannot conceive the complexity. God could have created both from the same humus, from the same mud. But he only created the woman out of a rib. Naturally, the man thinks himself to be the master, and the woman is only a rib.
We have to drop all these nonsensical stories which have become very deeply ingrained in the mind if we want to create a new humanity, if we want to create a new kind of relationship. The woman does not need to be like the man, nor does the man need to be like the woman. Both have been trying this – otherwise what is the reason for the man to go on shaving his beard and mustache?

I was a student in the university….
I wanted a scholarship badly, because my family told me, “If you go to study philosophy, then we are not going to finance you. We are in financial difficulty and you are learning philosophy! If you go to engineering, if you become a doctor, that is understandable, we will try to help in every possible way. Even if we have to borrow money, we will borrow money, but not for philosophy.”
So I said, “You need not worry about it. I will manage.”
I went directly to the vice-chancellor and I told him, “This is the situation; my parents say they cannot help me if I go into philosophy, and I don’t want to study anything else because my whole life is going to be fighting philosophy. I have to understand it! So where is the form for a scholarship?”
The man was taken aback. He said, “Cool down. You just sit! You seem to be very hot tempered.” He said, “Can I inquire one thing: why are you growing your beard?” – it had just started growing.
I said, “You are not in the right situation. You should not ask me. I am not growing it – it is growing itself. I can ask you why you have been shaving your beard – because that is what you are doing. It is not happening by itself.”
The man looked here and there and said, “That’s right. This is the form. You take the scholarship. I will think it over.”
I said, “I will come every day until I get the answer. Either you find the answer why you are shaving your beard, your mustache…”
He could not find the answer. Then I told him, “I know the answer. You may not be aware, you may be simply imitating other men, but the basic thing is that man thinks that the woman looks beautiful – but he forgets that it is beauty to his eyes. He thinks because the woman looks beautiful to him, he should also shave his beard and mustache and then he will look beautiful to the woman too. He is wrong! The woman simply says nothing – that is another matter – but no woman likes a man with a shaved beard and mustache, because it looks just like another woman.”

I love you.
And now the next koan is coming up:
Why are you here? Why am I here?
It is a beautiful question. I will just answer with a small story….

Mulla Nasruddin was returning from a village to his house. He was passing by the side of a graveyard, when he saw – it was evening, but it was still a little light – just in front of him a few people on horses with swords. A great crowd was following them, with great torches burning in their hands. He became very much afraid. He had heard that there are people who invade small villages, burn their houses, kill the men, rob their treasures and rape their women. It seemed like these were the people.
It is maybe dangerous even to pass them. There was a wall dividing the road and the graveyard. He jumped the wall to find a place to hide. There was one grave open. It had been made ready because somebody had died, and the message had come that the body would soon be brought, so the gravediggers had made it ready. He simply lay down in it, pretending to be dead.
Those people who were on the horses were nothing but a marriage party. They were going to the other village, and it was the custom of their tribe that the bridegroom sits on a horse with a naked sword in his hand, and a few of his friends, close friends, were also on horses. And the whole marriage procession, a big crowd, was following with torches because the night was coming on.
They saw this man just like a shadow, jumping inside the graveyard. And they wondered, “It seems to be some kind of thief. Something is strange.” So they opened the gate of the graveyard and they all went in.
The Mulla heard them coming. He closed his eyes. He tried to stop his breathing. And they were all standing around with torches looking at him. They could not believe it: this man has just come in and suddenly is dead!
But how long could Mulla remain without breathing? And when he heard their laughter…and then somebody said, “We should not waste our time. He seems to be some kind of idiot. The people in the other village will be waiting, and we will have to get there soon; it is a marriage procession.”
The moment he heard it was a marriage procession, he immediately opened his eyes. Somebody in the crowd said, “That man is not dead.”
He sat up. Somebody asked, “What is the matter? What are you doing here? Why are you here?”
Mulla Nasruddin said, “That is exactly the question I was going to ask: What are you doing here? Why are you here? But now there is no need to ask anything or answer anything. I know I am here because of you, and you are here because of me.”

Why is it that sincere, gentle and kindhearted men are suffering and neglected? Why is it that the cunning, the cheap and the evil are flourishing and respectable? Is it the result of their past life karma, prarabdha?
There is no need to believe in prarabdha, in fate. There is no need to believe that people are suffering because of their past evil acts, karma. The reality is that the good people, the nice people, the virtuous people are bound to suffer. You cannot have everything in life. If you have goodness, enjoy it; if you have virtue, enjoy it; if you have a niceness, enjoy it.
Why should you be jealous of the cunning people becoming prime ministers, of the evil people becoming rich? The evil people are bound to win in the race with the good people if the race is for money, if the race is for power, prestige, respectability. But if the race is for inner silence, peace, calm, coolness, silence, meditation, godliness, then the evil people will not get anything, anywhere. I don’t see any problem at all. If you had asked this to anybody else, he would have explained it through past lives because there seems to be no other way for the logicians, for the theologians.
They have been telling you that good people should not suffer, that evil people should suffer. But in life you see just the opposite happening: good people are suffering; evil people are on the top, enjoying. Naturally, the theologian has to create a fiction of past life, of faith, of prarabdha, of karma – all bogus and fictitious things. The reality is very simple: goodness has nothing to do with earning money. Goodness earns something more valuable, it earns peace of mind.
The virtuous person need not be worried about mundane things. He may not have a palace, but he will live more blissfully in his hut than a king lives in his palace. The virtuous will not be able to manage a palace, but he will be able to manage blissfulness. The cunning will manage to reach to the palace, but he will lose all peace of mind, he will lose all contact with himself.
So it is very simple to me. If you want the inner world and inner riches, be good, be virtuous, be nice, and don’t be jealous of those poor people who are simply cunning and earning money, who are doing every kind of criminal act and reaching to high posts and respectability. Do you want to have both? Do you want money and also meditation? You are asking too much. Something has to be left for the cunning too! He is making a lot of effort. And he is suffering so much inside. You may be suffering on the outside, he is suffering inside – and that is a bigger suffering than you know of.
So I don’t see that life needs to be explained by fictions. Life is a simple mathematics. You get what you deserve. Just don’t ask anything which is not related to your qualities, and then there is no problem. Then you will not see it the way you are seeing it – that the virtuous are suffering. No. No virtuous person is suffering.
Every virtuous person is enjoying every moment blissfully. And if he is suffering, then he is not virtuous, he is simply a coward. Basically he is cunning, but he is not courageous. He wants the same things that the cunning man has, but he is not courageous enough to be cunning, nor is he clever enough to be cunning. Cunningness is an art.
The cunning should have what they can manage. The evil ones should have what they can manage. But the good ones don’t have to be jealous, because they have the real treasures of the innermost being. They should be compassionate. They should see those poor, cunning politicians, the super-rich – they should see their inner poverty, their inner darkness, their inner hell, and they should be compassionate, not competitive!

Buddhist scriptures talk about the nature of reality as emptiness. Sometimes it feels that it would be such a relief to be empty rather than so full and heavy. Please talk about emptiness.
The Buddhist scriptures talk about shunyata, which is translated as emptiness. But the English word emptiness has not the quality of the word shunyata. The word shunyata has no equivalent in English, so I will have to give you a few examples so you can understand that it is a very strange word.
For example, this hall is full of people, furniture, lights. And if I say remove everything from here: the people go out, the furniture goes out, the lights go out – everything that can be removed from here is removed – you will say, now the hall is empty. But it is a half statement. You should say that the hall is empty of people, empty of furniture, empty of all other things, but now it is full of space. Before, it was full of people and empty of space. Now the people have gone out, the space is there, the spaciousness.
So shunyata means emptiness with fullness of space. Then it will be correct to translate it as emptiness. It is not just empty. The word empty is negative, and the word shunyata is not negative. It simply says that you will be empty of anger, you will be empty of jealousy, you will be empty of mind, you will be empty of ego – you will be empty of the whole furniture of your being. Except your consciousness, everything in you will be empty and there will be immense space for your consciousness to fill it. You will be full of consciousness.
So it is a question of which aspect you look at it from. If you look at the things that have been thrown out – the ego, the jealousy, the anger, the violence – then you will say, “Now the person is empty.” But if you think of his inner being, his consciousness, you will say, “Now his inner consciousness is filling the whole space. He is over-full.”
“Shunyata” has a positiveness in it, which the word empty does not have.
So in your mind make the word empty be connected with positiveness – empty of everything that is false but not empty of truth, not empty of being, not empty of consciousness. You will be over-full. And remember, being over-full does not mean heavy, because consciousness has no weight. That is the only existential phenomenon in the world which has no weight. Even light has some weight.
It was thought in the beginning that light had no weight, but recently scientists have found that if you collect the sun rays of five square miles on a single point, the weight is nearabout two hundred and fifty grams. There is weight.
Light is very light, but still it has weight. Consciousness is absolutely light – it has no weight. You will be over-full, but not heavy.

The last question:
Who am I? Who am I? Who am…?
My God, the guy has forgotten his name! Listen, and note it down so you don’t forget again: your name is Swami Govindanand Bharti! You live in Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat in India!
Don’t laugh, that is the situation of everybody!
I know this won’t satisfy him. He wants really to know himself. But millions of people are satisfied with their name. They think this is it. They look in a mirror and they think this is their face, this is their body, these are their eyes….

I have heard of one drunkard who had been fighting in the pub….
Somebody hit him hard on the face, so it was bleeding and scratched. Coming home…the wife has tremendous power, almost miraculous power. Even the drunkard, as he comes closer to home, becomes sober!
The moment he reached his door, he thought, “Again I am too late, and again I am too drunk, and my whole face seems to be full of blood. In the morning there is going to be trouble.”
Right now he had the key, so he opened the door silently, went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and said, “There is going to be great trouble in the morning, because these marks on my face will tell the whole story. I cannot find any excuse, so somehow I have to hide them.”
He found some ointment and put the ointment over every scratch, over every place where blood was oozing – and he felt very good that now it was perfect. So he went to sleep.
In the morning the wife screamed from the bathroom, “Who has destroyed my mirror? Who has painted my mirror?”
He had put ointment all over the mirror!
He was drunk, and he thought that was his face!

Millions of people are living according to the mirror. They think this is their face. They think this is their name, this is their identity and that is all.
You will have to go a little deeper. You will have to close your eyes. You will have to watch within. You will have to become silent. Unless you come to a point of absolute silence inside, you will never know who you are. I cannot tell it to you. There is no way of telling it. Everybody has to find it.
But you are – that much is certain. The only question is, to reach to your innermost core, to find yourself. And that’s what I have been teaching all these years. What I call meditation is nothing but a device to find yourself.
Don’t ask me. Don’t ask anybody. You have the answer within you, and you have to go deep down into yourself to discover it. And it is so close – just a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn and you will be facing it.
And you will be surprised that you are not your name, you are not your face, your body, you are not even your mind.
You are part of this whole existence, of all its beauty, grandeur, blissfulness, its tremendous ecstasy.
Knowing oneself is all that religion means. Everything else is just ritual. Going to the church, going to the temple, chanting a mantra – all these are absurd rituals.
Knowing yourself in deep silence is the only reality and the only authentic religion.

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