Woman: A Perfect Disciple

Osho on Saint Teresa

Born on 28th March, 1515, Saint Teresa was a Spanish noblewoman who was called to convent life in the Catholic Church. A Carmelite nun, prominent Spanish mystic, religious reformer, author, theologian of the contemplative life and of mental prayer, she earned the rare distinction of being declared a Doctor of the Church. Active during the Catholic Reformation, she reformed the Carmelite Orders of both women and men.

Her written contributions, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus and her seminal work The Interior Castle, are today an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature. Together with The Way of Perfection, her works form part of the literary canon of Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice, and continue to attract interest from people both within and outside the Catholic Church. Forty years after her death, in 1622, Teresa was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. At the time she was considered a candidate for national patron saint of Spain, but this designation was awarded to St. James the Apostle. She has since become one of the patron saints of Spain. On 27 September 1970 Pope Paul VI proclaimed Teresa the first female Doctor of the Church in recognition of her centuries-long spiritual legacy to Catholicism.

Osho talks about Teresa and says, “Just the other night I came across one of the most beautiful statements of Saint Teresa of Avila. She says: All that you need is to look. Her whole message is contained in this simple statement: All that you need is to look. The capacity to look — and you will find God. The capacity to hear — and you will find his music. The capacity to touch — and every texture becomes his texture. Touch the rock and you find God. It is not a question of objects of art: it is a question of an inner approach, a vision — of seeing things artistically…Bypass the art galleries and you will not be losing anything. But you cannot bypass the aesthetic layer of your being: you have to go through it. Otherwise you will always remain impoverished; something will be missing, something of immense value. Your enlightenment will never be total. A part of your being will remain unenlightened; a corner of your soul will remain dark — and that corner will remain heavy on you. One has to become totally enlightened. Nothing should be bypassed, no shortcuts are to be invented. One has to move very naturally through all the layers, because all those layers are opportunities to grow.”



It is a very delicate question, and a little difficult too — about women everything is difficult — but I will try my best. First, you never ask why no man in the whole history of existence has been pregnant, why he has not given birth to a child. You simply know that biologically he has no womb. He can make many women pregnant. This has to be understood; that’s why there have been religions which allow four wives to a man, but no religion allows four husbands to a women, for the simple reason that a man can make many women pregnant. But once a woman is pregnant, then you can bring Muhammad Ali the Great — even he cannot do anything; for nine months the woman is booked.

I know women have a much more feeling heart, are more loving, are more open, are more receptive. But these are the qualities of a disciple, not of a master. The disciple has to be open, receptive, vulnerable, loving, feeling. The only thing the disciple has to drop is his mind, not his heart. His mind is a constant disturbance. It goes on creating skepticism, and a disciple cannot be a skeptic. The woman can be a prefect disciple, but cannot be a perfect master. Now, I am not responsible for it, I am simply saying what the fact is. And you can see it with your own eyes. I have more women disciples around the world than men, and I can trust women more than men. I have given every responsible job in all the communes around the world to women, not to men. You must be surprised, because man has better reasoning, is more rational, is more authoritative, is more interested in being higher and higher in a hierarchy. The woman is not interested in hierarchy. Her interest in life is not through reasoning, but through feeling. Logic is not her world — love is her world.

To be a master is a very strange job. You have to convince people about the heart by argument and reason, rationality, philosophy; you have to use the mind as a servant for the heart. The master’s work is to take your mind away from you, so that your whole energy moves into your heart. It is from the heart that we are connected with existence, it is not from the mind. Nobody can go directly from mind to existence. Mind can create science, but it cannot create poetry, it cannot create paintings, it cannot create sculpture. And it is impossible for the mind to go into the dimension of religion. If the mind tries to go into the dimension of religion it creates theology, not religion.

The word “theology” has to be understood: theo means God, logy is logic — logic about God. Mind is capable of creating logic about God, arguments about God. God is not there, but through your argumentation, your reasoning, you can create a hypothetical God. All gods of all religions are hypotheses, and hypotheses which are absolutely unnecessary — not only unnecessary but dangerous, because if you get caught up in those hypothetical gods you are not going to ever find the authentic truth.

Heart knows no argument; it feels. And existence has to be felt. Even when a man feels existence, he feels through the heart. But the heart cannot convince anybody. The man has a tremendous capacity for logic and reason. Once he has found reality, enlightenment, through his heart, he can use the mind to spread the fragrance that he has found. The woman cannot do it. That’s why there have been not only no great masters, there have been no masters who were women. Even the famous religious women saints were disciples. Saint Teresa — I don’t mean Mother Teresa — Saint Meera, Saint Lalla… these three women were absolutely capable of becoming great masters, but they could not. They became enlightened, but they remained devotees. And there is nothing great in being a master; it is just a technical thing. The real thing is to realize your potential and your flowering.

Your question is like: “Why in history has a woman never been a husband?” What can I do? A woman has to be a wife, and there is no suggestion that the husband is higher than the wife. In fact, just the opposite is the case. I have never come across any husband who is not henpecked. If you don’t want to become henpecked, then be a freelance lover, then never get married. Marriage simply means you have surrendered your freedom, your individuality — everything. Yes, when you go out of the house you go like a lion, roaring. But when you come back to the house you come like a rat, trembling. It is a strange thing.

This is a factual story I am going to tell you. Akbar, a great Mogul emperor in India — perhaps the greatest Mogul who has ruled India — was very curious about everything. One day he asked his council of wise people — he had collected nine of the most famous wise men around himself in his court — he asked them, “Can you find a husband who is not henpecked?”

Only one remained silent. He was the most wise; his name was Birbal. The other eight said, “Yes, we can find many husbands, what to say about one?”

Akbar looked at Birbal and he said, “You have not raised your hand.”

He said, “I cannot, because even you are a henpecked husband. You are a great emperor of a vast subcontinent, and I know the moment you enter your harem, you are nobody; the woman rules over you. These eight people don’t know the reality. First they should think about themselves. I would like to ask these eight people, `Are you henpecked or not?’ As far as I am concerned, I am. When I cannot remain free, I don’t believe these people are free. They have not pondered over it. But give them a chance — if they can find one, it will be a revelation.”

Those eight wise men went to New Delhi, the capital of India, to look for a man who was not henpecked. Akbar gave them two horses, beautiful horses from Kabul, one pure white and one pure black. And he said, “Whoever you find that is not henpecked, you can give one of these two beautiful horses as a reward from me.” They were really precious. In those days horses were something of a treasure; to have a beautiful, strong horse was a great joy. Now there are no more horses; there are cars which have horsepower.

Those eight wise men went around the capital, and they were getting frustrated again and again, because they could not find one. The condition was: “If you say you are not henpecked, and it is proved not right, you will be hanged. If it is proved right, one of these two horses will be your reward.” There was nobody courageous enough to take the risk. Only one man they found, who was a very strong man — seven feet tall, a great wrestler, a champion wrestler. He was sitting outside his house in the garden. His body was something to see; so solid that if he hit a man just with his fist, he could kill him. He looked like a man made of steel. They thought, “Perhaps this man is the man we are searching for.” They asked him, “Are you henpecked?” He said, “If you repeat it again, I will kill all of you. Me henpecked? Are you mad?”

They looked inside the house. A very small woman, very thin, was cooking food. The eight men said to the strong man, “Just to find out the facts — which horse would you like as a reward, the black or the white?” And the man turned back and asked his wife, “Muna’s mother” — that is the way in India it is done. You cannot take the name of the husband or the wife. The wife says, “Muna’s father,” the husband says, “Muna’s mother.” Muna is just like Tom, Dick, Harry. He asked, “Muna’s mother, should I take the white horse or the black?”

Muna’s mother said, “If you take the black horse, I will give you hell! Take the white one.”

And he told the wise people, “I would like to take the white one.”

They said, “You come with us — you don’t get either. You will be hanged!”

In the house, within the boundaries of the house, the woman has tremendous power. But she is not interested in the outside world. Women’s natures are different. A woman can become a great disciple, but for a woman to become a master is almost impossible. But there is no question of somebody being higher. The master is not higher than the disciple. The master is simply trying to awaken you. The moment you are awakened there is no master and no disciple. It is just out of gratitude that the disciple remains a disciple — just out of gratitude. But there is no difference; they have known the same reality. They have become what nature wanted them to become, they have blossomed.

So don’t feel depressed that women have not been great masters — they have been great disciples. Man finds it difficult to become a disciple. In fact, man should worry about it, because to become a disciple is the real thing — and the beginning. And to come to the perfection of being a disciple is the end. A man passes through a very difficult phase. He cannot become a disciple, or can become one only in a wishy-washy way, always ready to quit. And without becoming a disciple, there is no question of becoming a master. Yes, once in a while it happens that a man becomes a master without becoming a disciple. But for that immense patience, a certain stubbornness, is needed.

I don’t have any master. In my previous lives I never had any master. I have lived with many masters, I have known many masters, but I could not manage to become a disciple. That is why I am so late; otherwise, Jesus would not have preceded me. But it was simply difficult for me to be a disciple. I remained searching, and searching on my own. Yes, it took many many lives to arrive where I have always been. I have never been initiated by anyone. I am not a Sannyasin. I am really outside of any crowd, and that’s the way I have always been. It was a long, arduous journey to find that there is nothing to find. Women are far more fortunate, because the beginning is in their hand, and the beginning is almost half the achievement. That I can see myself.

This was the basic reason why women could not become great masters. But there is no need to feel sad. They became great disciples — which is far more fortunate, because to begin from the beginning is easier than to begin from the end.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho

Discourse Series: From the False to the Truth Chapter#7

Chapter title: A sannyasin is extraordinarily ordinary

4 July 1985 am in Rajneeshmandir


Osho has spoken on many women mystics like Daya, Lalla, Sahajo, Mallibai, Magdalen, Rabiya, Theresa and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. And the flowers showered
  2. Showering without clouds
  3. Books I have loved
  4. The Last Morning Star
  5. The Perfect Master
  6. The Razor’s Edge
  7. The Sword and The Lotus
  8. Turn On, Tune In, and Drop the Lot
  9. Come, Come, Yet Again Come
  10. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha Vol.8
  11. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
  12. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  13. Light on the Path
  14. Tao: The Three Treasures Vol.2
  15. Beyond Enlightenment
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