Woman the Better Half
Osho on Woman
IS IT BECAUSE OF WOMEN BEING REPRESSED SO LONG THAT THERE ARE NOT MANY WOMEN COMEDIENNES OR JOKES THAT DON’T HAVE A MALE CHAUVINISTIC RING TO THEM? DO WOMEN NOT HAVE SUCH A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR AS MEN? I AM ASKING THIS QUESTION VERY SERIOUSLY, BUT WOULD SETTLE FOR A JOKE AS AN ANSWER.
the sense of humor comes into existence at the last stage of evolution. No animal other than man has a sense of humor. The sense of humor can be called the criterion whether evolution has become conscious or not. Up to man, evolution is an unconscious process. With man something absolutely new opens its wings: evolution is no longer dependent on the blind forces of nature, man has to take it into his own hands.
Your question is immensely significant, because
man has not allowed woman the same status, the same position, the same freedom as he has allowed himself. The woman has lived down the ages as a prisoner. In the name of religion, in the name of morality, in the name of chastity — all great names but hiding a simple and ugly fact: slavery, spiritual slavery. Education was not allowed, social movement was not allowed.
In different countries, in different ways, the woman has been reduced to a subhuman status. Because she is not educated, she has to be dependent on man financially. She cannot compete with man in the marketplace or anywhere else. She is debarred from any possible evolution of consciousness in any dimension. For example, there have not been any great painters or poets or musicians or sculptors from the world of women. Not that woman is incapable or intrinsically has no potential, but potential alone is not enough. It needs opportunity to become actual and man has removed all opportunities for woman’s growth. That’s why there is no sense of humor in women. They cannot in fact enjoy laughter. Their very situation is sad. They are living in chains, invisible, they are living in prisons. But they have lived in those prisons for so long that everybody has forgotten that they are prisons. They are in every way handicapped, prevented from everything creative — even prevented from being spiritual beings.
It is a very sad story that half of humanity has been prevented from every creative dimension. And this half of humanity has far bigger a heart than man, has more capacity for sensitivity than man, can create in many dimensions in a far superior way than any man, but she has just not been given any opportunity. On the contrary, all kinds of preventive measures have been taken so that she remains enslaved. It is so ugly, so condemnable that because of this very few women could become enlightened. And they have more potential for it than man, for the simple reason that nature endows them in a few dimensions with greater energy and greater power — because they have to be mothers. Nature depends on them for reproduction, for life to continue.
Man’s hand in life’s perpetuation is negligible. On the contrary, man has been the cause of bringing destruction and death to millions of people around the globe. As far back as you can go, you will always find man fighting. His whole effort, his whole intelligence and genius has been devoted singularly in creating more powerful weapons to destroy.
Woman is the source of life; man seems to be in the service of death. And of course the source of life has more creative possibilities than man can ever have. It is not a coincidence that even those few men who have been great musicians or dancers or poets or painters, in some way became as graceful as women.
Friedrich Nietzsche had a great insight when he said, “I cannot accept Gautam Buddha because he has a feminine quality.” Friedrich Nietzsche is deep down a male chauvinist. In Gautam Buddha’s whole life and whole philosophy, he finds only one thing that is significant to him, and that is the feminine grace of the man. And because of that he condemns Gautam Buddha. His condemnation is not based on any argument against the philosophy of Gautam Buddha. His condemnation is that his philosophy must be wrong because it creates a feminine grace, it makes people incapable of violence. Gautam Buddha’s meditation techniques will destroy war, and without war there will be no great men. It is war that creates great leaders. A strange argument in favor of war. A very strange idea against peace, against silence, against grace, against enlightenment itself. But as far as I am concerned, to me it shows that the woman has more potential to become enlightened. She is far closer to enlightenment because she already has the grace, she already has a loving heart. She has been corrupted badly, poisoned badly, but still, in spite of all that has been done to her, she is capable of coming out of the dark night.
The woman has had nothing to laugh about, she has had only things to weep and cry for. She knows perfectly well how to cry; she is expert in tears. Laughter has been a faraway goal. What has the woman to laugh about? Her whole life is so badly damaged: her potential has been so much crushed, her individuality has been kept in such a bondage, her wings have been cut, her roots destroyed.
No other class has suffered so much through the hands of man as woman. And she has given birth to man, and she has raised man, and she has loved man, and she has been a companion to him in the darkest nights. She has been a solace in the most depressive moments, she has been an ointment for all his wounds. Still, man has paid her only with slavery and more slavery. It seems there is some psychological fear. Man seems to have sensed it at the very beginning that woman has some more superior powers, some more vitality, and if she is allowed total freedom to grow she will go far ahead of man.
It is better to keep her wings cut so that she cannot fly in the open sky; to keep her weak; to teach her, condition her that she has to depend on man.
The Hindu scriptures say, when you are a small girl you should depend on your father; when you are a young woman you should depend on your husband; and when you are an old woman you should depend on your children. But you should always depend, you should never be independent. The ugliest words of abuse have been used in all the so-called holy scriptures.
The ultimate result is that the woman has become very bitter. Her whole being has become a cry for revolt. She is not at peace to laugh at things; she is in utter misery and despair, and unless she becomes liberated she will not have a sense of humor. Once she becomes liberated, she will leave man far behind in all creative dimensions and she will be really joyous and playful. Naturally, she is not serious, she is not concerned with serious things. Man by nature seems to be serious. If you talk about nonserious things, he thinks you are being childish. The woman never talks about God or about heaven or about hell. She is not interested in the holy gospels, she is interested in all the unholy gossips! She is interested in a very nearby life. She is pragmatic, practical, realistic; she is not a stargazer.
I am reminded about a great astrologer. The story is from ancient Greece, from the times of Socrates. The astrologer was looking at the stars in the night, and he was going to look at the stars at a place out of the city, in the open … to see better — he had only primitive instruments. And because he was looking towards the sky and not looking at the earth, he fell into a well, and he shouted. An old woman living by the side, on her farm, came to rescue him, and when he was out of the well he said to the old woman, “You may not know me, but I am the greatest astrologer in the whole land. I am the astrologer not only of the king of Greece but of the kings of many other countries. Even very rich people stand in line to see me, but for you I will do a favor — you have saved my life. You can come any day you want and I will read your birth chart, look into your future, into your past, and I will not charge you anything.”
The old woman laughed and she said, “Forget all about it, I am not going to come, because if you cannot see that a well is ahead of you, what more future …? First learn to see what is ahead of you, then start telling others what is in their unknown future. Don’t befool me. You can befool the kings. Even if you pay me, I am not going to come. I have seen your reality.”
Man has always been interested in faraway things. The woman is never interested in faraway things, her interest is very real. And if she is allowed freedom — and she will have to be allowed because it is time …. This kind of slavery cannot be tolerated any more; neither by women, nor by any man who has any compassion, any intelligence, any love. This situation has to be totally changed. Then she will sing songs that her past is absolutely missing. She will dance, and she will dance better than any Nijinsky; she will paint better than any Picasso. And her songs and her paintings and her music and her dances will be closer to life, more sane, more healthy. Once she is completely liberated she will be able to produce more Buddhas, more Bodhidharmas, more Jesuses than man has been able to. And one thing can be said with absolute certainty, that she will not crucify a Jesus, she will not poison a Socrates, she will not murder a Mansoor; that is simply inconceivable about woman. Man is destructive, woman is creative. Her laughter will also be of a different quality, of a far superior quality … more innocent and more childlike.
But Maneesha, it has not been up to now possible simply because the woman has not been accepted as a human being. And she has been forced to remain in the shadows, never coming out into the light. But I would like my people, whether they are men or women, to feel sad about the past and to do everything to break away from the past and its ugly inheritance. I teach complete discontinuity.
The woman should be given her rights to grow in her own uniqueness, and that will enhance the whole society. It will enhance man too because man begins his life in the woman’s womb. For nine months he is one, totally one with the woman. And scientists say that in nine months the child grows more than he will grow in the coming seventy years of his life.
Those nine months are condensed growth, almost unimaginable — because the child has to pass through all the stages that man has passed through in the whole evolution. Almost millions of years have to be passed in nine months’ time: from the fish to the man. The first stage of the child in the mother’s womb is that of a fish. And then he passes through all the stages of other animals. He has lived inside the woman, and you will be surprised … Sigmund Freud and his school of psychologists have contributed many great insights. One of them is that man’s whole search for paradise, or a heaven, or the kingdom of God, or nirvana is nothing but the search for the mother’s womb.
Those beautiful nine months without any responsibility … not even the responsibility to breathe — the mother was breathing for you — not even the responsibility to bother about your food. No question of past, no question of future, just the present moment and everything is available. Before the child asks, everything is available to the child. Sigmund Freud feels that those nine months have remained in the unconscious and they are creating the urge to find those golden moments again. Certainly you cannot enter the mother’s womb again. But he has a great idea and great insight. You can enter into the womb of the whole existence. Nirvana and the kingdom of God are nothing other than entering into the womb of existence itself where no responsibility, no burden, no fear, no death … but only a pure, eternal dance of blissfulness.
The moment the woman is totally free, not only will she make life more peaceful, more full of laughter, she will also make man calm down, be less tense. And you all know it — in ordinary experience it happens. If two persons are fighting and a woman comes in, they calm down, they become just gentlemen immediately because a lady has come in. They cannot use the dirty language that they were using before, they cannot behave barbarously the way they were behaving before.
Just now in America, in a few federal jails, they are experimenting by mixing women prisoners and men prisoners together; up to now the jails were separate. After just a few months’ experience, strange conclusions have come to light. The most important is that the male prisoners have become less dangerous. A certain calmness and quietness … just because of the presence of the women amongst them. And the jail psychologists are simply surprised. The very ferocious criminals, murderers, rapists, even they have started behaving in a better way. They have started shaving twice a day! In their jails they are running out of Eau de Cologne because the men are asking continuously for Eau de Cologne; they don’t want that the women should notice that they are smelling badly. They are asking for combs and mirrors — new demands that they had never bothered about before. They are taking regular baths and asking for fresh clothes every day. Their habits have changed; otherwise they were constantly fighting and quarreling amongst themselves. But the presence of women has changed the whole atmosphere.
Although they are not allowed to make love … The prisoners are complaining only of one thing. They have not raped any woman, which was expected: whether you allow it or not. They have been raping outside the jail — that’s why they have been put in jail! And you provide women; it is taking a risk. But no woman has been raped in the jail. On the contrary, their complaint is that, since women have come into the jail, they are being constantly watched, and that has become a tension in their minds. The jail authorities are constantly watching from every window, from every door, from every keyhole. They are watching that no harm is being done to the women, and the prisoners have complained, “This is insulting, this is humiliating us. Nobody is behaving badly with the women, but being constantly watched is against human dignity. We may be criminals but still we are human beings, and we don’t want that the whole night somebody is watching. We cannot even sleep without being watched.” Otherwise they are very happy and they have welcomed the women. And the women have also been in for a great surprise — nobody has harmed them and the atmosphere has suddenly lost its heat, anger, and a certain calmness has settled.
If all over the world the woman is allowed freedom to grow to her potential, there will be many, many women enlightened; many, many women mystics, poets, painters. And they will enhance not only the woman’s part of the world — because the world is one — they will enhance the whole world. They will give man also new dimensions because their ways of seeing things are different. Man looks at things in one way; the woman looks from a different perspective. Life will become richer. It is for the betterment of both man and woman that the woman should be given every freedom and equal opportunity for her individuality. Then there will be a sense of humor. And the woman can laugh more gracefully than man, she has every potential for it –
but it is repressed, condemned, criticized. She has lived a life of such misery that you cannot hope that she will show some sense of humor. But the day is not far away … then the whole earth will be full of laughter. Instead of talks about war, instead of politicians giving speeches all around the world, instead of the sermons of stupid priests who know nothing, it will be far better that every man and every woman is able to see the hilarious side of life and to enjoy it…
On his way home from work one day, the husband was suddenly filled with inspiration and bought his wife a bunch of flowers. Wanting to surprise her he knocked on the front door and waited around the corner. When his wife opened the door, he jumped out in front of her and with a big smile handed her the flowers. The smile froze on his face as she burst into angry tears. “My God, what is the matter, honey?” he asked.
“I have had a terrible day,” she cried. “This morning I broke the teapot, the baby has been crying all day long and now, to top it all off, you come home drunk!”
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The New Dawn
Chapter title: Unholy gossip — not holy gospels
3 July 1987 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘Woman and feminine qualities like love, grace, creativity, sensitivity, pragmatism, calmness, laughter, energy, power’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Beyond Enlightenment
- Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
- From Death to Deathlessness
- From the False to the Truth
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 8, 9, 10
- Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol 1
- The Sword and the Lotus
- The Tantra Vision, Vol 1, 2
- Sermons in Stones
- The Rebel
- Sat Chit Anand