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Chapter 24: Souls Are Not Male or Female

I love hearing the stories of the old masters and their disciples. It is so beautiful to feel the essence of those small oases of consciousness - which centuries of religion have since covered in the dust of dogma and deceit. But still, as I look at us sitting here, feeling the joy, the silence, the tears, the laughter, I suspect there is something present that no master may ever have evoked before. Is it, perhaps, a sense of loving tenderness, a juiciness in those around you - something that could only have emerged had feminine energy been an intrinsic part of those caravanserais of so long ago?
Osho, isn’t this one of your greatest contributions to spirituality?

The realm of spirituality has remained male-dominated - not only male-dominated but male-chauvinistic. There were reasons why all spiritual traditions were against women. They were against women because they were against life, and to destroy life, the most basic thing is to separate man and woman. They were against any joy, any love, any juiciness. The simple way was to condemn the woman, and separate her from man as much as possible, particularly in the monasteries.

Women were second class human beings, not on the level of man.

Naturally it disturbed many things. It took out all playfulness, sense of humor, rejoicing, and created a very dry structure of life for man and for women too. They are part of one whole, and once you separate them, they are both continuously missing something - and that gap cannot be filled, and that gap makes people serious, sickly serious, and perverted, psychologically unbalanced. It distorts the natural harmony; it distorts the biological balance. It is such a big calamity that for centuries man has suffered under it.

Yes, it is my greatest contribution to the future of man, that the women are on the same level as men - spiritually there is no question of inequality.

You can see here laughter, tears and joy; this was impossible to see in Buddha’s commune. It was not possible in Mahavira’s communes. They had separate communes for women, but they were in every way humiliated. Even a one-day-old male sannyasin, in Jainism, has to be respected by a seventy-year-old woman sannyasin. She has been a sannyasin for seventy years, but she has to bow down to a man who has just become a sannyasin, because he is a man.

And although men were working for their enlightenment, the women were not working for enlightenment directly; they were working to attain to manhood first, because you cannot bypass manhood; first you have to be a man, and then only you can be enlightened.

So they looked like monks and nuns, but their goals were totally different. Man had already a far higher spiritual status, which the woman was trying in this life to achieve for the next - she was one life behind. And this is all bullshit. There is no question of man and woman as far as spirituality is concerned, because it is not a question of body or biology; it is not a question even of mind or psychology.

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