Chapter 6: The Art of Living
So it happened that women have never been accepted. It is only just in this century, very recently, that women are coming out of the dark night of the past history.
I have heard:
It happened that when Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel, Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, went to Israel. And when Indira Gandhi visited Israel she was welcomed by Golda Meir.
After seeing all the historical sights, Mrs. Gandhi said, “I would like to visit a synagogue.”
“By all means,” answered the Israeli Prime Minister.
Two weeks later, Mrs. Gandhi stood before her cabinet.
“What did you learn in Israel?” asked one of the members.
“Many things,” answered the Indian Prime Minister. “But most of all I learned that in Israeli synagogues the men pray on the first floor and the prime ministers worship in the balcony.”
Two women, but she thought that prime ministers worship in the balcony and men on the floor. Once a thing settles it is very difficult to change it, even for a prime minister. Even for a prime minister it is difficult to change the traditional way.
The Hasids were a wave, but rather than destroying the whole movement they chose to go with the society and its rules and its regulations. At least let the message reach to men. If it cannot reach to women right now, later on it will - but at least let the message be rooted on the earth.
I am existing here in a very alien and strange world. I would like to give you many things, but I cannot because you yourself will resist. I would like to make you aware of many things in your being, but you will be against me. I have to go very slowly, I have to be very roundabout; it cannot be done directly.
Just see. I have done what Pratima was inquiring about in relation to Hasidism. I have done it. In my community, men and women are no longer separate. That’s why Indians have stopped coming to my ashram. They cannot come. When they used to come, their questions were more or less all concerned about what type of ashram this was - men and women mixing and meeting, holding each other’s hands, going together? Even after meditations hugging, kissing each other? What type of things were these? This is not good.
They used to come to me and say, “This is not good, this should not be allowed. Osho, you should interfere.” I never interfered because to me there is nothing wrong - man and woman should not be made in any way distinct. They are not separate, nobody is higher and nobody is lower. They are different but equal. Difference is beautiful, it has to be there. The difference has to be enhanced, but the equality has to be saved. And to me, love is a way towards godliness.