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Chapter 23: A Woman Is More Poetic

Gargi laughed. On that beautiful, auspicious occasion, her laughter was immensely beautiful. She said, “Are you sure? Were you a witness? Or have you any other witness, who has seen you seeing God creating the world?”

Now, this was difficult. Nobody had ever witnessed it. And the problem was, if Yagnavalkya said, “I witnessed,” that meant the world was already created. What were you witnessing? - you are the world. Certainly, the beginning cannot be witnessed. And if it cannot be witnessed, it cannot be proved.

And Gargi said, “Neither is there God, nor is there any beginning, nor is there any end. These are all things which the parasite priests have invented, imagined, propagated.all kinds of nonsense and superstitions.”

Yagnavalkya was known to be a silent, peaceful man. He forgot all about silence and peace, and he said, “Gargi, if you speak any other word your head will fall on the earth.”

Now, the sword is not an argument. And Yagnavalkya had to return, in deep shame, those one thousand cows. When they were returned, Gargi said, “You can keep them. I am not interested in cows and gold. I was interested to see how much understanding you had.”

There have been a few women.. Yagnavalkya, before leaving the world to go to the forest to meditate, had two wives, and he said to them, “You can divide all my possessions” - which were big and huge.

But one wife, Katyayani, said, “If these possessions have not given you peace, do you think they will give me peace? If these possessions have not given you the truth, do you think they will give me the truth? I refuse. If you are going to meditate, I am going to meditate. Your going away proves that whatever we have been doing is futile. It does not create a connection with existence, it does not fill your heart with love and truth, with celebration.” And as Yagnavalkya went to the mountains, Katyayani also went in another direction to the mountains.

A few women have been of tremendous courage, but most women have been crippled by men. They have not been educated. They are not allowed to read religious scriptures, they are not allowed any social contact. Half of the world has been cut away from the other half completely. This is the greatest slavery that has happened on this earth; all other slaveries are very small. But even with this slavery, women have asserted themselves once in a while. That shows the possibility.

Rabiya al-Adabiya in South Arabia was one such woman. One day people saw her with a pot full of water in one hand and a torch burning in the other, running through the marketplace. They asked, “Where are you going?”

She said, “I am going to burn your paradise and I am going to drown your hell. These are all inventions of the priests, with which they have managed to enslave the whole humanity.”

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