Chapter 27: Breaking the Shell of the Past
In India. Gautam Buddha is a man. His great disciples Mahakashyapa, Sariputra, Maudgalyan, all are men. Was there not a single woman who could have been raised to the same consciousness? But Gautam Buddha himself was denying initiation to women, as if they were a species not of humanity but of some subhuman state. Why bother with them? - let them first attain manhood.
The statement of Gautam Buddha is that man is the crossroads from where you can go anywhere - to enlightenment, to ultimate freedom. But the woman is not mentioned at all. She is not a crossroads, but just a dark street where no municipal corporation has even put lights; it goes nowhere. Man is a superhighway; so first let the woman come on the superhighway, let her become a man, be born in the body of a man - then there is some possibility of her becoming enlightened.
Says Almustafa, so must you know pain - but for what? If the woman cannot become enlightened, why should she go through pain? She is not gold, in that going through fire she will become purer.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.
It is true, but sometimes truth can be very dangerous, a double-edged sword. On one hand it protects, on another hand it destroys. It is true that if you keep the wonder in your eyes you will be surprised to know that even pain has its own sweetness, its own miracle, its own joy. It is no less wondrous than joy itself.
But the strange fact is that the woman is always more like a child, more full of wonder than man. Man is always after knowledge - and what is knowledge? Knowledge is just a means to get rid of wonder. The whole of science is trying to demystify existence, and the word science means knowledge. And it is a very simple fact that the more you know, the less you wonder.
Just go for a morning walk with a small child.
My father used to drag me out of bed so early in the morning, at five o’clock. It was still one hour before the sun would rise; everything was dark. And I had told him many times, “I cannot understand; what kind of arithmetic is this? When I want to remain awake I am forced to go to bed. When the night sky is so full of stars and I want to go to the river, I am prevented. And then, when the stars have started disappearing, the sun has not yet arisen and I am feeling sleepy, I am forced to go for a morning walk. You are dragging me! - It is not a morning walk. I just want to understand the logic of it.”
Every child feels it, every child without exception, because the family wants to get rid of him: “Go to sleep.” Don’t disturb them. And they want the child to get up early in the morning.
And my father quoted an ancient saying which exists in all the languages all over the world: “Early to bed and early to get out of the bed keeps you healthy and wise.”