Chapter 1: The Enlightened Woman
Once I was a guest in Mulla Nasruddin’s house. We were sit-ting and gossiping after our afternoon nap, sitting on the bed, when his wife came and said, “Listen dear, look after the children. I am going to the dentist. I will come back after I have had a tooth pulled out.”
Mulla jumped up, put on his coat and said, “Wait, honey! You take care of the children and I will go and have a tooth pulled out!''
It is such a nuisance to look after children! Men don’t have that much patience. To raise a child is very difficult; it takes twenty to twenty-five years until a child can stand on his own feet. Patience is easy for women; it is a discipline for a man. That’s why Farid says to practice patience. But the feminine mind will think, “What is there to practice?”
I will clarify this difference for you. The feminine mind will think, “Why practice patience? We are already patient!” Farid says to practice modesty. A woman feels that if there is no modesty in her then all is lost. Modesty is a woman’s nature. If a woman is going to practice something she will have to practice being immodest. Modesty comes naturally to her. Modesty is to women as leaves are to a tree.
It is difficult to find a modest man. It is also difficult to find an immodest woman. And if women lose their modesty they lose it through the influence of men. If men become modest it happens through the influence of women. What the man achieves through great austerity the woman has by birth. There are also some qualities that a man has by birth that a woman does not have.
If a woman wants to become a soldier she has to go through arduous training, but to become a nun she need not make any effort. If a woman has to go to war then she has to make much preparation for it, she has to go through much training, but if she goes to a temple to pray, to worship, to make an offering, she need not learn from anyone else. Take a small girl to the temple and you will see: it is as if she knows from birth how to bow down. But if you take a small boy you will see that he will not bow down even if you force him. Bowing does not appeal to him. He would like to make others bow down to him but he does not want to bow down to anyone.
For the man struggle is natural, fighting is natural. The man knows only one way to win: by struggling. The woman knows yet another way to win: by surrender. A man can be defeated even when he wins, a woman wins even through her defeat. Such is the difference between them - and it is beautiful. They go in opposite directions, yet there is a great harmony between the two. Because a man loses by winning and a woman wins by losing, this creates a harmony between the two. The opposites meet, they fit with one another.
Flowers of a feminine quality bloom in a man when he reaches close to enlightenment. And when a woman reaches close to enlightenment, flowers of a masculine quality bloom in her. It will be good for you to understand this a little.