Chapter 20: The Esoteric Dimensions of Tantra
Take the case of Sita in the Ramayana: she belongs to the category of women whom we call sati, meaning a woman of truth and purity. Now Sita’s devotion is unique. From the point of view of surrender she is perfect; her devotion to Rama, her husband, is total. Ravana, who kidnapped Sita, is an incomplete man whereas Sita is a complete woman. The radiance of a complete woman is such that an incomplete man cannot dare to touch her. He cannot even set eyes on her. Only an incomplete woman can be looked at in a sexual way by him.
When a man approaches a woman sexually he is not entirely responsible. The incompleteness of the woman is also inevitably responsible. When a man touches a woman sexually in a crowd he is only half responsible. The woman invites it and is equally responsible. She provokes it, invites it, and because she is passive her role in it goes unnoticed. Since the man is active it is very evident that he touched her. But we cannot see the invitation from the other side.
Ravana could not even raise his eyes toward Sita, and Ravana held no meaning for Sita. Yet after the war with Ravana and after rescuing Sita from his captivity, Rama insisted on the fire test for Sita to confirm her purity. Sita did not resist. Had she refused to go through the test she would have lost her position as a sati. She could have insisted that they both pass through the fire test, because although she was alone with another man Rama too was roaming the woods alone - and who knows what women he may have met?
But this question never arose in Sita’s mind. She readily went through the fire test. Had she questioned Rama’s authority even once she would have fallen from her position as a sati, because then the surrender would not have been total; there would have been something slightly lacking in it. And had she raised the question even once and then passed through the fire, she would have been burned; she would not have gone unscathed. But her devotion was total, for her there was no other man. We think it a miracle however, that she passed through the fire unharmed.
If an ordinary person also passes through fire while in a particular inner state, he will not burn. If a man in a state of hypnosis is told that fire will not burn him, he can walk on it and not be burned.
An ordinary fakir walks on fire in a particular state of mind when the energy circuit is complete within him. The energy circuit breaks with doubt. If a doubting thought crosses his mind even once, that maybe he will be burned, the circuit breaks and he is bound to get burned. If two fakirs jump into the fire and seeing them you feel, “If these two can jump and not be affected, how can I burn?” then if you too jump into the fire, you also will not be affected by it. A whole line of people can pass through fire thus and not be burned. The one who doubts will not dare to enter the fire; he will stand aside. But the one who sees so many passing through unaffected thinks, “If so many are unharmed, why should the fire harm me?” For this reason he can pass through and the fire does not touch him.