Almost all the religions have denied women the possibility of entering into paradise from the body of a woman. She can be virtuous. Her husband is her god. She should serve the husband with total commitment and devotion. This is the only religion as far as the woman is concerned. This will bring her into the body of a man in her next life, and then the doors open. Then she can strive for spiritual heights. Then she can become an enlightened master.
There are religions which don’t allow women to read the religious scriptures. There are religions which don’t allow the women to enter in their temples.
She has been enslaved. She has been reduced into producing children, taking care of them her whole life. She has not to be respected as a human being. She is just a reproductive mechanism. Man has done everything wrong that can be done, everything inhuman that can be done.
In Hinduism, if the husband dies, the woman has to jump alive into his funeral pyre. She cannot live without a husband – she was just a shadow. Now what is she going to do without a husband? Man has been so possessive, that not only when he is alive should his woman remain his, but he is afraid even after death. When he is no more, who knows? – the woman may fall in love with someone else. He has taken every precaution. What works best is that she jumps into the fire with the dead body of her husband. It is not an easy job.
Just put your finger in the flame of a candle, and you will know what it means to throw your whole body alive into a funeral pyre. But millions of women have done that – have been forced to do that. If they had chosen not to do it, that was a sure sign that they had betrayed their husband. They were condemned for the rest of their lives. So rather than living a condemned life it was better to suffer a respectful death. But it was such an agony that the brahmin priest had to manage it in such a way that nobody else became aware of the agony the woman was going through.
Whenever a woman had to jump on a funeral pyre tons of ghee, purified butter, had to be poured over her and over the funeral pyre. This created great smoke, a cloud of smoke; nobody could see what was happening. And there were priests standing around the funeral pyre with long torches, burning. If the woman tried to escape – because that is human and natural that she may start getting out of the funeral pyre – they pushed her back into the funeral pyre, with those burning torches.
And then there was always a crowd of musicians playing as loudly as possible on musical instruments so that you could not hear the screams of the living woman that you were burning.
This was thought to be something spiritual. This is pure murder – and a very crude and primitive murder. For millions of years it was a great spiritual thing, but it is strange that the man never did such a great spiritual thing. No man in the whole of history has ever jumped into the funeral pyre of his dead wife. No brahmin followed the rule that he has made for women.