I have said it before and I say it again: that among twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas, one is a woman. Her name is Mallibai, but the digambaras changed her name to Mallinath because they simply couldn’t accept that a woman can become enlightened; they say that there can be no enlightenment in a woman’s body. So they don’t accept that Mallibai was Mallibai – they call her Mallinath.
Their point also has some deeper meaning in it. The meaning is that whenever a woman comes close to enlightenment, flowers of a masculine quality will bloom in her. And when a man comes close to enlightenment flowers of a feminine quality will bloom in him. Why does it happen? To understand this we will have to understand something about the human mind.
Both qualities are present in each and every person: the woman is hidden inside the man and the man is hidden inside the woman. This is bound to be so because everyone is born out of both: in you your mother has contributed half and your father has contributed half. You cannot be only a woman, you cannot be only a man either; you are a union of man and woman. Both have met together and out of that meeting you are created; so in you half will be woman and half will be man.
What then is the difference between man and woman? The difference is only that in a man the man will be on the surface, the woman will be hidden inside; the woman will be deep inside and the man will be on the periphery. In a woman the difference is that the woman will be on the surface and the man will be hidden underneath. And when you are enlightened, when your consciousness returns to its silent center, then that which had been hidden up to then will manifest itself. That which had been manifest will be there, but that which was hidden up to then will also manifest itself. That’s why the mystic Dadu, a man, says, “The lover becomes the beloved.” In that last moment, suddenly you find that you are still a man but now something new is happening – a new door opens inside which had been closed until then.
And naturally there is a great freshness when that which was not manifest before becomes manifest. Much dust will have gathered on what was already manifest – you have lived it, it has become a part of your experience; its newness has been lost. When the hidden suddenly becomes manifest, when the woman manifests herself in a man who is close to the moment of enlightenment, close to the center of being, then she completely covers the man. So the male buddhas become feminine because the female covers the male. In the enlightened woman a great maleness arises, the hidden man suddenly manifests.
This is a happening just near the center, when you are on the last step to enlightenment. This does not happen at the center; there is still a step, a distance from the center. Now you are not on the periphery but you have not reached to the center either; you have come closer to the center. You have left the periphery and that which was previously hidden has become manifest.
In the ultimate state you will be neither a man nor a woman. At the center both will disappear. There you will be only one color – radiant white. You will not be red, you will not be green; there the rainbow of colors will disappear. When the rainbow disappears the world also disappears. Then only the one remains.