Mahavira completely denied any possibility of a woman being liberated from a woman’s body. He said that a woman has to be born again as a man, and only then can she be liberated. So all the effort should be channeled for a woman to enter a new birth as a man. Why? It was a problem of the aura.
If you initiate a woman, every month she will fall down and the whole effort will be lost. There was no discrimination, no evaluation about whether or not woman and man are equal; that was not the question. But for Mahavira the question was this: how to help? So he found an easier way: to help a woman to be reborn as a man. That was easier. It meant that a woman had to wait for another life, and the whole effort had to be directed toward the goal that she should be born in a male body.
This appeared easier to Mahavira than to initiate a woman, because every month she comes back down to the original state and all effort is lost. But these two thousand years have done much. Particularly, Tantra has done much.
Tantra has found different doors, and Tantra is the only system in the world which makes no differentiation between man and woman. Rather, on the contrary, it says that a woman can become easily liberated, and the reason is the same, only looked at from a different angle. Tantra says that because a woman’s body is periodically regulated, she can detach herself from her body more easily than man. Because man’s mind is more involved in the body, that is why he can regulate it. Man’s mind is more involved in the body; that is why he can control his sex.
Woman’s mind is not so involved in the body. The body functions as an automata – different, on a different layer, and the woman cannot do anything about it. It is like an automatic mechanism; it goes on. Tantra says that because of this woman can detach herself from her body very easily. And if this becomes possible – this detachment, this gap – then there is no problem.
So it is a very paradoxical thing: if a woman decides to be celibate and to detach herself from her body, she can maintain her purity more easily than a man. Once the detachment is there, then she can forget the body completely. Man can detach himself very easily, can control very easily, but his mind is more involved in the body. That is why he can control, but then he will have to control every day, continuously. And because feminine sex is passive, it is very easy for a woman to be relaxed about sex. Man’s sex is active. It is easy for him to control it, but difficult for him to relax about it.
So Tantra has been trying to find many, many ways, and Tantra is the only system which says there is no difference, that even a feminine structure can be used. So Tantra is the only path which gives women equal status. Otherwise, every religion, whatsoever it may say, deep down feels that women are inferior. It may be Christianity, it may be Islam, it may be Jainism, it may be Buddhism, but deep down it feels this, and the reason is the diagnosis through the third eye, the aura – the forming of the aura every month at the time of menses.