Prayerfulness is nothing but the most refined form of love; a love unaddressed to anybody, a love for the whole.
Almitra was a seeress. Kahlil Gibran should be remembered forever as one who gives respect and dignity to women. All your so-called bogus religious leaders of the world have only condemned woman. Even the greatest of them, for whom I have great respect, but with reservations – even Gautam Buddha who is certainly the highest peak ever attained up to now, the Everest – even he was not respectful toward women.
For years he continuously refused to initiate any women. And finally, after twenty years of continual refusal, continual insult, humiliation, he reconsidered. He had to concede and accept women initiates because of a strange situation. He must have been very reluctant even in that moment. He had to agree, because the woman was almost his real mother – because his mother died immediately when he was born. His own mother never saw him; neither had he any remembrance of his mother.
His mother’s younger sister remained unmarried just because she wanted to take care of this rare child, who had a charisma from the very beginning. And astrologers and prophets declared that he would either become an emperor of the whole world or he would renounce the world and become the greatest awakened man humanity has known.
This woman brought up the child, cared about him – and sacrificed her own life, for the simple reason that if she had married, she would have had her own children and would have had to divide her caring and become involved in her own life, her children, her husband. No, she remained unmarried so that she could shower all her love on Gautam Buddha.
When that old woman, who could be said to be really his mother, came and asked to be initiated, there was a great silence, a great moment of hesitation. Twenty years of continual refusal, but how could he refuse this woman? She had sacrificed her whole life for him, and he could not do even this much for her, to initiate her into sannyas? Reluctantly, I say, he initiated her. And why do I say, reluctantly? – because immediately afterwards he declared, “My religion was going to last for five thousand years. Now it will last for only five hundred years because a woman has entered into the fold.” As if a woman is a disease, as if Buddha’s religion was no longer healthy enough to remain alive for five thousand years. The entry of a woman seemed to mean that his religion had grown a cancer.
The statement is ugly – and the same is the case with Mahavira, the same is the case with Jesus, the same is the case with Mohammed, the same is the case with Moses. And these are our highest flights toward the stars.