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Osho on Women attaining to Enlightenment

Question - According to you, Women are closer to the whole than Men. How come so few women attain enlightenment then?

Osho - NOT SO FEW. Exactly the same number of women attain to enlightenment as men, but they don’t fuss about it as much as men – that’s all. They don’t advertise it as much as men. They enjoy it. That is how woman, the feminine being, is.

Man enjoys talking about his enlightenment more than enlightenment itself. He is interested in how many people have come to know that he has become enlightened. Women are not worried. They are not worried at all. If it has happened they enjoy it, they nourish it deep inside. It becomes a pregnancy. They live with it; they don’t talk about it. That’s why you don’t know many names. Only a few names are known and those are of women who had some quality of man in them, that’s why you know.

Otherwise you would not have known them. In Kashmir there was a woman of the name Lalla. In Kashmir they-have a proverb: We know only two names – Allah and Lalla. Lalla was a rare woman, a Buddha, but she must have been not very feminine; she must have had a little more of a male mind than a female mind. She lived her whole life naked. She is the only woman in the whole world who did that. Many men have lived naked: Mahavir, Diogenes, all the Jain teerthankaras, and thousands of others, but only one woman. It looks very unfeminine, because the very essence of the feminine mind is to hide, not to show – to hide in the inner cave. Lalla is known to be an enlightened woman; few other women are known to be enlightened.

One woman, Maitreyi, is known in the days of the Upanishads, but she must have been a very male type.

It is said that the king Janak had called a great debate among all the learned people of his kingdom to decide the ultimate question: What is reality? It was going to be a great discussion and all the learned people, all the pundits of the country gathered together. And there was going to be a great prize for the winner – one thousand cows, the best of the country, with gold-covered horns, with jewelry around their necks. They were standing there outside the palace – one thousand cows. Whosoever won the debate would take the cows.

Yagnawalkya came – one of the great learned men of those days – and at that time he must not have been enlightened, later on he became an enlightened sage. He came with his disciples – he was a great teacher – and he was so arrogant, as scholars are, that he told his disciples, ”You take these cows. I will decide the matter later on, but you first take these cows because it is too hot and the cows are suffering from the heat.” He must have been very arrogant – so certain.

Only ignorance is so certain. Wisdom is always hesitating because it is so vast – and how to decide the ultimate nature of reality? Who can decide it?

All the other scholars were offended but they couldn’t say anything because they knew that they could not defeat this man in argument. In argument he was superb. And he argued, and he defeated all.

But a woman was sitting there; she was the only woman, and she had not said anything. She was Maitreyi. And then she stood at the end, when the debate was almost finished and he was going to be declared the winner. She said, ”Wait. I have to ask a few questions.” And she asked simple questions; but in fact simple questions cannot be answered.

She asked, ”On what is this earth supported? Who is supporting this earth?”

The old Indian tradition says the earth is being supported by eight elephants, big white elephants. So Yagnawalkya repeated the old tradition, that the earth is supported by eight elephants: ”Are you absolutely illiterate, don’t you know this much?”

The woman asked, ”Then on whom are those elephants supported?”

Now Yagnawalkya suspected trouble. So he said, ”On Brahma, on the God.” And he was thinking that now she would stop.

But she said, ”I would like to ask on whom is your God supported, on what?”

Yagnawalkya became angry, and he said, ”Woman! Stop! Otherwise your head will fall off. You will be killed!”

This woman later on became enlightened. But she must have been a very male type. She argued and even got Yagnawalkya into trouble and in fact she remained silent but she was not defeated – anyone can see that. In fact Yagnawalkya was defeated. If I had been the judge, she would have won and the cows would have had to be given to her. Because this is no argument, to say that your head will fall off. This is no argument. Anger is no argument, violence is no argument; this way you can keep somebody silent but you have not won the debate.

This woman became enlightened but she must have been a male type. Otherwise no woman bothers to argue about such things.

Once I asked Mulla Nasruddin, ”How are things going between you and your wife? I never see any arguments. ”

He said, ”On the first day we decided one thing and we have been following it, so everything is going very very well.”

I said, ”You tell me, because many people come to me for my advice about problems, so I can suggest it to them.”

He said, ”It is a simple law. We have decided that on ultimate questions, final questions, great problems, my advice will be final. And on small things, petty things, her advice will be final.”

So I said, ”This is a very good decision. Then what problems do you call petty and what problems do you call great?”

He said, ”For example, which movie we should go to see, what type of food we should eat, what type of restaurant we should visit, where we should send our children, to which college or to which university, what type of education should be given to them, what type of clothes should be purchased, what type of house and car – these are all petty things. She decides.”

So I asked, ”Then what are the great problems?”

He said, ”Whether God exists or not. Great problems I decide!”

Women really are never interested in great problems because they know deep down they are foolish. You can decide whether God exists or not, or how many angels can dance on one point of a pin – you can decide.

And Nasruddin told me, ”This arrangement has been so good that not a single argument has arisen – I always decide great problems, she always decides small problems. And things are going well.”

By and by every husband comes to know that he is free only to decide metaphysical problems – otherwordly. No woman is interested in writing scriptures. They have never written any. But that doesn’t mean that women have not become enlightened – the same number have. Life follows a proportion. It should be so, otherwise the balance will be lost. Life completely follows a proportion.

I would like to tell you one thing; maybe that will suggest something to you. To every one hundred girls, one hundred fifteen boys are born. And this has been a problem for biologists. Why does it happen? Always – to a hundred girls a hundred fifteen boys are born, and by the time of the age of marriage fifteen boys have died. So the proportion remains the same, because boys are weaker than girls and more girls survive. So nature has a balance: from the very beginning fifteen boys are extra, spare, because they will die. By the time the marriage season comes, one hundred girls will be there, and if only one hundred boys had been born then only eighty-five or eighty boys would be left, and twenty girls would be left without husbands. That’s not a good arrangement.

One hundred fifteen boys are born so that by the time the marriage age comes the number is the same. This cannot be solved – how nature arranges this, by what method, how this proportion.

And then, in the two world wars another problem arose, because in wars the proportion becomes very disproportionate. After the firstWorldWar and after every war more children are born than ever. That too is something. In war many people die; immediately nature has to make arrangements. Some unknown force, some unconscious force goes on working. After the war many children are born, but that too is not difficult to understand because it can be explained in other ways – maybe soldiers come back home very starved for sex and they make love more. That may be the cause of it. If that was the only thing, it could have been explained – but more boys are born than ever, and less girls are born, because in wars men die, women remain. More men die in wars than women, because all the soldiers are men, so the ordinary proportion of a hundred to a hundred fifteen changes. To a hundred girls almost three hundred boys are born.

There is a subtle balance somewhere. In fact, for each man a woman exists; for each woman a man exists – they are part of one whole. Whenever one man becomes enlightened, one woman has to become also. Because one man is freed out of existence, now he will not be coming back; he will no more enter into a womb, into the world. Somewhere one woman has to be relieved of the bondage. So this is my reading: as many men as women, the same number, have become enlightened, but women are not known because they don’t make a fuss about it. They enjoy it.

Source - Osho Book "Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1"

Related Osho Discourses:
Osho on Bhuribai Awakening
Osho on Swami Prem Chinmaya's death

Osho - What is the meaning of Existence
Osho - Can a person become Enlightened by Accident
Osho - The buddha is your destiny, the fool is your reality

Osho - How many of your Sannyasins do You personally know
Osho - Woman can be a Perfect Disciple, but cannot be a Perfect Master
Osho - If You choose to be Enlightened, You can be Enlightened Anywhere

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