In The Book of Women: A Celebration of Women and the Female Spirit, one of the twentieth century’s greatest spiritual teachers discusses the importance and value of feminine strengths.
“The woman should search into her own soul for her own potential and develop it, and she will have a beautiful future.”Osho
Osho explores the role of women in our society. Up until now, he says, both religious institutions and politics have remained male-dominatednot only male-dominated but male-chauvinistic. This has created so many of the crises that we see in the world now, brought about by excesses of ambition, competitiveness, and greed.
In these pages, Osho challenges readers to reclaim and assert the feminine qualities of love, joy, and celebration to bring a reunion of the intellect and the heart that is so desperately needed. He looks to the female spirit in all of us as a way to nurture the soul and cultivate a healthy relationship with spirituality.
Osho challenges readers to examine and break free of the conditioned belief systems and prejudices that limit their capacity to enjoy life in all its richness. He has been described by the Sunday Times of London as one of the “1000 Makers of the 20th Century” and by Sunday Mid-Day (India) as one of the ten peoplealong with Gandhi, Nehru, and Buddhawho have changed the destiny of India. Since his death in 1990, the influence of his teachings continues to expand, reaching seekers of all ages in virtually every country of the world.
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The Book of Women
Celebrating the Female Spirit
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Osho International Foundation
All rights reserved.
It seems to me that you are the first man this planet has ever known who really understands women and accepts them. Please comment.
I have told you that a woman is to be loved, not understood. That is the first understanding.
Life is so mysterious that our hands cannot reach to its heights, our eyes cannot look into its deepest mystery. Understanding any expression of existence — men or women or trees or animals or birds — is the function of science, not of a mystic. I am not a scientist. To me, science itself is a mystery, and now scientists have started to recognize it. They are dropping their old, stubborn, superstitious attitude that one day they will know all that is to be known.
With Albert Einstein the whole history of science has taken a very different route because the more he went into the deepest core of matter, the more he became puzzled. All logic was left behind, all rationality was left behind. You cannot dictate to existence, because it does not follow your logic. Logic is man-made. There was a point in Albert Einstein's life when he remembers that he was wavering about whether to insist on being rational ... but that would be foolish. It would be human, but not intelligent. Even if you insist on logic, on rationality, existence is not going to change according to your logic; your logic has to change according to existence. And the deeper you go, existence becomes more and more mysterious. A point comes when you have to leave logic and rationality and just listen to nature. I call it the ultimate understanding — but not in the ordinary sense of understanding. You know it, you feel it, but there is no way to say it.
Man is a mystery, woman is a mystery, everything that exists is a mystery — and all our efforts to figure it out are going to fail.
I am reminded of a man who was purchasing in a toy shop a present for his son for Christmas. He was a well-known mathematician, so naturally the shopkeeper brought out a jigsaw puzzle. The mathematician tried ... it was a beautiful puzzle. He tried and tried and tried and started perspiring. It was becoming awkward. The customers and the salesmen and the shopkeeper were all watching, and he was not able to bring the puzzle to a solution. Finally he dropped the idea and he shouted at the shopkeeper: "I am a mathematician and if I cannot solve this jigsaw puzzle, how do you think my small boy will be able to?"
The shopkeeper said, "You don't understand. It is made in such a way that nobody can solve it — mathematician or no mathematician."
The mathematician asked, "But why is it made in this way?" The shopkeeper said, "It is made in this way so that the boy from the very beginning starts learning that life cannot be solved, cannot be understood."
You can live it, you can rejoice in it, you can become one with the mystery, but the idea of understanding as an observer is not at all possible.
I don't understand myself. The greatest mystery to me is myself. But a few clues I can give to you:
A psychiatrist is a fellow who asks you a lot of expensive questions that your wife asks you for nothing.
The key to happiness: You may speak of love and tenderness and passion, but real ecstasy is discovering you haven't lost your keys after all.
Women begin by resisting a man's advances and end by blocking his retreat.
If you want to change a woman's mind, agree with her.
If you want to know what a woman really means, look at her — don't listen to her.
The lady walked up to the policeman and said, "Officer, that man on the corner is annoying me."
"I have been watching the whole time," said the cop, "and that man wasn't even looking at you."
"Well," said the woman, "isn't that annoying?"
The romantic young man turned to the beautiful young girl in his bed and asked, "Am I the first man you ever made love to?"
She thought for a moment and then said, "You could be — I have a terrible memory for faces."
Everything is mysterious: It is better to enjoy it rather than trying to understand it. Ultimately the man who goes on trying to understand life proves to be a fool, and the man who enjoys life becomes wise and goes on enjoying life, because he becomes more and more aware of the mysterious that surrounds us.
The greatest understanding is to know that nothing can be understood, that all is mysterious and miraculous. To me this is the beginning of religiousness in your life.
Would you please explain what the real differences between men and women are?
Most of the differences between men and women are because of thousands of years of conditioning; they are not fundamental to nature. But there are a few differences which give them unique beauty, individuality. Those differences can be counted very easily.
One is that the woman is capable of producing life; man is not. In that way he is inferior, and that inferiority has played a great role in the domination of women by men. The inferiority complex works in this way: It pretends to be superior — to deceive oneself and to deceive the whole world. So man down the ages has been trying to destroy the woman's genius, talents, capacities, so that he can prove himself superior — to himself and to the world.
Because the woman gives birth, for nine months or more she remains absolutely vulnerable, dependent on man. Men have exploited this in a very ugly way. And that is a physiological difference; it makes no difference at all. The psychology of the woman is corrupted by man telling her things which are not true, making her a slave to man, reducing her to a secondary citizen of the world. And the reason for that was that he is muscularly more powerful. But the muscular power is part of animality. If that is going to decide the superiority, then many animals are more muscular than a man.
But the real differences are certainly there, and we have to search for them behind the pile of invented differences. One difference I see is that a woman is more capable of love than a man is. A man's love is more or less a physical necessity; a woman's love is not. It is something greater and higher, it is a spiritual experience. That's why the woman is monogamous and man is polygamous. The man would like to have all the world's women, and still he would not be satisfied. His discontent is infinite.
The woman can be satisfied with one love, utterly fulfilled, because she does not look at the body of the man, she looks at his innermost qualities. She does not fall in love with a man who has a beautiful muscular body, she falls in love with a man who has charisma — something indefinable, but immensely attractive — who has a mystery to be explored. She wants her man not to be just a man, but an adventure in discovering consciousness.
The man is very weak as far as sexuality is concerned; he can have only one orgasm. The woman is infinitely superior; she can have multiple orgasms. And this has been one of the most troublesome matters. The man's orgasm is local, confined to his genitals. The woman's orgasm is total, not confined to the genitals. Her whole body is sexual, and she can have a beautiful orgasmic experience a thousandfold bigger, deeper, more enriching, more nourishing than a man can have.
But her whole body has to be aroused, and the tragedy is that man is not interested in it. He has never been interested in it. He has used the woman as a sex machine just to relieve his own sexual tensions. Within seconds he is finished, and by the time he is finished the woman has not even begun. The moment a man is finished making love he turns and goes to sleep. The sexual act helps him to have a good sleep — more relaxed, with all the tensions released in the sexual activity. And every woman has cried and wept when she has seen this. She had not even started, she had not moved. She has been used, and that is the ugliest thing in life: When you are used as a thing, as a mechanism, as an object. She cannot forgive the man for using her.
To make the woman also an orgasmic partner the man has to learn foreplay, to be in no hurry to go to bed. He has to make love something of an art. They can have a place — a love temple — where incense is burning, no glaring lights, just candles. And he should approach the woman when he is in a beautiful mood, joyous, so he can share. What happens ordinarily is that men and women fight before they make love. That poisons love. Love is a kind of treaty, a sign that the fight is finished — at least for tonight. It is a bribe, it is cheating.
A man should make love the way a painter paints — when he feels the urge filling his heart — or the way the poet composes poetry, or a musician plays music. The woman's body should be taken as a musical instrument; it is. When the man is feeling joy, then sex is not just a release, a relaxation, a sleeping method. Then there is foreplay. He dances with the woman, he sings with the woman — with beautiful music vibrating the love temple, with the incense that they love. It should be something of the sacred, because there is nothing sacred in ordinary life unless you make love sacred. And that will be the beginning of opening the door to the whole phenomenon of superconsciousness.
Love never should be forced, love never should be an attempt. It should not be in the mind at all — you are playing, dancing, singing, enjoying ... part of this long joy. If it happens, then it is beautiful. When love happens, it has beauty. When it is made to happen, it is ugly.
And while you are making love with the man on top of the woman ... it is known as the missionary posture. The East became aware of this ugliness that the man was heavier, taller, and more muscular; he was crushing a delicate being. In the East, the way has always been just the opposite: the woman on top. Crushed under the weight of the man, the woman has no mobility. Only the man moves, so he comes to orgasm within seconds and the woman is simply in tears. She has been a partner, but she was not involved in it. She has been used.
When the woman is on top she has more mobility, the man has less mobility, and that will bring their orgasms closer to each other. And when both go into orgasmic experience, it is something of the other world. It is the first glimpse of samadhi; it is the first glimpse that one is not the body. One forgets the body, one forgets the world. Both the man and the woman move into a new dimension they have never explored.
The woman has the capacity for multiple orgasms, so the man has to be as slow as possible. But the reality is, he is in such a hurry in everything that he destroys the whole relationship. He should be very relaxed so that the woman can have multiple orgasms. His orgasm should come at the end, when the woman's orgasm has reached to the peak. It is a simple question of understanding.
These are natural differences — they have nothing to do with conditioning. There are other differences. For example, a woman is more centered than a man. She is more serene, more silent, more patient, is capable of waiting. Perhaps because of these qualities she has more resistance to diseases and she lives longer than a man. Because of her serenity, her delicateness, she can fulfill a man's life immensely. She can surround man's life in a very soothing, cozy atmosphere. But the man is afraid — he does not want to be surrounded by the woman, he does not want to let her create a cozy warmth around him. He is afraid because that way he will become dependent. So for centuries he has been keeping her at a distance. And he is afraid because he knows deep down that the woman is more than he is. She can give birth to life. Nature has chosen her to reproduce, not man.
Man's function in reproduction is almost nil. This inferiority has created the greatest problem — man started cutting the woman's wings. He started in every way reducing her, condemning her, so that he could at least believe that he is superior. He has treated women as cattle — even worse. In China, for thousands of years, the woman was not thought to have a soul, so the husband could kill her and the law would not interfere — she was his possession. If he wanted to destroy his furniture, it was not illegal. If he wanted to destroy his woman, it was not illegal. This is the ultimate insult — that the woman has no soul.
Man has deprived woman of education, of financial independence. He has deprived her of social mobility because he is afraid. He knows she is superior, he knows she is beautiful, he knows that giving her independence will create danger. So down the centuries there has been no independence for women. The Mohammedan woman even has to keep her face covered so that except her husband, nobody can see the beauty of her face, the depth of her eyes.
In Hinduism, the woman had to die when the husband died. What a great jealousy! You have possessed her your whole life, and even after death you want to possess her. You are afraid. She is beautiful, and when you are gone, who knows? She may find another partner, perhaps better than you. So the system of sati prevailed for thousands of years — the most ugly phenomenon you can imagine.
Man is very egoistic. That's why I call him male chauvinistic. Man has created this society, and in this society there is no place for the woman. And she has tremendous qualities of her own! For example, if man has the possibility of intelligence, the woman has the possibility of love. It does not mean she cannot have intelligence; she can have intelligence, she just has to be given the chance to develop it. But love she is born with — she has more compassion, more kindness, more understanding. Man and woman are two strings of one harp, but both are in suffering separate from each other. And because they are suffering and do not know the reason, they start taking revenge on each other.
The woman can be of immense help in creating an organic society. She is different from man, but not unequal. She is as equal to a man as any other man. She has talents of her own which are absolutely needed. It is not enough to earn money, it is not enough to become a success in the world; more necessary is a beautiful home, and the woman has the capacity to change any house into a home. She can fill it with love; she has that sensitivity. She can rejuvenate man, help him relax.
In the Upanishads there is a very strange blessing for new couples. A new couple comes to the seer of the Upanishads and he gives his blessing. He says to the girl specifically, "I hope you will become a mother of ten children, and finally, your husband will be your eleventh child. And unless you become a mother to your husband, you have not succeeded in being a true wife." It is very strange but has immense psychological insight in it, because this is what the modern psychology finds, that every man is looking for his mother in the woman and every woman is looking for her father in the man.
That's why every marriage is a failure: You cannot find your mother. The woman you have married has not come to your house to be your mother, she wants to be your wife, a lover. But the Upanishadic blessing, almost five thousand or six thousand years old, gives an insight to modern psychology. A woman, whatsoever she is, is basically a mother. A father is an invented institution, it is not natural. But the mother will remain indispensable. They have tried experiments: They have given children all the facilities, medication, all the food ... every perfection from different branches of science, but strangely the children go on shrinking and will die within months. Then they discovered that the mother's body and her warmth is an absolute necessity for life to grow. That warmth in this vast, cold universe is absolutely necessary in the beginning; otherwise the child will feel abandoned. He will shrink and die.
There is no need for man to feel inferior to woman. The whole idea arises because you take man and woman as two species. They belong to one humanity, and they have complementary qualities. They both need each other, and only when they are together are they whole. Life should be taken with ease. Differences are not contradictions. They can help each other and immensely enhance each other. The woman who loves you can enhance your creativity, can inspire you to heights you have never dreamed of. And she asks nothing. She simply wants your love, which is her basic right.
Most of the things that make men and women different are conditional. Differences should be maintained because they make men and women attractive to each other, but they should not be used as condemnation. I would like both to become an organic whole, remaining at the same time absolutely free, because love never creates bondage, it gives freedom. Then we can create a better world. Half of the world has been denied its contribution and that half, the women, had an immense capacity to contribute to the world. It would have made it a beautiful paradise.
Excerpted from The Book of Women by Osho. Copyright © 2014 Osho International Foundation. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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Table of Contents
1 Female 1
2 His Story 11
3 Women's Liberation 23
4 Sexuality 35
5 Marriage 49
6 Love 67
7 Relating 83
8 Motherhood 103
9 Family and Birth Control 117
10 Creativity 141
11 The Body 157
12 The Mind 187
13 Meditation 197
Osho International Meditation Resort 201
About Osho 205
For More Information 207