Women and Freedom
Sadhguru looks at how women will only be free when we stop giving gender more importance than it is due.
Sadhguru: We are in a strange situation in the country today. This is a nation, a land where we are always worshipping the feminine. We call the planet Mother Earth, the nation itself is conceptualized as feminine – she is Bharat Mata. There is not a single village in this country where the feminine is not worshipped as Devi or Amman or in some form. At the same time, we are a nation, which is beginning to treat women as second class citizens in many ways – with infanticide, feticide and all these things, almost as an unwanted gender.
This should not be perceived as something against women. The essential problem is that just about any difference between people is, after a time, converted into a discriminatory process – every distinction is made into a discrimination. We have discriminated against each other in the name of caste, creed, race, religion, but discrimination in the form of gender is the worst kind because you can’t fix it. So it is not about men and women, it is essentially this mindset: “Anything different from me has to be my enemy.”
From Injustice to Justice
Right now, our ideas of freedom are coming in reaction to existing situations. That is not how they should be shaped. When we try to create justice in reaction to existing situations, we will only create another form of injustice − it will not lead to justice. We need to look at life more profoundly and create what is best for all human beings on this planet. Nature has bestowed a far bigger responsibility on the feminine gender than the male gender because the feminine is given the responsibility of manufacturing the next generation of people − and that is not a small responsibility.
This is a country where men and women used to live on absolutely equal terms in all spheres of life, but in the last 2000 to 2500 years, we have lost that. We have become a very skewed society for various reasons. There is no point looking at what those were but the question is how to correct it.
Our ideas of freedom unfortunately are borrowed too much from the West. We have this idea that anything Western is modern. It is not so. That women have greater freedom in the West has not happened because of any great change in attitude, it has essentially happened because of technology. Today, you can travel around because of technology, you can communicate because of technology – so many things are leveled because muscle does not decide who should rule. If the only way to rule the country was with a sword, a woman wouldn’t rule. It is only because she can be elected like anyone else, that many nations have women as Prime Ministers or Presidents. So freedom, or whatever is perceived as freedom in the West, has not happened because of any great change in the mindset, it is because of technological advancements.
It is very important that India does not make the same mistakes that they have made, because the second generation of women in the West are not a happy lot. The first generation fought for freedom and got some physical freedom, and they were euphoric about their victories. But this victory only meant they were a little better than somebody else, it did not mean they became free. At that moment it may feel great, but it is not freedom.
Sexuality is a Small Part of Life
Freedom will only happen when we stop blowing these differences out of proportion. Gender is a small difference. For some reason, most human beings have chosen to identify themselves with their body parts, and so, being a man or a woman has become tremendously important. If you must identify with some body parts at all, I would prefer if it was your brains, not your reproductive organs. Gender has a role to play in our lives, but it is not everything, it is just one part of our life. Reproductive organs have just one function in order to fulfill one aspect of our life, but it can never be the whole of our life. Right now, human populations are trying to make that aspect the whole of their life – life doesn’t work like that. Both genders will suffer if you make it like that.
In this obscene reality that we have established today, in the minds of almost 90% of the population, a woman means sexuality. This has to be taken away, otherwise a woman will never have a dignified existence on this planet. If this doesn’t go, there is no way women will be free. She may walk around on the street but there is no freedom because she will not be treated as just one more human being. She will always be looked upon as something else. Laws may keep people in check but the moment laws are relaxed, everything will go berserk. So it is extremely important that there is a more inclusive consciousness in humanity as a whole, not just about women.
Don’t Fight for Women’s Rights
It is very important that women who have reached a certain strata of society, women who can make a difference, take this upon themselves: don’t fight for women’s rights, just see how to create a better humanity. Making men and women akin to two different species is not good. If we do this, then if there is strife on the street tomorrow, once again the male will rule. If there is a war-like situation, once again women will go back to the attic or basement. If we do not want that to happen, the most important thing is we should not make too much of a distinction between a man and a woman. We must be able to see a human being as a human being.
Only when this happens will women find freedom and access to the world the way they should. Right now, many women are finding access only because they have become very masculine, and that is not good for the rest of womanhood. If all women on the planet, if all human beings on the planet have to live well, it is very important that these gender distinctions are not exaggerated.
Society is acting in reaction to exploitation that has happened, but exploitation cannot be fixed with another unjust process, it can be fixed only when a more inclusive consciousness arises in the human mind. Only then will women really find their place as they should.
Editor’s Note: Download the ebook “Sexuality and the Divine”, as Sadhguru’s insight and humor takes the reader on an in-depth discussion about sex, revealing its true nature as an expression of unconscious longing to know the divine. Available on a “pay as you wish” basis at Isha Downloads.