Can Women Be Priests?
In India, most temples open to the general public are managed by priests not priestesses. Is this prejudice or is this science? Sadhguru answers.
 
 

In India, most temples open to the general public are managed by priests not priestesses. Is this prejudice or is this science? Can women be priests? Sadhguru answers.

Question: Sadhguru, most temples in India are maintained by male priests, only very few by priestesses. Why so? Can women be priests?

Sadhguru: Why are men maintaining all the temples? Maybe the women are maintaining the men! Traditions evolved at a certain time in history in a particular situation and context. For example, today, so many women travel around the globe and move long distances, not because the world has become liberal, but because of the development of technology. Technology has leveled the field to some extent. In the past, the context of those days was definitely such that activities outside the home were more suitable for a man, not for a woman.

That is one aspect. There are other dimensions to it. In this country, only the public temples were maintained by men because they were more suitable to manage the public. But there was no home without a little shrine, and these private shrines were always maintained by women. So in that sense, more temples were managed and maintained by women than by men, and it is still so.

What type of shrine is it?

Another aspect is what type of shrine it is. There are certain shrines where we would definitely not want women to be there, so there is no question of whether women can be priests. There are other shrines where we would not want men to be there. It depends upon how the shrines are consecrated and for what purpose. Based on this, certain traditions were created. Men and women are different but the problem with human beings is that every difference is made into a discriminatory process. Every society invents different levels of discrimination based on color, gender, caste, creed, or whatever. Based on all kinds of nonsense, people always find ways to make themselves superior and someone else inferior.

The question of who maintains a temple is not about superiority and inferiority, it is a question of suitability. For different kinds of jobs, different kinds of people are suitable. Accordingly it is done. It is not the gender, it is the quality. Certain qualities come much more easily to women. Certain other qualities come much more easily to men. But this is not a fixed ratio. There may be some women who are very good at things that usually a man can do well. There are some men who are very good at things that are usually considered feminine. Right now, at Isha we are bringing up boys and girls without any distinction, but if I get a bicycle, give them a spanner set and tell them, “Dismantle this bicycle and put it together,” probably a boy will do it quicker and better than a girl, but not necessarily. If I give them a pile of flowers and ask them to make a garland, most probably but not necessarily, the girls will do it quicker and better than the boys.

Probabilities and certainties

When you work with the world, you are not working with certainties, you are always working with probabilities. All traditions and cultures were created based on the larger probability, not on certainties. So when we say, “Let men do this, let women do that,” it is not a certainty, it is a probability that if you give this kind of work to men, they will do it better and if you give that kind of work to women, they will do it better. It is only a small tilt, it is not an absolute factor but that little tilt makes a lot of difference. If the planet was spinning straight on its axis all the time, it would be the same season throughout the year. Because of that little tilt, how many things are happening! So when we say men and women, we are talking about that little tilt and about making use of that tilt because life is always working with probabilities, not with certainties.

If we see a mango seed and say, “This can produce a lot of sweetness. Let’s plant it,” it is a probability, not a certainty. There are no certainties in your physical existence. Everything is only a probability. If you are skillful, you can make what is probable into a reality.

Editor’s Note: For more insights from Sadhguru, follow him on twitter and facebook.

 
 
  18 Comments
 
 
Login / to join the conversation1
 
 
4 years ago

I think its an argument trapped in history and needs to be re-looked. I think Sadhguru's ideas come from the historical vision of a patriarchal society where women are relegated to the private spaces and men take the public spaces. Look at the north east, or in any tribal society. Women shoulder as equal or sometimes more responsibility in sowing seeds, harvesting and transacting their field produce - all outdoor activities. This is a silly argument in todays time when women form such a significant number in things like the police force. All that we have to do is encourage risk taking. No temple priest uses his own physicality to control the public in a temple , hence we see a littany of policemen/women always around temple spaces. Also, if women are historically more suited to things like preparing food(as would be the argument) , do we refrain men from entering kitchens of five star hotels? No , right? division of labour is fine, but division of representation is not. So my question is, if tomorrow any women says she feels competent to run a temple,will she be allowed?

4 years 7 months ago

So very well explained by Sadhguru, like always.

4 years ago

Mam first study in depth about this topic and then rush to conclusion!

4 years 7 months ago

All sounds good.

But, If given an option, there will be thousands of women lined up with their aspirations to be a priest irrespective of the denominated worship ground (temple or mosque or church).

There are few religions which made it a taboo for men and women to worship / pray together.

Sandhguru's take on this please !

3 years 11 months ago

When u want to move a rice sack, big table, run a nail into wall, drive to town/city...why don't you ask such questions mam....only where there is a advantage equality sparks in...when no advantage delicacy becomes topic.... why don't you ask such questions when women and men doing same job but women are asked to pay less tax..??
what is being talked about is suitability to do a work...common sense...
Girls with mechanical toys???-please try once...

4 years 7 months ago

Pranams Sadguruji
Grateful to you for the explanation. This question was lingering in my mind but you gave me the awareness.
Thanks

3 years 11 months ago

we are not talking abt atma here, in that case the ant and man are same...we are talking abt masculine and feminine flavors of energy...

4 years 7 months ago

Namaskaram sadhguru,
Men and Women are different energies, only in understanding the 'difference' and 'Importance of the difference' (which is according to nature/creators wish), a culture could flourish. If creator wasn't interested in seasons he wouldn't have tilted Earth. Likewise, If he hadn't wished two different energies, he wouldn't have created two. There is no sensible 'Superior and Inferior' comparison possible when they are 'different', there is no sense in imitating the other. Pranams.

3 years 11 months ago

When u want to move a rice sack, big table, run a nail into wall, drive to town/city...why don't you ask such questions mam....only where there is a advantage equality sparks in...when no advantage delicacy becomes topic.... why don't you ask such questions when women and men doing same job but women are asked to pay less tax..??
what is being talked about is suitability to do a work...
Conduct a job fair for 100 ppl, 50 men and 50 women, 50 police jobs, 50 IT jobs are posted, same salary....End of the day, we will see majority of police jobs say around 80% will be taken by men.....running a temple is not about competency...if a women is going to feel only proud when she is capable of imitating a men, then it is evident that women are inferior ...and such that is more silly then saying Men and women have different advantages, isnt it..??, you have the answer in your explanation itself....home kitchen women take control, 5 star kitchen men take control, where muscles are needed...muscle is in demand....common sense

4 years 4 months ago

Why the red and green glass bangles. Any significance? Curious about it? Being a woman, I ove to wear glass bangles, curious to know and wear.

3 years 2 months ago

Dear Sadhguru,

For the first time, I completely disagree with
you. There just can't be any such division of roles. Today, all types of
professions are carried on by people from both genders. It just depends
from person-to-person as to whether he or she would be able to carry
out a task properly. Sorry to say, you have glorified patriarchal ideas
here.

4 years 2 months ago

Two different energies can't be a reason why women can't be priestesses. We need them both, we are both. If someone believes in Devi Ma and gets blessings and wisdom, why can't a femalepriest do the same in Devi Mata's or Shiva's name? I experienced a most loving and peaceful puja with a female priest.

3 years 2 months ago

The question is of evolution and changing times.In catholic church men only are Bishops but you can have Nuns but they can not become bBshops or Popes why??.The life on earth has changed tremendously in last 50/100 years due to technology than over the last 5000 years.Most traditions in ALL cultures has been set in the periods when changes were slow and gradual and not like what has happened in last 50 years and hence all these traditions need UPDATING otherwise it will become OBSOLETE!!!!!!

4 years ago

Is it possible that women are generally not priests because men from a very long time never liked being told what to by women? And we just label a whole lot of things that "men" and "women" do as probability, and we raise our children accordingly? With the probability that they will like one thing or ever the other and never actually encouraged to try the alternatives?
What would happen if we were to raise our kids where the boys are taught to groom themselves and the girls are taught to play with mechanical toys?

2 years 11 months ago

This is not about reservation or representation. Perhaps most nurses are female. But a male should not be restricted from becoming a nurse. It is about equality of opportunity. Also if a male chooses to become a nurse, he is not necessarily imitating the women.. right?

4 years ago

Every soul has the same energies whether male or female. I activated my kundalini energy (which is a female energy) and activated my Sahasrara chakra which connects Kundalini to the male Shiva energy. So how is my soul any different from that of a male? A male too has the female energy called Kundalini and goes through the same process when he activates his chakras.

4 years ago

The question of who maintains a temple is not about superiority and
inferiority, it is a question of suitability. For different kinds of
jobs, different kinds of people are suitable. Accordingly it is done. It
is not the gender, it is the quality. Certain qualities come much more easily to women.
Certain other qualities come much more easily to men. But this is not a
fixed ratio. There may be some women who are very good at things that
usually a man can do well. There are some men who are very good at
things that are usually considered feminine.

4 years ago

All this is useless talk, just do your work , enjoy it , you will not need anything else. The problem with people is they are too immature and judgemental , have too much ego and they think they know all about life. Humanity doesn't need any guru, each human can guide himself if he thinks but the problem is people don't want to think about their behavior, about life. They want someone else to think on their behalf and tell them, what a pity. "Live and let Live". This has enough depth to live properly. It encompasses a plethora of aspects of human nature but people are so lazy even for this.