Women on the Spiritual Path

In the second part of the “Women and Spirituality” series Sadhguru speaks about how distorted perceptions have crept into culture and tradition, creating a bias against women on the spiritual path.

Last week, in the first post of the “Women and Spirituality” series, Sadhguru looked at women on the path of Kriya Yoga. This week, Sadhguru speaks about how distorted perceptions have crept into culture and tradition, creating a bias against women on the spiritual path.


Indian spirituality has always been a rich mixture of men and women reaching the heights of their consciousness. A woman is as capable as a man when it comes to inner nature. It is only the peel, the body, which you call as a man or a woman. What is within is the same. The peel is not going to decide what one’s spiritual capabilities are.

In ancient times, women also wore the sacred thread because without it, they could not read the scriptures. Like a man, she could live within the marriage for ten to twenty years, and when she had the urge to become spiritual, she could renounce the family. However, when barbarian hordes invaded India, women slowly lost their freedom. The rules started changing. Maybe it was necessary for a certain period of time, because the physical situation was such that some restriction had to be placed on women for their own safety. But unfortunately it became the law. The first let down for a woman was when they declared that she cannot wear the sacred thread. It was also said that the only way she can attain mukti, or her Ultimate Nature, is by serving her husband. It was fixed that only a man could renounce.

Unfortunately, this sometimes continues even today. A woman is told that she has been born only to serve her father or her husband. People talk about the non-duality of existence and say, “Everything is one, but women are less.” In spite of the fact that a man knows that his existence depends upon her, if he cannot even accept her, his accepting all the dualities in the existence is simply out of question. The question of inferiority or superiority comes only in a prejudiced mind. It is just a question of two qualities. If a woman, out of whom a man is born, is inferior, how can man be superior? The possibility just does not arise. This problem is universal. It is not just about one gross man thinking like this. It has become a man’s way of life, a part of his very culture and religion.

Once, a certain social reformer went to Vivekananda and asked, “It is great that you also support women, what shall I do? I want to reform them. I want to support this.” Then Vivekananda said, “Hands off. You do not have to do anything about them. Just leave them alone. They will do what they have to do.” This is all that is needed. It is not that a man has to reform a woman. If he just gives room, she will do what is necessary.

Stay tuned every Monday, for upcoming posts in this series.

Editor’s Note: Subscribe to the official Sadhguru YouTube channel to watch new videos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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