‘You say that it is important to have courage and sincerity. Therefore I will drop my fear and ask you the questions deepest and most honestly within me, and I hope you will answer.
How can there be any generalizations about the qualities of man and woman? We are each and every one of us fifty percent man and fifty percent woman, then we must each possess varying degrees of male or female characteristics not dependent entirely on if our physical bodies in this lifetime are born male or female.
I am female but I have always written poetry and I have never been so good at shopping lists. I am female but I have not been suspicious or jealous of man’s love affair with his art. In fact I have more often been in the role of choosing to be with my writing, than choosing to be in relationship leading to home and family. I am female but I feel my creativity and ideas come from strongly within me, and do not look to a man for them.
If I have been uncertain about my wholeness within, I have looked outside but never specifically to someone because of the sex they happen to be.
And I have loved women as well as men—not when no man was available to me, but because I was not looking at the outer illusion of this being man or woman, but feeling the essence of that person within.
I feel these generalizations reinforce our already strong preoccupation with the world of illusion and belief in the physical universe.
You can see you’ve made me angry, so I suppose you have begun to reach me.’
The first thing: generalizations are generalizations. They are not applicable to every single particular human being, that’s why they are called generalizations. The average man does not exist, you cannot find the average man anywhere. But the idea is good, it helps clarity. You cannot find, absolutely corresponding to the generalized idea, a single human being. Human beings come in all sizes and shapes and colours, they are unique. But still, generalization has its own point…
For example, only one single woman has asked the question—there are thousands of women here. Secondly, the very question shows me that Deborah must be very good at making shopping lists. And I am afraid about her poetry too. You can write a shopping list in poetry form. I would have to have a look at her poetry, only then can I say anything. My own experience is that out of a hundred poetries ninety-nine are shopping lists. It does not matter whether they are written by men or women. It is very rare to find poetry.
It is said of a great Zen master, Lin Chi… He had ten thousand monks, disciples, in his monastery. The king had come to see the monastery, he was very much impressed, and Lin Chi was taking him around. And the king asked, ‘How many disciples do you have?’ He said, ‘One in a hundred.’
A strange answer—one in a hundred? But that’s how it has always been. When you have a hundred disciples only one is really a disciple. Ninety-nine are just hangers-around.
Even a great poet, when he writes poetry, ninety-nine times writes only shopping lists. Only once in a while the poetry happens—all poetries are not poetic. And sometimes this too happens, that a shopping list may have great poetry. All shopping lists are not necessarily unpoetic.
But Deborah must belong to the new kind of woman that is arising in the world, the lib woman.
One thing has to be understood: the liberation movement that is going on in the world is a man-created phenomenon, a male-created phenomenon. You will be surprised about it, that it is again a male conspiracy. Now man wants to get rid of women. He wants to have no responsibility. He wants to enjoy women but only as fun; he does not want to take all the other responsibilities that come with it. Now, this is a subtle conspiracy: the man is trying to persuade women all over the world that the woman has to become independent. It is a subtle trick. And the male mind is cunning and the male mind is succeeding. And now many women have become poisoned by this idea.
Do you know? The first persons who started talking about equality between man and woman were men, not women. The first persons who started talking about it, that they should have equal freedom, were men, not women. The seed comes from the male mind. And it has always been so—whenever a man feels what is in his favour, he manages it. His cunning is very subtle. And sometimes he manages it in such a way that the woman thinks she is doing it on her own. In the past also it has been so.
Man has persuaded women in the past that they are pure beings, angels. Man is dirty, boys are boys—but the woman? She is divine. Man has put woman on a high pedestal; that was his trick to control woman. Man has worshipped, and through worship he has controlled. And naturally, when the woman was on the pedestal she thought that she was something divine—she could not do those things that men are doing, she could not, because that was going against her ego. That high pedestal was very ego-satisfying. She was the mother, she was divine; she had more divine qualities than man. Man is ugly, immoral, and all that. Man has to be forgiven for that. So man, down the ages, started remaining in his ways. And the woman was high. But this was a trick, the ego was persuaded. And once your ego is persuaded, you are caught. Then you cannot move from your position. To ask for equality will be a kind of fall—you will have to come down to become equal. It was a strategy, and the woman followed it. She remained pure, she remained virgin up to the marriage. It was not so for the man.
If the woman died, the man was allowed to marry again—because boys are boys, they cannot live without the woman. If the man died, the woman had to remain a widow for her whole life. Or, in this country particularly—which did this strategy to the very logical end—she had to commit suicide. She had to burn herself alive with the husband. And millions of women did it. How were they persuaded? And do you think they were forced? No, nobody was forcing them. There was no visible coercion, just a very deep seduction. By becoming SATIS, by going into the fire with the husband, their egos were fulfilled. Greatly fulfilled—people worshipped them. When they entered into the fire, thousands of people would gather together and sing songs in praise of the purity of woman. And if a woman did not go with the husband into the fire, did not commit suicide, she was condemned, utterly condemned. She was a bad woman. Just by trying to be alive, she was a bad woman. She was disrespected; she would fall immediately in the eyes of others, she would lose all respect. Her life would become a hell. She would be condemned everywhere, she would not be welcomed anywhere. She would be thought of as a bad omen. In no marriage would she be able to participate. If a child was born and people were celebrating, she would not be able to participate. She would not be allowed to decorate her body, to use beautiful clothes or ornaments or have long hair—no, she had to live in an ugliness, and condemned from everywhere. It was worse than death. So it was better to jump into the fire once and for all, and have the respect. And temples were raised in the memory of those women. And those women were thinking that they were doing it.
What I am making clear is that those women down the ages were thinking that they were doing it, on their own. And it was not so. Now again the same is happening, in the reverse order. In the West, man has persuaded women that ‘Now you have to be free, you have to be equal.’ Because now things have changed, times have changed—a man would like to enjoy more women than just his wife. Now he wants absolute freedom. And the only way to have absolute freedom is to give absolute freedom to the woman. And he has persuaded her again. And now the woman protesters and libbers, they are shouting with their whole heart for liberty and equality. And they don’t know they are again in the same grip: again man is persuading them. Now man wants to use them and throw them, with no responsibility attached to it. If you look deeply into the whole matter of it, you will be surprised. The male mind is a cunning mind. The woman is more innocent; she cannot be so strategic, so political, she has always believed the man. And you will be surprised: these lib women are again believing in the man! Nothing has changed. Now THIS is in favour of the man that you should be free and you should not ask for any commitment. He does not want to commit himself, he wants to have all freedom. He does not want to take the responsibility of your children. He does not want to live with you forever, he wants to change his woman every day. But now again he is creating beautiful words: ‘One should live in no commitment. One should live without involvement. One should not be possessive, one should not be jealous.’ Now again he is creating beautiful philosophy. He has done it before too—and then too women were deceived, and again they are going to be deceived.
Women trust. Trust is easy for them; love comes easier to them than logic. And they are very much concerned with the immediate. The man always thinks of strategies, tactics, what will happen, how it will happen—he thinks of the future, he plans for the future.
Now, Deborah repeats at least five times in this question: ‘I am a female’. Is there some worry? Is there some doubt? There must be. One thing has to be told to you: just by being in a female body one need not be a woman. Just by being in a male body one need not be a man. Man and woman are more states of the mind.
There are men who are psychologically not male but female, and there are women who are psychologically not women but men. These are the people who create many problems, because they cannot be heterosexual. Heterosexuality has no appeal for them, they have to be homosexuals or lesbians. Their psychology is different from their physiology; their biology and their psychology have a gap in them, unbridged. And there is going to remain a problem with them. In fact in a better world, in the future world—soon, I think by the end of this century—things will be easier. Because if a man is deep down psychologically feeling himself a woman, it is better to go through an operation and become biologically also a woman. Or if a woman is feeling deep down a male, it is better to go through an operation, plastic surgery, and become a man, so it can be bridged. Once this becomes possible, homosexuality and lesbianism will disappear from the world. Otherwise it cannot disappear, because it has a certain reason in it. The man looks a man from the outside; deep down he is not a man, he is a woman. His deeper woman wants a man—hence the homosexual.
And there is a third category also: confused people, who don’t know who they are. In the morning they are women, by the evening they are men. The difference is so small that they shrink; they become bisexuals. One moment they are loving a woman, another moment they are falling in love with a man. Their psychology and biology is in a state of mess; they will live a very confused life. Science can now help these people too, to make things clear.
Now, repeating again and again that ‘I am a female’ creates suspicion. Why so much concern about being a female? Once would have been enough. Even once was not needed—your question would have said that you are a female. And not an ordinary female, a libber.
Let me read the question: ‘You say that it is important to have courage and sincerity. Therefore I will drop my fear and ask you the questions deepest and most honestly within me…’ Now, what kind of questions are deepest and honest in you? Just think of the whole crap of it. These are the deepest questions? I am talking about Ikkyu and Buddha, and these are the deepest questions. And to ask these questions you needed great courage and sincerity!
‘How can there be any generalizations about the qualities of man and woman?’ Generalizations are not possible about ANYTHING, because no individual will fit them. But still, generalizations are meaningful; they simply indicate.
When I say a woman is more concerned with the immediate, I am not saying anything about a particular woman—Deborah, or anybody else. I am simply saying it about WOMANNESS, that womanness is concerned with the immediate. And if you are not concerned with the immediate then something somewhere in your womanhood is missing. That is very essential to femininity: the concern for the immediate, the imminent. But generalizations are generalizations, remember it. And there will be differences between individuals. But the meaning of a generalization is just to indicate a certain quality. It doesn’t say anything about particular individuals, it simply says the quality of being a woman is immediateness.
I would like to see Deborah’s poetry, because there is a possibility there may be that immediateness in the poetry itself. The poetry may be concerned with the imminent, the herenow; it may not be concerned with the ultimate. And the question also shows it—her whole concern is her womanhood. She says, ‘This is my deepest and the most honest question arising in me.’ Buddhahood, God, they are faraway questions. Her whole concern is with her body, her womanhood. It is not just an accident that women are standing before the mirror for hours. Their concern is immediate; they are more concerned with the body than with the soul. They are more materialistic than spiritualistic. They are more factual than fictitious.
‘I am a female but I have always written poetry and I have never been so good at shopping lists. I am female but I have not been suspicious or jealous of man’s love affair with his art. In fact, I have more often been in the role of choosing to be with my writing, than choosing to be in relationship leading to home and family.’
Now, these are complex things.
The atmosphere is such that a woman has to be equal with man. She has not to be interested in the home, family, children, motherhood. She has to become interested in poetry, in literature, in painting, in science, in technology, this and that. Now women’s groups gather together around the world to raise their consciousness. And all their consciousness-raising sessions consist of only one thing, that they have to destroy something deep in their womanhood. Only then can they compete with men. They are soft, naturally soft. They cannot compete with men. If they want to compete with men they will have to become hard. So whenever you come across a lib woman you can see the face loses softness. It is very difficult to say to a lib woman, ‘Baby’—very difficult. And she will be angry too, she will not like it. Why ‘Baby’?—she is equal to you. Hardness arises. All kinds of struggle give hardness.
And you may be trying not to be interested in the home, because if you become interested in the home then you cannot compete in the world. If you become interested in children you cannot compete in the world; then that becomes a distraction. And if you have to compete in the world and prove that you are as strong as men, you have to somehow become more like men. And this will be a loss. This is a loss—because the only hope for humanity is the softness of woman, not the hardness of man. We have suffered enough from the hardness of man. What is needed is that man should become more like woman, rather than woman becoming more like man.
Nietzsche is right when he says that Buddha and Christ were a little womanish. I agree. And this is how it should be—because Buddha is the hope. Men should become a little more womanish, more soft, more waterlike. But what is happening is very unfortunate, women are trying to become like men. Naturally, with whomsoever you compete, you try to become like that. If you are antagonistic against men, sooner or later you will become more like men.
Women are pulling against themselves, trying hard to manage. But that is not natural. The natural is the womb in the woman—that womb hankers for a child, that womb hankers for a home. The home is the visible womb outside the woman, it is a projection of the inner womb. Once a woman is no more interested in the home, she is no more interested in her womb. And that womb is there.
Men and women are NOT equal, because man is missing that womb. How can they be equal? I am not saying they are unequal, but I am certainly saying they are not equal. They are so different—how can they be equal? They are polar opposites. They are so different, they cannot be compared in terms of equality or inequality.
A woman is a woman, a man is a man. And they SHOULD remain man and woman. A woman should remain interested in the home, because once she stops being interested in the home she will stop being interested in the womb, in the child. And then naturally she turns into a lesbian. It is not accidental that libbers become lesbians. Because if you are not interested in the womb and not interested in the child, then for what to be interested in men? Then it is good to be interested in women. This is a very strange phenomenon that is happening in the world.
My own understanding is this, that man has to become a little more feminine. He has gone too far away in becoming a man, he has lost track of all humanity. Don’t follow him, don’t compete with him—otherwise you will be going on in the same rut, in the same routine. You will become warlike. And the libbers screaming and shouting and protesting on the streets are just ugly. They are showing the worst traits of the male mind.
And the last thing: ‘You can see you have made me angry, so I suppose you have begun to reach me.’ Now I must have made you even more angry. Fall in love with me!
Racism and patriarchy are not two separate institutions that intersect only in the lives of Black women. They are two interrelated, mutually supporting systems of domination and their relationship is essential to understanding the subordination of all women.