Question: I Have Noticed That Most Of...
Question: I have noticed that most of the highly spiritually developed souls that I have read of or known seem to be men, and I have wondered why this is so.
Sri Chinmoy: It is true to some extent that the majority of the spiritual figures in India and elsewhere are men, not women. Especially when we think of the Avatars, the direct descendants of God, we know that they were all men. But if we just go deep within, we see that most of the so-called great spiritual Masters and Yogis prayed to or meditated on the Mother aspect of God. Especially in India, the seekers have discovered the truth that God is both Mother and Father, masculine and feminine. Again, God is above all; God includes everything. Rama, the first Avatar, one of India’s greatest spiritual Masters, prayed to Durga. He prayed to this goddess to save him when he was in danger, although he was a great spiritual Master. Spiritual Masters often approach the female aspect of the Divine.
Purusha is man and Prakriti is woman. The very nature of Purusha is to remain silent. Purusha’s function is to remain detached from all that is happening around him, whereas the function of Prakriti is to involve herself in all the activities of the world. Her self-sacrifice for the manifestation is immediately rewarded by the realisation that God has in His Purusha aspect. It has always been seen in India and elsewhere that sacrifice and realisation go together. The very sacrifice that the feminine aspect of God — Prakriti or Shakti — has made for the earth-consciousness is rewarded by the realisation of Purusha. And I wish to say that this realisation is in no way superior to the total, utter, ceaseless sacrifice of the female.
Mother Earth always tries to help us, mould us and guide us; at the same time, consciously or unconsciously Mother Earth tries to bind us. It is just like the affection of the human mother. Especially in India, the mother will always encourage, inspire, help and teach the son, but she will not like him to go outside the boundary of her affection. In the spiritual world, Mother Earth and the feminine aspect of God are united. Aspirants will get all kinds of opportunities in the spiritual life, but when the question of realisation comes, Mother Earth will stand in the way of the aspirant. She will hold all kinds of temptations so the aspirant will be satisfied with the earth-life and not care for actual liberation. Then, when Mother Earth finally sees that the aspirant is very, very sincere and dedicated and will not remain in her confines in spite of all her temptations, then she surrenders to the will of the aspirant.
Then comes the greatest of the tests put by the cosmic gods and goddesses. In the inner world they will bring forward most beautiful women from the vital world, who will start dancing and doing many undivine things in front of the seeker who is about to realise God. At that time the female aspirant is likely to get a kind of satisfaction or familiar feeling toward these apsaras from the vital world, and she does not try to go beyond them. So very often the female aspirants succumb to this temptation which the cosmic gods give them. It is not actually weakness on the part of the women. Only they feel a kind of familiarity or, you can say, emotional oneness with the earth in the vital world and in the inner world, so they do not go beyond. But the male aspirants tend to fight. They say to these beautiful dancing girls, “You women tempted me on earth and now you are tempting me in Heaven! But I am ready to conquer you.” So the men very often succeed in conquering this last temptation. The men are not as likely to be touched by the emotional qualities that are represented by those apsaras. That is why it is possible for more men to attain spiritual liberation.
But I must say in all frankness that when it is a matter of total and integral liberation, woman is absolutely equal to man. That is why in India most of the spiritual Masters found that in order to be integral, they had to accept a feminine counterpart. The really great spiritual Masters have seen that it is not a fault to accept a feminine counterpart. But you have to know where the relation stands. It is on the inner level, the divine level, where one complements the other. One is not inferior to the other. The feminine counterpart becomes the wife or spiritual partner. We call it shakti.
But there have been many spiritual giants and saints in India who were women. In the West also, you have St. Theresa and others. There have been many great spiritual women with the highest realisation. The only difference is the number; there are more men than women. But when it is a matter of realisation, women can have the same highest transcendental Consciousness as men. Four thousand years ago in our Upanishads we got a significant message from a woman. There was a sage who had two wives. In the evening of his life he wanted to retire into the forest, so he said to his wives, “I have tremendous material wealth. I wish you both to share it.” But one of his wives, whose name was Maitreyi, said, “Will it give me Immortality?” He said, “No, no, no. This wealth is all material wealth. For Immortality you have to aspire; you have to meditate.” Immediately Maitreyi said, “What will I do with that which will not make my consciousness immortal? I do not want it. Maitreyi wanted the highest goal in the spiritual life. She meditated and she did realise the Highest.
In India there is a God-realised spiritual Master who is a woman. Her name is Ananda Mayi Ma. She is extremely high; she is a realised soul. I have seen real spirituality in Ananda Mayi Ma, and some of my disciples have also seen her and felt her greatness. Six or seven years ago two eminent philosophers had a great fight about consciousness and Infinity. For hours and hours they argued; then they went to Ananda Mayi Ma. She has read practically nothing, but through her spiritual illumination, her inner illumination she threw light on their problem. In three minutes she summed up everything. She just said a few words and they went home satisfied. So you see, it is entirely possible for a woman to realise God and become a Guru.
Sri Chinmoy, Soul-Education For The Family-World.First published by Agni Press in 1977.
This is the 340th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.