March 8 is an International Women’s Day and according to United Nations Organisation, is a special day to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
Though the women’s liberation movement and the demand for equal rights and opportunities for the women began in the Western countries, yet it did influence India in a big way. Indian women also benefited a lot. And there’s a negative side to these benefits also. One of the disadvantages of Western influence is that Indian women started losing the feminine grace, which is the most precious quality a woman can have. And she did have this quality since the time of Upanishads.
In The Way of Tao Volume 1, Osho tells us a wonderful story about a wonderful woman, her name was Bhamati. He says: I shall tell you of a wonderful incident in the life of Vachaspati Mishra. His father urged him to marry. Vachaspati understood nothing of marriage. He, however, bowed to his father’s wishes, taking it for granted that whatever he said was correct.
Vachaspati was engrossed in the search for God. He understood nothing else. If anyone talked about anything, he took it to be a topic of God. So when his father asked him, “Will you marry?”He said, “Yes”. Perhaps he thought his father said, “Will you meet God?” and he said yes. Just as it happens with people generally, if a person is seeking wealth and you ask him, “Will you seek religion?” He will think you are asking him about wealth. Whatever the search within, that only rings in our ears. So Vachaspati also heard what was within him perhaps and said yes. When he was made to sit on the horse to go to the bride’s place he asked, “Where are you taking me?” His father said, “You fool! Don’t you know you are getting married? Did you not agree to get married?”
So Vachaspati thought it was not right to refuse at that moment. Since he had agreed even though without knowing, he took it to be God’s wish that he be married. He returned home with his bride but it never occurred to him that he had brought a bride home! How could he remember for it was not he who said yes to marriage, nor he who got married. He was engrossed in his own work. He was writing a commentary on BRAHMA-SUTRA. He finished this work after 12 years. For 12 years his wife would quietly light the lamp for him in the evening and place flowers at his feet each morning. In the afternoons she brought his meals and when he finished, she quietly withdrew it. For 12 years Vachaspati had not the slightest awareness of his wife. The wife made no effort to let him know she was there. On the contrary, she took all possible care that he may not, even by mistake, come to know of her presence. She wanted to cause no disturbance in his work.
After 12 years on the night of a full moon, when his work was completed and Vachaspati rose to go to bed, his wife picked up the lamp to show him the way. For the first time Vachaspati (so the story goes) saw his wife’s hand – Now after 12 years, when his work was over and his mind was disengaged from work. He saw the hands, the bangles and heard the tinkle of her bangles. He turned around and saw her and he exclaimed, “Woman! What are you doing, alone here at this time of night? Who are you? From where have you entered, the whole house is closed? Where have you to go, shall I reach you home?” His wife said, “For 12 years, you have been busy with your work. Perhaps you have forgotten – you have been so busy! It is not possible that you should remember.If you can think back, 12 years from now, perhaps you may be able to recollect – I am the woman you brought to this house as your wedded wife.”
Vachaspati wept, “It is too late now!” He moaned. “I have already made the vow to leave home when my composition was completed. Now it is time for me to leave! It is almost dawn and I am ready to leave. Why did you not tell me earlier, foolish girl! You should have given me some hint! Now it is too late.” Saying this, he wept like a child. Seeing her husband cry, she fell on his feet and said, “Whatever I was to achieve, I have achieved through these tears. I wish for nothing more. Go without any compunction. What more could I have achieved than this, that Vachaspati’s eyes are filled with tears for me? I have received more than I deserved.”
Vachaspati has named his book BHAMATI. This word has nothing to do with the book. It is his wife’s name. He said to her “I can do nothing for you but let the world forget me, let it not forget you. I shall name my book after you.” It is a fact, no one remembers Vachaspati but Bhamati is remembered by many. BHAMATI is a wonderful exposition of BRAHMA SUTRA. there is none to equal it. This woman must be having the Feminine-Mystery.
It is my firm belief that she attained so much of Vachaspati in that single moment, as she would never have attained by a thousand other means. The way Vachaspati must have become one with the heart of this woman, no woman could ever establish such oneness with her husband. The Feminine-Mystery, this non-presence of this woman touched the very life-breath of Vachaspati, twelve years – and this woman did not allow him to feel her presence! And every day she lit his lamp, every day she fed him. Vachaspati asked, “Then was it you who placed flowers at my feet each morning? And was it you who put the tray before me and was it you who lit the lamp for me every evening? But how is it that I did not ever see your hand?”
Bhamati replied, “If my hand had become visible to you, it would only have meant that my love was lacking, I could wait”.
So it is not necessary that all women obtain this Feminine-Mystery. This is only a name given by Lao Tzu for this name is symptomatic, suggestive and enables us to understand this term. A man also can attain this Female-Mystery. Actually, only those can establish their identity with Existence who have thus reached this prayerful waiting. The door of this Feminine-Mystery is the original source of heaven and earth. The Chinese enlightened mystic Lao Tzu wrote:
The spirit that never dies is called the mysterious feminine.
Although she becomes the whole universe, her immaculate purity is never lost.
Although she assumes countless forms, her true identity remains intact.
The gateway to the mysterious female is called the root of creation.
Listen to her voice, hear it echo through creation.
Without fail, she reveals her presence.
Without fail, she brings us to our own perfection.
Although it is invisible, it endures; it will never end.