[From the section: House of Mother's Agenda]
An integral spiritual experience holds that "woman is the mirror
in which man sees the reflection of his own self, his own dormant and
hidden powers of genius when she comes and stands before him; immediately
he becomes awake and energetic with the inspiration of fully manifesting
and expanding himself. That is why woman is the shakti - without a touch
of this force of woman man cannot attain full awakening and integral self-realisation
Woman is said to be an equal partner in following the dharma - sahadharmini
- because she is as though this other wing of man. With her help man is
capable of giving expression to his own complete dharma of life and embraces
his own greater self. Man is like empty space without woman. Woman fills
this emptiness -ayamakasah striya puryata eva
Behind this spiritual experience and explanation of the true relationship
between man and woman is the metaphysical concept of the dual principle
of Purusha-Prakriti, Bhagavan and Bhagavati, Krishna-Kali. This whole
creation is an eternal play and manifestation of Purusha-Prakriti.
Man is Purusha and woman Prakriti. Purusha is the witness aspect of the
Divine enjoying the multiplicity of Prakriti's manifestation. Similarly,
the basic nature of man, because largely based in the intellect, is that
of keeping a separative distance from the objective world. Whereas a woman's
natural dharma is 'to be': "she wants to lose her identity with
unreserved self-giving, or wants to swallow the thing to make it a part
and parcel of her own.
" This is the attitude of the embracing
heart, and therefore for a woman detachment comes with great difficulty.
"Man has a wideness of intellect with which he wants to throw
light on everything in the world and the universe; nothing is alien to
him, nihil alienum. But a thing is altogether alien to woman if it is
outside the ambit of her heart
Woman cannot negate or forget her
own entity or 'I' - at least in imagination - as easily as does man. The
ego of man wants to make the whole world its own and wants to swallow
Man is hiranyagarbha
but woman is
" A wonderful mingling is there of the metaphysical
truth of Purusha and Prakriti with the psychological build of man and
woman. That, I suppose, comes only by the synthetic vision of a yogi.
It was this vision that guided the ancient Rishis of the Vedic times -
a vision that mingled gods and humans. Because of this deep intuition
of the free intercourse between gods and men, there was the predominant
idea of "a divine shakti-dharma
" for woman "besides
chastity and single-minded devotion to her husband.
" In the Satyayuga,
the relation between man and woman was based on the "sincerity
of the soul's truth.
" In the subsequent yugas, the relationship
shifted to the "sincerity of the mental being
", to the
"sincerity of the vital being
", to the "sincerity
of the body.
In the early periods, Purusha was subjected to Prakriti; woman was the
shakti overriding man. But later, in the Treta and Dwapara, the relation
changed and Prakriti was subjected to Purusha: woman became subservient
to man. This was also the period in Indian cultural history when sannyasihood
had become the noblest ideal of society and "the sannyasins feared
this force of prakriti in women, the pull that draws us towards life and
world with woman as the base
The sannyasin first wanted to belittle
her and drive her away. When that was not possible, he tried to keep her
at a distance by worshipping her. Woman then appeared as a mother - in
the form of Madonna.
Writes Nolini Kanta Gupta: "Ours is the land of Sita and Savitri,
it is said. The characteristic of our society too is that, nowhere can
one find such unreserved self-giving, such unfailing single-minded devotion
of woman; the womanhood of our women is incomparable in the world
We come to understand in what measure our women were forcibly made as
chaste and devoted as Savitri, to what degree they have made a virtue
of necessity, finding no other alternative. ... Most people dare not dig
into the unsavoury hidden account, a tragedy itself, that lies under the
high-sounding words like self-giving and single-minded devotion of womanhood
in our society. Our women adore the husband like a god but to what extent
that devotion is out of fear - fear of being deprived of his favour in
case the god is dead and gone - is a thing that cannot be overlooked by
the seeker of truth even though it may sound impolite.
Thus disgraced by the sannyasins and humiliated by the society of men:
"women became weak and closeted themselves within the four walls
to hide their faces out of shame. The more the men-folk ran towards sannyasa,
took women to be the gateway to hell, kept them at a distance, hurling
insults, women-folk too really moved more and more away and clutched the
and became only the things of pleasure and enjoyment.
In the name of feminine beauty, chastity, modesty and self-sacrifice women
for centuries have been condemned to self-destruction. Women have become
only a body for pleasure and procreation. From the occult point of view,
the force held by woman "has been possessed by asuras and demons.
"Who are these asuras and demons ? The forces which want unrefined
and low enjoyment, strength, riches, who are guided by egotism and ignorance.
The demons and titans who have turned women into things for satiating
lust will naturally want to keep them as such for ever - because this
is to their interest; the most effective means to maintain and extend
their sway upon earth
That is why woman was never emancipated -
she did never find out her own true dharma as a woman; man too did not
achieve his fulfilment as a social being.
" comments Nolini Kanta.
Apart from the force of woman, the demons and asuras have caught hold
of the force of money also. These two forces have to be liberated from
the clutches of the asuras "if matter has to embody spiritual
light, if society has to become the abode of men of knowledge, of sadhaks,
of realised souls
"So we think that economic independence is a more living thing
for woman than political independence. This thing runs close to the roots
of woman's freedom
. If woman has to secure an independent and separate
place in the state or on a larger scale in society
then she must
first become self-reliant with regard to money
The extent of men's
participation in this movement will indicate how far men support from
their heart women's right to freedom.
In the Western countries this drive towards the emancipation of woman
began long back: she refused to believe or accept that the man-made customs
or traditions are for her a divine dispensation. To begin with, she tried
to infiltrate into all the institutions of men to prove that she is as
good as man in any work or endeavour. This close imitation of man is perhaps
the first step. But her fulfilment as a woman is still awaited.
The future demands an equation between Purusha and Prakriti once again
- as it was in the beginning of social evolution in man's history. Woman
was Shakti, then she became Sati, and in the future she has to become
Prakriti, in the true sense. "Let each one awaken their own divine
advises Nolini Kanta, "with the help of that
relation which develops through a natural outlook. There is no objection
also about mutual help and exchange of ideas if needed; that is only natural
the union in complete independence, in full freeedom, is the union that
is based on Knowledge and Truth. The union of soul with soul, the fusion
of divine with divine is the relation of Ananda. In this divine union
in full freedom based on Knowledge and Ananda lies the ultimate fulfilment
of the union of man and woman.
Nolini Kanta Gupta
in "About Woman", p. 3-8 published by SACAR
- Pondicherry - India
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Additional note from an e-mail:
"About Woman." The essay was published in 1999, along with 12
others on the same topic, by Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research
The series of essays were originally written in Bengali between 1932 and
1949 and published under the title Narir Katha ("About Woman").
The essays were eventually published in Nolini's Collected Works in Bengali
(Rachanabali) and ten of them were serialized in Mother India from November
1994 to May 1997.
In his preface to the SACAR
edition of the articles, Ananda
Reddy [son of the founder of the SACAR]
"The book is a compilation of thirteen articles written by Nolini
Kanta Gupta over a long period of about seventeen years from 1932-1949.
Although they are 13 different and independent articles, they fall into
a 'mosaic pattern dictated by the inter-disciplinary nature of the subject'.
The diparate essays, entitled (1) About Woman, (2) The Women-Problem,
(3) Feminine Distinction, (4) Marriage and Conjugal Relation etc., cover
the problems concerning woman on the individual, social and cultural levels,
and at the same time span the past, the present and the future of womankind.
It is the interconnection that Nolini Kanta Gupta forges among the historical,
the psychological and the spiritual analyses that is of immense importance,
for such a unified view makes the reading of these articles a more comtemplative
experience than a book-reading.
These gem-insights of Nolini Kanta regarding women would have remained
a prerogative of the Bengali readers only had not Satadal translated the
thirteen articles, originally published in Rachanabali, Vol. 5 and Vol.
I, into simple and fluent English, reminding us of Nolini's own English
writting - all lucid and simple and sweet, like the touch of psychic love.
The Non-Bengali readers are indeed indebted to Satadal for all the loving
pains he has taken to translate the articles. We are also grateful to
(Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research) for publishing these articles
and facilitating the Non-Bengali readers."