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Male and Female?

Chapter 114 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Simon Peter said to him, Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.
Jesus said, I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven. (114)

I sometimes wonder if Saint Thomas left this for the last because of the gross stupidity of the first sentence and the need to combat it. Even today in India there are people who believe that there is no need for a woman to engage in meditation because it is impossible for a woman to attain liberation.

My friend, Saguna Hejmadi (a cousin of Swami–“Papa”–Ramdas of Anandashram), was once at the Anandamayi Ashram in New Delhi (Kalkaji). Somehow an ignoramus standing nearby learned that she was a disciple of Ma Anandamayi and did a great deal of meditation. “Why are you wasting your time with all that?” he asked, “women cannot attain liberation–only men can attain liberation.” Foolishly she began arguing with the the man, who bolstered his assertions with many scriptural quotes. In the midst of this altercation, Anandamayi Ma came walking through the room. “MA!” called out Saguna, “Is it true that women cannot attain liberation?” Still walking on, Ma nodded and answered: “That is true. Women cannot attain liberation.” Saguna stood there completely thunderstruck as the man chuckled and chortled at his “triumph.” After standing and stewing for nearly half an hour, Saguna saw Ma returning. Ma came right up to her, said: “And men do not attain liberation either!” and walked on and out of the room. Then Saguna understood: only those who transcend body identity and live identified with the spirit-self can attain liberation.

One of India’s greatest yogis, Paramhansa Nityananda, had this to say in section 61 of The Chidakasha Gita: “Now the distinction of male and female. A true female is one who is merged in the external; a true male is one who is merged in the internal. One whose buddhi is firm is male; one whose buddhi is fickle is a female. This distinction of male and female is external only. Internally such a distinction does not exist at all. When the manas and buddhi are merged in the atman, one who is physically a woman becomes spiritually a man.”

And so the great yogi has explained Jesus’ words far better than I ever could.

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Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. Who Shall Lead?
  13. The Unspeakable
  14. When Virtue is Vice
  15. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  16. Divine Discord
  17. The Divine Gift
  18. The Origin is the End
  19. Original Being
  20. A Mustard Seed
  21. Disciples of Jesus
  22. How to Enter the Kingdom
  23. Unity of Vision
  24. Where is Christ?
  25. Love and Protect
  26. Seeing
  27. The Fasting and Sabbath of the Spirit
  28. How Jesus Saw the World
  29. Hidden Treasure
  30. One
  31. The Power of Unbelief
  32. Spiritual Strength
  33. Speak It Out
  34. The Blind
  35. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  36. Live Carefree
  37. Unashamed Before God
  38. At the Source
  39. The Religion of Ignorance
  40. Within God
  41. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  42. Move On
  43. Challenging the Master
  44. The Source of Good and Evil
  45. Great in the Kingdom
  46. Impossible Duality
  47. Peace That Moves Mountains
  48. Back to the Source
  49. Children of the Light
  50. Here and Now
  51. Seeing Yet Blind
  52. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  53. Infinite Transcendence
  54. “Hate”
  55. True Understanding
  56. Wheat and Weeds
  57. Finding Life
  58. Live and Die Not
  59. “Lest Thou Also…”
  60. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  61. The Path of Unknowing
  62. Awakened by Death
  63. Turning Ourselves Away
  64. Gullibility
  65. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  66. All–and Nothing
  67. The Blessings of Persecution
  68. Life or Death Lie Within
  69. Admission
  70. Not a Divider
  71. Seeking the Harvest
  72. Thirsting in Vain
  73. Who Shall Enter?
  74. Unfailing Treasure
  75. The All Speaks
  76. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  77. True Blessedness
  78. A Duplication
  79. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  80. Near and Far
  81. Seeing the Unseeable
  82. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  83. Our Forefather Adam
  84. Blessed Homelessness
  85. Doubly Wretched
  86. Onward and Upward
  87. Twofold Life
  88. The Yoke of Christ
  89. Knowing the Unknown
  90. Asking and Hearing
  91. Give Not…
  92. Seeking and Knocking
  93. Right Generosity
  94. The Expanding Kingdom
  95. The Fulfilled Universe
  96. Taking Stock
  97. The Spiritual Family
  98. Three Debts
  99. Father and Mother
  100. Exoteric Religion
  101. Ready for Invasion
  102. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  103. Daring to Know
  104. Ending Duality
  105. “I Love You More…”
  106. At the Source
  107. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  108. Having Come to the End
  109. Immortal and Above the World
  110. Body and Soul
  111. Where is the Kingdom?
  112. Male and Female?
  113. In Conclusion
  114. Glossary
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