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.