Monday, August 25, 2008

'women are not worthy of life' - Simon Peter


Simon Peter said to them:
'Let Mary go out from among us,
because women are not worthy of life.'

Jesus said:
'See, I shall lead her
so that I will make her male,
that she too may become a living spirit
resembling your males.
For every woman who makes herself male
will enter the Kingdom.'

- Gospel of Apostle Thomas

1.
The statement of Peter is exactly what the christian church has embodied for the last two millennium. The church has remained anti-women - because through unnatural view point, woman is painted to be the root cause of evil starting from the distorted interpretation of the genesis. The narrow mindedness is portrayed here when Peter says, 'women are not worthy of life'. It should not surprise one who knows the cultural and social context of the time of Christ but it definitely quite mind-boggline to think how the same sentiment still exist in our time in the attitude of church.

Peter is the founder of Christian Church from whom the tradition of Pope is inspired. Ironic is that it was Peter who denied Jesus in his own life time. Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times before the cock crows at dawn and he did.

Osho writes in his commentaries: 'This is Simon Peter's mind, not Jesus'. And it is bound to be so: a disciple's mind, he is not yet enlightened, he can not see the indivisible, he can only see according to his mind. When Jesus is gone, Simon Peter will become more important than Jesus, because Simon Peter will be more understandable to people - he belongs to the same world.

Peter created the church, he became the rock (the word Peter means rock). And the whole church stands - he really proved to be a very strong rock! Nobody has proved to be such a strong rock, neither a disciple of Buddha nor a disciple of Mahavira has proved to be like Peter, because the Catholic Church is the strongest church that has ever existed on earth. But that's why it is more dangerous also; strength in wrong hand. And when a master is no more, disciples become the masters, they start deciding things.'

2.
From the very time of Christ, there started a tension and confrontation between Peter and Mary Magdalene, the later whom Christ loved most among his disciples because of her sophianic qualities (her divine feminine qualities and ability to understand the depth mystic teachings of Christ). While other ordinary disciples were perplexed with the esoteric nature of Christ's discourses, parables - it was Mary Magdalene who mostly understood them by heart, as more apparent in a number of suriviving gospels understandably left out by the church from the canonical gospels.

The confrontation of Mary with Peter, a scenario found in The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Pistis Sophia, and The Gospel of the Egyptians, reflects some of the tensions in second-century Christianity. Peter and Andrew represent orthodox positions that deny the validity of esoteric revelation and reject the authority of women to teach. The Gospel of Mary attacks both of these positions head-on through its portrayal of Mary Magdalene. She is the Savior's beloved, possessed of knowledge and teaching superior to that of the public apostolic tradition. Her superiority is based on vision and private revelation and is demonstrated in her capacity to strengthen the wavering disciples and turn them toward the One.

Figure: (portion of) The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci. Sitting next to Mary is Peter. He seems consumed with jealousy and his hand crosses Mary's neck as if he would slice her throat, as if his finger were a dagger.

3.
... But Jesus considers Mary worthy of transformation; He himself will "make a man of her," give her a special teaching.

And so two questions arise. If a female needs to be transformed into a male (that is, activate and integrate the masculine within herself) before she can enter the kingdom, why does Jesus Christ, an enlightened being, choose to favor Mary, to appear to her after his crucifixion to give her a special teaching? And why does Mary, a brave, strong, independent woman seem to accept without question the idea that she must become male?

Many have assumed that this conversation reflects an historical situation and have tried to explain the passage in terms of the radical nature of Jesus' acceptance of women and Mary's position as leader.

The point is to recognize the importance of Mary of Magdala whom Jesus will make male because she is to become part of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is to be noted that the conflict with Peter is overt and at the center of the action. It probably reflects something of the situation of the churches at the time of the writing of the gospel. Peter was a leader in competition with Mary of Magdala or followers of Peter were in competition with followers of Mary. The redactor of the "Gospel of Peter" clearly places Mary in a position higher than that of Peter.

Looked at from a purely historical context, it may be true that in the culture of the place and time only a male could be taken seriously: Only as a man could he [Jesus] have subverted the accepted definition of masculinity, validated the so-called feminine virtue despised by men but dear to God, redefined the relationship between women and men as one of equality and mutuality, and destroyed patriarchy's claim to divine sanction. (credit)

4.
Mary Magdalene was chosen by our Lord as a type of the Church and would be one of the first fruits taken to be with her Lord. She was the constant companion of Jesus' Ministry, to him she ministered of her substance, she anointed him for his Ministry, and for his Burial, She was the last at the Cross, and the first at the Tomb, and to her alone He gave the commission, "Go tell Peter," and wheresoever the Gospel was to be preached, her love and devotion to her Master were to be declared.
- Gospel of the Holy Twelve

Note: The Gospel of the Nazarenes, also known as the Gospel of the Holy Twelve, is the very Gospel that was repeatedly mentioned and described by many commentators of the early Church as the original teachings of the Nazarene called Christ.


5.
Man and Woman principles symbolize two opposite natures. For attraction to be born, for attraction to be created, there needs to be opposites. For a man, a woman is an endless mystery; so is a man for woman. In far eastern terms, Man and Woman are like primordial opposite Yang and Yin which together keeps the cosmos in harmony and balance. In ancient India woman is called Prakriti, the primary matter, the nature, earth, the receptive. Man is called Purusha, consciousness, self, cosmic man.

For something to become whole, two opposites must come and manifest together. Wholeness is what makes Holiness. To become whole is to become holy. From Alchemical point of view one opposite must transmute into the other opposite so that the beauty of wholeness can manifest.

The above mystical statement of Christ when he says, "I shall lead her so that I will make her male" - here the term male is not sexual but symbolizes the embodiment of the other principle.

To become a complete human being, both the masculine and feminine inner principles must manifest. That is what Christ was speaking about when he said, 'for every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom'. Christ himself embodied the sweet, receptive, loving, surrendered feminine principle in his whole being which flowered in both his inner and outer.

6.
In the book, 'The Mustard Seed' which is a commentaries on the fifth Gospel of Saint Thomas, Osho takes the sayings of Jesus out of their narrower Christian context, and blends their wisdom with rich threads of Easter traditions of mysticism, thereby showing the truly universal nature of Jesus' original teachings.

Osho says: 'To make a woman male means to make her unconscious conscious; to bring her inner darkness into the conscious mind, so the unconscious disappears and it becomes a conscious whole; to make her mysteriousness not a stumbling-block, but a stepping-stone.

For a man like Jesus it is not a question of male or female, it is a question to becoming whole. One has to leave his part and reach the whole.

... that phenomenon is an indivisible person, a one, a unity, an inner cosmos; a symphony where all the notes have become helpers to each other, not just a noise, but they give rhythm, color to the whole. They make the whole, they create the whole, they are not against the whole, they are not fragments anymore, they have fallen into a unity. This is what Gurdjieff calls, 'inner crystallization', or what Hindus have called 'attaining to self', and what Jesus calls 'entering into the Kingdom of God'.

7.
And my soul was afflicted for the sons of men,
because they are blind in their heart
and they do not see that empty
they have come into the world,
and empty they seek
to go out of the world again.

Jesus said:
If the flesh has come into existence
because of the spirit, it is a marvel;
but if the spirit has come into existence
because of the body, it is a marvel of marvels.
But I marvel at how this great wealth
has made its home in this poverty.

- Gospel of Thomas

# Further Reads:
. Women in early church
. Who was Mary Magdalene, and Does it Matter?
. Perceptions of Mary Magdalene
. Ordain a Woman, Go Straight to Hell

# Related Post:
. Sacred Marriage of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene
. Mystery of Woman
. Secret of Female Soul
. Secret of Male and Female, your thoughts
. Each give birth to each other
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