In every being there exists a masculine and a feminine nature. The masculine or positive side reveals itself as the powers of discrimination, self-control, exacting judgment—qualities that express or respond to reason. The negative or feminine nature consists of feeling—love, sympathy, kindness, mercy, joy. In the ideal being, these two aspects are perfectly balanced. But if reason lacks feeling, it becomes calculating, harsh, judgmental; and if feeling lacks reason it becomes blind emotion.*
Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
“The harmonious balance of reason and feeling leads to intuitive perception and the ability to know what is Truth. Achieving this balance, men and women become gods.” The Second Coming of Christ
It seems there has always been a rivalry between man and woman. But they are equals; neither one is superior. Be proud of what you are in this life. You are a soul that has been in both male and female bodies in different past incarnations. If you are a woman now and you envy men, you will have to reincarnate as a man. And take heed: if you are a man now and feel superior to women, you may have to be born as a woman.
Man argues that woman is emotional and cannot reason, and woman complains that man cannot feel. Both are incorrect. Woman can reason, but feeling is uppermost in her nature; and man can feel, but in him reason is predominant. The ideal is to balance reason and feeling in one’s nature. Those who are too womanish do not find soul freedom, and neither do those who are too mannish. Each sex should strive toward a balance by learning from one another through friendship and understanding.
In the great saints we see combined the ideal masculine and feminine qualities. Jesus was like that; so were all the masters. When you have attained that perfect reason-feeling equilibrium, you will have learned one of the major lessons for which you were sent here. Journey to Self-Realization
*Publisher’s Note from God Talks With Arjuna:
* Neurophysiologists have delineated these and other differences between men and women based on the distinctive functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Researchers have noted that, generally speaking, the left side of the brain—which specializes in analytical, logical, and verbal tasks—is more active in men; while the right side—which activates the artistic and creative functions, working more with metaphor, emotions, and feelings—is more active in women.
“Steadily, from about two or three million years ago, man’s organ of thought became increasingly bifurcated,” writes David Darling, Ph. D., in Equations of Eternity (Hyperion Press: New York, 1993). “This is particularly true of the human male, because the polarization of the right and left hemispheres seems to be more pronounced in men than in women….
” Many religious world models display an intuitive knowledge of left- and right-brain functioning. In Taoism, for instance, there is a male principle, known as yang…. At the other extreme is yin, the female force…”
In The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra describes the ancient Chinese view of yang as “the strong, male, creative power” and yin as “the receptive, female, and maternal element….ln the realm of thought, yin is the complex, female, intuitive mind, yang the
clear and rational male intellect. Yin is the quiet contemplative stillness of the sage, yang the strong, creative action of the king.”
Especially pertinent to this Gita stanza is the work of University of Alberta psychiatrist Pierre Flor-Henry, who has done extensive research on the different characteristics of the brain’s two hemispheres. Flor-Henry believes that one of the qualities locatable in the left hemisphere is “fighting power.” Feelings such as wariness, depression, and anxiety, he says, are more characteristic of the right side of the brain.
“Half our mistakes in life arise from feeling where we ought to think and thinking where we ought to feel,” observed the British writer J. C. Collins. Both left and right hemispheres—and both the masculine and feminine natures have characteristic strengths as well as characteristic weaknesses; the evidence from brain-hemisphere research does not exalt one over the other. “In Western culture the left side of the brain is the more active and the male principle dominates, which may explain why the West is so technically advanced and yet in some ways is so spiritually impoverished,” Dr. Darling writes. “Our brains have evolved so as to see the world in two different, complementary but also mutually exclusive ways. Each of us, figuratively speaking, has the East and the West, the male and the female principle, in his or her head. But usually one or the other has ascendency. Either we are too concerned with rationality and so, from the [Eastern] point of view, fall out of harmony with nature, or we are too introspective and fail to achieve materialistic growth. Both mental modes are apparently essential to human consciousness and so ought to be brought more into balance.” (Publisher’s Note) Chapter II
My guru mixed freely with men and women disciples, treating all as his children. Perceiving their soul equality, he made no distinction and showed no partiality.
“In sleep, you do not know whether you are a man or a woman,” he said. “Just as a man, impersonating a woman, does not become one, so the soul, impersonating both man and woman, remains changeless. The soul is the immutable, unqualified image of God.”
Sri Yukteswar never avoided or blamed women as the cause of “man’s downfall.” He pointed out that women, too, have to face temptation from the opposite sex. I once asked Master why a great ancient saint had called women “the door to hell.”
“A girl must have proved very troublesome to his peace of mind in his early life,” my guru answered caustically. “Otherwise he would have denounced, not woman, but some imperfection in his own self-control.” Autobiography of a Yogi
When I think of my guru, Sri Yukteswarji, I see in him the sternness of a father and the kindness of a mother, without weaknesses or blindness of either. Every father and every mother is potentially endowed with both the fatherly wisdom and the motherly tenderness of God. They have to perfect these endowments. Man’s Eternal Quest
BROTHER BHUMANANDA Answers Satsanga Questions:
Q. What does gender have to do with spirituality? Is the soul one sex, or both, or neither?
A. Gender is a temporary garb. Each soul has been both male and female many times in past incarnations. Notice how some men express more feminine aspects than others – this is because they were recently a female in a previous incarnation. Likewise with some women who express more masculine aspects – they were probably a male in their last incarnation. The soul is a perfect integration of both male and female aspects – reason and feeling. Some perfect examples of this integration are Master and Daya Ma.
When Bhumananda was fairly new in the ashram, Brother Premamoy, who was in charge of training the new monks, told him he was too intellectual. So Brother said he worked on himself and now when he has a problem he always goes first to his heart (the center of feeling, feminine aspect), and secondly to his head (the center of reason, masculine aspect).
Q. Why does Master use the words “man”, “mankind”, “brotherhood”? Why doesn’t he emphasize woman’s equality?
A. It is very important to understand that the word “man” is rooted in the original Sanskrit word “manas”, which means “mind” – the uniquely human capacity for rational thought. That consciousness is neither female nor male. Guruji’s teachings are from a higher age. His message would not be as clearly stated if he had used a “politically correct” “his/her”, “he/she” format. Master emphasized the unfoldment of the perfect balance of the soul of both male and female qualities.
“MAN– The word is derived from the same root as Sanskrit manas, mind – the uniquely human capacity for rational thought. The science of yoga deals with human consciousness from the point of view of the essentially androgynous Self (atman). As there is no other terminology in English that would convey these psychological and spiritual truths without excessive literary awkwardness, the use of man and related terms has been retained in this publication – not in the narrowly exclusive sense of the word man, denoting only half of the human race, but in its broader original meaning. ” (SRF Publications Glossary)
devotee convo notes