The birth of the group “The Woman’s Liberation”

Kovida Chiappini

My name is Prem Kovida and from reading my diaries I have found the moment, a day in November 1989, when I came to know that Osho has given instructions to create the group called “The Woman’s Liberation”.

It is morning and I am going to the ashram where I work in the Press Office of the Osho Commune International in Puna, India, which is now known as the “Osho International Meditation Resort”. Ashram is a term that in India characterizes the place where one gathers around a Master to meditate and to know oneself.

I am using the present tense on purpose, because while recalling that specific moment, the memory of how I lived it is very vivid and the transmission from Master to disciple is carved in my soul in a time that is and always will be “the present”.

As I walk through the “gateless” gate of the ashram for a few minutes my eyes fill with the usual tears a phenomenon I am used to and which I attribute to the energetic shift between the road I have just left and the Buddhafield I have entered, the energy field that Osho calls the Buddhafield of the ashram. An energy field that is created around the presence of an enlightened being, which is also a sort of crucible where meditations happen around the clock and thousands of people from 70 different nationalities are working, meditating and / or simply spending the time as they wish.

I reach my working place and I immediately sense a vibe of excitement. Prem Hasya, Head of the Press Office, is also Osho’s International Secretary. I am invited into her office where a meeting is being held to announce that Osho has just called her to entrust her with the task of creating a group to be called “The Woman’s Liberation”, specifying that it should be called a “transmission” rather than a “therapy group”. We are told that during one of Osho’s dental sessions in Lao Tsu, (the house where he lives with a few other disciples) and also attended by some other people meditating, Osho has made a very strong affirmation regarding women.

He has declared to be fed up with woman and her unconscious behaviour towards man. He says that “She doesn’t want to be loved”, “She just wants to be wanted” and “She just wants to be needed”. We are also told that, to underline his words, Osho invited two of the women closest to him to leave the house called Lao Tzu and look for another home. I am shocked, and I am not the only one. When the meeting ends, I immediately look for a space in the ashram gardens where I can hide and collect myself. Yes, literally hiding myself, because I am overcome by a feeling of shame that I cannot define and I just want to withdraw, make myself invisible and understand what is happening to me.

A thousand thoughts crowd my mind, including: “Osho! You have been always putting us women on a pedestal, you always put us in charge of the departments, you trusted us with the most delicate and important tasks, and now out of the blue you say you are fed-up with us!?”

I register a growing feeling of unease and embarrassment within me, which increases as I remember the three “lapidary” statements that Hasya reported. In thinking back to the first sentence, “The woman does not want to be loved” I react scandalized “But no Osho, what are you saying? I have wanted to be loved by man all my life, there is practically no other aim in my life as a woman .... I want to be loved by a man! “ I feel that my heart is beating very fast and that my cheeks are red, as if they were slapping me. I ask myself: “Is it your blow from the Zen Master? Is it a blow for the ego?” After all, the Master’s task is precisely that, to awaken you .... and as for a blow, it seems to me that I am getting a good one now.

I think of the second affirmation: “she just wants to be wanted”. Here I can only recognize the accuracy of the statement and the internal feelings of discomfort and labored breathing confirm this: I must admit to myself that in my relating to man, both factually and ideally, I was always dependent, dependent on how to appear in his eyes, how to behave, how to seduce him without even showing him, in order to arouse his desire for me, get to sex, and possibly engaging him in a long-lasting relationship ...

And now what about the third affirmation? “She just wants to be needed”. It rings some bells. How many times in a relationship have I played the card of making myself needed, indispensable? I was always especially attentive of what I could have done or invented for keeping the man with me, possibly “for ever”, putting him on top of my laundry list of needs, forgetting my own needs?. Too many times.

After allowing myself to penetrate these last two statements “to the bone”, I tell myself that then the first, the one that “woman does not want to be loved” MUST also be true ...

and in the silence of that garden, I metaphorically bow down to the feet of my Master, Osho, and I welcome his affirmations with the sincere inner willingness to look at all these “pieces of the ego” that He has been showering light upon.

The story of what Osho said is now spreading like a fire that cannot be tamed. On my way back to the office, I meet women who stop me wanting to speak about it. We are all upset, each in her own way. We are all touched. There are those who stop me to find out if Hasya has already organized the group and to let her know she will want to be among the first to book.

Hasya calls me to ask me to assist her in preparing the work to be offered, she is also is keen to repeat that Osho wants it to be called “a transmission” and I understand why, because it is something that is precisely transmitted from Master to disciple, not a group of therapy.

I go with Hasya to her room and there we learn that the two women Osho asked to leave earlier have just been invited to return to Lao Tzu…

“There!” I say to myself. “This is the way the Master works. After the Zen blow, he gives us the time to look at our smashed egos and then He comes with love so that we understand once more that with him we are first a seeker who wants to do all which is possible to allow the ego to be dissolved.”

During the following days, I steadily work with Hasya and every night she goes to Osho to share with him how she is planning to structure the work with the women.

I somehow feel that it should be better for me to do the group, rather than being Hasya’s assistant, but my ego likes the idea to be in a position that I consider privileged.

I am promptly unmasked when Hasya suddenly says to me: “Kovida, you know you should book the group and do it to experience it firsthand. I’ll find someone else to organize it and assist me”.Here you are! Take it and leave it!

.I take part in the first The Woman’s Liberation: I spend 8 days with the most “in sight” women of the ashram, letting myself go deep into this truly unique exploration, which every day makes me feel lighter, richer, more grown up, more .... complete. Women who go beyond the centuries-old competition between themselves become an overwhelming force of love and understanding, a constructive and co-operative “sisterhood” that acts from the intelligence of the heart and the creativity of living free from the age-old conditionings that have afflicted us to undermine us, ridicule and exploit us.

Since then, I have followed countless women’s liberation groups in Pune as part of the staff, and soon leading them together with Deva Siddho in Italy and Europe for over 20 years. Siddho and I are very different women, but we have in common an unquenchable thirst to know oneself and to dedicate one’s life in the search of an awareness that is as present and vibrant as is possible in our lives.

I am honored and proud to offer with her this work that is still very current, not only that, still a precursor of the time in which more and more women will recognize themselves in these words of Osho:

“Every woman is like an arrow towards God, towards the divine.

Her grace, her beauty, her love, her devotion can open the way towards a dimension of being which is developed in consciousness.

The woman is not only able to give birth to a child, she is also able to give birth to herself, as a seeker of truth. But that side of the woman has not been explored at all. I would like my rebellious people to explore that side too.”

(The Rebel)

I would like the whole world to be full of feminine qualities. Then only can wars disappear. Then only can marriage disappear. Then only can nations disappear. Then only can we have one world: a loving, a peaceful, a silent and beautiful world.

So drop all the conditionings man has given to you. Find your own qualities and develop them. You are not to imitate the man; neither is the man to imitate you. (Sermons in Stones #17)

(…) as you enter deeper into meditative states, as your intelligence becomes more sharp, you will see: the other that you have been searching for is within you. And there is no problem with the inner woman, with the inner man. Once you recognize them, they start melting into each other without any effort on your part. Just your recognition is enough to trigger the process of merger. (“Sermons in Stones” # 20)

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