Osho says, “In India for thousands of years the woman has suffered so much because of this idea that she has to remain a widow.”
Why serve the poor when poverty can be destroyed? No religion says, “Destroy poverty.” They are in deep conspiracy with the vested interests. They don’t say destroy poverty. They don’t suggest any measures for how poverty can be destroyed, stopped. But serve the poor, serve the widows.
They don’t say, “Why force the woman to remain a widow?” So simple a phenomenon…. In India the man is allowed to get married as many times as he wants. In fact the moment the wife dies, her body is being burned on the funeral pyre and people are beginning to talk about marriage, where to arrange this man’s marriage. So ugly, so inhuman – the body of the wife is not yet burned completely… but sitting around there, what else to do? They have to talk about something, and this is the most hot topic. Now this man needs a woman, and they are suggesting where it will be good to marry, which woman will be suitable for him – and not a widow.
Nobody is ready to get married to a widow. She is a used woman. Woman is a thing, used by somebody else – how can you use it? Man is not used; he always remains fresh, pure. He can get remarried. In India for thousands of years the woman has suffered so much because of this idea that she has to remain a widow. Millions of widows… they cannot use any other color than white. They have to shave their heads, they cannot use any ornament. In every possible way it has been made clear to them that they have to live almost a dead life.
They cannot move in the society as other women do – particularly in festivals they are not supposed to. At marriages they are not supposed to be present, because their very presence, their very shadow, is a calamity. And the widow is told that she has eaten her husband – it is because of her fate that the husband died. If he had not married her he would be alive; she is responsible for his death. The whole life she carries this burden, and now she has to remain in every way ugly.
“Serve the widows.” In India there are institutions especially for widows, because in homes they are not even equal to the servants. They do all kinds of work, the whole day they work. But they don’t get any respect: no salary, no respect, and continual condemnation that because of them somebody’s son has died, somebody’s brother has died…. Everybody is against the woman. And she has to remain hidden like a shadow. She is not allowed to be there when guests are there. She lives like a ghost.
So institutions are opened by religions; this is service for the widows. But why have widows in the first place? It is such a such simple logic: make it a law that any man who wants to marry a second time has to marry a widow, not a virgin – simple. And the whole problem disappears. Rather than making the problems disappear, you help them to continue.
Osho, From Unconciousness to Consciousness, Ch 11, Q 1 (excerpt)