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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Women and Gurukuli's

                                    [Cute little girl - Gurukuli  -Vaishnav - above]

Today I ran into a post by a Gurukuli. [Student of the school of the guru - tho it often did not properly represent our guru.] Her post saddened me. It talked about misogyny, and how it is part of our teachings. This is not true - but am sure she believes it. Why? Most likely this is what some teacher or etc of childhood said to her - their own level of understanding, often misunderstanding. 

However, the result of such miscomprehension's turn many away from Krishna. Thus I wanted to make one post on the topic and clear up as many as I can. ... Technically, I'd like to write many more :) but that can be overwhelming. So I start here, and maybe others can take it further [properly].

I do not know what it's like to be born into the Movement. Personally I always admired these kids. And Prabhupada taught that they waited in line to be born in our Spiritual Society.  

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they weren't taught contaminated ideas of misinterpretations by some adults around them. 

What I remember of my time living at, or near various Gurukula's - is that in addition to regular education - which they received during my time - girls were also trained how to be wife. However, to the best of my knowledge, boys were not trained how to be husband. This is not fair to anyone, including the boys. It can lead to a large variety of confusions, which also may make it hard for a young man to figure out how to be married. Ditto for the girls. Over time most can figure it out, but why should they have to. One-way training creates an imbalance. 

Prabhupada's sister, Pishima, held the position of "Temple Commander." Did anyone tell these girls they can grow up to become a temple commander? Why not? It's part of our history and factual. Since that time we have even had female temple presidents. 

Similarly, were they taught the following? "The six opulences listed are considered to be feminine. If a woman possesses all of them or some of them she becomes glorious." Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 10.34, Bhaktivedanta Purport

Something else came to mind: A misunderstanding that guru or etc picks the spouse and you must marry them. Not true! Look to the story of the "4 Kumara's." All 4 of them refused to marry, thus going against the authority of the times.  While we are not on the level of these sons of Brahma :) it is nevertheless right there in our scripture. It's ok to say "No" regarding who to marry.

Guru is for spiritual life. Not health, not marriage. The guru may have some good ideas, it's ok as long as they work for you as an individual, and ok not to do them if they do not. This is bona fide! But seldom taught. Yet it is in our scripture. Then why did Prabhupada speak on these? Because our generation asked him questions on these topics. We knew so little. But worse, did not know how to hand it down properly.

Anyway, when I was young, how we lived within married life basically - was that no one really got bossy regarding how to run our marriages. Whatever aided our Krishna Consciousness - that is what was promoted. Though I joined; was not born into. What children were taught, I suspect was different. Nonetheless, I still believe this applies: What gives you peace and inspiration in marriage where you are better able to sing Hare Krishna, etc? That's usually the way to go. 
 
As much as I'd like to email that young woman who wrote as she did, and directly clear up the many misunderstandings she posted - I strongly feel I'd be perceived as the bully; given a good tongue-lashing at best. Possibly after a year of correspondence, if she even wanted to correspond, a dent might be made. But I'm getting too old, and hurt people tend to hurt other people. Especially if externally they appear similar to those who caused them issues. 

Thus I post here in hopes to be one of the older generation who is different.

Often I've been criticized myself, for disagreeing with VarnAhramaDharma / VAD. However, right here is a perfect example of why I am not drawn to it! The various ideas taught to this young woman as a child, that of unquestionable submission to a man - leaving a bad taste in her mouth - has far more to do with VAD societal culture, than Krishna Consciousness. I doubt I would have joined if this had been the philosophy and lifestyle at that time. When I moved in, it was all about God.

But it appears to me
, she was never told the above. Now fully grown, she is angry, and who knows 'what' she believes, at this point in time. Difficult to blame her. Yet it's hard for me to let her go on this way. I wish I could help! Since I'll never email her, my hopes are that someone else reads this, knows her or her blog, and helps clear a few issues. We are a large society that is simultaneously small or family-like. :) 

Anyhow, even some adults don't know the difference between the way of life of VAD - and the way of life of Krishna Consciousness. At this point in time it's important we start to take notice - what is VAD lifestyle and what is "transcendental" Krishna Conscious lifestyle.  

I've written many times on VarnAshramaDharma. My summary in this post: while it sounds nice, Prabhupada said it's highly unlikely we would be able to 'successfully' do it in this age, and now we have seen that first hand.  

There is admittedly, a bit of initial confusion because he did say he had not yet created the 2nd half of the Movement, which is VAD. Yet it seems clarified to me via the following:

1- This requires a pure devotee to make sure it's done correctly, otherwise all sorts of bodily concept comes into play by those who want artificial elevation - or without the purifying work. [Holding tight to: "Me Tarzan - You Jane. lol] VAD has a lot in common with the Caste System, which Prabhupada regularly spoke against. While he offered a type of VAD that is different, we've yet to see it honestly put into action. This does not mean we can not create community, live in the country, have cows or farm. No. Simply the moment we label it VAD - ego's tend to start flying around.

2- We must be capable of following the basics before moving forward. Prabhupada taught we should not increase until we can maintain. We've yet to do that! [Really, I've run into too many strongly preaching VAD, when in truth trying to avoid the 4 regs or chanting their rounds - or want to chest thump or drink/get high, overlord, etc - and not to create sweet community.] Of course there are exceptions, but that circles back to the first point: It takes a pure devotee to successfully & correctly set-up, and maintain this properly in kali-yuga. 

   “First business is to become free from the designation. If you think yourself that "I am American," "I am Christian," "I am Hindu," "I am Indian," "I am black," "I am white," these are all designation. So sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam, when you become transcendental to all designation, when you come to the platform to understand that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul," brahma-bhutah prasannatma, then you become happy.” Srila Prabhupada lecture, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.16.16, Los Angeles, January 11, 1974

With that said, I now suspect many of the girls received predominant VAD training. Maybe mixed. And not everyone. It depended on which school they attended. For example, I know good Gurukula's with full curriculum that pass state examination, coupled with nice teachers, and watchful eyes of [real] protection. (Tho I now favor the Day School Gurukula's.)

Backtracking a bit, when I first joined, I noticed some men had bad attitudes about women. Tho also noticed many other men were truly not like that at all; instead would work toward higher spiritual life & realizations. IMHO spiritual people should behave spiritually. It will "show." I wondered why authorities did nothing to men who had woman issues. Now nearly 40 years later, it has grown - they have bigger issues. To blow on a boil will not make it go away. 

That's part of the reason I advocate folks to create their own home altar etc. [See sidebar or scroll past end of this post.] 

I simultaneously feel temple training is important and mostly am pointing this out because I've run into far too many who joined after I did while putting me down because I had experiences of the old days, including my belief in temple training [a program set up by Prabhupada]. This is not chest-thumping, merely it's a fact. I remain thankful to have been there at the right place - right time, and believe any new devotee can figure out how to do this at home. Tho that has less to do with Gurukuli's - so moving on....

The times they've been a changing. - Prabhupada instructed upon his departure - not to change a thing. I pray for the day those with power wake up and reverse the changes. In the meantime, practice at home. Watch videos of the Morning and Evening Programs too. Participate at home while watching.

Currently authorities even shut down many brahmacarini ashramas - which is contradictory to Prabhupada's instructions. Why is it important to maintain brahmacari /male ashrama's but not brahmacarini / female? This idea is coming from others, not from Prabhupada

     "If Yamuna and yourself can develop such an institution of a woman's asrama, that will be nice. You are all elderly devotees. I think that this will be a 'good idea." Srila Prabhupada Letter to Palika devi dasi, Bombay - Los Angeles, 13 November, 1975

Considering those "elderly devotees" were young ha, we see here Prabhupada views them according to how long they've been a devotee. Especially we see that young women have a right to a brahmacarini ashrama and lifestyle - the choice should be available.

Some years back I decided to do significant investigation into the many comments from Prabhupada about women. When I did, the nonsense I had been told he said, either got tossed as bogus, or clarified. 

By 'clarified' I do not mean made ok. After all, some even tried to teach to us [fully grown women] "stuff" that turned out ...inaccurate. Partial quotes were used, "selective" quoting was used, snipping off endings of his words that would have changed his entire point, and more

Heck, I even know a woman who wrote a letter to Srila Prabhupada asking if she could home-school her children and the authorities told her Prabhupada replied, no, she must send them to Gurukula. Years later she was given the actual letter that he wrote, only to discover Prabhupada said the exact opposite! [She told me this personally. Fortunately, this letter is now freely available to all.

Don't assume Prabhupada said something until you check it out for yourself, and thoroughly to see if it was snipped, or misrepresented, misquoted, selectively quoted, or if there was a greater/more clear & more honest explanation or meaning. 


It took a lot of study, a lot of undoing of what was taught  to me. [To clarify, there were others taught me the opposite! Thank goodness for them.]

Oh I always knew the nonsense was - well - nonsense. But I wanted quotes. Proof.

The little gurukuli girls will not know it's inaccurate nonsense. When these kids grow up.... well I just hope someone clarifies it for them. Thus I am putting my contribution "out there." 

One thing I noticed, being a disciple and choosing to delve into spiritual life, is that Srila Prabhupada often said things we did not understand. If you look, he never behaved in the intense ways some of us did; yet many insisting they were following scripture. Were they? Maybe in their minds, or doing the best they could. Prabhupada would often receive a question from one of us, which we thought sounded in agreement to something he instructed - and he would give a resounding "No." 

In life he was practical, plus always lived what he believed
Therefore I present the following quotes from Prabhupada, which I believe should clear up a lot.

~~**~~**~~**~~

"Woman means for man the woman is woman, and for the woman the man is woman. Not that woman means a particular class. Woman means which are enjoyable. So in this material world, the man is enjoyable by the woman, and the woman is enjoyable by the man. " ~ Srimad-Bhagavatam. Vrndavana, 10 September 1976

~~*~~

“As far as boys and girls lecturing in the morning, that doesn’t make any difference. Either boy or girl devotees may lecture if they choose to do. We have no such bodily designations, male or female. Krsna consciousness is on the spiritual platform …”
 

Srila Prabhupada Letter to Syama devi dasi, 21 October 1968

~~*~~ 

"This has killed the Indian, I mean Vedic culture when they began to claim superiority simply by birth without any qualification. That killed the whole civilization…"
 

Srila Prabhupada, morning walk conversation; December 1973
 

~~*~~

"These women are not ordinary women. They are preachers. They are Vaisnavas. By their association one becomes a Vaisnava." ~ Srila Prabhupada, morning walk, March 27, 1974 

~~*~~

"Who has introduced these things, that women cannot have chanting japa in the temple, they cannot perform the arati and so many things? If they become agitated, then let the brahmacaris go to the forest, I have never introduced these things. The brahmacaris cannot remain in the presence of women in the temple, then they may go to the forest, not remaining in New York City, because in New York there are so many women, so how they can avoid seeing? Best thing is to go to the forest for not seeing any women, if they become so easily agitated, but then no one will either see them and how our preaching work will go on?" 

Srila Prabhupadas letter, Bombay 3 December, 1972


~~*~~ 

"Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience." ~  Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 10.34

~~*~~

"Regarding your questions about the examination to be given, the girls will also be able to take these. In Krishna Consciousness there is no distinction between girls and boys. The girls also may become preachers if they are able." 

Srila Prabhupada letter to Himavati devi dasi, 1969

~~*~~

"If a woman is perfect in Krsna consciousness... Just like Jahnava-devi, Lord Nityananda's wife, she was Acarya. She was Acarya. She was controlling the whole Vaisnava community." ~ Srila Prabhupada Interview, Toronto, 18 June 1976

~~*~~ 

“We are Vaisnavas. We are not concerned with male or female position in life. That is simply body concept of life. It is not spiritual. Whether one is male or female, it does not matter, simply chant Hare Krishna and follow the four regulative principles and your life will be perfect.”

– Prabhupada Letter to Jennifer, 15 February 1975


~~*~~

"If a person is not in Krsna consciousness and is bereft of spiritual power, he cannot protect his wife from the path of repeated birth and death. Consequently such a person cannot be accepted as a husband. A wife should dedicate her life and everything to Krsna for further advancement in Krsna consciousness. If her husband abandons Krsna consciousness and she gives up her connection with him, she follows in the footsteps of the dvija-patnis, the wives of the brahmanas who were engaged in performing sacrifices. The wife is not to be condemned for cutting off such a relationship."  

Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 15.264, P

~~*~~

"I can only suggest, and wherever possible that can be applied, but I do not force anyone. After all, you are working too hard to please Krsna only out of love for me, so there can be no question of force if love is there. We should not ever try to force anyone or reduce our Society to an impersonal business exchange. This will kill everything. Our only purpose in every endeavor is simply to make advancement in spiritual life or in pleasing Krsna." ~ SP letter to Bhakta dasa -- Sydney 9 April, 1972

~~*~~

"It is especially mentioned here that a devotee must be free from all violence.. Lord Caitanya has recommended that a devotee not commit violence to any living entity." ~ Srimad Bhagavatam 3-29-23

~~*~~

"If your husband cannot follow our principles properly, you are not to think that you should let that hamper your spiritual life. You should stay with us and cultivate spiritual life peacefully under Krishna's protection and care. If he is not interested in spiritual life, let him do as he pleases. I have given all of my disciple instructions to follow for making spiritual advancement, but if they do not have the desire to follow, then what can I do? Anyone who is unwilling to follow our regulated principles, you should not live or associate closely with such a person." 

~ SP letter to Caitanya Dasi, Los Angeles, 25 April, 1973

~~*~~

From Krishna Book:

"Just see how fortunate these women are who have so devotedly dedicated their lives to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna ... They have surpassed all of us in firm faith and devotion unto Krsna."

~Krsna Book, Ch. 23 Delivering the wives of the Brahmana's


~~*~~

“In India all the acaryas and their descendants later on acted only from the man’s side. Their wives were at home because that is the system from old times that women are not required to go out. But in Bhagavad-gita we find that women are also equally competent like the men in the matter of [the] Krishna Consciousness Movement. Please therefore carry on these missionary activities, and prove it by practical example that there is no bar for anyone in the matter for preaching work in Krishna Consciousness.”

Srila Prabhupada Letter to Himavati devi dasi, 20 December 1969


~~*~~

"So you are an intelligent girl, I need not talk much, and be happy in Krishna Consciousness business. I am very glad to learn that Muralidhara, Devahuti and Bharadraja are working together. You simply supervise them. I know Bharadraja is a very fast working painter and if he sticks to his work, certainly he will do wonderfully." ~ Srila Prabhupada Letter to female disciple, Los Angeles, 14 January 1970

~~*~~

 "There is no difference between a good wife and good intelligence." ~ SB 4.26.16
 

~~*~~

"...One who is envious of or inimical towards others never experiences any happiness. A devotee's vision, therefore, must be perfect. He should ignore bodily distinctions and should only see the presence of the part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord Himself in His plenary expansion as Supersoul. That is the vision of a pure devotee. The bodily expressions of a particular type of living entity is always ignored by the devotee." Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.29.23

~~*~~

"You do not think that only woman is woman. The man is also woman. Don't think that the woman is condemned; man is not. Woman means enjoyed, and man means enjoyer. So this feeling, this feeling is condemned. If I see one woman for enjoyment, so I am man. And if woman also sees another man for enjoyment, she is also man. Woman means enjoyed and man means enjoyer. So anyone who has got feeling of enjoyment, he is considered to be man. So here both sexes meant for... Everyone is planning, "How I shall enjoy?" Therefore he is purusa, artificially. Otherwise, originally, we are all prakrti, jiva, either woman or man. This is outward dress." Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Srimad-Bhagavatam. Vrndavana, 1 September 1975

 
ME: I had a quote where Prabhupada refers to some men in kali yuga as "stri" which means woman or on that platform. Not all men are stri, just pointing out the way he uses it - often differs from how we use it. Someday I'll find that quote and add it here, but I know it's out there because in the past I quoted it to make a point. It's about "consciousness," not body. For those who want to remain on the bodily platform, there's always VAD :)

~~*~~ 

"Love is the basic principle of Krsna consciousness, and love is the basic principle of all our activities. So love is there, dormant, but that love is not being properly utilized. So Krsna consciousness is the movement to revive that original love and the original person with whom that loving transaction can be executed."  ~ Srila Prabhupada, Interview, September 24, 1968, Seattle

~~*~~

"Regarding their dogmatic insistence, everyone thinks
like that, so if one is not prepared to advance more, it is better to avoid them. If one is limited by formulas only, he is described as an animal bound up by the master and unable to move beyond the length of the chain. So we are concerned only with people who are not chained by anything."  ~ Srila Prabhupada letter, April 28, 1970


~~*~~

"Vedic religion means varnasrama-dharma." 

~ SP Conv. - Vrindavan 28/6/76

Bingo! Prabhupada goes on to explain VAD is about not breaking or disagreeing with laws, etc. This is not to be ignored. However, he gave us something higher, and that is too often being ignored!


~~*~~

“Vaisnave jati-buddhih. If anyone considers a Vaisnava, a devotee of the Lord, in the categorical estimation of birth, then that is hellish consideration.”  ~ Srila Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam, 6.1.41-42 lecture

~~*~~

"It is the quality, not the birth. They have made it now like that. That has caused the downfall of Hindu culture in India, when it came to the caste system. It is not [supposed to be] the caste system by birth. In Bhagavad Gita it is said, ‘By quality...’"

(Srila Prabhupada, conversation with banker; September 1973)


~~*~~

"If we make distinction between man and woman, black and white, then how in our temple we are enjoying together? Because we... Actually, we are equal on the spiritual platform. We do not say that 'You are woman. You cannot become my disciple,' or 'You are black; therefore you cannot become my disciple.' No. We welcome everyone. So they may not misunderstand. Just you can issue one statement that 'We say that if you want to see everyone equally, treat everyone equally, then you have to come to the spiritual platform, Krsna consciousness."  ~ Srila Prabhupada Arrival Lecture., Philadelphia, 11 July 1975

~~*~~

"One should not be very proud of his intelligence but should give all respect to others. In this way, one can chant Hare Krsna offenselessly." Sri Siksastaka, 3

~~*~~

“So this life should be utilized for purifying ourself from this designation. If you keep the designation then there is no possibility of purification. You'll get another designation. Now we are Indian or Iranian, next a sparrow or a crow or a tree or a demigod. Another designation. Just like the same, the child, a baby, on the lap of the mother, a baby, and another designation, boy, another designation young man, another designation, old man. But the spirit soul is the same. He's simply changing designations. So freedom means freedom from all these designations." 

Srila Prabhupada Evening Conversation, Aug 76, Tehran

~~*~~

"According to scriptural injunctions, one is forbidden to engage with any woman other than ones wife. All other women are to be considered as one's mother. But in spite of such injunctions, a man is still inclined to have sex relationships with other women." Bhagavad Gita 3.34

~~*~~

"If a man is in good consciousness, he consults with his religious wife, and as a result of this consultation, with intelligence, one advances in his ability to estimate the value of life. In other words, if one is fortunate enough to have a good, conscientious wife, he can decide by  mutual consultation that human life is meant for advancing in Krsna
consciousness." ~ SB 4.27.6


~~*~~ 

"By a false display of religious sentiments, they present a show of devotional service while indulging in all sorts of immoral activities. In this way they pass as spiritual masters and devotees of God. Such violators of religious principles have no respect for the authoritative acaryas, the holy teachers in the strict disciplic succession (...) Instead, to mislead the people in general, they themselves become so-called acaryas, but do not even follow the principles of the acaryas." 

Sri Isopanisad, mantra 12, purport
 

~~*~~ 

"A jealous person in the dress of a Vaisnava is not at all happy to see the success of another Vaisnava in receiving the Lord's mercy. Unfortunately, in this Age of Kali there are many mundane persons in the dress of Vaisnavas, and Srila BhaktivinodaThakura has described them as disciples of Kali. He says, kali-cela. He indicates that there is another Vaisnava, a pseudo Vaisnava with tilaka on his nose and kanthi beads around his neck. Such a pseudo Vaisnava associates with money and women and is jealous of successful Vaisnavas. Although passing for a Vaisnava, his only business is earning money in the dress of a Vaisnava." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 1.218 purport)


 I am "not" judging or evaluating anyone - that's not my job. Tho am saying, any man who abuses his wife and worse tries to blame jagat guru Srila Prabhupada and /or Vedic scriptures -  is creating heavy karma for himself. ...Right here is an opportunity for such men to fall to their knees and beg forgiveness from any Vaisnavi they abused, next - Prabhupada, then to Krishna. Not cheap lip service, it must be supported by recognizable change via improved, consistent better behavior. If they need professional help, let go of the ego and get it. It's that, or very bad karmic backlash - take your pick.

~~*~~

Prabhupada does not limit study or knowledge to men but wants it for everyone, which these days can be done at home:

"It has been brought to my attention that some of my students are not studying. I do not know if this applies to you or the devotees under your care, but I must stress again that we must have our classes one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening and the devotees must also chant regularly their sixteen rounds and follow the principles. The rest of the time they may go on distribution of my books. So I hope you will do the needful in this regard." Srila Prabhupada, letter, February 14, 1973

~~*~~

"Inform my daughter Sathi to abandon her relationship with her husband because he has fallen down. When the husband falls down, it is the wife's duty to relinquish the relationship." Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya 15.264

No, I'm not advocating everyone leave their husband. lol Just clarifying the idea one must stay when there is abuse as bogus. Tho do try [serious] counseling.

~~*~~

 "Nonviolence is generally taken to mean not killing or destroying the body, but actually nonviolence means not to put others into distress." Bhagavad Gita 13.8-12 P

~~*~~

"I am not a brahmana, I am not a ksatriya, I am not a vaisya or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmacari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis. " -Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 13.80

~~*~~

"This is a new thing in the history of the sankirtana movement. In India all the acaryas and their dependents later on only acted from the man's side. Their wives were at home because that was the system from old times. But in Bhagavad-gita we find that women are also equally competent like the men in the matter of Krishna Consciousness movement. Please therefore carry on these missionary activities, and prove it by practical example that there is no bar for anyone in the matter of preaching Krishna Consciousness."

Srila Prabhupada Letter to female disciple, 1969-12-20


~~*~~

"There is no competition. Every word is for the good of human society.Every word, each and every word. Therefore we stress so much in thebook distribution. Somehow or another, if the book goes in one hand, he will be benefited. At least he will see, 'Oh, they have taken so much price. Let me see what is there.' If he reads one sloka, his life will be successful."


Srimad Bhagavatam 1974 Lecture

~~*~~

"One should become a perfect gentleman and learn to give proper respect to others."  

From: Sri Isopanisad, 1, Purport 

~*~

"The qualification of guru is that he must be fully cognizant of the science of Krsna. Then he or she can become guru."

Srila Prabhupada, June 18, 76, Toronto Interview with Professor's O'Connell, Motilal & Shivaram

~~*~~

"You may call the Vedas Hindu, but "Hindu" is a foreign name. We are not Hindus." ~ Sri Isopanisad, Introduction 

~~*~~

"You will be glad to know that we draw no distinction of caste,
creed, or nationality"


 Srila Prabhupada letter to HareKrishnaJi Das, L.A., Ca., Feb. 1, 1968

~~*~~

"So far as your question regarding women, I have always accepted the service of women without any discrimination" ~ Srila Prabhupada letterto Gurudasa, 1972

It's important to point out, not all devotee men are misogynists - just as all women are not abusers. Simply the misogynists who cause trouble seem very loud. But IMHO they are actually the minority. Also imho they are more often those with mental problems or emotional issues or poor upbringing /childhood issues, and more - which they had prior to ever becoming a devotee. Some were not trained properly which didn't help, yet why is it that other men read the same thing and underwent the exact same training - but never abused or started chest-thumping and even remained humble without feeling emasculate in marriage or toward women in general? Because they were healthy, had a good sense of self, and understood the teachings in a higher manner due to a more pure mind to begin with. Yet anyone can get there, if willing to do the work. [And no, I don't think women are superior nor am I man-bashing. I just believe in truth-telling and it's time to create some balance - at least so our kids don't go astray.]

~~*~~ 

"These women are not ordinary women. They are preachers. They are Vaisnavas. By their association one becomes a Vaisnava."
 

Srila Prabhupada, morning walk, March 27, 1974 

~~*~~

Some VAD men will not let their wife go out on Sankirtana because they say it removes her shyness and chastity. Thus I post the following letter from Prabhupada to his female disciples:

"My Dear Daughters:

"Regarding the problem of how to be aggressive on Sankirtana and submissive in the temple, my request to you is that you should go on being aggressive on Sankirtana. I myself was aggressive in coming to your country. No one invited me. Even you boys and girls did not invite me. But, I came and I preached aggressively, and therefore you are now my disciples. So now you well know you have to approach the men and women of your country, and it may appear that superficially that you have to disturb them. They are doing their business peacefully, and you come and disturb them, "Please take this Krishna book.''


Of course it is good that you are concerned about being chaste, shy, and submissive amongst your godbrothers. Canakya Pandit said that every man should see all other women as mother, and similarly a woman should see all men as son. So what is your difficulty? If you are completely aggressive on Sankirtana, there should be no material aggressiveness and pride remaining. You have to distinguish between devotees and non-devotees." ~ Prabhupada letter, Dallas, 30 Jul, Wed 1975


EDITED: A secondly question may arise: Why only women must be shy, chaste, etc? I thought about this. The wording may be different, but show one place he says men should be loud, obnoxious, do whatever they want, be mean, that they cannot cause trouble in society, unchaste [a word they don't like used on males but a point needs to be made]. There isn't. Matter of fact, he says some men do indeed cause problems to a society!  ...Men are suppose to be gentlemen, use sense-control which includes sex desire, and so on. 

                



[This is NOT about man bashing - ever. Simply there has been so much woman-bashing that we may view things in lop-sided ways.]

"But the present age of kali is full of ignorant men. Even those who are born by a brahmana father are, in the present age, no better than the sudra or the women. " SB 1.3. 21

~~*~~

"Interviewer: How would I recognize a true follower of the Krishna consciousness movement by his behavior? What would his traits be? What would his outward expressions be?

Srila Prabhupada: He'd be a very perfectly gentleman, that's all. You could not find any fault in him." ~ July 29, 1971


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"Simply we are teaching that “Become God conscious.” God is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian. He’s God. And we are also not Hindu or Muslim or Christian. This is our bodily designation. We are all pure, part and parcel of the Supreme." ~ Srila Prabhupada, BhagavadGita Lecture, NY 23/11/66)

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"As far as my blessing is concerned, it does not require my physical presence. If you are chanting Hare Krsna there, and following my instructions, reading the books, taking only Krsna prasadam etc., then there is no question of your not receiving the blessings of Lord Caitanya, whose mission I am humbly trying to push on." Srila Prabhupada letter, 30/6/74

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While we of course want to save marriages but if unsavable, please notice Prabhupada's reply to one female disciple below who had gotten a divorce and was preparing to remarry. It was not one of judgement nor condemnation, instead it's one of encouragement:

"My special blessings for Palika and Kausalya prabhus who are doing so much for our Lord and they must be specifically blessed to go back home, back to Godhead without any delay for waiting for the next life. Thank them very much on my behalf."


Srila Prabhupada Letters, 1972 Aug 28, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Chanting is devotional service. Any body can partake - anytime, anywhere, any place:

“Chanting the holy name is the chief means of attaining love of Godhead. This chanting or devotional service does not depend on any paraphernalia, nor on one’s having taken birth in a good family. By humility and meekness one attracts the attention of Krsna. That is the verdict of all the Vedas. Therefore if one becomes very humble and meek, he can easily attain the lotus feet of Krsna in this age of Kali. That is the fulfillment of all great sacrifices, penances and austerities because when one achieves ecstatic love of Godhead, he attains the complete perfection of life. Therefore whatever one does in executing devotional service must be accompanied with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord." Bhakti-sandarbha 270- Caitanya Caritamrita, AntyaLila 4.71

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"I shall be glad if the Brahmacarinis can have nice husbands, and live as Grhasthas. But if they cannot find out good husbands, it is better to remain a Brahmacarini all the life, even though it is little difficult."

SP letter to Satsvarupa Montreal, 8 August, 1968

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"One cannot be a husband if he cannot liberate his dependents from inevitable death."

~ Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 15.264, P

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Another problematic belief or misunderstanding among certain men - tho not all men - is that a woman may never remarry but it's ok for a man. Clarification is needed:

 "... both your wife and yourself cannot think of marrying again; that is not my advice. Even if your wife decides to marry again, for your part you should forget it; and if by the Grace of Krishna you can live peacefully without any wife, completely devoted to Krishna Consciousness, that will be the best part of your life. You can love and put all your affection to the child, and try to make him fully Krishna Conscious."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Rupanuga -- Vrindaban 9 September, 1967

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"This is the symptom of an ācārya. An ācārya who comes for the service of the Lord cannot be expected to conform to a stereotype, for he must find the ways and means by which Kṛṣṇa consciousness may be spread. Sometimes jealous persons criticize the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because it engages equally both boys and girls in distributing love of Godhead. Not knowing that boys and girls in countries like Europe and America mix very freely, these fools and rascals criticize the boys and girls in Kṛṣṇa consciousness for intermingling. But these rascals should consider that one cannot suddenly change a community’s social customs. However, since both the boys and the girls are being trained to become preachers, those girls are not ordinary girls but are as good as their brothers who are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, to engage both boys and girls in fully transcendental activities is a policy intended to spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. These jealous fools who criticize the intermingling of boys and girls will simply have to be satisfied with their own foolishness because they cannot think of how to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness by adopting ways and means that are favorable for this purpose. Their stereotyped methods will never help spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, what we are doing is perfect by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for it is He who proposed to invent a way to capture those who strayed from Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

[ 04. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta / Ādi-līlā / Ādi 7: Lord Caitanya in Five Features / Ādi 7.31–32]


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Prabhupada is not God. Unfortunately some of these kids were trained to think of him that way. What happens when it reveals itself as not a fact? They loose faith. The story of a certain devotee, now passed away so will omit names, but he once said to Prabhupada that he was God. The reply? From memory: "And when I die you can become God." ha  Prabhupada did not pretend to know everything and has even said he only knows what God lets him know. This does not subtract from the fact he is a pure devotee, tho that is better explained in other posts listed at the sidebar. Below is a sweet letter from him to a little girl in school:


Srila Prabhupada's Letter, Krsna Devi, - Tehran 14 March, 1975, Dallas

My dear Krishna Dasi,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated March 4th, 1975 and have noted the contents. Thank you for the karatala bag. It is very beautiful. I was very happy to see all of you bright-faced children at Gurukula. And I am already thinking of when I can come and visit there again. You are so fortunate to have such training in Krishna Consciousness from the very beginning of childhood.

So, take full advantage of it and follow very obediently what your older Godbrothers and Godsisters ask you to do. Chant Hare Krishna all day and dance nicely. Eat nice Krishna Prasadam and go back to Godhead, back to home. I hope this meets you in good health.

Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
ACBS/ps



I posted this letter only to show where his heart was / is. 

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UPDATE: Recently I've heard some say they merely don't like the idea of women behaving competitively against men. I would agree [as well as in reverse]. Yet my experience has not show me women competing against men. Maybe some are out there, some of every type are out there, but what is predominately going on? 

I can only speak from my personal experience, which is the exact opposite of this claim. That the women, correction Vaisnavai's, are simply working with their highest God-given abilities to serve Krishna their best. No one should consider that competition. If they do better than someone else, that someone else should not try to drag them down - instead work on self-improvement.  

I truly believe some very nice, innocent devotee men only believe their is competition between the genders due to the 'clever' preaching of those struggling in a variety of areas of life. After all, they tricked a variety of persons. It's how they overcompensate for their personal lack, and unwillingness to work on anarthas - by reducing others. So lets not lump all men into the same category. Many of the good guy have been deceived as well.

But even if someone insists women are competing, remember, Prabhupada was fine with "transcendental" competition. Back in the day, when nearly everyone did Sankirtana, each morning the distribution points were read. They did not read the women's points to the women side, and men points to men side - no. It was read collectively. And common was for women to do the best. [I was actually terrible at it, but tried and am proud of that.] Simultaneously, there were men who did just as well, and better. They put in the effort and did not feel inferior in this so-called competition.  

If someone supersedes your own ability, do something about it via yourself, not them. Actually, be happy for, and proud of them.

Anyhow, Prabhupada encouraged all of us to work with our fullest and highest potential. 

Prabhupada: "Everyone should be friendly for the service of the Lord. Everyone should praise another's service to the Lord and not be proud of his own service. This is the way of Vaisnava thinking, Vaikuntha thinking. There may be rivalries and apparent competition between servants in performing service, but in the Vaikuntha planets the service of another servant is appreciated, not condemned. This is Vaikuntha competition. There is no question of enmity between servants. Everyone should be allowed to render service to the Lord to his best ability, and everyone should appreciate the service of others. Such are the activities of Vaikuntha. Since everyone is a servant, everyone is on the same platform and is allowed to serve the Lord according to his ability."  Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.12, Purport 

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If any of the above bothers others, or they wish to debate them, sorry but not interested. I am far more concerned how misunderstandings, or overuse while ignoring important other quotes and points - have disturbed minds of others - whereas these specific quotes may bring them peace, a more balanced understanding, and back to Krishna. 

"Without much bother, if one simply keeps a picture of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at home and chants Hare Krsna, then one will realize God. Anyone can adopt this simple method. There is no expenditure, there is no tax, nor is there any need to build a very big church or temple. Anyone, anywhere, can sit down on the road or beneath a tree and chant the Hare Krsna mantra and worship God. Therefore it is a great opportunity." ~ Science of Self-Realization, p.134

                               [Chaitanya Mahaprabhu - most merciful incarnation of Krishna.]

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