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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Husband as Guru

Monday, 06 February 2017 / Published in Articles / 17,222 views

By Mahatma Das

Dear Devotee,

Recently an unmarried female devotee told me that a man was interested in getting to know her, and in their discussions he mentioned that ‘the husband is the guru.’ She asked me for guidance on the subject.

This article is what I wrote to clarify for her (and him) what it means for a husband to be a guru – and what it doesn’t mean; for misunderstanding what this means will be the cause of an unhappy marriage.

Even though Prabhupada writes that a failed marriage is usually the woman’s fault, if a woman has a good husband, she will stay loyal. As I often tell men, “Don’t make it difficult for your spouse to be a good wife.”

I had some reservations about making this letter public because I expect that some men will not agree with me (although I doubt any woman will disagree). But I decided to turn it into a newsletter because it is an important discussion.

I would be happy to hear your comments on this important subject.

May you always think of Krishna,

Mahatma das

Is it the Woman’s Fault?

Even though Prabhupada writes that a failed marriage is usually the woman’s fault, if a woman has a good husband, she will stay loyal. As I often tell men, “Don’t make it difficult for your spouse to be a good wife.”

The husband as the guru of the wife is an interesting topic. Some men operate under the paradigm that since I am the guru of my wife, she is duty-bound to do anything I ask of her. I am not saying it is not the duty of the wife to submissively serve the husband, but the idea that a husband has a right to be over-demanding of his wife reflects a misunderstanding of the duty of the husband.

You might think, “Are there really many men today in Iskcon who are that demanding?” Not only are there demanding men in Iskcon, some (perhaps many) are more demanding of their wives than men outside of Iskcon. My experience shows me that many men have misunderstood Prabhupada’s statements about the duty of a husband and the duty of a wife.

We have a higher divorce rate in Iskcon than in the outside society. We also have a high rate of unhappy marriages (devotees who remain married because they are dutiful, not because they are happily married). This problem is commonly caused by male devotees misunderstanding what it means to be a man.

In sastra we read that the husband is the guru. Many men believe this means the wife should obediently do whatever is asked of her, no matter how difficult or unreasonable it may be. But the husband does not have the right to be unreasonably demanding. This is not the kind of relationship a guru and disciple have.

When Prabhupada was asked by his disciple Vishal, “Should the wife do whatever the husband says?” Prabhupada replied, “And you should be so arrogant?”

What does it mean to be guru to a wife and what does it mean for the wife to see her husband as guru? Guru is one who is moving towards Krsna. If the husband is moving towards Krsna, naturally the wife will follow. And even if she doesn’t follow him perfectly, by serving him she partakes in his spiritual advancement. So husbands, your main duty as guru of your wives is to be steadily advancing in Krsna consciousness.

A Guru Shows Affection
A guru does not push the disciple beyond his or her limits. Neither should a husband. A guru encourages his disciple according to his propensity so that he is enlivened and happy. Women married to overly demanding men are rarely happy. This is because a woman wants a husband who is affectionate, not dictatorial.

Of course, a guru guides the disciple. But to guide the wife, and for the wife to want to listen to the husband, she must be well taken care of emotionally, not just taken care of materially. Disciples follow their guru because of the love and care they receive from him. The guru is full of affection for his disciple, always giving to the disciple more than the disciple is giving back. Thus the disciple wants to reciprocate. It must be the same with a husband.

Walk Your Talk
The husband/wife relationship is not meant to mimic a formal guru/disciple relationship, because the guru/disciple relationship is predominated by awe and reverence, whereas a husband/wife relationship is predominated by friendship and conjugal affection. So ‘husband as guru’ refers primarily to the man being spiritually strong, setting a good example, showing affection and inspiring his wife in spiritual life by his example.

Being guru means to “walk your talk.” If a man does this, naturally the woman will respect him. If he wants respect, he must act in a way that commands respect. If he doesn’t act respectfully, but only demands respect, he should not be surprised – or upset – when he doesn’t receive the respect he demands.

Listen to Me
If the husband is guru, doesn’t it mean it is his duty to instruct his wife? In Vedic times women did not receive diksa, so because the husband was trained in the gurukula he would take responsibility to give his wife the knowledge he received from his guru. Today, women have access to instructions from many gurus and teachers, so the role of the husband as sole spiritual teacher has changed.

Women appreciate husbands who follow Krsna consciousness well, but as mentioned above, it is unlikely that he is the one she receives most of her spiritual instructions from. This is because the husband/wife relationship is not primarily a teacher/student relationship; it is a partnership. Still, if a couple has a good relationship, and the husband is a good devotee, the wife will appreciate a husband who shares Krsna consciousness with her.

And men, beware that sometimes in the name of doing your duty to instruct your wife, you latch into a fault-finding session. And then you scratch your head, wondering why your wife is reluctant to listen to you in the future? When instructing your wife, especially in sensitive areas, do it with care, affection and sensitivity. If in the name of instructing your wife she becomes upset, unhappy or discouraged, you are failing in your duty as a husband/guru.

You Are Always a Servant
Men, remember you are a servant, not a master. It is sometimes a challenge to remember this in household life, but it is written on just about every page of Srila Prabhupada’s books; and I haven’t read any disclaimer stating that being a servant doesn’t apply to your wife.

Did I hear someone say, “If I do this I will be controlled by my wife. Then I am not a man.”?

Be a real man
Being masculine doesn’t mean to control the wife so as to ensure that one is not controlled by her. To be masculine is to make a wife happy, to fulfill her needs, and be sensitive to her ups and downs. If a man does not do this, then he is not being a real man. This means he is being controlled by the lower modes of nature and that he is being more feminine than masculine.

When sastra speaks of being controlled by women, it is not what most men think. To patiently take care of a woman’s needs, to listen to her when she is upset, to be a stable force for her when she is overly emotional, is what it means to be a man. If a man does this, he is sense controlled. If he can’t do this, he is being controlled by a woman’s behavior. This is what it really means to be controlled by a woman.

Unfortunately, many men are not good at being tolerant with their wives, and react to difficult situations by telling their wives they are emotional and they should just pull themselves together. Sometimes when the wife is upset they will argue or fight with her rather than try to understand and help her. Despite what some men think, fighting with a woman has nothing to do with being a strong man. It is the sign of a man who succumbs to the mode of passion and ignorance. Somehow, this fact is so clear to women yet so unclear to men.

Krsna is the supreme male, the supreme masculine, and He is submissive to Radharani. Krsna is never rough and tough with Radharani. He doesn’t yell at her or try to control her. He just tries to make her happy. This is what it means to be male. Of course, the movies portray males as being rough and tough, beating up other big rough and tough guys. But factually those “macho” men are only impressing other men, not other women. Women don’t like these “tough” guys. They like men who are sensitive to their needs.

Men who don’t want to (or can’t) regularly serve the needs of a woman as described above should not marry. If they already are married, they should understand that it is their duty to always show affection and kindness to their wives. Men who can’t take care of their wives well and make them happy are not fulfilling the duties of their asrama.

Purusa Bhava
When the man misunderstands his role as husband/guru, it is probably because his purusa nature is overtaking him (the enjoyer and controller consciousness). This is the potential danger of household life. The association of women tends to excite this enjoying and controlling nature. But bhakti is about serving. So a man shouldn’t think serving his wife means he is being controlled by her; he should think this is his natural position. His predominant role as protector and provider are both servant roles. And what is most important is that the service should be done with affection, sensitivity and understanding.

When there is affection and protection, then a wife will naturally subordinate herself. When there is force and demand, she doesn’t respond well. Yet, even if it works externally because the wife is dutiful, she won’t be happy. If a woman is not happy in her marriage, it usually means the man is doing something wrong. Where there is a happy woman, it generally means she has a good husband.

If a man thinks, “I am the guru of the family so my wife should simply obey me,” it means he wants the master-servant relationship to predominate in his marriage. But since the conjugal and sakhya moods predominate in marriage, the obedience he seeks will come naturally as a by-product of a good relationship, just as the disciple naturally wants to serve the guru in reciprocation of the guru’s affection. If a husband feels he has the right to force his wife to do things which cause her to be unhappy or put her in difficulty, he doesn’t understand his duty. To such husbands, we must ask the question, “Would you be okay with your daughter marrying a man just like you?”

Earn Your Wife’s Affection
It seems that some men care more about being obediently served than having a good relationship. They want their wives to be more like a mother than a wife, to take care of them just because they are the husband. Your mother will happily take care of you even if you don’t do anything for her, but wives are not mothers. Wives will not happily take care of husbands who don’t take good care of them. Men should not think that they automatically deserve the affection and service of their wives. They need to earn it by providing not only physical protection, but by providing emotional support.

Make Your Wife Happy
A wife who serves no matter how a man treats her is a special woman. But because she is special a man may not treat her well because he knows she will obediently serve no matter what. This is a common example of a marriage that continues because of the dutiful wife despite a negligent husband. But the marriage is actually a failure in terms of relationship. If a man does not make his wife happy, he is setting a bad example of what it means to be a husband – and he is failing in his asrama.

If a man tells a woman that the husband is the guru of the wife, she should ask him what he means by this. It is important that the man clearly understands what his role as guru is. If he misunderstands this, he will likely create an unhappy family life. Anyone who gets married for any other reason than to serve will both be let down and frustrate their spouse.

If a man acts like a real guru, his wife will naturally respect and serve him. If he demands respect without commanding it, it will not produce happy results.

Only Dead Bodies Stay In Their Houses!
Sadaputa Prabhu’s Books Are Back in Print

14 Responses to “Husband as Guru”

  1. govindanandini108 says :

    thank you for this very nice and essential information. it will be simply wonderful if more intelligent men help others to understand these issues and to clarify so many misunderstanding. creating loving families is one of our offerings to Srila Prabhupada and this honest and truthful insight helps a great deal to walk towards it.

    it actually helps more that putting all the pressure on women shoulders and keeping on denying things as they work, with a blind attitude based on a “my gender club protection agenda” which has never benefited anyone and on the contrary, has simply created more and more pain among and within families in ISKCON.

    it is sad, though, to confirm that among men there is such a pressure that the author of this clear piece of analysis knew in advance that many of them “wont like it.” on the way to God and still not liking to hear the truth…not a good combination.

    thank you again Mahatma prabhu for sharing this VERY IMPORTANT knowledge.
    yas Gndd.

  2. Pusta Krishna das says :

    This is the Kali-yuga. Both men and women can inspire Krishna consciousness for the other. Marriage does not mean that you stop your search for Krishna. That search must never stop. If ones’ wife can inspire Krishna seva for her husband, or the husband can inspire Krishna seva for the wife, the goal is to be inspired in one’s Krishna consciousness. It can become more of a “team” effort rather than a hierarchical rigid relationship. Indeed, one must never think that their partner is a slave to order about. Krishna sees and knows all, and the marriage relationship also is included in Krishna’s all knowing consciousness.

    We have heard it said that women are like a hot frying pan and men are like butter. That is very much an over-simplification designed to promote brahmacharya, and celibacy. The ideal is that sense control does not get put aside in marriage. You do not want a marriage that is characterized by animalistic lustful sex. That is not Krishna consciousness. In the Vedas, it is said that sex is only for procreation, and not for lustful pleasure. That is the ideal. So, can you tolerate a team-like approach to developing Krishna consciousness. Marriage is a two-way partnership and should never be husband centric or wife centric, but rather Krishna centric.

    If it is any other way, then beware the consequences of such a marriage. We learn in the Bhagavad Gita that from lust, anger arises. Hence, these marriages can easily end in divorce.

    Pusta Krishna das

  3. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    The Duty of Married Couples
    After his wedding, a rich man from Calcutta, who had taken shelter at the lotus feet of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, wished to know how he could utilize his time in hari-bhajana while situated in married life. With that purpose in mind, he approached Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura for instruction. The wealthy gentleman became very depressed when he was informed by Sarasvati Thakura that there might well be various obstacles in his attempt to perform hari-bhajana as a householder. Later on, this gentleman, accompanied by Srila Sarasvati Thakura, went to meet Srila Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja on the riverbank at Kuliya. When it was mentioned to Srila Babaji Maharaja that the gentleman had married, Babaji Maharaja commented, “Yes, it is all right that he has married. From this time on he will daily cook and offer foodstuffs to Lord Visnu. After offering it to Him, he will serve the prasada to his wife, and then as a Vaisnava he will take her prasada remnants. He will consider her as Krsna’s servitor and his spiritual master. He will not think of her as an object for sensual gratification. Everything in this world: wealth, jewelry, men and women, are all for worshipping Krsna: That which is meant for Krsna’s service should be utilized as such. Do not consider your wife as one meant for your service. Instead, respect her as a servitor of Krsna.”
    Here is the purport to Babaji Maharaja’s foregoing discussions with householders. The sense of proprietorship of one’s spouse is to be eschewed, and the conception of one’s spouse as Krsna’s worshipable servitor is to be nurtured. When one regards one’s mate as the servitor of the Lord and thus suitable for His enjoyment only, one can easily transcend the urge to indulge in illicit sex which so bedevils many a married couple.

    >>> Ref. VedaBase => BM 39: The Duty of Married Couples

  4. bbd says :

    If the proof is in the pudding, we (as an advertising spiritual movement) have no business telling people how to “successfully” maintain a healthy marriage, school children, and run farms…period. To do so is an act of hypocrisy to highest degree. The statistics are just not on our side.

    The attention of this movement needs to, as soon as possible, move away from the ritualistic and social distractions, and strictly focus on spiritual essence. Let people freely settle in their own family situations/lives and find what works for themselves. Stop instructing people how to “properly” or so-called “Vedically” live their lives.

    Let’s simply help others awaken to the awareness of Radha Krsna’s omnipotence and omnipresence. The only effective way to do this is to become aware ourselves.

    Bg 6.30: For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.

    SB 3.29.21: I am present in every living entity as the Supersoul. If someone neglects or disregards that Supersoul everywhere and engages himself in the worship of the Deity in the temple, that is simply imitation.

    SB 3.29.22: One who worships the Deity of Godhead in the temples but does not know that the Supreme Lord, as Paramātmā, is situated in every living entity’s heart, must be in ignorance and is compared to one who offers oblations into ashes.

    SB 11.2.41: A devotee should not see anything as being separate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Ether, fire, air, water, earth, the sun and other luminaries, all living beings, the directions, trees and other plants, the rivers and oceans — whatever a devotee experiences he should consider to be an expansion of Kṛṣṇa. Thus seeing everything that exists within creation as the body of the Supreme Lord, Hari, the devotee should offer his sincere respects to the entire expansion of the Lord’s body.

    SB 3.28.42: A yogi should see the same soul in all manifestations, for all that exists is a manifestation of different energies of the Supreme. In this way the devotee should see all living entities without distinction. That is realization of the Supreme Soul.

    SB 3.28.44: Thus the yogī can be in the self-realized position after conquering the insurmountable spell of māyā, who presents herself as both the cause and effect of this material manifestation and is therefore very difficult to understand.

  5. I appreciate this article as it breaks ground and dispels stereotypical Prabhu/master role expectations. It is important information. Many marriages face difficulties in the early stages, because there is uncertainty about which role or which partner fits in, in the home, or in the relationship.

    Such uncertainties can appear as behind-the-scenes tussles. After some time, couples will realise that each partner will yield to each other’s space requirements in pursuits of their interests in living and practicing Krishna consciousness. It is preferred that this happens sooner.

    Happier devotee couples allow each other such space and it helps to broaden the scope of service and family involvement. Without this, there is usually a restrictive and narrow definitions of role making that causes continual unease and unhappiness, especially when the Master role is misused.

    Thank you, ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  6. Puskaraksa das says :

    The keyword is “servant”! Everyone is a servant…!

    So, husband and wife are both servants. If one starts considering himself as master and beneficiary of sacrifices, then one’s vision and understanding becomes covered by Maya.

    bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
    suhrdam sarva-bhutanam
    jnatva mam santim rcchati

    The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.(B.g. 5.29)

    Srila Prabhupada refers to this verse often. For example:

    What are the truths regarding the living entities and the Supreme Personality of Godhead? What are their identities ? What are the specific values in the knowledge in the Vedas, and what are the necessities for the spiritual master and his disciples? (SB 3.7.38)

    “The living entities are constitutionally servitors of the Lord, who can accept all kinds of service from everyone. It is clearly declared (BG 5.29) that the Lord is the supreme enjoyer of the benefits of all sacrifices and penances, the proprietor of all that is manifested and the friend of all living entities. That is His real identity. Therefore, when the living entity accepts this supreme proprietorship of the Lord and acts in that attitude, he resumes his real identity. In order to elevate the living entity to this standard of knowledge, there is the necessity of spiritual association. The bona fide spiritual master desires that his disciples know the process of rendering transcendental service to the Lord, and the disciples also know that they have to learn about the eternal relationship between God and the living entity from a self-realized soul. To disseminate transcendental knowledge one must retire from mundane activities on the strength of enlightenment in knowledge in terms of Vedic wisdom.”

    Hence, the husband has to consider himself as a servant of Sri Guru and Krishna and consider that his service is to look after Krishna’s family. Hence, he must see his wife as Krishna dasi and his children as Krishna das and Krishna dasi.

    Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur prays:

    manasa, deha, geha, jo kichu mora
    arpilu tuwa pade, nanda-kishora!

    Mind, body, and family, whatever may be mine, I have surrendered at Your lotus feet, O youthful son of Nanda!

  7. Puskaraksa das says :

    So husband and wife must have as a common goal to please Guru and Krishna by their service.

    BG 2.41, Purport: “The resolute purpose of a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is based on knowledge. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ: a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the rare good soul who knows perfectly that Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa, is the root of all manifested causes. As by watering the root of a tree one automatically distributes water to the leaves and branches, so by acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can render the highest service to everyone—namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Kṛṣṇa is satisfied by one’s actions, then everyone will be satisfied.

    Service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As such, to be well versed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness one has to act firmly and obey the representative of Kṛṣṇa, and one should accept the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master as one’s mission in life.

    Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura instructs us, in his famous prayers to the spiritual master, as follows:

    yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
    yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ‘pi
    dhyāyan stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaṁ
    vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

    “By satisfaction of the spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes satisfied. And by not satisfying the spiritual master, there is no chance of being promoted to the plane of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. I should, therefore, meditate and pray for his mercy three times a day, and offer my respectful obeisances unto him, my spiritual master.”

    The whole process, however, depends on perfect knowledge of the soul beyond the conception of the body—not theoretically but practically, when there is no longer a chance for sense gratification manifested in fruitive activities. One who is not firmly fixed in mind is diverted by various types of fruitive acts.”

    Thus, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja told me several times that it is easier when husband and wife accept the same spiritual authority as guru. In this way, husband and wife may not receive contradictory instructions.

    For husband and wife team up to help each other in their seva, which includes raising Krishna conscious children, as well as in advancing spiritually.

  8. Srinjay says :

    On what basis do you make the following statement?

    We have a higher divorce rate in Iskcon than in the outside society. We also have a high rate of unhappy marriages (devotees who remain married because they are dutiful, not because they are happily married). This problem is commonly caused by male devotees misunderstanding what it means to be a man.

    Which outside society are you speaking of? USA, Bhutan, Singapore? First tell us who you are comparing ISKCON to. Then tell us what their divorce rate is, then tell us what the divorce rate in ISKCON is (if such a statistic is even available). And which part of ISKCON is that? ISKCON USA or India or Russia or some other place. Is it uniform in all parts of ISKCON?

    The same goes for your assertion that ISKCON has a high rate of unhappy marriages. What is the proof of that and in comparison to whom?

    You have not established that these assertions are even true, yet you inform us that you have discovered the cause of such yet unproven assertions.

  9. Srinjay says :

    You wrote:

    Is it the Woman’s Fault?
    Even though Prabhupada writes that a failed marriage is usually the woman’s fault, if a woman has a good husband, she will stay loyal.

    This is in reference to Srimad Bhagavatam 4.4.3.

    “Thereafter Sati left her husband, Lord Siva, who had given her half his body due to affection. Breathing very heavily because of anger and bereavement, she went to the house of her father. This less intelligent act was due to her being a weak woman.”

    And its purport where in Srila Prabhupada says:

    “…In this verse it is specifically mentioned that she wanted to leave such a great husband as Siva because of her womanly weakness. In other words, womanly weakness exists even in the relationship between husband and wife. Generally, separation between husband and wife is due to womanly behavior; divorce takes place due to womanly weakness. The best course for a woman is to abide by the orders of her husband. That makes family life very peaceful. Sometimes there may be misunderstandings between husband and wife, as found even in such an elevated family relationship as that of Sati and Lord Siva, but a wife should not leave her husband’s protection because of such a misunderstanding. If she does so, it is understood to be due to her womanly weakness.”

    In this case Sati had Lord Siva, the perfect husband, as her spouse still she disobeyed leading to her own death and the death of many brahmanas. The point being that Srila Prabhupada makes this comment in the case where the husband is ideal and not a bad husband as you imply.

    Today in modern western society there is “no fault” divorce, meaning that there is no need of a fault on part of the other spouse as a reason for divorce. It is an undeniable fact that 70% of such “no fault divorces” are initiated by women even though the husband has no fault – he was not abusive, irresponsible, etc. She just got tired of him divorced him and in so doing takes his home, 50% of his assets and pension, gets custody of the children and he has to pay her alimony – because the system is lopsidedly in favor of women. For this reason marriage rates are falling, as men are no longer willing to get married and thus risk financial and legal ruin at the whim of capricious women. Better for men to stay single.

  10. Puskaraksa das says :

    Hence, the question may be raised of each one’s level of spiritual advancement within a couple…!

    Indeed, it is not written in marble that the husband is more advanced spiritually than his wife. So, if he is not, how could he promote himself or claim to be “guru” or “the guru” of his wife in that case…?

    Of course, in the higher sense, the use of the word “guru” may be inappropriate. As it is, in Tattva, a bona fide Guru has to be ordered to act as Guru by his own Guru and has to be a pure devotee, i.e. a liberated soul. Otherwise, how could he liberate others and bestow prema bhakti upon them…? Moreover, how could a bona fide Guru could ever be so intimate with his disciple, as are husband and wife ?

    Of course, some may argue that in the lower sense, one may learn something from anyone (either what to do or what not to do…!) and accept so many so-called gurus, i.e. so many entities teaching him a lesson… But, that also stands valid for the wife to set a good example before her husband and help him spiritually.

    Indeed, the purpose of marriage is for two devotees to affectionately help each other progress on the spiritual path towards the ultimate goal of life, which is to attain Krishna prema.

    Thus, rather than artificially portraying each other in a would-be relationship of guru and disciple, both devotees, i.e. both spiritual brother and sister, should place themselves and act under the authority of their respective Guru, who ideally should be the same bona fide Guru, and serve together for the pleasure of Guru and Krishna.

    In this way, the mood should be a mood of cooperation.
    Neither of exploitation, nor of domination…!

    Rather, husband and wife should protect each other against the allurements of Maya.

    Yet, this being said, there are still laws of nature, both physical or more subtle, which are to be taken into consideration and respected, for a couple to function properly.

    In that respect, a good example may be the one of man and woman dancing… Naturally, the man will lead and the woman will harmoniously follow. Both of them will dance harmoniously, without stepping on each other’s toes. If the woman is a more expert in dancing, she may teach the man some new steps, but the man will keep leading the dance…

    This requires from the man to be humble enough to learn from his Godsister who is to be understood to be a jivatma, as he is, and for her to respect the harmony in the laws of God and Nature.

  11. Akruranatha says :

    Nice article. Not just husbands and gurus, but all relationships in varnasrama dharma are surcharged with spontaneous affection manifest often in exchanges of reverence on one side and blessings on the other. I was just reading this morning how such a powerful king as Prthu Maharaja offered everything to the Brahmanas, headed by the Four Kumaras. These relationships are not characterized by exploitation. The superior should still be self-realized and not think “I am actually worship able”. We should all do our particular duties while remembering that these are roles we are playing for the satisfaction of Krishna. Even Krishna plays the role of worshiping the brahmanas, and yet the genuine Brahmanas never become puffed up and forget their duties to worship Krishna and disseminate Vedic knowledge.

    In our impure Kali yuga atmosphere we have tried to erase all relationships of subordinate and superior because people are so foolish that they think being a superior is an opportunity to exploit, rather than a duty to protect, maintain, guide and bless, as the case may be. Little children are helpless, but parents affectionately guide them and look out for their welfare. Only a demon would sell his helpless child into slavery or steal the child’s property. In the same way, there are naturalaffectionate duties of all social superiors.

  12. yogasiromani says :

    I would like to ask clarification regarding these claims:
    “We have a higher divorce rate in Iskcon than in the outside society. We also have a high rate of unhappy marriages (devotees who remain married because they are dutiful, not because they are happily married). This problem is commonly caused by male devotees misunderstanding what it means to be a man.”

    Do you have any statistics to back up the first claim?
    And if the rate of unhappy marriages is high, what do you mean by “high”? Is this also a term you have chosen to contrast to marriages outside ISKCON?
    And finally, what is the basis of “commonly caused by male devotees…”? Does it mean that over 50% of unhappy marriages are caused by male devotees who misunderstood what it means to be a man?

    I am not questioning your conclusions, but for those not familiar with the issue, some reference to actual research would be helpful.

  13. Kanai Krsna dasa (HHBRS) says :

    Dear Mahatma prabhu,
    Please accept my humble obeisances,
    All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    You said:
    “We have a higher divorce rate in Iskcon than in the outside society. We also have a high rate of unhappy marriages (devotees who remain married because they are dutiful, not because they are happily married).”

    How accurate are these statements?
    Is it pleasing to Srila Prabhupada to propagate such negative views of Iskcon and Iskcon’s marriages?
    Please specify what was your sample population for such severe negative statements?
    I would also like to read the scientific protocol that was followed in your survey of Iskcon’s marriages that lead you to conclude these statements.
    Please provide more details about your scientific discovery on Iskcon’s marriages.

    your very fallen unworthy aspiring servant,
    Kanai Krsna Dasa.

  14. Sita Rama dasa 1962 says :

    I wrote an article several years ago, my logic was:
    Premise 1: Srila Prabhupada said that fights between a husband and wife are common, and not serious. They are like thunder with no lightning, or two goats butting heads and then frolicking together minutes later.
    Premise 2: If a female disciple frequently argued with her diksha guru it would be a serious thing.
    Conclusion: The “husband guru” is not on the same level of seriousness as the relationship between a female and her diksha guru.
    Some devotees were adamantly against my conclusion, but, based on the facts below, I believe they represent, only, themselves and a minute percentage of ISKCON men.
    I asserted that a man cannot control his wife the way a military commander controls his troops; because Mucakunda said after he defeats all the kings of the world he comes home and must surrender to the queens for sense gratification. The contenders stated their wives serve their senses but the wives did not control them. At the same time, they said the husband guru is more important than the diskha guru because the husband puts a roof over the woman’s head. They could only see their imagined control. They were oblivious to the fact that they must work/ serve to earn an income to pay the bills.
    Implicit in the instruction of Veda’s, for the wife to cooperate, is that women can be too demanding. Those making the arguments above must either be divorced and imagining an, idealized, relationship, or the wife is controlling the husband so cleverly that the he has no clue of it. If people want to deceive themselves, Krishna allows it; but those who do not hate the fact that they must be controlled either by Krishna or maya, acknowledge that their material attachments requires their serving another’s sense enjoyment. They agree to cooperate to fulfill each other’s material needs, in moderation, while mutually supporting each other’s spiritual advancement.