You can submit your article, report, announcement, ad etc. by mailing to [email protected]

Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Chastity – What Does It Actually Mean?

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 / Published in Blog thoughts / 11,658 views






By Devaki Devi Dasi

On the 26th of July we welcomed 40 ladies in Kharkov/Ukraine, who had traveled all the way from Moscow, Minsk, Moldova, Crimea and various corners of Ukraine to participate in the two-week course for ladies entitled “Exploring the Roots of Spiritual Culture”. As every year we had arranged for their accomodation in a nearby hostel of a ladies’ college. Our youngest participant was ten years of age and the oldest mid fifty, and everyone was excited to embark on this transformational journey. Each and every participant received a colorful folder with printed materials and articles. We had a tight schedule with a three hours’ session in the mornings, and another 2 hours in the afternoon. Every morning we began the lessons with a role play demonstrating the topics of the previous day’s discussions. Whenever ten-year old Manjari took part, the role plays were especially heart moving and sweet.

One of the many captivating topics was chastity – what exactly does it mean? These days we often have a very shallow and superficial understanding of this most important quality, and since women in materialistic culture don’t aspire for it at all, the term is therefore almost lost and forgotten today. I distinctly remember how I was preaching at a Sunday program many years ago in Sydney, Australia, and I mentioned this term ‘chastity’ to some newcomers. One of the ladies exclaimed with a thousand question marks written all over her face: “Chastity? What’s THAT??” Also in the German language the term chastity (Keuschheit) sounds like something from the Middle Ages.

The two main tools for a woman to cultivate chastity are tolerance and shyness. Unless a woman is tolerant, she will demand, complain, answer back, get disturbed at the slightest provocation and inconvenience, and can easily leave her husband and walk out. Tolerance is a most important quality within spiritual practice. It is the main criterion in order to measure a devotee’s advancement and spiritual strength. Tolerance indicates that the false ego is subdued and reduced. Prahlada Maharaja and Haridas Thakur are always famous examples for the topmost level of tolerance. Also Devahuti serves as a wonderful example of a wife following her husband in utter tolerance and submission. And she received such outstanding rewards— great opulences in the flying mansion which Kardama Muni created, and finally giving birth to the Supreme Lord Himself! What more would a woman desire?! She received those wonderful benedictions by paying the price of serving her husband in tolerance and submission. The main tools for cultivating tolerance however are humility and firm faith in Krsna. Unless these two elements are there, it will be impossible for a person to be tolerant.

Of course, in material life tolerance is not given any credit at all, in fact, it is seen as weakness. Very often we hear people say: “I’m not going to tolerate this. Who do you think I am….!?” and “How long should I tolerate this nonsense?!” It is considered to be a sign of strength and victory not to tolerate. However, within spiritual life the values are the diametric opposite. To perform tapasya is of greatest importance for spiritual progress–not only for men, but also for ladies. There are many purports where Srila Prabhupada describes the purifying effects of tapasya. All great personalities such as Dhruva Maharaja, Lord Brahma, the Pracetas received great mercy and empowerment by performing tapasya. For a woman, the field of tapasya is within marriage and family life. This is her ksetra to engage in tapasya and cultivate tolerance, and if she does so she will become spiritually strong and very powerful.

The quality of shyness is also commonly misunderstood in a rather shallow and superficial way. We often confuse shyness with mentalness and being on the bodily platform. As a rule when a woman is “too shy” to say anything, it is rather her being too self-conscious and on the mental platform, fearing to make a fool out of herself. But this actually is not shyness.

In the purport to SB.1.9.27. Srila Prabhupada very nicely describes the quality of shyness as follows: “As far as women class are concerned, they are accepted as a power of inspiration for men. As such, women are more powerful than men. Mighty Julius Caesar was controlled by a Cleopatra. Such powerful women are controlled by shyness. Therefore, shyness is important for women. Once this control valve is loosened women can create havoc in society by adultery….”

The analogy of shyness being a control valve is simply excellent. And this control valve is meant to keep the powerful feminine energy within and stop it from bursting out into the world. Shyness means to resist the temptation of enjoying the effects of one’s powerful feminine energy–even on the most subtle levels. It means a woman resists the temptation to show off. This is shyness. And as Srila Prabhupada describes, once this control valve is loosened, women can create havoc in human society. This is what is going on in these modern days. Any woman can bewilder any man if she tries hard enough–such is the power of the feminine energy. Therefore it has to be controlled through shyness. Today women as a rule have lost this quality, and shyness is rarely to be found – even within ISKCON.

In SB.1.10.16 Srila Prabhupada gives another detailed elaboration on the quality of shyness: “Out of loving desire to see the Lord, the royal ladies of the Kurus got up on the top of the palace, and smiling with affection and shyness, they showered flowers upon the Lord.” Purport: “Shyness is a particular extra natural beauty of the fair sex, and it commands respect from the opposite sex….This incident from the Mahabharata period proves definitely that the ladies of the palace observed strict parda (restricted association with men), and instead of coming down in the open air where Lord Krsna and others were assembled, the ladies of the palace went up on the top of the palace and from there paid their respects to Lord Krsna by showers of flowers. It is definitely stated here that the ladies were smiling there on the top of the palace, checked by shyness. This shyness is a gift of nature to the fair sex and it enhances their beauty and prestige, even if they are of a less important family or even if they are less attractive. We have practical experience of this fact. A sweeper woman commanded the respect of many respected gentlemen simply by manifesting a lady’s shyness. Half-naked ladies in the street do not command any respect, but a shy sweeper’s wife commands respect from all…Shyness is a check to the unrestricted mixing. It is nature’s gift and it must be utilized.”

As we know, men become very powerful when they resist the temptation to enjoy the effects of their powerful energy of procreation on a gross level. If they keep their semen within, they become very effulgent, with sharp memory and intelligence, good health and vitality. Every serious sportsman knows the glories of celibacy. A similar principle is there for ladies–on a more subtle level. If she keeps her powerful energy within, she can use it on higher levels and thus becomes spiritually very powerful and extraordinarily attractive — indeed even fascinating. But when this feminine energy is wasted for sexual attraction and sense enjoyment, even in a more subtle way such as showing off her beautiful body, the control valve is loosened, which then can create disturbances, and ultimately she becomes contaminated and spiritually weak. However, when this powerful feminine energy is kept within through the control valve of shyness, a woman can use it on higher levels for spiritual practice, poetry, arts and music, and she will bring about good fortune, fame, wealth and all auspiciousness. She will become the auspicious source of energy to men–a minute representation of Laxmi Devi, the Goddess of Fortune. And she will manifest a forever fascinating womanhood for her husband.

These deep secrets to the extraordinary strength and beauty of a woman are unfortunately lost and forgotten today–even amongst us ISKCON devotees. Once we understand more deeply the importance of shyness, it becomes very clear that a truly chaste woman would for example never even want to be in the front of a harinam parade, showing off her feminine beauty. Such practices, even for preaching purposes, bring about a subtle change to a woman’s consciousness by increasing the bodily identification, and thus contaminate her. Therefore ISKCON leaders of some yatras have passed a national resolution that the ladies are not meant to be in the front of the harinam procession but should go behind the men, protected by a couple of grhastha men who walk right in the back behind them.

The same principle is upheld when a woman covers her head. It has a subtle yet very powerful and transformational effect on her consciousness. It helps her to cultivate shyness, humility and submissiveness–qualities which are so important for a woman in order to happily progress in Krsna consciousness. Interestingly enough, in all spiritual cultures we find that women should cover their head. In Ukraine a woman cannot even enter a Russian Orthodox Church unless she covers her head with something–at least a little hankerchief. These days, we are deeply influenced and conditioned by materialistic propaganda around us, which measures a woman’s success by how sensually attractive her body is. This conditioning takes very subtle forms and easily creeps into our spiritual practice. Only when I started to preach in Bangladesh could I understand what Canakya Pandit means when he says that the beauty of a woman is in her chastity. Still today the Bangladeshi ladies have this quality of chastity deeply ingrained in their hearts. It keeps the atmosphere within society very pure, and makes the ladies almost a different species of women–with extraordinary beauty and spiritual strength.

In our closing ceremony the course participants shared heart warming realizations which moved many of us to tears. I had requested everyone to bring a wrapped up little gift which I then re-distributed, so we all offered a gift and received one as well…..

For further information please visit www.therootsofspiritualculture.net

GaurangaGifts.com launched
Kirtan Fest Brazil

68 Responses to “Chastity – What Does It Actually Mean?”

  1. Raktak Das says :

    Hare Krishna Mataji,

    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad.

    Your article is so nice, pure and without any prejudice, exactly in line with Srila Prabhupad’s teachings. It is not only meant for women, but also for men, very inspiring, thanks for that. Kindly write more, HARE KRISHNA.

    yours servant,
    Raktak Das

    • Devakidd says :

      Thank you for your appreciative words, Prabhu!
      Maybe one day I can welcome you at the course “Men in Spiritual Culture”, which gives so many more deep insights into Krsna’s sublime system…..

      Your servant, Devaki dd

  2. Urmila says :

    In traditional Vedic culture, the ladies go in the front in religious processions. Even today in a traditional culture such as Bali, the ladies always go in the front in the Harinama procession. Here is a nice quote from Bhagavatam:

    SB 1.8.2
    Suta Gosvami said: Thereafter the Pandavas, desiring to deliver water to the dead relatives who had desired it, went to the Ganges with Draupadi. The ladies walked in front.
    PURPORT
    To date it is the custom in Hindu society to go to the Ganges or any other sacred river to take bath when death occurs in the family. Each of the family members pours out a potful of the Ganges water for the departed soul and walks in a procession, with the ladies in the front. The Pandavas also followed the rules more than five thousand years ago. Lord Krsna, being a cousin of the Pandavas, was also amongst the family members.

    • Atmavidya Dasa says :

      Regarding the Pandavas, in Mahabharata Adiparva chapter 172 it is described that the Pandavas in disguise as Brahmanas were walking through the forest with their mother Kunti walking before them. They were then challenged by the Gandhava Angaraparna to battle. After the battle the Gandharva explained why he attacked them, among other reasons was the fact that the Pandavas didn’t have a Brahmaan walking in the front, “Lastly, ye are out without a Brahmana walking before (you).” In chapter 185 when Arjuna inquired which Brahmana they should install as their priest Dhaumya was recommended. And from that moment afterwards the Pandava were 8 in number. The 5 Pandavas, Kunti and Draupadi and Dhaumya as their priest who always walked in the front.

      Regarding women walking front. That may be for special ceremonies but obviously from the above instance it was not in every case.

      And regarding women’s position in Harinama. Being at the front is like being the “point man” in the infantry the most dangerous position if you run into “hostiles.” But being at the very back is not much better because if “hostiles” attack from the rear then most people would not even be aware that there was a problem until a lot of damage was done. Better to keep them in the middle. Just like in the Ratha yatra procession Subhadra is between Jagannatha and Baladeva.

    • Devakidd says :

      Haribol Urmila Mataji,

      thank you for your comment. In those days the ladies had that deep chastity and shyness – they were not walking in the front to show off. That makes obviously all the difference…..! Once we understand the underlying principles we will not get confused about the details.

      Your servant, Devaki dd

  3. Atmavidya Dasa says :

    I forgot to mention that Bali is not exactly a bastion of Vedic culture since they think beef eating is dharmik and even the brahmanas eat beef.

  4. gaurakeshavadas says :

    Though I do appreciate the article one thing the author is completely wrong about is “in all spiritual cultures we find that women should cover their head.”

    This is just not true. In the Vaisnava and Brahmanical culture of Southern India covering of the head is absolutely not done by the women. This spiritual culture is much older than the Northern Indian culture with the Mugal/Muslim influences in it. In fact even today if a woman in South India covers her head she is likely to be considered as a Muslim not a Hindu or Vaisnava. The caste and proper thing for high class Brahmin and Vaisnava ladies to do in South India is to decorate their hair with flowers, not cover it.

    Women also wear ancient 9 meter saris called Madisar which are tied in such a way as to cover the body so that no sewn cloth either choli or petticoat/slip is worn. Those sewn items are not ritually pure and thus not worn by Orthodox women to pujas. In Kerala especially but all over Southern India it is very hot and humid and in ancient times ladies, even very high class ladies like Queens used to go topless. It was not considered as unchaste. So standards of dress changed when the Mugals/Muslims and British with their Koranic and Victorian morals invaded and conquered India. They are not part of the original Vedic culture. If they were then we would see Burkas being worn by Hindu and Vaisnava women as by their standard of chastity (not seeing the woman’s body) they are considered as more chaste. Of course seeing any part of a woman or not can be agitating to a disturbed mind. But as we can see from history simply covering women was not the answer in Vedic society. The change has to come in the minds of men. Not that I am suggesting people not dress respectably. Only that what is acceptable dress in different societies varies with time, place and circumstance.

    There is a story about two brahmacharis who were walking. They came to a river. An old lady asked them to help her by carrying her across the river. One brahmachari refused. “I cannot touch a woman”. The other agreed and carried the old lady across and deposited her on the other side. She thanked him. The two brahmacharis then continued on their way. After 5 miles one brahmachari said to the other, “You carried that woman over the river. You should not have done that.” The other brahmachari replied “I only carried her over the river and then put her down on the other bank, why are you still carrying her within your mind after 5 miles?”

    • Devakidd says :

      Kindly allow me to reply to the following:

      “Though I do appreciate the article one thing the author is completely wrong about is “in all spiritual cultures we find that women should cover their head.” This is just not true…..”

      When we dress Srimati Radharani and the Gopis we cover Their heads – ALWAYS! She is the embodiment of chastity and shyness, and She is teaching us…..!

      Your servant, Devaki dd

      • Atmavidya Dasa says :

        Also we should remember that Srila Prabhupada instructed his female disciples to cover their heads. That makes it incumbent on all females in ISKCON to do that whether they are S Indian or not. I have seen sincere South Indian ladies in ISKCON who cover their heads because they know that is what SP instructed. Not following that instruction is nama aparadha 3rd offense against the holy name, disregarding the instruction of the acarya.

    • Someone made a detailed response to your comment here http://www.akincana.net/underview/367-covering-the-head-has-nothing-to-do-with-muslims.html

  5. gaurakeshavadas says :

    Atmavidya ji, Go-medha is cow sacrifice. It is there in the Vedas. (Of course it is one of the things banned in Kali Yuga along with taking Sannyasa) I think what you mean to say is that cow killing and eating is not known in Vaisnava culture NOT Vedic culture.

  6. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    With all due respect to Devaki dd, I do not appreciate her reply to Urmila Devi’s authoritative quote from Srimad-Bhagavatam. Although the quote might be relative to a particular situation rather than absolute, I find Devaki’s reply to be a poor (and possibly offensive) attempt to justify her statement. I am far more inclined to agree with Atmavidya Prabhu that the safest place for women in Kali-yuga is in the middle. However, I remember hearing (in the late seventies) that Srila Prabhupada had said that in Kali-yuga women are our secret weapon to attract men to Krsna consciousness. Whether he actually said it or not I cannot certify. But I am thoroughly convinced that H. H. Indradyumna Swami’s strategy for harinamas at the Polish Tours is meant for that end. Not that these dedicated souls in women’s bodies are trying to show off .out of their own accord.
    (I wish we were more serious about the necessity to distinguish details from principles. Too many times I have seen and heard devotees erect details to the level of principles. And that is sure to spoil everything.

    Hare Krsna. No offense meant. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    • Devakidd says :

      Haribol Visakha Priya Mataji,
      It seems like you misunderstood my response to Urmila Mataji’s comment – something which happens so often in these internet discussions. My intention was a humble attempt to bring the focus back to the topic of the article – the principles of shyness and chastity, and not get lost in little details of where a woman should be: in the front, back or in the middle. That’s all. And it is a fact: the shastra will offer us a vast jungle of seemingly contradictory details, but once we get deeper insights into the underlying principles we will discover that all those apparent contradictions are being entirely resolved, because we realize that the principles manifest in so many different situations as different details. And we can forever debate over those details. However, with the article I was aiming at bringing awareness to the principles and importance of chastity and shyness. Once we understand them, there will be no confusion over the details.
      Hope this makes it a bit more clear…..
      See you soon…..,

      your servant, Devaki dd

  7. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    No it doesn’t.

  8. Dear Mataji,

    Hare Krsna,

    While this is a very nice article and there’s not much that I disagree with the real essence of what “chastity” means in Krsna’s Vedic culture is missing. Actually the English word “chaste” is very anemic and inadequate to describe its real meaning. In English it means:

    1 : innocent of unlawful sexual intercourse
    2 : celibate
    3: pure in thought and act : modest
    4 a : severely simple in design or execution : austere

    But if we want to know what it means in Vedic culture we have to see which words Srila Prabhupada translates from Sanskrit or Bengali to “chaste” or “chastity.”

    To find out go into VedaBase check Srimad Bhagavatam and CC and then do a search of #4 “synonyms” and put in the word “caste” I got 62 hits. And “chastity” (12 hits.)

    You will get words like: pati-devata – chaste >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.7.47 (she views) “husband as a God to be worshiped”

    [pati-devanam — who have accepted their husbands as worshipable >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.11.25]

    sati – chaste >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.8.17 referring to the wife of Lord Siva who immolated herself because her husband was insulted by her father.

    sadhvi — the chaste >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.13.30

    sat-striyah — chaste women >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 9.4.66

    pati-vrata — chaste woman >>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 9.111 (means her vow is complete dedication to her husband.)

    [pati — toward one’s husband; vratyam — adherence to vows of chastity >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.60.51]

    pati-vrata-siromani — the topmost of chaste women >>> Ref. VedaBase => Antya 20.57

    We see that the real meaning of chastity is not mere sexual purity, but rather such complete and utter devotion to her husband, that to the wife the husband is as good as God.

    hari-bhavena — mentally accepting him as equal to Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.11.29

    And that she actually worships her husband – bhajet — worships or renders service to >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.11.29

    And what is the result of such Vedic chastity? The wife goes back to Godhead.

    “The woman who engages in the service of her husband, following strictly in the footsteps of the goddess of fortune, surely returns home, back to Godhead, with her devotee husband, and lives very happily in the Vaikuntha planets.” SB 7.11.29

    So “Vedic chastity” is so much more than merely not bringing another man into the marriage bed. There are many women in ISKCON who may be celibate or did not cheat on their husbands but are not chaste in the Vedic sense because of the way they dealt with their husbands.

    The basic instructions for how to be a chaste woman in the Krsna’s Vedic sense is given in Srimad Bhagavatam 7.11.25-29.

    I realize that there are some ISKCON women who for a variety of reasons reject these instructions. But I also know that there are many sincere ladies (like the ones who attended your course) who want to dive deeply into Krsna’s Vedic culture and who are inspired by such instructions.

    dasa dasa anu dasa
    Shyamasundara Dasa
    krsne matirastu

  9. krishna-kirti says :

    Good article, Mata Ji,

    I appreciate your reliance more on Srila Prabhupada’s books than on personal anecdotes, and I liked the article overall.

    If you do not mind, I recommend using as the basis for future expositions on the subject of chastity to base it on SB 7.11.25, because it gives a direct and technical definition for chastity, which is appreciably different than the English word “chastity”. In this verse, the “women who are chaste” appears to be a loose translation of strinam ca pati-devanam, so the central point of chastity is that a woman has accepted a husband as worshipable. So a woman’s chaste characteristics are primarily defined in relationship to her husband. That would focus discussion of chastity on a woman’s relationship with her husband, which is what that verse does.

    ys, KKD

    • Devakidd says :

      Thank you for your comment, Prabhu. Yes, the verse 7.11.28. describes the details of chaste behavior of a wife towards her husband. And a woman can only manifest such behavior, if she has cultivated the qualities of tolerance and shyness. Without tolerance and shyness, she will not be able to serve her husband in this way. So tolerance and shyness are the internal tools in order to be able to externally act like a chaste wife.

      • Bhaktilata dasi says :

        Even more important is the quality of humility, without that …

        • Devakidd says :

          Yes, very true! The two main tools to cultivate chastity are tolerance and shyness, and the two main tools to cultivate tolerance are humility and firm faith in Krsna. Without humility and firm faith in Krsna we cannot be tolerant. We will not be able to see Krsna’s hand behind every situation, and thus we will not be able to tolerate.

          Your servant, Devaki dd

  10. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    Personally, I tend to favor the following verse and purport in Srila Prabhupada’s books. In order to strike a balance between two kinds of fanaticism, any true follower of Srila Prabhupada should be aware of that verse (SB 7.11.28) and its purport by our founder-acarya:
    TRANSLATION
    A chaste woman should not be greedy, but satisfied in all circumstances. She must be very expert in handling household affairs and should be fully conversant with religious principles. She should speak pleasingly and truthfully and should be very careful and always clean and pure. Thus a chaste woman should engage with affection in the service of a husband who is not fallen.
    PURPORT
    According to the injunction of Yajnavalkya, an authority on religious principles, asuddheh sampratiksyo hi mahapataka-dusitah. One is considered contaminated by the reactions of great sinful activities when one has not been purified according to the methods of the dasa-vidha-samskara. In Bhagavad-gita, however, the Lord says, na mam duskrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah: [Bg. 7.15] “Those miscreants who do not surrender unto Me are the lowest of mankind.” The word naradhama means “nondevotee.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also said, yei bhaje sei bada, abhakta-hina [Cc. Antya 4.67], chara. Anyone who is a devotee is sinless. One who is not a devotee, however, is the most fallen and condemned. It is recommended, therefore, that a chaste wife not associate with a fallen husband. A fallen husband is one who is addicted to the four principles of sinful activity — namely illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. Specifically, if one is not a soul surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is understood to be contaminated. Thus a chaste woman is advised not to agree to serve such a husband. It is not that a chaste woman should be like a slave while her husband is naradhama, the lowest of men. Although the duties of a woman are different from those of a man, a chaste woman is not meant to serve a fallen husband. If her husband is fallen, it is recommended that she give up his association. Giving up the association of her husband does not mean, however, that a woman should marry again and thus indulge in prostitution. If a chaste woman unfortunately marries a husband who is fallen, she should live separately from him. Similarly, a husband can separate himself from a woman who is not chaste according to the description of the sastra. The conclusion is that a husband should be a pure Vaisnava and that a woman should be a chaste wife with all the symptoms described in this regard. Then both of them will be happy and make spiritual progress in Krsna consciousness. SB 7.11.28

    Another point, also straight from Srila Prabhupada’s books is found in SB 2.4.18, and before dreaming of transforming all the Kali-yuga women into Kunti Maharani or Draupadi Devi, or Devahutis, one should note the following from Srila Prabhupada’s purport to the abovementioned verse:
    “The system of caste, or varnasrama-dharma, is no longer regular even amongst the so-called followers of the system. Nor is it now possible to reestablish the institutional function in the present context of social, political and economic revolution. Without any reference to the particular custom of a country, one can be accepted to the Vaisnava cult spiritually, and there is no hindrance in the transcendental process. So by the order of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the cult of Srimad-Bhagavatam or the Bhagavad-gita can be preached all over the world, reclaiming all persons willing to accept the transcendental cult. Such cultural propaganda by the devotees will certainly be accepted by all persons who are reasonable and inquisitive, without any particular bias for the custom of the country.” SB 2.4.18

    • Citrarupini dasi says :

      Dear Mataji,

      Hare Krsna what exactly is your point in quoting the purport to SB 7.11.28? Please explain?

      If it is regarding a so-called “fallen” husband. Are you suggesting that the men of ISKCON are like this and not worthy of their wives?

      yhs
      Citrarupini dd

    • Bhaktilata dasi says :

      Dear Mataji,

      Hare Krsna.

      Not sure what your point is regarding the purport and “fallen husbands” because we have seen that even in the case his own sister (who was his also his god-sister) who actually had such a fallen husband Srila Prabhupada didn’t tell her to leave her husband but to actually serve him faithfully and to pray to her Deities of Radha-Krsna for his benefit. http://www.dandavats.com/?p=2177

      And at every Vedic wedding a verse is recited from the Vedas mentioning the great maha-pati vratas whom the wife should emulate. They include Gandhari whose husband Dhrtarastra was, because of weakness for his son, greatly responsible for the chaos in the Kuru dynasty. And another maha-pativrata was Mandodhari the wife of Ravana. Qualities of Ravana are well known. But his wife is glorified in the sastras for her maha-pativrata. She was always his well-wisher and also a friend to Sita devi and protected her.

      And we see another example from this article http://iskconnews.org/the-voice-contestant-brings-krishna-conscious-message,4635 in which a karmi man Pierre Edel was living with his girl friend and future wife who was a devotee. She served him even though according to the article:

      “Even though I was still smoking, taking drugs, and eating meat every day, she hadn’t been preaching to me, because I was very atheistic and didn’t want to hear anything about religion,” he recalls. “But for one year, she had been feeding me prasadam, praying for me, and asking the devotees in her bhakti vriksha group to bless me. And it worked.”

      So by his own admission he was the poster boy for a “fallen man” – an atheist who ate meat and took all kind of intoxication. The other regulated principle is not mentioned, we can only infer from his other behavior what that must have been like. Yet because she loved her husband and served him in every way despite the fact that he was extremely fallen he had a change of heart (as did Srila Prabhupada’s brother-in-law) and is now an initiated devotee Premamaya Vasudeva Das.

      So this verse and purport requires a nuanced approach. Otherwise some would have advised Pisma to leave her husband and Pierre Eled’s (Premamaya Vasudeva Das) wife to do the same.

      yhs
      Bhaktilata dd

    • Atmavidya Dasa says :

      Dear Mataji,

      Jaya Prabhupada.

      You wrote:

      “Another point, also straight from Srila Prabhupada’s books is found in SB 2.4.18, and before dreaming of transforming all the Kali-yuga women into Kunti Maharani or Draupadi Devi, or Devahutis, one should note the following from Srila Prabhupada’s purport to the abovementioned verse:

      “The system of caste, or varnasrama-dharma, is no longer regular even amongst the so-called followers of the system. Nor is it now possible to reestablish the institutional function in the present context of social, political and economic revolution. Without any reference to the particular custom of a country, one can be accepted to the Vaisnava cult spiritually, and there is no hindrance in the transcendental process. So by the order of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the cult of Srimad-Bhagavatam or the Bhagavad-gita can be preached all over the world, reclaiming all persons willing to accept the transcendental cult. Such cultural propaganda by the devotees will certainly be accepted by all persons who are reasonable and inquisitive, without any particular bias for the custom of the country.” SB 2.4.18”

      However the 2nd canto was published in 1972, whereas by 1974 and especially by 1977 Srila Prabhupada was adamant that varnashrama dharma must be established in ISKCON and was heavily pushing it as evidenced by the February 14, 1977 room conversation in Mayapura. http://prabhupadabooks.com/conversations/1977/feb/varnasrama_system_must_be_introduced/mayapura/february/14/1977

      For a nice synopsis of Srila Prabhupada’s views on Varnashrama read this article http://www.dandavats.com/?p=11750

      And here is a recent presentation to the NA GBC by HH Sivarama Swami about the importance of establishing VAD in ISKCON https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TehQlZKbGXg&feature=youtu.be

      Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada
      Atmavidya das

  11. krishna-kirti says :

    Mother Vishakha Priya wrote:

    Another point, also straight from Srila Prabhupada’s books is found in SB 2.4.18, and before dreaming of transforming all the Kali-yuga women into Kunti Maharani or Draupadi Devi, or Devahutis

    It should be remembered that the Srimad-Bhagavatam was spoken specifically for the people of Kali-yuga. Those who wish to remain in step with Kali-yuga will find it very difficult to make spiritual advancement.

    • Atmavidya Dasa says :

      Very true. Some people act as if Kali-yuga started last year. But it actually started more than 5000 years ago. And the Bhagavatam is meant to give light in this age of Kali. So we ignore the injunctions of the Bhagavatam calling them “anachronistic” at our spiritual peril.

  12. Bharat Chandra Das says :

    Sri Gaura Keshava Dasji is absolutely wron in propagating that cow killing is mentioned in Vedas. It is only alambhana (sparsa or touch) and not killing (himsa) that is mentioned. If required, just a doctor heals a patient through various interventions (like mantras, medications or if required surgery), the Vedic brahmanas used to perform a yajna wherein through mantras or through certain surgical interventions used to revive the cow. This is the conclusion of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Madhvacharya. In certain rare cases the patient may die on the operating table. Similarly, during such interventions it may happen the that the jarad-gava or sick and old cow might die. But no harm was done since the soul used to be elevated to a higher planetary system. This is the sum and substance of go-yajna. Please do not propagate wrong understandings. Cow are “never to be killed” as per Vedas. I have written a detailed description about this in my 3rd edition of the book Timeless stories of Gomata. Vedic civilization or ancient civilization and Vedas are two different things. Many things were misinterpreted and wrongly done. That is why avataras come.

  13. Visakha Priya dasi says :

    Response to Citrarupini and others: The purpose of my quoting verse 28 is to inform devotees who are taught that complete submission to their husband is the way to please Srila Prabhupada and go back to Godhead that the condition “sine qua non” of this submission is that the husband should not be fallen. And Srila Prabhupada takes the trouble to explain in the purport what “fallen” means: addicted to the four principles of sinful life. Contrary to Bhaktilata’s statement that Srila Prabhupada didn’t tell his sister to leave her husband, we have no evidence that he was involved in his sister’s marital affairs. Even if he did, his sister was not his disciple. The point is that Srila Prabhupada wrote his books for us, his disciples and granddisciples and their disciples for the next ten thousand years, and he clearly stated in that purport that a chaste woman should not agree to serve a fallen husband. Regarding my quoting Srila Prabhupada ‘s statement about the impossibility of reestablishing varnasrama in the present political context, I find it amusing and sad at the same time that when it suits them, people give precedence to the books and when it suits them they give precedence to conversations, letters, and the likes. The reality is that we have to take all of Srila Prabhupada’s statements into consideration. The books actually take precedence because they were written for the next ten thousand years. The letters and conversations deal with particular situations which may or may not be relevant for all people at all times.

    Regarding your insinuation that I may be “suggesting” something unsavory about ISKCON mean, is your hang up, not mine. If the shoe fits, wear it.

    Yours in Srila Prabhupada’s service,
    Visakha Priya dasi

    • Bhaktilata dasi says :

      Vishakha Priya dd said:

      “Contrary to Bhaktilata’s statement that Srila Prabhupada didn’t tell his sister to leave her husband, we have no evidence that he was involved in his sister’s marital affairs.”

      Dear Mataji,

      Hare Krsna.

      I am sorry that I didn’t directly quote from the source but only placed a link to it in my text but for some reason you didn’t see it. Maybe because the links are not highlighted. It here it is again.

      http://www.dandavats.com/?p=2177

      If you go down to the bottom of the page you will see the following statement by HG Bhavananda Prabhu wherein he realtes a story that Prabhupada had personally told him about Pisima’s marital affairs. I hope that it is now clear.

      “There’s another story about her purity. When she was— Prabhupada told me the story—when she was married, her husband turned out to be a rogue, a debauchee of sorts, woman-hunter and so many things. And the whole time, she would keep coming to Srila Prabhupada, and… “What to do? How we can stop him from his sinful life?”

      So Prabhupada said, “Remember those Deities that we worshiped when we were children?” He said, “I have them here, I’ll give them to… You worship Them, Radha-Govinda, and you keep praying to Them, and They’ll help you.”

      So Prabhupada said that she took those Deities, and she worshiped Them very nicely, and she never… even though her husband was a rogue of sorts, she never deviated from the principles of Krsna consciousness. Nor did she ever leave her husband even though he was a rogue… especially… uh, though maybe his habits were not— don’t appear so terrible by today’s standards— but from their standard he was a rogue. She never deviated from the principles of Krsna consciousness, Prabhupada said, and she never left her husband. She kept serving him and praying to Radha-Govinda, “Please, You save him.” And Prabhupada said the result was that her husband, after so many years, he changed all his ways, he became a devotee and he ended up worshiping her. [Audience: “Jaya!”]

      He told me that. He ended up worshiping her. That “This woman is serving me so faithfully, and serving the Deities so faithfully, and she wants nothing but the best for me, and she’s praying to Krsna for me.” He acknowledged that and changed all his ways.

      • Sita Rama 108 says :

        Mother Bhaktilata,
        This is a nice story, but the moral of it blows to bits the position of some. That is the position that the woman must be utterly devoted to the husband and worship him as good as God despite the fact that he is fallen, the idea that the husband must, in all circumstances, be considered the guru and the wife the disciple, the idea that the woman can only advance through the blessing of her guru husband, Yasya prasda na gati. In the case of Pisima the wife saved the husband and he, rightlfully, worshiped her.
        Ideally the husband is on a higher level and can thus assist the wife in spiritual advancement but some insist we always see it this way even if it is not the case. That is what I object to.
        In summary, some take the position that SB 7.11.29 and Srila Prabhupada’s clear purport, recommending a woman not follow a fallen husband, is nullified by the anecdote of Srila Prabhupada’s sister. But, in regard to all other rules for women, consideration of time, place and circumstance is simply an excuse.
        My concern in regard to this is greatly mitigated by the fact that I am sure the vast majority of ISKCON devotees have the intelligence to see the fallacy of these extreme positions. But sometimes it is the duty of a person to state the obvious.

        • Bhaktilata dasi says :

          Sita Rama 108 wrote:

          “That is the position that the woman must be utterly devoted to the husband and worship him as good as God despite the fact that he is fallen, the idea that the husband must, in all circumstances, be considered the guru and the wife the disciple, the idea that the woman can only advance through the blessing of her guru husband, Yasya prasda na gati.”

          I think that you are conflating various issue. For one thing Pisima’s husband was not a devotee. Yet she still did her wifely duty for the pleasure of Krsna.

          I don’t know who said wife can only advance by blessing of her guru husband yasya prasada ….. Who said that? However, she will advance because if she did her duty to please Krsna then He will be pleased with her and she will advance no matter even if her husband is a rogue.

          I think you may be taking the liberty of putting words in others people’s mouths and then attacking them for it.

          Other than that it is supported by sastra. You seem to be upset by that fact. I don’t know why. Why should you be upset that Krsna has actually made it easier for women than everyone else? All we have to do is our Stri dharma to please Krsna. That includes seeing the husband that Krsna has provided us with as Krsna’s representative. That we get 50% of whatever pious activity that the husband performs and that if we perform any sinful activity then the husband must also share in that, just like the guru shares the sins of his disciple. So it is actually more favorable for women as we get 50% of his punya whereas he gets 50% of our sinful karma.

          If by her bad karma a wife gets a less than glorious husband then that is her own karma and Krsna put her in that position for a reason. To practice serving Krsna with that husband, as she has some anartha that need to be cleared and it will be done via that husband. It is actually quite simple if you understand how Krsna’s culture works. But if you want to look at it through the lens of modern secular, gender equity “culture” then it will be puzzling and may even “appear” unjust. But there is no injustice in Krsna civilization.

          • Sita Rama 108 says :

            Mother Bhaktilata,
            I am not putting words in other people’s mouth nor am I upset because Krishna makes spiritual life easy for women. Other than that, I do not disagree with what you say above.
            Dialogue is productive, polemical debate is not productive. Dialogue means we contribute varying points which add to the overall perspective. Yes it is true if a woman accepts a husband who she is not happy with, considers it her destiny, and does her duty, she can advance and this is laudable. Ravana’s wife was acknowledged as a chaste woman and Gandhari is one of the most famous although the character of Dhritarastra left something’s to be desired.
            But it is also true that Srila prabhupada said in numerous places that it is most advantageous for a woman to get an advanced devotee as a husband. A teacher, father, or mother, must teach both these concepts to the daughter and try to find her a good devotee to marry.
            If a person is not intelligent enough to see that it does not have to be a matter of accepting the points you emphasize and rejecting the ones I do, if they cannot see that both truths must be taking together, then they are not fit to teach or have children.
            Also it is very clearly stated in the Srimada Bhagavatam and Srila Prabhupada’s purport that a wife should not serve a husband who is fallen. So although there may be times when it is appropriate to serve a fallen husband no one can say this is always the case and find fault in a women who leaves a fallen husband. It is up to the devotee’s spiritual authorities to help them decide how to respond in awkward circumstances, it is not our position to judge.

          • Sita Rama 108 says :

            Mother Bhaktilata,
            Vaishnava girls should be trained to pray for a pure devotee husband. SB 3.23.1. Karma is not the only factor involved in the destiny of a devotee, she is under the control of Krishna and as her devotion grows her destiny may change. If a young girl prays for a pure devotee husband this, in itself, increases her devotion to Krishna and thus it increases the chance that Krishna will give her a good devotee husband.
            SB 3.23.1. Purport:
            The wife is dependent on the husband, and if the husband is a Vaiñëava, then naturally she shares the devotional service of the husband because she renders him service. This reciprocation of service and love between husband and wife is the ideal of a householder’s life.
            You wrote:
            “If by her bad karma a wife gets a less than glorious husband then that is her own karma and Krsna put her in that position for a reason. To practice serving Krsna with that husband, as she has some anartha that need to be cleared and it will be done via that husband”.
            If a women is already in the circumstance described above (has a less than glorious husband) a person in whom she trusts may be able to teach her the truth, stated above. But for Vaishnava girls it is not the complete lesson they need to be taught.

    • Bhaktilata dasi says :

      Visakha Priya dasi says :

      “Even if he did, his sister was not his disciple.”

      Dear Mataji,

      Hare Krsna.

      I think that if anyone reads what was said about her by JPS and Bhavananda one can conclude that she was extremely devoted to Srila Prabhupada. As one god-brother told me, “I wish I had even a pinch of the pure love and devotion that Pisima had for Prabhupada.”

      Also that statement in the SB was not just meant for SP disciples but for all vaisnavas of all sampradayas. And Pisima was such a person being a god-sister of Srila Prabhupada as well as his shiksha disciple. She would keep coming to Prabhupada for shiksha.

      So it seems that you are hair splitting. Or perhaps you didn’t see the link to the article and read it.

    • Bhaktilata dasi says :

      Visakha Priya dasi says :

      “The point is that Srila Prabhupada wrote his books for us, his disciples and granddisciples and their disciples for the next ten thousand years, and he clearly stated in that purport that a chaste woman should not agree to serve a fallen husband.”

      We didn’t deny the statement in SB or SP statement in the commentary. What did we say?

      “So this verse and purport requires a nuanced approach.”

      “Nuanced” means that one does not take a “one size fits all” approach to the law. One must have perspicacity to understand the subtleties. Something that Srila Prabhupada obviously had. His approach was in keeping with niti sastra, that is series of escalating expedients is resorted to. There are 4 nitis: sama, dhana, bheda and finally danda niti.

      sama niti – speak sweetly and offer salubrious advice

      if that doesn’t work then escalate to

      dhana niti – offer some type of inducement financial or similar to induce the person to do as required

      if that doesn’t work then escalate to

      bheda niti – undermine the person’s position and create divisions in his ranks.

      if that doesn’t work then escalate to

      danda niti – attack them literally or metaphorically.

      It may not always be possible to go through all four it would depend on each particular situation but that is the general lay out.

      So Srila Prabhupada being wise saw that his sister was already married with several children and thought “let us see if it is possible to reform this man” via the formula of “material problem – spiritual solution.” So as explained by Bhavananda SP advised his sister what to do and it worked. He didn’t immediately jump to danda niti because there was a family and children involved plus his sister would have to move in with her father or SP and there is no scope for divorce and re-marriage she just stayed separate from husband.

      But it seems from your stern tone that you would have just jumped to danda niti and broken the family and put everything in disarray. If this is not what to you mean then please explain?

      Similarly with wife of Premamaya Vasudeva Das she had a material problem and applied a spiritual solution and it worked.

      The important point is that both of these women had great faith in the power of Sri Sri Radha Krsna and prasadam and prayer.

      Anyway this is a “nuanced approach” knowing when and how to apply sastra. That requires mature judgment not knee jerk reactions.

      If and only if after due diligence the party remains incorrigibly and adamantly fallen then you can escalate to the highest amercement. To do otherwise would itself be an injustice and adharmic.

      Application of dharma is not so simple. That is why not just anyone sits on high court bench.

    • Atmavidya Dasa says :

      Visakha Priya dasi says :

      ” Regarding my quoting Srila Prabhupada ‘s statement about the impossibility of reestablishing varnasrama in the present political context, I find it amusing and sad at the same time that when it suits them, people give precedence to the books and when it suits them they give precedence to conversations, letters, and the likes. The reality is that we have to take all of Srila Prabhupada’s statements into consideration. The books actually take precedence because they were written for the next ten thousand years. The letters and conversations deal with particular situations which may or may not be relevant for all people at all times.”

      Dear Vishakya Priya dd,

      Hare Krsna.

      I have a request and a question.

      First the request. Could you please clarify your statement above as it is not clear and I would not want to comment on it if I am not clearly understanding your purpose and intent.

      Second the question. Did you read the two texts I linked to and watch Sivarama Swami’s presentation all the way through?

      Awaiting your reply.

      yhs
      Ad

    • Citrarupini dasi says :

      Dear Mataji,

      Hare Krsna.

      Please don’t mind my saying this but I found your response to me very unsatisfactory and your response to others somewhat disrespectful and offensive.

      Is there some difficulty in answering my simple question?

      Also you said Bhaktilata Mataji had no evidence to support her statements, but she has now provided abundant evidence. Are you not going to acknowledge it? And I am also waiting for your to respond to Atmavidya Prabhu’s text to you.

      yhs
      Cdd

  14. Basu Ghosh Das says :

    Regarding a women serving a fallen husband, the following passage from Valmiki Ramayana should shed some light on the subject.

    Also, Prabhupada preached/taught the doctrine, “no divorce”. So when he wrote that a women should not follow a fallen husband, he must have meant “separation”, since he was clearly against divorce!

    Anasuya’s instructions to Sitadevi in Valmiki Ramayana:

    [from:]

    http://valmikiramayan.net/utf8/ayodhya/sarga117/ayodhya_117_frame.htm

    tataH siitaam mahaa bhaagaam dRiShTvaa taam dharma caariNiim |saantvayanty abraviidd hR^iShTaa diShTyaa dharmam avekShase || 2-117-2020.

    tataH= then; saantvayantii= comforting; taam mahaabhaagaam= that celebrated; siitaam= Seetha; dharmachariNiim= engaged in righteous acts;(Anasuya); hR^iSTaa= rejoicingly; abraviit= spoke (as follows); avekSase=you are attending; dharmam= to righteousness; diSTyaa= luckily enough.

    Then, comforting that celebrated Seetha, engaged in righteous acts, Anasuya rejoicingly spoke as follows: “Luckily enough, you are attending to righteousness.

    tyaktvaa jnaati janam siite maanam R^iddhim ca maanini |avaruddham vane raamam diShTyaa tvam anugagcCasi || 2-117-2121.

    siite= O, Seetha; bhaamini= the beautiful lady!; diSTyaa= thankheaven!; tyaktvaa= Leaving; jJNaatijanam= your relatives; maanam= the honour; R^iddhimcha= and prosperity; anugachchhasi= you are accompanying; raamam= Rama; avaruddham= who is expelled vane= into a forest.”

    O, Seetha the beautiful lady! Thank heaven! Leaving your relatives, honor and prosperity, you are accompanying Rama, who is expelled into a forest.”

    nagarastho vanastho vaa paapo vaa yadi vaa ashubhaH |yaasaam striiNaam priyo bhartaa taasaam lokaa mahaa udayaaH || 2-117-2222.

    yaasaam= to which; striiNaam= women; bhartaa= their husband;nagarasthaH= whether lives in a city; vanasthovaa= or in a forest; paapovaa= whether he is sinful; yadi vaa= or; shubhaH= virtuous; priyaH=(he is) dear (to her); taasaam= to them; (are obtained) mahodayaaH= greatly fortunate; lokaaH= words.

    “Highly fortunate worlds await those women, await those women, to whom their husband is dear no matter whether he lives in a city or in a forest; whether he is sinful or virtuous.

    duhshiilaH kaama vR^itto vaa dhanair vaa parivarjitaH |striiNaam aarya svabhaavaanaam paramam daivatam patiH || 2-117-2323.

    striiNaam= to women; aaryasvabhaavaanaam= of noble nature; patiH=husband; paramam= is the highest daivatam= deity; duSiilaH= whether he isill-behaved; kaama vR^ittovaa= or licentious; parivarjitovaa= or devoid of;dhanaiH= riches.

    “To women of noble nature, the husband is the highest deity no mater whether he is ill-behaved or licentious or devoid of riches.”

    na ato vishiShTam pashyaami baandhavam vimR^ishanty aham |sarvatra yogyam vaidehi tapaH kR^itam iva avyayam || 2-117-2424.

    vaidehi= O, Seetha!; vimR^ishantii= On a reflection; na pashyaami= I perceive; na= none; vishiSTam= who is a better; baandhavam= friend; ataH=than a husband; yogyam= who protects his wife; sarvatra= in all circumstances; avyayam iva= like the imperishable fruit; kRitam=accomplished; tapaH= of one’s austerities.

    “O, Seetha! On a reflection, I perceive none who is a better friend than a husband, who protects his wife in all circumstances, like the imperishable fruit of one’s austerities.”

    na tu evam avagagcCanti guNa doSham asat striyaH |kaama vaktavya hR^idayaa bhartR^i naathaaH caranti yaaH || 2-117-2525.

    yaaH= those women; kaama vaktavya hR^idayaaH= whose hearts follow their passions; charanti= and, conduct themselves; bhartR^inaathaaH= dominating their husbands; aststriyaH= such evil women; na avagachchhanti= having nounderstanding; guNa doSam= of virtue and vice; evam= (do not follow him) in the aforesaid manner.

    “Those evil women, whose hearts follow their passions and conduct themselves dominating their husband, having no understanding of virtue and vice, do not follow him in the aforesaid manner.”

    praapnuvanty ayashaH caiva dharma bhramsham ca maithili |akaarya vasham aapannaaH striyo yaaH khalu tad vidhaaH || 2-117-2626.

    maithili= O, Seetha!; khalu= Indeed; yaaH striyaH= those women;aapannaH= who get into akaarya vasham= an improper act of authority;tadvidhaaH= in the aforesaid manner; praapnuvanti= reap; ayashashcha=infamy; dharma bhramsham= and decline of righteousness.

    “O, Seetha! Surely, those evil women, who get into an improper act of authority over their husbands reap infamy and decline in righteousness.”

    tvad vidhaaH tu guNair yuktaa dR^iShTa loka para avaraaH |striyaH svarge cariShyanti yathaa puNya kR^itaH tathaa || 2-117-2727.

    striyastu= women; tvadvidhaaH= like you; yuktaaH= who are endowed;guNaiH= with virtues; dR^iSTa loka paraaparaaH= who look with detachment on prosperity and adversity in this world; yathaa tathaa= therefore;chariSyanti= dwell; svarge= in heaven; yathaa= as; dharmakR^itaH= those who performed meritorious deeds.

    “Women, like you, on the other hand who are endowed with virtues, who look with detachment on prosperity and adversity in this world, therefore dwell in heaven as those who performed meritorious deeds.”

    tadevamenam tvamanucrataa satii |pativrataanaam samayaanuvartinii |bhava svabhartuH sahadharmachaariNii |yashshcha dharmam cha tataH samaapsyasi || 2-117-2828.

    tat= thus; anuvrataa satii= devoted; enam= to your lord;pativrataanaam= loyal to your hasband; samayaanuvartinii= followingestablished rules; tvam= you; bhava= become; saha dharmachaariNii= an honest wife; svabhartuH= to your husband tataH= and thereby; samaapsyasi=obtain; yashashcha= renown; dharmam= and merit.

    “Thus devoted to your lord, loyal to your husband, following established rules, you become an honest wife to your husband and obtain merit and renown.”

  15. Basu Ghosh Das says :

    Some quotes from Prabhupada in this regard:

    “Giving up the association of her husband does not mean, however, that a woman should marry again and thus indulge in prostitution. If a chaste woman unfortunately marries a husband who is fallen, she should live separately from him. Similarly, a husband can separate himself from a woman who is not chaste according to the description of the sastra. The conclusion is that a husband should be a pure Vaisnava and that a woman should be a chaste wife with all the symptoms described in this regard. Then both of them will be happy and make spiritual progress in Krsna consciousness.” (Prabhupada’s purport to SB 7.11.28)

    ———————————————–

    “Regarding remarriage, no, remarriage should be always discouraged. Remarriage means encouraging sense gratification. Our mission is to curtail sense gratification. Three times marrying in a year, this is not good, and they are doing this.”

    Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Jayananda – Vrindaban 1 September, 1975

    ————————————————

    There must be compulsory marriage of young boys and girls attaining twenty-four years of age and sixteen years of age respectively. There is no harm in coeducation in the schools and colleges, provided the boys and girls are duly married, and in case there is any intimate connection between a male and female student, they should be married properly without illicit relation. The divorce act is encouraging prostitution, and this should be abolished.” (Prabhupada’s purport to SB 1.17.38)

  16. Sita Rama 108 says :

    Syamasundara Prabhu wrote:
    We see that the real meaning of chastity is not mere sexual purity, but rather such complete and utter devotion to her husband, that to the wife the husband is as good as God………..There are many women in ISKCON who may be celibate or did not cheat on their husbands but are not chaste in the Vedic sense because of the way they dealt with their husbands……….I realize that there are some ISKCON women who for a variety of reasons reject these instructions. But I also know that there are many sincere ladies (like the ones who attended your course) who want to dive deeply into Krsna’s Vedic culture and who are inspired by such instructions. End citation.
    My response.
    We have the perspective that, in spite of being sexually pure, wives in ISKCON are unchaste if they do not display, “utter devotion” to their husbands. Some women in ISKCON, “reject” the idea of utter devotion to the husband, in contrast some, “sincere” women accept them. It follows, women who reject the instructions are insincere.
    In psychological terms this is known as the, “fundamental attribution error”. This denotes falsely attributing the activities of a person to their level of virtue while ignoring the cultural context the actually causes the behavior. We need to put this discussion into the reality of today’s world.
    A woman in the western world has to devote herself to an education and a career because she cannot depend on finding a lifelong husband who will provide for her and allow her to devote herself to her children, husband, and home. It is a well-known fact that in today’s world the husband and wife both perform equal amounts of work outside the home yet the wife still does the housework and child raising. Still, some would say the wife is insincere and unchaste for not devoting herself completely to her husband.
    This reality is not exclusive to the Western world. In every Indian couple I know the husband and wife have a relatively equal level of education, and both generally have careers. The men would rather have a woman that allows the chance of doubling the total household income and perform the house work and child raising at the same time. Educated women will be chosen over uneducated women and the women know this. If the women do not respond to pressure to become educated they will be desirable only to less educated men who may not be capable of providing financial security.
    Was this social reality created by overly ambitious women who simply want to take away the position of men? That is a complex question but Srila Prabhupada indicated the men were mostly responsible for women’s liberation in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The men were happy to have free sex with women, let them get pregnant and support themselves, or receive a welfare check from the government. It became every person for themselves. Let’s all enjoy sex as much as possible even though the women end up with the child and have to support it themselve; although (even now) women do not get the same wage as a man, for comparable work. It is an unfair competition between men and women created by rascal men who should have continued to be responsible. The women were less intelligent to allow themselves to be cheated in this way. The men were intelligent but simple for cheating. Yet some men focus exclusively on women competing with men and describe it as tantamount to a crime. Men are not satisfied and want the women to be, “utterly” devoted to them, the housework, the children, and their careers at the same time. While making these demands they accuse the women of not being satisfied with their, “natural role”.

    • Srinjay says :

      Complete dedication and faithfulness to the husband is what Srila Prabhupada said women should be taught. I can provide umpteen references if you do not believe me. And as explained in Srimad Bhagavatam 7.11.25-29 by such service to the husband whom the wife should consider to be as good as God the wife goes to Vaikuntha SB 7.11.29 thus it is actually devotional service.

      [hari-bhavena — mentally accepting him as equal to Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.11.29]

      Now according to the Srimad Bhagavatam for those who are determined to please the Lord then no material impediment can stop them.

      “It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that devotional service should be apratihata, unchecked by the material conditions of happiness or distress.”

      >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.12.13

      ‘he can execute devotional service under any circumstance, as stated, ahaituky apratihata: “Devotional service cannot be checked by any material condition.”’

      >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.24.69

      “progress in spiritual life cannot be obstructed by any material condition. This is called ahaituky apratihata”

      >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.7.1

      “Devotional service, however, does not depend on material conditions. Ahaituky apratihata”

      >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.14.24

      Now you are saying that according to modern psychology material impediments are powerful enough to stop devotional service. I don’t believe that.

      Impediments only stop someone if they actually are looking for excuses to stop devotional service. I have seen people come up with unlimited reasons to stop chanting their rounds and being a devotee. It is called being in maya. But to someone who wants to please Guru and Gauranga nothing can stop them from performing their service.

      In conclusion if a woman wants to be chaste according to Krsna’s Vedic culture she will do whatever it takes. But if she doesn’t then you have provided her another reason for not performing her stri-dharma.

      This is not the first Kali-yuga nor will it be the last. The Srimad Bhagavatam was especially composed for the people of Kali-yuga, the current yuga, by Srila Vysadeva who was omniscient and knew what the conditions would be like.

      • Sita Rama 108 says :

        Srinjay Prabhu,
        The impediments are not according to modern psychology. The husband and wife must both act according to their Vedic dharma. Men are not willing to take full responsibility for working outside the home to support wife and children. How can a woman work outside the home and not work outside the home? It is a two way agreement.
        How many ISKCON men follow the dhrama of a brhamana and refuse to work for a wage, or the dhrama of a ksytria, to be fearless in battle, etc., or the dharma of a viasya to see that the sudra’s are employeed and a man can support a wife with the wage given, or to be a sudra and bow down to their boss, and except only goods and not money in exchange for work. You say nothing can impede a woman from doing her dharma if she wants to please her Guru, by this same logic there is not impediment for men to perform all their Vedic duties. How often to you admonish men for not living up to the Vedic ideal? Is there any reason to not do this for men as much as for women?

        • Somayaji says :

          You say “Men are not willing to take full responsibility for working outside the home to support wife and children.” Does that mean you are not willing to support your family.

          All the men I know work to support their family. Just who are these “men” you are talking about?

        • Somayaji says :

          You wrote:
          “How many ISKCON men follow the dhrama of a brhamana and refuse to work for a wage, or the dhrama of a ksytria, to be fearless in battle, etc., or the dharma of a viasya to see that the sudra’s are employeed and a man can support a wife with the wage given, or to be a sudra and bow down to their boss, and except only goods and not money in exchange for work. You say nothing can impede a woman from doing her dharma if she wants to please her Guru, by this same logic there is not impediment for men to perform all their Vedic duties. How often to you admonish men for not living up to the Vedic ideal? Is there any reason to not do this for men as much as for women?”

          Two points:

          1 If you actually read the article it is written by a woman about a seminar given to women about women’s behavior. Hence the focus is about women, not men. You are free to write an article about men.

          2 Prabhupada stressed that woman should trained to faithful to their husbands and learn all the house hold duties cooking etc. Massive number of citations can be found to support this.

      • Sita Rama 108 says :

        Srinjay Prabhu,
        You state that impediments only stop someone if they are looking for excuses. If we want to follow instructions we will do whatever it takes. I would like to point out that Srila Prabhupada gave the standard for householders in his books several times, and repeated this specifically to several devotees.
        Letter to Advaita
        1/21/1968
        The Brahmacaris are dedicated their life and everything but the householder should spare at least 50% of income for the society. That is the standard distribution of money example set by our predecessors, Srila Rupa Goswami, and Srila Sanatana Goswami.
        Letter to Syamasundar
        02/25/1970
        If George is actually prepared to spend 50% of his income, and thus become a typical example to other European householders, then I shall be able to give him a plan for organizing this asrama so much so that it will be very, very attractive to everyone.
        The same instruction was repeated to Mukunda, 05 / 05/1968, Brhamananda 01/16 1979, Sacisuta 07/05/ 1969, Giriraja 07/05/1969.
        To be consistent you have to agree that this standard should be kept by householders. In the Vedic Culture the man earns the money so he is mostly responsible for this duty. By your logic, if one says they cannot do it they are simple giving excuses; if they really want to follow Srila Prabhupada they will do whatever it takes.
        My point is we can all find ways to say others are not living up to the standard, but who is going to change because we find fault in them. If we are preachers we need to show people that a particular activity is in their own best interest instead of just criticizing.

        • Somayaji says :

          Hare Krsna,

          As I wrote elsewhere this article was written by a woman for women hence the line of thought is about women’s duties. If you want to write an article about men doing their prescribed duties then by all means do so. And as I also wrote that you do not have to wait for other people to do their prescribed duties before you do yours. It is a wrong mindset to think “Well X, and Y and Z are not doing their prescribed duties so why should I do mine?”

          That is their problem but why should I let that stop me from making spiritual advancement by pleasing Krsna by doing my prescribed duties to please him?

          • Sita Rama 108 says :

            Somayaji,
            You wrote:
            “It is a wrong mindset to think “Well X, and Y and Z are not doing their prescribed duties so why should I do mine?…That is their problem but why should I let that stop me from making spiritual advancement by pleasing Krsna by doing my prescribed duties to please him?”End Quote.
            My Coment:
            The mindset described in my comment is, as preachers we should encourage others to do their duty for their own best interest not to avoid our condemnation. So I agree with what you are saying; we should all do our duty to make spiritual advancement.
            You point out that the the article is by a women, to women, and for women and the duties of men are a different subject. Yes, I was not commenting on the article but on comments to the article made by men. I feel these are valuable points on the general topic of the duty of married couples.

          • Sita Rama 108 says :

            Somayaji,
            SB 5.5.18
            Purport:
            Ordinarily, the spiritual master, husband, father, mother or superior relative accepts worship from an inferior relative, but here Åñabhadeva forbids this. First the father, spiritual master or husband must be able to release the dependent from repeated birth and death. If he cannot do this, he plunges himself into the ocean of reproachment for his unlawful activities.

    • Somayaji says :

      Just because it is difficult to perform doesn’t mean it should not be performed. In fact it is often difficult to perform one’s prescribed duties. In fact that is the whole topic of the Gita. Arjuna didn’t want to perform his prescribed duties as a warrior because it was too difficult. The situation was conducive etc, etc. For most of the 1st chapter Arjuna gives so many reasons for why he should not do his prescribed duty. Then after chastising Arjuna and calling him a fool and a non-Aryan etc Krsna then spent the rest of the Gita convincing Arjuna to do his prescribed duty to please Krsna. Krsna didn’t spare harsh words using words like eunuch, non-Aryan, fool etc when chastising Arjuna for avoiding his duty. Your your thesis is thus unsupportable.

      • Sita Rama 108 says :

        Somayaji,
        I beg to point out that this is a circular argument. You are certainly correct in saying we should not give up our duty no matter how difficult it is, but the example you use shows that one’s duty to their teachers and superiors has to be determined in accordance with the circumstances. Arjuna’s duty was to kill his worshipable superiors, his desire to remain devoted to them despite their not being qualified, was maya. Let’s put this in the context of the world today.
        SB 5.5.18
        Purport.
        Ordinarily, the spiritual master, husband, father, mother or superior relative accepts worship from an inferior relative, but here Åñabhadeva forbids this. First the father, spiritual master or husband must be able to release the dependent from repeated birth and death. If he cannot do this, he plunges himself into the ocean of reproachment for his unlawful activities.
        June 28 1977 Talk about Varnasrama
        Prabhupäda: …And in the presence of father or elder brother or husband, a woman has to earn livelihood—that’s a great insult.
        Tamäla Kåñëa: Disgrace. That’s disgraceful.
        Prabhupäda: Yes.
        What is the percentage of couples who are both employed?
        http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/famee.pdf
        The number of mothers with children under 18 years old who were working or looking for work in the U.S. in 2014 was 70.1 %.
        http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2001/apr/wk4/art02.htm
        In the U.S., in 2000, in 80% of couples both were in the labor force (A rough head count of the devotees in congregation where I reside gives a similar number, and the majority of the householders in this group are from India.)
        The conclusion is, the first duty of a Viasnava woman is to find a husband who is able to deliver her from the cycle of repeated birth and death, a husband who will not insult and disgrace her by not fulfilling his duty of supporting her and protecting her from the contamination resulting from associating with the competitive, dog eat dog, atmosphere of the working world. There are innumerable statements by Srila Prabhupada saying the husband must first be qualified and then the wife can get spiritual advancement by following him. To insist this is not the case is a perversion of the Vedic ideal.

        • Bhaktilata dasi says :

          Again you are bringing men’s duties in an article about women’s duties in what appears to me to be an attempt to undermine the focus on women.

          As one male devotee recently replied when asked why he, a man, wrote a book about women’s role and not one about men etc he nicely replied “because in society today we don’t see men trying to imitate women, but we do see a certain class of women trying to imitate men.” And that is the the issue here. So please do not dilute the discussion by being OT – Off Topic. Please as other commentators have politely asked you but which you seem to ignore – if you want to write an article about why you should not live off your wife’s work (you made blanket statement that men don’t want to work and support their families so I assume that also includes you) then please do we are all waiting for your article – at least I am but please stay on on topic in this comment thread.

        • Bhaktilata dasi says :

          Then if wife accepts a husband who is not up to the mark whose fault is that? If she doesn’t have karma to marry “prince charming? then what?

          Pisima’s husband was not like that. But because she was KC she served her husband according to Daiva Varnashrama principles — to please Krsna.

        • Bhaktilata dasi says :

          I just had a talk with the mother of a devotee boy from a wealthy family. They had arranged a marriage with a devotee girl, but all fell apart. Why? They wanted a girl who would be family oriented and perform her stri-dharma. She originally agreed. But it turned out otherwise, she wanted to be a career woman. He comes from very wealthy family she need not work, but she preferred to a career girl. So as Manu says you can not protect a woman by force you can only protect a woman who wants to be protected. They are becoming fewer and thus they inevitably become exploited. Whose fault is that? Their own.

          • Sita Rama 108 says :

            Mother Bhaktilata,
            You can say it is the womans own choice not to be protected in this circumastance. But is the the circumstance of all women?
            Society is a large and numerous factors entwine to create innumerable influnces. I do not think the question of a general sociatal problem should be wheter it is the fault of all women or not. Srila Prabhupada clearly stated womens liberation was a trick by men to exploit women. So we cannot say it is just all the fault of women or all the fault of men. Rather than trying to find out whose fault it is we should concentrate on helping those who, like ourselves are less than perfect.

  17. Sita Rama 108 says :

    The fundamental attribution error is the error of attributing a person’s actions exclusively to the individual while ignoring the fact that the social environment, and our experiences, have a major impact on the actions of all of us. Although this is a construct of material science, avoiding the error is implicit in the instructions of the Scriptures and Srila Prabhupada.
    Srila Prabhupada often used the words, “material conditioning” he also describes the fallen jiva’s as, “conditioned souls”. The term, “conditioning”, is jargon from behavioral psychology. In the 1890’s Ivan Pavlov used it to describe the process of making a dog salivate upon hearing a bell. Of course humans can overcome their conditioning. The point is, the fundamental attribution error (which is stronger in Western, “individualist cultures”) ignores conditioning and attributes everything to the quality of the individual.
    Some will endlessly deflect my argument, continue with the fundamental attribution error, ignore the conditioning of modern females and insists that it is justified to describe women who do not conform to Vedic Culture are unchaste and insincere. With the same logic we can emphasize that the conditioned souls in Kali Yuga are, “sinful”. But how many people will change their activities to gain our approval? The answer is very few; because we are not giving them a good reason.
    When we emphasize sinfulness and insincerity; though we claim to be presenting the Vedic view, we fail to demonstrate the truth and the proper spirit of preachers. We should not try to change people so they act in ways that we find personally pleasing. A genuine representative of the Vedic knowledge must be acting selflessly for the best interest of the hearers. That means we explain to other conditioned souls that we are under the control of, and being cheated by, the material energy but through the gift of Vedic knowledge we can utilize our intelligence, change our activities, become content, and ultimately free from the clutches of maya. In other words we emphasize acting in one’s own best interest not acting in to avoid our condemnations.
    I am not arguing against encouraging women to adopt the Vedic ideals, but I think it might be more effective to acknowledge the challenges to this in today’s world, emphasize that the Vedic ideal will result in greater satisfaction, and lay off criticizing women as unchaste and insincere as a method of encouraging them to change their activities.

    • Balakrsna das says :

      So now the opinion of mundane psychology is superior pramana to guru, sadhu and sastra! Tell that to the BBT, so they should edit Prabhupada’s books to keep in step with the latest things taught at university.

      • Sita Rama 108 says :

        Balakrsna Prabhu,
        No editing of Srila Prabhupada’s books is needed to make them consistent with the idea of psychological conditioning. A Vedabase search for the word conditioned gives 7463 hits. Mundane psychology is not superior to scripture; rather, the psychological understanding of attributing one actions to ones conditioning is confirmed by the scripture. I referred to the fundamental attribution error to show that when we ignore conditioning our error is greater than that of many materialists.
        June 5 1974 Morning walk:
        Yogeçvara: There’s a theory of the psychologists that—in some ways it’s similar to our idea—that people are conditioned, that according to their environment, according to their upbringing, according to their parentage and so on, they have a kind of way of acting and thinking. So their argument is that Kåñëa consciousness is just another kind of conditioning, that you leave one kind of conditioning, a material conditioning, but then you also enter into another kind of conditioning when you live in the temple.
        Prabhupäda: Yes. That is conditioning, certainly. The position is that you must be under certain condition. That is your position. So if you become conditioned by God, that is your perfection. And if you become conditioned by mäyä, that is your trouble. You must be conditioned. That is your position. You cannot be independent. And therefore, if you become naturally conditioned, then that is your happy life. Just as child, he must be conditioned. But when he is conditioned by his parents, that is his perfection of life. Your position is that you must be conditioned. Why you are thinking to be independent? That is your rascaldom…….”
        SB 5.1
        Just as a bull is controlled by a rope tied to its nose, so all conditioned souls are forced to work under the spells of the modes of nature. A civilized man, therefore, works according to the institution of varëa and äçrama.
        In order to be balanced I should have acknowledged that the situation in today’s world( the way men are condioned) is partly the cause of men’s failure live up to their end of the Vedic ideal and allow their wives to remain protected in the home while they go out to earn a means of maintenance.
        In the early 1970’s, when I was a boy, my father was able to buy a home and support my mother and three siblings from the money he earned as general labor at a shoe factory. He only went to school until he was 14 years old. Now the same factories prefer to hire people with associate degrees. Some men may feel they, as well as their wives, must be well educated and have careers in order to raise a child in a good environment.

  18. Sita Rama 108 says :

    I have asked myself why certain comments regarding the role of devotee women compel me to argue against them. I have identified a few factors. In this discussion, sentences from Srila Prabhupada’s purports to SB 7/11/25-29 have been cited to support that, a chaste wife must have utter devotion and see her husband as good as God. But the sentences mentioning the qualifications of the husband are not cited.
    SB 7/11/29
    A man should be an ideal servant of the Lord, and a woman should be an ideal wife like the goddess of fortune. Then both husband and wife will be so faithful and strong that by acting together they will return home, back to Godhead, without a doubt.
    SB 7/11/28
    The conclusion is that a husband should be a pure Vaiñëava and that a woman should be a chaste wife with all the symptoms described in this regard. Then both of them will be happy and make spiritual progress in Kåñëa consciousness.
    Similarly, in the famous example of Cyavana Muni the following sentences are often cited
    SB 9/3/10
    However great a woman may be, she must place herself before her husband in this way; that is to say, she must be ready to carry out her husband’s orders and please him in all circumstances. Then her life will be successful…… a woman must be trained to be submissive to the will of her husband
    (However; the next line is often not taken into account)
    Westerners contend that this is a slave mentality for the wife, but factually it is not; it is the tactic by which a woman can conquer the heart of her husband, however irritable or cruel he may be…”
    Also, Cyavana Muni was, “old, diseased invalid with loose skin, white hair, and veins visible all over his body”, SB 9/3/13, but he did not become renounced in his old age, instead after accepting the service from his wife he prayed to the Açviné-kumäras, “Kindly arrange beauty and youth for me, because they are attractive to young women”, SB 9/3/12. Cyavana Muni became attached!
    It is clear, purity is required by both husband and wife, and then the service of the wife is not accepted for sense gratification by the husband, and the wife does not serve the husband as a tactic t to, “conquer the heart of her husband”.
    I believe the whole topic is summarized quite well in chapter 7 of “the Gaudiya vaisnava Samadhi’s in Vrindavana, by His Holiness Mahanidhi Swami. Guara Kishora Dasa Babaji is quoted, speaking gravely to a newly married man,” A Vaisnava wife is extremely rare and difficult to find in this world. If one has the good fortune of having one he should see it as a benediction from Krishna. The wife worships the husband as lord and master. Similarly the husband should worship the wife because she is Krishna dasi, a servant of Krishna. In this way the husband can protect his devotional enthusiasm by not considering his wife his maidservant, but she is always the maid servant of Krishna.”

    • Somayaji says :

      This reminds of the past when I would see some zealots write things like “You be Arjuna then I will be Draupadi.” The subtext being that “I will only do my duty if you do yours because then I will get something out of it.” This is the completely wrong mind set. One does one’s prescribed duty simply to please Lord Krsna.

      Once in the forest Draupadi was venting at Kind Yudhisthira “what is the good of your practice of dharma? Just see we are living in the forest while the adharmic Duryodhana is living in the palace.” She wet on this way for some time ridiculing Yudhisthira’s practice of dharma with no apparent positive return for doing so in fact the only return was suffering.

      After she had finished her rant Maharaja Yudhisthir congratulated her on her eloquence but stated that everything she said was atheism. He stated “I do not practice dharma in order to gain anything but rather because dharma is to be practiced.” And that is why Lord Krsna wanted him to be King, because Yudhisthira was performing his duties without attachment and ultimately to please Krsna. He was not attached to results for himself. This is clearly stated in Sb 1.2.9 http://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/1/2/9

      So ultimately the husband doesn’t have to have good qualities for the wife to do her prescribed duty.. This was discussed in this comment http://www.dandavats.com/?p=20139#comment-20424

      The problem that arises is that people think if I do my dharma, then I want the artha and kama that go along with it. And if there are no artha and kama (Arjuna’s argument) then I wont do my dharma. The solution is that we must know who we are doing are dharma for? That is what Daiva Varnashrama dharma is all about, that we do our duties solely to please Lord Krsna. With that in mind it doesn’t really matter if the other person is doing their duty or not. We should only be concerned if we are doing our duty to please Krsna. The only person who needs to be concerned if others are doing their duty is the King, because that is part of his job description.

      continued

      • Somayaji says :

        Part 2

        Now I am not advocating that a woman should marry a bum or that men should not do their duty – they should for Krsna’s pleasure even if the wife is shrew – but that is another story for another time. Obviously it would be a lot easier if the husband and wife both did their prescribed duty. In fact that is what is meant when they said in sastra that only equals should marry. That didn’t mean that Draupadi could kill as many elephants with her bare fist as Bhima could. No. It meant that they were equal in performing their own respective dharmas.

        What I am saying is that even if by her own misfortune bad karma or newly created karma she got a bad husband then this would not be an obstacle to her spiritual advancement she could still do her prescribed duty as a wife to please Krsna. This of course means that the women needs to be somewhat advanced in consciousness, that she is not just interested in what’s in it for her but what pleases Krsna. If she can do all her duties in light of pleasing Krsna then she can sail through life no matter how terrible other people are because they are not the focus of her actions – Krsna is.

        The other thing is that when a woman does perform her prescribed duty to please Krsna, even if her husband is not good, as a side effect she develops great powers. Just like a brahmacari gets great shakti by following his brahmacary vrata, so a woman will get great shakti by performing her stri-dharma.

        There are also examples in sastra of women who served apparently bad husbands but attained great boons, because they satisfied the Lord and the devas.

        “The wife of a brahmana suffering from leprosy manifested herself as the topmost of all chaste women by serving a prostitute to satisfy her husband. She thus stopped the movement of the sun, brought her dead husband back to life and satisfied the three principal demigods [Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara].” http://www.vedabase.com/en/cc/antya/20/57

        So in answer to your question it doesn’t matter what the qualities of the husband are (we are speaking of normal men not serial murderers, criminally insane etc) for her to do her prescribed duty. But if she thinks her husband is so bad (insane etc) then she can separate from him but not remarry. But it does require a certain level of spiritual maturity in the woman to see that her performance of prescribed duty is actually meant for Krsna’s pleasure not her husband and that just because he is not doing his duty doesn’t affect her serving Krsna in this way.

        • Mohana Mohini dd says :

          Hare Krsna.

          Excellent points Prabhu. We were discussing the same topic is Mataji sangha and came to many of the same conclusions.

  19. Sita Rama 108 says :

    As Somayaji brought up the point of doing ones duty for Krishna we might note that the duty of the Spiritual Master (who is to be seen as good as God) is to teach his followers to serve Krishna. The Spiritual Master teaches the disciple to serve Krishna through serving him, but he never accepts that service for his own sense gratification. Some stress that the wife should see the husband as the spiritual master, and as good as God, but it is clear, that at the same time, they consider it the duty of the wife to serve the husbands sense gratification.
    It is impossible to accept a person’s service for sense gratification and not be entangled, controlled, and engaged in serving that person’s sense gratification in some way. This is true at all times and circumstances, Vedic society or yavana society. We can serve Krishna and be controlled by Him or we can try to be the enjoyers and become the servants of maya. The Vedic process is to minimize sense gratification and thus minimize our service to maya, but whatever position we are in, to the degree we accept service for sense gratification, to that same degree we are controlled by maya. There is no way around this!
    This is how we determine if ones interpretation of what the duty of another should be is valid. Some may be very expert at quoting Scripture and putting forward arguments, but if what is being proposed is contrary to the fundamental nature of existence, we can understand there is an error.

    • Mohana Mohini dd says :

      Sita Rama 108 said:

      ” Some stress that the wife should see the husband as the spiritual master, and as good as God”

      It is not as if it is opinion, the husband is the pati – guru and as described in SB 7.11.25 the wife should see husband as the representative of Hari. And in purport of 7.11.29 Madhvacarya says servant should see his master as representative of God, disciple should see Guru as representative of God and wife should also see husband as good as God. And also King is seen as representative of God even if he is a Yavana as Sanatana Gosvami said in case of Navab of Bengal. That is the vision of a Krsna cosncious person.

      Again you are trying the turn the direction of the discussion into what the men are doing or should be doing, are they getting entangled because of accepting sense gratification form the wife etc. As others have pointed out that is not the topic of this discussion. This would be like a person who attends a seminar of complex differential equations and then complains on and on that the professor did not discuss the topic of rainfall in the Amazon basin. Mathematics in a mathematics class geography in a geography class. Why do you insist on changing the subject? As I recently heard Srila Prabhupada say after a lecture when a student asked a question unrelated to the topic of his class. “Please keep the questions on the topic of the lecture.” You could hear in his voice that he was irritated. If you are so concerned about this then please write a cogent article covering all the salient points of your concern.

      Since this article is about women then it is not the place to discuss whether the man gets entangled by accepting her service in sense gratification etc etc. One could also say that the husband is gratifying the senses of the wife by providing all her comforts. And it is not as if only men have sensual desires and women are some how magically free from them. As it is said in sastra only Naranarayana Rsi are free from sex desire and that the kama of women is 9X that of a man. I know a devotee woman who is contemplating leaving her husband for another man because her husband doesn’t give her as much sex as she wants.

      Getting back to the actual point that according to the Bhagavad-gita 18.47-48 a person who is doing their own prescribed duty is never affected by sinful reaction. This applies to everyone in Daiva Varnashrama Dharma. So if a wife satisfies the desires of her husband SHE is not affected because she is doing her prescribed duties. Whether the husband is or is not that is up to him and you can best advise them.

      I am looking forward to seeing your article on the subject of men and their prescribed duties.

  20. Sita Rama 108 says :

    Somayaji,
    I am happy to see women who are inclined to follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and adopt traditional roles. However, particularly for inexperienced devotees, it may be important for them to discriminate and understand that mature devotees can give the most authoritative instructions regarding their duties. It may be helpful for them to know that the instructions of less mature devotees may be flawed; although it seems to be based on what Srila Prabhupada said.
    One’s maturity is understood by how one reacts in adverse situations. We all know Krishna takes away the wealth of a mature devotee so his wife and family will reject him and he will then become renounced. On the other hand, for an average devotee, if the wife leaves him or is extremely argumentative, it can cause some disturbance that distracts him from peacefully performing his sadhana. That is understandable. But an immature devotee who is treated unfairly by his wife might go around with a chip on his shoulder and engage in excessive criticism: for example saying a women are unchaste and insincere if they do not live up to the highest ideal. Srila Prabhupada noted this tendency in his male disciples.
    9/24/1968 Room conversation about marriage.
    Srila Prabhupada: Now another thing, that girls should not be taken as inferior. You see? Sometimes… Of course, sometimes scripture we say that “Woman is the cause of bondage.” So that should not be, I mean to say, aggravated. (laughs) That should not be aggravated, that “Woman is inferior,” or something like that. So the girls who come, you should treat them nicely, at least. I heard that (name of disciple omitted), after his wife left him, he became a woman-hater like that. (chuckles) That is not good. END QUOTE
    If an inexperienced women, in an attempt to be sincere, accepts aggravated interpretations( excessive criticism based on personal frustration) it is quite possible that at some point she will begin to feel this is exploitive and reject the whole idea. Another possibility is, a women may justify the exaggerated criticism and engage in finding fault in other women who do not accept it.

    • Bhaktilata dasi says :

      Another example of changing the topic. You seem possessed with the topic of what men should be doing, that there is a great need to train men etc. Then please please write on that and leave this comment thread stay on the topic. In other professional fora where I sometimes attend the moderators are very strict to delete of topic comments so that the discussion doesn’t get deviated by trolls.

  21. Sita Rama 108 says :

    Again you are trying the turn the direction of the discussion into what the men are doing or should be doing, are they getting entangled because of accepting sense gratification form the wife etc. As others have pointed out that is not the topic of this discussion.
    So if a wife satisfies the desires of her husband SHE is not affected because she is doing her prescribed duties. Whether the husband is or is not that is up to him and you can best advise them.
    My focus is on something very different from the duties of husbands; I will say more on that later. I only mentioned once, that, as MEN were giving their interpretation of the duties of WIVES, they should also mention the duties of a HUSBAND. In the two citations I gave Srila Prabhupada speaks of the duties of the husband and wife together.
    SB 7/11/29
    A man should be an ideal servant of the Lord, and a woman should be an ideal wife like the goddess of fortune. Then both husband and wife will be so faithful and strong that by acting together they will return home, back to Godhead, without a doubt.
    SB 7/11/28
    The conclusion is that a husband should be a pure Vaiñëava and that a woman should be a chaste wife with all the symptoms described in this regard. Then both of them will be happy and make spiritual progress in Kåñëa consciousness.
    Another citation:
    SB 3/23/1
    Unmarried girls worship Lord Çiva so that they can expect a husband who is as good a Vaiñëava as he. The girls are not taught to select a husband who is very rich or very opulent for material sense gratification; rather, if a girl is fortunate enough to get a husband as good as Lord Çiva in devotional service, then her life becomes perfect. The wife is dependent on the husband, and if the husband is a Vaiñëava, then naturally she shares the devotional service of the husband because she renders him service. END CITATION.
    I am sure I could find hundreds or other citation where Srila Prabhupada describes the duties of the husband and wife together. It seems peculiar that you insist these are distinct topics that should only be discussed separately. That was not Srila Prabhupada’s tendency.
    You also stress that the women can make spiritual advancement by doing her duty even if the husband is fallen. This may be true but it is not the most desirable situation; why are you stressing it so much?
    SB 7/11/28
    Thus a chaste woman is advised not to agree to serve such a husband. It is not that a chaste woman should be like a slave while her husband is naradhama, the lowest of men…a chaste woman is not meant to serve a fallen husband.
    So the idea that it makes no difference for the wife what level the husband is on, as well as the idea that the duties of husband and wife most not be brought up in the same discussion are not in line with the examples and statements of Srila Prabhupada. What is the basis for your assertions?

    • Bhaktilata dasi says :

      Why is it that if a man is commenting on the topic of the discussion it some how becomes a reason for you to change the topic of the discussion? It doesn’t matter what sex the commentator is as long as they stay on topic. But if you feel so strongly about writing about the wrongs that men are committing do write on that, you will get a much larger audience by writing a fresh new article than you would from the few people who would bother to read a new comment here.

      • Sita Rama 108 says :

        Mother Bhaktilata,
        The reason is quite clear to me. I see the duties of the wife and the duties of the husband as related topics. You feel the duties of the wife are absolute and unchangable regardless of wheter the hubsband follows his duty or not. There is no reason to adress this disagreement indirectly, and I responded to it directly in a respnse to your other coment above,from 12/16.

TOP