No man can run a family the way a commander runs an army

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By Sita Rama das

I have been a follower of ISKCON for over thirty years; however I was just recently exposed to a peculiar interpretation of Srila Prabhupada’s teaching. An individual, (herein referred to as, the individual) who is initiated by Srila Prabhupada is propagating this interpretation on the internet. The individual explicitly claims that a man should have authority over his wife in the same manner that a military officer controls soldiers, or the way a CEO controls employees. He claims this is what Srila Prabhupada teaches and, based on the reality of the world; it is the only way for a family to function effectively. He believes that insubordination on the part of women is the main cause for divorce. He says that any devotee who preaches differently is stepping on Srila Prabhupada’s head by placing his own materially contaminated opinion over Srila Prabhupada’s absolute instructions.

Personally, I know of no devotee who would accept this interpretation. However I think this viewpoint should be official condemned by the leaders of ISKCON because it is both a gross perversion of Srila Prabhupada’s teaching and patently absurd.
I accept all of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. Srila Prabupada said, hundreds of times, things must be done according to time place and circumstances. I accept that as an absolute fact. But the principal that is pertinent to this subject is eternally true in all circumstances. I am talking about dharma. The eternal dharma of the soul is that it is always a servant. The soul must either directly serve Krishna or serve the material energy. Therefore; if we have material desires we should frankly acknowledge that we must become servants in the material world. That is the attitude of a pious person. An impious person denies they are a servant. This attitude is described in the Veda’s as iccha and dvesa. Iccha means desire to control. Dvesa means hate; the impious hate anything that threatens their control. One who has an extremely strong desire to control loathes to accept that they are a servant. Due to extreme ignorance such people think they are in control in spite of the fact that, in this world, everyone is subservient to the material energy.

The individual might agree with my assertion that a man must serve the material energy if he has material desires. Yet the individual would surely say that Srila Prbhupada, and common sense, tells us any group needs a leader and within a family the man must be the authority. The type of statement commonly cited by the individual is found in Srila Prabhupada’s purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 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 willing to carry out her husband’s orders and please him in all circumstances…. Westerners contend that this is slave mentality for the wife, but factually it is not; it is a tactic by which a woman can conquer the heart of her husband, however cruel he may be”. Here Srila Prabhupada says a woman must be ready to carry out the order of her husband. The individual’s argument is that this is comparable to a soldier who also carries out orders. But the comparison is not good because the solder does not “conquer the heart” of his commander. An obedient solder simply avoids the serious punishment that he would receive for insubordination.

Any man who thinks he can control his wife the way a military officer controls an army is living in a fantasy world. Check out chapter 51 of the Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it describes the deliverance of King Mucukunda. The king said to Krishna “…I may be a powerful king and yet when I come home after conquering the world I become subjected to many material conditions. When I come back victorious, all subordinate kings may come and offer their respects, but as soon as I enter the inner sections of the palace, I myself become an instrument in the hands of the Queens and for sense gratification I must fall down at the feet of a woman”. The pious king frankly admits he cannot control his family as he does his army. Of course the Queens will be subservient, but in this way they conquer the king and he becomes their servant. It is noteworthy that king says he is “conquered” by the Queens and Srila Prabhupada uses the exact same word; the submissive woman can “conquer” the heart of the husband.

If someone thinks that a chaste wife will always be submissive I have some advice. Get real! Check out a morning walk in Bombay on March 27,1974.

Srila Prabhupada: No. I did not like my wife but still I had to marry her. (Laughter)
Dr. Patel: And you had bad days all your life or were you quarreling? I am sorry to intrude.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Dr. Patel: Were you?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
A little later
Quest (1): Tulasi dasa, also, the same thing happened. No? Everywhere.
The quest is referring to the great Vaisnava poet Tulasi dasa. In a room conversation –April 12, 1969, New York, Srila Prabhupada explains that Tualsi dasa,(before becoming a great Vaisnava poet) was overly attached to his young wife and she chastised him for it. Srila Prabupada also says Tulasi dasa“… in many passages of his poetry has not done much justice to women”.
Dr. Patel: I was attached to my wife. And we used to quarrel every day.

Srila Prabhupada: Quarreling between husband and wife, that is natural. That is explained by Chanakya Pundit… The quarreling will be humbug, big, but the result will be nothing.

A little later:
Srila Prabhupada:…quarrel, my wife never thought of another man; neither I thought of another woman.
Dr. Patel Why? Because of the background.

Srila Prabhupada: Although we fought, but there was no such thing. [break] Fighting is natural. This is fight of love. Therfore Chanakya pundit said “Neglect this fighting. Don’t take it seriously”. ……Quarrel between husband and wife should not be taken seriously. Let them fight. It will stop automatically. That’s all.

Unlike the quarrel between husband and wife, if an employee quarrels with their CEO it is a serious matter; such a person risks losing their job. If a soldier quarrels with his commanding officer he may be punished in a military court. But a wife and husband will regularly quarrel. According to Srila Prabhupada this is to be expected and not taken seriously.

The individual cited some places where Srila Prabupada’s said women always need protection from men. There are two sides to this. Check out the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam, 3:14:20 “A man who possesses a good wife does not create a disturbance in society by corrupting virgin girls. Without a fixed wife, a man becomes a debauchee of the first order and is a nuisance in society- unless he is trained as a brahmacari, vanaprastha or sannyasi. ….. A grhastha is saved, however because of his faithful wife”. Srila Prabhupada says women need the protection of a good husband so they do not become exploited. But most men also need the protection of a good wife so they do not become exploiters. The individual is married. He did not get married to protect a woman. Because of his material desire he could not remain a bramacari. Therefore; according to Srila Prabhupada, he needed the protection of a good wife to save him from becoming a “debauchee of the first order” and a “nuisance in society”.

The individual claims Srila Prabhupada teaches us that unsubmissive wives are to blame for the high divorce rate. For some reason he does not acknowledge this statement by Srila Prabhupada found in the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4:25:56. “In Bengali it is said that if one becomes the obedient servant of his wife, he loses all reputation. However: the difficulty is that unless one becomes a most obedient servant of his wife, family life becomes disturbed. In the Western countries this disturbance gives rise to divorce law and in the Eastern countries like India there is separation.”

The individual claims that those advocating equality in marriage are deviating from Srila Prabhupada’s instruction. In fact, it is he who is doing this by accepting some of Srila Prabhupada’s instruction and ignoring others. Specifically he emphasizes the duty of a wife to serve the husband and neglects the fact that it is also the duty of a husband to serve the wife.

The foundation of our philosophy is that we are eternally servants. If we have material desires we should not resent, and neurotically deny, the fact we must be subservient to the opposite sex. Devotees are supposed to have a clear understanding of the world but this individual’s perspective is clearly neurotic. Anyone can see that a man is deluded if he thinks he can rule his family the way a commander rules an army; and people will justifiably laugh at such a man. The leaders of ISKCON should make it clear that such delusions are not common in our society and they certainly are not consistent with the Absolute Truth.

Anyone who would like to talk with me about this subject can email me at dana.seamon@maine.edu

Your servant,
Sita Rama das

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1 tulasi-priya

Thank you for this article. I find your argument very balanced, and in line with both the spirit and the letter of Srila Prabhupada’s instruction.

After sixteen years of marriage, I am only lately beginning to understand the meaning of submission to one’s husband. We women might want to get over our preconceptions and stereotypes, our bad attitudes and grudges against men as a class, which we often take out on our husbands. Instead, we can wise up and learn how to handle them properly. We are meant to learn this art and science from watching our mothers interact with our fathers. Unfortunately, if we have grown up in broken homes, or if our mothers weren’t trained in the skills of husband-handling themselves, we are left to figure things out on our own, which can take a long time, if we don’t drop out of the School of Matrimonial Hard Knocks before then.

Being submissive does not mean being an abused doormat. It means using your intelligence to figure out how to serve someone whose conditioning is off wildly at odds with one’s own. I do think that some women too easily divorce their husbands. I don’t blame them, because their current distress renders them unable to take a long view. When we’re suffering, as they say on TV, we want FAST relief. Divorce can be a painkiller for a husband who’s a headache (although many times the cure is worse than the disease). But if we would only “tough it out” a little longer, we might find that the man we can’t stand grows into a devoted servant and ally.

This is not to suggest that anyone submit to ongoing physical or psychological abuse. But with the passage of years, the things we once thought were intolerable or unforgivable about one’s husband, when seen through the eyes of compassion, turn out to be the merely human flaws and failings of another human being, just as we become more aware of, and compassionate toward, our own shortcomings. Submission is what allows us to put a lid on the false ego long enough to get to that place. It’s a dance of humility, and humility is what we must all cultivate if we are to chant the holy name in pure love and submission, thereby conquering the supreme husband, Sri Krishna.

Comment posted by tulasi-priya on November 4th, 2010
2 Shyamasundara Dasa

“As the male is to whom a wife cleaves, even so is the son whom she brings forth; let him therefore carefully guard his wife, in order to keep his offspring pure.

No man can completely guard women by force; but they can be guarded by the employment of the (following) expedients:

Let the (husband) employ his (wife) in the collection and expenditure of his wealth, in keeping (everything) clean, in (the fulfilment of) religious duties, in the preparation of his food, and in looking after the household utensils.

Women, confined in the house under trustworthy and obedient servants, are not (well) guarded; but those who of their own accord keep guard over themselves, are well guarded.
[Manu Smriti 9.9-12.]

What Manu is basically saying is that you cannot protect a woman who doesn’t want to be protected. You cannot use force as it will not work. Only women who want to be protected [controlled] can be protected not others. And, yes protecting a woman means to control her. Just as a mother protects her children by controlling them in the same way the husband controls his wife. The difference is that children really have no choice because they are minors but women have the choice to be controlled or not. Those women who want to be protected are actually protected. Manu then gives hints as to how a husband should engage his wife so that she can be self-controlled.

There is much more that could be said but I can’t do justice to it in 2500 characters.

Shyamasundara Dasa

www.ShyamasundaraDasa.com

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on November 4th, 2010
3 Shyamasundara Dasa

Sita Rama das wrote:

The individual claims Srila Prabhupada teaches us that unsubmissive wives are to blame for the high divorce rate. For some reason he does not acknowledge this statement by Srila Prabhupada found in the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4:25:56. “In Bengali it is said that if one becomes the obedient servant of his wife, he loses all reputation. However: the difficulty is that unless one becomes a most obedient servant of his wife, family life becomes disturbed. In the Western countries this disturbance gives rise to divorce law and in the Eastern countries like India there is separation.”

This text has been taken out of context. As quoted above one gets the idea that actually men should become subservient to their wives and it is because they are not then there is divorce. And, that to avoid divorce Srila Prabhupada advocated men becoming subservient. However when you read the whole passage from which it has been extracted from one gets an entirely different message:

“Being thus entangled in different types of mental concoction and engaged in fruitive activities, King Puranjana came completely under the control of material intelligence and was thus cheated. Indeed, he used to fulfill all the desires of his wife, the Queen. SB 4.25.56
PURPORT
When a living entity is in such bewilderment that he is under the control of his wife, or material intelligence, he has to satisfy the intelligence of his so-called wife and act exactly according to her dictates. Various sastras advise that for material convenience one should keep his wife always satisfied by giving her ornaments and by following her instructions. In this way there will be no trouble in family life. Therefore for one’s own social benefit, one is advised to keep his wife satisfied. In this way, when one becomes the servant of his wife, he must act according to the desires of his wife. Thus one becomes more and more entangled. In Bengal it is said that if one becomes an obedient servant of his wife, he loses all reputation. However, the difficulty is that unless one becomes a most obedient servant of his wife, family life becomes disturbed. In the Western countries this disturbance gives rise to the divorce law, and in Eastern countries like India there is separation.

cont…

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on November 4th, 2010
4 Shyamasundara Dasa

part 2

Now this disturbance is confirmed by the new introduction of the divorce law in India. Within the heart, the mind is acting, thinking, feeling and willing, and falling under the control of one’s wife is the same as falling under the control of material intelligence. Thus one begets children by his wife and becomes entangled in so many activities under the control of mental concoctions.

Srila Prabupada is not advocating that men become subservient to their wives, in fact since only a henpecked eunuch would be subservient to his wife it is impossible for other to be so hence there is disturbance in the house if the woman is disobedient. Srila Prabhupada equates subordination to ones wife to being in the grip of material intelligence. Srila Prabhupada never encouraged us to get entangled but always advocated that we disentangle ourselves from the material nature. Indeed to submit to one’s wife is to become more entangled in material life: “Thus one becomes more and more entangled.”

And Lord Visnu said:

In the house where the woman acts like a man or where the man is controlled by a woman, one’s spiritual life is fruitless and the place becomes inauspicious. For one whose wife is harsh in speech and action and who loves to quarrel, the forest is more favorable than the home. Since it is easy to get water, fruits, and peace in the forest, it is considered more auspicious than being with a mean wife. Those who are puppets in the hands of their wives are never sanctified, even by cremation. A henpecked husband is not liable to receive the results of any auspicious activities that he performs. The demigods and people of earth always criticize him and he is bereft of fame and glory, so he should be considered dead, though living in the body.
(spoken by Lord Visnu in Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Prakrti-khanda 6)

continued…

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on November 4th, 2010
5 Shyamasundara Dasa

part 3

Actually Srila Prabhupada does say in an earlier text in the same 4th canto that divorce is generally caused by woman. I give the whole quote not just a snippet.

“Thereafter Sati left her husband, Lord Siva, who had given her half his body due to affection. Breathing very heavily because of anger and bereavement, she went to the house of her father. This less intelligent act was due to her being a weak woman.”
PURPORT
According to the Vedic conception of family life, the husband gives half his body to his wife, and the wife gives half of her body to her husband. In other words, a husband without a wife or a wife without a husband is incomplete. Vedic marital relationship existed between Lord Siva and Sati, but sometimes, due to weakness, a woman becomes very much attracted by the members of her father’s house, and this happened to Sati. In this verse it is specifically mentioned that she wanted to leave such a great husband as Siva because of her womanly weakness. In other words, womanly weakness exists even in the relationship between husband and wife. Generally, separation between husband and wife is due to womanly behavior; divorce takes place due to womanly weakness. The best course for a woman is to abide by the orders of her husband. That makes family life very peaceful. Sometimes there may be misunderstandings between husband and wife, as found even in such an elevated family relationship as that of Sati and Lord Siva, but a wife should not leave her husband’s protection because of such a misunderstanding. If she does so, it is understood to be due to her womanly weakness.
SB 4.4.3p

Having said this I still abide by my first quote from Manu where he points out that one cannot protect/control a wife by force she has to want to be protected/controlled only then will their be peace.

Aside from these snippets of Prabhupada’s quotes being taken out of context I also feel uncomfortable with the text in general because we never see the original text the author is referring to and arguing against. Considering that the author has taken Srila Prabhupada out of context might he not have done the same with his opponent and put up a “straw man” argument? We just don’t know. A link to the original text is desirable.

Shyamasundara Dasa

www.ShyamasundaraDasa.com

krsne matir astu

Comment posted by Shyamasundara Dasa on November 4th, 2010
6 tulasi-priya

Hare Krishna. If a man thinks he’s the controller of his wife out of a desire for his own sense gratification, controlling her as he would a personal possession, in order to prop up his ego and to enjoy either the subtle or gross sense gratification thereby, they are both in trouble. He then in fact becomes the servant of his own sense gratification, and by extension, of his wife. An intelligent but materialistic woman, knowing her husband’s weaknesses, can use both scenarios to her advantage by manipulating the husband’s material desires to achieve her own. The marriage may be peaceful and happy, but they both go to hell.

But as Prabhupada said, devotee women “are not ordinary women,” so it would behoove their men to not think so much in terms of controlling, and more in protecting and serving. There is no fault in becoming the servant of one’s wife, if the husband sees her as the Lord’s property, not his own. Whatever “controlling” is done is out of concern for her as a servant of the Lord and respect for her as His property, not his own.

Comment posted by tulasi-priya on November 5th, 2010
7 Sita Rama das

Shyamasudara says Prabhupada is not advocating that men become subservient to their wives, in fact only a henpecked eunuch would be subservient to his wife, it is impossible for the other to do so and hence there is disturbance in the house if women is disobedient” I do not see how he can say this after just hearing Mucakunda admit he was subservient to his queens. I ask him what he, or those he is preaching to, have that Mucakunda did not have? Who can say they are manlier than the King? Mucakunda talked face to face with Krishna who is more advanced then him? The conclusion is any man who thinks he is not subservient to his wife needs a reality check.
Shyamasudara says Prabhupada did not really mean it when he said that a husband should serve his wife because Prabhupada also says this leads to entanglement. By this logic Srila Prabhupada did not really mean it when he said in S.B. 9:3:10 that a women should obey her husband because this also resulted in the husband becoming entangled. If Srila Prabhupada’s real message is that a man becomes entangled when he serves his wife but not when he accepts service he would not have said that a wifes service to a husband was a tactic by which she could conquer him.
The real context of Prabhupad’s instruction for a man to serve his wife is given by Prabhupada himself. He says when men are not subservient it leads to divorce in the western countries. Although serving the wife leads to entanglement the result of not serving the wife leaves a man single and vulnerable to greater entanglement. He is no longer protected from becoming a ” debauchee of the first order”.
A married man denying he is entangled is laughable. This denial is a convenient way for men to aggravate the instructions for women to serve them. In this way they accept more and more service from women and become more entangled. They delude themselves into thinking this arrangement proves they are renounced. They twist Prabhupad’s teaching into something draconian- something a reasonable person will reject.
For every quote you bring up showing women a less intelligent and should be subservient I can bring one that says the man should be subservient and women are intelligent. So lets not continue with this. Lets have some balance. Lets get realistic.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 5th, 2010
8 sita-pati

Seems to me to be something that is easily settled empirically - study successful marriages and see what they are doing; rather than trying to do it through speculative interpretation of scriptures and statements by Srila Prabhupada.

I asked John Maxwell who “leads” in his marriage. He replied: “In areas where my wife is strong, she leads and I follow. In areas where I’m strong, I lead and she follows.”

It’s kind of obvious when you think about it. And it will be different for each couple, because every person is a unique individual with a unique strength profile - but the principle is universal.

Mutual submission - lead in areas of your strength; defer to your partner’s leadership in areas of their strength.

Comment posted by sita-pati on November 6th, 2010
9 Unregistered

Although some components of the author’s paper may by imperfect, the general point is clear, rational, and directly experienced by many. Outdated arguments against this paper’s position may provide a solution for some, but not the general populace in Kali Yuga.

First, there’s no need to bring Manu Samhita into this discussion. This text was written in a previous yuga, and has not been translated “as it is” in modern language and expounded upon by acharyas in our disciplic succession. So let’s disregard this reference at this time.

Next thing, let’s not use the term “subservient”. It is often interpreted as a pecking order, or display of dominant control over another. In the true essence, the goal for every sincere soul is to be a servant. Now, Srila Prabhupada did mention several times that women are like children. In what sense is Srila Prabhupada speaking? Obviously not in terms of neurologic development, or of required disciplinary action. Any observant parent knows that in order to receive reciprocating love from their children, they need to give attention, affection, acceptance, allowance, and appreciation. Actually, every healthy relationship requires these items.

This is Kali Yuga. Men are not properly trained in the art of being Vedic men, and women are not properly trained in the art of being Vedic women. Not all men are strong willed, decisive, and intuitive. Many are not able to lead by a display of strong character. It is a fact, there are women that are strong willed, decisive, and intuitive…maybe just as many as men. We don’t know unless we have those statistics. However, the fact is that there are relationships/marriages that work and are fully functional (in Kali Yuga) where the woman is stronger in character than the man. There is no question of “subservient”, it is just that the woman may be of higher intelligence and/or better at making decisions for the family. It may be that the man is a better cook and cleaner than the woman. It can go both ways. So, if one is reasonable, one would accept/follow reasonable family leadership no matter the type of body (gender, age, race, religion, etc…). However, if we disregard an individual’s abilities because of the type of body they may have been born with, bias has taken over our thought process.

Comment posted by bbd on November 6th, 2010
10 Unregistered

Let’s all be modest and reasonably live within the modern time period. Many women are the bread winners, many women are the brains of the family, and many women are the stronger half when it comes to moral character. There’s nothing that’s going to change that. One thing is for sure, man is polluted and his disease is contagious to all. However, if man were of high moral character and were to give his wife attention, affection, acceptance, allowance, and appreciation, the wife will naturally accept his offering of love. No sane person would refuse. Otherwise, if one does not receive, or stops receiving, these items from the other person, the relationship is not sustainable in the long run. The person who does not receive these items will certainly leave the relationship, regardless of gender. It’s too easy for us diseased men (on the bodily platform) to point the blaming finger at the opposite gender for the negative outcomes in marriage. We may use bible verses, koran verses, samhita verses, etc…of days long gone by. If one is under protection, and wants to leave that protection, there is nothing able to trump free will. Let’s stop trying to artificially impose ancient Vedic social customs, and our misinterpretations of them, that are clearly inappropriate for the modern age. If our only business was to engage in propagating the holy names and purify our hearts, everything would naturally fall into its proper place without unnecessary worry.

Comment posted by bbd on November 6th, 2010
11 Sita Rama das

Clear communication is extremely important.therefor; although I think most people will understand the way I am using the word subservient, in order to be absolutely sure I will explain it. I do not mean extreme submission or abject obedience. By subservient I mean the 2. definition given in Merriam Websters- serving to promote some end. Thats all, no more , no less.
Y.s.
Sita Rama dasa

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 7th, 2010
12 Unregistered

BBD said:

First, there’s no need to bring Manu Samhita into this discussion. This text was written in a previous yuga, and has not been translated “as it is” in modern language and expounded upon by acharyas in our disciplic succession. So let’s disregard this reference at this time.

The Vedas are eternal and applicable for eternity it doesn’t matter when they were written. The Gita was spoken in the previous yuga as well and before that Lord Krsna said He spoke it to Manu’s father Vivasvan about 40 million years ago. So should we disregard the Gita as well? And, in Srila Prabhupada’s edition it is the purports that are important not so much the actual verse translations which are basically the same as that of other translations. In fact for some verses SP told the editors to use the same translations as that as Dr. Radhakrishna because they would be the same as his. Hence your argument that because the Manu Samhita has not been translated “as it is” doesn’t stand. There are many translations of this text and there is little if any difference in the translations. The burden of proof is on you to show that this is a wrong translation of the text before telling us it should be disregarded. There is a certain section in ISKCON that want to have Manu banned simply because it disagrees with their agenda.

As for the importance of Manu in his commentary to CC1.6.14-15 Srila Prabhupada quotes Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana:

“If matter were accepted as the original cause of creation, all the authorized scriptures in the world would be useless, for in every scripture, especially the Vedic scriptures like the Manu-smrti, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is said to be the ultimate creator. The Manu-smrti is considered the highest Vedic direction to humanity. Manu is the giver of law to mankind, and in the Manu-smrti it is clearly stated that before the creation the entire universal space was darkness, without information and without variety, and was in a state of complete suspension, like a dream. Everything was darkness. …

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 7th, 2010
13 Unregistered

part 2

If one tries to nullify the conclusions of the Vedas by accepting an unauthorized scripture or so-called scripture, it will be very hard for him to come to the right conclusion about the Absolute Truth. The system for adjusting two contradictory scriptures is to refer to the Vedas, for references from the Vedas are accepted as final judgments. When we refer to a particular scripture, it must be authorized, and for this authority it must strictly follow the Vedic injunctions. If someone presents an alternative doctrine he himself has manufactured, that doctrine will prove itself useless, for any doctrine that tries to prove that Vedic evidence is meaningless immediately proves itself meaningless. The followers of the Vedas unanimously accept the authority of Manu and Parasara in the disciplic succession.

The reason why Manu Smriti is so highly respected by the Veda acaryas is because Manu Smiti strictly follows the Vedic injunctions as is directly stated by Manu himself in the text.

And Rupa Gosvami says:

sruti-smrti-puranadi-
pancaratra-vidhim vina
aikantiki harer bhaktir
utpatayaiva kalpate

“Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upanisads, Puranas and Narada-pancaratra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.”

Most of the texts mentioned in this quote by Rupa Gosvami were recorded in previous yugas and have not been translated by ISKCON, so according to BBD they should be disregarded. I do not agree with you that we should disregard Manu Samhita just because there is no ISKCON translation. We don’t disregard Ramayana, Mahabharata, the actual Vedas and the other 17 Mahapuranas none of which have been translated by ISKCON. There are devotees now who are doing deep study of Manu Samhita, it is necessary to do so if we hope to establish Daiva Varnashrama Dharma.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 7th, 2010
14 Unregistered

Subservient: serving or acting in a subordinate capacity; subordinate.

Sita Rama wrote:

The individual claims that those advocating equality in marriage are deviating from Srila Prabhupada’s instruction. In fact, it is he who is doing this by accepting some of Srila Prabhupada’s instruction and ignoring others. Specifically he emphasizes the duty of a wife to serve the husband and neglects the fact that it is also the duty of a husband to serve the wife.

The foundation of our philosophy is that we are eternally servants. If we have material desires we should not resent, and neurotically deny, the fact we must be subservient to the opposite sex.

You seem to have mixed up two things:

–That the husband should serve the wife

–What that service should be.

You claim that serving the wife means for the husband to be subservient to her, this is erroneous. We agree that the husband must serve the wife but he does so in a different capacity as will be explained, so keep reading.

At the time of marriage the wife agrees to be subordinate and faithful to the husband and serve him. In fact a chaste woman sees her husband as patidevanam - worshipable (SB 7.11.25) And, in the purport to SB 7.11.29 Srila Prabhupada quotes our Sampradaya Acarya, Sripada Madhvacarya:

harir asmin sthita iti
strinam bhartari bhavana
sisyanam ca gurau nityam
sudranam brahmanadisu
bhrtyanam svamini tatha
hari-bhava udiritah

A woman should think of her husband as the Supreme Lord. Similarly, a disciple should think of the spiritual master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a sudra should think of a brahmana as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and a servant should think of his master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this way, all of them will automatically become devotees of the Lord. In other words, by thinking this way, all of them will become Krsna conscious.”

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 7th, 2010
15 Unregistered

part 2

So yes the wife’s serves the husband by being subservient. But the real question is: is the husband’s service to the wife also one of subservience? No. At the time of marriage the husband promises to support and protect his wife. That is his service. This is a difficult service to perform and that more and more seems completely thankless and we wonder why some (many) men just decide to reject their wives and leave this service. If you now expect that men in addition to doing their own onerous duties to their wives are also expected to be subservient to them well that will just increase the divorce rate not ease it, and I will be the first one to jump ship.

The wife is subservient to her husband and the husband is subservient to his Guru, and the Guru is subservient to his Guru all the way up to Krsna. So yes the husband is subservient—to his guru—but not to his wife.

The parents render service to their children by taking care of them and chastising them when they do wrong to correct them. When Jagannatha Misra was informed in a dream that Nimai was actually Krsna he responded that he didn’t care, it was his duty as a father to chastise Nimai for His own good or he would not be serving his son well.

While the disciples render service to their guru by menial service the Guru renders even more service to his disciples by taking the trouble of training them and correcting them. As Srila Prabhupada once joked after saying that he went to bed at 10PM and rose at 1AM to translate: “my disciples are getting so much service out of me.”

What you have forgotten in your haste to protect us all from the nameless “individual” is that marriage for devotees is called the grhasta ashrama. What does that mean? It means it is an ashrama? Whose ashrama? The husband’s ashrama, and the wife is his primary disciple. He is her pati-guru. This is a serious responsibility. Providing for the wife is not just financial but also providing spiritual instructions etc.

And, there is very real benefit to the wife in being subservient to her husband –she gets 50% of his punya. But what does the husband get out of all of this? Well according Manu Samhita because he is responsible for her and provides for her and protects her and is her pati-guru, for all of this he gets 50% of her sinful reactions. This is confirmed by Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 1.77:

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 7th, 2010
16 Unregistered

part 3

“The sins of a counselor fall on his king, and the sins of a wife fall on her husband. In the same way a guru takes the sins of his disciple. That is certain.”

It is because the husband gets his wife’s sinful reactions that it is very important for him to control her rather than be subservient to her.

“To rule is to serve.”

So while it is certainly true that both husband and wife serve each other they do not serve in an identical way. While the wife as the disciple of her husband is the menial servant of the husband, the husband as pati-guru is not her menial servant but serves her in other more important ways as pati-guru, protector and provider.

So this idea of yours that the husband become subservient to the wife would be like saying Srila Prabhupada should wash his disciples clothes. Washing disciples clothes is certainly service but as Krsna pointed out in Gita 3.35 and 18.47 one should do one’s own duties not someone else’s duty. So the best way that the guru can serve his disciple is by siksha and training them. Similarly the husband as pati-guru serves his wife as guru, protector and provider.

So it seems that defining the husband’s service to the wife as being “subservient” is a misnomer.

Your humble servant
Atmavidya das

PS. I am addressing this text to serious followers of Srila Prabhupada not to people who want to compromise with Kali yuga secular values. Such persons should disregard my comments as irrelevant.

PPS. You may be surprised to learn that I know several men, who unlike Muchukunda, are not subservient to their wives. Rather they serve their wives by being strong, responsible, good providers and protectors, and good spiritual guides for their wives. Understandably the wives adore their husbands.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 7th, 2010
17 Unregistered

part-1:

Let’s all be modest and reasonably live within the modern
time period.

What does it mean?

Let’s stop trying to artificially impose ancient Vedic
social customs, and our misinterpretations of them, that are clearly
inappropriate for the modern age.

First of all, Shyamasundara Prabhu quoted Manu-samhita and here I’m
giving two quotes from Srila Prabhupada:

In every civilized human society there is some set of scriptural
rules and regulations which is followed from the beginning. Especially
among the Āryans, those who adopt the Vedic civilization and who are
known as the most advanced civilized peoples, those who do not follow
the scriptural injunctions are supposed to be demons…As for behavior,
there are many rules and regulations guiding human behavior, such as
the Manu-saḿhitā, which is the law of the human race.(BG-16.7p)

The conclusion is that if we want real peace and order in the human
society, we must follow the principles laid down by the Manu-saḿhitā
and confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.(SB-7.8.48p)

The point is that Manu-samhita, Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures
which we are supposed to follow speak about the principles and not
social customs.

Therefore, we are advised to follow the principles taught in the
stories like the one about Kardama Muni and Devahuti about grihastha
asrama as well as the ones in scriptures like Ramayana and Mahabhrata
where we can see Manu-samhita ‘in action’.

Moreover, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirmed that
“Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the spotless Purāṇa. It is most dear to the
Vaiṣṇavas…” - śrīmad-bhāgavataḿ purāṇam amalaḿ yad vaiṣṇavānāḿ
priyaḿ
- so who are we to decide what teachings should we extract and
follow and which “are clearly inappropriate for the modern age” ?

This reminds me of the Christian ‘arguments’ - when you mention to
them what we are supposed to eat according to the Genesis in
Old Testament, their reply is: “Old Testament is not valid any
longer.” It means that The God released buggy scripture, realized the
mistake and had to rewrite it from the scratch in the form of New
Testament. :-)

Comment posted by ggdasa on November 8th, 2010
18 Unregistered

part-2:

So, let’s forget about Manus, Valmiki, Srila Vyasadeva, Srila
Sukadeva Goswami, the sages of Naimisaranya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
and other Vaisnava acaryas in our line ‘cause they did not present
teachings according to the needs of the modern age…

If our only business was to engage in propagating the
holy names and purify our hearts, everything would naturally fall into
its proper place without unnecessary worry.”

Some years ago one middle-aged lady approached me and said: “Dear
Prabhu, you have to marry and show the example. Seeing what is the
divorce rate in your society, you cannot expect that sane & mature
people will take your movement seriously.”

So, I consider that we have to become aware of our fallen condition,
the status from where we are coming trying to approach the platform of
pure devotional service and understand why Srila Prabhupada wanted us
to become established in the daivi varnasrama which means following
the principles enunciated in the above mentioned Vedic scriptures.

Unfortunately, thinking that we are more advanced than we are (common
disease in our ‘modern’ ISKCON) and that therefore “we can only chant”
and “everything would naturally fall into its proper place” results
that we have such high rate of fallen sannyasis and broken marriages.

ys,
ggdasa

Comment posted by ggdasa on November 8th, 2010
19 Unregistered

Re: #11

Dear Sita Rama Prabhu,,

Hari Bol.

It seems to me that your choice of words could have been significantly better.

From the same Merriam Webster dictionary site we find the following synonyms for “subservient” none of them corresponding to the definition chosen by you.

Synonym Discussion of SUBSERVIENT
subservient, servile, slavish, obsequious mean showing or characterized by extreme compliance or abject obedience. subservient implies the cringing manner of one very conscious of a subordinate position .servile suggests the mean or fawning behavior of a slave . slavish suggests abject or debased servility . obsequious implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner .

http://www.merriam-webster.com.....ubservient

And the examples you use (Muchukunda) also suggest the common meaning of subservient. So there seems to be some confusion of meaning. Because it seems most people did not understand it to mean what you meant but rather the normal meaning of the word. Hence, some of the responses you got including mine.

yhs

AVd

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 8th, 2010
20 Unregistered

Another point like Shyamasundara Prabhu I would also like to see the original article(s) you are responding to. Perhaps that author would like an opportunity to respond to your charges.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 8th, 2010
21 Sita Rama das

Dear Atmavidya prabhu,
Hare Krishna,
You say ” This idea of yours that a husband should be subservient is like saying Srila Prabhupada should wash a disciples clothes”. You have compared the husband to Srila Prabhupada. Yet even ISKCON Guru’s do not acccept service from their disciples as Srila Prabhupada did, so how can you compare the ISKCON husbands to Srila Prabhupada? With all due respect you have taken this idea of the husband as Guru to an unreasonable extreme.The husband as Guru is not meant to be taken so seriously.That is why Chankya Pandit said a quarrel between husband and wife is not a serious matter. However we all know arguing with ones real Guru is an extremely serious offense.
In speaking out against this I am not advocating the opposite extreme. It is common knowledge that if a man is too submissive to a woman she knows he is doing it because he desires sex. She will not respect such a man and she may take advantage by making more and more demands.
I admit I did not know the normal understanding of the word subservient. But you did when you said” Yes the wife serves the husband by being subservient”. Therefore I find your statement disturbing. In some circumstances a woman may not fear being subservient- extremely obedient to a man, because, as Srila Prabhupada says, in this way a woman can conquer a man no matter how cruel he is. But if a man is insecure, afraid of losing his reputation, and being called henpecked he will hide his natural affection. The more insecure he is the more he will be hard on his wife in order to ensure that he will not be exposed. It is now seen that there are men in ISKCON who have such insecurities. These attitudes are not appropriate in any culture. And women will justifiably be intimidated by organizations where such ideas are common.
I am not an expert on these matters or a scholar. But I saw something bogus and did my best to speak out against it. If my lack of command of the English language confused my statement I am sorry. But I make not apology for my overall effort. I did the best I could.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 8th, 2010
22 Unregistered

As for the following like comments from posts 12-18:

[So should we disregard the Gita as well?]

We can will immediately dismiss this.

[Hence your argument that because the Manu Samhita has not been translated “as it is” doesn’t stand. There are many translations of this text and there is little if any difference in the translations. The burden of proof is on you to show that this is a wrong translation of the text before telling us it should be disregarded. There is a certain section in ISKCON that want to have Manu banned simply because it disagrees with their agenda.]

Actually, the onus is one you since you are promoting unauthorized translations of Manu Samhita in an attempt to establish them as the modern authority on this topic. I am sorry to drop the nuke on the Manu Samhita sidetrack, but this discussion needs to progress further. Therefore, I’m pushing down on the button to begin countdown…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..

“We do not want all these rituals. Chanting Hare Krishna is our only business. According to the Manu-samhita you are all mlecchas and yavanas. You cannot touch the Manu-samhita, what to speak of translating it. So if you try to follow the Manu-samhita then you become a mleccha and yavana and your career is finished” (Letter to Madhusudhana das, May 19, 1977)

Srila Prabhupada certainly selected the appropriate portions of Manu Samhita and included them in the literatures he translated and compiled, as did previous acharyas. In BG Krsna outlines aspects of Manu Samhita when discussing the four orders of society. So what need is there for translations of Manu Samhita? If devotees have interest in this sort of thing, I personally see no problem. I just do not accept it as relevant.

“There is no need by any of my disciples to read any books besides my books - in fact, such reading may be detrimental to their advancement in Krishna Consciousness.” (Letter to Govinda das, January 20, 1970)

Comment posted by bbd on November 8th, 2010
23 Unregistered

[Unfortunately, thinking that we are more advanced than we are (common
disease in our ‘modern’ ISKCON) and that therefore “we can only chant”
and “everything would naturally fall into its proper place” results
that we have such high rate of fallen sannyasis and broken marriages.]

I don’t follow your reference to chanting, but I don’t think you are attempting to minimize the potency of the Holy Names. As far as the mention of failed marriages and fallen sannyasis, I fail to see the correlation implied. Indeed, lack of quantity and quality in chanting can greatly influence these two travesties.

[What does it mean? - Let’s all be modest and reasonably live within the modern time period.]

Do I really need to explain this? We don’t live in societies ruled by pious monarchal regimes, women don’t follow their husbands into the funeral pyre, sannyasis don’t need to throw themselves into the Ganges for creeping unwanted thoughts of the opposite sex, we don’t allow or accept polygamy as a general rule, etc… So, let’s stop putting focus on ancient social roles that are clearly inapplicable for today’s general populace. Ancient Vedic social norms (that we don’t even understand) are not the focus, or essence, of spiritual life. Before Srila Prabhupada’s implementation, there was no brahmacarinis, no female pujaris, no women on the vyasasana, etc… Accepting the order of sannyasa is one of the four forbidden things in Kali Yuga. However, Srila Prabhupada bent all those rules on Vedic customs if there was practical implementation for increasing the distribution of the Holy Names. So, whatever dynamic within a marriage that works beneficially for the spiritual progress of the couple should be accepted…period.

Furthermore, if the man (husband) is proposing or pushing forth a foolish idea, why should an intelligent woman (wife), with her children in mind, follow the foolish husband for the sake of being “subservient”?

Comment posted by bbd on November 8th, 2010
24 Unregistered

Dear Sitaram prabhu,

Pamho, Agtsp.

Regarding women being subservient , its obvious as we see the highest ashrama of sannyasa is not meant for women , they are meant to be under the protection of Father , Husband and son. Hence they are dependent and they must be cared for and protected. Of course woman has a very big role to play in society and are equally respected , however the role they play is very different. We should respect this difference created by the Lord Himself and play our role accordingly.

Of course in Kali-yuga with the predominance of Rajo and Tamo guna we are unable to create ideal conditions for a proper grihasta life or even for our children, day by day we see our youth is being dragged to technology and factories and work as sudras , with urbanization most values are lost. 100,000 cows are killed in India alone ,in the land of Dharma everyday… without cow there is no dharma. The food that we eat full of fertilizer and pesticide. The jobs that we do in tamo-guna… Given the above conditions even devotees are mostly struggling to make a good living and keep up their devotion and lead a proper family life.

That is why Srila Prabhupada propagated the creation of a varnasrama society in his last days , so that we live peacefully with land and cows , only then we can see real dharma , real family life. And yes, i would really love to see the original texts of your argument as a pointed out by Shyamasundara prabhu.

I have just tried to humbly present my points in a real scenario that we face. Cities are not the best places to live where cows ,civilization ,childhood, humanity are simply slaughtered and sold everyday. The atmosphere is full of disturbance and only if we are able to really chant sincerely and perform nice devotion are we able to come to some level of goodness and then really understand Srila Prabhupada books in their right sense.

Hence i agree with Shaymasundara prabhu that woman should be subservient as his arguments are backed up by sastra and we should try to understand this properly.

As also stated a link to the original text as said by Shyamasundara prabhu is desirable.

These are only my humble views and i beg vaishnavas to correct me ,Begging forgiveness for any offenses committed from vaishnavas .

YS,
GND

Comment posted by Gaurnatraj Das on November 9th, 2010
25 Sita Rama das

Dear Atmavidya Prabhu,
Hare Krishna.
It seems unlikely we will come to an agreement because a key point of my argument is based on the statements of Mucukunda and we have a different perspective on this. The lesson of Mucukunda was one of the first things I was taught when I moved into the Boston Temple in 1980. Until now I thought all older devotees understood it in the same way.
Your understanding in shown when you say the example of Mucukunda implies the common use of the word subservient-obsequious, slavish, cringing subordination, etc. You also say that you and some of your godbrothers, unlike Mucukunda, are not subservient to your wives.
I understand Mucukunda as described in S.B. 3:3:10, Mucukunda was a confidential, unalloyed, pure devotee. Krishna arranges pastimes such as Mucukunda killing Kalayavana because He wants to share His glory and engage His devotees so they take the credit. Krishna wanted to show the power of His own men
Thus I was taught that Mucukunda said he was controlled by his queens to give us an example.. It was so that no conditioned soul would dare claim they were above such entanglement. I will go on preaching like that. But since you disagree there is no sense in us butting heads over it.
Sita Ramdas

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 9th, 2010
26 Puskaraksa das

Dear Matajis & Prabhus

Please accept my humble obeissances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga.

I am catching up with the discussion a little later and found the subject matter interesting, as well as the debate in between several learned senior devotees.

As a matter of fact, I noticed that there was only one Mataji who took part in the debate shortly in the beginning, in a very intelligent way, and then no more. In that respect, men could also consider being inviting, while discussing over the fate of the other gender, rather than simply remaining on a more abstract philosophical level…

As a matter of fact, we hardly spoke of love… whereas, as Shyamasundara Prabhu outlined it, a woman will voluntarily accept to serve her husband, when she respects him and admires him to some extent and presumably feels affectionate towards him. Thereby, the responsibility also lies with the husband to be worthy of that respect and be a good recipient of his wife’s affection and mercy, as in the case we debate about, she is a devotee too…

Similarly, a man will feel protective towards his wife and children, not only out of duty and for the sake of fulfilling his role according to satsras, as Atmavidya Prabhu expertly expressed it, but also because he feels genuine affection towards these embodied souls, playing the part of his wife and children.

In that regard, we shouldn’t forget that we are not this body, and that one lifetime we may be in a man’s body and another in a woman’s body, or vice versa. Thereby, despite the fact that we should follow some etiquette and try, as much as possible, to behave according to the injunctions of scriptures and the teachings of our acaryas, in accordance with our respective position as husband or wife, still we shouldn’t forget the teaching of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:

naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasa
(Padyavali, 74)

“I am not a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, or sudra, nor a brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha or sannyasi. Being transcendental to this gross and subtle body, I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of the master of the gopis, Sri Krsna, who is the ultimate shelter of everyone, full of transcendental bliss and an ocean of unlimited nectar.”

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 11th, 2010
27 Puskaraksa das

This being said, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu still followed the etiquette and code of conducts of the sannyasa ashrama… In this way, he exemplified our philosophy of acintya beda-abeda tattva… One is not a sannyasi, but still should behave as such, if he is in that ashrama, not to cause disturbance in the society… Similarly, in tattva, one is neither a man nor a woman, neither a husband nor a wife, but still one has to perform one’s prescribed duties, according to one’s physical body, varna and ashrama…

Nevertheless, I agree to the fact that the husband should not behave like an army officer or like a CEO towards his wife and I appreciate that Sita Ram Prabhu, along with Sita Pati pleaded in favor of some mutual cooperation in between husband and wife, who should both respect each other, acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses and assist each other in rendering a better service unto the lotus feet of Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga, which is the essence of both spiritual marriage and couple.

In conclusion, if you don’t mind, I will not add furthermore to the Sastric references, as several valid points were well documented, with all respect due to all Manus (fathers of mankind, from whom the very words “man”, “human” or “humanity” are derived from), under which jurisdiction we are still presently living (in our Manvantara, our Manu is Vaivasvata, the son of Vivasvan).

I would beg permission to speak shortly of my own experience as a grihasta during the last 25 years, as at times, personal experience may speak more clearly about where we stand than just philosophical debates.

Yamuna devi dasi and I were initiated in 1986 by Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja and married shortly after, in Orissa. At that time, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja instructed me in the line of the teachings of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur… “Manasa, deha, geha, everything is yours my Lord; my mind, my body, my house, my bank balance, everything is yours. I am only the kukur, the guardian (literally the watch dog), of your property!”. He instructed me further to consider wife and children as Krishna das and Krishna dasi. In this way, one may please Krishna by looking after these souls, who are dear to Him…

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 11th, 2010
28 Puskaraksa das

Yamuna devi dasi passed away on Papamocani Ekadasi in 1992, from cancer. Not to speak of our previous years as a married couple, where we served and assisted each other as spiritual brothers and sisters would within the grihasta ashrama, I felt my service unto Yamuna devi dasi intensified throughout that one year and a half long period, when she was on a wheel chair, in a diseased condition.

To make a long story short, I did my best to assist her and serve as she deserved, not only as a worthy human being, but as a Vaishnavi, and tried to assist her with her every need, may it have been bodily (from helping her to go to the bathroom, to sleeping on the ground in hospitals and being woken up every hour in the end to massage her body), humanly (sharing the association of her material mother and father and engaging both of them in the chanting of the name of Krishna at the time of her passing away, in our countryside house – in Burgundy, at the time) and spiritually, even though I could easily realize that she had become far more spiritually advanced than I was…

To give you an idea, Yamuna devi dasi had the personal darshan of Krishna twice and sobbed for a very long time after He left, crying “He was here, why did He leave, why did He leave…”.

She also had the darshan of Srila Prabhupada who personally came to comfort her through her trial; as a matter of fact, she was shedding tears each time she would hear the poem written by Srila Prabhupada upon his arrival in the USA, sung :

Krishna tava punya habe bhai e punya karibe yabe Radharani khusi habe dhruva ati boli toma tai…

“Brothers, let me tell you, you won’t get the blissful association of Krishna, until you have been favored by the blessings of Srimati Radharani…”

One time, emphasizing the chanting of the importance of the maha mantra to devotee friends who had come to visit her, she confided: “I always hear the maha mantra in my mind… Even at night, when I sleep, I hear the chanting of the maha mantra…” The chanting had become effortless for her and was naturally flowing within her, as would a natural spring from the source - atmarama… Later Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja commented “you see, this is Samadhi…”.

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 11th, 2010
29 Puskaraksa das

At one stage, in a dream she bathed with Srimati Radharani and some gopis is a lake and was telling herself how merciful this water was, how merciful… The next day, as I was reading her Caitanya caritamrita, narrating how Srimati Radharani is bathing thrice a day, one time in the water of youth, one time in the water of luster and one time in the water of mercy, tears came out of her eyes like syringe (as it is described in the sastras and which I had never seen before) and she narrated the episode of her dream to me, while stating “but I didn’t know the water of mercy existed, I didn’t know…”. Later, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja commented “She had a vision of where she was going…”.

Two days before her last breath, she asked Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja if she could know what her relationship with Krishna was, to which he answered to me (as I was acting as a via media over the phone): “she is a gopi manjari, an eternal maid servant of Srimati Radharani…”.

After she passed away, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja stated: “She went straight back to Godhead” and declared that his Guruship had become successful, for at least one of his disciples had gone back to Godhead…

So, dear brothers, if I may, kindly treat your wives with love and respect… There are maidservants of Srimati Radharani, just as you are…

We all know sastras to some extent but have a tendency to pick and choose, according to our conditioning, what suits us the best…

But, most important is bhakti…

Otherwise, how will we ever be in a position to fulfill the order of Srimad Bhagavatam:

gurur na sa syat sva-jano na sa syat
pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat
daivam na tat syan na patis ca sa syan
na mocayed yah samupeta-mrtyum
(Srimad Bhagavatam - 5/5/18)

One who cannot deliver his own dependants from the path of repeated birth and death by his devotional instructions, should never become a spiritual master, a father, a mother, a husband or a worshipable demigod.

Of course, we are patita and only depend on the mercy of Patita Pavana, in the persons of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga… and of their pure servants…

When I went to India, shortly after Yamuna’s glorious departure from both her material envelope and this material world, Srila Gour Govinda publicly told me in Bhubaneswar… “She will take you back…!”

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 11th, 2010
30 Puskaraksa das

A few years later, as I was tending to his need while he was taking Prasad, after having had the honor of cooking for him on the occasion of one of his trips to the West, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja repeated the same thing to me “she will take you back” and gave me this time, the purport, as the tri kala jna nitya siddha, eternally liberated soul, that he is…

But this is another story… much less interesting, as it deals with the fate of this fallen servant of yours…

The heroin is Yamuna devi dasi, a great soul who was embodied in a woman’s body, who became a pure Vaishnavi and whom I have had the privilege and immense blessing to serve…

Kindly never neglect seeing devotees as devotees, and treating them as such…

Whatever you give, you may receive back hundred folds… Whatever service you render to a Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna das or a Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna dasi, is both a blessing for them and for you.

In the end, I would also like to offer my pranams to this so called “individual” who is, as we know, a Prabhupada disciple and still has something to say after 33 years or more on the spiritual path, which should be understood as the symptom of someone still engaged in devotional service which make him, both as a Prabhupada disciple and as a devotee engaged on the spiritual path, worthy of respect, whatever be the differences in sensitivity which may part from some of ours…

Hoping not to have bored you with this somewhat personal story, I remain

Yours in service
Puskaraksa das

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 11th, 2010
31 Unregistered

Sita Rama Dasa said:

You say ” This idea of yours that a husband should be subservient is like saying Srila Prabhupada should wash a disciples clothes”. You have compared the husband to Srila Prabhupada. Yet even ISKCON Guru’s do not acccept service from their disciples as Srila Prabhupada did, so how can you compare the ISKCON husbands to Srila Prabhupada? With all due respect you have taken this idea of the husband as Guru to an unreasonable extreme.The husband as Guru is not meant to be taken so seriously.That is why Chankya Pandit said a quarrel between husband and wife is not a serious matter. However we all know arguing with ones real Guru is an extremely serious offense.

Regarding me taking things to extreme it was Vysadeva who says in SB 7.11.25 that a chaste wife is pati-devanam that is sees her husband as worshipable like a god and Madhvacarya who said they she see their husbands as the representative of God. This is what our “extremist” acaryas taught. My only fault then is that I believe and accept what Srila Prabhupada and the acaryas have written and so does my wife. It is not that I expect anything as I am a fool who came to this world and am trying to be the humble servant of my Guru Maharaja. But the wife should still see her husband in the light of the Bhagavatam.

And is Chanakya talking about grhamedis of grhastas? It is the Grhasta ashrama and sastra does show us that the husband is the pati guru who supports, protects and guides the wife. And the husband gets the wife’s bad karma–that is pretty extreme. And actually sastra states that women who disrespect their husbands take birth as jackals in their next birth. That sounds serious to me. If you like I can provide the quote.

And actually the husband Pati-guru is more important than her initiating guru. He is the one who is taking care of her, putting a roof over her head and gives her hot tea when she is sick in bed—not the diksha guru.

Up to the 1990s it was thought that the women should treat her guru as more important than her husband but this error soon became obvious after several gurus (Jagadisha and Harikesha) ran off with their disciple’s wife. The wife was spending more time doing “intimate” service to her “diksha guru” than to her pati guru.

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
32 Unregistered

part 2

And also the guru would use the wife to manipulate the husband leading to the phenomena of the dreaded “guru-in-law.”

Now a days the smart gurus give complete charge of their female disciples to the husband. I have personally heard gurus tell the girls after they got married that “now your husband must be your first priority and guru. If you have any questions you can ask him, if he doesn’t know he can ask me or someone else. “

I have even seen matajis put pictures of their beloved husbands on their altars in front of their diksa guru’s picture.

As chanakya said “one should not get between a cow and her calf, a brahmana and his fire, or a man and his wife.” That includes the guru.
Special exception is in the case of Srila Prabhupada, but even he instructed the wives to serve the husbands and never to my knowledge interfered in his disciples marriages. That is how we have learnt all this by SPs mercy.

You said

I admit I did not know the normal understanding of the word subservient. But you did when you said” Yes the wife serves the husband by being subservient”. Therefore I find your statement disturbing.

I used the word subservient because that is the word you used so it is ridiculous that you are now feeling disturbed by your own word of choice.

The chaste wife serves her husband submissively as the following (SB 3.23.2) extremist statement from Vyasadeva and Srila Prabhupada about how the wife should behave with her husband:

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
33 Unregistered

part 3

“O Vidura, Devahuti served her husband with intimacy and great respect, with control of the senses, with love and with sweet words.”

PURPORT
Here two words are very significant. Devahuti served her husband in two ways, visrambhena and gauravena. These are two important processes in serving the husband or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Visrambhena means “with intimacy,” and gauravena means “with great reverence.” The husband is a very intimate friend; therefore, the wife must render service just like an intimate friend, and at the same time she must understand that the husband is superior in position, and thus she must offer him all respect. A man’s psychology and woman’s psychology are different. As constituted by bodily frame, a man always wants to be superior to his wife, and a woman, as bodily constituted, is naturally inferior to her husband. Thus the natural instinct is that the husband wants to post himself as superior to the wife, and this must be observed. Even if there is some wrong on the part of the husband, the wife must tolerate it, and thus there will be no misunderstanding between husband and wife. Visrambhena means “with intimacy,” but it must not be familiarity that breeds contempt. According to the Vedic civilization, a wife cannot call her husband by name. In the present civilization the wife calls her husband by name, but in Hindu civilization she does not. Thus the inferiority and superiority complexes are recognized. Damena ca: a wife has to learn to control herself even if there is a misunderstanding. Sauhrdena vaca madhuraya means always desiring good for the husband and speaking to him with sweet words. A person becomes agitated by so many material contacts in the outside world; therefore, in his home life he must be treated by his wife with sweet words.

I am not an expert on these matters or a scholar. But I saw something bogus and did my best to speak out against it. If my lack of command of the English language confused my statement I am sorry. But I make not apology for my overall effort. I did the best I could.

As several people have stated why not give us the URL of the place where the statements you are protesting are found. You may be surprised that we may also agree with you but we have yet to see the original document that has irritated you to the point of writing your original text.

AVd

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
34 Unregistered

Re: #22
As for your nuking the Manu Samhita, this is an old quote and was discussed at length many years ago. You have made the fatal mistake of taking it out of context especially not knowing the reason Srila Prabhuapad wrote such a text. The following text was sent to the “Prabhupada Said” forum by Shyamasundara Prabhu more than 7 years ago and it clears up what Srila Prabhupada actually meant by the person to whom Srila Prabhupada is writing the letter to. It is clearly a “Time, Place and circumstance” letter directed to one person and not meant as general condemnation of Manu Smriti especially considering other statements Prabhupada made about Manu which have been quoted before.

———- Forwarded Message ———-
Text PAMHO:7352423 (84 lines)
From: Shyamasundara (das) ACBSP (Vedic Astrologer) (USA)
Date: 14-Oct-03 00:01 (19:01 -0500)
To: Balarama (das) LOK (Springville, Utah - US)
For: Prabhupada Said
Subject: Manu-samhita revisited
————————————————————
Dear Maharajas, Prabhus and Matajis,

pamho agtsp

If recall a lot of bandwidth was used up earlier this year discussing the Manu-smriti. The text that started the discussion was the following:

“We do not want all these rituals. Chanting Hare Krishna is our only business. According to Manu-Samhita you are all mlecchas and yavanas. You cannot touch the Manu-samhita, what to speak of translating it. So if you try to follow the Manu-samhita then you’ll become a mleccha and yavana and
your career is finished.”

Letter to Madhusudana dasa (written by Srila Prabhupada’s secretary on his behalf) May 19, 1977

There was a lot of specualtion as to what it meant. Not satisfied with much of what was said I decided to track down Sriman Madhusudana Dasa and ask him directly what the circumstances surrounding this letter were and thus end the speculations. Here is what he said:

yhs

Shyamasundara Dasa
www.ShyamasundaraDasa.com

cont..

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
35 Unregistered

Part 2

—–Original Message—–
From: Michael Blumert
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 4:27 PM
To: Shyamasundara Dasa
Subject: RE: Manu-samhita

At the time, my wife and I were having trouble conceiving a child for many years. Various sanskritists were beginning to recommend following the many rituals for auspicious conception etc. So I had asked Prabhupada if I should do those things and that was his response. Of course, Prabhupad’s instruction was to simply chant 50 rounds before trying to conceive.

My understanding is that the 50 rounds of chanting should not be minimized as being less effective that the Manu-samhita rituals. Also, it’s clear that I and many others were (I still am) mlecchas and yavanas (which became all too obvious when we screwed up the movement as we did), so how could we know how and when to apply the Manu-samhita. I think Prabhupada answered based on the time, place, and recipient.

That probably clears it up for you.

ys
Madhusudan

—–Original Message—–
From: Shyamasundara Dasa
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 12:26 PM
To: ******
Subject: Manu-samhita

Dear Madhusudana Prabhu,

PAMHO AGTSP

Recently there has been a bit of controvery regarding Srila Prabhupada, Vedic culture and Manu-samhita. Considering that every time SP mentions the Manu-samhita he has done so in glowing terms the following text seems contradictory. Could you please explain the context surrounding this text. What did you ask SP and why did he answer like this?

Your humble servant
Shyamasundara Dasa

http://www.ShyamasundaraDasa.com
“krsnas tu bhagavan svayam”

“We do not want all these rituals. Chanting Hare Krishna is our only business. According to Manu-Samhita you are all mlecchas and yavanas. You cannot touch the Manu-samhita, what to speak of translating it. So if you try to follow the Manu-samhita then you’ll become a mleccha and yavana and your career is finished.”

Letter to Madhusudana dasa (written by Srila Prabhupada’s secretary on his behalf) May 19, 1977
(Text PAMHO:7352423) —————————————

——- End of Forwarded Message ——

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
36 Unregistered

BBD wrote:

“Actually, the onus is one you since you are promoting unauthorized translations of Manu Samhita in an attempt to establish them as the modern authority on this topic.”

I reject this completely. Authorized by whom? You said it was not bona fide, so prove it, on what basis is it not bona fide? What are the errors? Have you even read it? Are you knowledgeable in dharma sastras?

It appears that the only reason you say this is because you are against Manu Samhita and will do anything to attack it.

The consensus of opinion among the cognoscenti is that this is a good translation of Manu Samhita and in fact it is the one used in the Bhaktivedanta Academy in Mayapura after they did a lot of research into various translations of Manu. In fact they use this particular one because it was translated by a German scholar G. Buhler who wanted to use it to destroy Vedic culture, so for ironic justice the Bhaktivedanta Academy are using it to establish Krsna’s Vedic culture.

At the following link you will find over 100 in depth lectures on Manu Samhita by HH Bhaktividyapurna Svami given between 1998-2005.
http://audio.iskcondesiretree......nu_Samhita
or
http://tinyurl.com/23u9cps

I would suggest that interested parties begin with this one as it provides a good introduction to the subject
http://tinyurl.com/23olcey
or
http://audio.iskcondesiretree......ta_Man.mp3

So if you want authority this will have to do unless you can prove that the members of the Bhaktivedanta Academy are illiterate in these matters.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
37 Unregistered

Re #25

Sure no problem, we can agree to disagree. But I would still to see a link to the original article that got you all stirred up.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
38 Unregistered

BBD wrote:

Do I really need to explain this? We don’t live in societies ruled by pious monarchal regimes, women don’t follow their husbands into the funeral pyre, sannyasis don’t need to throw themselves into the Ganges for creeping unwanted thoughts of the opposite sex, we don’t allow or accept polygamy as a general rule, etc… So, let’s stop putting focus on ancient social roles that are clearly inapplicable for today’s general populace. Ancient Vedic social norms (that we don’t even understand) are not the focus, or essence, of spiritual life. Before Srila Prabhupada’s implementation, there was no brahmacarinis, no female pujaris, no women on the vyasasana, etc… Accepting the order of sannyasa is one of the four forbidden things in Kali Yuga. However, Srila Prabhupada bent all those rules on Vedic customs if there was practical implementation for increasing the distribution of the Holy Names. So, whatever dynamic within a marriage that works beneficially for the spiritual progress of the couple should be accepted…period.

Your examples are irrelevant and in some cases wrong. While it is true that monarchy is presently not operational, there are still women in India who commit sati without being forced, they do it of their own accord. It doesn’t happen a lot but it does happen and makes the headlines. The option for sannyasis who fall down to drown themselves in the Ganga is still open. We don’t allow polygamy because it is illegal but if it were legal SP was all for it. But in a way we do practice polygamy in ISKCON lots of it. The karmis call it “serial polygamy” aka divorce.

He only started Brahmacarini ashram as a stopgap measure. Women only have one ashrama grhasta ashrama: in the ashrama of father, husband or son. Since such ashrama didn’t exist in the West he made a temporary shelter. But we note that in serious devotee homes they find no need to send the girls to brahmacarini ashrama because she is already in a KC environment in her parents ashrama.

Any vaisnava having had panca samkara is obligated to worship dieties, that includes women. Mother Saci worshiped her dieties of Krsna and Balarama and also had a Saligram sila.

Mother Jahnava sat on Vyasana and gave class. If you read Jaiva Dharma Bhaktivinode gives a description of a female devotee giving class to other women and men listening in.

cont..

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
39 Unregistered

part 2

As for sannyasa there is a long section in the recent biography of Bhakti Siddhanta describing his reasons for taking sannyasa and that the banning of sannyasa was for karma khandi brahmanas not vaisnavas. Lord Caitanya Himself took sannyasa and had many sannyas associates. You should read that section thoroughly.

So Srila Prabhupada didn’t bend any rules, as you put it.

Aside from all these things for a woman to submissively serve her husband is not an ancient social role, it a role that is still happening today in India and other parts of the world. Sincere female followers of Srila Prabhupada serve their husbands submissively to please both Srila Prabhupada and Krsna. It also suits their nature and they are happy to do it. Maybe you don’t like to submissively serve your husband but that is your problem.

Srila Prabhupada said: “Religion without philosophy is sentimentalism or fanaticism; and philosophy without religion is speculation.” Most of us know the meaning of the first part. But it is the second part that we forget.

Most Western minded devotees know the philosophy: Krsna is God, I am His servant etc. But when it comes to applying it in real life they are lost and speculate. But Krsna already figured out how you apply it to your life. It is called Dharma. (Srila Prabhupada meant dharma when he uses the word religion.) Daivi Varnashrama dharma to be exact. How does a married man apply KC to his life? BY following the Grhasta dharma. The religion of a woman is Stri-dharma, etc.

Bhaktivinode Thakura said that Bhaktisiddhanta was sent by Lord Caitanya to establish the pure chanting of the Holy name and to establish Daivi Varnashrama dharma. Without the latter chanting will turn in sahajayism as happened shortly after the departure of Lord Caitanya to the extent that in the 19th century to call someone a vaisnava in Bengal was an insult as it was the religion of charlatans and women hunters. But this problem never happened in South India among the Sri Vaisnavas or Madhvas who followed Daivi Varnashrama Dharma. And it was from the Sri Vaisnavas that Bhakti Siddhanta learned about tri-dandi sannyas and other Vedic lore and introduced it into the Gaudiya sampradaya to impede corruption.

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
40 Unregistered

part 3

I am not going to waste my precious life speculating but follow the ancient and eternal path chalked out by Lord Krsna. Others may want to follow the dictates of society and go mainstream, that is their choice, but ISKCON is meant to teach society not be taught by it. That will never happen with people lacking in conviction and eager to collaborate with maya.

The following link is an example of a sincere female disciple of Srila Prabhupada who is trying her best to follow Stri-dharma and not modern feminism.

http://www.dandavats.com/?p=1954

comments #17, 32, 39, 41 are quite good

AVd

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 11th, 2010
41 Sita Rama das

Atmavidya,
In commnet 31 you say” I used the word subservient because you did, so it is ridiculous that you are now feeling disturbed by your own use of word. There is nothing ridiculous here. In 11 I stated that by subservient I meant serving to promote some end. In text 19 you responded “..it seems most did not understand your meaning but the normal meaning” The normal being things like, extreme compliance, and the cringing manner of one very conscious of a subordinate position. In 21 I was clearly saying that I was disturbed by the fact that you used the word in the now accepted normal sense when in text 15 you said ” so yes the wife serves the husband by being subservient. I was not disturbed by my use of the word but your use- that a woman should be cringing and very conscious of her subordination. You say you accept Srila Prabhupada then you must accept his statement in a conversation on 9/24 68 in Seatle ” WOMEN SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS INFERIOR”
In 31 you say it was Vyasadeva that said a wife should accept a husband as God. If you accept Srila Prabhupada you must accept his statement to Harygriva in philosophical discussions regarding Aguste Comte. “But the exchange between men and women for worshiping God that is essential. Not that woman should be worshiped like God or man should be worshiped like God. But that affection is sometimes stressed but that you see him as god or you see her as God. THAT IS SENTIMENTAL”. Srila Prabhupada said hundreds of times THIS IS NOT A SENTIMENTAL RELIGION! So although husband as God is mentioned by Acharya’s, ISKCONS FOUNDER ACHARYA FURTEHR CLAIRIFIIES THIS AS SENTIMENTALISM.
In 31 regarding Chanakya’s saying quarreling between husband and wife is not serious you ask ” Is Chanakya talking about grhamedis or ghrhastas ? In my original article Srila Prabhupada is quoted clearly saying that Chanakya’s instruction was applicable to his own marriage So there is no basis for the question of it applying only to grhamedis .I am not interested in getting between you and your wife. She accepts you as Guru OK. But to the public I will boldly preach that no one is Guru unless they accept ALL Srila Prabhupada’s statements. So unless you accept these statements I have quoted there is no need for us to further discuss the matter.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 13th, 2010
42 Sita Rama das

On behalf of the audience I am going to make one last comment on the Atmavidya’s version of our philosophy. In comment 31 ATMAVIDYA SAYS- ” AND ACTUALLY THE HUSBAND PATI GURU IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HER INITIATING GURU, HE IS THE ONE TAKING CARE OF HER, PUTTUNG A ROOF OVER HER HEAD, and gives her hot tea when she is sick in bed- not the diksha guru”
In 33 Atmavidya gives a quote involving Devahuti. So lets take a look at what Lord Kapila taught Devahuti. In S.b. 3:31: 41 Lord Kapila tells Devahuti, ” A living entity who, as a result of attachment to a woman in his previous life, has been endowed with the form of A WOMAN, FOOLISHLY LOOKS UPON MAYA IN THE FORM OF A MAN,HER HUSBAND AS THE BESTOWER OF WEALTH, PROGENY,HOUSE and other material assets.
In the next verse 3:31:42 Srila Prabhupada comments ” A man becomes attached to a woman because of her service, her beauty, and many other assets, and similarly, A WOMAN BECOMES ATTACHED TO A MAN FOR HIS GIVING HER A NICE PLACE TO LIVE, ornaments, dress and children. AS LONG AS EITHER IS ATTACHED TO THE OTHER FOR SUCH MATERIAL ENJOYMENT THE WOMAN IS DANGEROUS TO THE MAN AND THE MAN IS DANGEROUS TO THE WOMAN. What is that danger? It is described in the verse, Lord Kapila has told Devahuti that A WOMAN SHOULD SEE HER HUSBAND AS THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE EXTERNAL ENERGY FOR HER DEATH.
But Atmavidya says that because a husband puts a roof ever his wifes head she should see him as more important than her diksha Guru. All we need to do is read Srila Prabhupad’s books”scrutinizingly” and we can easily repudiate such interpretations.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 13th, 2010
43 Unregistered

The best way to control a sobber woman or man is by love and affection. Even Krishna is controlled by love, so what to speak of us?

Comment posted by Dhira Nitai das on November 14th, 2010
44 Puskaraksa das

Dear friends

Yes, indeed, we are placed in such or such form of body, due to the arrangements of Maya, as a response to our own past deeds (our karma), and ultimately Krishna, as the material energy is acting under the jurisdiction of Krishna.

Nevertheless, one should not identify to the body and thereby one shouldn’t identify with one’s prescribed role, while still delivering one’s duties for the sake of not disturbing society.

In this way, both man and woman may serve each other according to the prescriptions of Sastras. Both will serve each other with respect, as spirit souls, and assist each other in becoming more and more Krishna conscious as in the case of our Vaishnava families. Etiquette will be followed in their reciprocal dealings not to agitate the mind of one another.

However, despite the fact that the husband may be looked upon by his devoted humble wife, he should wear the “trinad api sunicena” verse like a garland around his neck, as Srila Prabhupada prescribed, and should not develop some false pride, due to some would-be superior position. Neither should he consider that being a daily bread provider is sufficient to turn him into a pure devotee and be regarded as such…!

In Tattva, what is to be valued is genuine spiritual advancement, i.e. bhakti !

A wife may be more spiritually advanced than her husband and thereby a husband should not become infatuated for the mere sake of his being in a man’s body.

Similarly, chances are that one who takes up the responsibility of acting as a Diksa Guru and accept disciples, may be advanced enough to be able to help his lady disciples on the spiritual platform, be they married or not. Yet, some of the training and spiritual guidance may be delegated to the husbands, as themselves are supposed to be surrendered to a bona fide Guru.

In the case of Yamuna devi dasi which I briefly narrated earlier, I, as a husband, can only claim to have assisted her in going back home, back to Godhead. However, I can only give credit where credit is due, i.e. to our bona fide Guru Maharaja, a pure representative of Srila Prabhupada and our Guru Parampara, who had the capacity to pass down the mercy of Sri-Sri Gour-Nitai to his disciple, as well as to Yamuna devi dasi who became a valuable recipient of that mercy…

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 14th, 2010
45 Puskaraksa das

As one may judge, truth is not only intricate, but also multifaceted like a diamond… However, while we are still on the conditioned platform, to an extent corresponding to our spiritual level of advancement, the mirror of our mind may perceive and reflect only some aspects of this multifaceted truth…

For instance, in this debate, we can see that both Atmavidya and Sita Ram Prabhus made some valid points and made some appropriate quotes to substantiate their vision.

Yet, within the society of devotees, shouldn’t we question our motives and present our points with a straw in between the teeth, ornamenting the points we may wish to promote with all love and respect due to devotees who are so dear to the divine couple, Sri-Sri Radha-Shyamasundara…

Jaya Saci Nandana Gaura Hari…

Your menial servant
Puskaraksa das

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 14th, 2010
46 Unregistered

Re 41
Sita Rama said

In commnet 31 you say” I used the word subservient because you did, so it is ridiculous that you are now feeling disturbed by your own use of word. There is nothing ridiculous here. In 11 I stated that by subservient I meant serving to promote some end. In text 19 you responded “..it seems most did not understand your meaning but the normal meaning” The normal being things like, extreme compliance, and the cringing manner of one very conscious of a subordinate position. In 21 I was clearly saying that I was disturbed by the fact that you used the word in the now accepted normal sense when in text 15 you said ” so yes the wife serves the husband by being subservient. I was not disturbed by my use of the word but your use- that a woman should be cringing and very conscious of her subordination.

You have a tendency to misunderstand what I say. Just to make myself clear I agree with Shyamasundara Prabhu’s comment (#2) that a woman should not be forced. Then in #33 I quoted the ideal grhasta life of Kardama Muni and Devahuti which stresses the loving relationship between husband and wife and the recognition of natural position between husband and wife. She should be submissive to her husband. I never anywhere suggested that the wife be mistreated. I said it is the duty of the husband to protect his wife. Protection is the opposite of mistreatment. And, as I said I continued to use the same word “subservient” as you did because that is what you used. It is not my word of choice but yours. I have stated my position that the wife should behave as described in SB 3.23.2 and SB 7.11.25-29 and will not discuss this point any further.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
47 Unregistered

re #41

Sita Rama said

You say you accept Srila Prabhupada then you must accept his statement in a conversation on 9/24 68 in Seatle ” WOMEN SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS INFERIOR”

What Prabhupada actually said:

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 Gargamuni, after his wife left him, he became a woman-hater like that. (chuckles) That is not good. You see? Yes. After all, anyone who is coming to Krsna consciousness, man or woman, boys or girls, they are welcome. They are very fortunate.
[Conversation Sept 24, 1968]

I accept what Srila Prabhupada actually says: that because the sastras sometimes say things that are not flattering to women it should not be taken as an excuse to mistreat them. I request our gentle readers to read the whole conversation in order to understand what is meant by the whole context, not just half of a sentence. We are not in favor of mistreating women but protecting them.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
48 Unregistered

Re #41

Sita Rama das aid:

In 31 you say it was Vyasadeva that said a wife should accept a husband as God. If you accept Srila Prabhupada you must accept his statement to Harygriva in philosophical discussions regarding Aguste Comte. “But the exchange between men and women for worshiping God that is essential. Not that woman should be worshiped like God or man should be worshiped like God. But that affection is sometimes stressed but that you see him as god or you see her as God. THAT IS SENTIMENTAL”. Srila Prabhupada said hundreds of times THIS IS NOT A SENTIMENTAL RELIGION! So although husband as God is mentioned by Acharya’s, ISKCONS FOUNDER ACHARYA FURTEHR CLAIRIFIIES THIS AS SENTIMENTALISM.

In your comment you try to make Srila Prabhupada contradict himself, Vysadeva and other acaryas just to score points.

I never said a woman should accept her husband to be in the category of Visnu-tattva, just as we should not accept the guru to be Visnu-tattva. They are just representatives of God to their subordinates. So first of all you misquoted me.

Prabhupada’s comment that you quote refers to the fact that Comte wanted to replace worship of God with worship of woman.

Now let us see what the conversation is actually about:

Hayagriva: Comte felt that love of God has always interfered with man’s love of women. He says, “Love of God is inconsistent with love for our fellow men, and it was impiety for the knight to love his lady better than his God. And thus the best feelings of man’s nature were repressed by his religious faith. Women, therefore, are not really interested in perpetuating the old system of religion.”

Hayagriva: He felt that in the beginning stages at least, of positivism, woman should take the role of God. He says, “From childhood each of us will be taught to regard their sex as the principal source of human happiness and improvement, whether in public life or in private. In a word, man will kneel to women and to women alone. The worship of women, when it has assumed a more systematic shape, will be valued for its own sake as a new instrument of happiness and moral growth. The worship of women satisfies this condition and is so far a greater efficacy than the worship of God.

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
49 Unregistered

part 2

First we suggest that the gentle readers please read the whole section on Comte in VedaBase as I didn’t want to quote it in its entirety because it is long. But what we can gather when we read a much larger section surrounding the small bit that Sita Rama has quoted is that Comte saw that man’s love for woman has always been hindered because man loved God more. So to correct this “defect” he proposed that woman should take the role of God instead of God. In other words to get rid of God entirely and make “womankind” into the Deity. This is not the same as what Srila Vysadeva states in SB 7.11.25-29 or what Srila Madhvacarya states and which Srila Prabhupada supports. That being:

A woman should think of her husband as the Supreme Lord. Similarly, a disciple should think of the spiritual master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a sudra should think of a brahmana as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and a servant should think of his master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this way, all of them will automatically become devotees of the Lord. In other words, by thinking this way, all of them will become Krsna conscious.
SB 7.11.29 purport

The subordinate is to see the superior as a representative of God, not as a replacement for God as Comte is saying, that “woman” should replace God and be worshiped by men.

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
50 Unregistered

part 3

Continuing with the conversation between Hayagriva and Prabhupada

Prabhupada: Worship of man, woman.

Hayagriva: Yes.

Prabhupada: Yes, to give protection to women. That is not actually worshiping, but maintaining her comfortably, that is the duty of the man. But to worship woman as God, that is not very good proposal. Then he will be henpecked. Worship of God is reserved for God only, not for anyone else. But the exchange, cooperation, between men and women for worshiping God, that is essential. Not that woman should be worshiped like God, or man should be worshiped like God. But the affection sometimes is stressed that you see him as God or see, see her as God. That is sentimental. But God is different either from man or from the woman. Both of them are living entities, both of them meant for worshiping God. Just like sometimes in the Vedic conception the wife is considered as dharma-patni, religious wife. Means wife helps the husband in the matter of his religious life. That is found in, still in Hindu family: the man is worshiping the Deity and the woman is helping about the paraphernalia Deity worship, helping the husband so that he can immediately come into the Deity room and begin worshiping comfortably. So woman should always be engaged to assist the man in every respect in his religious life, in his social life, in his family life. That is real benefit of conjugal life. But if the woman does not agree with the man, and the man treats the woman as his servant, that is not good. The man should give the woman all protection and the woman should give all service to the man. That is ideal life, family life, conceived in the Vedic way of life.

Srila Prabhupada’s statements are exactly in keeping with statement of Vysadeva and Madhvacarya whereas you have taken Srila Prabhupada’s statements out of context. It is right to decry worship of woman or man instead of God, but it is not wrong for a woman to see her pati-guru as a representative of God, nor is it wrong for the husband to his guru as a representative of God, or for a child to see its mother as a representative of God (matru deva bhava — mother is to be respected as good as God).

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
51 Unregistered

Re #41

Sita Rama said:

In 31 regarding Chanakya’s saying quarreling between husband and wife is not serious you ask ” Is Chanakya talking about grhamedis or ghrhastas ? In my original article Srila Prabhupada is quoted clearly saying that Chanakya’s instruction was applicable to his own marriage So there is no basis for the question of it applying only to grhamedis .

I just asked for a clarification. Is there something wrong with that?

BTW Prabhupada was a grhsta, but his wife was a grhamedhi. She traded his copy of Srimad Bhagavatam in exchange for an equal weight of tea biscuits. She was not his helpmate in dharma and would not help him in preaching.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
52 Unregistered

Re #41
Sita Rama said:

But to the public I will boldly preach that no one is Guru unless they accept ALL Srila Prabhupada’s statements. So unless you accept these statements I have quoted there is no need for us to further discuss the matter.

I accept what Srila Prabhupada actually said not what you make him say by truncating his statements and taking them out of context.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
53 Unregistered

Re #42

These quotes (SB 3.31.41-42) are again taken out of context by Sita Rama Prabhu because the subject of these quotes is about materialistic men and women who become grhamedis not about devotee men and women who become grhastas.

The very next verse after the ones you quote clearly tells us what kind of men and women are being discussed:

“Due to his particular type of body, the materialistic living entity wanders from one planet to another, following fruitive activities. In this way, he involves himself in fruitive activities and enjoys the result incessantly.” SB 3.31.43

In fact chapters 30-32 of the 3rd canto are about materialistic people not about devotees.

Externally grhasta men do many of the things grhamedhi men do but the important distinction is that they are not the patis of the women as mentioned in SB 3.31.42 but the pati-gurus of their wives. He is more important because he not only provides all her material necessities but more importantly is her spiritual guide and mentor and by serving him she makes advancement. And as a spiritual guide he is there 24/7 whereas diksha guru maybe comes 1-2 times a year. The guru is affectionate to the disciple and so the pati-guru husband is also affectionate to his dharma-patni wife.

As described in chapters 30-32 of the 3rd canto the materialistic male and female get horribly bound up in samsara but if the wife is a dharma-patni “assistant in dharma” to her devotee husband (pati-guru) the result is very different for her. He is then not an arrangement for death but the cause of her liberation as stated in SB 7.11.29

ya patim hari-bhavena
bhajet srir iva tat-para
hary-atmana harer loke
patya srir iva modate

SYNONYMS
ya-any woman who; patim-her husband; hari-bhavena-mentally accepting him as equal to Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhajet-worships or renders service to; srih iva-exactly like the goddess of fortune; tat-para-being devoted; hari-atmana-completely absorbed in thoughts of Hari; hareh loke-in the spiritual world, the Vaikuntha planets; patya-with her husband; srih iva-exactly like the goddess of fortune; modate-enjoys spiritual, eternal life.

cont…

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
54 Unregistered

part 2

TRANSLATION
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.

PURPORT
The faithfulness of the goddess of fortune is the ideal for a chaste woman. The Brahma-samhita (5.29) says, laksmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam. In the Vaikuntha planets, Lord Visnu is worshiped by many, many thousands of goddesses of fortune, and in Goloka Vrndavana, Lord Krsna is worshiped by many, many thousands of gopis, all of whom are goddesses of fortune. A woman should serve her husband as faithfully as the goddess of fortune. 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.
In this regard, Srila Madhvacarya gives this opinion:

harir asmin sthita iti
strinam bhartari bhavana
sisyanam ca gurau nityam
sudranam brahmanadisu
bhrtyanam svamini tatha
hari-bhava udiritah

A woman should think of her husband as the Supreme Lord. Similarly, a disciple should think of the spiritual master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a sudra should think of a brahmana as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and a servant should think of his master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this way, all of them will automatically become devotees of the Lord. In other words, by thinking this way, all of them will become Krsna conscious.
SB 7.11.29

So there is a huge difference between a woman who is a dharma-patni and serves her pati-guru in the grhasta ashrama and the results achieved by grhamedi karmis. The former go back to Vaikuntha the later get caught up in samsara.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
55 Unregistered

Re: 42
Sita Rama said:

All we need to do is read Srila Prabhupad’s books”scrutinizingly” and we can easily repudiate such interpretations.

I agree but we should not try to screw out a meaning that Srila Prabhupada didn’t intend by taking things out of context. All of your arguments are based on taking quotes out of context and trying to make Srila Prabhupada contradict himself.

Before quoting anything again, remember that your readers also have access to the same material as you do and can easily look up the original texts to see the context.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 16th, 2010
56 Unregistered

Here is a succinct statement by Srila Prabhupada that says a great deal about gender roles. It can be found in Dialectic Spiritualism on the folio, unfortunately it was edited out the printed book.

“But if the woman does not agree with the man, and the man treats the woman as his servant, that is not good. The man should give the woman all protection and the woman should give all service to the man. That is ideal life, family life, conceived in the Vedic way of life.”

This is such a prefect paradox and sutra.

As Prabhupada indicates if the woman feels protected and loved she will naturally follow the husband. This is bhakti, mutual service on path back to Krsna

If the husband uses demands, force, coercion or threats the woman may still follow not out of love but fear. This is the realm of abuse.

Surely every aspiring devotee desires to live the values of bhakti. Unfortuatley there are forces that can cause us to lose sight of bhakti and act in ways that are contrary to loving, compassionate bhakti. As a marital educator far I too often see how seeds from the cycle of abuse fructify and manifest as spousal abuse.

Your servant,
Partha dasa
North American Grihastha Vision Team
www.vaisnavafamilyresources.or

Comment posted by Partha dasa ACBSP on November 17th, 2010
57 abrennan

Not wanting to get too far “off topic” but this last post by Puskaraksa strikes a note with me. It does appear this humble form of communication, this skill of Vaisnava communication is “thin on the ground.” I’m not pointing fingers I am as guilty as anyone, and possibly more, in regard to tossing barbs in conversations. However it would be so nice to see this skill of humble communication modeled more often so that I might learn it myself.

It is not surprising to see it here, the politics of cynicism and attack are rampant in the mundane communities. I think amongst many it is sense as a skill rather than the impediment it is.

Hare Krishna

Comment posted by abrennan on November 17th, 2010
58 Unregistered

I want to thank Atmavidya Prabhu for taking the time to answer in depth and clarifying many doubts created by Sita Rama das. It is really disturbing to me that Sita Rama das twisted Srila Prabhupada’s teaching by taking them out of context and giving them opposite meanings than what Prabhupada intended.

Sita Rama didn’t just do this in debating with Atmavidya Prabhu but as pointed out by Shyamasundara Prabhu in #3 Sita Rama also took quotes out of context in the main body of his article. It really creates needless doubt and distracts from what good points his article had. If your position is strong there is no need to use such questionable tactics in order to get your point across. I would also like to see the original text that Sita Rama’s article addresses because if he is willing to twist Srila Prabhupada’s statements to score points he might do the same with the unknown “individual.”

We notice that even though several persons (count me as one of them) have asked Sita Rama to produce the original that he is replying to he has ignored these requests. Why? Naturally I begin to think, “is he hiding something?”

Comment posted by Bhaktilata dasi on November 18th, 2010
59 Unregistered

It is really sad that Sita Rama pr. got so worked up in his comments (did you notice all the spelling and punctuation errors) that he started misusing quotes to try and win a debate with Atmavidya pr. It really detracts from any good points he may have had. What’s next?

Comment posted by Somayaji on November 18th, 2010
60 Sita Rama das

Part 1
Atmavidya prabhu, We have reached an impasse. I feel I must pledge this as my last statement, although you can make a rebuttal. Please forgive any offenses I have made due to my selfish desire to win an argument.
Myself and a significant percentage of devotees in ISKCON preach that it is O.K if a woman sees her husband as a guru and worthy of worship ; but it is not required. The husband may see the wife as the guru and spiritual leader, there are precedents in the scripture that verify this as bonafide. Or a couple may be essentially equal, spiritually. The only thing that is required is that a couple has love and respect for each other, and help each other advance in devotional service. With this understanding people are advancing in Krishna consciousness all over the world.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 18th, 2010
61 Sita Rama das

Part 2.
Please consider this verse. I have given the entire quote and will not attempt to put it in a certain context S.B. 6: 18:33-34
A husband is the supreme demigod for a woman. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vasudeva , the husband of the goddess of fortune , is situated in everyone’s heart and is worshiped through the various names and forms of the demigods by fruitive workers. Similarly a husband represents the Lord as the object of worship for a woman.
Purport: the Lord says in B.G.(9.23) “Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods o son of Kunti, is really meant for me alone, but it is offered without true understanding”. The demigods are various assistants who act like the hands and legs of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who is not in direct touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and cannot conceive of the exalted position of the Lord is sometimes advised to worship the demigods as various parts of the Lord. If women, who are usually very much attached to their husbands, worship their husbands as representatives of Vasudeva, the women benefit, just as Ajamila benifited by calling for Narayana, his son. Ajamila was concerned with his son , but because of his attachment to the name of Narayana, he attained salvation simply by chanting that name. In India a husband is still called pati guru, the husband spiritual master. If the husband and wife are attached to each other for the advancement in Krishna consciousness, their relationship of cooperation is very effective for such advancement. Although the names of Indra and Agni are sometimes uttered in the Vedic mantras, (indriya svaha agnaye svaha), the Vedic sacrifices are actually performed for the satisfaction of Lord Visnu. As long as one is very much attached to material sense gratification, the worship of the demigods or one’s husband is recommended.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 18th, 2010
62 Sita Rama das

Part 1
Dear Atmavidya prabhu,
I pledged to make my last comment final because I did not want to bring our discussion to the level of bickering. But I have been sent numerous emails asking me to answer some of your rebuttals. So rather then not speaking I am going to try to speak nicely.
I by no means, never, intended to imply that the qrhasta and grhamedi ashrams are comparable. They are the opposite, one is a spiritual situation one is material. The reason I brought up Kapila’s instruction was because the truth stated is universal, a jiva soul as a husband cannot be the bestower of wealth, home.etc, and a woman is in maya if she does not understand that these things are the arrangement of the material energy. And you said you should be seen as putting a roof over your wifes head,(bestower of a home), therefore; it seemed to me if you are a guru you must teach your wife that you are not the bestower, but you are teaching the opposite. So this appeared contradictory. But thinking more about the subject I realized that the external arrangement of a grhasta is spiritual because we all need a certain amount of practical facility to practice Krishna consciousness with a peaceful mind. So therefore the wife may give credit to the husband for supplying a house because that is needed to practice Krishna consciousness. Although she understands ultimately all things are coming from Krishna she would certainly feel grateful to her husband for what in this case is a spiritual facility. But that is only half the story, you also need the facilities given to you by your wife to peacefully practice Krishna consciousness. So as Srila Prabhupada says the wife gives protection to the husband by saving him from falling to the grahmedi level. Therefore please acknowledge a categorical difference in your postions as pati guru and that of the diksha guru. Husband and wife give protection to each other but a diksha guru does not receive any protection from the disciple, he is therefore in a higher category than the husband and commands more respect.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 19th, 2010
63 Sita Rama das

Part2
Your conception is that Srila Prabhupada’s instruction for couples not to take a quarrel seriously only applies to grahmedi’s However, Srila Prabhupada elaborated on this principal during, of all places, a marriage ceremony for Shyama dasi and Haryagriva dasa. Srila Prabhupada would certainly not encourage his disciples to act like grhamedi’s. He said to the couple directly “ So this quarrel between husband and wife is not a very serious thing. So I’ll request you, even there is some misunderstanding, forget it. Don’t take it seriously. Simply you concentrate on Krishna conscious business. You have got nice business now, both of you conjointly working for editing my Srimada Bhagavatam…. If there is any misunderstanding do not take it seriously. That is my request” And on a morning walk , May 14, 1975, Perth: Srila Prabhupada says, “ Husband and wife they fight everywhere. My father and mother was fighting.” For an ISKCON devotee it is unthinkable to consider the good mother of our beloved Founder Acharya as anything but an exalted spiritual person. So I humbly request you to acknowledge that the relationship between a grhasta couple should not be seen as equal in seriousness as that of a woman and a diksha or siksha guru- regular quarreling with a disha or siksha guru is a serious matter but a patni devanam quarreling her pati guru is not at all serious.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 19th, 2010
64 Unregistered

Let’s see what Srila Prabhupada says:

There is a story…Two friends were talking. One friend said, “This is cut by a scissor.” So another friend says, “No, it is cut by the knife.” So then there was fight. So the friend who was talking of the knife, he was strong enough. So he captured him: “You accept it is scissor, otherwise I’ll throw you in the water.” So other, “No, it is scissor,” so he threw him in the water. So when he was dying, he was doing like this. (Prabhupäda makes a hand motion like scissor) (laughter) (Morning Walk August 12, 1976, Tehran)

ys,
ggdasa

Comment posted by ggdasa on November 21st, 2010
65 Sita Rama das

I have always felt there is no need for me to mention the name of the individual mentioned in the original article because if he wants to claim the philosophy as his own he can do so. However I now know that this will not happen on this website.The editors of dandavats are aware of the individual and they have informed me they will not publish anything from the author because of his opinions on many controversial subjects. I had no idea that my mention of this individuals philosophy would create a desire for people to hear more from him. My concern is that this individual is preaching a bogus philosophy and misrepresenting Srila Prabhupad. Our preaching needs to be such that anyone exposed to this bogus preacher can clearly see that the members of ISKCON do not agree with it. That is why the subject needed to be brought up in the first place.
In summary I assumed no one in ISKCON would be sympathetic to this individuals ideas and I mentioned them so that those new to the movement could clearly see the difference in his philosophy and that of ISKCON.
There are many people new to the movement, and others who have been estranged for a long time, whose understanding of the present day ISKCON is based largely on what is available to them from internet sources. Yes, I am emotional and make grammatical mistakes. What is important is that people can see that ISKCON members, sophisticated or unsophisticated, can, and do, speak out if they see something that appears unfair. Good people will appreciate the spirit involved in this and not mock someone because they are obviously not from a high class background.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on November 22nd, 2010
66 Puskaraksa das

Dear Atmavidya Prabhu

Please accept my humble obeissances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga.

I have a few questions for you.

You wrote on one of your posts:
And actually the husband Pati-guru is more important than her initiating guru. He is the one who is taking care of her, putting a roof over her head and gives her hot tea when she is sick in bed—not the diksha guru.
And then again later on:
Externally grhasta men do many of the things grhamedhi men do but the important distinction is that they are not the patis of the women as mentioned in SB 3.31.42 but the pati-gurus of their wives. He is more important because he not only provides all her material necessities but more importantly is her spiritual guide and mentor and by serving him she makes advancement. And as a spiritual guide he is there 24/7 whereas diksha guru maybe comes 1-2 times a year.
My question is as follows: “Say, if you were a disciple of Srila Prabhupada married to one of your Godsisters, who is also Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, would you make the same statements as quoted above and tell her the same thing?”

Right after the second statement, you made other statements which were more in the line of how a disciple of Srila Prabhupada might think of some of his Godbrothers acting as initiating Gurus, which may shed a new light on your above quoted lines, as well…

Hence, a Prabhupada disciple, married to a junior lady, disciple of one of his Godbrothers, whom he may consider equal to himself, both in knowledge and seniority (if nothing else), may have a certain perspective on the man-woman, senior-junior relationship…

By the way, when you mentioned that some wives were worshiping the picture of their husband on their family altar, were you referring to some Prabhupada disciples worshiping their Godbrother acting as their husband (or even to some Godsister worshiping their Godbrother both being second generation devotee), or rather to junior ladies, initiated by a Prabhupada disciple, married to another Prabhupada disciple?

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 23rd, 2010
67 Puskaraksa das

Besides, if the wife’s Guru was to be regarded as a sat Guru, i.e. saksad Hari, depositary of Lord Krishna’s mercy as in the case of Srila Prabhupada or of another nitya siddha guru, would you still consider him absent, when he is not physically present, be it during his prakrita or his aprakrita lila (his manifested or un-manifested lila)?

Would you consider that bringing hot tea to one’s wife, when she is sick in bed, is more important than being empowered with Krishna kripa sakti to take her back to Godhead?

If one takes things on the absolute platform, as if a husband or so called pati-guru is to be really taken as guru in the absolute sense, not mentioning what his required level of spiritual advancement would be expected to be, then why minimize the position of Guru and view it on the relative platform of being physically present or not, of serving some hot tea or not?

In Vedic culture, atithi Narayana, an unexpected guest is to be considered as a representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and hosted as such…
So, there are many instances when one will look upon somebody else, as either his superior, his senior and/or a representative of God…

On one hand, the devotee is supposed to be meek and humble, and prompt respect by his devotional qualities, rather than merely expect or even claim respect on the basis of his gender, his seniority, etc…

On the other hand, the other party, the junior, the woman, the wife, etc, are also supposed to practice humility and follow some etiquette, just as Krishna Himself followed some etiquette and paid some respects to His elders, His teachers, etc.

However, does that mean that He was inferior to them? Of course not! So, the same reasoning may apply in other circumstances… The junior may supersede the senior, the pupil may be more talented than the teacher, the disciple who becomes a pure devotee may liberate his still-conditioned guru…!

Henceforth, one has to remain alert and keep one’s eyes open…

It is easy to fall into the trap of pratistha and indulge in the comfort of being looked upon as superior and even worshiped, be it by an obedient wife, or by anybody else… not to forget that Maya appears to the guru in the garb of a disciple…

Hence, it is easy to fall into the trap of identifying oneself with one’s position, and thereby one’s body as a man, as a senior, a king, a guru, or whatever else!

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 23rd, 2010
68 Puskaraksa das

Along that line, it might be useful to read over again the teachings of Jada Bharata to king Rahugana…

In the end, I would beg to disagree with Sita Rama Prabhu and confess that I do treat, at times, my present wife as a CEO. This might sound shocking, but it is true!
However, the only time I do so, is in the course of our seva, in one of our companies, of which I am the CEO, and she is the COO. Ha! Ha!

Time, place and circumstances! That’s the clue… and cooperating together to serve the mission of Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga to our best capacity is the essence of a spiritual union.

What lesson did the avadhuta bramana learn from each of his 24 Gurus?

I guess as long as we retain the capacity to learn something from any jiva, we remain in a safe position…

All glories to Jahnava Devi!

Your servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada
Puskaraksa das

Comment posted by Puskaraksa das on November 23rd, 2010
69 Unregistered

Re: #66
Puskaraksa das wrote:

My question is as follows: “Say, if you were a disciple of Srila Prabhupada married to one of your Godsisters, who is also Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, would you make the same statements as quoted above and tell her the same thing?”

Please refer to #32 wherein I said:

“As chanakya said “one should not get between a cow and her calf, a brahmana and his fire, or a man and his wife.” That includes the guru. Special exception is in the case of Srila Prabhupada, but even he instructed the wives to serve the husbands and never to my knowledge interfered in his disciples marriages. That is how we have learnt all this by SPs mercy.”

See also that text by Phalini Mataji who is a Prabhupada disciple married to a Prabhupada disciple. http://www.dandavats.com/?p=1954

In regards to all the various permutations and combinations of husbands and wives you mentioned, I know of one very nice couple at the Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK, where the wife (Jagannathesvari dd Mataji) is a pati-vrata (chaste wife by Vedic definition). She is a Prabhupada disciple and her husband (Visvambhara Prabhu) is a disciple of TKG who joined much later than she. She is also older and he younger. Still she regards herself as the servant of her husband and is a highly respected devotee in the community. She has dived deep into Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and has done much to divest herself of anarthas like feminism.

It boils down to this:

• if you want to follow the precepts of guru, sadhu and sastra you will.

• if you don’t want to you wont.

• and some are struggling in between following some parts and rejecting others under the sway of their anarthas.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 27th, 2010
70 Unregistered

Re # 62
Sita Rama said:

“And you said you should be seen as putting a roof over your wifes head,(bestower of a home), therefore; it seemed to me if you are a guru you must teach your wife that you are not the bestower, but you are teaching the opposite. So this appeared contradictory. But thinking more about the subject I realized that the external arrangement of a grhasta is spiritual because we all need a certain amount of practical facility to practice Krishna consciousness with a peaceful mind. So therefore the wife may give credit to the husband for supplying a house because that is needed to practice Krishna consciousness. Although she understands ultimately all things are coming from Krishna she would certainly feel grateful to her husband for what in this case is a spiritual facility. But that is only half the story, you also need the facilities given to you by your wife to peacefully practice Krishna consciousness. So as Srila Prabhupada says the wife gives protection to the husband by saving him from falling to the grahmedi level.”

I teach my wife that if Krsna wants us to die or live in the street that is what will happen but we still do our prescribed duties. And, that just as she is my servant I am someone else’s (Gurumaharaja) servant so don’t expect me to be hovering over you all the time like materialistic lovers. I have my service and duties to perform which may interfere with your desires.

On another point, it is the husband’s duty to provide and protect his wife. If the husband doesn’t it is not Krsna who the wife and society blames but the hapless husband, who is called a bum and a deadbeat dad, etc.

Of course every thing is under the control of Krsna. And for this reason the wife gets the husband she deserves. It is not by accident that Krsna gave her that particular husband. And by serving him she is being trained to serve Krsna. One cannot enter into the spiritual world unless one develops the service mentality.

Similarly husband gets the wife he deserves to serve according to the duties he performs to her. Being married is tapasya.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 27th, 2010
71 Unregistered

Re # 62
Sita Rama said:

“Therefore please acknowledge a categorical difference in your postions as pati guru and that of the diksha guru. Husband and wife give protection to each other but a diksha guru does not receive any protection from the disciple, he is therefore in a higher category than the husband and commands more respect.”

Prabhupada opined differently:

“This incident proves that the siksa- or diksa-guru who has a disciple who strongly executes devotional service like Dhruva Maharaja can be carried by the disciple even though the instructor is not as advanced. Although Suniti was an instructor to Dhruva Maharaja, she could not go to the forest because she was a woman, nor could she execute austerities and penances as Dhruva Maharaja did. Still, Dhruva Maharaja was able to take his mother with him. Similarly, Prahlada Maharaja also delivered his atheistic father, Hiranyakasipu. The conclusion is that a disciple or an offspring who is a very strong devotee can carry with him to Vaikunthaloka either his father, mother or siksa- or diksa-guru. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say, “If I could perfectly deliver even one soul back home, back to Godhead, I would think my mission-propagating Krsna consciousness-to be successful.” The Krsna consciousness movement is spreading now all over the world, and sometimes I think that even though I am crippled in many ways, if one of my disciples becomes as strong as Dhruva Maharaja, then he will be able to carry me with him to Vaikunthaloka.”
SB 4.12.33 purport

We also have the unfortunate situations where the diksha gurus of the wives have fallen down and their spiritual life depended on the spiritual strength of their husbands. The women with spiritually strong husbands did well whereas the unmarried girls or ones with weak husbands didn’t fair so well.

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 27th, 2010
72 Unregistered

Dear Devotees,

Hari Bol.

I am currently traveling a lot and do not have much time for continuing these discussions so please excuse my absence.

yhs

AVd

Comment posted by Atmavidya Dasa on November 27th, 2010
73 Unregistered

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to HDG Srila Prabhupada!

Not to oversimplify the efforts being made here by various devotees, but to humbly suggest an essential point of clarity that I did not get from the discussion:

I firmly believe that the simple answer to all questions is, “What would be pleasing to my Guru Maharaja?” Popular opinion (even of qualified Vaishnavas) and the direct order of the Supreme Lord (via scripture, Guru or sadhu) will often be conflicting on the surface. There is no way to determine the exact will of the Lord or His devotee based on scrutiny of words alone. When one is sincere to please the spiritual master Krsna reveals the means to do so from within (yasya prasadad bhagavat prasado).

If interested, please see the 1st Canto Bhagavatam incident with Arjuna and Ashvattama in which Krsna emphatically urges Arjuna to kill and Draupadi and Yudhisthir request him not to kill. All spiritual matters are beyond the purview of discussion in the ultimate issue. Shastra points out the standard, but it does not give circumstantial direction. If however we are interested to please the spiritual masters, scrutinizingly hearing (or reading) their instructions in that spirit, and we are doing our best as humble servants to apply in our particular circumstance what Guru has taught, all the while regularly taking guidance and inspiration from the Vaishnavas and scriptures (see 1st canto conversation between Bhismadeva and Yudhisthira Maharaja regarding his lamentation after the Battle of Kurukshetra) then there can be no mistake.

Ultimately, Krsna (ceta-guru) is the only one who knows what’s best for each one’s spiritual advancement, and so Guru, sadhu and sastra must constantly be served with a humble and inquisitive spirit to understand more and more deeply what’s pleasing to Krsna (BG 4.34). All three sources of instruction have their place in helping us to properly determine how to practice Krsna consciousness, and although shastra is the “lawbook” there is no cookie-cutter formula for understanding how to apply what we have learned from any of them (unfortunately it seems for those of us - myself included - who are of the breed that like clear instruction manuals for everything). I have often heard: “There’s no substitute for maturity.”

Please forgive any offenses.

Seeking the position of a humble servant to Guru and the Vaishnavas,
Asraya dasa

Comment posted by Asraya dasa on January 13th, 2011
74 Sita Rama das

Prabhu,
Hare Krishna,
Thank you. I accept you basic premeise. Actually my subsequent article Proper Gender Roles in ISKCON begins with me saying that if a woman wants to see her husband as guru and worship him that is not wrong, but it is not the only legitimate relationship.
I can’t help giving some thoughts about Queen Drapudi since you brought up the situation. It is something of a misnomer in ISKCON that Drapadi’s desire to spare Asvatthama’s life was an improper sentiment due to her womanly nature.
It is true,( S.B 1:7: 42), Drapadi bows to Asvatthama and Srila Prabupada comment that although Drapadi is a pure devotee, we should not follow her example and give respects to unqualified sons of brahmana’s. Srila Prabhupada repeats this in text 43, but adds that still it was a good sentiment for Drapudi.
But as for not slaying Asvatthama that was somewhat different. Drapadi gave various reasons for sparing the culprits life. In text 49 we learn King Yudhisthira agreed and said Drapadi’s reasons were in accordance to religion, justified, glorious, full of mercy and equity and without duplicity. This was not hyperbole, in the purport Srila Prabhupada explains exactly how her position contained each quality. Text 50 explains that Nakula, Sahadeva, Satyaki Arjuna,Krishna and all the ladies agreed with Yudhishira’s assessment of Drapudi’s position. Bhima is on record voting to kill the culprit.
So actually sparing Asvatthama’s life was the right thing to do. It is not that it was done just to please the mind of a unreasonably sentimental woman. Drapadi’ did not in any way lack discrimination. Although it would not be proper for us to follow her example in going so far as honoring the culprit as if he were actually a brahmana.

Comment posted by Sita Rama das on January 14th, 2011

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