Comments Posted By Basu Ghosh Das
Displaying 1 To 10 Of 25 Comments
Thanks for posting this article, Shankarshan Prabhu! Siddha Vidya Prabhu ki jaya! Personally, I don’t recall meeting him, but your article and Bhushaya Prabhu’s article gave us — the readers — an intimate glimpse into his life. Thanks for that! Hari hari!
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 03.04.2013 @ 08:05
Dear Achyuta Prabhu @ comment #40
Namonamaha. Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
Prabhu, I did not feel that you were being arrogant in your writing. You made your points humbly, as I recall, without ad hominem(s) and innuendo and that is appreciated. Hopefully I am doing this as well.
However, the conclusion that females can be diksha guru is mistaken, in my humble opinion.
You say you based your conclusion in this regard on the body of Prabhupada’s teachings. Here is where we differ. You and most of the devotees commenting on this thread know that Prabhupada wrote “being a woman… Suniti could not be Dhruva’s diksha guru”. This was written by Prabhupada in plain, simple English.
Prabhupada was teaching his disciples — and the world — through his purports. In the very same purport, he explains that Suniti was Dhruva’s patha pradarshaka & shiksha guru, and that the shiksha guru is non-different from the diksha guru.
So why not that qualified ladies be satisfied with being shiksha guru and not clamor for being diksha guru?
Prabhupada told Prof. O’Connel [room conversation @ Toronto, June ‘76] that female gurus were extremely rare & Jahnava Devi “did not declare” [herself as guru].
Consider that we Westerners were raised in an atmosphere where we were indoctrinated with the concept of egalitarianism: “the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights”.
Our ideology teaches that “on the platform of the soul” this is true [that we are all “equal” — as jivatmas], but while embodied we are to follow varnashram dharma — the principles of religion & social occupational duties. This means distinctions and differentiations, not equality. That’s very hard for we Westerners to accept, due to our being “brainwashed” — or rather “indoctrinated” — with this concept since childhood!
Therefore, Prabhupada’s clear prohibition of a woman being a diksha guru is so very difficult for many Western devotees to accept. If Prabhupada had desired, he could have written that Suniti was indeed Dhruva’s diksha guru — after he clearly wrote that she was his padapradarshaka and shiksha guru — and we would all accept his instruction. But he wrote the opposite! It would therefore we wise for his followers to accept his instruction in this regard.
Basu Ghosh Das
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 20.12.2012 @ 02:00
Corrigendum/errata — and a bit of additional explanation.
This appeared in my comment, #37 above:
“When Prabhupada wrote that it was introduced by Srila Saraswati Thakur (SBSST) (in CC M24.330), he did meant it was his invention.”
It should read: “When Prabhupada wrote that it was introduced by Srila Saraswati Thakur (SBSST) (in CC M24.330), it does not mean that it was his invention.”
[The sense is that Srila Saraswati Thakur did not invent something new, when he introduced conferring the sacred thread. Based on panchatratrika viddhi, he did confer the sacred thread on men from lower castes, whom he considered qualified — those who performed the purashcharana. As per the verse quoted by Prabhupada in his purport to CC Antya 16.29, those persons become brahmanas. He did not confer the thread to women].
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 17.12.2012 @ 01:49
@ Achyuta Das: comments #35 & 36
Prabhu, the gayatri mantra goes along with the sacred thread. When Prabhupada wrote that it was introduced by Srila Saraswati Thakur (SBSST) (in CC M24.330), he did meant it was his invention.
Conferring the thread is as ancient as the mantras. Mahaprabhu & the goswamis demonstrated “vairagya” - total renunciation . SBSST & Prabhupada stressed revival of varnashram dharma, as sahajiyaism had become rampant.
Paancharaatrika diksha, as introduced by SBSST, was given after the “harinaam”, that Prabhupada called “first initiation”, & not diksha. We both know that Prabhupada gave women the gayatri mantra, but did not confer the thread. So if women do not have the thread, how can they confer it?
If you examine the first vilas of Haribhakti Vilas, you will see that Gopal Bhatta Goswami recommended taking diksha from a qualified brahmana. Qualified brahmana was always a male. While in vedic culture, women who were born in brahmana families are referred to as brahmani, they did not take up the occupational activities of the men, neither did they wear the thread. This is ancient tradition.
What Prabhupada wrote about, as per the quotes you referenced above, SB 12.2.3, etc., is a condemnation of the “false birthright claim” to be a brahmana. That does not change either the fact that a qualified brahmana is one who underwent the samskaras, including the thread ceremony, & would later become a “vipra”, one who studied the vedas by memorization (as per tradition), and also one who becomes a brahmana by paanchaaratrika diksha as Prabhupada wrote in his Purport to CC Antya 16.29
yatha kancanatam yati kamsyam rasa-vidhanatah
tatha diksha-vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrinam
“As bell metal is turned to gold when mixed with mercury in an alchemical process, so one who is properly trained and initiated by a bona fide spiritual master becomes a brahmana immediately.”
As for women engaging in brahminical occupations in ISKCON temples in the West, it can be accepted in two ways. One is that it was the order of the guru, Prabhupada, and it was a “time & circumstance” instruction by Prabhupada.
Studying “the body of Prabhupada’s instructions”, its clear that he gave abundant instructions that women would best be engaged in griha karma — household work. Sadly, in your eagerness to post a retort to what I wrote, you’ve neglected to take cognizance of those instructions.
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 16.12.2012 @ 06:59
@ Sitaram Prabhu, comment #18. Prabhu, your speculation — indirectly, admittedly — that Prabhupada wrote his comments to Bg 16.7 based on circumstances & prevalent social psychology in the Western World, is, just that: speculation. I contend that his comments were based on the vedic outlook — as instituted by Lord Krishna (Bg 4.13) that humans have duties in accordance with their gunas, karmas and gender.
To repeat what I wrote in my comment on your comment #10, SP had a definite outlook on stri-dharma - the duties of women, but he did not impose that during his lifetime within ISKCON, due to his observations on Western life. So he was “lenient”, but he did not, as some would like us to believe “over-ride” vedic teachings.
We should understand that Western thought is contaminated by the lower modes of nature, and atheism.
Therefore it IS demoniac, as SP wrote, numerous times. The subtle influence of Western thought has crept into ISKCON, and that is why the issue of female diksha guru is being made a “prestige issue’, by devotees who are indeed influenced by the egalitarian value system prevalent in modern society!
Prabhu, you obviously seem to be in favor of female diksha gurus. Please present the evidence from vedic literatures that there is a provision of females diksha gurus. Kindly cite the examples of these female gurus in Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, Valmiki Ramayana, the Puranas, etc., to enlighten us in this regard.
What can’t a women take sannays? Why can’t a woman be conferred the sacred thread? And why can’t a man bear a child (why weren’t men created equal to women and have wombs)?
The answer should be clear. It is that there is gender distinction in human society.
And there are distinctions made between human beings that SP and vedic thought — and law — accept.
But we don’t want to accept them, because Western thought teaches “we perceive that all men [and women] were created equal”. That is the egalitarian viewpoint.
The fruit of that viewpoint is the “free mixing of men and women in society” that leads to the situation you’ve described in your comments. Immorality is accepted as morality. Homosexual marriage is now being recognized in many states in the USA, and many countries in Europe, and yet SP clearly condemned homosexuality as “insanity”. At present, society is being misled by atheistic leaders & their atheistic ideology. Should we follow that? Kindly consider.
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 12.12.2012 @ 02:12
@ Sita Ram Das - 1. The aim of posting the quotation, Bg 16.7, above, was to support the concept that we have duties according to varna and ashram, and gender as well. The duty of women is to be grihini, housewife. Srila Prabhupada (SP) was “lenient” with Western women, in view of his oft repeated observation that men and women “freely mix” in the West. As you should be aware by studying SP’s stated views on women, he often mentions that women should cook, clean, etc., i.e. household chores/engagements.
Becoming a diksha guru is incongruent to these duties. Further, an intrinsic part of diksha is conferring the sacred thread. As per numerous statements of SP in his purports, i.e. CC Madhya 24.330, etc., etc.
SP specifically commented in SB 4.12.32 — as I’m sure you are well aware, that “being a woman… Suniti could not be Dhruva’s diksha guru.
Phalini Mataji very nicely explained this in her essay. She quoted numerous statements of SP from his purports to support her contention(s).
The reason that there is any support whatsoever for female diksha guru is that egalitarian thought is so popular in the Western world.
If there was a clear basis in the vedic literatures for female diksha guru, then I for one would accept it!
However, the opposite is the case.
For example, at the Sandipani ashram at Avanti, Sandipani Muni is the guru, both shiksha and diksha, of boys, i.e. Krishna, Balaram and Sudama. His wife is mentioned, but no mention of her being the guru. Guru patni — one of the seven mothers ( the real mother, the wife of a teacher or spiritual master, the wife of a king, the wife of a brahmana, the cow, the nurse and the mother earth), but not the guru herself.
There are so many such examples in vedic literatures: Atri and Anasuya, etc., etc.
Diksha means conferring the sacred thread, and since woman cannot wear the sacred thread, they cannot be the diksha guru. Even shiksha guru, at least for the general public, as we see in the case of Jahnava Mata, is “very rare”. She instructed and lectured from behind a curtain - never revealing herself to the public.
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 12.12.2012 @ 01:46
Atmavidya Prabhu requested me to explain why we reject Bipin Bihari Goswami (BBG), the so-called diksha guru of Bhaktivinoda Thakur (BT) and the line gurus who came before him, wherein several names of women are mentioned.
There is an argument, it was the line of thought of one of the Thakur’s son, Lalita Prasad, that BT never rejected BBG. However, it is well known amongst the followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur (SBSST), that BT had in fact given up the association of BBG and (informally) took shelter/shiksha from Srila Jagannath Das Babaji.
The logic here is that SBSST clearly rejected brahmanism by birthright only. BBG and his line believe that only the son of a brahmin or goswami can be a brahmin or goswami.
Also, Srila Prabhupada (SP) and SBSST do not mention BBG and his predecessor gurus ANYWHERE in their writings.
Certain ISKCON devotees who associated with Lalita Prasad became influenced by the concept of guru/brahmin/goswami by birthright and at least one of them is a very scholarly and communicative person. They read his writings and they have borrowed this lineage of gurus to support the concept of female diksha guru.
Generally, the concept of caste birthright has been abused to protect one and one’s family status in “strict Hindu society”. The “upper castes”, the brahmins, kshtriyas, and vaishyas, over a period of time, became degraded abused this upper caste birthright status to exploit others. Therefore the British condemned the “caste system”, that we know from Bhagavad-gita is the varnashram system that Lord Krishna Himself established (vide Bg 4.13).
In his purport to SB 1.16.31, SP wrote:
“When God-made varnasrama-dharma, which is strictly meant for developing animal consciousness into human consciousness and human consciousness into godly consciousness, is broken by advancement of foolishness, the whole system of peaceful and progressive life is at once disturbed. In the age of Kali, the first attack of the venomous snake strikes against the God-made varnasrama-dharma, and thus a person properly qualified as a brahmana is called a sudra, and a sudra by qualification is passing as a brahmana, all on a false birthright claim. To become a brahmana by a birthright claim is not at all bona fide, although it may be a fulfillment of one of the conditions.”
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 12.12.2012 @ 01:30
More on Varnashram dharma, by Srila Prabhupada, wherein what he writes supports what Phalini Mataji wrote, and negates the view that varnashram is unimportant:
Bhagavad-gita As It Is 16.7
pravrittim ca nivrittim ca
jana na vidur asurah
na saucam napi cacaro
na satyam teshu vidyate
Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them.
In every civilized human society there is some set of scriptural rules and regulations which is followed from the beginning. Especially among the Aryans, 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. Therefore it is stated here that the demons do not know the scriptural rules, nor do they have any inclination to follow them. Most of them do not know them, and even if some of them know, they have not the tendency to follow them. They have no faith, nor are they willing to act in terms of the Vedic injunctions. The demons are not clean, either externally or internally. One should always be careful to keep his body clean by bathing, brushing teeth, shaving, changing clothes, etc. As far as internal cleanliness is concerned, one should always remember the holy names of God and chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The demons neither like nor follow all these rules for external and internal cleanliness.
As for behavior, there are many rules and regulations guiding human behavior, such as the Manu-samhita, which is the law of the human race. Even up to today, those who are Hindu follow the Manu-samhita. Laws of inheritance and other legalities are derived from this book. Now, in the Manu-samhita it is clearly stated that a woman should not be given freedom. That does not mean that women are to be kept as slaves, but they are like children. Children are not given freedom, but that does not mean that they are kept as slaves. The demons have now neglected such injunctions, and they think that women should be given as much freedom as men. However, this has not improved the social condition of the world.
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 07.12.2012 @ 04:20
Further to the above comment on Kusha devi dasi’s comment #6
The “self evidence” that all men are created equal, is in contradiction with Lord Krishna’s instructions in Bhagavad-gita 4.13:
“According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.
PURPORT [By Prabhupada]
The Lord is the creator of everything. Everything is born of Him, everything is sustained by Him, and everything, after annihilation, rests in Him. He is therefore the creator of the four divisions of the social order, beginning with the intelligent class of men, technically called brahmanas due to their being situated in the mode of goodness. Next is the administrative class, technically called the kshatriyas due to their being situated in the mode of passion. The mercantile men, called the vaisyas, are situated in the mixed modes of passion and ignorance, and the sudras, or laborer class, are situated in the ignorant mode of material nature. In spite of His creating the four divisions of human society, Lord Krishna does not belong to any of these divisions, because He is not one of the conditioned souls, a section of whom form human society. Human society is similar to any other animal society, but to elevate men from the animal status, the above-mentioned divisions are created by the Lord for the systematic development of Krishna consciousness. The tendency of a particular man toward work is determined by the modes of material nature which he has acquired. Such symptoms of life, according to the different modes of material nature, are described in the Eighteenth Chapter of this book.”
So, while the souls are equal, when they are embodied there are differences, and varying duties according to these differences! That is our ideological outlook, at least if we accept the teachings of the Gita and Prabhupada!
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 12.12.2012 @ 04:25
@ Kusha devi dasi’s comment #20:
Not sure how you remembered me here, Mataji, since till today I hadn’t commented on Govinda dasi’s article.
However, since you mentioned my name (even if you spelled “Ghosh” as “Gosh” [as in “oh my gosh!”]), I hope you won’t mind my responding to what you wrote. Or maybe you meant to comment on what someone else wrote, and mistakenly wrote my name? Whatever! :-)
Sadly, many of Srila Prabhupada’s intimate associates in Western bodies (yes, like our’s), fell away from ISKCON, bhakti, and became degraded. Prabhupada himself stated that he didn’t have so much personal association with his Guru Maharaj.
My contention is simple, let us understand the issue of female diksha guru should be through shastras, and the instructions of Prabhupada and our previous (purva) acharyas (teachers/gurus).
First of all, “diksha” is one of the samskaras, and that is conferring the sacred thread. The sacred thread is not conferred to females. Just like sannyas.
Prabhupada wrote about this numerous times in his purports. For example in CC Madhya 24.330:
“He is then recommended for a second initiation, during which a sacred thread is offered and the disciple is accepted as a bona fide brahmana. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura introduced the system of giving the sacred thread to a bona fide Vaishnava, and we are following in his footsteps.”
The system that Prabhupada refers to IS the Panchatratrika system. We all know that females are NOT conferred the sacred thread, so how can they act as diksha guru?
Why not be satisfied with grihasta dharma — household duties — that are recommended for women by Prabhupada in numerous places? Be the patha pradarshaka & shiksha guru of your children & other women. Why imitate the men?
My contention is that the demand for female diksha guru is simply the subtle contamination of the egalitarian outlook of modern Western society, that we Westerners cannot remove from our psyche!
This outlook is deep rooted in the USA, where in the US Declaration of Independence it is written:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the of the governed”.
Comment Posted By Basu Ghosh Das On 12.12.2012 @ 04:21