Comments Posted By Mahatma das
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Dear Nitai Prabhu
Very good point. It seems common sense but at the same time we are seeing a great fear of being controlled by woman. Of course, the real fear should be that we are controlled by our senses. If one is sense controlled, then providing what a woman needs to be happy has nothing to do with being controlled by woman. But if one is providing these things for the purpose of securing a satisfying sexual relationship with his wife, then yes, he is being controlled by a woman.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:54
Pure devotional service is not about wearing or not wearing a certain dress. It is about the purity of heart. If a man thinks his wife is bad because she doesn’t wear a sari, although she is dressed in a chase way, then I would say the idea of tolerating a “bad” wife is his own idea; there is nothing to tolerate. Of course, if he is upset about her dress, he can tell her he prefers she wear a sari. In my case, my wife tolerates the way I dress, because I am not so concerned how I look, rather than me tolerating her dress (LOL).
I joined Iskcon in 1969 and was never trained to understand that the goal of Krsna consciousness is to be culturally Indian, although I know some devotees believe this. I was trained from the beginning that the goal is to serve Krsna with one desire: to please him.
I wrote Prabhupada during the time that devotees were wearing Western dress to distribute books saying that I discovered this is not necessary. I was thinking he would applaud me for this and inform the society that Mahatma and company are distributing as many books as those wearing non devotional dress, so such dress is not necessary. But all he said was this: “Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing.”
Of course, in this discussion you are making the assumption that a woman should always wear a sari and always have her head covered and if she doesn’t her husband will just have to tolerate a “bad” woman because she is disobeying Srila Prabhupada. You would have to provide evidence that a woman dressed in a gopi skirt or a woman in a sari without her head covered is disobeying Prabhupada and is bad. I am not aware that this is in considered disobeying him. In any case, my point is that we have to learn to get along well together. If a woman wants to dress in a certain way because she feels better, or she feels people can better relate to her, a husband should be understanding and supportive and he shouldn’t think he is tolerating a bad woman. That would undermine the relationship.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:52
You ask is it more important to make Prabhupada happy or to make one’s wife happy. I don’t think we can always assume to making a wife happy is displeasing Prabhupada. First, household often entails compromise in how your time and money are spent, and also what you often must do to keep the other person happy. So we learn in household life about making compromises to satisfy the needs of another.
I could better answer your question if I knew specifics, but I can give a general answer. If compromising a principle occasionally keeps a family together, then accept that this is pleasing Prabhupada. In my discussions with godbrothers and sisters on this issue, all have agreed that sometimes a compromise might save a marriage, and especially if there are children, it is a disaster for them if the parent’s divorce. So we have to take into consideration not only spiritual obligations, but we must fulfill our material obligations as well.
So yes, if we are not married, we don’t have to deal with this stuff. But this is the reality of what we sometimes must confront when married.
The issue of dress is interesting. In South India, it is rare to find a woman with her head covered. So in our temples in South India, the women don’t cover their heads. In north India head covering is more common.
The Women of Bhakti was a film made to attract non-devotees to the path of Bhakti. Just as we often do sankirtan in western dress, my wife is wearing her sankirtan clothes in this picture and in this film. It was not a film to teach people how to be an Iskcon devotee, it was a film to teach people about bhakti. If we teach in devotional dress, it often sends a message that to do bhakti you must dress this way. And this is not true. In many cases, when devotees have adapted their dress to make people more comfortable, their preaching has skyrocketed. So we are not attached to how we dress but we dress in ways that make it easier for people to take to Krsna consciousness.
I don’t know the current dress standards in our Iskcon temples, but as we live in Mayapur, my Wife wears a sari everyday to the temple.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:50
Dear Atmavidya Dasa Prabhu
Being a good husband entails many things. Most important is the relationship, not the material things. If your experience is that “she will never be happy,” I suggest you have not provided the emotional and relational support a woman needs to be happy. Often a woman’s needs for material things are an attempt to replace the lack of affection and emotional support in her marriage.
In addition, it is wise not to blame a woman for problems in a marriage. It is wise to consider what we, as men are not doing and/or not doing that this causing our wives to be unhappy. Sure, there are woman who are hard to please, but in the majority of cases, if you are Krsna conscious, provide responsibly for your family, are affectionate and give the emotional and relational support women require, your marriage will go well. As Bhaktisiddhanta said, “Look within. Amend thyself.”
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:45
Rukmini Devi Dasi Mata ji
The idea of marriage is that a husband, ideally being strong, uplifts a woman (who is generally weaker). That doesn’t guarantee that a woman who has a good husband will not leave him, but statistically speaking women with good husbands have better marriages and less divorce.
You say that most divorces are filed by women who have husbands who have no faults. I guess we need to define what you mean by no faults because my personal experience is different. I find many, many husbands don’t know what it means to be a good husband and I rarely find unhappy women who have really good husbands. By good I mean caring, honest, supportive, set a good example, etc.
Rather than caution your son not to marry, teach him what it means to be a good husband and what is the nature of woman and marriage, and then let him decide whether or not he wishes to marry. There is not use in him being single if he is not qualified to do so. It is much wiser to train him to be a good husband because that will reduce the likelihood of having a bad marriage. Once trained in this way, he can better decide whether or not to marry.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:42
Dear Sugriva Das Prabhu
My statement is based on the quote below by Srila Prabhupada givein in a lecture, BG 7.3, Feb 18, 1974
Just like in the Manu-samhita, there is no divorce. Now our Hindu laws, they have amended, “Divorce is allowed.” That is not according to Manu-samhita.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:40
Dear Sugriva Das Prabhu
Although Prabhupada refers to Manu occasionally in his books, he never used the above criteria as a basis for approving of divorce. Prabhupada did say that if a man is fallen, i.e. he doesn’t follow regulative principles, the wife is not obliged to serve him. But at the same time he glorified his sister for staying with her drunkard husband because it helped him eventually become sober. He did allow separation for spiritual purposes, i.e. if both husband and wife were agreeable to separate as a means of increasing their service and on the condition they would not remarry.
Also, the above quotations are speaking of ordinary women, not devotee women, so we must be careful not lump the two together. You seem to be saying it is a fault to stay with a women who is not a good wife, but in reading all that Prabhupada said on marriage you will never see him advising men to leave their wives because of character flaws.
We need to be more cautious in citing references that Prabhupada himself didn’t use, and also citing references that don’t represent the general mood of Prabhupada in regards to grhastha life. In other words, we need to be cautious about citing Manu as a standard for our behavior or action in cases where Prabhupada did not apply these principles to our circumstances. If you want to apply Manu strictly, then none are qualified to be devotees or brahmanas. So be careful how you quote manu. Actually, the paradox is that my Manu’s own standards, we are not qualified to quote him!
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:29
Dear Balakrsna das Prabhu
Prabhupada writes in a letter: The point is that the women must be protected, and it is the duty of the leaders of our society to see that this is carried out.
A husband should protect his wife materially and spiritually as far as possible. If she doesn’t want that protection, that is another thing. But in some cases, he is not actual protecting so it seems she is rejecting. She may be rejecting his lack of protection.
When Prabhupada speaks of protection he speaks of it in the sense of providing materially for her, guiding her spiritually, and protecting her from other men who may wish to take advantage of her, either sexually or in other ways (car dealers will sale a car for a higher price to your wife than they will to you, this often happens with car repairs, etc.)
So it is the man’s duty to provide this as best he can.
Regarding your statement that men in the West don’t want to get married any more, the story in my articles illustrates how best to deal with this, i.e. the attitude and behavior of the husband will affect the wife. Still, if the wife is demanding more and is not satisfied, it is the challenge of the husband to be peaceful, tolerant, and supportive as far as possible. At least do your duty to provide protection as best you can and to the degree that she will accept it.
It takes two people to create a relationship and if the relationship is not good remember that you are in that relationship also and you can do something to make it better. Maybe it won’t be perfect according to your standards, but still your duty is to do your best to improve it.
It is easy to complain. It is not easy to make something better.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:24
When a sexual falldown between a leader in our movement and a brahmacarini took place, Prabhupada made the comment about it being the man’s fault. I don’t know if this is recorded on the database. I am only referencing this from memory of this incident and how it was explained to us at the time. We were told that Prabhupada responded by putting the blame primarily on the man.
This does follow the sastric statement that cows, women, brahmanas, children and elderly people are not to be punished but protected. In one class the children were making noise and they were asked to leave by a senior devotee and Prabhupada said that in this room there are only brahmanas, children, women, and elderly people so no one here is to be faulted.
And this meant the kids didn’t have to leave.
The general idea is that a woman follows a man, so if man allures a woman into something improper, he is held accountable. Of course, this doesn’t mean a woman will not suffer negative consequences in her life, or should be irresponsible, but still the blame primarily falls on the man because he is supposed to be the leader.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 10.09.2014 @ 09:22
Your points are well taken and are true, but are half of the equation. Who does Krsna manifest his mercy to? One who is anxious to get it, one who is determine to find it, who “qualifies” for it, who reach out for it, all of which takes a great level of commitment and determination. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati explains.
â€śUnless we extend our best efforts earnestly, and qualify ourselves forthe Lordâ€™s mercy, it is next to impossible that we can be rescued from our fallen condition.â€ť
So what you say it indeed correct but it needs to be balanced with our effort. Either faith only in our own effort, or complete faith in mercy without effort are imbalanced approaches, imho.
The Avanti Brahmana says, “I will cross over the ocean of nescience.” Why is he affirming this? Because the process works and he know if he follows the process he will be successful.
BTW, many devotees have told me the mantra, “I love to chant, I get to chant and I want to chant” have altered their approach to the holy name. Negative psychology can have negative impact on chanting.
I am very aware of the dangers of modern psychology in its putting emphasis on ourselves as the doer and our need, as devotees, to be well aware that Krsna is the one helping us do everything. But he reciprocates according to our need and desire. So when we say I enthusiastically chant the holy names, we can see this as a prayer saying, Krsna, help me to enthusiastically chant because this is my desire.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 05.07.2014 @ 23:33