Comments Posted By Narottama
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Lalita Madhava: Where was I? Honestly, I find cultivation of bhakti much more interesting than arguing about the makeup of society. There is more hope for harmony there. I must extract myself from this one before I get going. Priorities!! Thanks for the food for thought Campakalata and others. If you ate any of my food and thought it tasty, I’m happy. If I gave you thought indigestion I apologize. One mans (or woman’s!!!) food is another’s poison.
Comment Posted By Narottama On 14.12.2006 @ 08:05
Campakalata: “We are obligated to perform our given duty for the sake of peace and harmony in society”
Where does our “given” duty come from? Are we born with a nature; likes, dislikes, inclinations, etc., or does our society dictate one for us according to our birth? The latter sounds like caste system to me… Don’t we always preach that the caste system was supposed to be based on guna/karma, qualities possess and work that you actually do?? Why are women any different? For them it is according to birth?
The Gita verse that Champakalata cites has a context. That context is varnasrama. My context is Kali yuga western “civilization.” In this modern world people have many different “natures.” Everything is mixed up, unpredictable and out of the ordinary. So how do I respond to that world and the people in it? Two choices: I can tell people to be who they are and do it for Krsna, or I can tell people to be what I think they should be and do that for Krsna. The result of the second choice is frustrated people, often guilt ridden because they just aren’t that nature that society, religion, parents, media try to force on them. They have not acted according to their nature, they have tried to do others duties perfectly and because it was out of duty, it didn’t last. Love is a much stronger motivation than duty. Like it or not, people in this time do not fit into stereotypical roles. Can people still be engaged in Krsna’s service and attain perfection? Or, do they have to fit a societal role first?
This is asking a big question… Do we value varnasrama or bhakti more? Trying to follow varnashrama is laudable, but turning all of society backwards just ain’t gonna happen in our short lifetimes. I personally don’t think it will ever happen. Bhakti can and will manifest in any circumstance because it is the nature of the soul, everyone’s most confidential possession. Let’s foster that, and the best society will manifest automatically!
Your assertion that the downfall of the family is the result of women’s lib is one opinion. There are many other opinions also. What about the whole modern structure of society, industrial revolution, economics, etc.? Ever consider how hard it is financially to live in this world in a “traditional” way, with the mom staying home taking care of the children? Practically impossible, at least in the U.S. If you can pull it off, there is probably something else untraditional going on, quite possibly the man’s means of livelihood. So, even if the woman is inclined to be a housewife, maybe she has to work a second job just to keep the family unit together. To attribute family disintegration to women going out and working strikes me as short-sighted, in not unfair.
The world I live and work in everyday is not traditional at all. Some women do not want to have anything to do with pregnancy, children, and family maintenance. According to your values, you may or may not like that. I say, let them act according to their “nature”, and not someone elses. I know that there are also women who’s nature it is to be housewives. They should act according to their nature also. I think this is what Krsna is getting at - both persons will be doing the best for themselves and who they “serve”, AND the whole of society if they act according to their nature (Prabhupada sometimes said psychophysical nature.) Finally, as Romapada Swami suggested, all roles should be given equal glory. It is after all, service to Krsna. There is no question of inferior service.
Understanding one’s nature and acting in that role while offering loving service to Krsna is perfection. Respecting other’s natures as their own is a giant leap towards that perfection. I agree with you whole-heartedly 108% that a competent guru is required. That person can extract bhakti from a soul in any situation in this age and direct that bhakti towards the Lord. What a blessing.
Comment Posted By Narottama On 14.12.2006 @ 07:47
Romapada Swami - “The equality lies in the fact that everybody is engaged to their full capacity and full satisfaction in the service of the one Supreme Enjoyer, Lord Krishna”
This is a great synthesis of opposing points of view. Why can’t we just act on this platform? When you clarify your point of view later you’ve lost me…
“If it should be considered that those performing the role of housekeeping, raising and training God-conscious children, protecting family tradition and offering much-needed support for the men constitute subordinate, unimportant roles, such an outlook reflects inequality in fact… (space) By Krishnaâ€™s natural arrangement, the female body is equipped to fulfill these roles which demand, in their own way, as much competency, resourcefulness and dedication as do the services traditionally assigned to men in a Vedic society.”
If you ask a feminist what their complaint is, it is not that women’s roles are not given as much importance, it is the idea that women are “naturally” disposed to certain roles; the roles you suggest - housekeeping, raising children, etc. THIS is the problem. Equality means equal opportunity also. Modern society demonstrates quite well that women excel in roles that were not traditionally given to them in patriarchal societies. Men can also function quite well in housekeeping and child-rearing roles. So, why be unequal in giving service? If the jiva is inclined to render a particular service to Krsna and is good at it, they should be encouraged right?
Societies that cling to old cultural models tend to die out. In the least they lose the respect of the dominant culture. Could this be a problem for the Hare Krsna movement???
Comment Posted By Narottama On 12.12.2006 @ 16:10
Regarding post #7, I cannot emphasize enough the detrimental effects that staying in an abusive relationship can have on a woman’s physical, emotional AND spiritual life. Working in a counseling agency I see this way too often. Especially vulnerable are women who’s culture emphasizes the right of a man to control women; very similar to some devotees’ KC “cultural” preaching.
If anyone knows of women (or men) in such relationships, please advise them to seek help. Often times it is very difficult for people in abusive relationships to seek help because the abuse has stolen their will to act for their self-betterment. PLEASE, don’t contemplate “how much more distress you deserve” because of a sinful past. Do not fall prey to this dysfunctional preaching. This is 100% the wrong advice to help psychologically fragile people. Accuse me of being modern, I happily accept that label. Preaching about “cultural” norms that are outdated and contrary to everything we experience in the predominant culture creates alienated people who are unsure of how to live in this world as devotees. I appreciate the sharing of one persons marriage experience, but lets please be careful in what message we give people. Their lives, physical and spiritual are at stake.
Here is a good message to take away: You can still pray for a person who is abusive while they are in prison!
Comment Posted By Narottama On 02.11.2006 @ 20:33