Comments Posted By Sanjaya Das
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Yes, women can be acharyas and the topmost devotees of the Lord are the gopis headed by Srimati Radharani, women, but we are not on that level. In this material sphere under the regulations of varnashram (meant for conditioned souls like us) we should take our guidance from the previous acharyas and shastra as to our roles in society. Faith in Srila Prabhupada and the vedic literatures should be the base of discussions, not sentiment and emotion.
This truth may be unpalatable but just because we don’t like it, that is no justification to twist the conclusions. The death knell of our ISKCON society will be when we lose our faith in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and the conclusions of the Vedic literatures and start concocting ideas based on the bodily concept of life. Here are a few quotes, out of hundreds, from Srila Prabhupada regarding what should be the role of women in society:
Los Angeles, September 22, 1972
Women, they are generally equipped with the qualities of passion and ignorance, and men may also be, but man can be elevated to the platform of goodness, women cannot be, women cannot be. Therefore if the man is nice and the woman follows, woman becomes faithful and chaste, then their both life becomes successful. There are three qualities of nature: sattva, rajas and tamas. So rajas and tamas, that is the quality of woman. And man can become to the platform of goodness. Therefore initiation, brahminical symbolic representation is given to man, not to woman. This is the theory. Therefore the combination should be that the husband should be first-class devotee, Krsna conscious, and woman should be, woman should be devoted to the husband, faithful, so that she would help the husband to make progress in Krsna consciousness. Then their both life will be successful.
Television Interview July 9, 1975, Chicago 750709iv.chi
Woman reporter: But you say women are subordinate to men?
PrabhupĂ€da: Yes, that is also natural. Because when the husband and wife are there or the father and daughter is there, so the daughter is subordinate to the father and the wife is subordinate to the husband.
Woman reporter: What happens when women are not subordinate to men?
PrabhupĂ€da: Then there is disruption. There is disruption, social disruption. If the woman does not become subordinate to man, then there is social disruption. Therefore, in the western countries there are so many divorce cases because the woman does not agree to become subordinate to
man. That is the cause.
Woman reporter: What advice do you have to women who do not want to be subordinate to men?
PrabhupĂ€da: It is not my advice, but it is the advice of the Vedic knowledge that woman should be chaste and faithful to man.
Woman reporter: What should we do in the United States? Weâre trying to make women equal with men.
PrabhupĂ€da: I am not trying. You are already not equal with the man because in so many respects, your functions are different and manâs functions are different. Why do you say artificially they are equal?
Woman reporter: Is the social unrest in this country caused because…
PrabhupĂ€da: Because of these things. They do not know that.
Woman reporter: And if women were subordinate to men, it would solve all of our problems?
PrabhupĂ€da: Yes. Man wants that woman should be subordinate, faithful to him. Then he is ready to take charge. The manâs mentality, womanâs mentality different. So if the woman agrees to remain faithful and subordinate to man, then the family life will be peaceful.
Woman reporter: You have different schools for men and women, is that correct?
PrabhupĂ€da: Yes. Man is regulated to become a first-class man, and woman is regulated to become very chaste and faithful wife. Then the life will be very successful. And marriage, compulsory. Marriage, compulsory.
Woman reporter: Everyone should marry?
PrabhupĂ€da: Yes. Every woman, at least, should be married. Therefore, according to Vedic conception, polygamy is allowed.
Woman reporter: Is allowed?
PrabhupĂ€da: Yes. Because every woman must be married. But every man may not be married. Therefore man has to accept more than one wife.
Room Conversation after Press Conference July 9, 1975, Chicago
Women’s dependence is described in Manu-samhita. There are many examples cited in the sastra. Kunit was not an ordinary woman. She was very exalted and learned, but she still remained dependent upon her sons. Sita is another example. She was not obliged to follow Rama. But her attitiude was, “Wherever my husband shall go, I must go.” This is Vedic culture. According to our culture, unless the husband is crazy, in every case the wife must be faithful and subservient to the husband. That is the Vedic culture. Gandhari, voluntarily blinding herself and Damayanti accepting the poverty stricken position of her husband are other examples. This is a woman’s perfection. The Americans may not like this idea but we are speaking of the Vedic culture.
Comment Posted By Sanjaya Das On 28.11.2006 @ 21:14
Thank you Praghosa Prabhu for bringing up yet another important and interesting topic for discussion.
In the varnashram system, one of the basic instructions is for ladies to never be given independence.
In their childhood they are to be protected by the father. After that they are given in charity to a suitable husband, chosen by the parents, and in old age they are protected by the eldest son. So in every sphere of life, women are to be protected. In this way, a varnashram system can function peacefully. This is civilized life.
When Srila Prabhupada began preaching in the West, he was faced with the challenge of engaging both men and women in service hence the introduction of the bramhacharini ashram. In actual fact, there is no brahmacharini ashram in the varnashram system. So this begs the question; why did Srila Prabhupada introduce this?
Srila Prabhupada came to the West knowing he had limited time to spread Krishna Consciousness and therefore in order to spread the mission quickly, he made adjustments accordingly. The Acharya preaches according to time place and circumstance, and therefore what Srila Prabhupada did was perfect. We were introduced to these vedic principals like babies. We didn’t even know how to clean ourselves properly, or how to eat…just like babies. Just as babies wear nappies (dipers) when they are young…does it mean that as they grow up they have to continue to wear them?
Loose, independent women have and will continue to cause many of the problems our society faces. It is not the women’s fault, but it is the ISKCON society’s fault in not following the varnashram system.
Varnashram doesn’t mean farming, it means following vedic principals of varna and ashram of which one of the most important principals is that men and women should not mix freely. This is the basis of a civilized society. Now in ISKCON we even see discussions back and forward debating whether or not we should allow men and women to hug each other in our society! How far away can we get from what Srila Prabhupada wanted in establishing varnashram?
We see in almost all the temples today, so much interaction between men and women (bramacharis and ‘bramacharinis’) especially in the West…and we are surprised that, as a society, we are facing so many problems? It is time for ISKCON to grow up and not sink back into hippy life once again.
Comment Posted By Sanjaya Das On 21.11.2006 @ 04:39
The only spiritual authorities are Guru and Krishna…Guru in the true sense, meaning one who is 100%
surrendered to Krishna…the pure devotee. As Samba das quoted Srila Prabhupada ” âKrishna reveals Himself from within to one who is serious about God realization. Both Krishna and the spiritual master help the sincere soul. The spiritual master is the external manifestation of God, who is situated in everyoneâs heart as Supersoul. For one who is very serious about understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Supersoul immediately renders assistance by directing him to a bona fide spiritual master.â
The GBC cannot play the role of spiritual authority unless they are pure devotees. Being still conditioned souls, they cannot give proper guidance to the living entities. Yes, they can encourage devotees to follow spiritual disciplines, but being conditioned, they cannot deliver the jiva. The GBC’s job is to direct and manage the society so that temple programs are running and the devotees are chanting etc. The GBC cannot deliver the jiva. ISKCON cannot deliver the jiva. The jiva is delivered from the bondage of this material tabernacle by the mercy of the real authorities, Krishna and his external representative, the spiritual master…pure devotee.
Comment Posted By Sanjaya Das On 04.11.2006 @ 05:13