Comments Posted By Sita Rama das
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Dear Sivarama Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Do you have a projection of how long it will take to define in, resolute terms, the meaning of “ultimate authority of ISKCON”? I have the same question regarding the ISKCON constitution.
I am particularly interested in the Hermeneutic Executive Committee. There are ISKCON Guru’s who explicitly say that Srila Prabhupada’s purports are not on the level of shastra, except in very limited circumstances. Is an official position related to this topic expected to stated in the future? I yes, do you have an idea how long we will have to wait for this?Thank you.
Sita Rama das
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Mar 3, 2011 @ 11:24 pm
I feel I should explain why I think these seemingly minute details are important. Some devotees seem to imply, based on SUM, that seeing Arjuna’s questions as figurative is the most complete understanding and we should adopt it now that we have learned the previous Acharya’s comments. I object to this because, among other things, it obscures an important lesson regarding the proper way to present Krishna consciousness to newcomers.
In the Bagavada Gita, Arjuna plays the role of a person who is just beginning to inquire about spiritual values, therefore his questions all show common misconceptions and doubts. His asking how a transcendentalist walks is an example of a typical statement that contains both an assertion of a misconception and a sincere question at the same time. Krishna shows the best method for a Guru to use in responding to such statements.
We must remember that people have short attention spans. If the Guru directly addresses the fallacious assertion, this does not, by itself, give positive knowledge. Saying a transcendentalist does not have a certain manner of walking does not explain the observable qualities of a self realized soul. In contrast it does require a person, who considers himself spiritually inclined, to digest the fact that he is wrong. Krishna does not force Arjuna to admit he is wrong while not directly explaining what is right. By this Krishna shows it is more effective to immediately give the proper positive instruction of real ways a transcendentalist can be identified. This allows the person to see on their own that their assertion was based on a misconception.
This manner of instructing new comers to Krishna consciousness is, in my eyes, ubiquitous. When I was first taught how to preach, it was commonly understood that this is the most efficient method. We must continue to see the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna as a recommendation of this style of preaching. For that we must see Arjuna’s question based on the direct meaning of the word walk and not on a figurative meaning.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Feb 18, 2011 @ 7:25 pm
Dear Mother Nirmala, Mother Sumati, and Devarsi Prabhu.
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
For the time being I live 100 miles from the nearest Temple and do not get much personal association with devotees. This magnifies my gratitude to you for sharing the glorious life and departure of this great devotee. Hearing it is certainly purifying. Glories to Mother Bhadra Priya, Srila Prabhupada’s daughter. I am sure she has gone on to continue her service to Srila Prabhupada.
Sita Rama das
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Feb 18, 2011 @ 4:48 pm
Please forgive my offensive innuendo. I will try to speak my point directly. I am not saying that senior devotees lack faith in Srila Prabhupada simply because they refer to statements of previous Acharya’s, which are translated by Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, and not found in Srila Prabhupada’s books. But these references must be seen in the proper preceptive.
Although I am not even a disciple of Srila Prabhupada I am a follower. As such I accept him as the ultimate authority. This leads to some conclusions:
1. The statements of previous Acharya’s which are translated and applied by Srila Prabhupada are given more weight than statements of previous Acharya’s which are translated and applied by those who are NOT the the Founder Acharya. Therfore: However intimate a disciple of Srila Prabhupada may be their translation of previous Acharya’s,( that Srila Prbahupada himself did not translate and apply),are not on the same level as translation of an Acharya by THE ACHARYA, and cannot change the meaning of Srila Prbahupada’s books.
2.Srila Prabhupada stated many times that the meaning of his purports are the direct meaning based on dictionary definitions. Therefore: I reject the argument that I am wrong about the Bhagavada Gita because someone, not on the level of the Founder Acharya, claims a previous Acharya tells us to see things in a figurative way. That goes against a foundational principal of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings- we accept the direct the meanings.
3.As a member of ISKCON I have every right, and am obligated, to assert that Srila Prabhupada’s books are the ultimate authority within ISKCON. An advanced disciple of Srila Prabhupada should be pleased that I am also accepting Srila Prabupada as the ultimate authority.
I have deference for you as a personal disciple of Srila Prabhupada. Frankly that is all I know about you and Burijana prabhu, I do not know anything about either of you in terms of level of experience, or your service within ISKCON. But I am simply requesting that if you want to correct my understanding please do it with reference to Srila Prabhupada books. I see no reason why you should find this request offensive.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Mar 8, 2011 @ 5:07 pm
Pancha Tattva Prabhu,
Please accept mu humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I believe I have given good reason explaining why I feel it is extremely important to accept the direct dictionary definitions of Vedic statements, we all know Srila Prabhupada stressed this.
If you accept the direct meaning of terms and insist Krishna gives a direct answer, then you must directly answer, How does a devotee walk?, using the direct meaning of walk.That is not possible. Something has to give. You feel the direct meaning should be given up. I feel the statement that it was directly answered must be given up. I have given my reason why the direct meaning can’t be given up. But you have not answered what is wrong with my statement. You have stated it is wrong to say Arjuna’s question was irrelevant and Krishna did not answer it. I agree with you and do not presume to have the authority to say that. You have not said what is wrong with my actual statement- Krishna explained to Arjuna’s full satisfaction how to recognize a transcendentalist but did not say s/he had a certain walk. A devotee walks for Krishna that is the essence of Krishna’s answer.
That Krishna gave indirect answers to some of Arjuna’s questions was explicitly stated by Srila Prbhupada in chapter 1 of “Message of Godhead”, regarding the first statements by Krishna to Arjuna- that the living entity, unlike physical substances,cannot be burnt,cut,dried up,etc we read “Thus to illustrate that the living entity,or spirit soul.is entirely metaphysical, the above explanation is given as INDIRECT PROOF BY NEGATION
of material attributes.
But I will not press you for an unarguable answer. I think there is a higher point- not offending the sentiments of devotees. Therefore; from now on I will TRY to be careful to explain any vital fact regarding this concept without explicitly saying Krishna did not directly answer. If something can be stated in such a way as to minimize the chance of disturbing devotees sensibilities regarding the Supreme Lord than that should be done. I feel obliged to do this in reciprocation for your sensitivity to my compulsion to use Srila Prabhupada’s purports as the last word when debating issues.
Sita Rama das
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Feb 28, 2011 @ 8:49 am
We may need clarification on a point but this is distinct from doubting what is unambiguously being stated by Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. Do we doubt because we do not clearly understand or because we do not accept what is clearly spoken? That is determined by our level of exposure to the philosophy. For instance for a newcomer the question- “Why am I suffering” – is laudable. But if we ask this question as initiated devotees, after being told several times, it means we are unwilling to accept the clear explaination.
Similarly before accepting Srila Prabhupada as Guru or Parama Guru we accept his manner of explaining Bhagavada Gita. Srila Prabhupada makes it abundantly clear from the title, the introduction, and throughout the text that we accept the direct,(or dictionary definition) of the words used by Krishna and Arjuna. Therefore by, “ walk “,we accept that Arjuna means, “walk” or a synonym such as gait. As followers of Srila Prabhupada there is no basis for doubting this. It has been described with absolute clarity. We either accept what we have heard from Srila Prabhupada numerous times or we don’t. That decision is up to us. But we should be honest about it.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Feb 23, 2011 @ 4:10 pm
Pancha Tattva Prabu,
First, neither I nor Mother Abhay Mudra say Krishna did not answer Arjuna’s question regarding how to identify one who is transcendental. Krishna simply did not say that such a person walks in this or that way. You ask me why should I say such a thing if Srila Prabhupada did not. It is because Srila Prabhupada did not say Arjuna’s question was supposed to be taken in some figurative way; that it means something entirely different from what is denoted by the word, walk. Since Krishna never says a transcendentalist can be known by this or that manner of walking it is concluded Krishna did not answer Arjuna’s question as it was asked.
If you are going to insist that my understanding of the Gita is invalid, I am open to that, but you must do so by citing Bhagavada Gita As It is. Other wise, implicit in your argument is the assumption that the correct understanding is only available after reading commentaries of previous Acharya’s. I will never accept that I am wrong about the Gita when I base a conclusion exclusively on Srila Prabhupada’s, Bhagavada Gita As It Is. The biggest mistake we can make is to not understand that Srila Prabhupada’s books are the ultimate authority for Lord Caitanya’s movement for the next 10,000 years.
Why do you insist that Krishna and the spiritual master have to answer a question that includes a false assumption about spiritual life? Arjuna is playing the role of someone who does not understand transcendence, and based on this he asks how such a person walks. He is implying that a transcendentalists has some particular manner of moving about, by which he can be identified. We know this is not the fact, a brahmana may stroll along with a peaceful demeanor but the Pandava’s had gates that resembled a lion stalking its prey. Replying that a transcendentalist cannot be identified by their gate does not explain the real nature of transcendence. Krishna explained the real nature of transcendence and implicit in this is that the gate does not matter. What is the problem?
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Feb 11, 2011 @ 12:11 am
Please accept my humble obiesances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Regarding Arjuna’s questions on the transcendental walking you say,(referring to Krishna), “He would not fail to answer such a serious question from his disciple. To suggest otherwise is misleading at best”. However there is no reason to consider Arjuna’s question as serious, unless one reads Srila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura’s commentary wherein walking is defined as engaging the senses in general. Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura’s commentary is certainly valid but the commentary by Srila Prabhupada is especially meant for us. From what Srila prabhupada gives us it is justifiable to take Arjuna’s question at face value and as such Krishna’s competence would not be questioned by His failure to answer this question. And Mother Abhay Mudra’s statement that Krishna did not answer the question as Arjuna answered it is a valid conclusion based on the contents of Bhagavada Gita As It Is.
As such this conclusion is perfect because it is the direct understanding we get from reading Srila Prabhupada’s, Bhagavada Gita As it Is. We do not have to read the commentaries of Previous Archarya’s, (which Srila Prabhupada choose to leave out of his purports) to get a complete understanding. The only conclusion is there are two ways to see Arjuna’s question, take it as it is- he is asking does a transcendentalists have a specific walk, which is the way we see it from Srila Prabhupada’s commentary or see it as having some symbolic meaning as described by previous Acharya’s. They are both valid. Srila Prabhupada translation shows the point we most need to understand. To imply that the proper understanding is only available after reading commentaries by past Acharya’s is erroneous.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Feb 9, 2011 @ 6:48 pm
Mother Abhay Mudra,
You say the aham brhamasmi level is attained by kanistha devotees. And Juda Bharata conveyed the aham brhamasmi level to King Rahugana. I feel it is important to point out that, although Jada Bharata may have explained the concept of aham brahmasmi, he is certainly beyond that stage of realization; he is on the top most level of devotional service.
The level of Maharaja Bharata is explained in S,B, 5,7,12 “That most exalted devotee, Maharaja Bharata, in this way engaged constantly in the devotional service of the Lord. Naturally his love for Vasudeva, Krishna, increased more and more and melted his heart. Consequently he gradually lost all attachment for regulative activities. The hairs of his body stood on end, and all the ecstatic symptoms were manifest. Tears flowed from his eyes, so much so that he could not see anything. Thus he constantly meditated on the reddish lotus feet of the Lord. At that time, his heart which was like a lake, filled with water of ecstatic love. When his mind was immersed in that lake, he even forgot the regulative service of the Lord. In the purport Srila Prabhupada explains that when one is advanced in ecstatic love for Krishna these symptoms become manifest in the body.
Unfortunately Maharaja Bharata was reincarnated as a deer because he neglected his devotion and meditated on a deer instead. But in that body he remembered his past life and repented. It is explained in S.B 5, 14, 45 that at the time of leaving the body of the deer he remembered Lord Narayana.
Thus as Jada Bharata he was on the platform of pure devotional service. In S.B. 5, 13, 23 King Rahugana glorifies Juda Bharata by saying that simply by the dust of his lotus feet one attains the platform of pure devotional service. In the purport Srila Prabhupada confirms, “The arguments offered by a pure devotee are so convincing that even a dull-headed disciple is immediately enlightened with spiritual knowledge.
In S.B. 5,14,42 we read, “ Having summarized the teachings of Juda Bharata, Sukadeva Goswami Said: My dear King, the path indicated by Juda Bharata is like the path followed by Garuda, the carrier of the Lord, and ordinary kings are just like flies. Flies cannot follow the path of Garuda, and to date none of the great Kings and victorious leaders could follow this path of devotional service, not even mentally”. Thus Juda Bharata is a celebrated, exalted, pure devotee.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Feb 5, 2011 @ 6:26 am
I think we have to be careful not to fall into to the “either or” fallacy. I think any reasonable devotee would agree that we should not introduce people to our philosophy by telling them we believe the moon is further than the sun
Krishna Consciousness is a rational based philosophy. The first rational point is that we cannot obtain perfect knowledge through the senses. This is actually accepted by any thoughtful person. The next point is, one has to be intelligent enough to have a clue that about the difference between their real self and the body. Then one will see that the Veda’s are describing truth and as Srila Prabhupada say’s in the introduction to the Bhagavada Gita if one theoretically accepts that the Scripture give perfect knowledge they will directly experience self realization.The point is, for us to present the basics with conviction, WE have to be convinced that the knowledge found in the scripture is perfect. Therefore, for us it is a us it is a useful practice to speak of Vedic teachings that differ from what we experience through the senses.
Of course if something is beyond our understanding we should not feel compelled to describe it because we may be getting it wrong. But the bottom line is, there are statements in the Veda’s that, clearly, can only be understood in a way that directly apposes empirical data, in such cases we should be able to comfortable accept that the Veda’s are by far a more valid source of truth.
This is similar to the Vedic scriptures sharp criticism of material consciousness. Some devotees say we should not talk too much about this because it causes devotees to become elitists, and we thus develop an insulting attitude when we preach. But WE need to accept sharp criticism of material consciousness so we can clearly distinguish between material and spiritual consciousness. Then we can see others as spirit souls. Then we can have an egalitarian spirit, and receptive people will perceive this. But if we are not willing to accept that our material qualities are merit-less we will never be able to come to the level of seeing people as equal;our, mental adjustment will not fool people who are actually intelligent. However when we understand the lack of goodness in this world we will naturally see any spark of spiritual interest,(because of its rarity) and we will naturally focus on that and try to fan the it to a flame.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Feb 5, 2011 @ 7:40 pm
Dandavats to all who distributed even one of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Hearing this reminds me of when I was a brhamachari book distributor in Boston 1980-83. One of the most ecstatic times of the day, for all the devotees in the Temple, was when the individual sankritana scores were announced at the morning program. We knew we were all working together as a dynamic movement and were extremely grateful to be part of Srila Prabhupada’s mission.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 17, 2011 @ 5:40 pm
For the lovers of statistics for determining gender capabilities here is some data of higher education examination results in India 2007. The source is not a newspaper article, but a publication by India’s Department of Higher Education. It is overseen by the Deputy Director General, Dr. Vijay P. Goel.
For 2007 the National Average of passed candidates for the Secondary/High School, Examination was 68.3% for boys 73.06% for girls.
For the Supplementary High School Examination the National Average Passed was 39.09% for boys 43.41% for girls.
For the Supplementary Higher Secondary Examination, the National Average passed was 39.93% for boys and 46.30% for girls.
I do not think we should make claims while being ignorant of the facts. None of the hard data that I have seen supports the conclusion that women are significantly less capable then men regarding academic education.
Source: Government of India, Ministry Of Human Resource Development, New Delhi. http://www.education.nic.in/stats/Examresults2007.pdf
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 29, 2011 @ 7:16 pm
Feminism is defined in various ways. One definition is that gender is a human construct that should be negated. I agree with you that feminism, thus defined, is artificial and comparable to communism which says classes are human constructs that should be negated.
Capitalism is also artificial. Its core value is Locke’s opinion that what a man takes from nature is mixed with his own labor and thus he owns it. This is a false dichotomy between man and nature. Krishna says the mudha-donkey brained man, sees himself as the doer of actions that are carried out by nature. The capitalists is deeply rooted in this donkey mentality, he feels he is the body, the actions of it are his own labor, and he owns whatever he can take from nature. Everything except his labor deserves no credit because they are just things that take place automatically by physical processes. This leads to the idea that the social occupations, or real work, are limited to things that directly produce salable products or capital. In other words things that adds to the GNP.
The American work ethic began as the protestant work ethic. A fundamental protestant concept is,(although it was restricted to married couples), God created sex so humans could enjoy it. The fact that this is the mechanism for procreation is just a coincidence. You are adept at railing against problems in the modern world but you have neglected the root of these problems. Although you abstain from gross sex you uphold the materialistic attitude that the purpose of marriage is so that the husband can receive subtle sense gratification from the wife’s adoration. She should put his picture on the altar, be his menial servant, and always cater to his psychological need to be in the superior position.Although you repeatedly quote a small number of verses to support your claim; this is not the Viasnava position on marriage. The only way marriage is justified within bhakti yoga is that it is an institution where husband and wife can work conjointly on the spiritual project of raising devotee children. This is the fundamental difference between my position and yours.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 26, 2011 @ 5:40 pm
I made a mistake in my previous comment. The numbers I listed for doctorate degrees earned by women was actually the number of graduate certificates earned by women. But the actual number of doctorate degrees earned showed a very similar pattern.
Doctorates Earned by Women 2008-2009:
Education – 67.3%
Public Administration and Services- 61.5%
Health Sciences- 70.2%
Math and Computers-26.8%
Physical and Earth Science- 33.4%
A somewhat similar pattern exists for masters except women earned, overall-60.4%
To check personally go to cgsnet.org click on – Graduate Enrollment and Degrees 1999 to 2009, see Pg. 46-47
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 23, 2011 @ 10:09 am
Dear Bahkti Rhaghava Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obiesances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
You write” Women are generally,(not alway, but mostly) less inclined to deep intellectual pursuits.
According to” The Washington D.C. Council of Graduate Schools” http://www.cgsnet.org,in the U.S. in 2009, 73.0% of Doctorates in education went to women. 71% of Doctorates in public administration went to women. 77% of Doctorates health science went to women. Overall 67% of the Doctorates in 2009 went to women. It is true that men earned more doctorates in engineering and physical science. I see no reason to consider doctorates in engineering and computer science as “deep intellectual pursuits”, and doctorates in public administration, health science, and education as not deep intellectual pursuits.
I respect your mission of establishing natural living. I just read a chapter in a book by Vandana Shiva about the people of of Nahi- Kala decades long fight against a limestone mine that is ruining their way of life.Vandana interviewed a woman who says” We drink fresh milk, we eat ghee, we eat food from our own fields, All this is gives us not just nourishment for the body but a moral strength, that we are are own masters. we produce our own wealth”. Vandana, , has written several books describing how the post colonial, so called, development in India is actually maldevelopment. It has simply reduced natural resources while giving wealth to the elite capitalists. She says that “it has been shown that under conditions of subsistence the interdependence and complimentary of the separate male and female domains of work is based on diversity not inequality”. She asserts that harmony in diversity is something the capitalistic mind cannot grasp. We might inspire a western women to be part of complimentary system of separate male and female domains as part of a mission to establish ideal social harmony. But based on the facts we will never convince them they cannot achieve academic success in the western world. And a highly educated woman,(professor for instance) can continue in her career, chant,16 rounds become initiated and go back to Godhead. I do not believe she has to give up her career and live in a rural village. The real equity is the ability to serve Krishna while continuing in ones occupation. I do not believe this is negated because ones occupation does not strictly follow Vedic traditions. If it did very few people would be candidates.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 19, 2011 @ 8:12 pm
In the spirit of Akuranatha Prabhu, I would like to add that we should look at the environmental factors that affect women today. Up until the last half of the 20th century a woman could be confident that when she grew up she would find a husband who would make a lifelong commitment, financially support her, and her children. There is no basis for that confidence today. Women have to assume they will be required to fend for themselves. In Vedic society women could act according to their nature within the family structure. The wife of a brhamana was engaged in sacrifices and lived an austere life, as he did. The wife of a viashya shared the status and wealth of her husband. We should not expect women today, who have various tendencies, and are left to fend for themselves, to all be satisfied doing unskilled labor so they do not compete with men. And we must admit that in many professional occupations woman are showing themselves quite competent. If women are being pushed to compete in areas where their bodies limit them this is unfortunate. Athletic girls should not be told that a rule against women competing with men as professional cage fighters unnaturally stifles their ability to compete
In general, ignoring the reasons for contemporary attitudes is revealed when devotees try to emphasize that woman should simply indulge a man’s desire to be superior. Women play a more important role than that in any society. Civilized people give credit to the contribution of all its members. The contribution of mothers in society is not inferior to any other contribution. To become a brhamana requires the training of a brahmaically inclined mother. The mother is every humans first Guru. It has been noted in material science that women are more satisfied in traditional roles when their function is valued. When their function as mothers is not valued and they are seen exclusively as objects for male enjoyment, of course they become dissatisfied. So I do not think anyone will persuade modern women to adopt the traditional roles by telling them they should do so because the Veda’s say they should exist simply to satisfy their husbands psychological desire to be in the superior position. And implying that this is the only function women can perform is a distortion of the Vedic position on this issue.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 16, 2011 @ 6:55 am
A mistake appears in the second to last paragraph. I say that beginning in the 1980’s as a result of decreased population growth in the 1960 there is a shortage of grooms, actually the result is an abundance of grooms, or a male marriage squeeze.Although do to migration, in urban areas a shortage of grooms may still be the case.
I am not sure my point in the last paragraph was clear. What I meant to say was that when a person takes up a serious study of practical any subject they will find that there are things that on the surface seem contradictory; but an expert knows they really aren’t contradictory. So if a person has had this learning experience, and later encounters a subject they are not familiar with, they will acknowledge that seeming contradictions may have reasonable explanations. A learnedperson will not reject something with seeming contradiction without first looking into the matter.
As followers of Srila Prabhupada we also do not reject his statements because of seeming contradictions. A learned person will see this as an appropriate approach to any subject. Therefore, it is a toothless argument when devotees say that in order to make our philosophy acceptable to the intellectual community we must say Srila Prabhupada is wrong if someones presents some data that contradicts him.
I was giving a class to bhakta and his contention was that focusing on these issues takes our attention away from Krishna. I thanked him for pointing that out; that danger certainly exists. But the scripture are spoken so conditioned souls can become free from the entanglement of the material energy. Therefore they give authoritative information on topics like human psychology, sociology, and politics. We have to understand the nature of these subjects, not every principal applies to every circumstance. So we can sometimes, legitimately, say a certain statement in the Veda’s is not valid in a specific situation.
This is distinct from those who say our teaching is absolute only on “transcendental” topics. They say in practical matters like psychology, the most reliable information is to be found in modern science, not ancient scriptures.. Although some might, I do not deny the value of modern social science. But the authoritativeness of words spoken by Krishna and souls who are free from material bias, such as I am a man or I am a woman etc, dwarfs that of knowledge from sources who admit that there conclusions cannot be totally bias free.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 15, 2011 @ 9:52 pm
Beside the two I mentioned Here are some of the other places one finds Srila Prabhupada’s statements that women outnumber men.
S.B. Class L.A. 8/19 1972
S.B. Class LA. 5/13/1973
Morning Conversation 4/29/1977 Bombay
Room conversation 8/7/ 1976
Morning walk 4/30/1973 L.A.
That gives 8 times I said 10. I am sure I could find the other two I saw plus more. But I really think 8 as much as 10 gives the gist of my statement- this is not something Srila Prabhupada said only once or twice. Again Srila Prabhupada is correct although some point out data that seems to contradict him.
Sita Rama das
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 12, 2011 @ 11:46 pm
Thank you. I am glad you always try to see how Srila Prabhupada is correct instead of meditating on the opposite. The conclusion of my article is that according to empirical data Srila Prabhupada is correct although for one with a small amount of emperical data he seems to be wrong.
Personally I do not need empirical data to confirm that Srila Prabhupada is right.
My article is directed against an erroneousness attitude regarding how we should see Srila Prabhupada. The number of people with this attitude seems to be growing in ISKCON. They acknowledge that when Srila Prabhupada talks about God and the soul, he is absolute. But they say when Srila Prabhupada talks about things like mundane psychology or sociology is is apt to be wrong They say, regarding mundane facts, it is material science that can give us reliable information.They claim if material science says something and Srila Prabhupada says something different we must admit Srila Prabhupada is wrong so educated people will not see us as foolish fanatics.
It is from these people that I heard the suggestion that Srila Prabhupada was wrong about the number of females being greater. They cited data showing that the number of females and males is always the same. I proved that Srila Prabhupada was not contradicting material data when he said women outnumber men.
It is a fact that according to birth rates and census data the number of men and women is essentially equal in this world, and this is accepted by most people, including me, as a universal fact. I wonder how closely you read the article because you said I did not say where Srila Prabhupada said women outnumbered men. I gave two direct references. And the whole article shows how, despite the fact that men and women are equal in number, available brides outnumbered available grooms between 1960 and 1975. And my whole point is that we should see how Srila Prabhupada is right and not think he is wrong when we do not really know what we are talking about..
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 12, 2011 @ 10:42 pm
If a woman’s husband goes blind, piety for her would be to stick to her position as a follower of Lord Caitanya and act as her husband’s eyes so, as a couple, they can preach Krishna Consciousness. Our duty is not to renounce things but to utilize all facilities we have in Srila Prabhupada’s mission. I do not know anything about different vanashrama systems. But whatever system we adopt, as followers of Lord Caitanya, we can’t avoid our duty to tell others about Krishna and utilize all abilities we have for this end.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Dec 2, 2010 @ 3:20 pm
I certainly agree that a husband should protect a wife and forbid her to go to a night club. I will not quibble with you if you say that this type of protection is mainly the role of the man. But it seems one must at least admit that role reversal is not uncommon. In some cases the wife must forbid the husband from going to the club. It is stated that the duty of a chaste wife is to renounce a fallen husband . Implicit in this instruction is the fact that this is a possible circumstance.
My last statement to you was in regard to modern culture. But the main thrust of the argument in my two articles on dandavats is not that we have to consider modern culture but that we need to present the ancient culture in an accurate way. There are considerations beyond this. Our specific position is that we are followers of Lord Caintanya. Krishna says in S.B. 11:21:2, “Steadiness in one’s own position is declared to be actual piety, whereas deviation from ones position is considered impiety. In this way the two are definitely ascertained.” Although it is an instruction to an individual, I claim that the following statement in a letter from Srila Prabhupada to Mother Himavati, 12/20/69 applies to all devotee couples. “So I am especially proud how my householder couples are preaching Lord Caitanya’s Mission. This is a new thing in the history of the Sankirtana Movement. In India all the acaryas and their descendants later on acted only from the man’s side. Their wives were at home because that is the system from old times that women were not required to go out. But in Bhagavad Gita we find that women are also equally competent like the men in the matter of Krishna Consciousness Movement. Please therefore carry on these missionary activities, and prove it by practical example that there is no bar for anyone in the matter of preaching work for Krishna Consciousness.”
I do not contend that this means we should say to hell with all ancient gender roles. But the fact is, because of our specific position, the ideal for us may be different then the ideal for others in Vedic culture. For example Mother Gandhari is an example of an exalted chaste wife because she covered her eyes so she would not have an ability her blind husband didn’t. Of course we would never require a woman to do the same today. But if a woman voluntarily did this would it be an example of the utmost piety? I would say no.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Dec 2, 2010 @ 3:19 pm
Dear Trivikrama Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obiesances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I accept the main premise of your statement. We have to preach to individuals with respect to the level they are on. But we should not abandon the ancient teachings. We have to encourage people to come to the ideal standard as much as possible. My focus is mostly on new converts. Actually the zeal and idealism that is common in new converts often compels them to try to immediately come to the highest standard. Therefore it is important that we explain the high, ancient, standard in a balanced manner.
We may teach a woman that ideally she should always be agreeable to her husband. But even the ancient teaching acknowledges that disagreement is inevitable. If we neglect to tell woman this we are not asking them to come to the ancient Vedic platform, rather we are asking them to do the impossible. This I have concluded from, among other things, Srila Prabhupada’s statements on a morning walk May 14, 1975, Perth, “Husband and wife they fight everwhere. I have seen. My mother and father was fighting. I fought. (laughter) But there is no question of separation. Separation they never think. Neither the husband can think of, nor the wife can think of. Even in the life of Gandhi there was a fight between husband and wife, and the Gandhi one day drove his wife,” get out of my home”. So she was put into the street, and she began to cry, “Where shall I go?” And then Gandhi ans…,”Come on.” Yes. And Chanakya Pundit said bambharambhe laghu kriya. The husband and wife may fight. It becomes a serious thing, but don’t take it as serious. This is Hindu philosophy. Husband and wife quarrel should not be taken as very serious. They fight and again they live peacefully.” Srila Prabhupada has repeated this point several times.
Of course Srila Prabhupada’s main point is not to justify quarreling but to emphasize that it should not lead to divorce. Still a female devotee is taught that she should always be agreeable with both her husband and her Guru; but rather than trying to equate these two instructions we must explain that in the matter of the husband and wife disagreement is not at all serious. Otherwise, the instruction that the wife always agrees with the husband will be seen, justifiably, as impossible and create discouragement in a female devotee.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Dec 2, 2010 @ 3:17 pm
I might have thought that there was some justification for the traditionalists who Srila Prabhupada was referring to. By reading the Vedas one could very well conclude that intermingling of men and women must be prohibited for spiritual consciousness to develop. But Srila Prabhupada describes this as the conclusion of fools and rascals, whose stereotyped methods will never help spread Krishna consciousness.
Of course we know that Srila Prabhupada would have preferred to have the men and women not intermingle. But the truth of the matter is devotees simply would not stop mixing freely. Therefore Srila Prabhupada concluded this could not be changed. But Krishna consciousness would be spread regardless.
I cannot argue with Trivikrama Maharaja’s statement that women should follow the instruction of the husband. But the fact is in many cases they simply will not accept this type of arrangement. In the culture in which we are preaching women do not follow instructions of their husbands, things are decided by mutual agreement. This cannot be suddenly changed. Still Krishna consciousness will go on. Therefore with a realistic understanding of the nature of material conditioning, and in accordance with the spirit and desire of Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada I teach that the essential point for couples is to chant their rounds, follow the four regulations, and somehow or other get along. No one can tell me that this preaching is incorrect.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Nov 23, 2010 @ 4:44 pm
The verse and full purport to “ Lord Caitanya in Five Features” 7: 31-32 reads as follows:
Seeing that the Mayavadi’s and others were fleeing Lord Caitanya thought, “ I wanted everyone to be immersed in this inundation of love of Godhead, but some of them have escaped. Therefore I shall devise a trick to drown them also.”
Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
Here is an important point. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to invent a way to capture the Mayavadi’s and others who did not take interest in the Krishna consciousness movement. This is the symptom of an acharya. An acharya who comes for the service of the Lord cannot be expected to conform to a stereotype, for he must find ways and means by which Krishna consciousness may be spread. Sometimes jealous persons criticize the Krishna consciousness movement because it engages equally both boys and girls in distributing love of Godhead. Not knowing that boys and girls in countries like Europe and America mix very freely , these fools and rascals criticize the boys and girls in Krishna consciousness for intermingling. But these rascals should consider that one cannot suddenly change a community’s social customs. However, since both boys and girls are being trained to become preachers, those girls are not ordinary girls but are as good as their brothers who are preaching Krishna consciousness. Therefore to engage both boys and girls in fully transcendental activities is a policy intended to spread the Krishna consciousness movement. These fools and rascals who criticize the intermingling of boys and girls will simply have to be satisfied with their own foolishness because they cannot think of how to spread Krishna consciousness by adopting ways and means that are favorable for this purpose. Their stereotyped methods will never help spread Krishna consciousness. Therefore what we are doing is perfect by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, for it is He who proposed to invent a way to capture those who strayed from Krishna consciousness.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Nov 23, 2010 @ 4:42 pm
Dear Mother Gandharidasi,
I would like to get more information about you PowerPoint presentation and ask you some questions, but I cannot connect with the email you gave. Can you email me at
Sitat Rama das
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Nov 19, 2010 @ 5:06 pm
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.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Jan 14, 2011 @ 6:21 am
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.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Nov 22, 2010 @ 7:13 pm
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.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Nov 19, 2010 @ 8:20 pm
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.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Nov 19, 2010 @ 8:18 pm
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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.
» Posted By Sita Rama das On Nov 18, 2010 @ 8:45 am
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