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Comments Posted By Urmila

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The Hot Issue - Female Diksa Guru

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

At the request of Devaki devi dasi, I am making some corrections to my previous comments. Please excuse my misunderstandings of her service.

She is no longer the official vice-president in Dhaka. She gives vision and direction in several temples in Bangladesh - in Dhaka, and also Chittagong and Sylhet, introducing the Prabhupada marathon and also Prabhupada’s vision on Deity worship, and other things.

She never had anything to do with organizing the Ukrainian festival. She has been visiting Ukraine as a preacher for the last 14 years, and gives every year a seminar at this festival. She *is* the main person who brought this festival to three other countries: Bangladesh, Nepal and Scandinavia, and is overseeing the whole event there as a mother hosting it.

She also didn’t own a business, but over ten years ago was doing extensive and successful fundraising for ISKCON Bangladesh and Nepal.

Devaki devi dasi does already have siksa disciples, some of whom request diksa from her. You can read more about her here: http://www.theholynameretreat.net/devaki-dd.html

My hope and prayer is that diksa guru in ISKCON cease being perceived as some sort of title, or institutional position, and be restored to its sastric and traditional understanding of a personal relationship between student and teacher, devoid of institutional pomp and fanfare. Throughout the world, both men and women are teachers. There is nothing particularly masculine or feminine about being a teacher–what to speak of being a teacher of transcendence. Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada ask all of us to be such teachers of transcendence. And some of those teachers will have a formal relationship of initiating their students into the sampradaya. It’s a service, not a title. And it’s a service of sacrifice, like being a mother. May we all fulfill Prabhupada’s desire to have 100,000 gurus.

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 22.11.2013 @ 05:46

Obeisances. Jaya Prabhupada!

While I disagree slightly with some points of Devaki devi dasi’s presentation here, I have served with her on GBC committee work and find her totally dedicated to the spiritual care of devotees in the many countries in which she serves. She radiates warmth, caring, friendship, and a no-nonsense dedication to Prabhupada’s mission. She is uncompromising in her spiritual practice.

Devaki devi dasi is a great preacher. She lives as a renunciate depending only on the Lord for her maintenance and protection. She is the long-time vice-president of ISKCON Dhaka, Bangaladesh, and one of the main organizers of the Ukraine festival. She has been very successful at business and fundraising, and takes a lot of managerial responsibility in the Hare Krishna Movement in a leadership role. Many men and women, including senior men in ISKCON, hear from her and find her inspiring. She teaches sastra as well as practical seminars in many countries and has thousands of students. Although she has no biological children, she radiates a motherly and caring mood toward all she guides and takes responsibility for. Her own intelligence is not obscured by some sort of mundane feminine cloud–rather her heart and mind are clear in the light of bhakti.

Perhaps some of her students have already established a relationship with her as their siksa guru. If not, I assume that such will happen someday, and perhaps some of them may ask her for diksa, and perhaps her guru will also ask her to take up that service, as Prabhupada asked of all of his disciples to do. I hope and pray that if and when such happens, she will expand the generations of devotees with the same dedication that she shows in her service at present.

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 21.11.2013 @ 23:35

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In a situation where a guru has been giving siksa and personal guidance for many years–even a decade–to a particular disciple, where there is a firm relationship of guru/disciple, where the disciple has been worshiping and studying from and serving his or her siksa guru for many years–why is it better for that disciple to take diksa from someone else, only because the siksa guru is female? (And often the “someone else” has little or no relationship or personal knowledge of the disciple).

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 20.11.2013 @ 23:55

Powerful Food For Thought

Obeisances. Jaya Prabhupada! I find it fascinating, sad, and amazing that Prabhupada’s instructions to men (not to women!) to see and address women other than their wife as ‘mother’ have spawned a concocted philosophy about women’s roles in society. Prabhupada explained that this cultural (not spiritual) instruction from Canakya Pandita serves the purpose of men seeing women other than their wife in a non-sexual way. There is never any instruction from sadhu-sastra-guru for women to call other women mother, or to call themselves mother, or to see this cultural address as something spiritual, or to then make up all sorts of explanations about women’s positions based on something cultural and practical–men seeing women other than their wife non-sexually, as they would see their mother. Unless women have wives, how can they see other women “except their wife” as mother?
Of course, in a natural society both men and women marry young and become parents at a young age. So, for the majority of women to become biological mothers in their youth is the way of nature and, for most women, is helpful to make the mind peaceful for spiritual life. So, if we really and truly want to apply sadhu-sastra-guru to women’s cultural role in society, let us help young people to find good spouses and encourage them to raise godly children.
But most important is that we all develop bhakti and see ourselves as the servants of everyone, especially all other devotees. Most important is that we free ourselves from upadhis and come to the platform of “I’m a servant of the servant of the servant of Krsna.”
Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 15.04.2013 @ 07:07

Response to Bhaktarupa and Madhavananda prabhus recent post on “Education and Guruship of Vaishnavis”

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In the society envisioned by the author of this article in Dandavats, we would not be able to read this other article: http://news.iskcon.com/node/4233/2012-03-03/mumbais_bhaktin_radhika_breaks_book_distribution_records#ixzz2GjMdfN00

Your servant

Comment Posted By Urmila On 17.01.2013 @ 09:38

The Best of Both Worlds

This post is excellent testimony to the power of studying Srila Prabhupada’s books. HH Bhakti svarupadamodara Maharaja personally told me that Prabhupada had instructed him to combine the BI with gurukula in terms of developing curriculum. This cooperation between primary/secondary education and the MI must please his Divine Grace very much.

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 23.09.2011 @ 17:37

"I do not want to be a woman in varnashrama"

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you for this article. I have personally concluded that a woman’s place in varnasrama is not well understood. A philosophy and social organization that are true, that come from the Absolute Truth, must be one that provides each individual with authentic personal expression both material and spiritual. If we understand a social system to mandate that a person’s nature is repressed (which Krishna advises against) then such a system must not be fully true. Because I believe varnasrama to be a system of truth, I also believe it must be a system where both men and women can authentically express both their ashrama and varna natures and to do so in such a way as to nourish and allow full expression of their spiritual nature.

I have found that those who say women do not need such expression cannot live what they preach and end up being who they are anyway. Such is what Krishna predicts in the third and eighteenth chapter of the Gita–our choice is not to repress our nature, nor to artificially do another nature. Our choice is to use our nature properly in devotional service, or improperly for maya. We each–yes, women, too–have three aspects to our nature. One is spiritual and eternal. One is varna and for this life. It changes from one life to the next. The other is ashrama that changes as we age in life. All three need authentic expression in Krishna’s service, whether one is male or female, black, white, brown or otherwise.

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 10.07.2011 @ 01:34

My Brief Against Feminism

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Anyone who is interested in guru/sadhu/sastra on this issue can read the paper on female disksa gurus at http://www.dandavats.com/?page_id=506 The GBC accepted this paper and approved, in 2009, the idea that women could initiate disciples in ISKCON.

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 24.04.2011 @ 17:13

Live From Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir! HG Urmila Mataji

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you, Sita devi dasi, for your comment 350 which makes things very clear and helps me appreciate your concerns, your courage, and your dedication to your service.

I offer my obeisances to all those participating on this comment thread and reading it who recognize the pivotal role of women in whether a society is stable or unstable, even when we do not agree on all areas of application.

“Wherever there are individuals there is bound to be difference of opinion.” (Letter to Rupanuga, 14 February, 1973) “If there is sometimes slight disagreements between devotees, it is not due to impersonalism, but it is because they are persons, and such disagreements should not be taken very seriously.” (Letter to Atreya ,4 February, 1972) “I am very much stressing nowadays that my students shall increase their reading of my books and try to understand them from different angles of vision. Each sloka can be seen from many, many angles of vision.” (Letter to Tribhuvanatha, 16th June, 1972) “Just like in your country there are political parties, Democratic …Republican. Although they are party, their aim is how to develop the country… So don’t think the party means some opposite party. No. Everyone has got for the advanced devotee to serve the Lord in a particular way so that the Lord may be more satisfied. That is their intention. Sometimes we also have some parties in the temple… everyone wants that “I shall serve the Lord in this particular way.” We cannot change the original rules and regulation, but there is variety. We are not impersonalist. Every person has got to serve the Lord in a particular way, and that is allowed. The central point is Krsna. So although there are parties, if the central point is Krsna, so there is no dissension. It is a competition, that “My Godbrother, my Godsister, is serving such a way. She is so well versed in this art. Why not try myself to do something?” This is variety. That is not this ordinary party strife if we make Krsna the center.” (lecture Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.15 Dallas, March 4, 1975)

Offering all respects to the sanga of Vaisnavas and Vaisnavis here, I regret that due to pressing family and service responsibilities, I do not have time at present to continue adding to this discussion. Begging your forgiveness, I remain

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 20.07.2011 @ 09:05

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In response to comment 340 quoted here:

Dear Mataji,

Hari Bol.

Could you explain the meaning of what you are trying to say in this text. It really seems unrelated to the whole comment thread.

yhs
MMdd

and in response to comment 343 quoted here:

Dear Urmila Devi. I like your explanation to instruct us better in devotional service! I am ten years of aspiring service and not chosen guru maharaja. To me topics like dandavats inspire me to work better in spiritual consiciousness so I know Krsna speaks through devotees. I hope you will kindly give more explanation about your post about Caitanya caritamrita.

yours in service
bhaktin lisanne
Mtl

Dear Madana Mohini devi dasi and Bhaktin Lisanne,

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

This comment thread is to some extent about the subject of my class-the educating of children in Krishna consciousness. It is also to a greater extent about whether or not I, in a woman’s body, should be giving a class, or any instruction at all, in the presence of superiors according to ashrama, gender, and managerial position. I posted that quote (CC Madhya 25.267) to show that superiors have, as part of their duty, asking inferiors to speak and give instruction in their presence. Doing so is part of the training of the juniors.

My point is that if the superior instructs the junior to speak or give instructions in the presence of the superior (and/or other superiors), then deference to the others’ seniority takes the form of speaking in their presence.

Who has asked me to speak/ordered me to speak and preach? My guru, Srila Prabhupada, my local GBC (various ones over many years), my husband, my sons, and the local ISKCON authorities at places where I speak.

I hope that is clear.

I have also asked–and never received a reply–as to why those who feel a junior should never preach or give instructions in the presence of superiors are giving instructions on this thread although their superiors (in the way they define superiors) are present. I believe their reasons for doing so are not that much different from mine.

Your servant, Urmila devi dasi

Comment Posted By Urmila On 18.07.2011 @ 05:58


 


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