Comments Posted By bhaktamike

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My Brief Against Feminism

Hare Krsna,

Thanks for that Sita Rama. Perhaps there was a little confusion about what I was saying. As far as I know, the GBC are not endorsing female gurus as initiating gurus. I wasn’t suggesting that the GBC allowing female gurus as initiators would make initiation more mainstream. Or somehow more common or acceptable to mainstream society. I certainly don’t think people in the mainstream will suddenly start abiding by the four regulative principles just because females told them to.

I was suggesting that the trend towards so-called ‘feminism’ itself is a mainstream phenomena. It may suggest that to be modern, we should be obliged to make female gurus (as initiators). But actually we are not obliged to become more mainstream or modern in that way. Our tradition is distinct and compromise on these issues is not required by our tradition.

In answer to your question: “What mainstream organization has a tradition similar to women Guru’s, or Guru’s at all”?

No organisation has female gurus (actually, there are a couple in India whom not everyone even acknowledges), but many have female chief executives. Or board members. Or trustees. That is why I was saying that female gurus initiating might be understood as being ‘in-line’ with modern feminist trends.

I hope that clears up any confusion.

Comment Posted By bhaktamike On 19.04.2011 @ 13:20

Dandabats. I’m currently doing an assignment for college about Krishna consciousness culture in Australia and this discussion has given me some juicy subject matter. Please allow me to clarify the main point(s).

1) Women can be guru, but not initiating gurus.

2) Women may be living a renounced life, but cannot be given sannyasa in the standard or official way. Put another way, women’s renunciation cannot be officially recognised.

3) Where discrimination apparently occurs (eg no sannyas for women), it is to protect social and cultural rationale about difference between the sexes from scrutiny which would seem to undermine the authority of parampara, but this does not mean we encourage social or cultural discrimination on the basis of sex in general. In other words, Iskcon does not encourage sex discrimination overtly or in a general way, but reserves the right to discriminate anyway because it may be a part of our socio-cultural practice.

Discrimination itself is not a bad thing. We do it all the time. In this case, although it seems our ways are out of line with the modern trend of socio-cultural reform in the mainstream, actually we are simply following our bona fide instructions on the matter of who is to be officially recognised as sannyas and therefore allowed to initiate disciples.

This discrimination, far from being a misunderstanding, makes us culturally distinct from the modern trend in mainstream socio-cultural reform. After all, there is no reccomendation from our spiritual authorities that we must ‘follow suit’ and reform ourselves along popular lines, whenever such trends come about. Therefore, we don’t have to reform ourselves along the lines of feminism.

We are practitioners of a traditional culture as it has been preserved and given to us. If we decide to leave it as it is or not is the decision of those who are authorised in our culture to make such decisions on our part. Other cultures may make those decisions in some other way that may be more in-line with modern trends, but with us that is the way. And we reserve the right to retain practices and beliefs that make us distinct, especially where it is a kind of requirement.

One question though. If one takes some specific instruction from a female that is not technically authorised by the GBC, is there a risk that following such advice may not result in proper spiritual advancement?

Hare Krishna and dandabats.

Comment Posted By bhaktamike On 14.04.2011 @ 08:05

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