Comments Posted By gkd
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â€śI am thus compelled to ask: â€śDid Akruranatha P. NOT EVER read the above, well-known statement?â€ť â€¦ Yet he also stated: â€śAnd he never wrote or spoke anywhere that women were disqualified from serving as initiating gurus.â€ť Does something seem awry here? Will Akruranatha P. explain?â€ť
I have explained repeatedly, I do not read the purport about Suniti to directly address the question, â€śmay a woman ever serve as diksa guru?â€ť
Granted, as conditioned souls we will not necessarily understand the true meaning of anything that we perceive via our obviously imperfect senses. Any one of us may sometimes misunderstand words whose meaning is self-evident to others. Admitting this obvious fault within our conditioned self, shouldn’t we therefore be very careful to not make absolute statements that may well be proven wrong?
You have publicly declared that Srila Prabhupada “never wrote or spoke anywhere” that women are disqualified from serving as diska-gurus. It is an absolute statement: “He never wrote…”
But your assertion is not only unverifiable but soundly refuted by Srila Prabupada’s own words: “Being a woman, [Suniti] could not become Dhruva MahĂ¤rĂ¤ja’s dĂ©kĂ±Ă¤-guru.”
We should consider the totality of what Srila Prabhupada said and try to determine what he meant without being guided by preconceived positions.
We all know that taking birth in a certain family does not automatically qualify one as a bona fide guru, (nor can taking birth in such a family be considered a prerequisite for being a guru). However, can we extrapolate from the above that every guru from a caste-goswami lineage has been bogus?
No such conclusion has been proposed. The simple point is this:
The argument that “There have been many women diksa-gurus in Gaudiya Vaisnava history” is rejected due to their being from jati-gosai lineages. This argument must be rejected, but not that those Vaisnavi gurus per se are being discounted.
I think we should be cautious about disparaging all of them (and all their disciples and supporters) as â€śbogusâ€ť without looking into the matter more closely.
Again, this was not done. And neither is it wrong to disparage specious “evidence” (by citing jati-gosai examples) that there have been female diksa-gurus within our line.
Comment Posted By gkd On 06.12.2013 @ 20:38
Nevertheless, they may become pure devotees and professors of the science of Krsna, and if such women (like Queen Kunti and Draupadi and Parvati and Devaki and Radharani) can teach us about Krsna, they are our gurus.
Indeed they are our gurus. But as has been explained over and again, they were not diksa-gurus!
Nor will this statement disappear: â€śAccording to sastric injunctions, there is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru, and generally the siksa-guru later on becomes the diksa-guru. Suniti, however, being a woman, and specifically his mother, could not become Dhruva Maharajaâ€™s diksa-guru.â€ť
There is no difference, yet there is a difference. And the difference must not be side-stepped or discounted. Pro-FDG arguments persistently stress the non-difference without ever reconciling the difference. Being a woman was no disqualification for Suniti to be a siksa-guru., but it definitely did preclude her from being a diksa-guru.
What is the difficulty to understand and accept this?
In a comment to a different article, Akruranatha P. asked, “Did Srila Prabhupada EVER say that women cannot be diksa gurus?”
I am thus compelled to ask: “Did Akruranatha P. NOT EVER read the above, well-known statement?” Of course he has read it. Yet he also stated: “And he never wrote or spoke anywhere that women were disqualified from serving as initiating gurus.”
Does something seem awry here? Will Akruranatha P. explain?
Nor have we yet read any convincing refutations of these points (in the article by Basu Ghosh P.):
To begin with, when a woman canâ€™t wear the sacred thread â€“ the yajnopavita â€“ then how can she give one as a part of initiation? Srila Prabhupada followed the system of initiation introduced by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Srila Saraswati Thakur introduced the brahmin thread â€“ yajnopavita â€“ for persons not born in brahmana families.
Srila Prabhupada introduced such initiations â€“ for men. For women, he never conferred the yajnopavita! Therefore, how can a woman give a sacred thread as a part (â€śangaâ€ť in Samskritam) of â€śdiksaâ€ť if she herself does not/cannot wear it? This historical fact should be sufficient in itself as evidence that women were not to be diksa gurus.
Perhaps Akruranatha P. would kindly respond to these essential points of pancaratrika-viddhi.
Comment Posted By gkd On 04.12.2013 @ 20:30
I offer a humble perspective regarding the excerpt quoted from the January 1969 letter:
Given that Srila Prabhupada taught, both in theory and practice, that all women should be married, it is not illogical to propose that the statement “Maybe by 1975 all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate” means that grhastha men would be allowed to initiate, but not that their wives also would initiate. I proffer that “all of my disciples” is a generic expression meant to include all women disciples as the better half of their respective husband. In other words, if during his prakata-lila all of Srila Prabhupada’s grhastha male disciples had become Bhaktivedantas and hence were instructed to become a diska-guru, then Srila Prabhupada could have rightly stated: “All of my householder disciples are initiating spiritual masters.” Again, when we duly consider the full gamut of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, and also Vedic culture, guru-sadhu-sastra, and so on, it is indeed simply common sense to conclude that this statement is factually not at all an indication that Srila Prabhupada wanted his female disciples to initiate. (?!)
So much can be said about this. But, dear esteemed readers, kindly consider the following situation: Some number of Srila Prabhupada’s female disciples had/have passed the Bhaktivedanta exam and thus are now qualified “to initiate.” As Bhaktivedantas, these exalted ladies must have thoroughly learned and understood Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta, Vedic standards, stri-dharma, etc. Consequently, as chaste wives of their respective husband, such women would naturally serve their husband in his capacity as a diksa-guru. Being philosophically astute, they would be capable of providing excellent siksa to (especially) any female disciples whom he had accepted. Such pairs of husband-wife guru would be quite efficacious for ministering to the general populace, most being neophytes (whereas brahmanas and sannayasis would be available to especially guide the more advanced devotees. Brahmacarinis and widows would generally restrict their preaching to women only.)
The dire need in this dense darkness of Kali-yuga is for countless self-realized light-of-knowledge-bearing siksa-gurus, not necessarily many diksa-gurus. Moreover, anyone not yet fully self-realized should perhaps vehemently shun the prospect of becoming another’s “guru.”
Comment Posted By gkd On 02.12.2013 @ 03:43
To me, it sounds that â€śnot so manyâ€ť ultimately refers to both men and women. Otherwise, why would Srila Prabhupada states that â€śBut man or woman, unless one has attained perfectionâ€¦â€ť?
I wonder how many, or few, devotees understand it in that way.
The question was specifically whether a woman can become guru within the sampradaya. And Srila Prabhupada answered: “Yes … But, not so many.”
I am surprised that anyone, what to speak of an experienced editor, would think that not so many, in this specific sentence (not in general, please :), would refer also to men.
I have intentionally omitted the words spoken between Yes and But to emphasize that not so many logically refers to women. Since those words were specifically about Jahnava Mata, again the logical conclusion is that not so many refers to women.
Moreover, Srila Prabhupada continues by saying: “Actually one who has attained the perfection, she can become guru.” If the previously spoken words not so many were meant to refer to both men and women, why would Srila Prabhupada at this point specifically say she here? It does not follow.
Finally, having answered the original question, Srila Prabhupada does speak of both men and women: “But, man or woman, unless one has attained the perfectionâ€¦” That he begins the sentence with but indicates that now he will speak not only about women “but man or woman.”
Comment Posted By gkd On 01.12.2013 @ 20:58
The author continues:
Ladies serving as diksa-gurus were active in lineages such as those from Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acarya Themselves.
Yes, and those lineages were apa-sampradayic!
In fact even Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura accepted initiation in one of such lineages and glorified the ladies in it.
It is a rather well-known fact that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura acknowledged that his having been initiated (by Bipin Bihari) into one of those apa-sampradayas was meaningless; and therefore he later accepted Jagannatha dasa Babaji as his actual guru.
I suggest we all recognize that the principle that women can become diksa-gurus has been firmly established by Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas.
I suggest that we all recognize the glaringly erroneousness of the conclusion: â€śthe principle that women can become diksa-gurus has been firmly established by Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas.â€ť
the principle should be considered settled.
The principle of guru has been settled within Gaudiya Vaisnavism since time immemorial. Unfortunately, nowadays a section of wayward souls seem bent on unsettling that divinely established principle â€” but for no oneâ€™s actual benefit.
aikantiki harer bhaktir
â€śDevotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literature like the Upanisads, Puranas, and Narada-pancaratra [as well as ignoring the principles established by the previous acaryas] is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.â€ť
Let us all pray that the unnecessary disturbance caused by the vehement push for female diksa-gurus within ISKCON will soon finally dissipate.
Comment Posted By gkd On 08.12.2013 @ 22:08
The author continues:
In any case, please note that the expression â€śnot so manyâ€ť confirms and supports the principle of women diksa-guru.
Not at all! Above, we have shown that â€śnot so manyâ€ť refers to the rarity of female gurus in general within our disciplic line, not specifically of female diksa-gurus.
So, in conclusion: As far as â€ślady acaryas,â€ť â€śthe number can be counted on fingersâ€ť; but as far as lady gurus, there were â€śso many.â€ť I hope the distinction is clear.
It is clear as long as the mud of extrapolation is not thrown over the clear meaning of the word guru. Just as the author deems it significant to distinguish between acarya and guru, it would be inconsistent, if not devious, to fail to distinguish between guru (in general) and diksa-guru in particular.
Itâ€™s therefore understandable that from his perspective a few dozen women diksa-gurus would be considered â€śso many.â€ť
Or has the author just â€śshot himself in the footâ€ť by explaining in this way? Because if the mud of extrapolation is cleared off (i.e., considering â€śguruâ€ť to necessarily indicate diksa-guru) then we are left with the clear, original meaning of both the question and the answer. The question was about guru (in general), so why assume that the answer was about diksa-guru in particular? Rather, according to the authorâ€™s own explanation, it actually means that female gurus in general (not diksa-gurus per se) have been â€śso many.â€ť
Bhaktilata dasi expressed some fear: â€śis it that the so called examples you refer to are from bogus apasampradayas who should be shunned?â€ť
No, obviously if the dozens of women diksa-gurus were from â€śbogus apasampradayaâ€ť [they] would not have [been] acknowledged by [the statement] â€śthere are so manyâ€ť and that, besides Janhava Devi, there were â€śmany others.â€ť
Again, the author has coverd the clear meaning of the word guru with the mud of unwarranted extrapolation. Exactly who are these dozens of women who are alleged to have been diksa-gurus? Why have the words “so manyâ€ť been transmuted into â€śdozens,â€ť and why are the â€śso manyâ€ť assumed to be diksa-gurus, rather than simply gurus?
Comment Posted By gkd On 08.12.2013 @ 21:46
The author continues:
Srila Prabhupada states that, for man or woman (â€śhe or sheâ€ť), the prerequisite is the same.
Yes, the qualification to be “guru” (generic) is the same. In other words, the qualification to be siksa-guru is the same. Never in this conversation was there any mention of “initiating” or diksa.
What Srila Prabhupada did say was that in the past women diksa-guru had not been â€śso many.â€ť
He did not say anything about women diksa-gurus! (Dear readers, kindly read on.)
Quoting from the same conversation mentioned above:
“Prof. Oâ€™Connell: Is it possible, Swamiji, for a woman to be a guru in the line of disciplic succession?
Please note well that the question is about being a “guru,” and not specifically an initiating guru.
Prabhupada: Yes. Jahnava devi was-Nityanandaâ€™s wife. She became.
[And what did she become? A guru, yes — but not a diksa-guru.]
But, not so many.”
The expression â€śnot so manyâ€ť is consistent with the numbers of women diksa-gurus we are aware of.
Indeed it is more than consistent, as there has been no such phenomenon that any of us are aware of. Had the question been about female diksa-gurus, Srila Prabhupada would have had to explain that there have not been any within our line. That he instead said “not so many” indicates the very few female instructing gurus within the sampradaya.
â€śI want to see my disciples become bona fide spiritual master.”
The only way to exclude women from this general instruction would be to reject them as disciples.
Although this conclusion is flawed (due to there factually being other ways to understand the statement), we must note that “spiritual master” does not mean diksa-guru per se, but guru in general.
Srila Prabhupada simply said that in previous centuries (when Gaudiya-vaisnavism was only present in a few states of India) women diksa-gurus were relatively few.
I humbly submit that we should be very careful not to put our own words — “women diksa-gurus” — into the lotus mouth of the sampradaya- or founder-acarya!
Again, in this brief conversation Srila Prabhupada simply did not say anything about “women diksa-gurus” (nor of male diksa-gurus)!
Comment Posted By gkd On 05.12.2013 @ 08:32
The author has stated:
1. Srila Prabhupada always spoke positively about having women diksa-gurus in ISKCON;
We have not seen any evidence that Srila Prabhupada ever “spoke positively” re FDG. Please provide such. Of course, there is the January 1969 letter, which is the one and only written document to indicate that Srila Prabhupada ever wanted his female disciples to become diksa-gurus. A humble perspective on that is here: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=12100#comments (#9)
2. Srila Prabhupada never spoke negatively about having women diksa-gurus in ISKCON;
Perhaps not. But he certainly did write negatively about the possibility of woman being a diksa-guru — in his purport to SB 4.12.32, cited here: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=12100#more-12100
3. There have been dozens of women diksa-gurus in the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya.
Where is proof? Thus far we know only that Jahnava Mata was a siska-guru, not a diksa-guru, within our line, and that according to Srila Prabhupada such female siksa-gurus were not so many, not “dozens”!
In other words, the question â€ścan women give initiation?â€ť has already been settled.
Indeed, it has been settled since time immemorial, as alluded to by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to SB 4.12.32. And indeed, it is quite unfortunate that certain persons have been contorting and concocting evidence to the contrary, as if fallen souls of the 2000’s (still Kali-yuga!) are somehow transcendentally qualified to make such radical departures from Vedic standards, sastra-viddhi, pancaratrika-viddhi, the examples set by our predecessor acaryas, and particularly that set by Srila Prabhupada himself!
Just to give a single example of the quotes in which Srila Prabhupada states that women can initiate disciples, I am briefly quoting an excerpt from a conversation that took place in Toronto, on 18 June 1976:
Rather than supporting the author’s thesis, this “single example” is actually a proverbial grain of rice that indicates the fallibility of all the other examples! This “example” is actually not an example at all that “women can initiate disciples” (author’s words), because Srila Prabhupada simply did not say that!!!
Is something quite wrong here???
Comment Posted By gkd On 05.12.2013 @ 07:21
When directly asked about it he said that women could be gurus.
Is there proof that Srila Prabhupada was directly asked this question? Because the letter per se does not even hint at that.
And he never wrote or spoke anywhere that women were disqualified from serving as initiating gurus.
“Suniti, however, being a woman, and specifically his mother, could not become Dhruva Maharajaâ€™s diksa-guru.â€ť (SB 4.12.32, p)
Certainly one meaning of this sentence is clearly: “Being a woman, Suniti could not become a diksa-guru.”
Comment Posted By gkd On 01.12.2013 @ 01:43
Who is this “Raadhaa-MudHUV”?
(That’s really all that i want to comment, but the minimum acceptable comment is 100 characters - hence this additional parenthetical comment)
Comment Posted By gkd On 28.10.2013 @ 21:26