Comments Posted By harililadas
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Hare Krsna Prabhu and Matajis,
Dandavath Pranams. I have gone through many comments and discussions going on about the subject matter and it is a great learning to see such diverse views on this subject.
I wish to add my humble realizations on this subject matter. Varnasrama System does not deliberately put down or sub-due any body, either male or female. Rather it allows every body to act in a civilised way within their sphere of Guna and Karma. This is the key working principle of Varnashrama. With this in mind the different classes of human beings are given different duties and with different sets of do’s and don’ts. Again, the level of control depends on their Guna and Karma. This has to be understood as the basis of working.
The role of Women in the Varnashrama system is as equally important as men. They are the essence of a good society as they bear the progeny. So in that status they are awarded special status in all varnas but in different degrees. So the rules for brahmanical society women are different from the rules for the other class. This is holds good for all other classes also.
It is naturally found in India, the cradle of varnashrama (I am born in that blessed land) that such distinctions still exists even though the effect of Kali is fast taking over.
So the level of protection acceptable for an individual will be according to their Guna and Karma. However, for devotees who have surrendered fully themselves to the service of the Lord, (each of us know about our level of surrender) irrespective of their gender, varnashrama doesnot apply.They are beyound the dualities. It is not my intention to say that those who donot accept a particular position of protection at conditioned level due their higher realization of their consitiutional level should be rejected or ridiculed. Each one of us is the best judge for that and should be respected for such decision.
Now remains the question with the setting of correct understanding of varnashrama and the position of women. When the women accept the protection offered by varnashram as their advantage and when men accept the protection of the women folk and giving due respect to them as their DUTY (not their superior right by way of gender) in their capacities of father, brother and husband then there is no clash of ideas. The tendency to Lord it over, causes the clash and the tug of war for supremacy. In fact, a care ful study of varnashrama system would reveal that even the men folk are protected upto a certain age in the Gurukulas, by carefully gaurding them with love and affection and preparing them for their duties and responsibilities.
Again within the realms of Varnashrama system, women folk are not merely a protected lot without a voice of opinion of their own. Vedic history is full of examples of intelligent and learned women (education of women is very important in Varnashrama) who remaining with the limits of varnashrama steered their husbands, sons in the path of righteousness and they opinion was always well heard and fully respected.
So it is very clear that accepting protection does not mean accepting to be supressed and giving protection does not mean the license to dominate.
Unfortunately, many in western world have not understood this subtle balance of varnashrama. I am not very learned pandit or an authority in sastras. But we have lived in this system for generations and we are still living. Personally for me and my wife, reading Srila Prabhupad’s books gave us the assurance that the path we considered as outdated is actually the path of homogeny and happiness. We are practicing it with renewed faith, understading the essence of it. Thanks to ISKCON and Prabhupad, otherwise we were about to be sold to “so called western Ideals”.
Lastly to summarise, We all know that we follow the tattva of acintya beda abeda. This tattva allows for contradictions to co-exist simultaneously. This is the true path inbetween. It applies to all spheres of life including varnshrama. In varnashrama women are protected but they are also simultaneously free. They are in sub-ordinate position but they are also simultaneously superior and equal. How it is possible, it is acintaya, because the Maker of this system is also Acintiya. But a sincere practioner will experience this. I did not mean to pass a judgement or criticise or hurt anyone. If I have done so unkowningly, please forgive this fallen soul and save me from the great crime of vaishnava aparadha. Koti Koti dandavats to all.
Your humble servant - Harilila das.
Comment Posted By harililadas On 03.12.2006 @ 15:38