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Comments Posted By mayapur108

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Respecting Our Women In Iskcon

However, it is “not dressing like mothers” which is the precise and explicit subject matter of Srila Prabhupada’s conversation with Mother Candravali. He is obviously referring to inappropriate dressing or seductive dressing. As devotees, women are expected to give up “Flaunt it, if you’ve got it” attitude. But some women don’t, especially the neophytes although they may have been initiated or been around in the movement for a little while. So when Srila Prabhupada was not happy about the way in which some women were dressing, it was not an isolated quote, separate from his other teachings on that subject, rather Srila Prabhupada was trying to curb a tendency that is not surprising among untrained or stubborn women.

Your servant,
Shiromani dd

Comment Posted By mayapur108 On 07.07.2012 @ 18:02

Although post #50 may have conveyed the impression that I belong to some traditional Indian family, I am exactly the opposite of that. I grew up in an ultra modern family outside India although in an Arab country and heard for the first time in my life at age 20 through Srila Prabhupada’s books that in Vedic culture too, just like Muslim countries, a wife is meant to be submissive to her husband or that women are less intelligent. I am a medical doctor. I came to India to study medicine at Manipal University, famed for its academic excellence while simulteneously being a bastion of intermingling of the sexes. It a university of 50,000 students and a lot of these students are from the west. In short, the university is a microcosm of the west or even worse than the west in terms of the “advanced”, liberal, materialistic “campus culture”. The girls live by a simple norm “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” Dress plays the key role in this flaunting. This seductive dressing is not quite uncommon for women to adopt when they lack transcendental knowledge. It is a phenomenon found commonly in most parts of the world. Women can act like fire and indeed melt butter. Sastra and Prabhupada are accurate.

Here in Sridham Mayapur where I live, two senior matajis, one from America and one from Brasil are trying to implement an appropriate dress code based on their observation that some untrained devotee women are dressing inappropriately. About a year ago, I read an article in a newspaper titled “100 ways of wearing a sari” In that, I read that there are many ways of wearing a sari in a chaste manner and there are as many or more ways of wearing a sari seductively. Vishaka Priya mataji brought to our attention a letter written by Srila Prabhupada to Himavati mataji where he writes that women can dress nicely. I had infact said in the second part of post #51 that there is nothing wrong in women dressing elgantly. So there is no lack of convergence between what I had said and what Vishaka Priya mataji has brought up.

Comment Posted By mayapur108 On 07.07.2012 @ 18:01

In post #50, I simply tried to demonstrate that rigid separation of sexes is not a Muslim creation. It is actually an intrinsic part of Vedic culture. Nowhere did I discuss in my post about what we should do in ISKCON. Comments in response to my post talked of everything that I did not touch upon but missed my conclusion.

In the first part of post #51, I tried to deal with a hermeneutical principle in relation to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. It is this: If we put together various parts of Srila Prabhupada’s/Krsna’s teachings in the Bhagavad-gita, throw in a bit of our experience in ISKCON and come up with a certain conclusion, it does not necessarily mean that we are right. Rtvikism is an infamous example of that. In the same vein, I had doubts about the manner in which Kesava Krsna Prabhu had come up with his conclusions in post #15. He explained his rationale in post#18 which I was not convinced about. He further tried to counter by saying that I do not have enough experience in ISKCON in 1980s unlike him. Granted that I have only 13 years of experience in ISKCON. That is beside the point. Don’t the Rtviks (atleast some of them) have enough experience in ISKCON that matches Kesava Krsna Pr? They do. Don’t they also quote only from Srila Prabhupada’s teachings? They do. Does that make them right? No. The hermeneutical style employed by Kesava Krsna Pr is similar to that employed by rtviks in some ways. I did not say that his conclusions in post #15 were wrong but only asserted that his conclusions need to be subject to careful scrutiny. I stand by that. I am not yet convinced by the explanations that he gave for post #15 in post #18. I need to look at it more closely. As far as Kesava Krishna Pr’s views in the original article itself is concerened, I definitely do not agree with them and to avoid endless wrangling, never once in my earlier posts or in these ones have I touched upon the topic of what we should do in ISKCON. That is a big subject matter.

Comment Posted By mayapur108 On 07.07.2012 @ 12:51

In post 15, Kesava Krsna Pr has come up with conclusions that need careful scrutiny. He has pieced together his understanding of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings from various places in the Bhagavad-gita to come up with a conclusion that Srila Prabhupada himself has not come up with. I have great respect for Kesava Krsna Pr but he is setting a dangerous precedent here. Jayadvaita Maharaja’s rule of thumb may perhaps be applied to post 15. I don’t remember its exact wording but it goes something like this: If Srila Prabhupada did not explicitly state it and if it first came up after 1977, whatever it is, doubt it.

In post 26, Kesava Krsna Pr brings up the topic of selective quoting but he is completely off the mark while applying it to the incident that he refers. Here is what selective quoting means: Let’s say that Srila Prabhupada has given four different opinions, opinion A, opinion B, opinion C and opinion D on a particular topic and if an author while writing an article presents only opinion A while omitting opinion B, C and D then we can say that the author is guilty of selectively quoting Srila Prabhupada. As far the present incident is concerned, Srila Prabhupada consistently had only one opinion that both his men and women should dress simply. He clearly writes that a woman can dress attractively only in front of her husband. Else a woman is not expected to dress attractively. If anybody can show me at least one instance where Srila Prabhupada said something different on this topic even implicitly I would be interested to see it. In the absence of such an instance, we have to accept that the incident we are referring to is indeed representative and not selective. I am well aware that Srila Prabhupada said different things about brahmacaris and women but nowhere did he sanction that women can dress attractively. To dress elegantly is one thing. Mothers dress elegantly but the other kind of dressing as Srila Prabhupada refers to in this incident is not for mothers.

Your servant,
Shiromani devi dasi

Comment Posted By mayapur108 On 12.06.2012 @ 10:40

I grew up in an Arab Country although I am raised in a Hindu family. When the Muslim families meet for a get together, the men are together in one place and the women are together in another place. The venue is the same but still there is separation and the men and women don’t interact with each other. That is normal in an Arab country.

What about Vedic Culture? After I was married, I attended a summer family gathering in my husband’s ancesteral home in Kerala, India in the year 2008. This ancesteral home is a large one, more than 100 years old where several generations have lived. The structure of the house is exactly as Srila Prabhupada has described in his SB 3.31.40 purport, with separate interior quarters for women and exterior quarters for men. There were 11(eleven) families (all my father-in-law’s brothers, sisters, cousins along with wives/husbands and their children) who had converged there for a get together. All of us stayed in the same house but the men remained in the exterior quarters and had their own things going on while we women remained in the interior quarters and had our own things going on. The men and women never interacted with each other including the teenagers. The only time everybody was together was during breakfast, lunch and dinner at the dining table but a customary silence was expected to be maintained on these occasions. Furthermore about 8 of those families were not living in Kerala but were settled elsewhere in different cities and had come down just for this gathering. We stayed for about 1 4 days or slightly less and it was great fun. Ofcourse I took the opportunity to preach and learn some cooking skills. The whole thing was a completely new experience for me and yet it was an unforgettable one. I saw a very interesting element of the Vedic Culture in action, separation of the sexes even within the context of families. It seemed most natural and elegant.

Rigid separation of sexes even within families is thus an intrinsic part of vedic culture and not an isolated phenomenon found only among Muslims.

What Kesava Krsna Pr refers to as “normal cultured family living” is thus debatable. Normal and cultured according to what standard? What is the point of reference here? He has assumed that normal cultured family living is universally the same. It is not. I have demonstrated that from my own life’s experience.

Your servant,
Shiromani dd

Comment Posted By mayapur108 On 12.06.2012 @ 10:03

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