Notes from a think tank



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6.1 "Ardhabuddhi’s Dasa's" version



Please note that even in this version the header says that there are 38 lines. So, where did they go? What was cut out? Why? To find out, please see the original version which follows. Or if you doubt our integrity, you can retrieve these texts from the COM sysops.
Letter COM:1714977 (38 lines)
From: Bhakti Vikasa Swami
Date: 24-Sep-98 10:47
To:
Comment: Text COM:1719236 by Basu Ghosh (das) ACBSP (Baroda - IN)
Subject: Re: malati’s response
------------------------------------------------------------
“Purvapakshin” is the best word, as it brings images of a dignified,
rather than purely political, opponent. Often, the other party have made most undignified attacks (I was the subject of one of them, on Chakra); but
our hope should be that “amanina manadena” on our part will sober them up. We should bring discussion up from the emotional level and oppose them on sastric grounds, on which we are certain to prevail. Slanging matches are fit for uneducated village women. We can’t win on that level.

I’m not suggesting that our presentation should not be strong. But the sastric quotes are in themselves so heavy that we hardly need to add our own expletives. For instance, using Srila Prabhupada’s definition of a prostitute, we can (in polite terms) question the status of remarried Iskcon women. This is certain to get the feminazis highly riled, as they are mostly re-married divorcees, but we can simply cooly again present the Prabhupada quote to them, and not allow them to obfuscate the point with their name-calling.




The original version

Letter COM:1714977 (38 lines)


From: Bhakti Vikasa Swami
Date: 24-Sep-98 10:47
To
Comment: Text COM:1719236 by Basu Ghosh (das) ACBSP (Baroda - IN)
Subject: Re: malati’s response
------------------------------------------------------------
“Purvapakshin” is the best word, as it brings images of a dignified, rather
than purely political, opponent. Often, the other party have made most
undignified attacks (I was the subject of one of them, on Chakra); but our
hope should be that “amanina manadena” on our part will sober them up. We
should bring discussion up from the emotional level and oppose them on
sastric grounds, on which we are certain to prevail. Slanging matches are
fit for uneducated village women. We can’t win on that level.

I’m not suggesting that our presentation should not be strong. But the sastric quotes are in themselves so heavy that we hardly need to add our own expletives. For instance, using Srila Prabhupada’s definition of a prostitute, we can (in polite terms) question the status of remarried Iskcon women. This is certain to get the feminazis highly riled, as they are mostly remarried divorcees, but we can simply cooly again present the Prabhupada quote to them, and not allow them to obfuscate the point with their name-calling.

Here’s an example of what kind of response we can expect (Mad Radha re Basu Ghosh):

> I want nothing to do with these over-zealous, arch conservative,


>backwards, women-hating, oppressive people who give ISKCON a bad name.
> I’ve engaged in too many discussions with them already.
> Tired of it. Sick of it.

We can deduce from this that they don’t want to discuss, no doubt because


they are exposed each time. Thus the obfuscatory invectives.

GHQ needs to present a comprehensive, balanced presentation that answers


every claim of the feminazis with ample evidence from guru (Srila
Prabhupada), sadhu and shastra. Let the feminazis know that we want to
respect them as our worshipable mothers, but that they cannot expect or
demand respect if they insist on taking the role of prostitutes.

From the story of Mohini murti we find that even the demons did not want to enter into stri-vivada (argument with a woman). Might it not be better to


discuss with the husbands of these women (if they have husbands, or even if
they are on their fourth husband)?
(Text COM:1714977) -----------------------------------------


6.2 "Ardhabuddhi Dasa’s" version

“Shyamasundar wrote:


I have thought of asking Bharata Srestha for all the texts sent to that
conference during that time and then filtering out those of the variety that MR wrote. Could either of Guru-Krsna or Krishna Kirti Prabhus please get these texts. You are his god-brother and it would be less suspicious than if I asked. It would be important research.”

The original version



The original text indicates Mother Madhusudani Radha dd’s insistence that Srila Prabhupada’s books be changed; after all, he had “misconceptions” regarding gender issues, due to his cultural upbringing:
Text COM:1737633 (137 lines)
From: Shyamasundara ACBSP
Date: 02-Oct-98 00:10
Cc: GHQ
Reference: Text COM:1733788 by Sita (dd) GKG (Back to Basics) (Ontario)
Subject: Re: more on compilation
------------------------------------------------------------

> The subject matter is so vast that a few books can easily be compiled.


> This may not be a bad idea as a future project. The immediate challenge
> is to make a comprehensive yet concise presentation of the issues at hand.

A very good idea that should be done as a follow through to the present


effort. If we don’t follow through with more material things will flounder.
We should be able to get the BBT to pay for the publishing of these books
because they are mostly SP’s guidance on a very important issue.

Svasa Prabhu, is on this forum and he is a BBT trustee. Svavas Prabhu, do


you think that the BBT would publish such a book(s)? It is sastra. In sanskrit Sastra roughly means “that which controls”. It is like a weapon, or an elephant goad. It keeps people on the right track.

> Some thoughts:


>
> 1. We each assume responsibility for compiling a presentation on a
> particular issue. These are then send around for further input and editing.
> It is then compiled as a completed paper with various subcategories.

I have one topic I would work on “How feminism is a flavor of mayavada.” I


have already developed this topic to a certain extent and published on DoW,
but I also want to include more by dealing with the “mahavakhya” of the
feminists. Which is “kalua sudra sambhava.” This is one of the few points of
sastra that they quote, and they have essentially hoodwinked everyone into
thinking that since everyone is born a sudra in kali-yuga, then all is “one.” So unless someone else wants to tackle that topic, I’ll take it.

> 2. Many of the issues are dealt with in the papers by, Jyotirmayi,


> Visakha, Pranada and Radha (I haven’t read a transcript of her
> presentation on the UN laws etc. Does anyone know how to get a copy?)
> We could summarize the points and respond to them in one paper.

I haven’t got Jyotirmayi’s paper, though I saw it. Nor the others. I believe


they are mostly all available on Chakra, but for the last few days when I
clicked on the women’s issue page, that had all this stuff, the page was down. (Is this a good omen?) So if you have all this information please put it into one bundle and post it to the GHQ file area so that others can download it.

I do have the latest report from the European women’s convention where they make such points as:

“Two presentations were made, one by Radha dasi about a model for women’s participation in ISKCON from International Law and another one by Gaurangi dasi about the power of words and the correct understanding and use of certain expressions about women found in the sastras.”

This last point suggests that soon we will see very twisted interpretations of what Srila Prabhupada said about women.

The following was sent to me by a nameless devotee who is member of the VAST forum in relation to Madhusudani Radha’s (hence forth MR) insistence that Srila Prabhupada’s books be changed because SP had “misconceptions” because he was culturally backward and not up to modern times:
__________________
“Dear Syamasundara Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I doubt if I have those texts to dig up. Perhaps the conference organizers,
Brahmatirtha Prabhu (bobcohen@ivs.edu) or Bharata Srestha Prabhu
(wwall@ivs.edu) will have them. Since her comments went to the whole
conference, her views are not particularly secretive. I seem to remember
that the discussion where she wrote about gender references in Srila
Prabhupada’s books took place on the conference around March or April of
1998, though it could have been a little earlier than that. Again, the discussion was about whether to change Srila Prabhupada’s books for presentation in academic circles, especially with regards to altering passages with politically incorrect gender references. Mother Madhusudani Radha opined that these passages shouldn’t be changed merely as a preaching strategy, but because Srila Prabhupada had misconceptions, deriving from his cultural upbringing, about gender roles in society.

If you want to put me on some conference as an observer, that’s okay with


me. If it’s too much of a botheration, then I’ll get myself off the conference.
I’m interested to hear what devotees are saying about so many topics, but my time is limited. Hare Krsna.

Your servant, XYZ dasa”


_____________________________

I have thought of asking Bharata Srestha for all the texts sent to that


conference during that time and then filtering out those of the variety that
MR wrote. Could either of Guru-Krsna or Krishna Kirti Prabhus please get
these texts. You are his god-brother and it would be less suspicious than if
I asked. It would be important research.

The point is that if these feminists continue in their ascendancy they will


force the BBT, that’s you Svasa Prabhu, to edit Srila Prabhu’s books so that
they are politically correct for the 90’s.

> 4. Anything already written by any of the members (or non-members for


> thatmatter) should be made available and read by everyone on this
> conference. We may already have the main body of the paper in the form
> of these separate essays, articles etc. If so, they can be touched-up,
> reformatted, and expanded upon to meet our current objectives.

We should actively recruit writers on this issue. They don’t have to join


GHQ but could work with a GHQ member as part of his cell.

> 5. Unlike the feminists, there is a vast amount of scriptural resources


> available to us. I have complied an index of quotes on many of these
> related issues. They also could be posted and used as a reference. More
> quotes and/or reference could be added to the list. This list in itself
> could be published as a reference guide for devotees.
>
> WOMEN QUOTES
>
> “Our Women”
> As Managers
> Become ideal
> Brahmacarini
> Breaking regs for husband
> Comte’s view of Women
> Controlled by husband (men)
> Defects of ISKCON - Women

Are these already organized and ready to go? What is there state of


readiness?
(Text COM:1737633) -----------------------------------------

6.3
In further reference to removing “sexism” from Srila Prabhupada’s books, we recently received the following text from another devotee, who also confirmed the above statements on this topic:
> If you are interested there is a core of devotees who are starting to
> counter this feminist cancer. It is shocking that “respected” leaders in
> ISKCON are supporting feminism.

I am interested. Don’t let this out, but one of the most disturbing things I saw in my life was a post on VAST, by a highly intelligent scholar in a highly respected U.S. University who seriously suggested editing out all of the sexist statements from Prabhupada’s books. These are the influential (if not also behind-the-scenes) devotees ISKCON has be cautious with.

Date: Fri, 27 Nov 98 10:19 -0500
From: “COM: Bharata Srestha (das) HDG (IPSET, CA - USA)”
To: , Jan Brzezinski
Subject: Prabhupada and Hinduism article for ICJ

[Text 1887157 from COM]

PAMHO

I am glad that this forum is actually contributing to our work.



Also, a note regarding the recent faux pas on my part which led to postings
being published on VNN. The information was intended to advance a thoroughly misogynistic interpretation of Srila Prabhupada. Mercifully, by Krishna’s arrangement, the texts from December 1997 to April 1998 vanished in a COM system crash. These texts contain our spirited discussions on the intellgence of women. Although I am sure that a summary of that discussion would have been valuable, I suspect that VNN reaction to several of posts would have created annoying “diversions” for many of us. Since that would have been my fault, I am glad it did not happen.

YS
Bharata


6.4 "Ardhabuddhi Dasa’s" version
Forwarded text by Krishna-kirti:13

In my view, it seems that replying privately to her and others of her ilk is a waste of time. All replies to such letters should be public, even if they request a private reply. Otherwise we are wasting energy.

But anyway, you can see from the above how they argue, and what are their strengths and weaknesses.

One of their weaknesses is that they are deficient in shastra, and long on selectively quoting Srila Prabhupada.

For the paper to also be effective, we need a database of feminist arguments for “equality”, because it is these points we are dealing with and have
enamoured many leaders as well as rank and file. Some of our strongest
arguments will come from arguments which they have also used:

sarganam adir antas ca


madhyam caivaham arjuna
adhyatma-vidya vidyanam
vadah pravadatam aham

“Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O


Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians, I am the conclusive truth.”

Purport


“. . .Among logicians there are different kinds of argument. Supporting one’s argument with evidence that also supports the opposing side is called jalpa. Merely trying to defeat one’s opponent is called vitanda. But the actual conclusion is called vada. This conclusive truth is a representation of Krishna.”

I have heard that Jivan Mukta P. has such a database of their arguments. Is that true, JM Prabhu?

Another thing is that when we present quotations from Manu-samhita or
other dharma shastras not translated by Srila Prabhupad, we have to also quote the sanskrit and be sure that the translation is accurate. I would highly recommend Basu Ghosh Prabhu for this. For any Bengali, Bhakti Vikas
Maharaj. Our arguments have to be airtight.

Your fallen servant, Krishna-kirti das


(Text 1729912) ---------------------------------------------


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