Notes from a think tank



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Text COM:1729912 (323 lines) [W1]


From: Krishna Kirti (das) HDG (Baltimore - USA)
Date: 29-Sep-98 12:52
To: GHQ [14]
Reference: Text COM:1729178 by Basu Ghosh (das) ACBSP (Baroda - IN)
Subject: KK for “Vyasa”
------------------------------------------------------------
> I hereby recommend, subject to acceptance by KK, that he “compile” the
> collected points & data & prepare a draft proposal for presentation to the
> GBC. Since “time is of the essence”; he can begin at once!
>
> After we agree on the draft proposal, then we can “ferret” it around to the
> “sympathetic” leaders for their approval.
>
> Are you game, KK? What says Shyamasundara & the other Prabhus?
> Bhakti Vikas Maharaj, what do you think?
>
> Please accept my humble obeisances at your lotus feet. All glories to
> ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupad.

If you want me to, I can compile the the collected points and data. I’m soon getting a Prabhupada Folio anyway--I am being viciously attacked by the Mad Radha and some slightly lighter shades of ISKCON liberalism on another conference.

I would suggest that the points not only stand on Srila Prabhupada’s words,
but that we also draw on a wide source of other supplementary sources, with
Prabhupada’s words being the foundation. For example, in one of Pancaratna
Prabhu’s letters, he said

“For gentlemen, ladies first, no?”

Where did Prabhupad say that?

Obviously, staying in our Angreji Mandirs (no offense intended, this is just


how the locals view/say it, and we give them reason to do so) has sheltered
him from the realities of Indian culture. So one source can be what is the
actual culture of India, from an Indian’s point of view, especially if it comes from some pundit.

Here’s a recent vituperative reply from Mad Radha regarding the use of the


word “Mataji”

> >Dear Prabhujis and Matajis, please accept my humble obeisances. All


> >glories to ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupad.
>
> This is a private reply. Please note that it is inappropriate to write
> “Prabhus and Matajis”. You (and I, and all of us) should think of
> *everyone* as your Prabhu, including women. That’s how Prabhupada
> taught us, and even how he addressed his female disciples. By saying
> “Prabhus and Matajis” you are implying that women are somehow lower
> than men. Mataji is not a group label. It is simply how you as a man should > think of each woman that you meet and talk with (except your wife). Just
> like I should think of you as a son. It would be perfectly appropriate for
> you to address me or any other individual woman as Mataji. But it is not
> OK for you to refer to all of us that way as a group, especially not when
> contrasted with your use of Prabhu for the men on this conference.
>
> Ys,
> Madhusudani

> > By saying “Prabhus and Matajis” you are implying that women are


> > somehow lower than men.

> That is only your opinion. Please provide references that refering to


> women as “Mataji,” individually or as a group, is demeaning. Remember,
> our standard is guru, sadhu, shastra.
>
> ys KKd
>
> P.S. Do you have any objections to using the phrase “Ladies and
> Gentlemen”?

> >P.S. Do you have any objections to using the phrase “Ladies and


> >Gentlemen”?
>
> nope. none whatsoever. those are both equally respectful, unlike masters
> and mothers.
>
> Here are some references of interest:
>
> The Lord Caitanya is called Mahäprabhu. Mahän-prabhu. Prabhu, master.
> There are different kinds of master, but He’s the mahän-prabhu, the
> Supreme Master, Supreme Master, and Purusa at the same time. Prabhu,
> you can say... A woman also can become the master. . . (Cc Adi 7.108 lecture
> February 18, 1967)
>
> Now another thing, that girls should not be taken as inferior. You see?
> Sometimes... Of course, sometimes scripture we say that “Woman is the
> cause of bondage.” So that should not be, I mean to say, aggravated.
> (laughs) That should not be aggravated, that “Woman is inferior,” or
> something like that. So the girls who come, you should treat them nicely.
> After all, anyone who is coming to Krishna consciousness, man or woman,
> boys or girls, they are welcome. They are very fortunate. You see. And the
> idea of addressing “prabhu” means “you are my master.” That is the...
> Prabhu means master. And Prabhupäda means many masters who bows
> down at his lotus feet. That is Prabhupäda. So each, everyone shall treat
> others as “My master.” This is the Vaisnava (September 24, 1968
> conversation)
>
> From a letter to Himavati Devi Dasi, June 14, 1968:
> Yes, to call one another prabhu is all right, but not to become prabhu. To
> accept others as prabhu, and remain as servant is the idea. But because
> somebody is calling you prabhu, one should not become a prabhu, and treat
> others as servants. In other words, everyone should feel himself as servant, > and not to think himself prabhu because he is being called prabhu. This
> will make the relationship congenial.
>
> My Dear Ranadhira,
> Please accept my blessings. . . Yes, I have all blessings for the happy
> marriage of Haladhara Prabhu and Joan Prabhu, so you may immediately
> do the needful in this regards. (16 February, 1971)
>
> My Dear Rsabhadeva,
> Please accept my blessings. . . So long as there is Guru-Gauranga worship,
> Yamuna Prabhu may act as pujari . . . (March 25, 1971)
>
> Anna Prabhu may be initiated also and she has my blessings for being
> married to Puranda at the earliest convenience. (letter to Mukunda April
> 13, 1971)
>
> So the stock of japa beads I brought with me has been depleted. Malati
> Prabhu was supposed to have brought some beads with her from India,
> and so I would like that those beads be sent immediately to N.Y. center by
> air.

>(letter to Tribhuvanatha July 4, 1971)


>
> My Dear Kirtanananda Maharaja, Vrindaban Candra, and Silavati,
> Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letters
> just now received by me here in Calcutta and describing your plans for
> travelling Sankirtana party, and it is very much encouraging news for me.
> Silavati Prabhu said that this was her long cherished dream. It has been
> mine also. . . (November 6, 1971)
>
> In Los Angeles I personally advised them in all the different aspects of
> deity worship, so you may consult, especially with Silavati Prabhu (now in
> Dallas) and do the needful. . . (letter to Sri Govinda, January 31, 1973)
>
> My dear Gangamayi,
> Please accept my blessings. . . I am glad to hear that you are determined to > stay and live in the temple now and that you are becoming very much
> attached to the Deity worship and very serious about serving the Deity
> along with Malati Prabhu. . . (May 9, 1974)
>
> My Dear Sacimata Prabhu,
> Please accept my blessings. I am in receipt of your letter dated 3rd
> October 1976 and I have noted the contents carefully. . .
>
> We are teaching our disciples to address amongst themselves “prabhu.”
> This is not new thing. This is very old. Now Närada is addressing
> Vyäsadeva, “prabhu,” his disciple. His disciple, he’s addressing prabhu. So
> we should give respect. Just like we address, “Kirtanänanda Mahäräja.”
> Although he’s my disciple, but the respect should be given. Here, see,
> Närada is addressing Vyäsadeva: “Prabhu.” “My dear prabhu. . (lecture, SB >1.5.1-4, May 22, 1969)
>
> A spiritual master takes his disciples as his spiritual master. That is the
> position. He thinks that “Krishna has sent me so many spiritual masters.”
> He does not think himself as spiritual master. He thinks himself their
> servant. Because they have to be trained. Krishna has appointed him to
> train them. Therefore he thinks himself as servant of the disciples. This is
> the position. So when one is advanced, he can see the importance of
> devotees.
>
> Advanced devotee never disobey or disrespect another devotee. Disrespect
> to another devotee is a great offense. Vaishnava aparädha. Vaishnava
> aparädha is very serious offense. Therefore we teach to address amongst
> the devotees, “Prabhu”, “Prabhu”, “Such and such Prabhu.” This should not
> be simply spoken by the lips. It should be realized. Everyone should think
> other devotee as his prabhu, master. Not he should try to become master.
> trnäd api sunicena
> taror api sahisnunä
> amäninä mänadena...
> Mänadena. We should be always ready to offer respect to all, not only
> devotees, but everyone. Everyone. Because every living entity is originally
> a devotee of Krishna. But circumstantially, being covered by the coat of
> mäyä, he’s playing like demon. But his original nature is a devotee of
> Krishna. Jivera svarüpa haya nitya krsnera däsa. Everyone is eternally
> servant of Krishna. But being influenced by mäyä, when he gets this body,
> given by mäyä... Prakrteh kriyamänäni gunaih karmäni sarvasah, when
> he’s conducted by the three gunas of mäyä, he thinks himself otherwise.
> He thinks himself independent of Krishna. But actually, nobody is
> independent of Krishna. (lecture NOD October 23, 1972)
>
> We advise everyone to address one another as Prabhu. Prabhu means
> master, so how the master should be disobeyed? Others, they are also pure
> devotees. All of my disciples are pure devotees. Anyone sincerely serving
> the spiritual master is a pure devotee . . . Do not try to make a faction
> . . . Amongst ourselves one should respect others as Prabhu, master, one
> another. As soon as we distinguish here is a pure devotee, here is a non-
> pure devotee, that means I am a nonsense. (letter: Tusta Krishna,
> December 14, 1972)
>
> Any Vaisnava is addressed as prabhu, but Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu is
> Mahäprabhu, the topmost prabhu, the master prabhu. All others are
> servant prabhu. . . all Vaisnava should be addressed as prabhu; that is the
> etiquette. (CcAdi 7.2 lecture March 2, 1974)
>
> In Krishna consciousness we address our contemporaries as “prabhu.”
> Prabhu means master. And the real idea is that “You are my master, I am
> your servant.” Just the opposite number. Here, in the material world,
> everyone wants to place himself as the master. “I am your master, you are
> my servant.” That is the mentality of material existence. And the spiritual
> existence means “I am the servant, you are the master.” Just see. Just the
> opposite number. (lecture Bg 4.9, June 19, 1968)
>
> A real devotee, he does not show any disrespect even to the ant, and what
> to speak of the demigods, because he is in knowledge that “Every living
> entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. They’re playing different
> parts only. So in relationship with the Supreme Lord they’re all my
> respectables.” Therefore a devotee is taught to address all his
> contemporaries as “Prabhu, my dear sir, my dear lord.” That is the position
> of Krishna consciousness. (lecture Bg 7.18 October 12, 1966)

> > >P.S. Do you have any objections to using the phrase “Ladies and


> > >Gentlemen”?
> >
> > nope. none whatsoever. those are both equally respectful, unlike
> > masters and mothers.
>
> Two points here:
>
> (1) You assume that a mother is not respectable--that is unfortunate.
> That idea is from western cultural conditioning. In the Vedic conception,
> Mother is always respectable.
>
> (2) Here was my query:
>
> > Please provide references that refering to women as “Mataji,” individually
> > or as a group, is demeaning.
>
> You didn’t do that, did you? The word “Mata” or “Mataji” didn’t even show
> up in any of your quotes. So how do your quotes demonstrate that the
> word “Mataji” is disrespectful when they don’t even mention the word?
> Don’t obfuscate or change the subject, give facts.
>
> ys KKd

In another letter. . . hot on the heels of the last. . .

> > you wrote:
> > >I did, maybe you didn’t see my reply to Mataji.
> >
> > Which woman?
> >
> > Now you’re getting silly. It’s one thing if you refer to one woman as
> > Mataji when you’re talking *to* her but *about* her? Are you really that
> > sexually agitated? No please don’t answer that, I don’t really want to
> > know. But that is the reason you’re supposed to think of each woman as
> > mother. However, I’d like for you to rpoduce some quotes showing that
> > Prabhupada addressed his female disciples as Mataji or Mother so-and-so.
> > Not one of the women who was around at the time can recall that.
> > However, they all recall being addressed as “Prabhu.” Now if Prabhupada
> > who was clearly so much more advanced than any of us, could call his
> > female disciples Prabhu, who on earth do you think you are to change
> > that?
>
> Stick with the point. Here is my previous letter:
>
> > Two points here:
> >
> > (1) You assume that a mother is not respectable--that is unfortunate.
> > That idea is from western cultural conditioning. In the Vedic conception,
> > Mother is always respectable.
> >
> > (2) Here was my query:
> >
> > > Please provide references that referring to women as “Mataji,”
> > > individually or as a group, is demeaning.
> >
> > You didn’t do that, did you? The word “Mata” or “Mataji” didn’t even
> > show up in any of your quotes. So how do your quotes demonstrate that
> > the word “Mataji” is disrespectful when they don’t even mention the
> > word? Don’t obfuscate or change the subject, give facts.
>
> Again, none of your quotes even mentioned the word “Mata” or “Mataji”.
> Your idea that the word “Mataji” is somehow demeaning is therefore
> baseless.
>
> The fact is this: you won’t find Prabhupada referring to “Mataji”, “Mata”
> or “Mother” as a demeaning address.
>
> For the third time, “Please provide references that referring to women as
> ‘Mataji,’ individually or in a group, is demeaning.” ys KKd.

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 COM:1729912) -----------------------------------------

Section 7



Feminists Use Abusive Language

(See also Section 3: “ISKCON women calling themselves Generals and Privates” and also “FW: Militant Mothers,” wherein Jivan Mukta Dasa is indirectly accused of of beating his wife.)
In the following abbreviated version, Jivan Mukta Dasa and Mother Sita dd are belittled as: “sexist,” “chauvinist,”” “narrow-minded,” “semi-literate,” “in the mode of darkness,” “rabid fundamentalists,” etc. . (The complete text is available from Mother Sita dd.)
7.1
Letter COM:1491717 (382 lines)
From: Internet: Sita Devi Dasi
Date: 08-Jul-98 15:27
Subject: FWD> reply to your text
------------------------------------------------------------

#1 was written by Advaita, #2 by Dhyanakunda. I confronted both of them
and D apologized (sort of) but MR denied A had written it and he didn’t
respond to my letter asking for confirmation that he’d written it. [We note that he left his initials after his letter.] We did not give any answers to Madhu.

YS, Sdd


X-Sender: ekstrand@pop.slip.net
>Mime-Version: 1.0
>Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 16:44:00 -0700
>To: Jivan Mukta
>From: Maria Ekstrand
>Subject: reply to your text
>
>Dear Jivan Mukta Prabhu,
>
>Pamho. AgtSP! A few devotees have been discussing your recent text on
>women’s (lack of) varnas. We thought you might want to read some of the
>thoughts expressed. If not, please read no further.
>
>Four different devotees wrote the following texts. If you want to reply, I
>will forward your text to them. If not, that is fine too.
>
>Ys,
>Madhusudani
>
>1. Subject: Re: the crisis of interpretation
>
>> “And that knowledge by which ONE IS ATTACHED TO ONE KIND OF WORK
>> AS THE ALL IN ALL, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very
>> meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness.” (Bg 22)
>
>While the comments of the devotee in question do not merit any kind of a
>sophisticated or intellectual response -- since, on the authority of the above
>quoted verse from Gita, in my opinion, they reveal themselves to be what
>they are: the sexist, chauvinist, narrow-minded, semi-literate expressions
>of one in the mode of darkness -- they are useful in so far as they expose
>a fundamental issue that the Vaishnavis need to address in order to
>advance their sociological suffrage.
>
>On the basis of the above quote from Gita, and of other verses, I think it
>reasonable to propose that there is scholarship in the mode of ignorance
>(if we allow this oxymoron), and scholarship in the mode of goodness.
>Scholarship in the mode of ignorance pulls out one or two verses --
>irrespective of their context, and oblivious of other verses that might
>conflict with them -- from the massive body of (in this case) Prabhupada’s
>writings and statements, and brandishes them about in support of an
>agenda that is negative and harmful to the spiritual upliftment of the self.
>Scholarship in the mode of goodness, in contrast, considers the entirety of
>scripture, juxtaposes contradictory statements, and presents a conclusion
>that is satisfying and conducive to the spiritual and material wellbeings of
>*all* living entities.
>
>There is not much point in women, or reasonable men, attempting to engage
>in intellectual or enlightened discussions with devotees who brandish about
>one or two “Prabhupad said...” statements like rabid fundamentalists. What
>is needed is for the women to pull out *all* the verses Prabhupada said >about women, their intelligence, their duties, their education, their qualities
>and everything else, and juxtapose them with *all* the statements that
>Prabhupada made about men and their intelligence, duties, education,
>qualities, etc. Then, perhaps we will have a complete, scholarly, and useful
>idea of Prabhupada’s complete and overall position on gender dynamics.
>Certainly, with the CD Rom, this should not be too difficult. I remember a
>book exclusively dedicated to all the statements Prabhupada had made
>about the Holy Name that appeared many years ago. Until this is done, we
>are going to consistently be confronted with discourse of the quality
>articulated by the devotee in question.
>
> Certainly, in academic circle, it is completely unacceptable to simply
> utilize one or two verses in support of some agenda. Obviously, devotees
> like the one in question are not the slightest bit interested in scholarly, or
> rational, dialogue. But many of us on this conference are. So let the
> women’s ministry organize a thorough, scholarly, compilation of
> *everything* Prabhupada said about both men and women, a research
> project in the mode of goodness (or even pure goodness), and then we can
> see what we’re up against. YS APD
>------------------------------------------------------------
>2. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......
>
>I think Sriman Jivan Mukta Prabhu has gotten too much under the influence
>of the teachings of his sudrani wife... as we know, sudras are in the mode
>of ignorance, and this is what the Gita says about knowledge in ignorance:
>
>“And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work as the
>all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very meager, is said
>to be in the mode of darkness.” (Bg 22)
>
>Of course, one could argue with this quote, too, and I am not putting it here
>because I wish to initiate a discussion with Jivan Mukta, God forbid! (I
>already inadvertently got Sita on my case for repeating what Harikesa
>Maharaja said about ksatriya women not feeling fulfilled as mere
>housewives), but I just have to comment because this is so amazingly
>stupid.
>
>>Interestingly, women are sudra by the very nature of their gender.
>
>Even more interestingly, the sastras consistently, countless times, put
>stri-sudra together. What is the use of stri then? If they were identical,
>to mention sudra should be enough!
>
>>As you posted in an earlier text, sudras are general assistants, women are
>>general assistants. Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other.”
>
>What an underwhelming logic. “Little knowledge, very dangerous” -- as
>Srila Prabhupada said about someone who had a bit of knowledge of
>Sanskrit and so proceeded to confidently make mistaken corrections in his
>books. This is a blatant logical error.
>
>Boys are children, girls are children, too. According to Jivan Mukta, boys are
>girls then. I am sorry for his children. He will fail to know which ones
> should be trained as sudranis.

>Hare Krsna.
(Text COM:1491717) -----------------------------------------

7.2
Text COM:1508807 (41 lines)
From: Varshana (dd) HDG (Los Angeles, CA - USA)
Date: 15-Jul-98 01:42 -0400
To: IWC (Internat. Women’s Conference) [1053], Parijata2@aol.com
Subject: Re: Re: DOW
------------------------------------------------------------

In a message dated 7/14/98 7:36:11 AM, Prtha wrote:

> If nothing is done about it they will gain some ground, confusing the
> innocent with their so-called preaching.

It’s possible that they are so out-to-prove their amazing chastity and submission to the leaders, that they will do it even if that means preventing a change which would make our KC more attractive to Americans (what to speak of others).

>Anyway, it should be pointed out to Svavasa and others that this woman
>who stood up in the temple room does not represent most women (where
>does she get her numbers from anyway?) and that DOW is not authoritzed
>by ISKCON.

Another aspect to the problem is that she isn’t from America, like a large


number of our “temple-devotee” women aren’t so it seems that Western women are kind of a minority here. They are from other countries where (most likely) women have fewer rights and less freedom and since many foreign women often come here to do service till they get their “green card” they aren’t going to complain or demand anything. They aren’t going to jeopardise their sponsorships before getting their “legal alien” status in this country. They have no leverage-they are practically slaves-come to think of it the Top Management treats most of the women like slaves. A while ago someone “big” here equated service I was doing to “slave labor”-while I was standing there...what a feeling. LA has so few American bhaktins and “temple-devotee” women that you can count them on one hand-almost. They let these poor girls know who’s boss.

>these are temple authorities who seem so pleased with what she has to say,


>they especially should consider the source and whether or not this is
>authorized by our society.

Please forgive my “knowing too much” but I know what I see. The management here doesn’t care what’s authorised by our society and the man in charge here was *put*in charge by Ramesvara AFTER said guru had fallen down and the only tangible difference between them is that one had on saffron and the other now has on white-ie, he has exactly the same amount of power. Please remember that GBC resolution in ‘95 (#9) written especially for N. America saying it was now a *Standard* that women shall have 1/2 the temple for all artikas and it was IGNORED in LA as was the message of the women’s conference here last December. The “DOWs” and LA management have become partners in crime. Does anyone else find that frustrating, uh, I mean interesting?


YS Varsana Dasi
PS Better vows than DOWS. :)
(Text COM:1508807) ---------------

7.3
>Date: Wed, 15 Jul 98 01:25 -0400
>From: “COM: xyz@com.bbt.se>
> >Reply-To: xyz@com.bbt.se, IWC@com.bbt.se
>To: “COM: IWC (Internat. Women’s Conference)”
>To: “Krsna Devata”
>To: Parijata2@aol.com
>Cc: “COM: Shyamasundara ACBSP”
>Cc: btb@georgian.net
>Subject: Re: DOW
>Lines: 53
>
>[Text 1508789 from COM]
>
>> However, we are not going to be able to conduct any kind of constructive
>> discussion with DOW type women if we condemn them. They have
>> internalized what they have heard all their lives, and are doing what they
>> think is right for their spiritual lives. If we forget our own humility and
>> compassion we will get no where. What can we agree on? Let’s focus on
>> that first and then discuss the difficult stuff when there is some love and
>> trust developed. Otherwise, it will just be a fight. Do we really need more
>> mud slinging. Let us focus on how we can bridge the gap. It is the only
>> way that the movement is going to survive for the next 10,000 years.
>> YS
>> Krsna-devata dd
>
>Dear Devotees,
>
>Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
>
>Being probably the least senior person present, I feel reluctant and
>inadequate to comment. However, by this point I have to, just to clarfiy.
>Thank youfor the opportunity to address you all.
>
>Dear Krsna-devata prabhu, thank you so much for the comment above! I
>agree with you very much on this point, and it should be a point for
>everyone in both conferences.
>
>I am a member of both, and just as a person I don’t feel it’s right or
>productive to just lump everyone into some category, and make negative
>general statements about them. Someone could status DoW, see my name,
>and assume I am some intolerant woman hater, or various other comments.
>DoW is not the “Down on Women” conference, and it’s not right to imply that
>it is. Especially if the statements implying this are made by people who
>aren’t members of the conference itself, who don’t view all of the exchanges
>by all of the members, and don’t know all the members.
>
>It’s very discouraging for someone like me, being pretty dang new in
>ISKCON, to see all the seniors above me put each other down in such a way.
>It makes me very sad for the movement. I hope all the others can follow
>your advice, Krsna-devata prabhu. Your words are sweet.
>
>“Your love for me will be shown by how well you cooperate together” or
>however it was decided the comment was said by Srila Prabhupada. :-)
>
>Please forgive any impudence or offenses I may have made, I am not
>meaning to instruct. I hope I don’t get harsh words at me here in the
>conference, as I am only trying to ask for some consideration for all of us,
>not just most of us. I also want to say that by all means, if members here
>want to say their opinions of DoW and it’s members, negative or not, I have
>nothing I will say or think about that. I just don’t want to be judged and
>stereotyped, after all who would? I just want to be able to view the texts
>in both conferences without feeling like I am unwelcome here. Thanks for
>listening everyone, and Hare Krsna.
>
>your grateful servant,
>xyz

7.4
Text COM:1510502 (90 lines)
From: (xyz)
Date: 15-Jul-98 14:03 -0400
To: IWC (Internat. Women’s Conference) [1056],
Parijata2@aol.com (sent: 15-Jul-98 20:09 +0200)
Subject: Re:Dow
------------------------------------------------------------
> <<>
>
> I wouldn’t be so sure of that. It is not necessary to become a member of
> DOW, at this point, to know what their belief and preaching is all about.
> After all, Sita was on IWC first and could not surrender to it, so her and
> her husband became self-appointed authorities and started something
> seperate from the ISKCON conference already established and authorized.

Dear Prtha, thank you for your kind letter, and not considering me to be


offensive. Concerning your above point, I wanted to humbly say that although Sita and her husband are the organizers, that doesn’t mean
everyone agrees with everything they say, and preaches accordingly.

I am also not exactly sure what you mean by they are self-appointed


authorities? Are they in charge of something else too, besides DoW?

> I don’t see philosophizing as putting each other down, though I do see


> calling a spade a spade going on, and Prabhupada has used that term
> himself. It is sometimes a necessity.

Prabhupada has used the term “calling a spade a spade” you mean? What


exactly are you referring to when you say that? Would it be fair to say it
might be a matter of opinion in some cases, considering that not everyone
agrees that their preaching is hurting the movement, or putting women down? There are some very sober women devotees who are members and don’t think it puts women down. Older women devotees, as well as some younger ones. Prabhupada disciples, etc....There are also others who disagree, as with anything, but the members still try to maintain etiquette.

> When there is disagreement we have to remember that it takes both sides


> to disagree. DOW is fighting too.
>
I agree wholeheartedly, and have posted a letter very similar to this one in
there as well.

> <<“Your love for me will be shown by how well you cooperate together” or


> however it was decided the comment was said by Srila Prabhupada. :-)>>
>
> Yes, of course, but it doesn’t mean to lower the standard or change the
> philosophy in order to cooperate.

What standard are you speaking of lowering here? I am also wondering


what you mean by change the philosophy?

> I only want to point out that I feel is a real danger from DOW, their


> misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Prabhuapda’s words and
> teachings. DOW encourages a woman’s low self-esteem in the name of God.
> Their concept of *traditional roles* is a far cry from aham brahmasmi.

By this point my confusion stems from this fact: the arguments placed in


this post by you are practically word for word the arguments placed by DoW
members about the attitudes expressed in IWC. (Misconceptions, hurting the
movement, misunderstanding the philosophy)

Maybe I could ask you some questions, in an interview type of way, that you


could answer for me. I could place some sastric references and debatable
issues, and you could tell me how they don’t conform to tradition.

Of course, I could maybe ask you to do this in private, since others here have expressed there obvious dislike for any DoW members, and might not be interested in trying to understand. Let me know what you think.

> It will lead to such confusion and discouragement, though I do
> respect it as each individuals choice.

This statement is a bit unclear, concerning what you said at the beginning


of your post. You said Sita started something seperate from what was already established and authorized. Isn’t that what women did in this country when they began the women’s rights movement? Isn’t that what women are doing in this conference now, trying to change the status quo of women being mistreated? So, isn’t it DoW’s individual choice to try to preach that women take a surrendered role, without being viewed as dangerous?

I also need to point out that part of what I am doing is playing Devil’s advocate, because I don’t always agree with everything said in there. After


all, I am in both conferences to try to understand. If I get some understanding of this, then perhaps I could convey what I have learned to
others, in an effort to stop some of the animosity.

> I would never judge or sterotype you and feel you are a very sincere


> devotee. :-)

Thank you, Prtha, for your consideration. I appreciate you being patient


with my ignorance and silly questions. Hare Krsna.

your ignorant servant


xyz dd


7.5
Text COM:1510877 (125 lines)
From: Internet: Parijata2@aol.com
Date: 15-Jul-98 16:09 -0400
To: IWC (Internat. Women’s Conference) [1059]
Subject: Re: Dow
------------------------------------------------------------
In a message dated 98-07-15 14:03:51 EDT, you write:

<< Dear Prtha, thank you for your kind letter, and not considering me to be
offensive. Concerning your above point, I wanted to humbly say that although Sita and her husband are the organizers, that doesn’t mean everyone agrees with everything they say, and preaches accordingly.>>

Of course not, but we still take on the qualities of those we associate with,


it just may take time.

>>I am also not exactly sure what you mean by they are self-appointed


authorities? Are they in charge of something else too, besides DoW?<<

No. Being in charge of DOW was sufficient.

I said:
> I don’t see philosophizing as putting each other down, though I do
> see calling a spade a spade going on, and Prabhupada has used that term
> himself. It is sometimes a necessity.

You said:


> Prabhupada has used the term “calling a spade a spade” you mean?
> What exactly are you referring to when you say that? <<<<

I am referring to saying that DOW is wrong in much of it’s preaching. They are practicing Hinduism, not Prabhupada’s real teachings.

>>>Would it be fair to say it might be a matter of opinion in some cases,
considering that not everyone agrees that their preaching is hurting the
movement, or putting women down?<<<

I dont really think it is that much a matter of opinion. It is a matter of


understanding Prabhupada’s books, etc.. If one just reads the books, etc., with an open mind, they will see this is Prabhuapda’s opinion, not mine.

>> There are some very sober women devotees who are members and don’t >> think it puts women down. Older women devotees, as well as some


>> younger ones. Prabhupada disciples, etc....There are also others who
>> disagree, as with anything, but the members still try to maintain
>> etiquette.<<

It has little to do with these things and has to do with what is really the


philosophy.

You said:


> <<“Your love for me will be shown by how well you cooperate together” or however it was decided the comment was said by Srila Prabhupada. :-)>>

I replied:


> Yes, of course, but it doesn’t mean to lower the standard or change the
> philosophy in order to cooperate.

You responded:


>>>What standard are you speaking of lowering here? I am also wondering what you mean by change the philosophy?<<

If you had read previous posts you would see how Sita have been told by many that the Manu-samhita she follows as well as many other things are not Prabhupada’s teachings. He gave us all we need.

I said:
> I only want to point out that I feel is a real danger from DOW, their
> misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Prabhuapda’s words and
> teachings. DOW encourages a woman’s low self-esteem in the name of God.
> Their concept of *traditional roles* is a far cry from aham brahmasmi.

You replied:


>>By this point my confusion stems from this fact: the arguements placed in this post by you are practically word for word the arguements placed by DoW members about the attitudes expressed in IWC. (Misconceptions,
hurting the movement, misunderstanding the philosophy)<<

Of course they will say the same thing. So, it is important to read Prabhuapda’s books to gain a real understanding of his teachings rather than


go back and forth between the two conferences.

>> Maybe I could ask you some questions, in an interview type of way, that you could answer for me. I could place some sastric references and debateable issues, and you could tell me how they don’t conform to tradition.<<

I am not into an interview or to be drilled with shastra. Tired of all that.
The philosophy is so simple. We wish to make it complicated. I do not wish to debate. Just read the books open mindedly and try to understand. Some read them and try NOT to understand.

>> Of course, I could maybe ask you to do this in private, since others here


have expressed there obvious dislike for any DoW members, and might not be interested in trying to understand. Let me know what you think.<<

If I did it, I would do it in public. But as I said, I am tired of shastric debates which can go on forever. This process is simple for the simple..

I said:
> It will lead to such confusion and discouragement, though I do respect it as >each individuals choice.

You replied:


>>>This statement is a bit unclear, concerning what you said at the beginning of your post. You said Sita started something separate fromwhat was already established and authorized. Isn’t that what women did in this country when
they began the women’s rights movement? Isn’t that what women are doing in this conference now, trying to change the status quo of women being
mistreated? So, isn’t it DoW’s individual choice to try to preach that women
take a surrendered role, without being viewed as dangerous?<<<

I think this statement is real clear, but if you don’t want to understand it,


you won’t. I have no problem with someone doing something different, but I do have a problem with them twisting the philosophy and trying to convince others they are teaching Prabhupada’s true teachings. To misrepresent Prabhupada IS dangerous. And Sita, DOW, is not about women’s rights. Again, it comes down to you studying the books for yourself, but also study his lectures as well as his letters. There are many things in those that are not in the books.

>> I also need to point out that part of what I am doing is playing Devil’s


advocate, because I don’t always agree with everything said in there.<<<

Playing devils advocate can be intense. It could have karmic backlash. Be


careful.

>>If I get some understanding of this, then perhaps I could convey what I


have learned to others, in an effort to stop some of the animosity.<<<

This is a big task you are taking on. You could get hurt. Better to just stick


one hand in ones bead bag, chant Hare Krishna, follow the 4 regs and go to the morning program, engage in devotional service daily. Until all these things are done it is not wise to try to fix anything.

Y.S.,
Prtha dd


(Text COM:1510877) -----------------------------------------

7.6
Text COM:1510606 (30 lines)
From: Internet: Deborah Jean Warren
Date: 15-Jul-98 10:08 -0700
To: IWC (Internat. Women’s Conference) [1057]
Subject: Re: Criticism
------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Respected Vaisnavis:

From Krsna-devata’s posting: “Bir Krsna Swami, Badrinarayan Prabhu, and


Virabahu Prabhu spoke the glories of Svavas Prabhu, said that criticism was
destroying the movement, we shouldn’t criticize or listen to anybody who does; Any questions?”

It’s exactly this kind of dysfunctional, dictatorial attitudes by unqualified,


untrained leaders that has been destroying Srila Prabhupada’s movement for
many, many years. Why are devotees with no training in leadership and
inspiring others, not even basic people skills, put in positions of leadership
over the most special people in the world? Srila Prabhupada said, “We spill
gallons of blood to make one devotee,” and considered it a tragedy every time someone went away. Devotees come to the movement bright and hopeful, wanting to surrender everything to Krishna. After awhile they become discouraged and go away, one by one, because of bad management and mistreatment more than any other reason. I saw lots of it in my years at the LA temple.

Srila Prabhupada always held the leaders accountable when there were failures, not the “rank and file” devotees. Every leader should consider himself the humble servant of the devotees, not the lord of all he surveys.

Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
Mamata devi dasi


7.7
>X-Sender: ekstrand@pop.slip.net
>>Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:58:15 -0700
>>To: btb@georgian.net
>>From: “Parijata2”

>>Subject: Re: questions from Sita


>>
>>[Text 1044695 from COM]
>>
>>It sounds too me that Sita is stubborn and refuses to hear. She wants to
>>convert, not to hear. I wish her well but do not enjoy her fanaticism. Also,
>>it appears she is on the mental platform. Good luck Sita, you’re going to
>>need it.
>>
>>YS,
>>Prtha devi dasi

7.8
From: Sita Devi Dasi
>Subject: BKG

>
>Some questions I had asked Bir Krsna Swami in January based on a >he >comment made that was posted on IWC (something about a woman being


>upset about a brahmacari in a temple saying men should be served
>prasadam first).
>
>Dear Bir Krishna Maharaja,
>
>Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
>
>You wrote:
>
>>>>Obviously there is no rule that men get served first. There is a Vaisnava
>>>>rule that there should be no discrimination against any Vaisnava in
>>>>spiritual life.
>
>I just wondered though, whether you are hereby suggesting that wives give
>up the practice of serving prasadam to their husbands and male guests
>first? Also, if a group of women were sitting down for prasadam and there
>was a group of sannyasis there also, isn’t the proper etiquette to feed the
>sannyasis first?
>
>Hoping for your clarification.
>
>Your servant, Sita dd
>
>>BKG>>No that is Vedic etiquette.
>
>>Sdd>How is that not a contradiction though?
>
>>BKG>>What I said was that if a Vaisnava was discriminated *against* on the
>>basis of what type of body they had, then that would be improper.
>
>>Sdd >But this Vedic etiquette is based on bodily discrimination. You said
>>“there is no rule that men get served first.” But there are indeed Vedic
>>rules supporting this. You also said “this brahmacary who discriminated >>against another Vaisnava should be informed before he ruins his spiritual >>life.” But if the girl was on the platform of Vaisnava, then why did she >>object to serving the other devotee first?
>>
>>>Please note the following:
>>>
>>>7.14.18
>>>
>>>PURPORT
>>>Whenever there is a ceremony for distribution of prasada, the prasada is
>>>offered first to the brahmanas, then to the children and old men, then to
>>>the women, and then to animals like dogs and other domestic animals.
>>>
>>>I haven’t seen where Prabhupada says this does not apply to devotees.
>>>Maybe you can provide a reference though. Otherwise, I would assume
>>>that it is correct to serve male-bodied devotees first (sannyasis then other
>>>brahmanas first in that group) then children (that would include female
>>>children) and old men, then to women, then to animals.
>>>
>>>>>Also, if a group of women were sitting down for prasadam and there
>>>>>was a group of sannyasis there also, isn’t the proper etiquette to feed the
>>>>>sannyasis first?

>>>>>>>
>>BKG>>That depends upon upon the situation and whether the sannyasis


>>>>were godbrothers or godnephews or even disciples.
>>
>>Sdd>I don’t see what difference it would make if the sannyasis were
>>godbrothers etc. Can you please explain further? Also, since there is an
>>injunction against women having diksha disciples, how would her being
>>siksa guru put her above a sannyasi in terms of social etiquette?
>>
>>BKG>>What about the case where one of the women was the guru for one
>>>> or all of the sannyasis?
>>
>>Sdd>I don’t know what case that is.
>>>
>>>Please correct me if I have misunderstood something.
>--
>Bir Krsna Goswami initially said he would answer them but posted them >instead to the IWC conference with the following introduction:
>
>“Here is part of an exchange I just had with Sita (the wife of Jivan Mukta
>in Canada). I thought I would give some of the members of this conference
>the opportunity to reply to some of her sexist viewpoints. Please respond
>to this so I can get back to her. It is important that we deal with these
>issues.”
>
>BKG then said he was too busy in preparation for Mayapura to answer the
>questions which included whether Prabhupada ever instituted or approved >of women as GBC or even TP’s for that matter.

7.9
(sent privately)
>Date: Wed, 21 Jan 98 22:30 +0100
>From: “COM: Bir Krishna das Goswami”
>Sender: Bir.Krishna.das.Goswami@com.bbt.se
>To: btb@georgian.net
>Subject: “her sexist viewpoints”
>[Text 1051782 from COM]
>
>I publically apologise for calling some the viewpoints that you wife had as
>sexist.
--------

(Jivan Mukta Dasa’s reply:)

[Date: Thur, 22 Jan 98]
To: “COM: Bir Krishna das Goswami”
From: Back To Basics
Subject: Re: “her sexist viewpoints”

Dear Bir Krsna Maharaja,

PAMHO. AGTSP.

>I publically apologise for calling some the viewpoints that you wife had as


>sexist.

1. “I publically apologise....”

I haven’t seen this apology or any other from you posted on the conference
in which the incident occurred (IWC). Is it forthcoming?

2. “I publically apologise for calling some the viewpoints...

Do you mean to say that SOME of her viewpoints continue to be sexist?

3. The questions and comments she sent to you were private. You chose to


not only bring them out onto a public forum but to humiliate her by calling
her sincere concerns about these controversial matters “sexist.” She feels
violated by your breach of trust.

4. You gave her your word that you would respond to her questions and after all of this you refuse to do so?

I don’t understand why it has to be such an ordeal to get a clear and
unambigious apology from you. My request is that we put this distasteful
reminder of past abuses of position and authority behind us by an exemplary and sincere apology from you.

I look forward to your early reply.

Your servant,
Jivan Mukta Dasa
-----------------

[Date: Wed, 4 Feb 98]


To: Bir Krishna Goswami
From: Sita Devi Dasi
Subject: Re: reply to Bir Krishna das Goswami

Pamho.


>I really have to apologise.

My husband thinks so too; what to do?

>As much as I would like to continue the discussion. I am unable to because
>of >the work load and preparing to go to India. Sorry.

I can wait until after you get back for the reply you promised.

Ys, Sdd
--------

Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 12:52:09 -0500


From: Bir Krishna Goswami
Subject: Re: reply to Bir Krishna das Goswami
Sender: Bir Krishna Goswami
To: Sita Devi Dasi
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by blue.georgian.net

I apologise.

You can post this anywhere you want. No confidentiality.
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