Notes from a think tank



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Members of GHQ

P.S. For more information about the aims and objectives of GHQ, as well as to view other papers presented by GHQ members mentioned in this presentation, we cordially invite encourage you to visit <www.ghq.org>


Method of Presentation

The format is:



25 Articles

14 Appendices, called “Sections”

____________________________________________________________________




Articles

The twenty-five articles mainly address, point for point, the various statements made by “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” in his VNN article of November 18, 1998, entitled “Conspiracy To Terminate The ISKCON Women’s Ministry.” Each article is headlined by one of his statements. The sections are collections of exculpatory e-mails grouped under a general topic. Most of these texts were posted on GHQ, although several are private e-mails between members. When a text from the sections is referred to or quoted, we use the nomenclature: (x,y), where x indicates the section, and y the text number.



Article 1. Choice of language

Article 2. Conspiracy

Article 3. Secrecy

Article 4. Organized by Shyamasundara (the astrologer)

Article 5. Rights and propensities

Article 6. “Dharma of Women” Conference

Article 7. Strategically renamed

Article 8. Women not acting according to Vedic principles

Article 9. Selective use of quotes

Article 10. In a state of war

Article 11. Sadhusangananda

Article 12. Sita was the only woman

Article 13. Intended to disempower women

Article 14. Damaging the reputations of Vaisnavi leaders

Article 15. Dossiers of “dirt”

Article 16. Strategy to get women to lose their “cool”

Article 17. Feminism: A form of atheism or Mayavada

Article 18. BSST and the brahmana/Vaisnava debate

Article 19. These men are not genuinely interested in women’s concerns

Article 20. Mother Malati’s GBC appointment criticized

Article 21. Women not having souls

Article 22. Only tactical and cosmetic

Article 23. Art of deception

Article 24. Earl of Chesterfield

Article 25. Conspiracy

____________________________________________________________________


In several e-mails we do not reveal the names of the sender, honoring the sender’s request for anonymity and protection from anticipated verbal attacks from feminist opponents.

1. Choice of language
We first request our reader to consider the particular use of language by “Ardhabuddhi Dasa.” Such words as: “conspiracy,” “secrecy,” “strategically,” and such, normally evoke negative emotions----fear, distrust, anger, etc.----from the reader. They conjure sinister images of the JFK assassination, CIA covert operations, Mafia hit-men, the KGB, and similar conspiracy and cover-up scandals portrayed by the media. Upon reading “Ardhabuddhi Dasa’s” account, the innocent devotee immediately feels antipathy towards the GHQ “conspirators.” We suggest that this was not at all accidental but rather a calculated use of wording designed to arouse adverse emotions. We shall demonstrate this by showing that the subject matter of GHQ is not at all what “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” professes it to be.

2. Conspiracy


“Ardhabuddhi Dasa” would have us believe that the GHQ forum was a conspiracy. But GHQ members perceived otherwise. This is how Bhasu Ghosh Prabhu, temple president of ISKCON-Baroda and core member of GHQ, understood its purpose:
(September 24th, 1998, four days before the forum was created

by the COM sysops)


“As I understand it Maharaja, GHQ is going to be a think tank with the mandate to prepare a paper with proposals to the GBC to check apasiddhanta in the form of “feminism” in ISKCON. So...” (5.3)
Standard dictionary meaning of the word “conspiracy” is as follows:
conspiracy, n., 1. An agreement to perform together an illegal, treacherous, or evil act. 2. A combining or acting together, as if by evil design: a conspiracy of natural forces. 3. Law. An agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime or to accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.
Perhaps we are wrong, but as far as we can see, “a think tank with the mandate to prepare proposals to the GBC,” hardly fits the definition of “conspiracy.” We must ask why “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” ascribes such sinister associations to GHQ? GHQ members broke no ISKCON law, nor the law of any sovereign state. We did not plot murder, drug-smuggling, money-laundering, or any other nefarious acts. Nor did we seek to accomplish our purposes through illegal action such as bribery, witness-tampering, etc. That GHQ was endeavoring to fulfill its mandate according to due process for reform within ISKCON is verified upon review of the “PRESENTATION FORMAT” in Section 1.2.
We suggest that “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” and the parties whom he represents are the real conspirators, by dint of their attempts to obstruct due process of ISKCON law. Fearing that GHQ might succeed in its mission, they conspired to obstruct the proceedings of GHQ through various illegal activities, according to ISKCON law. A full investigation is requested and required to determine exactly which ISKCON laws and laws of secular government were broken by “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” and company.
We strongly suggest that the future of ISKCON is in jeopardy if the authorized process for reform may so easily be overturned by unscrupulous parties. For a detailed account of their conspiracy see Article 25.

3. Secrecy


“...a secret COM conference called GHQ”
“Ardhabuddhi Dasa” would have us believe that there is something inherently wrong or sinister about a secret COM conference. If that be the case, then the Women’s Ministry conference is also suspect. It is a small group of women, with no men allowed. The conference is private and now hidden on COM. No outsiders can know the content of their discussions. (Is it therefore a sinister group of individuals planning mayhem?)
Of course, there are legitimate reasons for private (or as “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” calls them “secret”) meetings. Shyamasundara Dasa discussed this point with Bharata Sreshta Dasa, the organizer of the VAST conference, which is also a private (secret) conference, postings to which may not be further distributed:
BSd. The first point, about closed door meetings, requires a context. Certainly some kinds of decisions should be made in full public view. Many others should not. Confidentiality is a major factor in both personal relationships and management. Perhaps some people like to wear their feelings on their sleeve; but most other people will be neither candid nor creative in a public forum.
Sd. I just wanted to show that simply because something is behind closed doors doesn’t make it bad. There are plenty of closed forums around, why ours couldn’t be? What makes it bad for us, but okay for others?
BSd. I agree completely. Deborah Tannen is foremost in this field. Her research shows convincingly that if you put it all out front you actually deny a voice to many people, so what looks public is actually the opposite.
As a think tank, the mood of GHQ was informal and friendly, to facilitate free expression and exchange of ideas--brainstorming--without fear of ridicule for immature or unrefined ideas. As such, it was best organized as a private forum; that is the nature of think tanks. Many situations warrant that discussions remain private and not public. For example, elders should not quarrel in the presence of children, but rather in private. Similarly, GHQ was meant for private discussions concerning internal ISKCON matters. Whenever the finished products of those discussions would be complete, they would then be made public. This is simply a normal way to handle such matters.

4. Organized by Shyamasundara (the astrologer)


As other members of GHQ have already pointed out, Shyamasundara Dasa was not the head of GHQ----it was a joint effort. Please now turn your attention to the two texts in Section 1, which explain:
1. Why there were no women on GHQ.

2. How Shyamasundara Prabhu became the “organizer” of GHQ.

3. That GHQ wanted input from chaste ladies.

4. That chaste ladies convinced GHQ members to refine their manner of speech.



5. Rights and propensities
...individuals with the right to serve guru and Krsna according to their propensities.”
We shall only lightly touch upon the philosophical issues raised in “Ardhabuddhi Dasa’s” expose, for they have already been addressed masterfully by Ameyatma Dasa, Vidvan Gauranga Dasa, Jivan Mukta Dasa, and others. (To see these texts please visit our website www.ghq.org where these and many other philosophical texts on the subject of dharma are kept and new ones added daily.)
The essential point for us to emphasize herein is explained by Lord Krsna in Bhagavad-gita 2.47:
karmany evadhikaras te
ma phalesu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
ma te sango ‘stv akarmani

“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”
PURPORT

“There are three considerations here: prescribed duties, capricious work, and inaction. Prescribed duties are activities enjoined in terms of one’s acquired modes of material nature. Capricious work means actions without the sanction of authority, and inaction means not performing one’s prescribed duties. The Lord advised that Arjuna not be inactive, but that he perform his prescribed duty without being attached to the result. One who is attached to the result of his work is also the cause of the action. Thus he is the enjoyer or sufferer of the result of such actions.


“As far as prescribed duties are concerned, they can be fitted into three subdivisions, namely routine work, emergency work and desired activities. Routine work performed as an obligation in terms of the scriptural injunctions, without desire for results, is action in the mode of goodness. Work with results becomes the cause of bondage; therefore such work is not auspicious. Everyone has his proprietary right in regard to prescribed duties, but should act without attachment to the result; such disinterested obligatory duties doubtlessly lead one to the path of liberation.
“Arjuna was therefore advised by the Lord to fight as a matter of duty without attachment to the result. His nonparticipation in the battle is another side of attachment. Such attachment never leads one to the path of salvation. Any attachment, positive or negative, is cause for bondage. Inaction is sinful. Therefore, fighting as a matter of duty was the only auspicious path of salvation for Arjuna.”

Vedic culture is neither democratic nor libertarian. Everyone has his duty, according to varnasrama-dharma. Sannyasis, vanaprasthas, grhasthas, and brahmacaris each have specific duties. So also, members of the four varnas-- brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra--each have prescribed duties. Similarly, women have designated duties. (Cf. If a sannyasi were to perform the duties of another asrama, he would not actually be a sannyasi and so would be criticized.) Each must perform his duties. That is our only right.


Women have specific duties to perform, as detailed in the sastras. Some women may not like to perform their prescribed duties, being less adept at them. They might say, “I don’t have the propensity to be a housewife.” They might be more capable to do something else and therefore reason, “Let me give up my prescribed duties as a woman and follow my propensities to do what I can do best.” They will then neglect their husbands, children, and household affairs, generally renouncing stri-dharma to pursue their “propensities” and in so doing disturb the duties of others who depended on them to act as proper mothers and wives. But in the above verse, Krsna says “never be attached to not doing your duty.” He further states in Bhagavad-gita 18.47:
sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah
para-dharmat sv-anusthitat
sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah
para-dharmo bhayavahah

“It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another’s duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.”


PURPORT

“One should therefore discharge his prescribed duties in full Krsna consciousness rather than those prescribed for others. Materially, prescribed duties are duties enjoined according to one’s psychophysical condition, under the spell of the modes of material nature. Spiritual duties are as ordered by the spiritual master for the transcendental service of Krsna. But whether material or spiritual, one should stick to his prescribed duties even up to death, rather than imitate another’s prescribed duties. Duties on the spiritual platform and duties on the material platform may be different, but the principle of following the authorized direction is always good for the performer. When one is under the spell of the modes of material nature, one should follow the prescribed rules for his particular situation and should not imitate others. For example, a brahmana, who is in the mode of goodness, is nonviolent, whereas a ksatriya, who is in the mode of passion, is allowed to be violent. As such, for a ksatriya it is better to be vanquished following the rules of violence than to imitate a brahmana who follows the principles of nonviolence. Everyone has to cleanse his heart by a gradual process, not abruptly. However, when one transcends the modes of material nature and is fully situated in Krsna consciousness, he can perform anything and everything under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. In that complete stage of Krsna consciousness, the ksatriya may act as a brahmana, or a brahmana may act as a ksatriya. In the transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not apply. For example, Visvamitra was originally a ksatriya, but later on he acted as a brahmana, whereas Parasurama was a brahmana but later on he acted as a ksatriya. Being transcendentally situated, they could do so; but as long as one is on the material platform, he must perform his duties according to the modes of material nature. At the same time, he must have a full sense of Krsna consciousness.”


For a woman to give up her prescribed duties to instead assume the duties of a man is condemned by Lord Krsna. Srila Prabhupada often gave the example that when a man becomes frustrated in his attempts to achieve some grand material scheme, he then renounces the world and tries to become God. Similarly, some women who may not be skilled in womanly duties become frustrated by their shortcomings; they may thus pursue other activities in which they envision success. But this is not what Lord Krsna recommends. He recommends that a woman adhere to her womanly duties even if she is not skilled at them or does not like them. To do so is pleasing to the Lord.
In this regard some light is shed by the comment of a venerable old Bengali Mataji who lives in Sri Dham Mayapura, the birth place of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We should always remember that Mayapura is the heart of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Srila Prabhupada said that Bombay was his place of doing business, Vrndavana his residence, and Mayapura his place of worship. Such elderly cultured matajis who have worshiped Lord Gauranga all their lives embody the ideals of Vedic womanhood, not the Women’s Ministry. Her point being that by doing her womanly duties as an offering to Lord Krsna He will be pleased (she is specifically addressing those feminists who advocate that women should be allowed to lead kirtan, give classes, and do puja on the altar in Mayapura):
“Why can't they [feminist types] sit in their home and do these things? What is the difficulty in their doing puja at home to Deities? They can have kirtan at home twice a day. So what is the problem? Then the Lord Himself will come and take us to Him personally. It is greatly sinful to try to break conventions which have been established and instituted by exalted realized souls… …How can someone claim to be a Vaishnavi and NOT do her womanly duties?” ( 2.11)
(For comments of many other respectable and worshipable matajis living in the Holy dham please turn to Section 2.11)
Some Vaisnavis argue that because they are devotees they can therefore avoid such rules and regulations meant for ordinary women. But we may note in the Purport to Bg 18.47 above, that one is permitted to do so only when he has reached the perfect stage of Krsna consciousness–as exemplified by Visvamitra Rsi and Parasurama (an avatara, not a human). In other words, it is very rare, and not the rule. (By very rare we mean one in 10 billion.) Rather, we see that very great devotees such as Kunti Devi, the mother of the Pandavas, externally maintained her position as a woman and acted in that capacity, according to scriptural injunctions. Srila Prabhupada has so often stated (especially in Nectar of Devotion “The Handbook of Krsna Consciousness”) that great devotees virtually always maintain and act according to external social standards, while internally engaging in nitya-lila. But he warned us that it is a symptom of sahajiyas to imagine oneself as liberated and, on that pretext, neglect social constraints for the selfish, illicit gratification of one’s material bodily senses. Such contravention of scriptural injunctions governing behavior is a cause of spiritual falldown, as explained by Srila Rupa Goswami in his Upadesamrta Verse 2:
“One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.
In his comment on niyamägraha (4), the present subtopic of discussion, Srila Prabhupada comments:
…Accepting some of the scriptural rules and regulations for immediate benefit, as utilitarians advocate, is called niyama-ägraha, and neglecting the rules and regulations of the sastras, which are meant for spiritual development, is called niyama-agraha. The word ägraha means “eagerness to accept,” and agraha means “failure to accept.” By the addition of either of these two words to the word niyama (“rules and regulations”), the word niyamägraha is formed. Thus niyamägraha has a twofold meaning that is understood according to the particular combination of words. Those interested in Krsna consciousness should not be eager to accept rules and regulations for economic advancement, yet they should very faithfully accept scriptural rules and regulations for the advancement of Krsna consciousness. They should strictly follow the regulative principles by avoiding illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication…
Illicit sex can be reduced only by introducing certain codes of social behavior between the genders, as has been explained by Srila Prabhupada in many texts. He frequently cited Manu-samhita as the “Law book for Mankind” in that regard. Indeed, the four regulative principles mentioned above are directly from Manu-samhita, including the injunction to avoid eating onion and garlic. (We do not find the injunction against eating onion and garlic in the Gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam–it is found in Manu-samhita 5.5,19 and other dharma-sastras.) We mention this point because the advocates of the feminist heresy say that we should reject Manu-samhita as “materialistic.” But Manu-samhita is the very source of the four regulative principles which all Prabhupadanugas vow to uphold. By minimizing the authority of Manu-samhita, one thereby minimizes the importance of the regulative principles of freedom, though they are essential for our advancing in Krsna consciousness: “...they should very faithfully accept scriptural rules and regulations for the advancement of Krsna consciousness. They should strictly follow the regulative principles by avoiding illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication.” Upadesamrta Verse 2p (More references by Srila Prabhupada on Manu-samhita are provided in Section 10 of the Appendices.)
We often hear in the various flavors of feminist rhetoric that Krsna Consciousness is beyond bodily designations and at the level of the soul there is no distinction of male and female, thus, they reason, that anyone can do the duties of anyone else. We have already dealt with the flaw in this argument by pointing out that one must do their duty according to the material condition they find themselves in even at the cost of their lives:
“Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.” Bg 18.47
Another point is that the idea that there is a loss of distinction and everything becomes one is mayavad philosophy, please turn to Article 17 for a nice quote by Srila Prabhupada on this topic.
Let us examine another flaw in their argument. They casually use the term Krsna Conscious as if we were all perfectly realized. But Krsna Consciousness is not a cheap thing. In fact it is extremely difficult. The saying is that the Krsna Consciousness is very simple but very hard to achieve. Being simple does not equate to being easy. If it were so easy why have so many devotees had serious difficulties in their spiritual lives? Even so called “big guns”, sannyasis and spiritual masters have fallen by the way side. How could this be if they were Krsna Conscious? The answer is that they were not Krsna Conscious, at least not perfectly, but rather on the bodily concept of life. In reality Krsna Consciousness is extremely rare and difficult to achieve:
manusyanam sahasresu
kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mam vetti tattvatah

“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.” Bg 7.3


bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabhah

“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” Bg 7.19
The fact is that unless one is perfectly realized in their spiritual identity then they are on the bodily concept of life which means male-female consciousness. That means 99.9999999% of all members of ISKCON. Who is not on the bodily concept of life? We would like to know? Are the members of the Women’s Ministry free from the bodily concept of life? (Obviously not, otherwise they would not call their ministry after their material bodily designation?) Who, in ISKCON, is truly free of bodily consciousness?
“As long as a living entity is not completely self-realized-as long as he is not independent of the misconception of identifying with his body, which is nothing but a reflection of the original body and senses-he cannot be relieved of the conception of duality, which is epitomized by the duality between man and woman. Thus there is every chance that he will fall down because his intelligence is bewildered.
PURPORT

“Here is another important warning that a man must save himself from attraction to woman. Until one is self-realized, fully independent of the illusory conception of the material body, the duality of man and woman must undoubtedly continue, but when one is actually self-realized this distinction ceases.



vidya-vinaya-sampanne
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva svapake ca
panditah sama-darsinah

"The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste]." (Bg. 5.18) On the spiritual platform, the learned person not only gives up the duality of man and woman, but also gives up the duality of man and animal. This is the test of self-realization. One must realize perfectly that the living being is spirit soul but is tasting various types of material bodies. One may theoretically understand this, but when one has practical realization, then he actually becomes a pandita, one who knows. Until that time, the duality continues, and the conception of man and woman also continues. In this stage, one should be extremely careful about mixing with women. No one should think himself perfect and forget the sastric instruction that one should be very careful about associating even with his daughter, mother or sister, not to speak of other women. Srila Madhvacarya cites the following slokas in this regard:…” SB 7.12.10
As long as one is on the bodily concept of life, that is male-female consciousness, one must strictly follow the rules and regulations of the sastras regarding the duties of the varnas and ashramas and for women, their womanly duties as mothers and wives. How many feminists are off the bodily concept of life? None. If they were off the bodily concept of life then they would be atmarama and experiencing intense self-satisfaction because of the spiritual bliss of self-relization. However, rather than manifesting the symptoms of spiritual bliss of an atmarama the feminists are observed to be perennially carping about so many things which they think they need to be happy (for a humorous example of this see Ananda Prabhu’s letter to Hare Krishna World in the Appendices 12.2). For them there are so many material impediments to achieve spiritual happiness, which, if they could only be removed then they would be happy. But the sastra says there are no material impediments to spiritual life. It is all in their minds.
“Hearing King Prataparudra's determination, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya became thoughtful. Indeed, he was very much astonished to see the King's determination.
PURPORT

Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was astonished because such determination is not possible for a worldly man attached to material enjoyment. The King certainly had ample opportunity for material enjoyment, but he was thinking that his kingdom and everything else was useless if he could not see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is certainly sufficient cause for astonishment. In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that bhakti, devotional service, must be unconditional. No material impediments can actually check the advancement of devotional service, be it executed by a common man or a king. In any case, devotional service rendered to the Lord is always complete, despite the devotee's material position. Devotional service is so exalted that it can be executed by anyone in any position. One must simply be drdha-vrata, firmly determined.” Madhya 11.51


There is no material impediment for advancing in devotional service if someone is sincere. No matter what situation a person may find themselves in, they can still do service to the Lord and make spiritual advancement, if they are sincere. If they are not sincere then they will make so many excuses why they cannot serve or advance.
“We don't know what the other women think, but those of us who have been carefully trained up in Indian culture find it OBNOXIOUS to be in the limelight and allow our bodies to be observed by so many men. The same holds for leading kirtans as the temple kirtan and giving Bhagavatam class in the temple room.
“What is the problem for the Vaishnavis? They can certainly do puja/ arati/ kirtans in their homes. Why SPECIFICALLY in the temple? Why not at homes? It is better for Vaishnavis to not be so manly. We would like to be the women that Srila Prabhupada wants us to be and we would like to see this kind of cultural development encouraged here.
“This mood of "Oh! The men are doing this; we will ALSO do it!" seems to be more competitive than spiritual.
“In any case, if we want to do arati or lead kirtan for Radha Madhava, we can do it in our mind. What is the problem? We can do arati to Radha Madhava 20,000 times a day. Nobody is stopping us. According to the shastra we get the SAME result anyway. We would rather go for the result than try to get the recognition and appreciation that we are leading kirtan in the temple hall disregarding Vedic conventions.
“It appears to us that these demands may not be really motivated by desires for purely pleasing the Lord. The Lord has created Vedic culture where His male-bodied devotees and female-bodied devotees could serve in ways appropriately (not in the same way). Rather than consider a few activities of Srila Prabhupada on how he dealt with women and try to push forward the idea that Vaishnavis NEED to do the same activities as the male-bodied devotees, we would like to focus on the larger body of Srila Prabhupada's teachings on what the DUTIES of Vaishnavi women are. (Section 2.11)
We do not hear that Hari Dasa Thakura (born a Muslim) complained about being denied entrance into the Jagannatha Temple. (Did he even try to enter? The same goes for Rupa and Santana Goswamis who were also denied access because of their previous connections with the Muslim government. Rather than create a disturbance in society (like some of our members are doing) they continued to perform devotional service to the Lord in what ever capacity available to them. Because of their sincerity in devotional service the Lord, as Lord Caitanya, would come to see them personally. Hari Dasa Thakura, Rupa and Santana Goswamis are our acaryas, the role models that we should follow. They show us how to make real spiritual advancement despite any real or imagined impediments. How did they accomplish that? By being humble and acting within their own realm of influence. In whatever situation a person is in, if they are sincere and have a taste for spiritual life, they can chant Hare Krsna and read sastras like Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam which are the real sources of spiritual advancement. Anyone can worship the Lord Krsna, it is very simple for those who are humble:
adhyesyate ca ya imam
dharmyam samvadam avayoh
jnana-yajnena tenaham
istah syam iti me matih

“And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.” Bg 18.70
Simply by reading Srimad Bhagavatam one performs devotional service:
“And by the constant hearing of the messages of the Bhagavad-gita, and later of Srimad-Bhagavatam, one is assured herein by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami that he will reach the Personality of Godhead and render Him transcendental loving service in the spiritual planet of the name Goloka Vrndavana, which resembles a huge lotus flower.
Thus by the process of bhakti-yoga, directly accepted, as suggested in this verse, by sufficient hearing of the transcendental message of the Lord, the material contamination is directly eliminated without one's attempting to contemplate the impersonal virat conception of the Lord. And by practicing bhakti-yoga, if the performer is not purified from the material contamination, he must be a pseudodevotee. For such an imposter there is no remedy for being freed from material entanglement.” SB 2.2.37p
This political agitation on the part of the feminists for equal rights and wanting to do the service of the men, is creating a serious social disturbance in ISKCON, and seems to stem from a lack of spiritual self-satisfaction on the part of the agitators. Such spiritual self-saisfaction is easily available if they simply follow the process of sravanam-kirtanam, reading and chanting. Unless they can get a taste of real spiritual life they will never be satisfied with their material pursuit of power and its fruit of labha-puja-pratishta. We shall discuss more on this topic in Article 13.
Returning to our main point: While embodied in this material world, even we practitioners of spiritual life, should perform the duties prescribed to us according to our material situation. By so doing, we will achieve perfection. And this applies equally well to women.
“By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. Now please hear from Me how this can be done.” (Bg 18.45)
See Section 2 for examples of individual ladies who:
1. Could understand simply from reading Srila Prabhupada’s books what her duties as a woman were.

2. Was very independent but later surrendered to her duty and became happy.

3. Was frustrated by failure in her womanly duties but determined to succeed in those duties nevertheless.

4. Testimonies from serious Vaisnavis residing in Sri Dham Mayapura.


We should like to say, as will become evident in Article 19, that GHQ was not concerned only with women’s duties exclusive from those of men. We realized and emphasized that women in general would not naturally be able to perform their duties properly unless men first performed their own prescribed duties.
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