I do not know exactly when or where the ladies began to be addressed as
“Mother this” or “Mother that,” certainly it was not from the earlier days.
However, I feel that “Mataji” is far more respectful in its vibration and sounds less ‘cultish.’ Imagine also being from NYC, where people call each other “Mother ____” (a nasty four letter word. Often they just drop the four-letter word and only say “Mother....” in a very insinuating manner. (Quite awful!) And, it sounds especially weird in a public forum to be addressed as “Mother so & so.” (I can honestly tell you that I cringe whenever that occurs to me.)
Srila Prabhupada did NOT address us as “Mother,” therefore, I can not see the need for anyone else to add that address to my given name of Malati.
Particularly among matajis, why call each “Mother?” (Unless perhaps you
Are gay and are trying to reduce the attraction. After all, this is why men
Call women “mother,” in order to reduce the possibility of improper attraction). Prabhupada did say that the men should see all women as “Mother.” BUT still, he did not call us like that.
Of course, if you like the appellation “Mother,” NO PROBLEM! It is just not for everyone’s taste and it is not a true Prabhupada standard.
Your servant, Malati dd
------ End of forwarded message –
11.2 Date: Fri, 18 Sep 98 18:02 +0200
From: “COM: Gunamani (dd) ARD (Arhus - DK)” To: COM: Malati (dd) ACBSP (Columbus - USA) ,
COM: Sridhari (dd) JPS (Mendoza - ARG) ,
WWW: Madhusudani Radha (Devi Dasi) JPS (Berkeley CA - USA)
IWC (Internat. Women’s Conference) Subject: RE: Prabhu and devi dasi...a reply to Sridhari dd
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Having not seen the letter referred to in Malati prabhu’s letter I am maybe a little out of context but I just want to mention my own experience, just to get some balance. You mention that Srila Prabhupada did not address anyone
as mother, but did he address anyone as Prabhu?
Personally I feel honored when someone addresses me as mother. A mother is one who nurtures, protects, gives. Like Mother earth. Mother cow. To me the word expresses honor and appreciation, maybe I could even dare to say love, whereas the word prabhu is more a reverential title. What I think we need most of all is respect for mothers, this will bring better circumstances for all living entities.
Your servant Gunamani d.d.
11.3 Mother Malati dd "heavies out" a lady who disagrees with her. Date: Mon, 21 Sep 98 13:24 +0100
From: “COM: Malati (dd) ACBSP (Columbus - USA) To: WWW: Madhusudani Radha (Devi Dasi) JPS (Berkeley CA - USA)
IWC (Internat. Women’s Conference) Subject: RE: Prabhu and devi dasi...a reply all of you
---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Answer 1104 (8 lines)
From: Malati ACBSP
Date: 21-Sep-98 08:06 +0100
To: Sridhari (dd) JPS (Mendoza - ARG)
Reference: Text COM:1705900 by Sridhari (dd) JPS (Mendoza - ARG)
Subject: RE: Prabhu and devi dasi...a reply all of you
Dear Sridari, PLease accept my humbly offered obeisances. Srila Prabhupada kijaya! First if all,I will NOT reply to you again. You are uselessly disrespectful. I have already replied to you privately explaining where you can verify for yourself that SRila Prabupada DID indeed refer to Mataji’s as “prabhu,” and still you write like this. Your spiritual master is a Prabhupada man, through and through. I suggest that you try to emulate him and stop this argumentive mentality which is based upon your foolish mind, irregardless of FACTS.
11.4 Letter COM:1717764 (38 lines)
From: Internet: Jivan Mukta Dasa Date: 25-Sep-98 07:54
To: Basu Ghosh (das) ACBSP (Baroda - IN) 
Comment: Text COM:1719256 by Basu Ghosh (das) ACBSP (Baroda - IN)
Subject: Re: Mother Malati
>> > I do not know exactly when or where the ladies began to be addressed as
>> > “Mother this” or “Mother that,” certainly it was not from the earlier days.
>> > However, I feel that “Mataji” is far more respectful in its vibration and
>> > sounds less ‘cultish.’ Imagine also being from NYC, where people call
>> > each other “Mother ____” (a nasty four letter word. Often they just drop
>> > the four-letter word and only say “Mother....” in a very insinuating
>> > manner. Quite awful!) And, it sounds especially weird in a public forum
>> > to be addressed as “Mother so & so.” (I can honestly tell you that I cringe
>> > whenever that occurs to me.)
Could you believe this? One of the major holidays in North American society
is *Mother’s Day*. If 300 million North Americans, feel that the appellation *Mother* warrants such respect and distinction, why not devotees and especially devotee women? This is one of the craziest things I have heard Malati say. Look, she’s got Aids. She also took sannaysa from Kirtanananda after being in ISKCON for 14 years. She still wears saffron, she is barely literate and now we can see how her mind is in the gutters of New York City for every time she is called Mother, her mind recoils in disgust because she imagines us calling her *Hey Malati you Mother - - - - .!* And this after 30 years as a devotee. I am left speechless (just for a moment though). :-)
>Either a bunch of speculations that blatantly ignore the truth, or a “wolf in
>sheep’s clothing”; actually on the feminist side!
After reading such trash consider that the GBC patted themselves on the back by giving her the GBC candidacy. We heard that not all the GBC members voted on it though. Hopefully these individuals will start speaking up against this act of irreligion. When we asked Gopala Krsna Maharaja about it, he said that if it was a wrong decision, then we should have faith that they will change it. But why was it allowed to happen in the first place?!
11.5 Text COM:1737229 (277 lines) [W1]
From: Shyamasundara ACBSP
Date: 01-Oct-98 20:45
Subject: Mataji or Prabhu
The Purvapakshins state that Prabhupada didn’t endorse the use of Mataji and didn’t call women mataji. That it was started by men. Mother Malati in
particular states that theory. But we have the following:
[Prabhupada addesses Himavati dasi as Mataji Himavati.]
Letter to: Krsna dasa, Bombay, 10 January, 1972, Hamburg
My dear Krishna das,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of
December 17, 1971, and I am very much pleased that you are now in Germany and that everything is going very nicely there. You stay there in Hamburg with Hamsaduta for some time and make that center very strong, then you may both return as it was, and Hamsaduta may go to his zone of Mediterranean countries and Near East, and you as husband and wife can conduct everything there. Mataji Himavati can train your wife or someone how to worship the deities nicely, and you both stay there for the time being. You are both men of experience so work together combinedly to make Germany zone very strong….
“My Dear little mothers, Yamuna, Malati, Janaki,
Please accept my blessings. I lost my mother when I was only 14 years old.
So I didn’t get much of my mother’s affection in my childhood. But in my old age, Krishna has given me so many young mothers to take care of me. Another mother Govinda Dasi is there in Hawaii. She is always asking me to
So I will go there within this month. But my one appeal is to my fathers
and mothers” (Los Angeles 20 February, 1969)
described the rasa-lila. So that... “Krsna appeared on this material world,
dharma-samsthapanarthaya, paritranaya sadhunam, dharma-samsthapanarthaya. So why He violated these rules of dharma?” Violation because, according to Vedic civilization, nobody can mix with other’s wife or other woman. Even in moral principle, as Canakya Pandita said, matrvat
para-daresu. “All women should be treated just like mother.” Not like the present society. Formerly, every woman should be addressed as “mother,” Mataji. And now they have invented “Bahinji.” No. Woman should be addressed as “mother.” Matrvat para-daresu…
…Brahmananda: In your lecture you quoted Canakya Pandita that a man
must see every woman other than his own wife as mother. How should a woman see other men?
Prabhupada: As son. (laughter)
Brahmananda: That was my idea.
Prabhupada: Yes. If I see woman as mother, she must see me as son. That’s
all. That is the system. The brahmacari, the sannyasi go to beg alms from
door to door. “Mother, give me some bhiksa, alms.” And it is the duty of the
grhastha to treat brahmacari and sannyasi as their son. As they maintain
their children with food, shelter, cloth, similarly the brahmacaris and
sannyasis, they are dependent on the society. They should be treated as the
sons of the society. And they must supply their necessities, bare necessities. A sannyasi, brahmacari, does not want more than what they need. They should not collect more than what they need. Bhiksa nirvahana. Not collect more and enjoy at others’ cost. No. That is not the business of sannyasi. They can collect so much as they need. That’s all.
Devotee: When you address a woman, do you...
Devotee: When you address a woman do you use the word “Mataji”? Is that the right, proper word for her?
Prabhupada: Mataji. Yes, very good. “Mother.” All right. Chant.” (Bhavagad-gita 4.14 Lecture, Vrndavana, August 6, 1974)
accept any woman except his own wife as mother. Matrvat para-daresu.
Para-daresu. Everyone is supposed to be married. Dara means wife. Para-daresu, other’s wife. It doesn’t matter if she is younger or older, but she should be treated as mother. Therefore it is the system in Vedic culture, as soon as one sees another woman, she (he) addresses her, “mother,” Mataji. Immediately, “mother.” That makes the relationship. The woman treats the unknown man as son, and the unknown man treats the unknown woman as mother. This is Vedic civilization. So we should be very careful.
In our society, you are all Godbrothers, Godsisters. Or those who are married, they are like mothers. So you should be very careful. Then you will remain dhira, sober. That is brahminical qualification, brahminical culture. Not that “Because I have got facilities to intermingle with nice girls, so I shall take advantage and exploit them.” Or the girls should take... No. Therefore our restriction: no illicit sex. One has to become dhira. Then the question of God consciousness. Animals cannot have God consciousness. Therefore it is specially mentioned dhiranam. Vartma. The path which He showed, that is meant for the dhira, not for the adhira. Dhiranam. And it is so nice that sarvasrama-namaskrtam. All asramas will appreciate and offer obeisances. All asrama means brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. So dealing with woman...
[This next portion is especially good regarding how the husband is the guru,
wife takes instruction from him not some other man. More on calling women
…. Especially instruction are given to men. All literatures, all Vedic literatures, they are especially meant for instruction to the men. Woman is to follow the husband. That’s all. The husband will give instruction to the wife. There is no such thing as the girl should go to school to take brahmacari-asrama or go to spiritual master to take instruction. That is not Vedic system. Vedic system is a man is fully instructed, and woman, girl, must be married to a man. Even the man may have many wives, polygamy, still, every woman should be married. And she would get instruction from the husband. This is Vedic system. Woman is not allowed to go to school, college, or to the spiritual master. But husband and wife, they can be initiated. That is Vedic system.
So dhiranam vartma. Because people must be first of all gentle. Then talk of
Krsna and God consciousness. If he is animal, what he can understand? This
is Vedic system. Dhiranam. Dhira means must be gentle, perfectly gentle.
Must address all woman as “mother.” Matrvat para-daresu para-dravyesu
lostravat. This is the training, that one should consider other’s wife as mother, and others’ money as like garbage in the street. Nobody cares for it. Similarly, one’s other’s money should not be touched. Even it is somebody has forgotten his purse, moneybag on the street, nobody will touch it. Let the man come back and take it. That is civilization. Para-dravyesu lostravat, atmavat sarva-bhutesu. And treating all other living entities as oneself. If somebody pinches me, I feel pain. Why shall I pinch other? If somebody cuts my throat, I become so sorry or so aggrieved. Why shall I cut the throat of other animals? This is civilization. This is Vedic civilization. And not that go on killing animals like anything and hunt upon the woman, topless woman, make business. This is not civilization. This is not human civilization.
Therefore it is called dhiranam. Those who are sober, for them. Those who
are rascals, not for them. The brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha sarvasrama,
asrama, this is meant for the gentle class, not for the rascals. First of all, training period as brahmacari. This brahmacari, he is taught. He is taught to address all women as “mother.” The brahmacari goes to collect alms from door to door. Small boys. So how do they address? “Mother, kindly give us some alms.” So immediately the household wife should come and give them. They will collect like that, for spiritual master. So if a boy is taught...Just like our these children are being taught chanting Hare Krsna. They are chanting. They cannot forget throughout life. Similarly, if a brahmacari is taught from childhood, from boyhood address all woman as “mother,” he cannot see otherwise. “S(he) is my mother.” I remember, it is an example. Long ago, say, in 1925, long ago, so we were in a cinema house. So my eldest son, as soon as he would see one woman in the picture, “Here is another mother! Here is another mother!” (laughter) he would cry. Because a small child, he does not know any woman except mother. He knows everyone as “my mother.” So if we train from the childhood that “You should treat all woman as mother,” then where is the question of anomalies? No. There is no question.” (Lecture, Srimad-Bhavagatam1.3.13 , LA, September 18, 1972)
“Pandita means matr-vat para-daresu: “to accept all women as mother,”
para-daresu. Dara means wife, and para means others’. Except his own wife,
he should treat all women outside, taking them as mother. Therefore, still
in Hindu society, every woman is addressed by an unknown man, “mother.”
It doesn’t matter if a person is unknown. He can speak with another woman,
addressing him first..., addressing her first, “mother,” “mataji.” Then nobody will be offended. This is the etiquette. That is taught by Canakya Pandita. Matr-vat para-daresu. Woman should be addressed as “mother.” And para- dravyesu lostra-vat: and others’ property should be accepted as some
pebbles on the street-nobody cares for it. If some pebbles, some stones, are
thrown on the street, nobody cares for it. Garbage. So nobody should touch
others’ property. Nowadays the education is how to make friendship with
others’ wife and how to take away others’ money by tricks. This is not education. The education is here: Matr-vat para-daresu para-dravyesu lostra-vat, atma-vat sarva-bhutesu. Sarva-bhutesu” (Lecture, Srimad-Bhavagatam 6.1.56-57, Bombay, August 14, 1975)
“This is education. Where is that education? Matrvat para-daresu? All women mother. Where is that education? There is no education. Therefore in this age practically everyone is a mudha, not educated. He does not know how to look upon woman. Woman should be looked as mother. Still in India, a unknown woman should be addressed, “Mother.” They have introduced now in the northern India, bahinji (?). No, this was not the etiquette. “Mataji.” This is Indian culture, not bahinji (?). This has been introduced now. No. Matra svasra duhitra va. Woman’s connection with man is as mother, as sister or as daughter. No other relationship. This is Indian culture.” (Srimad-Bhavagatam 7.9.1--Mayapur, February 8, 1976)
[Prabhupada uses the word “mataji.”]
“So vande ‘ham karunakaram raghu-varam bhu-pala-cudamani. So he is offering his respectful obeisances to the Lord Rama. Karunakaram. He comes,
paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam [Bg. 4.8]. Therefore He is
karuna-akaram. Akaram means mine. He is the great mine of mercy. Karunakaram raghu-varam. And because He appeared in the dynasty of Maharaja Raghu, so He is the Supreme Personality in the Raghu dynasty, raghu-varam. And bhu-pala-cudamani. He is the helmet of all kings. Cudamani. Cudamani means, mani means pearl, and cuda means helmet. So the pearl is placed in the crown. So He is the, although He appeared as King, but He is the helmet of all kings. In this way, Lord Rama’s description is here. Now Mataji requested me to explain one verse, so I have tried to explain.” (Lecture, Radhastami Srimati Radharani’s Appearance Day --
Montreal, August 30, 1968)
[Again SP calls a woman mataji.]
“Then, when I wrote book, Srimad-Bhavagatam First Canto was finished. So I
approached the Bhaiji of... Perhaps Mataji knows this. (chuckles) In 1962.
So I asked him that “You take this publication.” So I am very much obliged
to Bhaiji. He said that “Our English printing is not very efficient. You can get this book published from elsewhere. I shall partly help you.” So he helped me with some money from the Dalmia Trust, and I first of all published my first part of Srimad-Bhavagatam. Then I published second part also. There was sale. Then there was no necessity of money. I was getting money by selling Srimad-Bhavagatam. Everyone appreciated. Even the, your American Embassy here, they purchased eighteen copies, and they gave me open order that “Whenever this Bhagavata will be published next part, subsequent parts, this is open order, eighteen copies, each part.” That order is still there.” (His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s Appearance Day, Evening --Gorakhpur, February 15, 1971)
Allen Ginsberg: Srimata Krsnaji in Vrndavana, is a lady in Vrndavana who
translates Kabir into English, compared him with Blake.
Prabhupada: No, she is different. I know one Mataji. She came to see me from Vrndavana in Los Angeles. She’s in London.
Allen Ginsberg: So I have been learning to notate music, in..., singing
songs by William Blake which I’ve.. (Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg -- May 11, 1969, Columbus, Ohio)
Prabhupada: These are all bogus things. One should train himself that
matravat para-daresu, all women, “my mother.” Then it will be possible to
live... Therefore the etiquette is to address every woman, “Ma, ma, mother.”
That is the etiquette.
Brahmananda: You say like “Mother Rukmini”? There’s a devotee named Rukmini. You say, “Mother Rukmini”? How do you address a woman? Do you say, “Mother,” and then the name of the devotee?
Prabhupada: No. “Mother,” simply.
Brahmananda: Just “Mother.”
Prabhupada: Yes. They should be addressed, “Mother.” That will train.
Indian man (4): In our Indian culture they don’t call the name of the mother
never, children don’t.
Prabhupada: No. “Mother,” simply “mother,” that’s all. And if the woman
treats man as son, then it is all right. It is safe.
Indian woman: We got a very sweet sound. Everything we use “ji.” “Mataji”,
“Pitaji,” “Brataji,” “Bahinji.”
Prabhupada: Or... And the woman says, “Beta.”(?) That’s all right.
Devotee (5): The only trouble is in the West we’re accustomed to not like
Devotee (5): In the West we don’t like our mothers.
Prabhupada: So you should forget your West or East. [break]
Brahmananda: Similarly, wife should not be called “Mother.”
Prabhupada: No. Therefore it is said, “other’s wife,” not your wife. But
Ramakrishnan, he was saying his wife “mother,” and he became famous by this foolishness.
Indian man (4): Ramakrishnan, there are many like Shyama mother. Her
husband, he calls her “mother.”
Prabhupada: Just see. In the Brahma-samaj they call the wife as “sister,”
and the wife calls the husband “brother,” address like that.
Indian man (6): Srila Prabhupada, since there is no distinction between
“man” and “woman”-these are both designations-is it possible for a woman to
become a brahmana?
Brahmananda: Is it possible for a woman to become a brahmana?
Prabhupada: He is...Woman is a brahmana’s wife. Then she is automatically a
brahmana. (Morning Walk, November 2, 1975, Nairobi)
[Male devotee address a woman devotee as mataji and SP accepts it.]
Ramesvara: Yesterday you suggested that I send groups of brahmacarinis to
that farm in Oregon where Yamuna-mataji is staying, but I was thinking that, actually, she is a very, very wonderful preacher, and if she can visit our
temples more often, then she can.... In other words, it’s more expensive and
difficult to send so many people to her...
Prabhupada: So, do that. (Morning Walk--June 5, 1976, Los Angeles)
(Text COM:1737229) -----------------------------------------