Notes from a think tank



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Appendices
Directory of Texts

Some of the following sections are referred to in the Articles, while others are not.


Section 1. Guidance Given by Chaste Ladies

Section 2. Favorable Women

Section 3. Generals, Privates, and "Dirt-hunting"

Section 4. Members of GHQ Actually Concerned about the Responsibility of Men to Protect Women

Section 5. Favorable Comments about Mother Malati dd Excluded by “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” & Why We Want to Speak Nicely

Section 6. Selective Editing by “Ardhabuddhi Dasa”

Section 7. Feminists Use Abusive Language

Section 8. Mother Madhusudani Radha dd

Section 9. Mary Wollstonecraft and Others

Section 10. Manu-samhita Quotes

Section 11. Mother Malati dd and the “Mother” Issue

Section 12. Favorable Senior Devotees

Section 13. Feminist Conspiracy

Section 14. Miscellaneous Texts

____________________________________________________________________



Section 1

Guidance Given By Chaste Ladies

Includes:

i) Why there are no women on GHQ.

ii)We are advised how to speak by caring mothers--not as a strategy, but because that is the proper way of Vaisnava discourse when ladies are involved as opponents.
1.1
Letter COM:1708182 (25 lines)
From: Shyamasundara ACBSP
Date: 21-Sep-98 16:33
To: Bhakti Vikasa Swami
To: Rasananda Swami (USA)
To: Basu Ghosh (das) ACBSP (Baroda - IN)
To: Jasomatinandan (das) ACBSP (Gujarat - IN)
To: Guru-Krsna (das) HDG (Alachua, FL - USA)
To: Krishna Kirti (das) HDG (Baltimore - USA)
To: ameyatma@iname.com
To: btb@georgian.net
Cc: Dayaram (das) JPS (Mayapur - IN)
Cc: Vidvan Gauranga (das) JPS (Mayapur - IN)
Reference: Text COM:1707121 by “ “
Subject: Men only
---------------------------------------------------------

> It is only fitting that the GHQ conference should be for MEN ONLY. I will


> be acting as organizer only for the purpose of adding or deleting names in
> the capacity of assisting my husband. Once this is done initially, including
> setting it up as a Hidden conference, I will be suspending myself but still
> retain the ability to perform organizational functions for the conference.
> Also, neither M. ABC’s nor M. XYZ’s husbands are active on COM, nor
> nvolved in discussions on Dharma of Women so I
> think it is not appropriate they be party to your discussions on GHQ.
> They can be forwarded specific things as necessary. I will write
> privately to them to explain and am sure they won’t have any objection.
>
> Hoping this meets with your approval.
>
> Ys, Sdd

If this is going to be a logistical problem I will volunteer to be the


organizer of the conference to facilitate the smooth flow of operations. I
have been the organizer of my own astrology conference for 5 years so I can
do the needful without any inconvenience. Is that alright with every one?

If it is then have Raktambara put me as the organizer.

yhs
shyama
(Text COM:1708182) -------------------------------------------------------

1.2
Communication between Shyamasundara Prabhu and three other mothers, including Mother Sita dd, regarding the GHQ conference:


  1. who should organize it,

  2. need for ladies’ input,

  3. decorum; how the men should or should not speak, etc.

(We have indicated the other two ladies as ABC and XYZ. Due to so many “>“, the thread may be difficult to follow, but basically it proceeds thus: Mother Sita dd wrote a letter and ABC answered. Then Shyamasundara Dasa commented on those letters. Finally, there is an answer from XYZ, suggesting how we should make our presentation. She emphasizes that we should be careful in our manner of speaking to the ladies and also comments on the agenda.)

>From: XYZ
>To: “COM: Shyamasundara ACBSP
>To: COM: ABC ,btb@georgian.net, Dharma.of.Women@com.bbt.se
>Subject: Re: GHQ conference and Devis
>Date: Sat, Sep 26, 1998, 1:33 PM

>COM: Shyamasundara ACBSP wrote:


>>
>> [Text 1711204 from COM]
------------------------------

Mother Sita dd writes:

>> > I felt uncomfortable with being organizer of a conference with mostly


>> > men and sannyasis and felt it was inappropriate for their immediate
>> >goals to have us participating. So Shyamasundara is going to take on the >> >job of conference organizer and they will forward us things as necessary >> > if they need our feedback. We will eventually start up another private
>> >conference along the lines of Dharma Protection which we can all
>> >participate in.

>> > Hoping this sits well with you both.


>> >
>> > Your servant, Sita dd

ABC responds:

>> > Dear Sita,


>> > Pamho,AgtSP
>> >
>> > I have been wondering what I was doing in this panel also. XYZ Mataji
>> > is experienced as a public speaker in the subject matter, you are working
>> > with your husband on the subject and are very well versed and
>> > exemplary in this matter, but why me?
>> >
>> > My conclusion is that when it is presented to the GBC there would be
>> > matajis who were part of the proposal from the beginning. It, in itself
>> > would add a lot of weight to a proposal that has a lot to do with the
>> > position of women according to Srila Prabhupada. I have no qualifications
>> > of my own but I was initiated by Srila Prabhupada. Just see how many
>> > are taking for granted anything my godsisters say just because they have >> > ACBSP after their name! Several times it was mentioned that such a
>> > revolution has to come from the women, we argued that we didn’t want
>> > to have to fight for our rights to be women in the traditional sense but
>> > by being part of the formation of this GBC proposal (even by being added >> > as receivers only, as I don’t expect to be able to help much in the
>> > presence of so many learned scholars).
>> >
>> > In a nut shell, as a matter of strategy, it would be good in my opinion to
>> > include XYZ mataji, your good self, and myself as a representant of
>> > senior disciples in the GHQ conference. It is better for Syamasundara to
>> > be the organizer if he doesn’t mind.
>> >
>> > Ys ABC dd

Shyamasundara Prabhu’s comment:

>> I definitely think that it is crucially important to get the input of ladies


>> who want to live the Vedic life. I can understand that Mother Sita would
>> feel uncomfortable being the organizer for a very male dominated
>> conference. Still I was a little surprised, and puzzled when she stated that
>> it would be a MEN ONLY conference. I was wondering perhaps something
>> was happening that I didn’t know about or perhaps it had something to
>> do with a text by Krishna Kirti. But rather than speculate on what the
>> reason is perhaps you could just tell me why that decision was made. Not >> that I am trying to change it. If you feel more comfortable off that is up to >> you. I thought that in such a situation we need as much input and
>> suggestions from the ladies as well as the men. I guess the main point that >> I am concerned about is that there is ample input from all the ladies, and I >> thought that not having them on the forum might hamper that. But if you >> think that you can somehow manage to get input and contributions from
>> the ladies in an effective way by not being in the forum that is totally
>> acceptable to me. My main concern is that we are effective in fulfilling our >> objective so if you think that is possible in the way you suggest that is
>> fine.
>>
>> Are there other ladies beside you three who could help? What about
>> testimonials from Mothers? Here is one that I just got from a girl in
>> Sweden:
>>
>> > I just also wanted to mention that I liked you contributions to the
>> > “Dharma of Women” conference. I am a member of this conference and I
>> > generally like what I read there and also try to follow the many good
>> > advices I get there. Although sometimes you used strong words, it
>> > nevertheless was to the point. Actually, I cannot stand the womenlibs. I
>> > am also in their conference, just to be informed what they are thinking
>> > and what ideas they have. Most of their ideas I do not like at all. They
>> > have some good intentions, like prevention of child abuse, but their
>> > general philosophy... I cannot agree with it.
>> >
>> > I can see in my own marriage that it works much better when I assume >> > the traditional role and let him be the boss. I saw already a bad example >> > in my parents. My mother always wanted to control my father and be
>> > superior and as a result of this they were quarreling all the time. And
>> > also we children had to suffer because of this.
>>
>> Compilations like this would be helpful, even if we didn’t include the
>> girl’s name. If necessary we could always provide the name to prove we
>> weren’t making things up. I saw one from Sita a while ago, there must be
>> more.
>>
>> Also just your own realizations (from others also) on the subject, with or
>> without a lot of sastra would be very helpful and would strike a chord in
>> the hearts of other women who are being bullied by Malati and others to
>> leave their dharma.
>>
>> As you may know support is starting to come in. Hari Sauri has joined us,
>> and it would be good if ABC linked up with him in Mayapura along with
>> Dayarama Prabhu and the other Prabhus who are on our side (BVP
>> Swami, VVG etc).
>>
>> Also Jasomatinanda Prabhu has become inspired because of the texts we
>> posted on IIN to join the fray on our side. Better to have Jaso on our side
>> than against us, that’s all I can say, so I am glad to have him.
>>
>> And it seems that we can count on Bhakti Caru Swami for support.
>>
>> So I think things are forming up nicely on the men’s side but without a
>> contribution from the women it will not look right. I can already see the
>> critical comments from our opponents “Women bullied by men to accept
>>....”
>>
>> Your contribution doesn’t have to be argumentative or polemical but
>> rather from the heart. About the joys that you feel in fulfilling your
>> service to Sri-Sri Radha-Krsna by bringing up a Krsna Conscious family. I >> am sure that ABCji is happier that her son wanted to spend time in S.
>> India learning agama sastra from Gaura Keshava. Whereas ***’s son, about >> the same age, the last time I saw him, was looking pretty out of it, he was >> wearing a Maryln Manson (one of the most repugnant heavy metal groups >> around) tee shirt that said “Deicide” on it. Took me a while to figure out
>> what it meant. Latin for “Kill God”. Nice devotional son she has raised! I
>> also understand he has homosexual tendencies, but who knows. I am told >> that she is very unhappy with herself because of her alienation from her >> son, the product of her first marriage. I don’t know all the details. But who >> is the success in her dharma??? ABC or ***?
>>
>> Service to God should have the effect that we feel fulfilled and happy. So
>> when our service is to bring children up to be good devotees, and they
>> actual do become that, then this should have some sort of effect on the
>> consciousness. Am I wrong? Please tell us, and the world of the these
>> feelings. I am sure that it would be very inspiring to the other ladies.
>>
>> To sum it up. We need input and support from the ladies. It wont work
>> without it.
>>
>> Shyamasundara Dasa
>
>Reply -------I beg your pardon for the length of the letter.
>
> Dear Syam prabhu, ABC’s and your points are very valid but there is one
>thing that I am feeling uncomfortable about is the approach - the militant
>style. Where there is derogative, provocative and demeaning words,
>respectable women feel uncomfortable in such situations may be Sita
>prabhu is feeling the same way as I am instinctively. If there are
>gentlemanly respectful discussions than we can participate in a comfortable
>way otherwise it is unnatural and against our dharma. I hope you can
>understand this phenomena. I am not denying the fact that sometimes there
>has to be challenges in military style but remembering the fact that we are
>dealing with our own godbrothers and godsisters here who may be under
>the influence of some kind of maya at present. So in that case there may
>be various other ways of approach not forgetting the compassion and
>humility on our part. Two examples come to mind - Lord Caitanya won the
>Mayavadi sanyasis and Prakasanda’s hearts by humility. And among the
>Kauravas and Pandavas there were many peaceful treatises employed
>before the final declaration of the war. So I am sure if you can get B. Charu
>M’s and other senior vaisnava’s advice on this matter you may get other
>options. I do not want to lighten the spirit of defending Srila Prabhupada’s
>teachings in any way but just pointing out that there may be other ways.
>Enclosed please note my response to Jivan Mukta prabhu that I had
>initially sent. Also to get more support from the ladies - may be we can
>come up with small questionnaire to help formulate their opinions on the >come up with issue. This may help in writing short essays on various >categories.
>
> ys XYZ dasi
----------------------------------------------------------

>Jivan Mukta Dasa wrote:

maybe Jivan Mukta Prabhu could co-ordinate with Rasananda Swami a case
to be presented to the GBC at Mayapur. After they’ve prepared a paper, they could circulate it in this group first & we could give our suggestions.

>What do you all think?

This seems to be the best way to proceed. Start work now--there is much
To be done.

>Dear Prabhus and Maharajas,

>PAMHO. AGTSP.

>I would like to suggest that we involve the following devotees in compiling >this paper or series of papers to present to the GBC.


[To eliminate excessive use of “>“ we have stripped the “>>>>“ from beside the remainder of Jivan Mukta Dasa’s text.]
Ameyatma prabhu
Shyamasundara Prabhu
Vidva Gauranga Prabhu
Guru-Krsna Prabhu
Mother ABC
Mother XYZ
Sita dd. (my wife)

I feel it is very important that we address all the points brought up in the papers presented by Mothers Jyotirmayi, Pranada and Visakha. Their misunderstandings must be clearly exposed. We can either do so as a point


>Thanks for including me in this important decisions-----
>
>I am not familiar with M. Jyotirmayi’s and Pranada as well as
>Madhusudharani’s papers - if possible you can mail me the copies at ***
> temple address or Sita has my home address - XYZ
>
>by point rebuttal or they may be addressed by presenting a comprehensive

>Personally, I have noticed many times that if you use the above method


>of point by point rebuttal, 99% of the people (especially devotees) think it is >personal attack based on personal differences - devotees usually get caught >up in the issue of the arguments instead of understanding the point of the >subject - I have seen this happen many times on debates among devotees, >they start bringing personal judgements and attacks to each other and go >off the tangent. I have noticed that your method of argument and >presentation (like Ameyatma prabhus) is >very focused, to the point and >based on nitisastra as B.Vikas M. had outlined-yet I have noticed in the past >that even so called learned and educated devotees misunderstand the >purpose and caught up in a personal way. Therefore the above method >should be secondary and brief in my opinion. Otherwise as in most cases >your arguments goes over the heads of the opponents (as was the case with >Visakha’s paper) - remember you are dealing with people with low >intelligence (I say this because in the first place if they had any intelligence >this issue would not occur by appointing women in such positions and >secondly there are women involved in the debate) So my suggestion is that >you make your presentation according to the understanding abilities of the >opponent. It is a shame not to have an equal caliber opponent for debate.
>

paper dealing with the categories outlined below. Or we could do both.


Please give your feedback on this summary. What else should be added or
removed? Should it be structured in an entirely different manner? This is
sent out to start the process.

>I think it should be addressed direct to the point expressing dissatisfaction >and disapproval of devotees concerned regarding the GBC appointing >women in such positions, especially emphasizing on two main points - Srila >Prabhupad’s instructions on women in management andthe less intelligent >nature of women and what happens to the country where women are >leaders. It is not necessary to base the argument on personal character and >history of the individual involved (because this is sensitive issue and it >conjures personal emotions - remembering the kind of audience we are >dealing with) - Also we are dealing with the concept of ‘women in >leadership in general’ not only single issue of one woman in a GBC position - >it can be any leadership position - the whole concept --achha--when one >brings up less intelligent nature of women - one should also lighten the >issue by pointing out the good qualities of women as the representatives of >goddess of fortune (I do not like to use the traditional Sanskrit name here >because it is too precious to use it lightly) Maybe the good should be >mentioned before the other. There is a list in Manu Samhita on women and >prosperity.---Someone has posted Manu Samhita translations on the net it >will be a handy reference.


>
>I see your category outline as proposal reminder to implement Varnashram >Dharma in ISKCON - it may not serve as direct note of disapproval. It is >rendering solutions to the existing problem, which could >accompany the opposition paper.
>
>First we have to make them see the wrong then we can give the solutions.
>The disapproval, opposition or disagreement paper, whatever you may
>decide to call it - may include some of the points from that category which
>I shall mark.

There were some very disturbing remarks made by certain GBC members


regarding this women’s issue. In particular Mukunda Maharaja made some
extremely perverse remarks about *what Prabhupada would do today*. I feel this type of remark and attitude must also be addressed. Please note that we are well on our way of categorizing all the text on the DoW conference.

Many of the texts will be helpful in isolating the various arguments used


against dharma and the various scriptural rebuttals. We could make those
available to the devotees working on the various categories. We could also
send the entire archive out to whomever requests it.

I will be quite tied up during the next two weeks especially during November to December. I will do whatever I can to help. Time is of essence and at least if we have our format we could seek input and assistance from the assembled devotees. We could also provide the many quotes and scriptural reference to the devotees that require some research assistance. I am very encouraged by the resolve of you Prabhus and Matajis in seeing that Prabhupada’s movement becomes the glorious representation of Vedic culture it was intended to be. I offer my respectful obeisances to you all.

Note:

1. Vidvan Gauranga Prabhu has already prepared a paper entitled “The


Whole Problem”. It was a cogent response to some feminist propaganda by
Madusudhani Radha dd., Pranada dd. and others. He also sent a proposal
To the GBC EC entitled “Proposal to establish & preserve sannyasa-, stri- &
grhastha-dharmas.” With Vivan Gauranga Prabhu’s permission, I could
forward these files to the assembled devotees. Waiting for your feedback.
>
>I would certainly appreciate this material.
>
2. Ameyatma Prabhu has many books available on his homepage that could
be used as they are or could be referenced for many of these issues. He has
also volunteered to present a seminar in Toronto on “Teaching the Principles
of Dharma to Our Children” and “ Marriage of the Daughter” emphasizing the importance of Chastity and the importance of Protecting Women’s Chastity.

3. Guru-Krsna Prabhu has volunteered to present a paper on Divorce for a


proposed summer of 1999 Dharma Symposium in Toronto.

4. Mother XYZ has a course of Vedic morality from which she teaches.

>Correction please - the course is called Overview of Vedic Culture and
>Daivi-Varnashram. (what do I know about morality? I was born and raised
>in Africa, lived in the western world and my only saving Grace is His
>Divine Grace Srila Prabhapada’s books).

5. Jayasila Prabhu the grhastha Minister could be invited to participate. He has a manual on the Grhastha ashrma and has expressed his support for


the objectives of the DoW Conference.

6. I have prepared a few a essays entitled:


i) Gender Ethics, Compassionate Compromises (KC in the Early Days)
ii) Lord Caitanya did not reject VAD. >---This could be very important >for our ISKCON sanyasis to know. I am glad someone has written this.
>I would very much like to see these papers - Specially Gender Ethics
>could be useful in the presentation of the above paper.

Maybe someone may want to look at what has already been prepared and


determine how to proceed.

Ys.
Jivan Mukta Dasa


PRESENTATION FORMAT (For discussion purposes only)

I. Prabhupada’s instructions on:
1. dharma of women (wives, daughters and mothers)
2. women as leaders
3. women as subordinate to men
4. the behavior of chaste women
a. shyness
b. faithfulness to husband
c. serves and sees the husband as guru

>you can add


>d. takes on the mission of the husband.
>e. equally serves and

>respects husband’s relatives.

> 5. The principle of protecting women
> 6. women as* less intelligent*
> 7. women’s *varna*

>I would love to hear what you have to say on this - according to my


>understanding she is categorized with vaisya and Sudra as mentioned in
>BG. And as you had pointed out in the example of Sati.

8. education of our daughters


a. as the proof of what Prabhupada expected of
future generations
b. as a tool for re- introducing and reviving the
Vedic culture
9. marriage of our daughters
a. kanya-daya

>(this seems like it should be kanya-dana.)


i. father’s religious obligation to daughter and society
ii. getting her married early
b. polygamy
10. divorce and re-marriage
11. his opinions and statements on women’s liberation and
equal rights ---------
>This should definately be included in the presentation.

II. How Prabhupada applied these principles in Iskcon


1. separate facilities for men and women in temples
a. Iskcon’s defect - presence of women in the temples
b. women’s ashramas
c. women and sannyasis
d. making the best out of a bad bargain
2. gradual introduction of all the rules and regulations

III. Boiling the Milk - Increasing our application and intensifying our


adherence to Vedic dharma
1. As the introduction of VAD into Iskcon
2. The dynamic nature of a missionary movement -------

> This definately involves women’s participation in a lot of preaching


> activities - how would address that?.

a. hard as thunder bolts on senior initiated devotee


b. soft as a rose with new comers
3. Strictly censuring all irresponsible men
a. physically, emotionally, and spiritually abusive to wives and children
b. regional councils of exemplary grhastha men to provide
their assistance, experience, guidance and scriptural direction
i. to each other
ii. to all grhastha devotees
iii. to establish women’s ashramas and widow protection

iv. to insure that the local temples are preaching and supporting dharma

IV. Women’s *equal rights*
1. Demoniac concept “puffed up concept of womanly life” BG 16.7

>----------- Certainly should be included.

2. results in adultery BG1.40
3. symptom of Kali-yuga
4. *gender* etiquette observed in Vaikuntha

>--------they would refute by saying what does it have to do with material >world we are now living in .

5. supported and promoted by irresponsible men
6. as mayavada
7. as artificial
8. what Prabhupada expected from *our women*

>---------this is part of the solution not the actual disagreement on the issue.


>
>So these are my humble opinions. I certainly think that Jivan Mukta
>prabhu should write the proposal with Basu Goshes input and Ameyatma’s
>modification. Thank you for allowing me to participate ys XYZ dasi

Section 2



Favorable Women

_____________________________
Please note that we have concealed the identity of our dear mothers who have written favorably about reinstating Vedic dharma for ladies. We wish that they not also be verbally brutalized or perhaps even have their lives threatened (as we have) because of their desire to follow the sastras.

2.1
>From: “XYZ”
>To: btb@georgian.net
>Subject: Opinions
>Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 19:32:56 PST
>
>Dear Sita devi dasi,
>
>Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
>
>Haribol! I was just recently joined to the IWC and I have been observing >the flurry of messages with interest. I decided to write you privately >because I agree with what you are saying, although it seems as though >many of the devotees are blasting the Vedic situations you are bringing up. >Seeing this, I have found that often when a mere bhaktin tries to take a >stand many devotees are not so inclined to admit that she might have a >valid point. I admire your bravery at voicing your opinions, I hope that I >can learn from your strength and get the nerve to come out and agree with >you where everyone can see that I do. I am so new to this and I am frankly >nervous about fitting in, although I will never say I agree with things that I >don’t just to be “political.” I guess I just wanted to talk with you and find >out about your situation without you having to worry about people twisting >what you say to use it against you. I hope you are not finding me offensive >by this note, because my intention was to talk with someone who feels more >like me.
>
>I get the impression that you are well-informed about the Vedic tradition. >Recently you posted a letter about Draupadi and her qualities. I printed it >up and hung it in a high traffic area in my house. I thought it was a very >good set of things to live by, although my American conditioning should >have told me different!:) Seriously, I believe that many men are not >behaving the way a Vaisnava husband should, but on the other hand is the >woman? I would not be surprised if often the woman was defiant or >flippant or not taking care of a woman’s business. Now, I realize not every >woman may be a seamstress or a cook or a good mother. My question then >would be than why are they married? Or more importantly, why did they >get a woman’s body? Obviously they had some desire that got them that >body so why not use it for what it was intended? Also, throughout history, >oppressed people have taken action! If a woman feels she should be a >preacher than she should preach!! And by showing her skill it would be
>undeniable that she was qualified. But walking around saying woman’s
>rights woman’s rights woman’s rights seems like a waste of breath.
>Prabhupada said in many places that women should be trained in womanly
>duties from birth, which is accurate. Where has “freedom” gotten us in
>this society of countries? The right to be used for sex and have unwanted >children? To give up protection that we have a Vedic right to? I was a “free” >woman when I was a teenager, mixing freely with males, thinking I was so >independent. So, what happened? I got pregnant and became a mother at >16. That’s real independence huh? Now, since then I met a wonderful man >who has known the devotees a very long time he is 10 years my senior. I >have never had trouble admitting that he was the “man” of the house. I >take care of him and the children, they come first, then me. He cooks, I >cook. But he only cooks if I am sick or very worn out, because it is my job >and duty as a wife. And he is very satisfied and doesn’t feel the need to go >seek other entertainment, or look for affairs or a more submissive woman, >because he has a respectful, caring wife who makes him feel like the man >he is.
>
>We abstain from sexual intercourse (until a couple months from now when
>we plan to conceive a third child) and he is not bothered by that because it >is the true tradition we are supposed to adhere to as devotees of Krsna. It >the purport of BG Ch.1 verse 40 it says “good population DEPENDS on the >chastity and faithfulness of its womanhood.” I don’t think it is very faithful >when a woman is defiant or feels she needs to go out and find herself. I >believe it makes the man very frustrated and as though he is not the man >he should be, which encourages him to do things to make him feel like a >MAN, such as having affairs or showing his strength by being abusive. Now, >I know a lot of people might say, “Well you have never been abused so you >don’t know what it’s like..” which is true, to a degree that I have never >been physically abused. However, every relationship I have seen, the >women were very pushy and loud and disrespectful to their men, and the >men left or were unfaithful. I am the only one who was not feeling that
>woman’s lib thing and here I am married almost seven years and going
>strong, while most of my “liberated, career minded” old friends have kids >with no father. Why? Because I respect my man and treat him like a man >and my teacher and the leader of this house, and I act like the woman of >this house. Woman that are in an abusive relationship and “can’t” leave >gives more weight to the line in that same purport “as children are prone to >be misled, women are similarly prone to degradation.” So many women >can’t even see they are being abused, what of getting away from it.
>
>I am in agreement that something needs to be done about the women’s
>issues in ISKCON. I agree that many men mistreat the women, and that I am
>lucky to have found a man who doesn’t. But, if the marriage is based more
>on like and dislike, instead of centered on Krsna, then it is doomed. I also >realize that not all women have been brought up to be womanly and don’t >feel comfortable in that role and that is just the way they are. So be it. I >think people need to stop finger pointing and start trying to be constructive.
>For example, setting up a grhasta ashram, where devotees from successful >devotee marriages teach single devotees the QUALITIES and >RESPONSIBILITIES of being in a devotee marriage. How the men should be >treated by their wives and how the wives should be treated by their >husbands. Also, working with the powers that be instead of coming across >like we are going to force them to give us this “freedom” to be gurus and >initiators and such. It is similar to getting angry when congressman won’t >vote on term limits for themselves or smaller pay for themselves or less >benefits.Why would anyone vote for something that is going to bother them >or take away from them? Why would people want to give up their power >just to give it to someone else? However, if women get educated in how to >be qualified to hold these titles and show by peaceful demonstration that >they are qualified, then no one can refuse them with any basis...anyway:)
>
>Then, we start with the young girls and train them how to be the WOMEN >that they are and have pride in it, instead of trying to be the man. Also,
>encourage grhastas to be “match-makers” based on God consciousness, not
>on a material level, but like a father would do for his daughter. Use our >knowledge to match devotees together who are sincere in their devotion, >and train them how to fill their roles. Perhaps let them be “apprentices” by >living with different families and seeing how Vaisnava families should live. >What do you think?
>
>Anyway, sorry to take up so much of your time. If you feel as though I said
>anything relevant or that might be useful in the conference, let me know.
>I would like to go in there and support these ideas with you, of course only
>if you feel you need support! I just really feel as though some of these >devotees aren’t really trying to understand what you are saying, because it >might not be the most popular idea right now, but it is the right idea. If >your a woman, act like one, right? Draupadi didn’t feel degradation or >humiliation in doing her duties why should we?
>
>I also wondered if I could ask how long you have been married? I also
>wanted to say that I miss your e-mails about what you did for your
>Bhagavad-Gita lessons. I found them so helpful, I hope you can find time
>to write some more. Thank you, and by all means, if you would rather I just
>mind my own business, tell me. I just have had a hard time in this com
>finding anyone who I agree with very much, and your words really make
>sense and that thing you posted about Draupadi has really helped me in
>trying to be a good Vaisnava wife. Thanks for listening, write anytime, and
>Hare Krsna!
>
>Your humble and supportive servant,
>xyz
----------------------------------------

2.2
>> From: Sita dd
>> To: COM: xyz @com.bbt.se>
>> Subject: Re: Membership of Dharma of Women
>> Date: Monday, March 16, 1998 1:00 PM
>>
>> [Text 1169358 from COM]
>>
>> Pamho. AgtSP.
>>
>> >I would like to become a member of Dharma of Women.
>>
>> Your name has been added. Welcome to the conference. I noticed that
>> you are from ***. We have some friends, *** dd and *** Prabhu (they
>> have daughters) who were visiting there and wondered if you had been >> in contact with them.
>>
>> ys, Sita dd
>
>
>Dear Sita,
>
>Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
>
>xyz Pr. and xyzd.d. have spent a few weeks here, but have now gone >to India for a couple of weeks. I think they will be back for a while before
>they return to the ** and
>
>Should you wish to contact them you are more than welcome to use my com
>address and I will see that they get any messages.
>
>I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you for organizing
>such an important conference.
>
>Although I am a white western devotee (from xyz originally) I am married >to an Indian bodied devotee and have been living in *** (predominantly
>Hindu country) for the last eight years. Before joining ISKCON in ‘ 84, I was
>(supposedly) well educated, completely financially self sufficient and
>EXTREMELY independent. Needless to say my false ego was much, much >larger than average.
>
>By some special mercy I have undergone a quite transformation over the
>years and have reduced my heavy western conditioning and have actually
>managed to develop some more feminine qualities. I do not claim any credit
>for this personally, but I would like to say one thing. Despite a lot of
>resistance on my part, I always believed that ultimately I had to do my
>duty as a wife and mother in order to please Srila Prabhupada and Krsna.
>This word “duty” was never in my vocabulary and I had never, ever had >the experience of having done any duty to anyone for anything.
>
>It has been a long hard slog, and without any senior association or guidance,
>but now the rewards are finally forthcoming.
>
>I am convinced that Dharma of Women conference is essential to our
>movement, not just for the women but for everyone.
>
>Your servant,
>xyz d.d.
-------------

2.3
>Date: Sat, 11 Jul 98 22:20 -0700
>From: “COM:
>Sender: @com.bbt.se
>To: “COM: Sita GKG”
>Cc: btb@georgian.net
>Subject: Membership of dharma of women
>Lines: 20
>
>[Text 1500764 from COM]
>
>Dear Sita devi dasi,
>
>Hare Krsna!! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!! Please accept my most
>humble obeisances.
>
>Just learning of its existence, I requesting to become a member of Dharma >of Women. I am currently a non-contributing member of IWC, but have >found the posts too harsh for my tastes. I am very new to Krsna
>Consciousness (under 2 years) and am struggling to find association with >women devotees where I may ‘fit.” When I joined IWC, I had great hopes of >hearing women’s perspective of becoming Krsna conscious and developing >our devotional mood.
>
>But, in my humble opinion, most of the discussions are grounded in material
>considerations and aspirations. This is not why I came to Krsna >consciousness. I have had my fill of this materially centered nonsense, and
>am seeking higher goals.
>
>Would you kindly consider adding me to this DOW conference? Thank you!
>
>yours, aspiring to be a servant,
>xyz
---------------------------------

2.4
It is said on IWC that discontent toward feminists comes from DOW...But actually it comes from SP’s books.
Text COM:1515027 (58 lines)
From: XYZ
Date: 17-Jul-98 10:23
To: Dharma of Women [1013]
To: DesireTree@aol.com (sent: 17-Jul-98 10:29)
Reference: Text COM:1511349 by
Subject: Re: Misanthropic mayavada
------------------------------------------------------------
> I still don’t see what is so distasteful about acting like a woman within
> ISKCON. Of course temple life can be very austere. But there are other
> platforms for service within a community besides right in the temple. This
> competition with the men is very foolish. Demoniac. Very ugly. Lord
> Chaitanya’s pleased? The Son of Mother Saci is pleased by a bunch of
> women pushing their way to the front of the line?

Dear Mina,

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

I was thinking maybe I could offer an observation? Since I have no


experience of formal temple life, I often get told I don’t know ‘cuz I’ve never been there. However, since I haven’t had a class to attend daily and the option of listening or not, I have only had the books to rely on. Once I got onto COM, I realized that there was an independent woman situation, and I was surprised. It was not what I expected at all.

So, women say they act this way because of mistreatment and abuse. Ok, I can live with that, and try my best to understand. However, there are countless texts which say that a woman is weaker than a man, requires his protection, should render service to him, take his instruction. Women simply don’t want to hear that! I am sure you know it is not easy to be subordinate to someone, unless one is trained that way and a lot of us weren’t.

I think that is why it seems distasteful to be a woman in ISKCON. That, and
sometimes these things are said in more of a harsh way then they need to be, so the message gets lost in the seeming arrogance or insensitivity of the
statement. Granted, when someone is screaming, it is hard to be heard unless
one is loud or biting in their words. Yet, here we all are, being fairly quiet, and the numbers are growing.

I always feel the need to say Krsna will take care of things. Then I realize


I only want to say it to remind MYSELF that He is the controller, not to
remind anyone here. I always forget. I am not writing this because of my will but His. His will prevail in some way, right?

I think bad things happen to be there to remind us what NOT to do. Just like


telling a kid what will happen if he climbs that weak tree limb, “You’ll fall!” But he just has to do it for himself.

One last thing. Before I started trying to be a flea on the dog of a devotee, I was never surrendered to my husband, and considered men and women equal. But after reading the glory, love, and reverence of many of the ladies in the scriptures, and their sense of duty, I was simply entranced and amazed. I never knew being in this position could be so powerful. How very sad for those who read these stories, and turn their nose up while they


mutter about being equal. We didn’t get a woman’s body for nothing, we got
it for some reason.

Perhaps to learn to surrender? Hmmmmmmm.........

I appreciated your text, and it is nice to have you as a new member of the
conference. I am glad to see more women who are glad to be a soul in a
woman’s body, and have no problem being happy to be there. Most inspiring.

your willing servant


xyz
(Text COM:1515027) -----------------------------------------

2.5
Letter COM:1693220 (68 lines)
From: Internet: ***
Date: 16-Sep-98 21:53
To: Shyamasundara (das) ACBSP [4613]
Subject: Re: Question on the women issue
------------------------------------------------
Here is something I received privately from a member yesterday which I thought you might enjoy reading.

>I’m a member of your conference Dharma of women. This conference helped >me a lot to realize what a fool I was (and probably still am). I have been


>thinking all my life that women have to be equal to men. What a nonsense. >I realized that now thanks to you and other wonderful devotees on DOW.
>Specially Mataji Jayasri helped me a lot to realize some things. I realized
>that all “fights” we had with my husband were all due to my wanting to be
>independent and in charge of everything.
>
>Thank you for showing me the right way. Here in my country the majority >of women (in ISKCON) think that this is some strange philosophy I’m talking
>about.
>
>Your husband once wrote that you are a very good cook and that you are
>making wonderful pizzas and pasta. Could you please send me recipe for >this dishes. I would also like to satisfy my husband by cooking him good >pasta and pizza.
>
>I’m really a lousy cook. We are very short on money and I all the time >make excuses that I don’t cook well because I don’t have enough money for >bhoga. I just don’t know how to become a better cook. So I would really like >to ask you if you could help me by sending these recipes.
>
>Sorry for my lousy English. I’m trying my best to improve it.
>
>I have also one another problem. I would appreciate your help in this >regard very much. I just don’t know how to manage time. You have to help >your husband to run the business then you have four children and all house >work and all the sadhana (chanting, reading, ...). How do you manage all >this?
>
>We don’t have children. I don’t work outside. I still go to school. My last
>year. Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m ab years old. My name is xyz
>Devi dasi. I’m married for n years. My prabhu’s name is xyz das and is mn.
>we are disciples of HH xyz Swami. Our Guru Maharaj >said to us on the >darshan when he accepted us that actually my guru is my husband. Just >now Our Guru Maharaj was in xyz and initiated few devotees. One of them >was mataji (not married). He said to her that in the future he will no longer >initiate matajis who are not married. So she was the first and the last one.
>
>We plan to have children in the following year. First I have to get my
>health back. I’m on some Ayurvedic treatment for another four months.
>
>Well I talked a lot. I hope you don’t mind me writing you out of nowhere.
>
>Hope you and your family are all well.
>
>Hare Krishna!...
(Text COM:xxxxxxx) -----------------------------------------

2.6
Letter COM:1693096 (28 lines)
From: (Temple) xyz (***)
Date: 17-Sep-98 00:43
To: Krishna Kirti (das) HDG (Baltimore - USA) [495]
Reference: Text COM:1690100 by Krishna Kirti (das) HDG (Baltimore - USA)
Comment: Text COM:1693285 by Krishna Kirti HDG
Subject: You can lead a *** but you can’t make *** think. . .
------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Krishna Kirti Prabhu
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for a thoughtfully constructed response. I was correct to give you


the benefit of the doubt.

I accept also your criticism that if the title were posted in a male oriented way, it wouldn’t have had the same affect. I can only apologise for my western conditioning - I can’t shrug it off completely. Some things set the defenses off immediately. It can’t be helped. But I really liked your comments about there being 2 kinds of fallen people in ISKCON. I hope I


develop the humility required to be able fall into the latter category, viz,
those who are struggling to overcome their weaknesses, rather than clinging
on stupidly to some outrageous karmi ideal. I also, incidentally, was able
to read Shyamasundara’s comments and agree with him - he is also offering a very balanced viewpoint on this conference, what I’ve seen of it.

I also read your other letter saying that in regular Vedic society, when a


woman wishes to convey something she does so through her husband. This is
something also that we western women are not used to, and which brings me to my final point. You end your letter requesting that I pay my obeisances on your behalf to my husband. Either you are confusing me with someone else, or you are presuming too much. I don’t have a husband. But I’ll be sure to pass on the message when I get one!

Your servant


Xyz dasi (TKG)
(Text COM:1693xyz) -----------------------------------------

2.7
Part of a personal letter to a GHQ member. The rest is not pertinent to the subject at hand:
September 18, 1998

> Sorry, this text is already getting too long and by now probably


> you are already bored, having to read all this.
>
> I just also wanted to mention that I liked you contributions to the “Dharma
> of Women” conference. I am a member of this conference and I generally
> like what I read there and also try to follow the many good advices I get
> there. Although sometimes you used strong words, it nevertheless was to
> the point. Actually, I cannot stand the womenlibs. I am also in their
> conference, just to be informed what they are thinking and what ideas they
> have. Most of their ideas I do not like at all. They have some good
> like prevention of child abuse, but their general philosophy...I cannot agree
> with it.
>
> I can see in my own marriage that it works much better when I assume the
> traditional role and let him be the boss. I saw already a bad example in my
> parents. My mother always wanted to control my father and be superior
> and as a result of this they were quarreling all the time. And also we
> children had to suffer because of this.
>
> My husband´s first marriage was also very “unvedic.” She was working
> because she was earning more than him and he was taking care of the
> children, cooking, cleaning, bringing the kids to school, shoping, etc.
> People used to call him “Mr. Mom.”
>
>She was already divorced when they got married and had a few >boyfriends. Even while married with xyz she had a few lovers and affairs >and finally she wanted a divorce because she wanted to marry someone >else. Meanwhile she is married the fourth time. Obviously she does not >have a good karma for marriage.
>
> She also blames him for the suffering the children had to go through
> because of their divorce, but that is ridiculous. She wanted the divorce.
> She got married two more times! Anyway, that seems to be normal in the
> material world.
-----------------

2.8
Letter COM:1868xyz (133 lines)
From: XYZ(dd) HKS
Date: 20-Nov-98 21:26
To: Shyamasundara (das) ACBSP [6865]
Subject:
----------------------------------------------
Dear Shyamasundara Prabhu,

[...]
How did I like the rebuttal? I am a Taurus, so I am quite conservative about


such fundamental things as family and morality. I appreciate your strong
emphasis on Vedic culture and I am 100 percent convinced that Prabhupada
wanted his disciples to implement it and follow it.

> At this point I don’t really trust anyone on COM, which by now refers to


> COMbat.

I can understand your frustration, especially after such a humiliation on VNN. But this incident simply shows the level of the Women’s Ministry (and


of VNN as well), what kind of persons will resort to such means?

You know, I am on IWC (just to see what is going on in ISKCON), and I have


realized that the Women’s Ministry is a very special mix. They have quite
some disagreements, especially between the older ladies (Prabhupada
disciples like Sudharma and Jyotirmayi) and the younger, more liberated ones like Madhusudani and Hariballabha. The younger ones are very eager to interpret Prabhupada or disregard him totally, which the older ones cannot accept. There are also ladies like Dhyanakunda who have their own special views (some mixture of everything), and do not mind to align themselves with anything, as long as they are not prevented from giving class and showing their brilliance in public (by giving seminars and talking in open forums).

I am sorry to hear that you had so much trouble with Sudharma and her


supporters. Here in Europe the Women’s Ministry is active only in Germany,
so one doesn’t hear about it very much, what to speak of seeing it doing
anything. Now I can understand why you have such a strong stand against
them.
.
.ys, XYZdd
(Text COM:1868xyz) -----------------------------------------

2.9
XYZ@com.bbt.se
agtSSGN
agtSP

Dear Hariballabha dd and all IWC members:

Please remove me from this conference, I joined it hoping to find interchange that will help me to advance in Krsna consciousness and find Krsna Katha, but what I found was lots of feminist trying to fight with men, and confusing lots of innocent devotees...

I sincerely feel cheated by Madhusudani Radha dd, she knows well why, and


hope that for one time she will be intelligent enough to stop blaming me,
and changing my words and meanings in the emails I had sent, because she
knows that is not good to speak of someone who is absent, but even if she
continues the story I don’t mind. As I told her more than one time, it is she
who has to manage her own spiritual life and to live with her consciousness...

Please forgive me if I had offended someone of you with my comments



Ys, xyz devi dasi
-----------------

2.10
> > My opinion is this: most women who are truly chaste, shy, and a good
> > Vedic example (not me) are too busy in their womanly duites and too shy
> > to come out and write :-). However, this is a goal, no matter how lofty,
> > that I want to achieve, to be such a woman. My life has improved a
> > thousand times, and so has my marriage, since I have attempted to be
> > more surrendured to my home and husband. And he in turn has never
> > been more surrendured to me, while being my strong protector.

2.11 Mayapura Vaisnavis on the Issues
It might appear that the Mayapur Vairagis (Brahmacharis/Vanaprasthas/ Sannyasis) are against the women leading kirtan, doing puja and giving SB class in the temple and that this is a vairagi vs. mataji issue. But it could also be a question of one culture vs. the other culture. Someone might assume that because they are brahmacharis, they are harboring strong feelings about it. Actually, it is not only the brahmacharis but some of the Indian women who have been brought up traditionally (and Western women) also spoke to us very strongly against introducing such women-related "reforms". They were wondering what is the need for such "reforms".
We asked our elderly cook Her Grace *** Mataji. She is a Bengali (Bangladeshi) Vaishnavi, second-initiated, 60 years old. She bathes in the Ganga daily and is very (grand-) motherly meaning affectionate. She is learned; she studies the Bhagavatam (She is in the Fifth Canto now). Here is her bold "radical" view of this issue (all emphasis hers):
”Women sitting on the Vyasaasana in the temple room and giving class?! Them leading kirtan in the temple room??! Doing puja in the temple???!! NO! These things are not in accordance with the scriptures [eitaa saastra-anusaara naai]. These have not been instituted by the previous acharyas [eitaa puurbaachaarya-dvaaraa anusthita naai]. These things are dangerous for women.
“Why can't they 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 we understand exactly what Srila Prabhupada was thinking why he asked some disciple of his to speak to sannyasis? Vaishnavera kriyaa-mudra vijna naa bujhaya. But Srila Prabhupada says so many times in the Srimad Bhagavatam that women have specific duties and only by following these duties can they attain auspicious results.
“We women are paapa-yoni, born of a lower family. Do they want to degrade themselves further? If I tell this to Westerners, they will want to beat me up. So what to do? This is the unfortunate situation at present.”
On being asked, "But how can you say that you are paapa-yoni? You are a Vaishnavi!"
“I say that because THE SASTRA SAYS IT. I read it in Srila Prabhupada's books! We are TRYING to become Vaishnavis. According to the sastras, we are niicha-jaati (of low birth). That is a FACT. The sastra says it and I follow sastra. That's all.
“How can someone claim to be a Vaishnavi and NOT do her womanly duties? Why is it that I observe so many brahmacharinis "talking" to boys? Vaishnavis do not do that. Women do that. Vaishnavi means like that disciple of Haridas Thakura who renounced everything and simply served Tulasi and chanted all the time. But we are so fallen and so we cannot follow her. So let us live under the care of the Vaishnava husband and Gurudeva. Bas.
“We are by nature paraadhiina (dependent) all the time. We have to be under our father till we are married. Then we have to be under the husband. And later we have to be under the son. Like you are almost my grandsons. Still I will eat after you eat even though you insist that I eat with you. Trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna. This is our heritage. This is what Bhagavan likes. I know that if I follow my duties Krishna Himself will come and personally with His own hands, take me back to Him. This is what has been taught and followed by all the great acharyas in the past.
“What would people think of us if we allow women to do these things in the temple? They will just say that we are indeed a videshi apasampradaya. Very very bad for prachaar (preaching).”
Three other Vaishnavis Mother*** , Mother *** and Mother *** gave a statement on these topics. Mother ***, wife of *** Prabhu, is handling the accounts of the ***, while studying for Chartered Accountancy and taking care of her two sons. Besides she is a great cook. *** Mataji and *** Mataji are working in Srila Jayapataka Maharaja's Office. Here is their combined statement (all emphasis theirs):
“Though we are not the body, we do HAVE a body. And since we have a woman's body, we HAVE TO FOLLOW THE RULES AND RECOMMENDATIONS prescribed in Vedic culture and which have been INSTITUTED IN VEDIC CULTURE and which has been accepted by all acharyas including Srila Prabhupada for what a woman can do and what she cannot do. It's simple.
“What's the big deal? We have OUR code of cultural etiquette to get to Krishna and the men have theirs. We don't think that Srila Prabhupada ever said that when women become Vaishnavis they can/should break the code of cultural etiquette meant to be followed by women in Vedic culture and that too in Mahaprabhu's birthplace, Mayapur.
“We cannot conceive of how Vaishnavis can be allowed to do public worship to Radha Madhava on the altar in Mayapur. It is not the sva-dharma of Vaishnavis to do that on the temple altar. Maybe if there is a circumstance where there are no brahmacharis in the temple or no men around, alright. But in Mayapur there are hundreds of brahmacharis. So WHAT IS THE NECESSITY for Vaishnavis to do puja or arati here? AND THAT WILL REALLY LOOK BAD! Is that what Srila Prabhupada wanted? Did he instruct that in a temple where there are so many brahmacharis and men that we SHOULD have women (Vaishnavis) do the arati?
“When women are on the altar, it is the natural tendency for men (temple residents and scores of visitors) to look at the woman performing arati. It is well known that men like to hang around cinema halls, girl’s schools, colleges, etc. just to lust at women. If we have a woman offering arati, then it is just natural that the minds of the men will dictate them to lust at the woman. THIS IS NOT AT ALL AUSPICIOUS for the woman or the men because neither the woman who offers arati nor the men who observe her are pure devotees.
“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 on 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. And we think that Vaishnavis (resident and visiting) SHOULD focus on these aspects of what their duties are, at least here in Mayapur and help us in that way. Otherwise this is simply a CULTURAL DISTURBANCE to us and our families.
“When women behave like women usually do in Vedic culture, they are naturally more respected. It is also satisfying to the women when they learn to be chaste and submissive. This is our culture and we would like to help Vaishnavis understand their specific duties in the context of traditional Vaishnava culture.
“In the beginning when ISKCON was growing up in India, Prabhupada might have done certain things but now ISKCON is well-established in India and we are trying to convince the Indian populace that we are not a foreigner’s cult but that we are traditional Vaishnavas (and Vaishnavis) trying to preserve and revive Vedic culture which offers great hope to thousands of Indians who are dissatisfied by India's cultural degradation and rapid Westernization.
“Srila Prabhupada might have done something extra-ordinary at times. How can we try to fathom what he was thinking each moment? We cannot imitate Srila Prabhupada. We should focus on what our duties are as Vaishnavis and carry them out and try to be proper Krishna conscious wives and mothers. If the international Vaishnavis could help us and others in the context of traditional Vaishnava culture, that would be very good.
“We don't think that in Mayapur Vaishnavi’s talents are not being sufficiently used for Krishna or that no one is encouraging them to develop to their full potential. Just look at Srimati (HKS)! SHE IS A LEADER! She is so cultured and so naturally she is respected here. So many Vaishnavis are happy doing so many services here. They do book distribution (Sati Mataji (HKS) and others) and other services.
“There is no discrimination against women or something here. We are just trying to do what Srila Prabhupada wanted: preserve and revive the Vedic culture here and this is so good for the preaching too.”
Another Indian-bodied Vaishnavi (name withheld upon request) said:
If they allow Vaishnavis to sit on the Vyasasana in the temple room to give Bhagavatam class, I won't enter the temple as long as she gives class. This is a sign that ISKCON is becoming Americanized.
***dd (HKS) from ***:
Why should we do something that is disturbing to the local community both within ISKCON and outside of ISKCON? We have to remember that women traditionally didn't have the access to render devotional service that Prabhupada has given us by his causeless mercy. To demand more is like this: Imagine someone gives you some sweets out of his or her mercy. If you start demanding that I need nuts WITH sweets, is that good? In the first place you are not really entitled to the sweets; so how can you demand nuts? We should just accept whatever has been given by Srila Prabhupada.
There are more ladies who think similarly but we haven't got their written

views.
Cultural Disturbances in Mayapura

________________________________________
There are some cultural disturbances which are related to this issue which some of the ladies wanted to be heard by the Mayapur leaders.
Some of the Indian ladies were disturbed when Western women came to them and told them to NOT follow rules of personal hygiene which they have been traditionally by followers of Vedic culture (or at least traces of culture). They complained that when they are in a contaminated state and they do not want to enter the temple room, the Western ladies come to them and pressure them to give up their cultural upbringing which has been impressed upon them so carefully by their mothers. "These ladies are not satisfied to either

learn or follow cultural rules; but why do they have to come to us and tell us, 'You are in MAYA because you are following these rules! Prabhupada never taught us this!' If they don't want to follow these rules, fine. But why do they have to pressure us and preach to us? We don't need lessons on cultural traditions from these Western ladies."


*** devi dasi told us this:
One day Gopi dd [pseudonym to protect identity] went to some classes conducted by the Women's Ministry during the Festival. She then came back very happy. The next day I came to know that she fought with her husband. Then she came to me and complained why I was submissive to my husband. She told me, "You shouldn't be a parasite, you know! You should be independent. He's after all a husband, just another individual. You are more than simply a wife. You have to learn to express your individuality."

Another day Maalaa dd [another pseudonym], who also was a fan of the Women's Ministry, told me to NOT listen to my husband or be submissive to him. "Come on, he's only a husband. You should not be dependent on your husband. You should be independent. Who knows? What if he divorces you?"


It appears from this that some sort of control/ education should be exercised on devotees who have come from Western background on how to deal with or at least tolerate and not stop those who are trying to follow (traces of) traditional Vedic/ Vaisnava culture.
The other last point was with regards to Madhusudani Radha Devi Dasi's putting up her critique of ISKCON Mayapur's policy on the Internet for the whole world to see.
***-born Mother *** (HKS), wife of *** pr opines:
Even if she do not like something about ISKCON Mayapur, why should she put it on the Internet for the whole vikarmi world to see? She is a part of ISKCON. We are also a part of the same ISKCON. So how can she publicly tell the whole materialistic world what in-house problems we have? This is certainly shameful behavior. You may have some problem with your family members but that doesn't mean that you advertise your in-house problems to the whole world! This is certainly not fitting the behavior of a gentleman or lady. Those who are imbued with a sense of shame will certainly understand this point but those who have no concept of shame will never.

First of all, we have to become a nice person and then become a nice devotee. A nice person will never bring bad name to his or her family. He or she will never advertise his/her family's faults to vikarmis. If someone goes ahead and publicly denounces a part of her family, it means that she does not really like or appreciate the family at all.

I am also living in this spiritual family of ISKCON since many years and I have seen many many mistakes but I cannot imagine bringing bad name to ISKCON in front of vikarmis. Let us learn to keep our problems to ourselves and try to solve them ourselves. Why put them up on the Internet for the nasty materialists to see? This is not how we deal in the mode of goodness. In the mode of goodness, nobody will like to break up a family. They will try to keep the family together.

Section 3



Generals, Privates, and "Dirt-hunting"

_______________________________________

3.1 "Generalji"
We have deleted the mid-portion of the text. It was published on “Dharma of Women,” a public forum.
Letter COM:1652404 (159 lines) [W1]
From: Internet: Jivan Mukta Dasa
Date: 01-Sep-98 18:59
Subject: ISKCON women calling themselves Generals and Privates
---------------------------------------------------------------------
>Dearest Generalji,
>
>Dandavats. Srila Prabhupada, Srimati Radharani ki jaya!!
>
>My sincerest and deepest apologies for dragging you into the dialogue with
>Mr & Mrs Mukta. Please forgive me. I had asked TKG for his understanding
>of the GBC thing, and he sent me this copy of a letter that he’d early sent
>to Pranada:
>
>April 15,1992
>ISKCON Dallas
>
>Dear Mother Pranada,
>
>Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I beg to
[...]
>remembrances. I hope this meets you in the very best of health.
>Servant of the servant,
>Tamal Krishna Goswami
>
>P.S. I mentioned the list tiitled “G.B.” in my book Servant of the Servant,
>page148, published in 1984.
>
>It appears that TKG is no longer exactly sure what Srila Prabhupada said
>in the conversation. And therefore, in my book, we can politely discount
>the conversation in trying to determine Srila Prabhupada’s desire re:
>women GBC’s. Certainly we can totally discount it considering that a few
>months after this conversation he appointed two women GBC’s. In any
>event, although Mr Mukta is fervently desirous of us all following Vaisnava
>etiquette, he is quite unable to follow it himself. I am now the brunt of his
>forceful anger, and I worry that he is taking out his frustrations on his wife >physically.
>
>May Srimati Radharani guide and protect you in your journey back to Her.
>
>Please keep me informed as things evolve on your side. My thoughts are
>with you.
>
>much love, the private
>
(Text COM:1652404) -----------------------------------------


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