Notes from a think tank

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3.2 Militant mothers: Jivan Mukta Dasa responds.

Letter COM:1656317 (164 lines)

From: Internet:
Date: 03-Sep-98 05:14
Subject: FW: Militant Mothers
This was my response. After I sent it, we received a note from Visakha
saying she sent a private letter by mistake to the conference- maybe it’s
Malati she’s talking about....
>From: “Jivan Mukta Dasa”
>To: “COM: Sita GKG”
>Subject: Militant Mothers
>Date: Wed, Sep 2, 1998, 6:00 AM

>[Text 1653531 from COM]

>>Dearest Generalji,
>>much love, the private
>Isn’t this interesting. Matajis using military jargon when addressing
>themselves. You got to start wondering about what their up to. Who is this
>“General” I wonder.
>In the letter from Tamal Krsna Maharaja, which we also just posted, Tamala
>Krsna Maharaja says:
>>There is no doubt in my mind that this conversation tool place during
>Prabhupada’s stay at Bury Place which was probably in December of 1969.
>Perhaps what he said was that he would have appointed her as temple
>President. In any case, he was mentioning some important position of
>authority within our Society. It was either Temple President, or perhaps
>Ms. Private says:
>>It appears that TKG is no longer exactly sure what Srila Prabhupada said
>>in the conversation.
>Really? And how does Ms. Private extrapolate that conclusion from TKG’s
>>And therefore, in my book, we can politely discount he 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.
>An explanation for Mother Yamuna not accepting has been provided, what
>about Mother Govinda? Why did she not accept? And if they were in fact
>*appointed*, how were they removed and where is the resolution that >removed them from their posts?

>> 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.
>So Ms. Private is none other than our revered Mataji Visakha. Please don’t
>worry about my wife, mataji. You underestimate her control over me. :-)
>I have never once even thought of hitting her. Her association is my
>precious gift from Krsna (or Radha, I’m getting confused now!) I thank Him
>(or/and Her) every day for providing a wretch like me such a jewel of a
>woman and devotee. She is much too valuable for me to lose, though it >never ceases to amaze me how she continues to tolerate my caliber of man >for all these years.
>Your accusations, nevertheless, have revealed to us that even revered
>Vaisnavis are not immune from the despicable tendency to make false and >vicious accusations against men they dislike. They quickly stoop to yelling
>“ABUSER!” Defamation of character is no small matter. Krsna (and
>Radharani) could never be pleased when you slander someone in this way. >Why are you taking it so personally? I am simply challenging your >conclusions. If you are unable to defend them then be a lady and admit >defeat. It’s OK. We all make mistakes.
>But spurious and vindictive comments will only hurt your efforts to go back
>to Radharani. It seems you have time too conjure up these accusations but
>not enough time to back up your statements with sastra. It astounds me as
>to what could have possibly possessed you in passing such a serious and
>malevolent judgement against someone who you don’t even know and who >is 3,000 miles away! Let’s get back to the points in your paper.
>Please do not take my revulsion towards lies and concoctions as anger >toward you as a spirit soul. We hate the sin (the misrepresentations) not the >sinner (the misrepresentor). Bhaktisiddhanta used to get extremely angry >when he encountered impersonalists who were *killing* Krsna by there >nonsense preaching. Likewise we should all be infuriated by the systematic
>misrepresentation that is going on in the name of fairness to women. This
>militant (*private*, *general*) feminism that you are now clearly mimicking,
>is simply another form of impersonalism. I am starting to think that the
>term *feminazis* is not too inappropriate. Just see how the drive for
>equality invariably brings out nastiness, anger, pride, fault-finding, and
>subterfuge in our compassionate, kind, straightforward and fragile matajis.

>Could this be due to the fundamental demoniac nature of the goals they are >striving to achieve?

>Prabhupada says “So when you become actually preacher of God >consciousness, you cannot make any compromise. You must call the spade a >spade.” SB 1.2.5 Vrndavana, October 16, 1972
>Prabhupada says that Prahlada, Bhaktisiddhanta, Ramanuja, Lord >Nityananada among other risked their lives and had their lives threatened >due to their preaching, but they fearlessly went on. You, dear *Private*, >have confirmed your fighting spirit. If you want to fight then fight with >sastra not with ad hominem astras.
>>May Srimati Radharani guide and protect you in your journey back to Her.
>I thought we were supposed to go back to Krsna? Can you show me where
>Prabhupada uses this terminology of *going back to Radharani*? When
>women identify in this way with Radharani they reveal the bodily
>consciousness that motivates their mania for equality.

>This reminds me of one senior mataji here is Canada who wanted to start a

>women’s travelling sankirtan party called *RadhaFest* or the innocent who
>figured that *Radha’s Voice* was a good name for a woman’s newsletter.
>It’s kind of funny but you see what happens if this feminist nonsense isn’t
>nipped in the bud.
>As far as etiquette and how mothers are to be treated, the sastra also shed
>light on that issue.
>1. When Bhumi was witholding her nourishment, Prthu was about to cut her >to pieces. Mother or not.
>2. When Kaikeyi banished Rama in order to satisfy her own lust for fame >and adoration, Bharata was ready to decapitate her; his own natural
> a. Kaikeyi’s banishment of Rama can be related to what feminists
>are doing to Vedic morality. Rama Rajya = Ideal Vedic social principles
> b. Kaikeyi is still judged for her nefarious act of banishing Rama
> even though her moment of madness was devised by the gods. Likewise
>many of our mothers risk the same infamy for the part they play in
>introducing these demoniac principles within Prabhupada’s house.
> c. she was reviled by Bharata, Shatrughna, and Lakshmana and all
>the citizens of Ayodhya.
>3. Rama disfigured Surpanaka and killed many demonesses.
> a. Surpanaka was punished for insulting and attacking the most
>chaste goddess Sita
>4. Krsna killed Putana who came in the form of a mother to nurse Him.
>Now when we see mothers promoting adharma and insisting that it is their
>god-given right to do so, when we see them using military terminology to
>describe their objectives, methods and hegemony, it would be the greatest
>folly to accept them and treat them as real mothers. They are mothers in
>name only. Killing their subversive propaganda is the way they must be
>dealt with. It is expected and completely natural that they will experience
>the energy used to dismantle their illusions as anger or force in the
>pejorative sense. As we can see, the etiquette normally reserved for real
>mothers cannot be used in this situation. As such where is the breach in
>Ys. Jivan Mukta Dasa
(Text COM:1656317) -----------------------------------------

3.3 Mother Malati dd Goes "Dirt-hunting."
Text COM:1746336 (65 lines)
From: Internet:
Date: 05-Oct-98 18:27
To: GHQ [193]
Subject: IWC text- Malati’s reply to Yasomatinandana (note her final comment)

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Sun, 4 Oct 98 21:55 +0100
From: “COM: Malati (dd) ACBSP (Columbus - USA)”
To: WWW: Madhusudani Radha (dd) JPS (Berkeley CA - USA) , IWC (Internat. Women’s Conference)
Subject: my reply to HG Yasomatinandana

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

Text COM:1743305 (39 lines)
From: Malati ACBSP
Date: 04-Oct-98 08:40 +0100
To: Danavir das Goswami (USA)
To: Jasomatinandan (das) ACBSP (Gujarat - IN)
Cc: (International) Women’s Ministry
Cc: Bhakti Vikasa Swami
Hare Krishna...Please accept my humble offered obeiasnces. All glories to
SRila Prabhupada. The topic is certainly one of serious interest for our
society. I have no comment either way. I am trusting SRila Prabhupada to
keep me properly situated. I do not believe that he would let me do
something to displease him at this pount, at least not conciously. And if
he is indeed displeased, I believe that he will make it apparent and the
situation would be adjusted. This happended to me in the recent past and in
the not so recent past. Sometime, His Divine Grace seems to allow things to
occur, perhaps acording to “time, place, and circumstance.”

I can tell you that in the early 70’s, Srila PRabhupada sent me back to the

UK and requested (since my husband, Shyamasundar, who was GBC, was not
effectively participating and in fact, was totally absent) that I should go and
send him weekly reports, AND give Bhagvatam classes. There was some
interfence from Hamsadutta and I wrote to Srila Pabhupada for instructions,
and he replied the same, that I shoulde give class, etc. On another occasion, he sent me, alone, to Delhi from Vrndavan to relieve Tejas Prabhu so that Tejas could come to Vrndavan and meet with him for a week. Again, my
husband was ‘missing in action.’

I want to serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission with what ever is left of my

foolish life, and I am willing to do whatever is required or requested.
Personally, at this sad time in our ISKCON history, I can barely consider
the gender issue on one side with out considering it on the other. Before
anyone begins to delineate how a women should behave with regards to her
husband, kindly-balance counter with the same information with regards to
the male. On this point, there is a lot to be said. And, with all due respects, please be careful how you address this point.

I am also wondering from which husband I am supposed to drink the foot

water? From the one who divorced me? or the one who died?

I am also wondering how being full time engaged in SRila Prabhpada’s mission with out any other personal agenda is degrading for a middle aged person in a woman’s body?

Please forgive any offences that I have undoubtly occurred with this reply.

Yr servant, the most fallen and illiterate, Malati dd

(Text COM:1743305) -----------------------------------------
PS...(this was not sent as part of my reply) but does anyone out there know
anything about above mentioned prabhu/temple president and alleged
------ End of forwarded message -------
(Text COM:1746336) ---------------------------------------


Section 4

Members of GHQ Actually Concerned about
he Responsibility of Men to Protect Women

4.1 Both Men and Women have to follow dharma not women alone.
Letter COM:1690100 (108 lines)
From: Krishna Kirti HDG
Date: 16-Sep-98 01:09
To: (Temple) **** (India)
Reference: Text COM:1687654 by (Temple) xyz(India)
Subject: You can lead a ************ but you can’t make *** think.
Dear ***** Mataji, please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to your divine initiating and instructing spiritual masters. All glories to ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupad.

> So far there has been a lot said on this issue, most of it correct, but some of

> it fanatical. Your contributions have been, to date, balanced and
> philosophically sound - until this one titled “you can lead a horticulture
> but you can’t make her think”.
> I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on this one, but would request that
> you explain that you are indeed not calling the women of ISKCON whores
> who have been shown what culture is but are unable to utilize sufficient
> intelligence to adapt to that culture. Please explain.
I think, in this conference, it is easy to forget that women are present.
Certainly most all of the talking (particularly on the recent subject of women) has been done only by men. Believe it or not, such a line as was in
my subject header is not usually considered offensive among men in a forum
such as this. But yes, women will find this categorically offensive, no matter what the circumstances. I apologize for this discrepancy.

As far as whether such a statement in and of itself is offensive to the women of ISKCON, I reread my letter and did not find such an insinuation. This is my text in the main body:

> It’s Kali yuga--what can be done? The “womyn” don’t want to be “women”.
> And the men don’t want to be responsible. In English it is said that every
> cloud has a silver lining. If anything, it’s good to see the ugly side of the
> fair sex displayed so prominently.

Here is one comment I received from a senior devotee (name witheld):

> > It’s Kali yuga--what can be done? The “womyn” don’t want to be
> > “women.” And the men don’t want to be responsible.

> This is an important point. It is not that it is just woman who have to

> follow Vedic Dharma and not the men. Both have to, with the men leading.
> It wont work if just the women are made to follow but the men do nothing.

Where have I made such the insinuation “that you are indeed (not) calling

the women of ISKCON whores who have been shown what culture is but are
unable to utilize sufficient intelligence to adapt to that culture”?

Even if, for argument’s sake, we accept the premise that I did refer to

women in ISKCON who are “unable to utilize sufficient intelligence”, why
should they not be regarded according to their status? One’s status in our
society (and worldly society too) is based on one’s behavior--a guru is a
guru only if he behaves properly. Otherwise, why is there so much fuss at
present about fallen gurus? A man is considered responsible only if he
takes care of his wife, family and other obligatory social and religious duties. No one hesitates to criticize a fallen guru or an irresponsible man (ISKCON or worldly). Why should women not also be regarded according to their behavior?

This is the safety net afforded by a society based on varnashram principles:

The chances of you stepping out of line (i.e. transgressing religious principles) is minimized because if you do, the whole society will criticize. Because human beings are social animals, there are few punishments stronger than public censure. Just look at Bill Clinton, he must have lost ten years off his life for his impropriety. What to speak of so many great devotees who had given their life to Srila Prabhupada and have fallen down. That there is public outrage against improperly behaved leaders, men and women is a healthy sign that we, in ISKCON, are making some social progress--coming closer to the standards we are supposed to be practicing.

There are two categories of fallen people (within ISKCON): (1) those who are

very determined to continue with certain, cherished illusions, in spite of all help; and (2) those who are struggling to overcome their weaknesses.

Those in the second category have at least recognized their insufficiencies.

Because they have a more or less accurate understanding of what is their
actual advancement, they are generally humble and can even bear harsh
remarks about their shortcomings. This class should be treated respectfully.

Regarding those in the first category, they also have come to the shelter of

ISKCON, they aren’t like the karmis, but at the same time, unlike the
devotees in the second category, they have some anarthas which they just
refuse to admit to having, even to themselves. In order to protect these
anarthas, they can offer subtle and gross mal-interpretations of scripture to
justify their continuance of a cherished illusion or sinful activity.

To rectify such devotees is very difficult and often requires tools like harsh words and denial of certain privileges. If in spite off all efforts they do not reform, then ostracism is the only recourse because if they are not ostracized, they will pollute others with conclusions that are against our siddhantas, eventually leading others to sinful life. This is the way varnashram works.

Note that both categories mentioned have anarthas, it is a question of humility and honesty that determines one’s category.

Please consider the following (without considering it a personal attack):

If I had written the subject header with a masculine spin instead of a
feminine spin, would you have objected? Do you think that some woman (even one), somewhere would have complained in a similar fashion? “Why are you so ‘down’ on ALL the men in ISKCON? Just because they [have been shown what culture is but are unable to utilize sufficient intelligence to adapt to that culture,] are you indeed not calling them scoundrels?”

I, however, do accept that it was a mistake to use such language in mixed

company. I’m sorry, and I will be more careful in future correspondence.

Please offer my respectful obeisances to your husband.

Your servant, Krishna-kirti das
(Text COM:1690100) ------------------------------------

4.2 A woman appreciates that we have a balanced view.
Letter COM:1693xyz (28 lines)
From: (Temple) ****(India)
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

****dasi (xyz)
(Text COM:1693xyz) -----------------------------------------

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