Akincana

What about Srila Prabhupada’s Books?

A parampara critique of “Women in ISKCON in Prabhupada’s Times”

In 1997, Mother Jyotirmayi dasi, a pre-1970s disciple of Srila Prabhupada, published a paper titled “Women in ISKCON in Prabhupada’s Times,” wherein she argues that the occupational roles and social status women had in ISKCON up to 1974 was the standard Srila Prabhupada wanted. She describes the equal status women held with men in ISKCON before 1974, as she and some others experienced it; how after 1974 that equality diminished; why she thinks the introduction of social and occupational inequality was bad for ISKCON in general; and why she thinks it harmed women in particular. Consequently, she argues that deviation from that standard caused great spiritual difficulty for many. “Having known to a certain extent the movement from almost its beginning (from 1969), a number of the first devotees and Srila Prabhupada personally,” she says, “I feel a responsibility to share this experience with other, newer, devotees in order to help correct the faults and give ISKCON back its original, wonderful nature.” Hence she advocates a return of ISKCON’s social relations between its men and women to its pre-1974 state…

An Alternative Account of the History of Gender Relations in ISKCON

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