TKG – How Prabhupada was and was not equal to women

From a talk by Tamal Krishna Goswami
8-24-2000, Hungary
I will give you some instances to show you that Prabhupada was not equal to women. I was sitting with Prabhupada at 7 Bury Place, our first temple in London. He told me that if Jamuna Devi who was the wife of the temple president, had been a man, it would have been she that would have been the temple president. In other words, she was more qualified than her husband. But because she was a woman, he could not make her the temple president.

Later on, I was handed three slips of paper in which the names of different persons were listed when Prabhupada was preparing to form his first GBC. They finally found these three pieces of papers in the archives. They are in Prabhupada’s own handwriting on backs of envelopes and on the first two he lists, on one of them he lists three women, on one he lists two women and in the third list that I got, he lists only eleven men. And when he formed the GBC, there were no women. Now he wouldn’t allow women to be temple president, so how could he allow women to be GBC? I am just showing you how he was not equal.[...] read more

WHEN WOMEN SHOULD BE ATTACKED

No civilization can actually be considered civilized unless it protects its weaker sections, especially the cows, brahmanas, women, children, and elderly members. In Vedic society, as in any civilized culture, women must be protected as they are physically weak and are easily misled.

Srila Prabhupada said in a lecture:[...] read more

Chastity – What Does It Actually Mean?

On the 26th of July we welcomed 40 ladies in Kharkov/Ukraine, who had traveled all the way from Moscow, Minsk, Moldova, Crimea and various corners of Ukraine to participate in the two-week course for ladies entitled “Exploring the Roots of Spiritual Culture”. As every year we had arranged for their accomodation in a nearby hostel of a ladies’ college. Our youngest participant was ten years of age and the oldest mid fifty, and everyone was excited to embark on this transformational journey. Each and every participant received a colorful folder with printed materials and articles. We had a tight schedule with a three hours’ session in the mornings, and another 2 hours in the afternoon. Every morning we began the lessons with a role play demonstrating the topics of the previous day’s discussions. Whenever ten-year old Manjari took part, the role plays were especially heart moving and sweet.

One of the many captivating topics was chastity – what exactly does it mean? These days we often have a very shallow and superficial understanding of this most important quality, and since women in materialistic culture don’t aspire for it at all, the term is therefore almost lost and forgotten today. I distinctly remember how I was preaching at a Sunday program many years ago in Sydney, Australia, and I mentioned this term ‘chastity’ to some newcomers. One of the ladies exclaimed with a thousand question marks written all over her face: “Chastity? What’s THAT??” Also in the German language the term chastity (Keuschheit) sounds like something from the Middle Ages.[...] read more

HUSBAND AS GURU – HOW ABOUT SRILA PRABHUPADA AS GURU?

The article “Husband as Guru” presents much of what could be considered common-sense advice for husbands struggling to come to the human platform. However, some grave faults mar what otherwise might in some contexts have been valuable suggestions.

By predicting “that some men will not agree with me (although I doubt any woman will disagree)” the author anticipatingly dismisses any opposition from males as being mere chauvinism. I am currently imprisoned in a male body, but it is not on such flimsy grounds that I perceive significant blemishes in what he calls his “illumination.”[...] read more

The Position of a Widow

Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 3: Chapter Twenty-three, Text 52: PURPORT

It is said that the father himself becomes the son in another form. The father and son are therefore considered to be nondifferent. A widow who has her son is actually not a widow, because she has the representative of her husband. Similarly, Devahuti is indirectly asking Kardama Muni to leave a representative so that in his absence she might be relieved of her anxieties by a suitable son.[...] read more

A response to Hari-kirtana prabhu regarding my article

Many thanks to Hari-kirtana prabhu for his thoughtful response to my submission on the relative intelligence of men to women. He has clearly done a little homework and I appreciate his reminder that we have to be careful when we cite scientific findings as support for our preaching work. His admonition that “one small slip on the scientific slope (in this case, asserting that testosterone suppresses oxytocin to prove that a man’s biological response to stress is different than a woman’s) is enough to undermine our credibility with educated people and, with it, the credibility Vedic scripture as axiomatic, infallible, and of Divine origin” is well taken. It reminds me of an exchange we had with Srila Prabhupada on a morning walk on December 8th 1975 in Vrindavana:

“Nevertheless, despite his often humorous critiques and sometimes general condemnations of the modern materialistic scientists, Prabhupada cautioned us that any attempt to preach on a scientific basis must be done expertly. When Alanatha, a European devotee, told him of plans to publish a magazine in Sweden with articles challenging the material scientists, Prabhupada warned him. “Don’t write anything nonsense. It must be very solid. Otherwise you’ll be laughing stock. One must be confident before challenging others. In all stages he must be able to defend himself from the opposing elements. Then such challenge is all right. We are confident that this soul cannot be manufactured by any material combination. Therefore we can challenge. And we can defend ourselves in any stage.”[...] read more

What are the benefits of an arranged marriage?

There are many benefits, provided that there are empowered assistants at work helping the two conditioned souls regulate their lives, so that spiritual progress becomes possible.

Recently, yet again, a devotee expressed his lack of faith in arranged marriages pointing to the shockingly high divorce rate in ISKCON. As he was a sincere soul, I pointed out to him in return that karmis are certainly not less affected as devotees are by Kali. The argument that; “unless both, the boy and the girl like each other, how can the marriage work?” is irrelevant from all points of view. It assumes that arranged marriages are conducted by artificial force, which is in itself a wrong assumption.[...] read more

The Need For Protection Of The Women In Society

Even in a society which freely allows men to take more than one wife legally, not all men will do so. Rather, only a few should and only a few do. Two factors weigh most in this regard. The qualification of the men, and the number of women in society in need of protection. There are two types of men who are qualified to take more then one wife. One are those who are very wealthy and can financially take many wives, as in the case of kings or very wealthy businessmen. The other are those who are qualified in the spiritual sense, the brahmincal sages, who are able to lead their dependents out of the cycle of birth and death. A Vaishnava who can take his dependents to the Lotus Feet of Sri Krsna is qualified to take on a larger number of dependents, if he so desires. But, he must also be able to maintain his wife or wives to the standard of his ashram. At least the wives must not be forced to work out side the home, working as sudras or servants of others, they must have food, shelter and clothes, at least to the standard of the ashram of the husband. Not that if a brahmana marries more then one wife the wives must be cared for to the standard of ksatriya queens. Brahmana may live very simply, still, each wife must be taken care of respectfully and not be in want of basic needs.

Brahmanas, especially Vaishnava Brahmanas, are generally not at all wealthy, so if they take more than one wife, they generally can take only 2 or 3 wives or so. More worldly men who have great wealth can materially accommodate a large number of wives and offspring. It was not uncommon for kings to take a 100 wives or even 100’s.[...] read more