7. But there are so many Vaiṣṇavī gurus in the Gauḍīya sampradāya. What about that?
In an interview, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s godbrother B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja said that female ācāryas, dīkṣā-gurus, are “very rare.” Mahārāja further added, “The number can be counted on fingers, lady ācāryas.”
8. Indeed, the few examples of lady ācāryas in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism are of siddha women. Jāhnavā Devī was none other than Nityānanda Prabhu’s wife, the internal potency of the Lord Himself. Gaṅgāmātā Gosvāmiṇī showed the symptoms of a liberated soul from the beginning of her life. She did not want to marry any mortal man. And later on, Lord Jagannatha Himself ordered her to initiate disciples.
9. They form the exceptions mentioned in the śāstras, and in no way do they contradict the norm of non-siddha women being prohibited from becoming dīkṣā-guru. Instead, as exceptions, they support it. To try to prove that Vaiṣṇavī dīkṣā-gurus are not rare in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism is directly trying to prove the Śrīla Prabhupāda’s stance on this subject is faulty. It creates the offense of considering the guru to be an ordinary man. Nevertheless, the Śāstric Advisory Committee in its paper FDG: Prudent Questions, Sastric Answers (2013) put forward as counter-examples some Gauḍīya disciplic lineages that have female ācāryas. In one lineage, six of their twelve ācāryas were women, and in other, nine out of eleven were women. According to the SAC, “it is virtually impossible to provide solid proof for the claim that FDGs were rare” and they further say that “historically, the claimed rarity of FDGs in the Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava sampradāya is difficult to substantiate.”
10. This reasoning is improper because it tries to contradict the words (śabda) of a liberated ācārya such as Śrīla Prabhupāda with the lower-level evidence of observation (pratyakṣa). But even if we were to accept the argument offered by the SAC, they have provided no evidence that the ladies who came after Jāhnavā Devī and some others in the lineages they cite were also siddha. The SAC uncritically assumes they were. But their assumption is unwarranted. By the time of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, almost the whole Gauḍīya sampradāya was lost or transformed into apasampradāyas.
(Prabhupada lecture, source provided below): “Say, after the disappearance of the Gosvāmīns, years after, the things became almost ridiculous. The so-called devotees… Their representatives still are continuing. They are called prākṛta-sahajiyā. Prākṛta-sahajiyā means taking things very easily. They thought that Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa is just like a boy and girl’s lusty affairs. And in this way, they took it that sex life as religion. Even Vivekananda, he also criticized, “Vaiṣṇavism is sex religion.” So the things deteriorated in such a way that… And similarly, as Advaita Prabhu was afflicted, similarly, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura… He was at that time a householder, government officer and magistrate. He felt very much: “Oh, Lord Caitanya’s movement is so… People… As soon as one will see that he belongs to the Caitanya sampradāya, he’ll deride, ‘Oh, these are all rascals, simply taking sex pleasures. That’s all.’”
11. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura is therefore addressed as rūpānugavara or the best of the followers of Rūpa Gosvāmī. He is the one who revived the Gauḍīya sampradāya’s real teachings. Thus, some doubt is warranted as to the authenticity of the Gauḍīya lineages presented by the SAC. In absence of any evidence higher than our observation of the SAC’s lists of Vaiṣṇavīs who became dīkṣā-gurus, it is best to stick to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s analysis that Vaiṣṇavī dīkṣā-gurus were “not so many” and are always to be “very special cases.” Those who are dissatisfied with this are invited to present their lists of Vaiṣṇavī dīkṣā-gurus in different Gauḍīya lines, along with their bona fide biographies and teachings so that everyone can really see the evidence.
8. 1981 Conversation with Śrīpāda B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja, quoted in SAC 2005.
9. Associates of Śrī Caitanya 2.22, Gaṅgāmātā Gosvāmiṇī
10. Page 12
11. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Appearance Day Lecture, 7 Feb 1969, Los Angeles.
Source: Questions & Answered in the book Vaisnava diksa according to Narada Pancaratra.