Recently, in a brief response to the paper “The Sunīti Pramāṇa and Set Theory,” by Madana Mohana Dāsa (disciple of Mukunda Goswami), with Akiñcanā-Rati Dāsa, PhD (Math.), Dvija-Govinda Dāsa, PhD (Math.), Sukumārī-Sundarī Devī Dāsī, PhD (Math.) et al., His Holiness Bhakti Vikāśa Swami said –

The very fact that supposed devotees attempt to interpret Śrīla Prabhupāda’s statements using mathematics shows how foolish and deviated they are from the basic methods of spiritual understanding as taught by Śrīla Prabhupāda. Why even bother to discuss mathematical approaches to “understanding” Śrīla Prabhupāda’s purports? It is complete nonsense from the outset.

(Source: click here)

In reply to this, the paper’s principal author, Madana Mohana Prabhu, objected to Mahārāja’s description of their attempt to interpret Śrīla Prabhupāda’s statements using mathematics as “complete nonsense” and that those involved in such mathematical jugglery are “foolish” and “supposed devotees.” I am writing this article in answer to Madana Mohana Prabhu, supporting Mahārāja’s usage of these terms.

“It is complete nonsense”

In trying to interpret SB 4.12.32, purport, a pro-FDG (female dīkṣā-guru) respondent, in a paper titled “A Response to Krishna-kirti Prabhu’s Argument” (which the authors of the Set Theory paper also quote), says that to think that “every mother is a woman” is a fallacy. What else could be said about it other than “it is complete non-sense”?

Here is what the pro-FDG respondents (who have chosen to remain anonymous) say:

If it were that easy, then Śrīla Prabhupāda would not say that we all have seven mothers. These mothers include the cow (a completely different genus). Moreover, in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.17) the Supreme Puruṣa (male) named Krishna says — jagato mātā — “I am the mother of this universe”. By falsely thinking that every mother is a woman, Krishna-kirti Prabhu makes another fallacy. If this logic is to be followed, Krishna will also become a woman.

(Source Article or copy paste this URL:


In SB 4.12.32, purport, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, “Sunīti, however, being a woman, and specifically his mother, could not become Dhruva Mahārāja’s dīkṣā-guru.” Which sober person will read this and think that the type of mother Śrīla Prabhupāda is speaking about includes someone who is not necessarily a woman or is not human?

The equation is simple: if you want to give such a person a benefit of doubt about his non-devotional intentions, then at the most you can say that such a person is “foolish.” That is a concession for him.

“Supposed devotees”

However, we also see that such persons are not only foolish but they are adamantly committed to discredit anyone who is against their FDG idea, and they do not exempt Vedic culture or even a pure devotee, like Sunīti.

Here is a sample of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s view about Sunīti that he picturizes in the Bhāgavatam:

Sunīti, the mother of Dhruva, was a farseeing woman, and therefore she advised her son to worship the Supreme Lord and no one else. (SB 4.8.23, Purport)

As regards to the entire pastime of Dhruva, Śrīla Prabhupāda gives nothing but praise for Sunīti. There is not a tinge of criticism of her character or instructions in any of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s statements.

But according to Madana Mohana Prabhu, Sunīti was vengeful towards her husband, and to take revenge she instructed Dhruva Mahārāja to worship Lord Nārāyaṇa. Thus, as per Madana Mohana Prabhu, Sunīti was not eligible to become even śikṣā-guru what to speak of her becoming dīkṣā-guru.

Here is the text from his paper:

It appears from the dialogue that Sunīti as Dhruva’s mother and a neglected co-wife of the King was afflicted by grief out of affection for her son, as well as by jealousy and vengefulness towards Suruci and Uttānapāda. This might naturally be the reason why she could not muster enough composure and clarity (required of a guru) to pacify and enlighten even herself, much less her son, and could not become his śikā-guru. (Madana Mohana et. al. page 17)

So, as per Madana Mohana Prabhu, the reason for Sunīti not being Dhruva Mahārāja’s dīkṣā-guru was not on account of her being a woman but on account her having lower, base qualities like being vengeful, etc. This can be called the Sunīti Vengeance Argument.

You can get idea of how Madana Mohana Prabhu is misleading devotees: his description of Sunīti is derogatory whereas Śrīla Prabhupāda gives the highest praise for Sunīti’s character and instruction. If you read the whole chapter or the whole incident of Sunīti and Dhruva from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, you will not find a single instance even slightly indicating anything near what is misconstrued by the Sunīti Vengeance Argument. No person (either foolish or intelligent) can construe such disparaging remarks towards Sunīti out of this pastime, unless he is adamantly envious of Vedic culture and devotees following that culture.

Madana Mohana Prabhu had been appropriately and śāstrically answered for this same mischief of his in a WhatsApp conference six months back in front of about fifty devotees, which he has not responded to until today. Instead, he is repeating the same line of thinking and speech. This is being adamantly offensive. A befitting answer (that was given to him in the conference) will be published soon. However, just for readers to get some idea, below is a small sample of it.

The statement of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura that Madana Mohana Prabhu is trying to misconstrue actually says that Sunīti very much tried to calm down Dhruva and not become envious of his father (and Suruci), and Sunīti directed him to worship Lord Nārāyaṇa if he wants a greater kingdom than his father (SB 4.8.17-19). Actually, in order to help Dhruva not build enmity towards Suruci, Sunīti even glorified Suruci saying that her words are bitter but true, that Dhruva should worship Nārāyaṇa in order to get the kingdom of his father, and she recommended that he follow those words and worship Nārāyaṇa (SB 4.8.19).

However, Dhruva immediately remembered the words of Suruci (in SB 4.8.13), that he has to take birth from her womb if he wants his father’s kingdom; this instilled in him the thought that as a result of worshipping Nārāyaṇa, he may have to take birth from Suruci, which will then enable him to get the kingdom. If such is the case then, Dhruva thought, he will never worship Nārāyaṇa.

Sunīti could understand Dhruva’s mind and thus she considered that because Suruci is wretched and similarly her husband because of being her servant, the result of worshipping Nārāyaṇa cannot be to take birth from Suruci’s womb. Thus, to assure Dhruva and convince him to worship Nārāyaṇa, far-seeing Sunīti, spoke the words in which she said that Nārāyaṇa has given a kingdom to your father and great grandfather, why He could he not also give a kingdom to him directly? (SB 4.8.20-23) By such words Sunīti removed an obstacle from Dhruva’s path of worshipping Nārāyaṇa.

Thus, His Holiness Bhakti Vikāśa Swami is not at all exaggerating in describing such authors as no more than “supposed devotees.”

The rest I leave to the readers to decide. Ultimately someone has to loudly say, “THE KING IS NAKED!”

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  1. The main reason it is wrong is because Madana Mohana Prabhu had a hand in it. He will spend 40 pages showing by various ways that 2+2=5 or maybe 2+2=3 and completely waste your time with mind games. Never any direct method. He has an dishonest mind.

  2. Writing a whole scientific paper to analyze the logic of this Prabhupada’s statement may be an overkill and also cloud the basic point, indeed. But the presented counterargument also strays away from the main point. Which is: we have to ask ourselves the question why did Prabhupada say “being a woman, and specifically his mother”. Why adding the mother specialization? What other reason for that could be other than that “being a woman” is insuffcient to completely rule out the possibility of her becoming a diksa-guru? Yes, usually, it’s a disqualification but not always. And which cases are an exception? They are brought to light in this very article: when a person is a pure devotee (like Suniti was), the bodily circumstances become secondary. And that perfectly agrees with the other famous Prabhupada’s statement on the topic: “But, not so many. Actually one who has attained the perfection, she can become guru.” Indeed, there are not so many pure devotees on the planet, at any time. But, likewise, we can’t state that there are none, or, specifically, that there are no woman pure devotees. Even more, that there are no woman pure devotees in ISKCON. As we know, being on a lower level of conciousness doesn’t permit one to unequivocally assess the level of those who are more advanced.
    So, yes, it is common for men who haven’t yet become pure devotees to assume the role of diksa-gurus (after all, someone has to play this role). While it is not recommended for non-pure devotee women. At the same time, it is definitely possible for those women who have reached the level of a pure devotee. Thus, if ISKCON were to completely rule out the possibility of authorizing women to become diksa-gurus it would not agree with the siddhanta.

    1. That’s exactly the point. If we would be talking about “pure devotee” women – nobody would be objecting. But we’re talking about requirements like “women who are over 55 and has a husband, son or a guardian to oversee her and protect while she can be a guru”. This is completely made up. And we should not be thinking that “we can’t assess someone as a pure devotee or not so best to appoint by age and social support”. There are many many verses that point out who is a pure devotee, what are his symptoms, how does he act, how does he talk, how he sees and treats others, all these things are extensively described and we are supposed to know and be able to apply those verses and descriptions, otherwise we shall be cheated.

      1. There are also non-sastric requirements for approving male diksa-gurus in ISKCON. For example, a candidate must have been an initiated disciple for at least ten years, must not have had a fall-down within five years, and so on. Surely, these apply to the female candidates as well, but the point is that ISKCON as an institution has a different (or rather, additional) set of requirements for the gurus serving within it than the ones listed in the sastra. And the main reason for that, from my point of view, is that the sastric standard is for each individual to base their own resonable judjement upon (and you correctly point out that if we don’t study and follow those instructions we may be easily cheated). Yet, the ISKCON requirements are of a different nature: they are intended to be followed on the level of an organization and not an individual. I.e. they should be suitable for applying more or less objectively and collectively, while, from an individual’s point of view, a much higher degree of subjectivity is acceptable. Moreover, as HG Ravindra Swarupa prabhu has pointed out in his seminar on the history of ISKCON, a wordlwide spiritual institution is a novel idea conceived by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and implemented by Srila Prabhupada. So there are no manuals or templates in the sastra on how such institutions should be run and what rules and regulations are appropriate to them. That is why ISKCON (by the authorization of Srila Prabhupada) has its own laws, and one of them concerns the topic of initiating gurus. However, neither does it substitute the sastric rules, nor can it always appropriate the statements that are intended for indvidual consumption to the level of the whole organization. For example, we can’t expect that the assesment that someone is or is not a pure devotee is performed by a committee.

    2. ////Why adding the mother specialization? ////
      Srila Prabhupada did not write about “motherhood” as specialization of “womanhood”. That was made by the editors of the purport of SB 4.12.32. In the original manuscript there are a prase: “being in family relationship with Dhruva, his mother, and also woman”.

      1. Thanks, that’s a good point. Yet, I find the original statement even less supporting of the anti-fdg position: the main disqualification being in family relationship with Dhruva, his mother. Secondary consideration: being a woman.

        1. Why is “being a woman” secondary? Just because it is the second in the list?

          1. Yes, this is how people usually phrase something: the most important things first. And the use of the word “also” hints towards that. Although, that is my interpretation based on my experience: we are now trying to second-guess Srila Prabhupada, and I can see how an opposite case can be justified. However, what remains undisputes is that, in the only written sattement where Srila Prabhupada addresses this issue, he didn’t use womenhood as a sufficient factor. In other words, if he could say that her being a woman completely disqualifies her from playing the role of a diksa-guru why bring up the other factor?

            1. Sorry, I don’t agree that the second in a list means secondary.

              ///In other words, if he could say that her being a woman completely disqualifies her from playing the role of a diksa-guru why bring up the other factor?///

              If two sufficient grounds of ineligibility were present in the case of Srimati Suniti, why should Srila Prabhupada withhold one of them? For example, keeping narcotics is a sufficient ground for arresting. Keeping a bomb is a sufficient ground for arresting too. When police finds that a person keeps narcotics and a bomb they should arrest him and point in a custody record that he keeps narcotics and also a bomb. And if something is enumerated as the second in the custody record, it does not mean that this is a secondary consideration.

              Another example. A bhakta asks a temple president of ISKCON to give recommendation for initiation. A temple president says: “I will not give you recommendation because you did not pass the test for initiation and you don’t chant 16 rounds daily”. Each of two grounds pointed by a temple president is sufficient to reject recommendation. And if a temple president don’t point one of the grounds, that would be strange and impractical.

              1. Your examples are clear and they have a right to exist. Yet they are just one of the possible interpretations. In the same situation with a bhakta who asks for recommendation, the president might as well say: “I will not give you recommendation because you don’t chant 16 rounds daily, ans also there are some concerns regarding how strict you follow the vaishnava etiquette”. Based on our knowledge of ISKCON rules, we can understand that the first requirement is mandatory while the second one may be more of a wish, although it’s also a serious concern. Yet, if it was the only issue, the president would have had a very hard time denying the recommendation.
                So, to reiterate wht I have already wrote previously, we are trying to second-guess Srila Prabhupada. From my point of view, we can’t make any definite conclusion based on this statement alone (and, I believe, that’s also the point of the paper that has originally triggered this discusssion). We need to juxtapose it with other relevant statements. For your interpretation to be undisputed you need to find some other statements where Srila Prabhupada mentions that women can’t be gurus under any circumstances. Yet, there is the other already mentioned quote: “Actually one who has attained the perfection, she can become guru.” And it contradicts your hypothesis.

                1. It is definite that second item in a list does not mean secondary. If you want to prove the opposite idea, please, provide evidence from dictionaries and other objective sources.

                  1. I agree with you, but this comment is not explicitly worded as a list. To have no doubts that the phrase is an enumeration of several equally important items it should look something like this:
                    – She couldn’t become his guru for the following reasons: she was his mother, she was a woman.
                    – There were several reasons why she couldn’t become his guru: being his mother and being a woman.
                    Surely, Srila Prabhupada has his own unique style of expressing thoughts, but he also uses such forms. For example, here:
                    “The Lord’s desire to appear was born from two reasons: the Lord wanted to taste the sweet essence of the mellows of love of God, and He wanted to propagate devotional service in the world on the platform of spontaneous attraction.” (

                    1. The phrase “being in family relationship with Dhruva, his mother, and also woman” is a participle phrase, or a participle construction.

                      According to English grammar manuals, “Participle constructions in the function of adverbial modifiers of time and REASON (usually at the beginning of the sentence) express the same meaning as adverbial clauses of time and REASON” (link – ).

                      You can’t give any allowed in the English grammar meaning of the phrase “being in family relationship with Dhruva, his mother, and also woman” other than adverbial modifier of REASON. Therefore it means the same as adverbial clause of REASON: “because she was in family relationship with Dhruva, his mother, and also woman“.

  3. At the moment there are many people who have strange ideas about Krishna Consciousness that they broad cast and waste others time will such foolish disturbances. So much concoction and whimsical things in many areas. It’s almost hard to keep up with it all. Mental plane and not being satisfied with the direct and simple devotional dealings and activities. Do people just want to get a name for themselves as some great deep thinkers? And so much sentimental nonsense too that whoever is their guru doesn’t seem to educate them out of such foolish things. Or maybe the disciples don’t care to ask for advice from their guru? I don’t know but it can get a bit frustrating to see so much ridiculous nonsense. Hare Krishna.

  4. ////So, as per Madana Mohana Prabhu, the reason for Sunīti not being Dhruva Mahārāja’s dīkṣā-guru was not on account of her being a woman but on account her having lower, base qualities like being vengeful, etc. This can be called the Sunīti Vengeance Argument./////

    Yes, Sunīti Vengeance Argument is completely different argument having nothing to do with Sunīti statement. Madana Mohan Prabhu tries to prove that the reasons of Sunīti’s ineligibility were her low qualities. But Śrīla Prabhupāda did not mention in the Sunīti statement terms “vengeful woman” or something similar.

    After reading Madana Mohan Prabhu’s paragraph “Did Sunīti wish them well?” I got an impression that Madana Mohan Prabhu directly or indirectly tries to tie up low qualities with womanhood. But low qualities are not tied up with a gender, there exist non-vengeful women as well as vengeful men.

  5. By the way, “a position greater than that of Brahmā” was not the only motivation to worship Nārāyaṇa presented by Sunīti to Dhruva. In the next verses she motivated Dhruva with liberation. And in the commentary by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura to SB 4.8.22 there are such instructions of Sunīti to Dhruva:

    The Lord is affectionate to his servant. He will have more affection for you, his servant, than the affection of millions of mothers like me. You will not encounter a trace of suffering. You will take shelter of the Lord, the path (paddhati) of whose lotus feet are sought by aspirants for liberation, but which is not easily attained by them. Having taken shelter, you should place them in your mind which has attachment for nothing else (ananya-bhäve). Worship the Lord, fixing him in the mind purified (bhävite) by bhakti-dharma, since a five year old boy is not qualified for karma-yoga“.

  6. Very nice reply. Such a ridiculous “theory” it was. And that story “The king is naked!” is exactly what I always had in mind with this entire FDG saga. Most people don’t want to realize how much apasiddhanta, quotes completely out of context and how many instructions of Srila Prabhupada (especially in regards to culture and Vedic society from so many purports of Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrita) are being plainly ignored or disregarded. But one will be a fool (or in our case, offender aparaddhi!) if one ever finds a flaw or points out a mistake. But the truth is that the king is naked. And most arguments pro-feminism are as empty talk as it would be with any other pro-communism, pro-liberalism, pro-whatever.

    Everything is good is already included in Krishna consciousness, so better we be pro-Krishna consciousness.

    Preaching movement expands by the mercy and empowerment of Lord Caitanya, not by our political adjustments and schemes.

    Nobody wants to commit offenses or “deeply hurt” some other vaisnavas, but if one is still so deeply hurt while being corrected according to guru-sadhu-shastra – one is not even close to being a true humble Vaisnava. Lord Caintaya was ready to beat Advaita Acarya so badly for speaking mayavada, and we are suppose to “tolerate” when we hear bogus stuff.

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