In Kṛṣṇa’s Vedic civilization, upanayana — the investiture with the sacred thread and brahma-gāyatrī — is exclusively conferred upon qualified men, with women and śūdras being excluded. In the early days, Śrīla Prabhupāda, to pacify a few irate female disciples who had revolted because of not getting second initiation, started the practice of granting brahma-gāyatrī to his female disciples but without the sacred thread, implying they were not genuine brāhmaṇas. As time passed and senior devotees gained deeper knowledge of Kṛṣṇa’s Vedic culture they realized what had happened. Some who had by now become initiating gurus reverted to Kṛṣṇa’s original standard and ceased giving their female disciples brahma-gāyatrī at the time of second initiation and became more stringent with male disciples, reserving it only for those displaying brahminical tendencies. This shift challenged those advocating for Female Diksa Gurus in ISKCON and other feminist initiatives. Consequently, the GBC approached SAC for guidance on this matter and SAC provided āpasiddhāntik and heterodox arguments to sanction brahma-gāyatrī for women and unqualified men.

This essay serves as an initial response to SAC’s paper. Here, we highlight that SAC concocted its method of textual interpretation (that yields predetermined results) while disregarding Kṛṣṇa’s original method — Mīmāṁsā. We emphasize the importance of understanding the guru’s “mano- ‘bhīṣṭaṁ” (mind’s desire) when interpreting his actions, which are ultimately rooted in śāstra. SAC misunderstands our dīkṣā process. Since brahma-gāyatrī is part of our dīkṣā protocol we must first understand how our system of dīkṣā works.Thus we analyze the initiation framework in our sampradāya — which contains elements of Bhāgavata, Pañcarātrika, and Vaidika traditions. Next we show that SAC ignored the fundamental question on which everything hinges — Why did Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura introduce upanayana? And, show that after answering this question SAC’s whole argument collapses. We also discuss the GBC’s flawed resolutions which they based on SAC’s non-peer reviewed paper.

Please read the document here – pdf.

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1 Comment

  1. So he was not excluding shudras also.

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