His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami (ACBSP)
Phalini Mataji’s praise
Women: Masters or Mothers? A Review (by Phalini devi dasi ACBSP)
Women: Masters or Mothers? called by the author a “tract,” is much more than just a religious pamphlet. It is a deep and thoroughly cogent treatise on the current social anomalies within ISKCON (mirroring the social aberrations of the Western world) and how these incongruities relate to and have arisen due to our members remaining too much influenced by Western society.
His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami is not concerned with how he will be viewed for stating facts. He speaks courageously and truthfully about the unquestionable presence and pernicious effects of feminism within ISKCON, the need for early marriage, the practicality of polygamy, the importance of shyness among women and their need for protection, the fact that Srila Prabhupada never appointed women as temple presidents or GBC members, the dangers of co-education and worldly careers for women, and other such hush-hush, hot topics that may arouse angry arguments but that nonetheless need to be addressed, discussed, and adopted in our society as part of fulfilling the other 50% of Srila Prabhupada’s mission: daiva-varnasrama-dharma.
Srila Prabhupada did not want us to emulate the American (aka Western) way of life. He came to improve it, to change it, to replace American culture with Vedic culture. He wanted us to transcend the American way of life and to realize that we don’t belong in this world. Srila Prabhupada states, “I am not in the world…just like I am in America…I am not adopting any ways of life as the Americans do. Not only myself, all my disciples who are following me, they are also not Americans. They’re different from American behavior, American way of life. I don’t accept any consciousness of America. And I teach my disciples also to take to that consciousness…so if you take to Krsna consciousness and you remain in Krsna consciousness, you don’t belong to this world.” (Bg Lecture, LA, December 16, 1968)
Though Maharaja uses not only quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, but from other sources as well, clearly, his objective is to clarify, adhere to and promote the teachings and purpose of our founder-acarya Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada predicted that if ISKCON were to fall apart, it would be due to internal strife tearing our society apart from within. We have already seen in our short fifty years as a fledgling movement the beginnings of internal crumbling. This book is a wake-up call for those of us who do not want to see the further disintegration of ISKCON. If such sensibly presented essays as Women: Masters or Mothers? are not carefully read and given serious consideration by the deep thinkers of our ISKCON Society, we may see the demise of our own institution within our very lifetimes.
There have been objections voiced by devotees who find the book’s cover unappealing or who find some fault with Maharaja for discussing standards of cleanliness for his female disciples during their menses. I appeal to the leaders of our movement, Please read this book with a humble, open heart and don’t make the mistake of shooting the messenger! His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami is simply representing Srila Prabhupada’s stance and teachings on delicate subjects which some would prefer to ignore and discredit as irrelevant due to their over-sympathizing with American or Western ways of life.
Women: Masters or Mothers? offers powerful solutions to the problems we face as a spiritual institution. It is a must-read for every member of our ISKCON Society. If we simply ignore this book as irrelevant or fanatical, our tendency as a religious movement will no doubt be to adopt the spirit of modernism, thus inviting calamity upon our spiritual progress, both individually and collectively. If we thus loosen our standards and degrade from being the powerful, pure and dynamic force that Srila Prabhupada groomed us to be, how can ISKCON survive?
Purity is the force that keeps our movement thriving and growing. Impurity, which can be traced to deeply rooted attachment and adherence to Western social behaviors, is an opposing force that can lead us to degradation.
Srila Prabhupada warned that we should keep ourselves free from the impurities of materialistic culture. If we give in to the cultural norms of a degraded, failing society, what will be ISKCON’s destiny? William Ralph Inge’s chilling admonition can be taken a step further to read, “That religion which marries the spirit of today will be a widow tomorrow.”
Phalini devi dasi (ACBSP)
Sundari Radhika Matajis praise
No, actually not. As a disciple of HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami I can say from my own case and examples of my Godsisters, that our Guru Maharaja encourages all of us to preach, teach, go to book distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books, do harinams, do Deity worship, and participate in temple sevas, write books, etc. We are a preaching movement, and that literally means that everyone should preach. Including women, children, old , sick, temple cat, etc. BUT at the same time, he teaches us what comes first. First is to finish our duties at home, towards our family. That is the prescribed duty for grihasta asram.
That means, that we should not leave our crying baby at home, because we have to run to the temple to cook 50 preparations for festivals or book distribution, etc, while children are left alone for hours at home scared and hungry. That means that wife should first cook at home, take care of husband’s and children’s needs, or parent’s and in-laws needs (in case they live in extended family).
So first things first.
And husband is doing the same; he has his prescribed duties in grihasta asrama and after he finishes them that day, he can also go to do preaching, harinams, book distribution, write books, etc.
So the main point is; grihastas act as grihastas and not as brahmacaris or sannyasis who have no family and can travel from place to place every third day. A married woman cannot do that if she has a family. Because those who neglected their children and husband on pretext of “preaching mission” gave bad example and left very negative impression on their kids, who now don’t want to hear about KC. And husbands left them to marry a woman who actually wants to be a wife.
That’s the reason why our ISKCON has so many divorces, unhappy children who don’t want to hear about Krishna consciousness, and “preaching” mission, because they never had their mother and father at home to take care of them, cook for them, etc.
I would be fried if my parents treated me that way in the name of book distribution or because my mother was too busy in the temple as full-time pujari.
That’s the reason why there is adultery, because husband never sees his wife, or the other way around, wife never sees her husband. She is busy in opening new centers, and does not cook at home, so he goes to eat somewhere else, he goes to satisfy his need with other woman, etc. Families break.
So first things first. That is what this book is about. Feminists are blind to this, maybe because they are guilty.
Society is made mostly of grihastas. If grihasta asram is strong, the whole society is strong and prosperous. And the children stay in the movement.
HG Sundari Radhika Mataji’s second essay
Same people who ban WMM book by His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami, are not able to hear these teachings and instructions from HDG Srila Prabhupada, what to speak of hearing it from someone else. Same people want to remove such topics from Srila Prabhupada books (some of them are having leading positions in ISKCON).
“Mother” does not mean merely the biological function of giving birth, but an embodiment of self-sacrifice, nurturing, compassion, and comforting. To actually care for children is a full-time job, a twenty-four hour responsibility, and a major challenge. And babies require exclusive attention; both parents are permanently on call and may go days without proper sleep. Although many fathers also take much of the burden, still, the contribution of the mother is irreplaceable – for instance, only she can breastfeed. And actually a woman’s innate psychology is to enjoy being a mother and sacrificing
for her family. Mother’s love – in abundance – is essential for raising good children. It is by doing their duty as wives and mothers that women realize their potential.
As exemplars of selflessness (which varṇāśrama-dharma is meant to inculcate*), mothers are vital in contributing to social stability, good population, family values, and religious culture.”
Murari Prabhu’s essay
Response to H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami’s book is Not Banned by the GBC
BY: MURARI DAS
Jun 12, 2016 — INDIA (SUN) —
In the above article the author wrote:
“Yes, there are ‘restrictions’ but no, the book is not ‘banned’. The GBC did not say that ISKCON members could not purchase or read this book, only that sales and display of the book shall not occur on ISKCON premises.”
This is a practical example of ‘word jugglery’. Has ISKCON ever banned a book through any other condition than placing restrictions on it, e.g. restricting its availability? Why doesn’t the author of the above article (who is also the author of the resolution) or the GBC (I am not sure if the author is speaking on behalf of the GBC) be direct and say that clearly, they banned the book and take responsibility for that action. As Maharaja pointed out in his correspondence with the GBC, and which they did not respond to:
“I might be forgiven for opining that this statement seems to exhibit either ignorance of the definition of this word, or plain disingenuity. According to an edition of Collins, “ban” is defined thus:
1) () to prohibit, esp officially, from action, display, entrance, sale, etc.; forbid.”
It is something like asking someone to not go out of the home while at the same time saying that we have not jailed you. So whether you want to use the word ‘ban’ or not, the action that was taken by the GBC was to BAN the book, as substantiated by the definition above.
An important point missed by the writer of the resolution is that the book says clearly in the beginning that this book is meant for ISKCON devotees. So, saying that…
“The GBC did not say that ISKCON members could not purchase or read this book, only that sales and display of the book shall not occur on ISKCON premises.”
…effectively means that you are banning the book for sale given that it is not meant for outsiders and if it is not sold on ISKCON premises (to devotees), then where else could it be sold?
The article also gives reasons for the ban:
“Reasons for the restrictions include, as stated, that the book contains statements advocating practices that are illegal in the majority of countries in the world, notably polygamy, child marriage and child labor.”
I wonder if some of our managerial authorities have read Srila Prabhupada’s books. If so, then they would have found that Srila Prabhupada explains and encourages
From Caitanya-caritamrta 1.14.58, purport:
“Generally in every society the female population is greater in number than the male population. Therefore if it is a principle in the society that all girls should be married, unless polygamy is allowed it will not be possible. If all the girls are not married there is a good chance of adultery, and a society in which adultery is allowed cannot be very peaceful or pure. In our Krsna consciousness society we have restricted illicit sex. The practical difficulty is to find a husband for each and every girl. We are therefore in favor of polygamy, provided, of course, that the husband is able to maintain more than one wife.”
From Srimad Bhagavatam 4.26.6, purport:
“People have become so degraded in this age that on the one hand they restrict polygamy and on the other hand they hunt for women in so many ways. Many business concerns publicly advertise that topless girls are available in this club or in that shop. Thus women have become instruments of sense enjoyment in modern society. The Vedas enjoin, however, that if a man has the propensity to enjoy more than one wife – as is sometimes the propensity for men in the higher social order, such as the brāhmanas, ksatriyas, and vaiśyas, and even sometimes the śūdras – he is allowed to marry more than one wife. Marriage means taking complete charge of a woman and living peacefully without debauchery. At the present moment, however, debauchery is unrestricted. Nonetheless, society makes a law that one should not marry more than one wife. This is typical of a demoniac society.”
Srimad Bhagavatam 4.25.42, purport:
“A young woman who has no husband is called anātha, meaning “one who is not protected.” As soon as a woman attains the age of puberty, she immediately becomes very much agitated by sexual desire. It is therefore the duty of the father to get his daughter married before she attains puberty. Otherwise, she will be very much mortified by not having a husband.”
Hence the GBC now requires to ban Srila Prabhupada’s books also if we are to follow their line of thought. Another point to note is that we distribute Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in public all over the world, but Women: Masters or Mothers? is only meant for devotees.
We would like to remind our managerial authorities that Srila Prabhupada didn’t shy away from placing all his books and philosophy up for analysis when sued in America, but rather encouraged more and more public discussion on them. And as followers of Srila Prabhupada we are duty bound to follow him.
Besides these above quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books, there are mentions about polygamy and early marriage in His Divine Grace’s lectures, conversations and letters. Therefore by banning Women: Masters or Mothers? the GBC has actually banned Srila Prabhupada.
Regarding the references to child labor in the book, Maharaja has already clarified the following in his correspondence with GBC EC:
“Another inaccuracy (at least from my perspective) is to state that I have advocated child labor. More precisely I have discussed vocational training for children who are unfit for academic education. Although this position might not be very popular in much of the world today, it is concordant with Srila Prabhupada’s vision of varnasrama, which he wanted his disciples to implement “immediately.” No doubt, such points are not “politically correct” but, as I have attempted to highlight in “Women: Masters or Mothers?” it is Srila Prabhupada’s mandate to us that we at least begin to implement such social measures. I fear that we may be guilty of guror-avajna if as a society we are not anxious to fulfill this desire of Srila Prabhupada — especially if we are instead anxious to suppress a book that is meant to bring to the attention of devotees these vital issues that, frankly, we who are supposed to be Srila Prabhupada’s successors have neglected for so many years to act on.”
As we can see, this ban not only doesn’t make sense but is not in the interests of ISKCON members or the managerial authorities. Not only should it be rescinded, but an apology is due to H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami for such an illegal action towards someone whose only interest was to glorify his spiritual master and fulfill his orders through the medium of writing.
I hope we can do the needful and quickly put this episode behind us as some of the followers, disciples and well-wishers of H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami are very confused with this action from a managerial authority which is supposed to propagate and spread Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and encourage others who do so, rather than ban them.
To order Women: Masters or Mothers?
For updates on the Banning of Women: Masters or Mother?, visit BVKS.com
Bhakti Vikasa Swami
His Grace Mayesa Dasa (ACBSP)
ISKCON Vrindavan’s Misguided Ban of Women: Masters or Mothers?
Dr. Anirban Ganguly – 27.11 2015
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami writes in his purport to Bhagavad-gita 2.56: “It is said that every muni has a different angle vision, and unless a muni differs from another muni, he cannot be called a muni in the strict sense of the term.” It is therefore not astounding when there is difference of opinion among devotees. However, there is a very significant difference between difference of opinion, freedom of expression, and bullying.
Recently, ISKCON Vrindavan banned, unbanned and then again banned H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami’s new book, purportedly at the cajoling, intimidation and rumor mongering of Feminists within ISKCON Vrindavan. It was clear from the objections raised that the nuisance creators had not even read the book.
The book is replete with a hundred plus quotes of Bhaktivedanta Swami on the topic of the role of women in the society. Being completely disillusioned at their failure to muster enough numbers in getting “democratically” elected to the post of Female Diksha Gurus, they resorted to intimidation, and physically pushed and snatched away books from brahmacharis who were looking to present this book to visiting devotees during the month of Kartik.
As a Professor in the Academia, I can vouch for this much: I have never seen such degraded behavior even in the cut-throat academic world. If there is a genuine difference of opinion, one should attempt to prove the author wrong. But when the author solicited questions that the naysayers might have had, none were forthcoming. I am left wondering as to what kind of degraded “feminist intelligentsia” is this? Those who attended the lecture held on this book outside ISKCON Vrindavan on November 18th would actually agree that the author had, in fact, expertly glorified the role of mother that a woman play, both in the lecture and in his book.
In conclusion, I strongly urge the opponents to read the book and put forth genuine questions to the author so that he can clarify, or you could prove him wrong. However, in the absence of the ability to find fault with the author’s line of thought, which as per him is same as Bhaktivedanta Swami’s line of thought, and I agree with him, the supposed opponents are well advised to refrain from degrading themselves further and preventing their further fall into the abyss of unwomanly conduct. Mind you, banning does not work among intellectuals. The book will sell more. I am told the book was rightly lapped up by many devotees from the world over, with close to 500 copies being sold in 2 weeks. It does not even make “business sense” to opt for a book ban purely because you find it hard to digest the truth. Feminists failed in their agenda and the book sold like hotcakes right through the month of Kartik.
As an academician unaffiliated to ISKCON, I would like to point out that I will follow through on this issue. I promise to take it up strongly with the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, GOI, if any further attempt at banning this well-written book is attempted without providing suitable and well-written or well-presented arguments.
Satyam Param Vijayate!
Here are lectures on the book and most of the issues discussed inside the book.
Answering Objections to the Book “Women: Masters or Mothers?”
To download mp3 file click here
4 part lecture series on WMM
Maharaj makes a tongue in cheek comment on Malati Dasi’s passion for calling herself “Prabhu”