A Vaisnavi in the mosque
by Mitravinda Dasi
Posted November 25, 2002
Yesterday I attended the mosque for the first time, the experiences were
dynamic and wonderful, still trying to absorb the
realizations. The mosque was Indian/Pakistani (here in the USA).
What I noticed most was that after I removed my shoes in the foyer there
were no more men around me. The ladies were escorted to a separate room
where they were joyful, friendly, and very enthusiastic to participate in
worship. The women had a special room where they could worship with no
inhibitions. A little 8 year old girl was allowed the microphone with the
same respect as the middle aged woman.
It was a holiday honoring Srimad Mohammed and the ladies were practically
falling over each other to get a chance and everyone got a chance. The
reason I think the ladies were so joyful was because they had the freedom,
opportunity and encouragement of each other. That freedom of expression,
that freedom of emotion was most striking to me. Not a single woman was
ashamed of herself!
So much unlike the voice of some of our devotee women....
The children were also separated, boys with the men and girls with the
ladies. ALL RIGHT! one day a week the fathers must take their sons, even
little toddler sons, for a few hours and teach them about God. Not a single
child was running the halls or left unsupervised. (In contrast to our
larger temples where children run anywhere unsupervised during kirtanas)
the respect for God, the respect for each other and the respect for me as a
guest was superlative- there are no words to describe the amount of respect
that I was shown.
I love Indian women and have been around them for many years, I have spent
many hours at their homes, helping with Nama Hatta's and other services.
But these Indian women were very different....Devotee/Vaisnava/Hindu Indian
women tend to be shy at first, especially with a white American person. I
always find it very hard to warm up a relationship right away, it takes time.
These Indian Muslim women were not shy, not bashful, not afraid one bit.
They were more like "HEY white girl (paraphrasing in my own words) come on
When I left I felt inspired to leave a donation, if I had one to give, but
I am broke now. Just the feeling that I should reciprocate is exactly how
we as devotees should always have our guests feeling when they leave.
I was given an English/Arabic Quaran. FREE!
We should be giving guests FREE Bhagavad-Gitas
The psychology works, now that I have a FREE Quaran I must return and give
a donation, at least for the book because that would be the honest and
right thing to do.