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 over."

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.