Chakra Discussions

Women's rights?

by Premanidhi das

Posted January 16, 2005

I would like to say something about the subject "women" and Krishna consciousness. Everyone knows about Krsna's explanation in Srimad Bhagavad-gita, that we are not the body (neither women nor men) but spiritual soul. Unfortunately this truth is quickly set aside and a gender behaviour is put in the first place. Emphasis is put above all on the right behaviour of "women". Long explanations on this subject can be found and for this purpose the scriptures and Srila Prabhupad are often quoted.

There are so many examples of devotees who try to fit into this form through mental and emotional discipline, but internally they harden more and more. They try to follow the examples of great spiritual personalities or statements of the scripture in an artificial or imitating way, which can be even sometimes self-destructive.

If one adopts all the statements of the scriptures about the saints as a general principle for our life, then it can become a kind of sahajiyaism, because there is the danger of putting oneself on the same level of holy personalities. An extreme example for this is the sati-cult in India.

In Sermons of Guardian of Devotion part II, there is a good explanation about this subject:

Devotee: Maharaj, in the beginning we're taught to follow. But it seems there is a point where we imitate, and then follow later. Because we have no qualification, when we try to follow we are actually imitating somehow. So, what's the difference between the two? When does imitation or anukarana become following or anusarana?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: In anusarana, following, there is sincerity; and anukarana, imitation, is only for name and fame, or pratistha. To only imitate devotion outwardly without inner purity is more or less done to get the glory of a sadhu. And anusarana means to attain from the heart, sincerely. So true following is sincere progress, and imitation is artificiality.

Srila Prabhupada once said: "I can do those things, but you cannot." As for me this statement shows that it is always important to consider place, time, circumstances and one's one capacity. Everything requires true realisation, otherwise one doesn't follow but only imitates.

Real devotion (bhakti) is not mental discipline but something which comes naturally from our inner self.

If one expects or claims unconditional devotion from a woman to her husband, then it is only natural that the husband also does his part. If a woman is supposed to be like Laksmi Devi, then the husband must also act like Narayan. But who is actually able to do that?

This whole subject seems to me that men expect ideal women, but for themselves they reserve the right - with only few exceptions - to do whatever they like. This behaviour is only another kind of exploitation and is therefore far away from Krishna consciousness.

Unfortunately I have seen many times that women are not being supported to find their own inner nature but are instead programmed in a way to be or act like functional puppets. For me, this has nothing to do with spiritual life.

Krishna das Kaviraj Goswami explained the qualities and behaviour of real vaisnavas - and vaisnavis: "(1) He is very kind to everyone. (2) He does not make anyone his enemy. (3) He is truthful. (4) He is equal to everyone. (5) No one can find any fault in him. (6) He is magnanimous. (7) He is mild. (8) He is always clean. (9) He is without possessions. (10) He works for everyone's benefit. (11) He is very peaceful. (12) He is always surrendered to Krsna. (13) He has no material desires. (14) He is very meek. (15) He is steady. (16) He controls his senses. (17) He does not eat more than required. (18) He is not influenced by the Lord's illusory energy. (19) He offers respect to everyone. (20) He does not desire any respect for himself. (21) He is very grave. (22) He is merciful. (23) He is friendly. (24) He is poetic. (25) He is expert. (26) He is silent."

What can I say more.

Your servant,
Premanidhi das