Around seventy enthusiastic students practising Krsna consciousness assembled for four hours every day to discuss the topic of "The False Ego - our Constant Companion and Trouble Maker." We had eye opening discussions, and I engaged them in performing role plays illustrating various aspects of the workings of the false ego which was very humerous indeed.
The false ego is the most subtle element of the subtle body - it is so subtle that we often aren't aware of it at all, and rather identify with it thinking it to be us. And it is constantly whispering some nonsense into our ears: you are great, your opinion is the best, you are right, you are the center of attention, your view is most important, etc. And thus it is acting as our worst trouble maker, inducing us to believe we are something which we are not, and making as act in ways we should not act....
I also visited our new project at Rup Ganj for three days. It is situated near the airport behind the new part of Dhaka, where in future some Universities will establish their Campus. At present this area looks very rural, but within a few years it will be the newly developed part of Dhaka.
When Prabhupada secured the property in Vrindavan or Juhu, everybody was wondering: "Why is Swamiji going so far away from the center? What does he want to do out there?" Prabhupada was planning long term, and he knew that within a few short years it will all be part of the city.
Concentrating on this project at Rup Ganj would certainly receive Prabhupada's approval, since it is with the same long term vision.
We have a nice property here and are planning to establish a center dedicated to training those student boys who want to become full-time devotees. Right from the very beginning of their spiritual life we want to train them nicely, with a good focus on sadhana and studying Prabhupada's books. We are following the system developed by Radhesyam Prabhu in Pune - some of our boys have spent some time there to get deeper insights into their systems of training and education.
A few devotees are staying now in Rup Ganj, and I gave some morning classes to inspire them, and we also did an evening program in the nearby town, which we concluded by distributing lots of Prabhupada's books.
There is nothing more satisfying to my heart than seeing people receive Prabhupada's books.....
Rup Ganj would be a nice place to conduct a holy name retreat in the future. It has a big banyan tree on the property - we could set up a pandal tent underneath the tree, so that the branches would serve as a natural roof giving cooling shade.....
Something to keep in mind for the month of April....
I had been playing with the idea to write an article for Dandavats on the issue of 'Female Diksa Guru'. It had been such a controversal and widely discussed topic, and I had consciously stayed out of this discussion.
However, I had noticed that some important aspects have never been considered in any of these discussions. So I put the following article together:
The Hot Issue - Female Diksa Guru
I would like to share some thoughts on this widely discussed topic, not
wanting to agitate anybody's mind or fueling heated discussions and tension,
but simply wanting to add one important aspect which I have not heard being
mentioned in this connection. At least it is not mentioned in any of the
documents presented by our senior leaders on this issue.
One main difference between the male and female "vehicle" is the fact that
the female nature is more emotional. This is according to Krsna's Divine
plan - otherwise who would give all the necessary care and affection to the
small children and play the role of their very first Guru?! So this
emotional need and nature impells most ladies to learn how to become
selfless servants by raising children, and it also impells us ladies to take
shelter of a man.
And it adds more colour and feeling to life. Wouldn't life be boring and
grey if we all had a man's nature...?!
However, this emotional nature can also become an impediment and obstacle,
especially since emotions tend to cloudy our vision and intelligence to such
extend that we cannot see things as they really are. Material emotions are
connected to the platform of the mind, which is a very unreliable foundation
to stand on.
Most of us in a female body can surely agree that sometimes our emotions get
the better of us and distort our vision of things. And as a result we
over-react, we jump to wrong conclusions and do or say exactly what we
shouldn't be doing or saying. And we make a fool out of ourselves. This is
simply the effect of emotions cloudying the intelligence.
In the Bhagavatam we have the story with Lord Siva and Parvati, where she
curses Citraketu because she thought that he was offending her husband.
Prabhupada gives the following explanation in the purport to SB 6.17.34-35:
"Here is a difference between male and female that exists even in the higher
status of life - infact, even between Lord Siva and his wife. Lord Siva
could understand Citraketu very nicely, but Parvati could not. Thus even in
the higher statuses of life there is a difference between the understanding
of a male and that of a female. It may be clearly said that the
understanding of a woman is always inferior to the understanding of a man.
In the Western countries there is now agitation to the effect that man and
woman should be considered equal, but from this verse it appears that woman
is always less intelligent than man.
It is clear that Citraketu wanted to criticize the behavior of his friend
Lord Siva because Lord Siva was sitting with his wife on his lap. Then, too,
Lord Siva wanted to criticize Citraketu for externally posing as a great
devotee but being interested in enjoying with the Vidyadhara women. These
were all friendly jokes; there was nothing serious for which Citraketu
should have been cursed by Parvati. Upon hearing the instructions of Lord
Siva, Parvati must have been very much ashamed for cursing Citraketu to
become a demon. Mother Parvati could not appreciate Citraketu's position,
and therefore she cursed him, but when she understood the instructions of
Lord Siva she was ashamed."
So even Parvati exhibited this quality of being led by her emotions and
thus over-reacting and cursing Citraketu. And after her husband instructed
her she felt foolish, covering her face with the head piece of her sari.
And Prabhupada clearly makes the point that the female vision and
intelligence is always inferior to the man's - even on such high levels.
I have to be honest, it took me many years to not only swallow Prabhupada's
comments, but actually deeply within my heart accept them. And the more we
identify with the body - gross and subtle, the harder it is to accept
Prabhupada's words. The entity which rebels the most is nothing but the
It is not that any man's vision is superior to any woman's vision. No, but
if we have a Vaisnava and a Vaisnavi, who are somewhat of the same
caliber - with similar status, advancement and commitment to devotional
life, the man's vision of things is always superior to the woman's vision,
because of her tendency to be emotional, which cloudies her intelligence.
I have to admit, I do have this practical experience also in my devotional
life: if I have the choice when inquiring and asking for guidance, I always
prefer to go to a senior devotee in a male body, because I know I get a more
cool headed and clear answer, and often the discussions are so much more to
the point, whereas discussions with ladies often end up being emotional and
getting lost in little details.
On the other hand, if I need advice which requires feminine intuition and
wisdom, then I rather consult with a senior lady.
So men and women are very different - they don't only differ in the gross
body, but also very much in the subtle body. Krsna has given both men and
women the perfect gross and subtle body to play certain roles and functions
in this world, while at the same time making spiritual progress.
Thus it is the nature of being emotional which makes us unqualified to
perform certain functions: Guru, and also taking posts in leadership and
management roles. Even being able to lecture to the point is often much more
difficult for ladies because of the very same reason.
Infact, I dare say being on the emotional platform makes it impossible to
uplift others to the transcendental platform - no matter whether we are in a
man's or woman's body, and not only in regards to Diksa, but also in regards
to more serious and deeper Siksa.
Maybe this explains why Prabhupada says that there will not be many female
Diksa Guru's - because it is rare to find a woman who is not controlled by
Of course, these days also many men have a very emotional nature, and their
intelligence will also be clouded by their emotions and thus will not be able to uplift others onto the transcendental platform.
I know several ladies who are serving in high managerial roles of leadership
and are suffering emotionally, having sleepless nights and so many
anxieties. Why would a Vaisnavi want to ruin her bhajan by occupying such
posts, which cause so much distress to her?! Only to get some little ego
Once a very senior and educated brahmacari in Bangladesh shared the
following with me, saying: "Mataji, my Guru Maharaja is our father, and you
are our mother." And with an affectionate smile he added: "And often mother
is more important than father - yes, mother is more important...!"
Such is the sweetness and beauty of spiritual culture. Why would any
Vaisnavi who has insights into the deeper secrets of spiritual culture want
to exchange her position of an affectionate spiritual mother for another,
just to be accepted as Diksa Guru or a leading manager?!
Women can exert their influence through selfless service and affection,
which by far exceeds that of a man with a big title and position! Woman's
energy is much more powerful and influential than man's energy. After all,
Srimati Radharani controls the Supreme Controller - not by being a Diksa
Guru or carrying a big title.
Finally, Siksa is more important than Diksa. The purpose of Diksa is to
receive Siksa. Sad Guru does not need authorisation. Sad Guru can't be
stopped being Guru! People will come, take inspiration and guidance. They
will know where they can find some nourishment and upliftment. Nobody can
bar Sad Guru from being Guru.
There are thousands of devotees out there who are starving for spiritual
nourishment. Let us simply uplift them and nourish them, without running
after recognition and fame, by playing the roles and duties we are meant to
Needless to say, this article attracted a lot of attention. More than 6.000 devotees read it, more than 50 comments were made, and several follow-up articles were posted.
Many devotees misunderstood, thinking I am categorically speaking against women being Diksa Gurus.
We so often make the mistake of trying to prove our personal point of view which might be motivated by subtle attachments and material desires, and we do this by using sastric references to push our point across. And we use these quotes in a way to suit our goals, rather than humbly and with an open mind trying to understand what the sastric reference is teaching us. This phenomina we can also describe as lack of sastric integrity.
Some devotees thought I was trying to push my personal opinion across, by using this powerful quote from Prabhupada.
However, I had no intention whatsoever to prove that women cannot be Diksa Guru. If any of the readers understood the article in this way, then they missed the very essence of it.
I was simply trying to shed in a very cool headed manner some light on Prabhupada's strong words which he is expressing in the purport to SB.6.17.34-35. And I was offering to connect those words with his statement that there will be women serving as Diksa Gurus, "but not so many".
The very essence is that it is a matter of qualification. And I am putting up for discussion whether the emotional nature acts as a disqualification - no matter whether in a man's body or a woman's body.
Surely we find women who have more of a cool headed man's mind, and we also
find men who have more of an emotional woman's mind. So apart from the
spiritual qualification it is not a matter of gross material body, but more
subtle - related to the emotional nature which is connected to the mind.
Once again it became clear to me how confused we are over the position and role women are meant to play within human society. The comments devotees were making clearly indicated how much there is a craving need for more clarity and a deeper understanding of things. Time seems to be perfectly right for establishing an Institute for Spiritual Culture....
On the 19th of November I flew off to Sylhet, together with Nitai Priya Prabhu who had come over from Bangkok to take part in our Holy Name Retreat....
Your servant, Devaki dd