Feb 172017
 

By Mahatma das

<p>My last newsletter was posted on Dandavats and some devotees felt that I had wrongly interpreted Prabhupada’s statement that divorce is primarily the woman’s fault when I stated that I find men equally responsible, if not more so, for many of our divorces. This newsletter sheds further light on this topic. I explain the nature of male and female psychology in order to clarify and expand upon the meaning of Prabhupada’s statement that divorce is usually the woman’s fault in a way that will help men be better husbands.</p> <p>I thank all of those who questioned my understanding and for giving me the opportunity to explain myself further.</p> <p>Your servant,</p> <p>Mahatma Das</p> <p>PS, My wife is recuperating well from her accident. Many thanks to all of those who gave prayer and financial support.</p> <p> </p> <!–

Protect and Provide

If a case of illicit sex between a man and an unmarried woman were brought before Prabhupada, he never blamed the woman. He said it is the man’s fault because the man is supposed to be strong and intelligent, and that a woman naturally and innocently follows a man.

A man’s role is to protect and provide. Protection and exploitation are opposites. So if a woman went along with a man’s sexual aggression, Prabhupada wouldn’t blame her. Why? Because the man is supposed to guide her, take care of her, and look out for her. He provides material, emotional and spiritual security to the woman.

The woman’s nature is to follow and her role is to receive this protection and security. This nature of a woman works well for her when she has a good man to follow. Then the marriage works well. Manu says that when the woman is pleased, the entire home is full of light. Or, as we say today, “When mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy!”

To make married life work well, a man must know what it means to be male and a husband, and also understand the inherent nature of a female and wife. Many problems will be avoided if he clearly understands these. When a man doesn’t properly fulfill his role as a husband, it is often because he is withholding the giving, protection and emotional support a woman requires to be satisfied.

Act Like a Man

A woman wants to be married to a man who acts like a man. Much of a woman’s value and self-esteem come from her husband. If he doesn’t value her, she will tend to not only feel unloved – but even to feel unworthy. So, when he is kind and considerate, she naturally reflects this. When he is not, it causes her to be upset or sad.

A good husband knows this and thus deals with his wife in ways that help her. Therefore, he is careful to be nice and respectful. In addition, he knows that he must be compassionate, forgiving, and patiently deal with her difficulties and shortcomings. So he tries to be encouraging, appreciative and uplifting. When he does all this, she naturally reflects his positive attitude, and becomes happy and productive. Women want and need their husband’s support. That is why a good husband gives his wife what she needs. This is his duty.

That womanly weakness is usually the cause of divorce needs to be considered and understood in light of the above realities of male and female roles and nature. Yes, a woman shouldn’t be fickle, weak, or intolerant. Even if her husband is critical, condescending or cold, she should be patient with him. But when Prabhupada asked his female disciples to tolerate their husbands’ limitations, he was certainly not encouraging his male disciples to nurture their own limitations. Moreover, it is much more difficult for a woman to tolerate a bad husband than it is for a real man to tolerate a bad wife. So if a man expects a woman to tolerate his inability to be a real man, and his wife is consequently unhappy – or even goes away in some circumstances – he should accept some responsibility for his share of the problem. If she does go away, he should think, “Would this have happened if she were married to a better husband?”

I am not justifying divorce or condoning women who leave their husbands. As Prabhupada said, divorce doesn’t exist in Manu Samhita; it is a modern invention. However, we live in modern times and divorce samskaras are unfortunately alive and well in the hearts of many. Understanding this, and knowing how much Prabhupada did not want divorce to exist in Iskcon, an intelligent husband should ensure that his wife is happy, knowing that an unhappy wife is much more prone to consider divorce.

Be Hard on Yourself and Tolerant of Others

Some men have high expectations from their wives. But it is better that men have high expectations for themselves as husbands, and that they expect much less from their wives than they give to their wives. A good example to follow in this regard is Kardama Muni who eventually gave to his wife Devahuti all the opulence that she was accustomed to having as a princess.

A strong man should not require the same level of attention that his wife needs. It is nice if he gets it, but his self-esteem is not dependent on it. When a man complains that he doesn’t get enough respect, understanding, or encouragement, he is complaining that he is not getting the very things his wife needs to be happy, stable and productive. When he is unhappy that he doesn’t get these and when he can’t be enthusiastic without them, he is not behaving like a man.

Therefore, if the husband is to be the guru of the family, he should give to his wife and children no matter how much or little they give back. When the husband is not enthusiastic to give because he feels that his wife and kids are not reciprocating, he is not acting in a male role. (Of course, I am not saying it is okay for a wife to not be respectful to her husband). Wives have a difficult time with husbands who are easily offended or insulted, or who blame their wives for their personal mistakes and failings. Rather than condemn their wives for their own problems, men should pray to guru and Krsna to help themselves in becoming strong.

A wise husband realizes that Krsna gave him the ability to be more easily satisfied, and to sacrifice personal comforts, conveniences, and desires in a way that is sometimes difficult for women to do. So a husband can put his wife’s needs and desires before his own, knowing that she often needs him to do this. In other words, he does what is required to make her happy, knowing that when she is happy, “the house is bright.” To try to make a house bright without making a woman happy doesn’t work.

Still, many men don’t acknowledge or accept this, even despite the many years of unhappy married life that results from avoiding this reality. However, when a man understands this, and serves his wife in this way, she naturally reciprocates in kind. This is why I made the point in my last newsletter that men should not make it difficult for women to be good wives.

Cyavana Muni is Not Our Role Model

If a man wants to make his wife happy, compliments and appreciation are one of the best ways to do it. At the same time, he must avoid derogatory statements, criticism and sarcasm. Such behavior puts out the light in household life. A good husband gives encouragement, not criticism, because he knows this is what his wife needs and wants, and this is what will make her happy. Prabhupada constantly encouraged us. It gave us life. It works the same way in grihastha life. If a man feels he will only give honor, respect and appreciation to his wife if she gives it to him, or if he simply expects to be honored, respected and appreciated without him giving these back to his wife, then he is not a man in the true sense of being male.

Now I hear some of you saying, “If what you are saying is true, then you are saying Cyavana is not a real man. And it would follow that Sukanya, his wife, wouldn’t be happy with him.”

If you want to get married, or stay happily married, don’t have the same disposition as Cyavana. The message of the story of Sukanya and Cyavana is not that it is okay to be arrogant or intolerant. The message is for women to tolerate their husband’s faults, not that husbands should demand this of their wives. Of course, if a man is as exalted as Cyavana, it certainly makes it easier for a wife to be submissive and follow him despite his faults. But many men demand that their wives be like Sukanya without having the exalted nature of Cyavana. If you expect your wife to treat you like a guru, then you will have to act like one.

Change Yourself

Regarding the issue of modern women, to expect to find a wife of Sukanya’s caliber, although women should strive to follow her example, is rare today. My advice in this article is meant to deal with the realities that the average man and woman face in creating a peaceful marriage. (Prabhupada said “get married and live peacefully together.”)

Let’s say a man’s wife falls far short of Sukanya and he would like her to improve. A smart husband knows that if he wants his wife to change, he will need to change himself. If he tries to change her with his critical words, then he is no longer in the male role of giving support. This shows a lack of sensitivity, and this damages his wife’s self-confidence and sense of self-worth. A good husband understands that to change himself, he will need to pray, be self-reflective, and confront personal problems. In other words, he works on himself rather than on her. Just as Prabhupada said that women need to know how to win over their husbands through service, submission and a pleasing temperament, men should also know how to win over their wives.

The following story well illustrates how a husband’s behavior towards his wife influences her and determines her own behavior towards him. The story, although from the Jewish tradition and told by Rabbi Shalom Arush, depicts male and female psychology that remains unchanged across contexts.

I Can’t Live Unless My Wife Dies

A rich miser once came to his Rabbi, saying that he wanted his wife to die. The Rabbi was shocked and said: “God forbid. Why?” The man then related his long tale of suffering. He described how cruel his wife was to him, how she humiliated him, tormented him and maltreated him, to the point that the Rabbi had to agree with him – from the picture the miser painted, he really was living with a monster and not a wife. Once he finished his story, he repeated his request for the Rabbi’s help to somehow make his wife die. He said that he simply couldn’t carry on living like this.

The Rabbi asked him why he couldn’t just get a divorce and then live happily alone. But the man replied that divorce wouldn’t be enough for him. He wouldn’t be able to relax until he saw her in a grave since she had tormented him so badly. As long as he knew that she was in the world, he couldn’t have any peace.

The Rabbi asked the rich miser to give him a few days to ponder over the matter and then contact him again. Once the rich man left, the Rabbi prayed to Hashem (God) for guidance.

Hashem enlightened the Rabbi, and he understood that there must be some deficiency in the husband who had driven his wife to act so cruelly to him. The Rabbi decided to send one of his faithful students to the man’s home to try to discover what the matter was.

The student, dressed as a beggar, went to the rich man’s house with instructions from the Rabbi to enter and search for anything unusual. The student managed to enter at a time when the rich man was out. He heard the man’s wife crying and cursing her husband: “That stingy, wicked man. He leaves me here without a penny and goes off to do his business. If only he would say one nice thing to me, but even with words he’s stingy. I’m going to make him suffer when he gets home. At least then I won’t be the only one suffering.”

The student came back to the Rabbi and told him what he had heard. The Rabbi, with this new perspective on the situation, came up with a plan. He called for the rich miser to come to him.

“Yes Rabbi. Do you have a solution for me?”

“Yes. I remembered the Talmud (a sacred text in Rabbinic Judaism), which says that the punishment for making a vow and not fulfilling it is that one would bury his wife (that is, it would cause his wife to die). For most people, this would be a punishment, but in your case, it will be the end of your problems. All you have to do is make a vow that you won’t fulfill and your wife will die.”

The rich man liked the idea.

“Okay. What vow should I make?”

“Well, we don’t have a mikvah here in town. (The Mikvah, the ritual bath, is one of the most important features of a Jewish community. A mikvah allows for the holiness of a family to be preserved forever.) Why not vow to build us a big mikvah, built to the highest specifications, with every comfort and luxury? It would cost a fortune to actually do it. Don’t do it, and she’ll die.”

“Okay, but how long will this take? Perhaps Hashem will give me a few years to fulfill such a big vow. I haven’t got strength to wait that long. I can’t bear my wife’s cruelty any longer.”

“Don’t worry. You’ll make the vow here in front of me and two other witnesses, which will make it impossible to annul. That, coupled with the fact that Hashem knows full well that you have no intention of fulfilling it, means that you should get the punishment almost immediately.”

“Give me a date, Rabbi. Otherwise I can’t take the pressure.”

“Fine. I promise you that if you make the vow now, she will die within three weeks from today.”

This satisfied the miser. With a joyous heart, he vowed in front of the Rabbi and two others to build a huge mikvah, big enough to cater for the whole community, and built to the highest rabbinical specifications. Then he went home.

“One minute,” the Rabbi called to him. “There’s one more thing I want you to do.”

“Of course, Rabbi. What is it?”

“Well, since your wife has so little time left to live, I want you to put in every effort to make her last few weeks in this world as pleasant as possible. Buy her whatever she likes, give her plenty of money to spend, compliment her, praise her and generally fuss over her. What do you have to lose? Once she dies, all the money will come back to you anyway. As for the compliments, what do you care? Give them to her now; soon, she’ll be gone and you’ll have peace from her.”

“No problem, Rabbi. I’ll do all that happily. The very thought that I’ll soon be rid of her gives me so much joy that I’ll have no problem in altering my normal behavior to make her happy.”

Two weeks passed. The rich man burst into the Rabbi’s room with tears in his eyes.

“Rabbi! Please! I want to annul my vow.”

The Rabbi looked at him and said gravely: “What do you mean? We specially made the vow in a way that it’s impossible to annul. Why do you want to annul it? Don’t you want your wife to die?”

“That’s just it, Rabbi. I don’t want her to die anymore. Since I made the vow, and then did what you told me – to do everything I could to make her happy – she’s completely changed. She’s so good to me. She’s taking care of me, loves me, even prays for me. She’s become like an angel. Suddenly I realized what a good wife she is, and I don’t want to lose her.”

“Well, we can’t annul the vow now. If you don’t want her to die, your only option is to fulfill the vow. You’ll really have to build the mikvah, exactly as you promised, with all the trimmings.”

With no other choice, the rich miser started that very day to organize the building of the mikvah, and from that time on lived peacefully and lovingly with his wife.

Be A Responsible Householder

The moral is that if a husband acts well, his wife will be happy and satisfied, and there will be little disruption in the family. If he doesn’t, most women will have difficulty in doing their duties as well as they should. I am not condoning this, just pointing out this reality. I fear, therefore, that if we construe Prabhupada’s statements to mean that men rarely have anything to do with their wives’ behavior (or misbehavior rather), we may be inadvertently undermining a man’s responsibility in making a marriage work. And we know that Prabhupada asked his men to be responsible householders. And part of that responsibility, aside from remaining married, is to “get yourself married and live peacefully with one woman.”

Becoming responsible householders means that the responsibility of a man is to guide and assist his family in going back to Godhead, like a guru does for his disciples. However, if he can’t keep them happy, there may be no family left to guide.

Unhealthy Paradigms

I am quite concerned, as we all are, about the large number of divorces and unhappy marriages in Iskcon. The Grhastha Vision Team, in preparing their courses on the grihastha asrama, identified unhealthy paradigms prevalent in Iskcon that undermine the stability of healthy marriages.

The negative paradigms they seek to address are in a document on their website entitled “12 Principles for a Successful Krsna Conscious Marriage.” (http://www.vaisnavafamilyresources.org/content/12-principles-and-values-behind-krishna-conscious-family-life). I quote it in part below.

Alignment with Srila Prabhupada

• Srila Prabhupada’s teachings must be applied with consideration of time, place and circumstance.

• In the field of grihastha life, one should take into account the local culture without compromising Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. One should not attempt to simply transpose practices from one culture to another without understanding the principles and values underpinning them.

Spiritual Equality / Material Difference

• Men and women exhibit general physical and psychological differences that need to be acknowledged as practical realities, while simultaneously avoiding rigid and/or unhealthy stereotypes.

Positive and Realistic Vision

• One should, as far as possible, avoid both negative attitudes and unrealistic expectations towards married life — both may dampen one’s enthusiasm.

If in the name of fidelity to Srila Prabhupada we interpret his instructions in a way that makes it difficult for Iskcon marriages to thrive, then we will be guilty of “the operation was a success but the patient died.” Many negative paradigms regarding women and marriage still abound in Iskcon and are responsible for problems in marriage (I know this well as I regularly counsel devotees facing marital problems). Many devotees have unknowingly accepted these negative paradigms (and even teach them). The work of the Grhastha Vision Team began with the realization that Iskcon imbibed many paradigms about grihastha life that were causing marriages to fail. The unfortunate reality is that some of these paradigms are alive and well in the hearts of some, are sometimes being given to us in temple classes, and are still being supported in some regions of Iskcon, all with detrimental effects on marriage.

What Does Prabhupada Say?

I wish to reiterate an important point I made in my initial response to the concern that I had misrepresented Prabhupada, and it is this: as kali-yuga progresses, the number of qualified husbands is decreasing. This is directly affecting the success rate of marriages today. I therefore humbly request men in our movement to understand the grave responsibility you hold to be an ideal grihastha and how much your example and behavior impact upon the success or failure of not only your marriage, but the marriages of others. Prabhupada asked his male disciples to become “ideal grihasthas.” Had he been of the opinion that failure in the grihastha ashram was only the fault of women, he would have only advised women to be ideal grihasthas. It is not just your wife’s duty to make your family life successful.

“Krsna-conscious, ideal grihastha-that, we want.” ~ Srila Prabhupada, (Quoted in TKG’s Diary)

Finally, Prabhupada also made this very important point:

“If a husband situated in the mode of goodness can control his wife, who is in passion and ignorance, the woman is benefited. Forgetting her natural inclination for passion and ignorance, the woman becomes obedient and faithful to her husband, who is situated in goodness. Such a life becomes very welcome. The intelligence of the man and woman may then work very nicely together, and they can make a progressive march toward spiritual realization. Otherwise, the husband, coming under the control of the wife, sacrifices his quality of goodness and becomes subservient to the qualities of passion and ignorance. In this way the whole situation becomes polluted.”(Srimad Bhagavatam 4.27.1)

In one of the comments to my article, this purport was cited to show that I had misrepresented Prabhupada. On the contrary, this purport supports my point by showing how a woman who can be prone to deviate and become the cause of divorce is benefitted by the protection of a man in the mode of goodness because his association will elevate her. Protection is not only physical. The husband, as explained here, protects his wife from succumbing to her lower nature. Of course, if she acts under the influence of the lower modes of nature, it is her fault. Here Prabhupada is stressing that a man, because he is supposed to be more intelligent and sense-controlled, helps elevate his wife by his association.

In addition, Prabhupada is speaking in the case of women who are specifically in the lower modes. He is not generalizing that all women are. We indeed find women who are in higher modes of nature than their husbands, or than other men. Prabhupada himself often praised his female disciples as being very intelligent, and he taught us to respect women by saying that the women in our movement are not ordinary women. Men’s intense desire to control women through fault-finding, criticizing, and being heavy-handed – no matter what her own conditioning and limitations may be – is not conducive to bhakti, neither for the husband nor for the wife.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we need to be careful in stigmatising women as the main cause of problems in grihastha ashram. And we need to be cautious of automatically equating husbands with the position of guru, because it can have adverse spiritual as well as material consequences when men are not living up to this role. All of us, men and women, should take personal responsibility for failing in every aspect of our lives. This, of course, is how Prabhupada trained us all to live.

Video: A Vlogger’s Take On Iskcon Toronto’s Temple!…

From Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir – Srimad Bhagavatam class, February 13, 2017

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45 Responses to “A Happy Wife Has a Good Husband”

  • Somayaji says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 6:40 am

    If a case of illicit sex between a man and an unmarried woman were brought before Prabhupada, he never blamed the woman. He said it is the man’s fault because the man is supposed to be strong and intelligent, and that a woman naturally and innocently follows a man.

    Can you please provide a reference for this?

 

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  • Balakrsna das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 7:21 am

    You wrote:
    A man’s role is to protect and provide.

    But Manu says a woman can not be protected by force. Why does he say that? Because to protect a woman means that the man has to be able to control everything she does. Just like a mother cannot protect her child unless she can control the child. You cannot protect that which you do not control.
    So a woman has to voluntarily allow her husband to control her in every way if she wants to be actually protected. But is that happening? Rarely.
    Protection is now interpreted as meaning man is bodyguard while woman acts independently so the wife can be “happy.” And of course if something goes wrong the man gets blamed.
    And “provide” now means that man = ATM.
    No wonder men in the West don’t want to get married any more.

 

 

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  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Moreover, it is much more difficult for a woman to tolerate a bad husband than it is for a real man to tolerate a bad wife.

    Actually “real men” don’t tolerate bad wives, they reject them — Manu gives several examples of bad wives worthy of rejecting. Here is just one such quote, there are others.
    She who drinks spirituous liquor, is of bad conduct, rebellious, diseased, mischievous, or wasteful, may at any time be superseded (by another wife). A barren wife may be superseded in the eighth year, she whose children (all) die in the tenth, she who bears only daughters in the eleventh, but she who is quarrelsome without delay. Manu Smriti 9.80-81

    Note that Manu tells us not to tolerate quarrelsome women (or women who are spendthrifts and have other unhealthy qualities.)
    Dasaratha publicly disavowed Kaikeyi.
    And, this is what Lord Visnu says about henpecked men who tolerate bad wives.
    In the house where the woman acts like a man or where the man is controlled by a woman, one’s spiritual life is fruitless and the place becomes inauspicious. For one whose wife is harsh in speech and action and who loves to quarrel, the forest is more favorable than the home. Since it is easy to get water, fruits, and peace in the forest, it is considered more auspicious than being with a mean wife. Those who are puppets in the hands of their wives are never sanctified, even by cremation. A henpecked husband is not liable to receive the results of any auspicious activities that he performs. The demigods and people of earth always criticize him and he is bereft of fame and glory, so he should be considered dead, though living in the body.
    (spoken by Lord Visnu in Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Prakrti-khanda 6.62-63)

 

 

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  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Mahatma wrote:
    I am not justifying divorce or condoning women who leave their husbands. As Prabhupada said, divorce doesn’t exist in Manu Samhita; it is a modern invention.

    I just quoted 2 verses from Manu that do indicate that a man can reject a wife and take another. There are also some regarding when it is lawful for a woman to reject a husband and remarry. They are not trivial reasons.
    I will not quote them but leave them for homework.

 

 

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  • Rukmini devi dasi says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 8:26 am

    That womanly weakness is usually the cause of divorce needs to be considered and understood in light of the above realities of male and female roles and nature. Yes, a woman shouldn’t be fickle, weak, or intolerant. Even if her husband is critical, condescending or cold, she should be patient with him. But when Prabhupada asked his female disciples to tolerate their husbands’ limitations, he was certainly not encouraging his male disciples to nurture their own limitations. Moreover, it is much more difficult for a woman to tolerate a bad husband than it is for a real man to tolerate a bad wife. So if a man expects a woman to tolerate his inability to be a real man, and his wife is consequently unhappy – or even goes away in some circumstances – he should accept some responsibility for his share of the problem. If she does go away, he should think, “Would this have happened if she were married to a better husband?”

    Dear Prabhu
    Hare Krsna. The reference about womanly weakness from 4th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam was in regard to Lord Siva who was a perfect husband. This was pointed out to you in comments to your previous text. Still you neglect the fact that even if husband is perfect the wife can and will leave him.
    Today in the West with “no-fault” divorce 70% of divorces are filed by women whose husbands have no faults, they are not drunkards or adulterers or irresponsible. The women just woke up one morning and decided they “weren’t happy,” “we have grown apart” or some other such idea, and since the laws all favor the women they divorce the husband, take his home, his kids, 50% of his income and pension fund and then go find a new boy friend.
    I don’t want this to happen to my son so I am cautioning him to avoid marriage if at all possible it is just not worth it with all the legal and financial problems he is likely to face. This is the reality of today’s world populated by women with a sense of entitlement to everything but no responsibility. Factually marriage is not a good deal for men these days. I have seen several of my male relatives financially and emotionally ruined by marriage and I don’t want this to happen to my son.

 

 

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  • Atmavidya Dasa says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Prabhupada did not want divorce to exist in Iskcon, an intelligent husband should ensure that his wife is happy, knowing that an unhappy wife is much more prone to consider divorce.

    Am I the only one who thinks that something doesn’t quite seem right about this statement. It sounds like a formula for disaster that now the husband has to fulfill every whim his wife has in order to keep her “happy.” The husband should provide what the wife “needs” but heaven help the man who tries to fulfill everything that his wife “wants.” She will never be happy in such a case since a woman’s kama – material desires (not neccessarily sex) — are 9 times that of a man’s.
    Better not to marry than to become a “wallet” for fullfilling some woman’s material desires.
    Somehow I find that this article is not balanced this is just one example. The whole peice just doesn’t sit well with me.

 

 

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  • Citrarupini dasi says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Dear Mahatma Prabhu,
    Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
    Thank you for your article. I was wondering if you could clear a doubt that I had.
    If the husband is a “real man” and “strong husband” then he keeps his wife “happy.” But, he is also supposed to be following Srila Prabhupada strictly as an “ideal grhasta.” What happens if the wife doesn’t want to follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and is not happy regarding how he said his female followers should behave? Should the husband then make his wife “happy” by compromising the principles taught by Srila Prabhupada? Is it more important to make Srila Prabhupada and Krsna happy or to make the wife happy?
    I ask this because there is much documented evidence that Srila Prabhupada wanted his female disciples to wear saris and especially to cover their heads. Srila Prabhupada even purchased saris and brought them from India for his female disciples. Matajis who claim to be serious followers of Srila Prabhupada like Urmila dd always cover their heads and wear saris based on his instructions.
    http://centredebhaktiyoga.com/2014/04/23/hg-srimati-urmila-dd-is-giving-sunday-class-in-brusselss-bhakti-yoga-center
    But we notice that your wife Jahnava dd doesn’t wear sari and I have never, ever seen her cover her head. Even in the posters for your Grhasta seminar she is bare headed. In the following photos where she is advertising “Women of Bhakti” there is no excuse for not portraying herself in any way other than a female devotee and follower of Srila Prabhupada, that is, in sari and with a covered head.
    http://www.womenofbhakti.com
    and
    http://www.womenofbhakti.com/about#jahnava-hausner
    But she has uncovered head, and as I have said I have never, ever seen her in person wear sari or cover her head.
    So is this what you mean when say that it is easier for a real man to tolerate a bad wife than a wife to tolerate a bad husband?
    Or, does it mean that it to make a wife “happy” a husband should let his wife disobey Srila Prabhupada’s instructions?
    Or, does it mean something else? Please clear my doubt in this matter?
    Yhs
  • Citrarupini dd
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  • Akruranatha says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    With regard to women preachers who may not cover their hair, I consider it may be a legitimate attempt not to turn off the intended audience by foreign cultural trappings.
    Consider this Purport (S.B. 7.5.7):
    “In our Krsna consciousness movement, the tactic of dressing oneself like an ordinary karmi is necessary because everyone in the demoniac kingdom is against the Vaisnava teachings. Krsna consciousness is not at all to the liking of the demons of the present age. As soon as they see a Vaisnava dressed in saffron garments with beads on his neck and tilaka on his forehead, they are immediately irritated. They criticize the Vaisnavas by sarcastically saying Hare Krsna, and some people also chant Hare Krsna sincerely. In either case, since Hare Krsna is absolute, whether one chants it jokingly or sincerely, it will have its effect. The Vaisnavas are pleased when the demons chant Hare Krsna because this shows that the Hare Krsna movement is taking ground. The greater demons, like Hiranyakasipu, are always prepared to chastise the Vaisnavas, and they try to make arrangements so that Vaisnavas will not come to sell their books and preach Krsna consciousness. Thus what was done by Hiranyakasipu long, long ago is still being done. That is the way of materialistic life. Demons or materialists do not at all like the advancement of Krsna consciousness, and they try to hinder it in many ways. Yet the preachers of Krsna consciousness must go forward—in their Vaisnava dress or any other dress—for the purpose of preaching. Canakya Pandita says that if an honest person deals with a great cheater, it is necessary for him to become a cheater also, not for the purpose of cheating but to make his preaching successful.”
    But even considering it may be a personal weakness for dressing in a modern or “more attractive” style (according to taste), Citrarupini, it seems unfriendly and mean-spirited to publicly attack Jahnava’s sartorial choices here in this forum.
    I know, with my own wife, she dresses “western” and goes to the beauty parlor and gets her hair colored, but she does tons of devotional service. I do not think it makes her less of a devotee, or that it is my duty as her husband to insist that she set a better example of “Vaisnava dress”. I can tell you for sure: it is not because she is trying to attract a paramour (if that is what you are implying). It is just a matter of “style”.
    Can’t we be a little friendlier to each other?

 

 

  • #comment-##
  • nitai108 says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you Mahatma Prabhu. I appreciate both your understanding of male and female psychology as well as your courage to write on this, obviously very sensitive, topic.
    Recently I met a Christian man here in Alachua. He was in his fifties. He told me how much love and appreciation he and his wife had for each other after almost 30 years of marriage. I asked what his secret of success was. His answer was pretty much the same thing you have pointed out in your article. He said that an elderly friend had advised him at the time of his marriage that “the woman is a weaker vessel and therefore he should take care of her and make things easier for her.” He took that advise to heart and his marriage was flourishing.
    Such a simple truth yet seemingly, to many, very difficult to accept. False ego is very difficult to crush.
    Your servant,
  • Nitai-lila dd
  • #comment-##
  • Sita Rama 108 says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Part 1
  • Sugriva Prabhu,
  • In comment 3 you claim that it is a religious principal for a man to immediately leave his wife if she is quarrelsome. Says WHO!
  • Srila Prabhupada said numerous times that at present irresponsible people marry due to lust only; therefore when there is a little difficulty they divorce. This is hippy philosophy not a religious principal.
  • Srila Prabhupada letter to Mother Laksmimoni 07/10/1969
  • Any disagreement between husband and wife is not taken very seriously, as much as a disagreement between children is not taken very seriously. This is because the basic principle of married life in Krishna Consciousness is not whimsical lusts, but it is the eternal principle of rendering devotional service to Krishna.
  • Srila Prabhupada to director of social welfare, 5/ 21/1975
  • The husband and wife’s quarrel should not be taken very seriously. Ajä yuddhe (More quote by Cäëakya) Just like fight between two goats. They are fighting, and if you say “Hut!” they will go away. Similarly, the fight between husband and wife should not be taken very seriously. Let them fight for some time; they will stop automatically. But the husband and wife fight, and he, as soon as he goes to the lawyer and he gives incentive, “Yes, come to the court.” This is going on. So the first defect is there is divorce law.
    Srila Prabhupada to Madhukara 01/4/1973
  • They simply have some sex desire, get themselves married, and when the mater does not fulfill their expectations, immediately there is separation—these things are just like material activities, prostitution. The wife is left without husband, and sometimes there is child to be raised, in so many ways the proposition that you, and some others also, are making becomes distasteful. We cannot expect that our temples will become places of shelter for so many widows and rejected wives, that will be a great burden and we shall become the laughingstock in the society.
  • Because the real fact is that if there is any difficulty with others, that is my lack of Krsna consciousness, not theirs. Is this clear?
  • #comment-##
  • Sita Rama 108 says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Part 2.
  • My last paste is one where we see Srila Prabhupada give instructions for both husband and wife.
  • Srila Prabhupada to Mother Sudevi september 15 1972
  • Please accept my blessings. I am in receipt of your letter dated September 8, 1972, and have noted the contents therein. Marriage between husband and wife means that the husband must forever be responsible for the wife’s well-being and protection in all cases. That does not mean that now there is agreement between us, therefore I am responsible, but as soon as there is some disagreement then I immediately flee the scene and become so-called renounced. Whether your husband likes to take responsibility as your spiritual guide or not, that does not matter. He must do it. It is his duty because he has taken you as his wife. Therefore he must take full responsibility for you the rest of his life. And you also must agree to serve him under all circumstances and assist him in every way so that he may make advancement in Krsna Consciousness. By his making advancement in Krsna Consciousness, automatically the wife will make advancement in the husband’s footsteps. But if you do not assist him and be very obedient to his welfare, then he may become disgusted and go away. So there must be mutual responsibility by both parties, and now that you are married couple there is no question of your separation, but YOU MUST BOTH TRY VERY HARD TO SERVE KRSNA TOGETHER IN HARMONY( capitals added).
  • #comment-##
  • Akruranatha says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Now that comedian Joan Rivers has passed away, there may be a spot available on the TV show “Fashion Police” for some lucky devotee.
    But other than that we should not be too eager to enforce dress codes on other devotees, unless they happen to be our own children or disciples.
    Yes, there was a way Srila Prabhupada asked us to dress. Our hairstyle with sikha brought us instant recognition, especially during the ’70s when men’s fashion was to wear long hair and beards. We have a “uniform”, and when people see a devotee with robes or a nice sari and tilak and an effulgent face, it creates an impression of meeting an angel from Vaikuntha.
    The uniform is not all-important though. We are a society for Krishna consciousness, not a society for Vaisnava clothing and hairstyles.
    Some orthodox Jewish men think God wants them to wear earlocks and yarmulkes and fringes, and some Muslims think God wants them to have beards or burkhas; Sikhs must have beards and long hair in a turban, with bracelet and ceremonial knife, and Christian Orthodox priests have beards, while Catholic monks have different kind of tonsured hair according to their sect. Christian nuns wear different kinds of habits and wimples, though some have given that up now. Mormons wear special underclothing, and there is even a “sakhibheki” sect (about which I know very little) in which men dress as cowherd girls in their effort to cultivate gopi-bhava.
    All these different followers of religious dress codes display some obedience to God’s desire (as they understand it) and also affirm and proclaim their own faith, perhaps also remembering considerations which led their past preceptors to adopt such standards.
    Yes, it is worthwhile to discuss why Srila Prabhupada asked us to dress in a certain way. There may be many different angles from which to consider these instructions (spiritual, social, preaching effectiveness, economic practicality, etc.)
    But something seems wrong to me for us to assume the role of enforcer and judge over the way other devotees choose to dress, as if that is the be all and end all of their relationship with Srila Prabhupada or the sine qua non of what it means to be a devotee.
    A well-dressed fool goes unnoticed until he speaks. We should recognize devotees based on their behavior and speech, rather than superficial appearances. And we should give each other the benefit of the doubt.

 

 

  • #comment-##
  • Puskaraksa das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 6, 2014 at 4:50 am

    Of course, a wife may be more likely to feel protected and thus satisfied by a good and caring husband.
    But I always wonder about those who advertise happiness, while seeming to settle for less than prema…
    Savarana-sri-gaura-pada-padme
    A Prayer to the Lotus Feet of Sri Gauranga
  • (from Prarthana) by Srila Narottama das Thakur
    (1)
  • sri-krishna-caitanya prabhu doya koro more
  • toma bina ke doyalu jagat-samsare
    (2)
  • patita-pavana-hetu tava avatara
  • mo sama patita prabhu na paibe ara
    (3)
  • ha ha prabhu nityananda, premananda sukhi
  • kripabalokana koro ami boro duhkhi
    (4)
  • doya koro sita-pati adwaita gosai
  • tava kripa-bale pai caitanya-nitai
    (5)
  • ha ha swarup, sanatana, rupa, raghunatha
  • bhatta-juga, sri-jiva ha prabhu lokanatha
    (6)
  • doya koro sri-acarya prabhu srinivasa
  • ramacandra-sanga mage narottama-dasa
    Translation:
    (1) My dear Lord Caitanya, please be merciful to me, because who can be more merciful than Your Lordship within these three worlds?
    (2) Your incarnation is just to reclaim the conditioned, fallen souls, but I assure You that You will not find a greater fallen soul than me. Therefore, my claim is first.
    (3) My dear Lord Nityananda, You are always joyful in spiritual bliss. Since You always appear very happy, I have come to You because I am most unhappy. If You kindly put Your glance over me, then I may also
  • become happy.
    (4) My dear Advaita Prabhu, husband of Sita, You are so kind. Please be merciful to me. If You are kind to me, naturally Lord Caitanya and Nityananda will also be kind to me.
    (5) O Svarupa Damodara, personal secretary of Lord Caitanya, O six Gosvamis ó Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami! O Lokanatha Gosvami, my beloved spiritual master! Narottama dasa also prays for your mercy.
    (6) O Srinivasa Acarya, successor to the six Gosvamis! Please be merciful to me. Narottama dasa always desires the company of Ramacandra Cakravarti.

 

 

  • #comment-##
  • govindajps says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    1906 Views already – “men should pray to guru and Krsna to help themselves in becoming strong” – Let “Mahatma Magic Make Every House Bright”

 

 

  • #comment-##
  • Visakha Priya dasi says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

    When all is said and done, there is no such thing as “a real man” in this world. All of us are prakriti masquerading as the enjoyer. In one life we accept ourselves as prakriti (woman) and in the next life we assert ourselves as purusha (man). And then again we are cast in the role of woman (and suffer for the beatings we inflicted upon our “wife” in our previous life) and then again in the role of man (and take our revenge for the beatings we received from our “husband” in our previous life). And this goes on and on and on until, by the mercy of Guru and Gauranga, we come to the realization that material life is insane and we need to get out of this cycle.
    This is not meant to be a criticism of Mahatma Prabhu’s article but a pointer to higher realities. Even within the ideal varnasrama system people suffer, because the material world (especially the lower and middle planetary systems) is meant for that. We are like the proverbial fish out of water and will continue to suffer as long as we do not act in our constitutional position. So, as one respected ISKCON marriage counselor says, “Marriage is not meant to make you happy. Marriage is meant to make you married.”
    As aspiring devotees, we theoretically know that we are supposed to be dasa dasa anudasa. If both husband and wife are trained to see each other as servants of Krsna, how can there be any question of abuse? But to train one section of devotees to be submissive without training the other section to be worthy of their submission is simply hypocritical and exploitative. And therefore, dear Rukmini devi dasi-prabhu-mataji, it is not just your son who recoils from marriage these days. Anyone seriously trying to practice Krsna consciousness will be weary of marriage, regardless of their present external dress.
    Hare Krsna.
  • Your servant,
  • Visakha Priya dasi
  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Somayaji,
    When a sexual falldown between a leader in our movement and a brahmacarini took place, Prabhupada made the comment about it being the man’s fault. I don’t know if this is recorded on the database. I am only referencing this from memory of this incident and how it was explained to us at the time. We were told that Prabhupada responded by putting the blame primarily on the man.
    This does follow the sastric statement that cows, women, brahmanas, children and elderly people are not to be punished but protected. In one class the children were making noise and they were asked to leave by a senior devotee and Prabhupada said that in this room there are only brahmanas, children, women, and elderly people so no one here is to be faulted.
    And this meant the kids didn’t have to leave.
    The general idea is that a woman follows a man, so if man allures a woman into something improper, he is held accountable. Of course, this doesn’t mean a woman will not suffer negative consequences in her life, or should be irresponsible, but still the blame primarily falls on the man because he is supposed to be the leader.
    Hare Krishna
  • Mahatma Das
  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Dear Balakrsna das Prabhu
    Prabhupada writes in a letter: The point is that the women must be protected, and it is the duty of the leaders of our society to see that this is carried out.
    A husband should protect his wife materially and spiritually as far as possible. If she doesn’t want that protection, that is another thing. But in some cases, he is not actual protecting so it seems she is rejecting. She may be rejecting his lack of protection.
    When Prabhupada speaks of protection he speaks of it in the sense of providing materially for her, guiding her spiritually, and protecting her from other men who may wish to take advantage of her, either sexually or in other ways (car dealers will sale a car for a higher price to your wife than they will to you, this often happens with car repairs, etc.)
    So it is the man’s duty to provide this as best he can.
    Regarding your statement that men in the West don’t want to get married any more, the story in my articles illustrates how best to deal with this, i.e. the attitude and behavior of the husband will affect the wife. Still, if the wife is demanding more and is not satisfied, it is the challenge of the husband to be peaceful, tolerant, and supportive as far as possible. At least do your duty to provide protection as best you can and to the degree that she will accept it.
    It takes two people to create a relationship and if the relationship is not good remember that you are in that relationship also and you can do something to make it better. Maybe it won’t be perfect according to your standards, but still your duty is to do your best to improve it.
    It is easy to complain. It is not easy to make something better.
    Hare Krishna
  • Mahatma Das
  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Dear Sugriva Das Prabhu
    Although Prabhupada refers to Manu occasionally in his books, he never used the above criteria as a basis for approving of divorce. Prabhupada did say that if a man is fallen, i.e. he doesn’t follow regulative principles, the wife is not obliged to serve him. But at the same time he glorified his sister for staying with her drunkard husband because it helped him eventually become sober. He did allow separation for spiritual purposes, i.e. if both husband and wife were agreeable to separate as a means of increasing their service and on the condition they would not remarry.
    Also, the above quotations are speaking of ordinary women, not devotee women, so we must be careful not lump the two together. You seem to be saying it is a fault to stay with a women who is not a good wife, but in reading all that Prabhupada said on marriage you will never see him advising men to leave their wives because of character flaws.
    We need to be more cautious in citing references that Prabhupada himself didn’t use, and also citing references that don’t represent the general mood of Prabhupada in regards to grhastha life. In other words, we need to be cautious about citing Manu as a standard for our behavior or action in cases where Prabhupada did not apply these principles to our circumstances. If you want to apply Manu strictly, then none are qualified to be devotees or brahmanas. So be careful how you quote manu. Actually, the paradox is that my Manu’s own standards, we are not qualified to quote him!
    Hare Krishna
  • Mahatma Das
  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Dear Sugriva Das Prabhu
    My statement is based on the quote below by Srila Prabhupada givein in a lecture, BG 7.3, Feb 18, 1974
    Just like in the Manu-samhita, there is no divorce. Now our Hindu laws, they have amended, “Divorce is allowed.” That is not according to Manu-samhita.
    Hare Krishna
  • Mahatma Das
  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Rukmini Devi Dasi Mata ji
    The idea of marriage is that a husband, ideally being strong, uplifts a woman (who is generally weaker). That doesn’t guarantee that a woman who has a good husband will not leave him, but statistically speaking women with good husbands have better marriages and less divorce.
    You say that most divorces are filed by women who have husbands who have no faults. I guess we need to define what you mean by no faults because my personal experience is different. I find many, many husbands don’t know what it means to be a good husband and I rarely find unhappy women who have really good husbands. By good I mean caring, honest, supportive, set a good example, etc.
    Rather than caution your son not to marry, teach him what it means to be a good husband and what is the nature of woman and marriage, and then let him decide whether or not he wishes to marry. There is not use in him being single if he is not qualified to do so. It is much wiser to train him to be a good husband because that will reduce the likelihood of having a bad marriage. Once trained in this way, he can better decide whether or not to marry.
    Hare Krishna
  • Mahatma Das
  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Dear Atmavidya Dasa Prabhu
    Being a good husband entails many things. Most important is the relationship, not the material things. If your experience is that “she will never be happy,” I suggest you have not provided the emotional and relational support a woman needs to be happy. Often a woman’s needs for material things are an attempt to replace the lack of affection and emotional support in her marriage.
    In addition, it is wise not to blame a woman for problems in a marriage. It is wise to consider what we, as men are not doing and/or not doing that this causing our wives to be unhappy. Sure, there are woman who are hard to please, but in the majority of cases, if you are Krsna conscious, provide responsibly for your family, are affectionate and give the emotional and relational support women require, your marriage will go well. As Bhaktisiddhanta said, “Look within. Amend thyself.”
    Hare Krishna
  • Mahatma Das
  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Citrarupini,
    You ask is it more important to make Prabhupada happy or to make one’s wife happy. I don’t think we can always assume to making a wife happy is displeasing Prabhupada. First, household often entails compromise in how your time and money are spent, and also what you often must do to keep the other person happy. So we learn in household life about making compromises to satisfy the needs of another.
    I could better answer your question if I knew specifics, but I can give a general answer. If compromising a principle occasionally keeps a family together, then accept that this is pleasing Prabhupada. In my discussions with godbrothers and sisters on this issue, all have agreed that sometimes a compromise might save a marriage, and especially if there are children, it is a disaster for them if the parent’s divorce. So we have to take into consideration not only spiritual obligations, but we must fulfill our material obligations as well.
    So yes, if we are not married, we don’t have to deal with this stuff. But this is the reality of what we sometimes must confront when married.
    The issue of dress is interesting. In South India, it is rare to find a woman with her head covered. So in our temples in South India, the women don’t cover their heads. In north India head covering is more common.
    The Women of Bhakti was a film made to attract non-devotees to the path of Bhakti. Just as we often do sankirtan in western dress, my wife is wearing her sankirtan clothes in this picture and in this film. It was not a film to teach people how to be an Iskcon devotee, it was a film to teach people about bhakti. If we teach in devotional dress, it often sends a message that to do bhakti you must dress this way. And this is not true. In many cases, when devotees have adapted their dress to make people more comfortable, their preaching has skyrocketed. So we are not attached to how we dress but we dress in ways that make it easier for people to take to Krsna consciousness.
    I don’t know the current dress standards in our Iskcon temples, but as we live in Mayapur, my Wife wears a sari everyday to the temple.
    Continue…

 

 

  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Continued..
    Citrarupini
    Pure devotional service is not about wearing or not wearing a certain dress. It is about the purity of heart. If a man thinks his wife is bad because she doesn’t wear a sari, although she is dressed in a chase way, then I would say the idea of tolerating a “bad” wife is his own idea; there is nothing to tolerate. Of course, if he is upset about her dress, he can tell her he prefers she wear a sari. In my case, my wife tolerates the way I dress, because I am not so concerned how I look, rather than me tolerating her dress (LOL).
    I joined Iskcon in 1969 and was never trained to understand that the goal of Krsna consciousness is to be culturally Indian, although I know some devotees believe this. I was trained from the beginning that the goal is to serve Krsna with one desire: to please him.
    I wrote Prabhupada during the time that devotees were wearing Western dress to distribute books saying that I discovered this is not necessary. I was thinking he would applaud me for this and inform the society that Mahatma and company are distributing as many books as those wearing non devotional dress, so such dress is not necessary. But all he said was this: “Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing.”
    Of course, in this discussion you are making the assumption that a woman should always wear a sari and always have her head covered and if she doesn’t her husband will just have to tolerate a “bad” woman because she is disobeying Srila Prabhupada. You would have to provide evidence that a woman dressed in a gopi skirt or a woman in a sari without her head covered is disobeying Prabhupada and is bad. I am not aware that this is in considered disobeying him. In any case, my point is that we have to learn to get along well together. If a woman wants to dress in a certain way because she feels better, or she feels people can better relate to her, a husband should be understanding and supportive and he shouldn’t think he is tolerating a bad woman. That would undermine the relationship.
    Hare Krishna
  • Mahatma Das
  • #comment-##
  • Mahatma das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Dear Nitai Prabhu
    Very good point. It seems common sense but at the same time we are seeing a great fear of being controlled by woman. Of course, the real fear should be that we are controlled by our senses. If one is sense controlled, then providing what a woman needs to be happy has nothing to do with being controlled by woman. But if one is providing these things for the purpose of securing a satisfying sexual relationship with his wife, then yes, he is being controlled by a woman.
    Hare Krishna
  • Mahatma Das
  • #comment-##
  • Sita Rama 108 says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 10, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Mahatma Prabhu,
  • You write, “I find many, many husbands don’t know what it means to be a good husband and I rarely find unhappy women who have really good husbands.”
  • At the risk of being presumptuous, I would like to suggest that if you could create specific definitions, and thus operationalize the terms, good husband, unhappy wife etc. And keep record of the number of these along with whether it is the man or the woman who want the divorce, etc, etc. And if you had a sufficient size and variety of samples. You could give statistically significant facts on these topics rather than just your general observations.
  • I accept your observations because I already agree with you. But statistical data might change the mind of someone who tends to see things differently.
  • Ys,
  • Sita Rama das
  • P.S.
  • You probably do not remember me but I remember you from when I was at the San Diego Temple in the late 80’s early 90’s
  • #comment-##
  • Puskaraksa das says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 11, 2014 at 6:56 am

    “Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that a devotee does not care about his own happiness and distress. He is simply interested in seeing that Krsna is happy, and for that purpose he engages in various activities. A pure devotee has no way of sensing happiness except by seeing that Krsna is happy in every respect. If Krsna becomes happy by giving him distress, such a devotee accepts that unhappiness as the greatest of all happiness.”
  • C.C. Antya 20.52
    Thus, one who is concerned about material benefits from Krsna, including material happiness which conditions one, for it is born out of a guna – the mode of goodness, can be a pious man, but he cannot be a pure devotee:
    “Unless one is pious, one cannot approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, although a pious man may receive some material benefit, one who is concerned with material benefits cannot be a pure devotee.”
  • S.B. 7.10.4
    Though,
    “Anything sent by God is a blessing for the devotee.”
  • S.B. 1.18.2
    So, the grihastha ashrama should rather be envisioned from a spiritual perspective:
    ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
  • varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ
  • svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
  • saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam
    O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead. (SB 1.2.14)

 

 

  • #comment-##
  • Mahaksa D. says : Log in to Reply
    Sep 23, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Please accept my humble obeisances,
    so many comments, generally I agree with all of them as I have read Srila Prabhupada and most of the comments here despite contradictory may be found in our sastras, that is the fine judgement to which situation to which apply. In Srimad Bhagavat it is clearly said that one does not need to be conected not to serve a fallen counterpart, I can’t imagine to cook meat for the sake of happy family life. Despite some devotees preach that and I know one mataji which also got second initiation and is respected as good wife among some devotees who claim that she is good wife because she cook meat to her fallen husband. They claim it is example of proper faitful wife. I would rather to be faithful to Krishna and make sure go to Him and not with him.
    I just want to mentioned another thing which was made by Mahatma Prabhu that man should be a real man. The man body is just instrument and we as souls should learn how to use it rightly to get the results which are expected from man bodies. As one expect from a car to carry him to a desired destination same man body got specific duties to help the family to reach a spiritual destination.
    There is a lot of books how to become a real man and for sure Prabhupada wanted us to be a gentleman in first place. If one reads old books about gentlemans behaviour one will see how many points are similar to vedic culture and also one can see there a lot about true man.
    In comments there is a lot of arguments. One example in these gentleman books is, if one is real man he can tolerate the quarelsome nature of woman and if he can not to tolerate as too overburding for his senses he must make firm decision how to protect himself but at the same time not to disolve his resposibility nor his kindness. If one just run to another lady he is not the real man nor he has understood he is not the body.
    These gentleman books are good because there is a lot of hints how man should behave that just by his behaviour, bodily postures, mind settings and words he can prevent misbehaving on the lady’s side.

 

 

  • #comment-##
  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Reference #11 & 12
    Sorry for delayed response. I seldom visit this website because of limited time.
    You asked “Says WHO!” Well if you read my text I explicitly said who:
    First I quoted Manu in the Manu Samhita 9.80-81
    Srila Prabhupada on numerous occasions said that the Manu Samhita was the Law books of Mankind. If you don’t believe me I can provide references.
    And secondly I quoted Lord Visnu from Brahma-vaivarta Purana .
    Manu is not only the lawgiver for mankind but also one of the 12 mahajanas. Perfectly realized bhaktas. And last time I checked Lord Visnu was God.
    So if that is not Who enough for you, then what can I do?
    A sadhu is only a sadhu if he upholds the sastra, a guru is only a guru if he upholds the sastra, and acarya is only an acarya if he upholds the sastra. And according to Vedanta Sutra 1.1.3 Sastra yonit vat – it is only through sastra that we can get real knowledge. And Rupa Goswami tells us that that “Bhakti” which is not according the sruti, smriti etc is not Bhakti but a disturbance in society.

 

 

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  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Reference # 8
    Dear Akuranatha,
    Hare Krsna.
    Mataji was very polite and humbly asking a question. She was just pointing out and obvious inconsistency and asking for an explanation. And we note she wasn’t asking you but you still had to interject your opinion even though unasked. . And it seems anyone who doesn’t agree with your line of thought is “unfriendly” and that you consider it your prescribed duty as the thought police to rush in and correct them.
    It seems to myself and others that you use a “passive aggressive” approach in dealing with those you disagree with it. Hence I normally ignore 99% of your comments because they will be predictable.
    And, do you deny that Sria Prabhupada liked his disciples to wear traditional vaisnava attire?
    Hari Bol!
    Sugriva das

 

 

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  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Mahatma wrote in #16
    “In one class the children were making noise and they were asked to leave by a senior devotee and Prabhupada said that in this room there are only brahmanas, children, women, and elderly people so no one here is to be faulted.”

    I just heard several SP leactures in which children were making a disturbance and Srila Prabhupada asked them to be removed. And just like you can not site a reference for example I also can’t because I never thought I would have to. So it seems that at different times SP did different things.

 

 

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  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 11:21 am

    To Mahatma ref # 18
    You said:
    “Although Prabhupada refers to Manu occasionally in his books.”

    I opened up my 2013 edition of the VedaBase and checked off anything by Srila Prabhupada and searched for
    “Manu” 1048 hits,
  • “Manu Samhita” 165 hits, and
  • “Manu Smrti” 35 hits.
    The vast majority of the hits for Manu were in reference to Manu Samhita.
    So we are talking over 1000 references to Manu. To me that seems a lot more than occasional. So it seems you have a different definition of “occasional” than I do.

 

 

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  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Ref #18
    Mahatma Prabhu said:
    Also, the above quotations are speaking of ordinary women, not devotee women, so we must be careful not lump the two together.

    This type of reasoning is often given that somehow the women in ISKCON came from Vaikuntha and are very special, that the things said about women in sastra do not apply to them because ISKCON women are above the dualities of material nature, that their intelligence has increased by becoming devotees (and hence are just as intelligent as the men now) etc. This of course is fallacious reasoning because it implies that Bhakti yoga is only effective on females and it is only they who become more intelligent, only they who the scriptures no longer refer whereas scriptural references to men apply to ISKCON men.
    Your whole article is addressed not to ordinary men but to devotee men, yet it seems that devotee men have flaws similar to ordinary ones. Whereas devotee women do not have the flaws of ordinary women.
    Can you please explain to me why Bhakti yoga only edifies females but not males? Why men who practice Bhakti stay ordinary but the women can walk on water so to speak?

 

 

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  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Ref #18
    Mahatma Prabhu said:

    “Also, the above quotations are speaking of ordinary women, not devotee women, so we must be careful not lump the two together.”

    I disagree. Let us consider the following verse and purport from Srimad Bhagavatam 9.14.37
  • .
  • .
    “Urvasi said: My dear King, you are a man, a hero. Don’t be impatient and give up your life. Be sober and don’t allow the senses to overcome you like foxes. Don’t let the foxes eat you. In other words, you should not be controlled by your senses. Rather, you should know that the heart of a woman is like that of a fox. There is no use making friendship with women.
    PURPORT
  • “Canakya Pandita has advised, visvaso naiva kartavyah strisu raja-kulesu ca: ‘Never place your faith in a woman or a politician.’ Unless elevated to spiritual consciousness, everyone is conditioned and fallen, what to speak of women, who are less intelligent than men. Women have been compared to sudras and vaisyas (striyo vaisyas tatha sudrah). On the spiritual platform, however, when one is elevated to the platform of Krsna consciousness, whether one is a man, woman, sudra or whatever, everyone is equal. Otherwise, Urvasi, who was a woman herself and who knew the nature of women, said that a woman’s heart is like that of a sly fox. If a man cannot control his senses, he becomes a victim of such sly foxes. But if one can control the senses, there is no chance of his being victimized by sly, fox-like women. Canakya Pandita has also advised that if one has a wife like a sly fox, he must immediately give up his life at home and go to the forest.
    mata yasya grhe nasti
  • bharya capriya-vadini
  • aranyam tena gantavyam
  • yatharanyam tatha grham
  • (Canakya-sloka 57)
    “Krsna conscious grhasthas must be very careful of the sly fox woman. If the wife at home is obedient and follows her husband in Krsna consciousness, the home is welcome. Otherwise one should give up one’s home and go to the forest.
  • hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam
  • vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta
  • (Bhag. 7.5.5)
    “One should go to the forest and take shelter of the lotus feet of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

    .
    Continued..

 

 

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  • Sugriva das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    part 2
    Our ISKCON members who are affected by secular values are fond of declaring that because they are “devotees,” the negative depiction of women given by Srila Prabhupada does not apply to devotee women as it would to ordinary women. But is this true? In his purport, Srila Prabhupada specifically says “Krsna conscious grhasthas must be very careful of the sly fox woman.”This directly means that there may be women who associate with devotees (for example, a wife who associates with her devotee husband, or other women who associate with ISKCON devotees) who are “sly fox women.” They may call themselves devotees, but do their actions reflect those of devotees?
    I should like to very carefully point out and bring to your full attention that I am not in any way, shape, or form labeling all women in ISKCON, or in society in general as “sly foxes.”
    What I am pointing out is that your assumption that scriptural references to women do not apply to women in ISKCON is just plain wrong. Sastric references apply to both members of ISKCON and the general public as well. I for one know that I do not have a Vaikuntha vimana parked in my garage that brought me here to this material world.
    One of the most egregious problems in ISKCON is to think that we are a lot more advanced than we really are despite a long history of scandals. So in this case you are putting ISKCON women on a pedestal that history has shown doesn’t exist.

 

 

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  • Praghosa says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    “In every birth one can get father and mother, but to get the spiritual master and Krsna, that is not possible in every birth. That is only possible in this human form. The cats and dogs, they have got their father and mother. Therefore if we become father, mother like cats and dogs, there is no need of such… Krsna-guru nahi mile bhaja… The father helps the children to achieve Krsna and guru, that is real father. [break] …they avoid that trap, they avoid association of women. But these women are not ordinary women. They are preachers. They are preachers. They are Vaisnava. By their association, one becomes a Vaisnava”
    Morning Walk — March 27, 1974, Bombay

 

 

  • Rukmini devi dasi says : Log in to Reply
    Dec 18, 2014 at 6:13 am

    So are the men in ISKCON not preachers? Only the women? Are the men not special too?
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  • .children
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  • Atmavidya Dasa says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Reading your recomedations of a how men should deal with their wives reminded me of the following verse from Srimad Bhagavatam:
    “One should not associate with a coarse fool who is bereft of the knowledge of self-realization and who is no more than a dancing dog in the hands of a woman.” SB 3.31.34
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  • Visakha Priya dasi says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 2, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Prabhupada sometimes quoted the poet Tulasi dasa about four things that can be beaten. One can beat a drum, or a dog, or a woman, or a sudra. One time when Prabhupada mentioned this, he laughed and turned to his disciple Nara-Narayana. “Nara-Narayana understands this principle very well,” said Prabhupada, and the other devotees also laughed. But then Prabhupada turned seriously to Nara-Narayana and said, “But don’t do it. These are not ordinary women. These are devotees.”
  • >>> Ref. VedaBase => SPN 3-24: Srila Prabhupada Said: on Women
    Canakya Pandita says: visvasam naiva kartavyam strisu raja-kulesu ca. Visvasam naiva kartavyam. “Don’t trust women.” Visvasam naiva kartavyam strisu. Strisu means women. Raja-kula… And politicians. Yes. Visvasam naiva kartavyam strisu raja-kulesu ca. Never the trust the politician and woman. Of course, when woman comes to Krsna consciousness, that position is different. We are speaking of ordinary woman. Because Krsna says, in another place, striyo vaisyas tatha sudrah [Bg. 9.32]. They are considered, women, vaisya, the mercantile community, and sudra, and the worker class, they are less intelligent.
  • >>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 1.40 — London, July 28, 1973
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  • Visakha Priya dasi says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 2, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Dear Devotees,
    Hare Krsna. While looking for something completely unrelated, I came across the following statement by Srila Prabhupada:
    Honolulu
  • My dear Kusa devi dasi,
  • Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Jan. 30, 1975 and have noted the contents. I have studied your situation carefully and I encourage you to live in the temple in the association of fixed up devotees who are following my teachings strictly. If your husband cannot follow our principles properly, you are not to think that you should let that hamper your spiritual life. You should stay with us and cultivate spiritual life peacefully under Krishna’s protection and care. If he is not interested in spiritual life, let him do as he pleases. I have given all of my disciple instructions to follow for making spiritual advancement, but if they do not have the desire to follow, then what can I do? Anyone who is unwilling to follow our regulated principles, you should not live or associate closely with such a person.
  • >>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Kusa — Honolulu 3 February, 1975
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  • Balakrsna das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I think Sugriva makes a good point in #32-34. And while #35 and #37 have provided some quotes where Srila Prabhupada said the women in ISKCON are “special” they have not addressed Sugriva’s question and his points still stand. No one has yet to answer his questions:
    Your whole article is addressed not to ordinary men but to devotee men, yet it seems that devotee men have flaws similar to ordinary ones. Whereas devotee women do not have the flaws of ordinary women.
    Can you please explain to me why Bhakti yoga only edifies females but not males? Why men who practice Bhakti stay ordinary but the women can walk on water so to speak?

    Are only the women in ISKCON “special” and not the men? If the verses about women are not applicable to ISKCON women, then are the sastric references about men not applicable to ISKCON men?
    And let us consider this purport from Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.26:
    “The men of the higher classes — the brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas — do not beget children in the wombs of lower-class women. Therefore the custom in Vedic society is to examine the horoscopes of a girl and boy being considered for marriage to see whether their combination is suitable. Vedic astrology reveals whether one has been born in the vipra-varna, kṣatriya-varna, vaisya-varṇa or sudra-varna, according to the three qualities of material nature. This must be examined because a marriage between a boy of the vipra-varna and a girl of the sudra-varna is incompatible; married life would be miserable for both husband and wife. Consequently a boy should marry a girl of the same category. Of course, this is trai-gunya, a material calculation according to the Vedas, but if the boy and girl are devotees there need be no such considerations. A devotee is transcendental, and therefore in a marriage between devotees, the boy and girl form a very happy combination.”

    Now considering that the topic of this and previous related article is about the high number of divorces in ISKCON, and unhappy marriages this leads us to the conclusion that:
    We members of ISKCON are not the transcendental devotees that Srila Prabhupada is talking about in this purport because “a marriage between devotees, the boy and girl form a very happy combination.”
    continued…
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  • Balakrsna das says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 2, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    part 2
    This was confirmed in the February 14, 1977, Varnashrama conversation in Mayapura:
    Prabhupada: Vaisnava is not so easy. The varnasrama-dharma should be established to become a Vaisnava. It is not so easy to become Vaisnava.
    Hari-sauri: No, it’s not a cheap thing.
    Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore this should be made. Vaisnava, to become Vaisnava, is not so easy. If Vaisnava, to become Vaisnava is so easy, why so many fall down, fall down? It is not easy.

    But it seems that some believe that since the females are “special” and not the males, then the women are all transcendental but the men are in maya and that is why there is so much divorce and unhappiness in ISKCON marriages. Strange as it may be that seems to be the misandric message behind Mahatma’s article. Despite the fact that Srila Prabhupada said that separation and divorce was mainly caused by womanly weakness.
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  • Nandini dd says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 3, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Vishaka mataji said in comment 15:
    “When all is said and done, there is no such thing as “a real man” in this world. All of us are prakriti masquerading as the enjoyer. In one life we accept ourselves as prakriti (woman) and in the next life we assert ourselves as purusha (man). ”

    And I would add that when all is said and done there is no such thing as a “real woman” in this material world either. Because the females of this world all think that they are the enjoyers and want to be Krsna. The only real women are in the spiritual world. The so-called “women” of this world must learn how to be real women and get over their deep-seated envy of Krsna.
    One can only go back to Godhead by developing a service attitude, there is no other way. It is not by accident that a woman gets the husband that she gets. Krsna sends her the ideal husband for her according to her karma to practice serving on.
    It is a mistaken attitude that the husband has to be perfect or worthy of serving. Why? Because the wife is not serving the husband for his sake, but for Krsna’s sake. She is serving the husband to please Krsna, not to please the husband.
    “All these activities should be performed without attachment or any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty, O son of Pṛthā. That is My final opinion. Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If one gives up his prescribed duties because of illusion, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
  • Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome or out of fear of bodily discomfort is said to have renounced in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation. O Arjuna, when one performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all material association and all attachment to the fruit, his renunciation is said to be in the mode of goodness.”
    Bhagavad-gita 18.6-9
    “By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. Now please hear from Me how this can be done. By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, a man can attain perfection through performing his own work.”
    Bhagavad-gita 18.45-46

    more….
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  • Nandini dd says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 3, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Part 2
    There are numerous other verses from the Gita and elsewhere that could be quoted to support this. Basically all of us are supposed to doing all of our prescribed duties not to please ourselves or to please someone else but to please Lord Krsna. That is what it means to be Krsna Conscious.
    And this doesn’t just apply to women but to everyone. Srila Prabhupada from day one did not like his wife, but he maintained and protected her to please his father and Lord Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness. The Gita was spoken to Arjuna to convince Arjuna to do his duty, even though he didn’t like it, not for his own desire but to please Krsna.
    Now I am not suggesting that a woman should not love her husband etc. as obviously it will be easier to live with and serve someone you get along with.
    One thing that I see greatly lacking in this text by Mahatma prabhu and others like it is anything about how to choose your spouse wisely so that the question of divorce becomes moot. In health it is called “preventative medicine” as in the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So rather than trying to lay the blame for divorce on the men as Mahatma is trying to do (and getting some push back on that account). It would in the end be wiser to find out how to go about choosing a compatible spouse so that the question of divorce and how to prevent it never arises.
    That is a whole other subject and worthy of lengthy discussion. “The Grhasta Vision Team” has come up with one way of approaching this problem. They have their supporters and also critics. Their (GVT) method is based on the foundations of Western psychology, counseling, and modern secular values (“the perfect husband should gladly do the housework along with the wife” as the female head of the GVT recently stated on FaceBook). There is however another method, one that has been successfully practiced for thousands of years, the Vedic method, a method that for some reason is basically ignored and set aside in favor of the Western method. Why that is I don’t know; maybe just ignorance or possibly antipathy to Vedic culture.
    more …
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  • Nandini dd says : Log in to Reply
    Oct 3, 2014 at 2:41 am

    part 3
    The way I was trained in KC was that when it came to solving a problem we should first find out if there is a Vedic way to do it. After all people in the past faced the same problems that we face today so they must also have a way of dealing with it. And, since it is based on Vedic culture it is connected to Lord Krsna. It is also a time tested and perfect system if executed properly – no system works if you don’t do it correctly. If and only if there is no Vedic method then we can use other methods.
    So in Vedic culture there is a whole system of how to properly do an arranged marriage that included careful prescreening by both families concerned and use of expert astrologers. (A nice article on how Astrology can be used in KC http://www.dandavats.com/?p=12941).
    “Therefore the custom in Vedic society is to examine the horoscopes of a girl and boy being considered for marriage to see whether their combination is suitable. Vedic astrology reveals whether one has been born in the vipra-varṇa, kṣatriya-varṇa, vaishya-varṇa or sudra-varṇa, according to the three qualities of material nature. This must be examined because a marriage between a boy of the vipra-varṇa and a girl of the sudra-varṇa is incompatible; married life would be miserable for both husband and wife. Consequently a boy should marry a girl of the same category.” Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.26

    So my suggestion is that we should look first and foremost into preventing divorce before the marriage even takes place by careful selection of partners and that the methods used should be Vedic not Western because there already exists a Vedic method that is time tested and has worked for eons.
    I am aware that there are some in ISKCON who strangely don’t like Vedic methods but prefer to use Western ones. That is their own choice, but it should not be a policy followed by ISKCON as an institution that should favor Vedic methods. It would certainly look strange if ISKCON the leading force in promoting Krsna’s Vedic civilization avoided using Vedic methods of doing things.

    • Balakrsna das says : Log in to Reply
      Oct 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Excellent points mataji, it is too bad that for whatever reason a section of ISKCON devotees look to Western methods of doing something rather than first doing the research to see if there is a Vedic way of doing things. I guess until we give up our attachment to the glitter of modern “culture” it is going to take a long time before ISKCON as a whole really embraces Krsna’s Vedic civilization.

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