Is there a difference between male and female devotees of Lord Krishna? I am asking this in the context , since I have observed that female devotees are not allowed in many ISKCON programs (like Bhagvad Gita lectures, youth programs, etc)
Can there be a difference in the spiritual understanding between the 2 gender ?
Hare Krsna Prabhuji,
I am aware of special classes being held in ISKCON for matajis also. They may be Youth Girls program, or cooking classes or deity decoration - dresses and jewellery classes or issues related to females.
Thats ok - like how we have specialised classes when we go for higher studies. You need to have a target audience to be able to prepare the material to study, that same way special classes are held separately for matajis and prabhujis for certain purposes.
Like Sudipta prabhu said, there is no difference at soul level. Most of us are not at soul level. Even if we are, we cannot behave as if we disregard the body and only concentrate on soul. Like how you will not treat an animal (maybe cockroach) and a human being on the same platform.
Cooking and decoration can also be very well done by male devotees. And many female devotees can do very well adminstrating the temples, giving lectures, etc. That happens all over the world, and Srila Prabhupada strongly encoraged that. So, I just would like to make that point, so that we don't wrongly think that girls should only cook and decorate, and men should preach, etc. Both girls and boys can do all those things, and any kind of service which is according to their nature.
Regarding the programs for boys and girls separately, we should remember that when the brahmacaries didn't want to chant at the temple room with the ladies, Srila Prabhupada told them that they should leave then and go to the forest. It is ok to have many kinds of different programs, but really speaking we can see that Srila Prabhupada did all kinds of programs with both brahmacaries and ladies (in the same program).
Kamalaksi Rupini DD BhS
I am referring to certain lectures and programs (youth programs) held here in India which are attended by boys. Like you said, it might be bcoz of certain special programs meant for boys, but I am not very sure about which kind of programs allow just the boys and which allows both ?
Iskcon is a spiritual society who's purpose is to promote Vedic culture and not to accommodate western culture of free mixing though some modern devotees think so. Vedic culture means varna ashrama system where different educational program is given to different classes. There must be separate training for Brahmacharis and separate for grihastas . Both has different role to play in society for krishna.
Separate program is there for who are going to join Gauranga sabha means brahmachari ashram. Rest of the classes are for all. But aspiring Brahmacharis have different classes sometimes.
Some, in fact most, of the beautiful oil paintings of ISKCON during the early years were painted by matajis. Not to go off subject, but I greatly appreciate the works of these matajis and the paintings of those days.
Few may know, but aftually the genius behind the reconstruction of the temple room, flooring, art, etc. of the Jagannath Temple in Berkeley was also a mataji, the wife of a temple president.
The male bhaktas have also made contributions to the art of ISKCON, also check out http://www.dandavats.com/?p=10948 if you are an aspiring Krishna Bhakt artist ...
You well wisher in devotion, Jai Sri Krsna
indeed deep explanation.
Yes of course there is no difference between male and female devotees BUT ON SOUL PLATFORM . There is difference in bodily platform . Just like the same soul exists in us and in a ferocious tiger also but that doesn't mean we should go and try to hug a tiger.
We are spiritual as soul is the basis of existence of both male and female bodies. But in our current material existence our soul consciousness is covered and we see opposite sex as an object to full fill our lusty desires, this is an impediment to the path of spiritual progress. Most of the devotees new comers, practicing devotees are yet to become a pure devotee thus they can see only soul residing in every body irrespective of male or female. But unfortunately whenever we see members of opposite sex our mind concoct many desires and programs.
There are serious brahmacharis and young boys who are sincerely trying to dedicate their life as a full time celibates in Iskcon , for them there must be separate classes where female members should not be allowed. Because this will cause unnecessary agitation and distraction. Same goes for female members also who are seriously trying to become krishna conscious they should not freely dally with boys whom they are not going to marry.
The whole world is in bondage because of sex desire. The modern society openly propagating and compelling people to dig dip into that. If spiritual Organization like Iskcon doesn't give protection to the aspiring devotees who want to become mukta from this bondage who will protect them from the onslaught of lust.
And it is not just duty of only Iskcon , the society should separate boys and girls from the very beginning as this was the culture of Vedic Bharatavarsa. Else society will full of cats and dogs bereft of any spiritual knowledge as we see today.