What is the women position on iskcon?

Hare Krishna,

I'm relative new in KC . But in this couples of years i understood that women rarely give classes, women rarely translated classes, the women don't have the same equal status that men have. Sometimes in some situation i clearly see that is not good women give there opinion, express there feelings or correct men. Why women need to be submisse?

I live in Europe, i know that is different from India. But even that, to be woman or man is just a condition of this material world, because in fact we are Souls, and Souls are all the same, all have female and male energery. We are part of Krishna masterpieces.

Month and half ago i read a new that can be a posibility that women to be a Guru. I hope that  happen! To offend a Woman, is to offend all womens, all cow's , the Earth, and female energy.

In Bhagavad-Gita, as it is, chapter 1 verse 40 we can read that women are not inteligent. Why Srila Prabhupada say that? I really don't understand.

So, what exactly is the women position on iskcon?

Thank you,

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  • Hare Krishna,

    I am reposting some of the other devotees comments from a google group below which might be of help.

    Dear Rao gaaru,

    Hare Krishna!

    Please accept my humble obeisances.
    All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    Your question is a very important one. For decades this question has caused turmoil and trip-ups, many heated arguments and discussions, and much anxiety. Many asked Srila Prabhupada questions about this and Srila Prabhupada intelligently answered this question in many different ways. The key is that Srila Prabhupada and his disciples chose to keep this statement unchanged, because to a truly introspective reader, this question begs us to go deeper into the knowledge of Srimad Bhagavat Gita.

    I can openly confess that this particular statement, when I read it first about 15 years ago, almost caused me to stop reading the Bhagavad Gita As It Is and put it away as a bigoted male chauvinistic piece of literature. I am glad I continued reading repeatedly, because clearly I saw that understanding that statement whilst in bodily consciousness is impossible.

    Many rascals have insulted, blasphemed and painted Srila Prabhupada as a misogynist, as a male chauvinist, etc., on the strength of improper understanding of such statements. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Srila Prabhupada respects every woman more than most women respect themselves.

    It is to be understood carefully what Srila Prabhupada means by looking at the broader context and Srila Prabhupada's own behavior towards women.

    Just for context, I am pasting the entire verse, translation and purport...

    Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 1.40

    adharmābhibhavāt kṛṣṇa

    praduṣyanti kula-striyaḥ

    strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya

    jāyate varṇa-sańkaraḥ


    adharma — irreligion; abhibhavāt — having become predominant; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; praduṣyanti — become polluted; kula-striyaḥ — family ladies; strīṣu — by the womanhood; duṣṭāsu — being so polluted; vārṣṇeya — O descendant of Vṛṣṇi; jāyate — comes into being; varṇa-sańkaraḥ — unwanted progeny.


    When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Kṛṣṇa, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, comes unwanted progeny.


    Good population in human society is the basic principle for peace, prosperity and spiritual progress in life. The varṇāśrama religion's principles were so designed that the good population would prevail in society for the general spiritual progress of state and community. Such population depends on the chastity and faithfulness of its womanhood. As children are very prone to be misled, women are similarly very prone to degradation. Therefore, both children and women require protection by the elder members of the family. By being engaged in various religious practices, women will not be misled into adultery. According to Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, women are generally not very intelligent and therefore not trustworthy. So the different family traditions of religious activities should always engage them, and thus their chastity and devotion will give birth to a good population eligible for participating in the varṇāśrama system. On the failure of such varṇāśrama-dharma, naturally the women become free to act and mix with men, and thus adultery is indulged in at the risk of unwanted population. Irresponsible men also provoke adultery in society, and thus unwanted children flood the human race at the risk of war and pestilence.


    To understand this, we should understand what is the meaning of respect... respect means not taking for granted. Respect means cherishing and serving someone, not exploiting them. Respect means being in spiritual consciousness for ourselves and treating everyone else as spirit soul first and foremost.
    How to understand this? Note that Arjuna is making the case and using the example of the social consequences of women left without protection from honorable gentlemen. The warriors assembled on the battlefield of Kurukshetra are all brothers, sons, fathers, and protectors of women, being Kshatriyas. Arjuna knows that most of them will be killed in the battle. This means that the women, girls, ladies being protected from degradation by these slain warriors will now be open for exploitation by jackal-like men.

    Let us look at the society around us. Most women are indeed without proper protection. They are forced to work for a living, they are left to fend for themselves and children by unscrupulous men, and they are encouraged to be "fashionable/independent/strong/attractive" etc., which all promotes in the end the effect in society which can be understood as direct or indirect prostitution... This is being encouraged by those men who want to have access to many prostitutes. The woman who has been convinced by some men (and other women previously convinced) to strip off her clothes and pose for a picture on a billboard used to sell something is actually an exploited woman. The woman who has been encouraged to engage in all sorts of activities classified as "culture", "art" and "entertainment", is actually exploited. A woman who is "sexually emancipated" means a woman who has been convinced that to behave wantonly is freedom, freedom for who? Freedom for any man to hunt her down like an animal. And for a man who specializes as a woman hunter it is easy to hunt down an unprotected woman.

    Whose fault is it? Is it the women's fault? Should we just blame them for all the problems? NO! Srila Prabhupada is actually saying that it is not their fault. Women are very softhearted by nature. They are very kind, loving, and nurturing. They are also very trusting. It is for this reason that men find it so easy to take advantage of women. When a man wants sex, he just finds a woman he is attracted to and wins her trust with flattery, gifts, sweet words, and promises. When his lust is satiated, he just finds an excuse to move on to the next woman. It is exactly due to this trusting nature that a woman is considered to be untrustworthy, because of her kindhearted nature, a woman sometimes does not know who is to be trusted and who is not to be trusted. A woman is, in this regard, very much innocent and childlike. In this regard, a woman is treated as "not intelligent" because she cannot detect that the nonsense man only wants to gratify his senses, not actually care for her. She mistakes his effort to be a genuine love for her as a person. But she is repeatedly disappointed, first by her father, who does not train her up properly to detect this nature, then by her husband who simply uses her as a prostitute and maidservant, and then by her children who simply take service from her without giving her the love and respect she deserves.

    It is time for the men of this world to be ashamed of their inability to do their duty... the reason society is the way it is, is because the men are useless weak fools who don't have the courage or the strength to actually protect the women they are responsible for. This is the decent men I am talking about. The majority of men are dirty lustful men, classified by Srila Prabhupada with polite words as "irresponsible men" above in the purport, actually in the category of dogs, as they are simply woman hunters.

    But lest we think this is the natural order, let us turn to the scriptures and Srila Prabhupada.

    Consider the cosmic administration of Krishna. Who is in charge of the department of defense? Durga Devi or Kali devi. Who is in charge of education? Saraswati Devi. Who is in charge of finance? Lakshmi devi. Who are in charge of good food, fine speech, beauty, and happiness? The various goddesses of fortune. Does a person give charge of something important and responsible to someone who is unintelligent and untrustworthy?

    No, Durga Devi is "mama maayaa duratyayaa" (BG 7.14), she is loved and respected by Krishna and also greatly appreciated. Can you see His love for her? He claims ownership of her "mama", mine, but He lovingly recognizes her service to Him.

    In fact, all the goddesses of fortune are highly intelligent and highly trustworthy.

    What about Srila Prabhupada? Does he think women are unintelligent? Would a spiritual master give initiation to a person he considers unworthy of initiation? No! Srila Prabhupada gave women so many respectable positions, and he treated them with great love and respect. Ask any female disciple of Srila Prabhupada who is in devotional service what was his behavior towards women.

    What is common between the goddesses of fortune and all the exalted Vaishnavis? They are in spiritual consciousness, Krishna consciousness. In other words, a person in Krishna consciousness is intelligent and trustworthy, but not a person in material consciousness.

    And this is the key to understanding this statement... a person who considers herself to be a woman, that person is unintelligent. A person who considers that a person in a woman's body to be actually woman (for sense gratification), is also unintelligent. A person who does not know that one has been a woman, man, cat, dog, tree, worm, etc., is also unintelligent. A person who identifies with one's own body or another's body and indulges in sense gratification as a result, is unintelligent. So, lack of intelligence can be the symptom of an ignorant man or woman equally.

    But in Krishna consciousness a woman is not treated as an object of sense gratification. She is devi, a goddess of fortune. She is mother. She is highly respected. A person who treats a woman properly as the energy of Krishna is intelligent, and a woman who knows herself as a part-and-parcel of Krishna is intelligent and trustworthy, provided she remains in her spiritual consciousness.

    I hope that helps. Please others feel free to add as much information as possible to help everyone understand this statement of Srila Prabhupada properly and uproot the demon of doubt from the hearts and minds of anyone who reads this.

    Mahabhagavat Das
  • I believe in Krishna and not anyone else. This person who claims that girls should be married off as soon as they attain puberty should ask himself, is he spiritual or a mere fanatic. He should also ask himself why he takes the name of Radha if this is what he believes about women. God has given you a brain, don't follow blindly. Think. Analyse. Question and most importantly, use faith to be a more open, compassionate person, not a crazed fanatic who believes women want rape. (As this person has been trying to justify)
    • Sevak

      Hare Krsna 

      This person who claims that girls should be married off as soon as they attain puberty should ask himself, is he spiritual or a mere fanatic.

      It is well established. No need of certification from amateur modern uncivilized persons.

      God has given you a brain, don't follow blindly. Think. Analyse. Question and most importantly, use faith to be a more open, compassionate person, not a crazed fanatic

      In kali yuga people are good at advising others and not following it themselves. They should really practice before preaching.

      Hare Krsna

  • Someone has just posted a thread on this discussion that women like being raped. I deplore, reject, dismiss such philosophy. This person has posted that a single woman feels a man's aggression towards her is his mercy. I deplore such thoughts. Someone, no matter who, adheres to such views cannot claim to be spiritual. Not by a long long shot. I just hope such thoughts are not ascribed to Krishna. I am pained that such thoughts have been expressed by someone who claims to be a devotee.
    • Sevak

      Hare Krsna 

      I deplore, reject, dismiss such philosophy.

      Every conditioned living being is free to do what they want. It makes no difference to serious spiritual aspirants.

      Someone, no matter who, adheres to such views cannot claim to be spiritual.

      Baseless & incorrect judgement by immature person.

      Hare Krsna

  • Volunteer

    Hope this will help further:


    Book: Mothers & Masters

    Table of Contents
    Preface to the Second Edition
    Part One
    The Direction of the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Movement: Merge with Modern Society, or Present the Varṇāśrama-dharma Alternative?
    Devotees’ Concern with an Approach to Social Issues
    Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Is Largely Incompatible with Modern Culture
    Scientism, Liberal Humanism, and Self ishness
    Hedonistic Civilizations Are Doomed
    Traditional Societies and the Dharmic Culture of India
    Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Outlook Was Not Mundane
    Śrīla Prabhupāda Wanted to Introduce Divine Varṇāśrama-dharma
    “Varṇāśrama-dharma Is External”
    Devotees Need Varṇāśrama-dharma
    Varṇāśrama-dharma (the Perfect Institution) Must Be Based On Kṛṣṇa Consciousness
    Varṇāśrama-dharma Inculcates Selflessness
    A Revolution of Consciousness
    Varṇāśrama-dharma for Overcoming Sexual Desire
    Śrīla Prabhupāda Slowly and Carefully Introduced Vedic Culture
    Shared Cultures of Traditional Societies
    “Preach Now, Varṇāśrama-dharma Now”
    Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Vision for Kṛṣṇa Conscious Farms
    Rural Living Af fords More Time for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness
    Accepting Kṛṣṇa’s Social System
    An Experimental Revolution
    ISKCON’s Disconnect with Varṇāśrama
    Traditional Culture Is Misunderstood
    Slaughterhouse-education and Child Labor
    Indian Culture and ISKCON
    Preaching of Traditionalism in the West
    An Overview of Religious and Political Reform
    Ṛtvik Folly
    The Basic Mistake of All Reformers
    Understanding the Issues – Siddhānta
    ISKCON Lite
    ISKCON Has the Solution
    Part Two
    Women: Masters or Mothers?
    Section One
    Why Śrīla Prabhupāda Opposed Feminism
    Demons Promote a Puf fed-up Concept of Womanly Life
    Respect for Women in Indian Culture
    Feminism in ISKCON
    Nasty Effects of Feminism Within ISKCON
    Misunderstanding Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Adjustments
    Tweaking History by Blaming the Men
    A Case Study: Yamunā Devī Dāsī
    The Transformation of Women’s Roles
    Lust, Greed, and Exploitation
    Sigmund Freud and His Followers
    Sex, Dissatisfaction, and Family Decline
    Men and Women Are Different
    Feminist Folly
    Demonic “Broad-mindedness”
    Why Women Need Protection
    Independent Women Are Unprotected, Exploited, and Unhappy
    The Vital Role of Gṛhasthas
    Women Should Be Married (Gṛhasthas, Not Sannyasis, Should Protect Them)
    Women in Bengal
    Illicit Sex in the Name of Religion
    Fire and Butter
    Even Paramahaṁsas Are Cautious About Female Association
    Devotees Must Reject Feminism
    Section Two
    Fulfilling Women’s Potential – As Mothers
    Children Are the Victims
    Frustration Due to Unrealistic Expectations
    Early and Late Marriage
    Arranged Marriage
    “Love Marriage”
    The Real Formula for Marital Success
    Homemakers and Working Wives
    The Scourge of Divorce
    Discouraging Divorce Among Devotees
    Divorce Can Be Averted
    Family Planning and Big Families
    Joint Families
    Education for Girls: Chastity and Cooking
    Victory for a Woman
    Hopeless Women Become Feminists – Men Should Become First-class
    Some Misconceptions of Men
    Duties of Married Men
    Section Three
    Women As Leaders
    Women As Gurus
    Women Giving Classes and Leading Kīrtanas
    Calling Women “Prabhu”
    Traditional Culture Is Still Appreciated
    The Way Forward
    Part Three
    Gurudevis and Grandmothers
    Feminist Rhetoric on Dandavats
    On the Subject of Female Diksha Gurus
    Krsna Conscious Motherhood
    Time for a Revolution
    Playing the Hindu Card
    • Volunteer

      Hare krsna everyone,

      Srimati Radharani's name comes before Krsna himself. That should answer lots of questions and clear away confusions if one ponders over it.

      Dont go by the gender just in this one life. This life is a drop in the eternity of our insignificant existence over millions of species. Matajis will become prabhujis and vice versa. So what is the point arguing or even contemplating whether one is intelligent or not.

      Being a man in KC, doesnt automatically make them intelligent. I have seen many men even initiated act like babies to be honest. There is a clear divide of men and women in iskcon (maybe even for the right reasons), but our objective is to just serve be it mataji or prabhuji. As long as we have that one vision, everything else becomes insignificant.

      All glories to Srila Prabupad!!!!

      Hare krsna.

  • For centuries now, men have been drunk on a sense of superiority. In that false ego, they have violently subjugated women and all who were weaker. They have raped, exploited and killed even, in fact, often in the name of culture. Women are trying to fight back now. We need to realise that women are not inferior, just different. No one is superior or inferior. We are souls who are here for some time and then go home.
    • Sevak

      Hare Krsna 

      Krsna is the supreme personality of godhead. Every atrocity against chaste women has been rightfully avenged by Him & His divine representatives. Mahabharat war was fought for trying to disrobe Draupadi. Ramayana War was fought abducting mother Sita. Please stop misleading people here. Your tactics of instigating women are unwelcome. People are here to devleop their Krsna conciousness. Not feminism ! 

      Hare Krsna

  • Hare Krsna :-) When Srila Prabhupada first said in a class that for a man association with a woman is dangerous because she makes him loose control over his senses, the male devotees started acting very nastily with the women of that particular temple. The ladies expressed their pain to Prabhupada who then called in all the men and said: "I was talking of materialistic women, not of the women of the movement. These are angels."
    * Srila Prabhupada also said in another instance: "When we talk of women, we do not talk about those of our movement because by associating with these women, if they are Krishna Conscious, you will be liberated." (Madhavananda)
    * A disciple of Swami Narayana said to Srila Prabhupada: "My spiritual master said to avoid all women and to never go where there are women." Srila Prabhupada laughed and said: "That is impossible, there are women everywhere." Then, coming back to the temple and watching two women devotees bow down to him, he said: "By associating with these women, you will be purified." (Madhavananda)
    * We are Vaishnavas. We are not concerned with male of female position in life. That is simply bodily concept of life. It is not spiritual. Whether one is male or female, it does not matter, simply chant Hare Krishna and follow the four regulative principles and your life will be perfect." (letter to Jennifer, 1975)
    * It is not that women should only produce children, but they are meant for advancing in devotion." (letter to Jayatirtha, 1975)
    Srila Prabhupada said about Yamuna in the early 70's that she had reached the stage of bhava.
    excerpts writings from Jyotirmayi Devi Dasi ~ Hare Krsna! ////Do not worry about anythingwork the to please God :-)) ,  people are less intelligent and discriminate. If they do distinctions are in illusion.Woman think two hemispheres at once in the same time , and man, only one,  at the same time :P , so, it is man much dumber. ;-) :P YS. kuntidd

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