why is a vow taken for no illicit relations?

Hare Krsna.
When I came to the temple, I was taught "no illicit relations, nothingoutside of marriage, and only with special circumstance within marriage." I came to KC teachings from  a celibate background. I was taught no illicit relations by my parents. I lived with nuns in my teens. I practiced celibacy as young adult. I was married  to a man who requested we have a marriage of no sexual relations, except to bear children. He was not a devotee, he became ill and did not want to continue with me. We have been apart for 17 years. I waited for him, I was not with another man. About 4 years ago he spoke with me very respectfully and told me, with great thought, he did not want to continue with the marriage.

Soon after my husband told me his wishes, a devotee told me to 'come meet my new husband' (another man from the temple). But, me, I didn't want to get a new husband! I was relatively new to the temple. I owned my own house, was going to receive guaranteed income for the rest of my life (due to an injury I received), was older in age, was told I might not live much longer (due to receiving the injury). My wish was to live alone and go to the nearby temple and learn about Krishna Consciousness, for the remainder of my life.

The new man offered me service at the temple, which I was eager to be allowed. It involved driving in the temple van. I was told we shouldn't be alone together in the van, or alone doing the service together. We became engaged. Then it was ok for us to work together. After a very few months, I was told we had been engaged too long and we should marry. I didn't want to be forced into marriage, and by then I could see there were difficulties in the relationship.

After that point, I have asked questions, and tried to find out. I was told sexual relations are a big part of relationships, that the woman must serve the sexual needs of the man. I was taught a woman cannot be alone, that she is too lusty and will have multiple partners if not chaste to one man. She must obey and serve that man, and serve him sexually.

So I was left wondering, why is one of the 4 regulative principles 'no illicit sex.'
One answer I received was: the men can choose not to have sex, but women must only serve the choices and sexual needs of the men.

That left me wondering, who are the books written for? When I read them, they seem also to be telling me (a woman), not to have illicit sexual relations. Are the books only written to men? I was told they are written for everyone.

I was told men need sexual satisfactions so they can calmly pursue KC; that men need sexual satisfactions until, in time, they gradually fall away from such activities; that the woman who provides these satisfactions is helping the man with his progress in KC. I was told it is better that men receive sexual satisfactions, than that they leave the movement altogether. I was told that as a woman I cannot understand the strong need men have to be satisfied sexually, I was told it is like needing food or water for a man.

I was told that women need to be married. I was told women must provide for the sexual needs of the husband. So that would mean, it seems, that to be in a female body, one must provide for the sexual desires of those who are in male bodies? So, once I am born in a female body, I must then provide sex satisfactions for a (required) husband.

I was also told, that women are so....contaminated....that devotee men should not even marry them. I was told women devotees should marry non-devotee men, so not to bring down devotee men.

I was also told, though, that my marriage to a non-devotee husband (from years ago) does not 'count' because he is a non-devotee. I was told only vedic marriages are recognized.

I do know of specific case where the man carries infectious (deadly) disease which can be transfered to the woman by sexual contact. Is it serving Krishna to submit to that risk? I have been told the woman should risk any bad circumstance to serve the husband.

I am told repeatedly, that I am too independent and should submit to aman. (I have learned enough to know I am not independent, I must imagine myself to be). I have cooperated to some extent.

I am still legally married to a non-devotee husband, but told I am supposed to be married to a devotee husband (with or without divorce of first husband) -- I am afraid of legal charges if I was to cooperate. I wish I could be allowed to follow 4 regulative principles. I wish I wasn't forced into sexual relations, wish I wasn't forced into marriage. Even with questioning whether I could end the 'engagement' I have been told I should obey the man. The woman has no choice in ending an engagement? Or in agreeing to a marriage? Is this true?

Sometimes the man doesn't follow very much, and just wants money from the woman, if she knows this -- is she serving Krishna?  -- simply to do things for the material satisfaction of the man, and to allow the money she has been given to be used for non-devotional activities?

If it was outside of marriage and outside of serving a man, it would be taught 'no' I think.

When the man is unstable, cruel, prevents her from chanting -- must she be with him?

And, why is 'no illicit sex' one of the 4 regulative principles?

(I'm sorry, but I have had so many frustrations and questions about this)

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  • Hare Krishna Mataji

    Please do not worry...Krishna is always with you. Pray to him to guide you through this crisis and always remember that no one can love us unconditionally like Lord Sri Krishna. He is the personification of love. Mataji...like all others are saying...I would also say that you better consult senior devotees and talk to other mataji's about their experience. Devotees can not and must not exploit each other. Woman is to be viewed respectfully as the mother, how can someone have such disrespectful views about women,its really very shocking. Please don't be stuck with these false claims. Marriage is a divine bond...which we enter to serve the lord...one partner is not to be used by the other for his needs.
    Take care

    Hari Bol
    • Thank you for this reply.
      It brought me peace.
  • i m extremly sorry 2 write this comment about ur discussion because i m not as qualified as most of the devotees are in this network.still whatever knowledge i have regarding KC and prabhupada "discrimination against woman" not possible. i hope, ur doubts wud b cleared by most qualified person.
    • Hare Krsna
      I don't believe at all that there is discrimination against women.
      I believe the books are written to all.
  • Hare Krishna Mataji,

    I think that there is something wrong somewhere. It would be helpful you could specify the source of these instructions that you have received. (you are saying that " I was told that.......")

    We will have to wait for some senior devotee for advice on this subject.

    In the meantime chant and pray to Krishna.

    Hare Krishna
    • Hare Krsna.

      It has been about 3 years, I think, that I have been wondering, and asking at times.
      Some of the items "I was told..." came from my fiance, some from various devotees I asked, some from a SP disciple who in association with his wife does relationship counseling, some I read (checking what someone had told me) in the purports and transcribed lectures and conversations of Srila Prabhupada, one of the items I listed came in written form attributed to my guru (to whom I am aspiring) which I also read similar later from SP -- and was spoken more strongly also by my fiance, and part is with my wording but from what I understood from two classes I took online "Vaishnava Relationships" and "Women, Men, and Sexuality in Krishna Consciousness", and some of my understanding is from what I was told by a siksa guru.

      The first part, that there is no physical relationship before marriage, and only under certain circumstance in marriage, I understood from devotees who taught me, from classes, from Srila Prabhupada's purports, from what I read online I think from ISKCON source (it is no longer available at the link I had), and from a temple authority who took the time to teach me.

      A temple president is the one who said we had been engaged long enough and should be married.

      My fiance is the one who has told me my marriage to a non-devotee does not count, that I am too independent and should submit, that I should obey the man, and several of the other items that I also checked with other devotees.

      I am not trying to 'blame' any of these individuals, who I have gratitude toward, for taking the time and caring and helping me with my questions.

      I just find it confusing.

      If sexual relations are allowed within marriage (just for satisfaction), or practiced, accepted, then why is a vow taken of no illicit sexual relations?
      • hare krishna carol prabhu,
        as u mention
        "A temple president is the one who said we had been engaged long enough and should be married.

        My fiance is the one who has told me my marriage to a non-devotee does not count, that I am too independent and should submit, that I should obey the man, and several of the other items that I also checked with other devotees."
        u don't worry , if u don't want to marry person and that person is forcing you (emotionally) please leave that place and join other devotee congrigation, because it will hurt devotee who got attached to you because of your long association.therefore it is said don't associate with opposite sex freely for long time.

        you question "If sexual relations are allowed within marriage, or practiced, accepted, then why is a vow taken of no illicit sexual relations ? "
        my suggestion : different reasons
        1. for K.C. childrens only (this is highest standard)
        2. to regulate lust ,maximum physical association once in month after chanting minimum 50 rounds of hare krishna mahamantra.
        understand there is difference between sexual relations and illicit sexual relations and therefore we vow "no illicit sex"
        • Thank you for explaining this.

          Can I understand, then, that relations outside of once a month, without 50 rounds, are considered illicit even within marriage?

          With the woman instructed to serve the husband, what to do when the husband requires illicit activities?
          • Hare Krishna!
            The reason for the 50 rounds is because if you happen to get pregnant, without chanting the 50 rounds you are subject to getting a rascal, materialistic child and one who is also attached to sex due to the consciousness one is having during Procreation.
            It is not considered illiset to have sex with ones husband for sense gratification, in the same sense as going outside of marriage. But if one dies and they are still in that consciousness of being attached to sex desire, they will have to take another birth. Generally a devotee may end up taking a birth in Vrindavan as a monkey or some lower animal as their last birth and from there go back to Krishna. Because what ever ones birth is in Vrindavan, that is considered their last birth even if a monkey or ant. But Srila Prabhupada said why waste time and suffer so much, try to finish up in this life. So it is not a Sin as if one went outside of marriage, but it keeps one in bondage of sex desire and bodily consciousness.
            There are different gredations of sin.
            Prabhupada said we dont drink cafeen coffee or tea. But he also said it is okay for the guests who stay over night at the temple to have tea or coffee if they are attached to that.( in general he was speaking of the Indian guests) He said drinking coffe or tea is not a sin, but is not good for a devotee if they want to advance spiritually. But still it is in the list of regulative principles of no intoxication.
            Things need to be understood in the degree they are meant.
            Everything Prabhupada is teaching us is to help us get free from bodily and mental attachments so we can become free and love Krishna more.
            I hope this helps.
            Radhey Radhey!
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