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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            • Thank you. This is very helpful.
      • And, as a woman, am I required to be married, and therefore required to cooperate physically with a husband?
  • I am pained to read your article. I am practicing Krishna consciousness since 24 years and am married for last 15 years to a devotee wife. We are happy to be able to assist each other in Krishna consciousness. When I was to get married, I was told that I should see my wife as a servant of Krishna and I should serve her. I try to assist her in Krishna consciousness. It is difficult for m to view her as a object of sense gratification. Our relationship is divine. Latter we plan to take vanaprastha. My wife helps me a lot in supporting me so that I can do some service to ISKCON.
    When we quote Srila Prabhupada, we have to be very careful. He might have said something. But we have to see the context. I personally feel that you should continue with Krishna consciousness. Since you are alone, you should be careful when you associate with apposite sex as there is always a chance that you may get exploited. We have so many matajis in ISKCON who due to unfortunate circumstances are alone. They are doing great preaching. In vrindavan too we find many matajis especially elderly alone. They generally stay together and protect and assist each other and do kirtan together. Hence, keep in touch with senior ISKCON matajis who are in a similar situation and take guidance from them. Best is do not spend much time in debating about this issue - such things only lead to heartburns. Best is to concentrate on your chanting. Pray Lord Krishna to protect you - he is everyone's ultimate shelter. In this material world husbands can only provide limited shelter. Once someone was complaining that his wife was not like Sitadevi. The saint replied that first become ideal as Rama then expect your wife to be like Sita. The mistake than we men do is expect ideal vedic situation without we following it properly.
    • To ISKCON desire tree network, thank you for bringing to my attention that someone can be viewed as an object of sense gratification, to another.
      • Hare Krishna
        You said-
        "To ISKCON desire tree network, thank you for bringing to my attention that someone can be viewed as an object of sense gratification, to another."
        Just wondering if you are reading Srila Prabhupadas books regularly, as he states many times that others can be objects of ones sense gratification. We are all exploiting others (making others objects of our sense gratification constantly) until we fully realize our eternal relationship with Krishna and others in relationship with Krishna.
        If we educate ourselves in Srila Prabhupadas teachings, we can have the knowledge to know what is what and who is a cheater and who is real.
        Hope this helps.
        Take care.
        Radhey Radhey!
        • Thank you.
          I think I see sometimes that others are cheating, but when that is what they want, what am I to do to help?
          What steps should one take, practically, if another is exploiting
          • Hare krishna prabhu,
            i am praying for you.we can't change others mind if they want to cheat but we can really be honest to krishna we should know material world means most of the souls are rebellious to krishna so cheating is normal.
            what we can do is, we can be honest with krishna and follow his instruction.we also cheated krishna and many times we don't follow his instruction progress is gradual.i request you to remember this world is not our home just tolerate and take sheltor of krishna.
            once we are selfless we can be really happy.
            • Yes. Myself, cheating and not following.
              Take shelter.
              Thank you.
    • Thank you.
      I hope now to find some senior matajis, and someday take guidance from them.
      • pamho
        Thank you mataji,
        be in association of mataji devotees.
        visit www.kirtanashram.com, place in vrindavana where women can stay and practise K.C.
        "We now have an ashram for ISKCON women on the Vrindavan parikrama road, a three-minute walk from the Krishna-Balaram temple. Known as the "Kirtan Ashram," "

        here u can spend life easily and happily without anxities
        Kirtan Ashram for retired ISKCON Women
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