Recently, a Male Vaishnava Monastery/Farm Community project has been started in Europe, Latvia. You can find more information about this project here:
Owning another rural property some distance from the Male Monastery property, my husband and I offered to be a part of this project. It has been mercifully suggested by the project leaders to develop a Vaishnavi Nun Monastery/Women devotional school and training center on our property. Very happy to receive such service, we are requesting all devotees, especially women, to kindly share their thoughts, ideas, desires, concerns, questions etc. about such a project. As soon as possible we will develop a web page on this project.
Some of the ideas are:
1) A possibility for all devotee and interested women to attend devotional meetings, programs, seminars, courses etc.;
2)Develop online devotional courses that all devotee and interested women around the globe can take;
3) Organize retreats for Vaishnavis;
4) Offer a possibility to interested devotee women to stay for training periods of 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 1 year etc.;
5) Ultimately, offer a possibility for very dedicated and commited women to serve for their whole lifetime as a Vaishnavi Nun;
6) Offer devotional support for women in crisis situations
We are highly appreciating your comments on this!
Your humble servants
Hare Krsna dear Mataji,
Sorry for the late reply.
Yes, any kind of retreat or training for girls and matajis is welcome. It will be in Europe, so I dont knwo whetehr I will visit in my lifetime or not, but still I am sure a lot can benefit from that.
One thought mataji, please make it exclusively for matajis, but a window open for Senior Prabhujis (grihastas) and Senior matajis to give classes there as visiting faculty, on their way to the men's retreat. This way, you will get a steady stream of visiting faculty.
Training can be anything and everything mataji - how to smile, how to laugh, how to be serious about devotion and the path back home, still be a happy person who knows how to smile, laugh and handle the problems that life keeps throwing at us.
How to be the sheet anchor of a household. How to bind a family. How to give respect to elders and siblings of husband in a situation where husband is devotee, but his family isnt. Or even if they are. To tell the young girls that even if we marry a devotee, we still have to work towards making a marraige work, that marraige is very much on the material platform and our devotion shoudl teach us to be more accepting of whatever we face in life.
I am sorry, I dont think I am making much sense to you. You want macro level suggestions, and I am giving micro level ones.
You will need to have an eatery, a school, a recreational place if you want to keep single mothers or any kind of matajis. It will require a lot of capital and manpower. You could have games or other retreats organised.
I think you could keep the retreat open to families - as in prabhujis can come, with their wife and children and spend maybe a week there and see how nicely the whole place can be run by matajis alone. What I am trying to say is that the girls should not be starved of any male face or presence. If that happens, they will not know how to handle a male gaze or presence when they actually mingle in the normal world or get married and then have to leave the retreat.
Sorry, not of any help to you mataji.
From Colombia Please accept my humble obeisances.
This Vaishnavi Nun Monastery/Women Devotional School and Training Centers are a reality in Vrinda Mission they are called Vishnu Priya Ashrams and they exists with the purpose of giving shelter, education and healthy associations to single matajis, I've had the opportunity of spending my vacations there and I must say it's a beautiful experience, you get to serve, learn and grow as a devotee in so many ways!
My own firm conviction is that there IS a need for Vaishnavi Nun Monastery/Women Devotional School and training center. It greatly helped me and changed my whole life that I was given a chance to live in ISKCON Riga Temple Mataji Ashram for 3 years. And even after I was already married it was a most wonderful experience for me to have the association of Matajis in ISKCON Villa Vrindavana temple Mataji Ashram for 1 and a half years.
Women who are seriously interested in Krishna consciousness need good association, training and shelter for the practice of their spiritual life as much as the men do, and many times even more. For women it is especially difficult and, in fact, usually impossible to become fixed in spiritual life simply on the basis of mere philosophical understanding. They need a lot of ongoing good example and good engagement.
Those men who will not stay celibate for their whole life, also need good wives that are trained in Krishna conscious philosophy and culture, not just any women from the street, who will disrupt and spoil their lives by their uncontrolled senses and ambitions. According to the statements of Srila Prabhupada, most divorce cases are caused by women. And Srila Prabhupada also says that good population depends on the chastity and faithfulness of its womanhood.
In both temples where I stayed there were some positive and some negative aspects, as everywhere in this world. I have been contemplating a lot about these different aspects for many years. I asked myself and senior devotees many questions and have found many answers in Srila Prabhupada's teachings and from ISKCON Spiritual Masters and senior devotees about how it could be improved.
One main cause of many problems regarding women's training can be said to be the misunderstandings about the true nature of women and the conscious or unconscious attempt to make women and men equal. It is all due to the Western influence. Women and men are both spirit souls, but their gross and subtle bodies are very different and need to be differently dealt with for the successful practice of spiritual life.
I myself would be very happy to have the Vaishnavi Nun Monastery/Women School and Training Center at our place and I would gladly dedicate my time and effort to serving the devotee and interested women and sharing whatever experiences, skills and realizations I have. I would be most happy to have such an engagement for the rest of my life.
Your humble servant,