Our topic was "guru." I will paraphrase what I said—in regard to women being empowered as gurus—to the assembly of senior men and women. All others who commented on the topic are to be confidentially honoured.
"I read the Bhagavad-gita first at the age of twenty. In Chapter One, Prabhupada purports that women are less intelligent. I struggled with that. I read on and came to Chapter 10, text 34, where our guru, Prabhupada, comments that intelligence is a feminine trait. My mind struggled in dealing with these two contradictory generalizations. How was I to reconcile these two opposing statements?
I read all of the books and found other contradictions, and even found contradictory instructions in his personal letters. But I found consolation in accepting that you have to look at the context in which a message is delivered. What is the intent? What are the conditions around a remark that formed the conclusion? I had to remove myself from my black-and-white views from western upbringing. This helped.
I also found it necessary to grasp from the readings and writings the spirit of the message; the way in which our guru thought and dealt with people. The spirit or intent was the most important. This is what I explored about our guru. He was so empowering, so inspirational, so inclusive, not exclusive.
Where women traditionally had not been allowed in temple participation, our guru did allow, and he spoke to Professor O'Connell, in the room where I live in Toronto, that tradition has it that women have been gurus. 'Some, not many!' Again he was inclusive and broke many barriers.
May the Source be with you!