Female Dékñä-gurus in ISKCON

A paper by the Çästric Advisory Council (SAC) Members participating in the authorship of this paper: H H Suhotra Sväm!" #opiparä$adhana %äsa" %ruta&armä %äsa" Mu&unda %atta %äsa" '(r$acandra %äsa" %eväm)ta %äsa Introduction *n the +,th of September -../" the Sastric Advisory Council (SAC) received a re0uest from the 12ecutive Committee (1C) of the #3C re0uesting it to research the philosophical topic of possible future female dékñä-gurus in 4S5C*6: 78e are a9are that the possibility of devotees 9anting ladies to become gurus in 4S5C*6 is there" but so far no one has addressed the matter of ho9 correct or appropriate it may be in terms of Çr!la 'rabhupäda:s statements" çästra" the statements of previous äcäryas" or historical considerations 6o9 that ;rmilä:s name has been proposed as a guru 9ithin 4S5C*6 it has brought the sub<ect to the forefront" and the 1C feels there is a need for research to be done for a clear understanding 8e 9ould li&e SAC to research this and give us a report 8e 9ill conduct a separate discussion about the cultural impact of this decision All 9e re0uest from you is a philosophical understanding = 4n regards to the processing of ;rmilä %ev!:s particular case in 4S5C*6 one member of the 1C 9rote" 7As far as 4 understand it is the regular process 8e haven:t changed #3C la9 3ut she has already received three ob<ections" 9hich means that her nomination goes before the entire #3C body in Mäyäpur for discussion So the #3C body 9ants to be prepared sastrically to discuss this issue" dra9 a conclusion and ma&e an informed vote on it Also" 9e 9ant devotees in general to understand that the decision of the #3C 9as made in &no9ledge of >ai?$ava history and siddhänta.= SAC members felt that the circumstances of the tas& 9ere valid" and the topic interesting" and so accepted the tas& ;rmilä %ev!" ho9ever" being a SAC member involved in this case before the #3C" e2cused herself from the discussion and 9riting of this paper @urthermore" in order to ensure that all sides of the topic 9ere properly represented" SAC accepted a temporary member representing >ai?$avas raised in 3härata 9here one might 0uestion the propriety of female devotees as gurus due to cultural bac&ground

being a mother is a'so a ro'e o* authority.SAC members decided to proceed by trying to gather evidence in the follo9ing categories: (+) statements by Çr!la 'rabhupäda (-) statements by other #auA!ya >ai?$ava äcäryas (/) statements by other >ai?$ava äcäryas (B) statements from >ai?$ava småtis and (C) historical e2amples 8e also decided to broaden our vie9 and assist the #3C in their discussions on cultural impact by conducting a limited survey of leaders of #auA!ya and other >ai?$ava sampradäyasD Ehat 9ill be presented separately 8e began our discussions on the Fth of May -. Ehat does not mean that 9omen are to be &ept as slaves" but they are li&e children Children are not given freedom" but that does not mean that they are &ept as . * 7As for behavior" there are many rules and regulations guiding human behavior" such as the ./. +* course. yad vä strébhyo "dhikäraà na dadhyät ity artha .) (regarding ho9 a gåhastha should 9or& in this 9orld): yoñito nävamanyeta na cäsäà viçvased budha na caiverñur bhavet täsu nädhikuryät kadäcana 7A 9ise man should never insult 9omen" nor should he trust them He should never become <ealous of 9omen" nor s&ould &e ever a''oint t&em = Çr!la Sanätana #osväm! comments: nädhik!ryät adhikäraà na k!ryät.anu-saàhitä. this authority cou'd mean on'y administrative positions 'ike kings or other heads o* state.B Ehe results are found belo9 Negative Evidence (SAC comments in italics G essential points in bold italics) 1 Hari-bhakti-viläsa !11"#$% 0uotes from the Viñëu Puräëa (/ +. Ha9s of inheritance and other legalities are derived from this boo& Now. -*ter a''. in the Manu-saàhitä it is clearly stated that a woman should not be given freedom. (t states that )omen shou'd not be given positions o* authority. 9hich is the la9 of the human race 1ven up to today" those 9ho are Hindu follo9 the .anusaàhitä.. #$ädhik!ryät% means one should not appoint 9omen or that one s&ould not give aut&orit( to )omen &his is a genera' statement.

.anu-småti it is stated that a woman should not be given independence. 1amp'es o* such conditions are presented at the end o* this paper as on'y humb'e suggestions. ho)ever. but should be given protection by her father" husband and elderly sons n all circumstances a woman should remain dependent upon some guardian.slaves Ehe demons have no9 neglected such in<unctions" and they thin& that 9omen should be given as much freedom as men Ho9ever" this has not improved the social condition of the 9orld Actually" a 9oman should be given protection at every stage of life She should be given protection by the father in her younger days" by the husband in her youth" and by the gro9nup sons in her old age Ehis is proper social behavior according to the . /ré'a Prabhupäda. 'resently 9omen are given full independence li&e men" but actually 9e can see that such independent 9omen are no happier than those 9omen 9ho are placed under guardians 4f people follo9 the in<unctions given by the great sages" çrutis and småtis. + 74n the .nfortunately rascals are manufacturing so many 9ays and means to be happy 1veryone is inventing so many methods Conse0uently human society has lost the standard 9ays of life" both materially and spiritually" and as a result people are be9ildered" and there is no peace or happiness in the 9orld Although they are trying to solve the problems of human society in the . (* *ema'e devotees are to *o''o) their 0odbrothers in accepting the ro'e o* guru in (123+$ at a''.nited 6ations" they are still baffled 3ecause they do not follo9 the liberated instructions of the Vedas. and thus reconci'ed. purport) +ne )i'' *ind many such restrictive statements about )omen made by /ré'a Prabhupäda. B +F / purport) +ne may re*er to such statements in connection to our theme. is not direct'y speaking about *ema'e d!&?äI gurus &hen again. they can actually be happy in both this life and the ne2t . such a decision )i'' sure'y not be based upon the e4ua'. they are unhappy = (7häg. &hese are in regard to eterna' var$äKrama princip'es given by . 3ut modern education has artificially devised a puffedIup concept of 9omanly life" and therefore marriage is practically no9 an imagination in human society 6or is the moral condition of 9oman very good no9 = (3g +J . these kinds o* statements may be *o''o)ed.anu. another name of the 9oman Lust li&e if somebody attac&s 9oman Any young man" 9hen he has got si2teen years old" he can attac& any 9oman 3ut a 9oman" even though she is si2teen years or . &here*ore they a'so app'y to today"s )or'd. by supportive *aci'ities in the *orm o* re'ative prere4uisites in deciding *ema'e d!&?äIguru e'igibi'ity.anu-saàhitä.rights doctrine *ound in modern 5estern civi'i6ation. 7-ba'ä.

. Although 6ärada Muni 9as his dékñä-guru (initiating spiritual master)" Sun!ti" his mother" 9as the first 9ho gave him instruction on ho9 to achieve the favor of the Supreme 'ersonality of #odhead 4t is the duty of the çikñä-guru or dékñä-guru to instruct the disciple in the right 9ay" and it depends on the disciple to e2ecute the process According to Kästric in<unctions" there is no difference bet9een çikñä-guru and dékñä-guru. in itse'*./" HA) (* )omen accept the ro'e o* spiritua' master they shou'd not consider that they )i'' be socia''y independent. and generally the çikñä-guru later on becomes the dékñä-guru. &he previous chapter o* Çr!madI3hägavatam . woman has no independence. the women are given freedom like man. Patha-pradarçaka-guru means 7the guru. because they cannot keep their independence. $ccording to %edic culture. as )e )i'' see )hen )e e8amine the positive evidence. &nnatural.purport) &his is the strongest statement against the possibi'ity o* *ema'e d!&?äI gurus :o)ever. 1ven the 9oman is higher in age" still" she cannot protect !herefore woman re"uires protection. Eherefore these poor souls are being e2ploited by the other section 4t is a great deficiency of the 8estern sociology 3ut the >edic culture is different from this 8oman is not given independence = (3häg + +C -. but that is unnatural.7Actually" %hruva Mahärä<a:s mother" Sun!ti" 9as his pathapradarçaka-guru. #oman re"uires protection. however. 6ovember +M. being a woman. or the spiritual master" 9ho sho9s the 9ay = Such a guru is sometimes called çikñä-guru.eighteen years or t9enty years" she becomes immediately victim So aba'eva. this statement is not conc'usive. B +.==> presents the conversation o* .<. 4t is not possible A si2teenIyearIold boy can go safely all over the 9orld" but a si2teenIyear girl cannot Ehat is not possible = (* *ema'e devotees are to assume the ro'e o* spiritua' master. could not become )hruva Mahärä*a+s dékñä-guru"= (7häg. 'un(ti. /ré'a Prabhupäda continues9 73y nature" they are 9ea& So they re0uire protection And until she reaches youthIhood" she is protected by the father As soon as she reaches youthhood" she is given to a young man" her husband" to give protection And in old age" she is protected by the elderly sons Ehis is the >edic culture Ehey have three phases of life: childhood" youthI hood" and old age 3ecause they are 9ea& n the #estern countries. lecture /./. then that ro'e )ou'd be e8ecuted di**erent'y than a sannyäs! because )omen re4uire protection. and specifically his mother.

)omen sometimes gave mantras +ne cou'd then assume that )omen.anu"s reign . no9 it is published Caitanya Mahäprabhu says QHe is the Supreme Hord" 5)?$aQHe says" ämära äCDäya.1väyambhuva . +-FO Lust see 4t is very nice SouTll find in 3aitanya-caritämåta. Maybe by +M.): svapna-'abdhe striyä datte mä'ä-mantre ca try-akñare ekäkñare tathä mantre siddhädén naiva çodhayet 7*ne should not test a mantra attained in a dream" a mantra given /( a )oman" a mä'ä-mantra Nmantra over -. in the past. &his pastime o* ?hruva )as enacted during 1väyambhuva . + 7Eherefore" 9e have begun 7hagavad-gétä -s (t (s.anu )ith ?hruva. täre kaha. FkåñëaF-upadeça NCc .adhya . U8hatever 4 say" ämära äCDäya. -nd it is spoken in re*erence to (123+$.haktivedänta" so that the family transcendental diploma 9ill continue through the generations !hose possessing the title of .C" all of my disciples 9ill be allo9ed to initiate and increase the numbers of the generations Ehat is my program = (Hetter to HaPsad(taQHos Angeles / %ecember" +MJF) /ré'a Prabhupäda"s statement is genera'. . by My order" you become a spiritual master : . %on:t try to become over spiritual master Ehen you:ll spoil Remain al9ays a servant of your spiritual master and present the thing as you have heard SouTll be spiritual master Ehis is secret Sou should &no9 it %onTt try to become overIintelligent Ehat 9ill spoil Bvaà paramparäpräptam imaà räCarñayo vidu N3g B -O So Caitanya Mahäprabhu says" ämära äCDäya guru haDä tära ei deçaEyäre dekha. but it does inc'ude *ema'e discip'es.ositive Evidence (SAC comments in italics G essential points in bold italics) 1 Hari-bhakti-viläsa !1"*11 0uotes from 2u'ärëava-tantra (+C M. on occasion.HaghuIbhägavatäm)ta @. had acted as d!&?äIgurus * 7 want that all of my spiritual sons and daughters will inherit this title of .A<>. syllablesO or mantras of one or three syllables for siddha and so on = N6ote: Ehis is in connection 9ith a discussion on ho9 to test the effect of mantras by various means Ehe author 9rites about mantras not needing testing" later stating that kåñëa-mantras are e2empt from testing O &his verse points to the *act that.haktivedänta will be allowed to initiate disciples.

you simply repeat that Simply repeat that Ehere is no 0uestion of becoming very learned scholar #od has given you this ear 1ven if you are blind" you cannot read" you can hear So kåñëa-upadeça.. As 5)?$a says" as Caitanya Mahäprabhu says" if you follo9" then you become spiritual master *ne may be rascal number one from material estimation" but if he simply strictly follo9s 9hatever is said by Caitanya Mahäprabhu or His representative spiritual master" then he becomes a guru. täre kaha.an-manä bhava mad-bhakto.Caitanya Mahäprabhu So one may be very illiterate" no education" or no scholarship" may not be born in brahmaëa family" or may not be a sannyäsé.an-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäCé mäà namaskuru N3g +F JCO And if you cannot do anything" simply come and offer your obeisances: UMy dear Hord 5)?$a" 4 am so poor" so unfortunate" 4 cannot do all these things" but 4 offer my humble obeisances unto Sour lotus feet : Ehat much also 4f you do this" you become spiritual master 7So" simply by accepting this principle" and even if you are not learned" illiterate" you are hearing so much from 7hagavad-gétä. 9hat is 5)?$a V Ehis is kåñëa-upadeça. U8orship me : 4f you have got opportunity" 9orship 4f you are initiated" 9orship here *r you install %eity at homeW 'ractical .. +-FO 8homever you meet" you simply spea& to him the instruction 9hich 5)?$a gives 8hat 5)?$a instruction givesV Ehat is also very easy 8hat is thatV 5)?$a says man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäCé mäà namaskuru N3g +F JCO 5)?$a says ULust become My devotee" al9ays thin& of Me" offer Me obeisances" and 9orship Me : So here is 5)?$a 4f you simply thin& UHere is 5)?$a" RädhäI5)?$a %eity": you may be fool number" rascal number one Ehat doesnTt matter 3ut you are getting impression of this RädhäI5)?$a" thin& of Him: U*h" ho9 nicely 5)?$a is decorated : Ehis much 6o erudite scholarship Simply 5)?$a says" man-manä bhava mad-bhakto. Here is %eity 8orship Him nicely as it is regulated principle 1ven you are not 9orshiping" simply thin& of 5)?$a" UHere is RädhäI5)?$a : 4mpression 8hat is the difficultyV As soon as you see RädhäI5)?$a" you get some impression Ehin& of that impression 8here is the difficultyV .adhya . And at last" 5)?$a says" sarva-dharmän parityaCya mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraCa N3g +F JJO So if you simply preach this cult" . Ehere are so many 0ualification 3ut one may not have all these 0ualifications He may be rascal number one" but still" he can become spiritual master Ho9V Gmära äCDäya. FkåñëaF-upadeça NCc .: 6o" you are 0ualified if you follo9 strictly the paramparä system Ehen you are 0ualified EhatTs all Gmära äCDäya guru haDä. 7So it is not very difficult *ne may not thin& that U4 am not 0ualified to become guru. And 9hat is the difficultyV Caitanya Mahäprabhu says" U%onTt feel any difficulty : 3ecause as spiritual master" 9hat you have to doV Häre dekha.

na ca tasmäd manuñyeñu kaçcin me priya-kåttama 9 U*ne 9ho is doing this humble service of preaching 9or&" 5)?$a consciousness" nobody is dearer than him to Me : So if you 9ant to become recogniXed by 5)?$a very 0uic&ly" you ta&e up this process of becoming spiritual master" present the 7hagavad-gétä as it is Sour life is perfect Ehan& you very much = (>yäsaIp(<ä HectureQHondon" August --" +M.UMy dear friend" my dear brother" you surrender to 5)?$a": you become spiritual master Sou become spiritual master W 74mmediately" touch his feet 4mmediately" even if heTs enemy" heTll be a friend 1ven if heTs your enemy" it is so nice process Ea&e a grass on your mouth and immediately fall on his feet" padayor nipetya" and 9ith folded hands" much flatteringW All flattering 9ords -haà bravémi. USou are a great sädhu.: Although he may be rascal number one Still" you call him" he sädhava . boys and gir's. men. #Ea'' o* you. )omen. Prabhupäda speci*ica''y says. yes 8hat is your proposalV: U6o9 &indly forget all nonsense" 9hatever you have learned EhatTs all 4 am flattering you because 4 9ant that you forget everything" all these yogés and this and that and that and meditation 'lease &ic& out all these : UEhen 9hat 4 have to doV: 3aitanya-candracaraëe kurutänurägam. So immediately he 9ill agree" USes" 9hat you say 4Tll hear 4Tll hear : 4mmediately" convert to hear you at least Lust see ho9 perfect process is UEhen 9hat is your purpose" sirV 8hy you are becoming so humble" mee&V 7And no9 say = USes sir" 4Tll say : 8hat is thatV :e sädhava . USes" 4 am sädhu.% . become spiritua' master. Lust adhere yourself to the lotus feet of Hord Caitanya Mahäprabhu Ehen you become spiritual master EhatTs all = 7So I &o'e t&at all o0 (ou1 men1 )omen1 /o(s and girls1 /ecome s'iritual master" and follo9 this principle Spiritual master" simply" sincerely" follo9 the principles and spea& to the general public Ehen 5)?$a immediately becomes your favorite 5)?$a does not become your favoriteD you become 5)?$aTs favorite 5)?$a says in the 7hagavad-gétä./) (t is some)hat signi*icant that this is a Vyasa-p!Cä 'ecture in )hich the princip'e o* discip'ic succession is natura''y being addressed by /ré'a Prabhupäda.

. 1triya ç!dräs tathä vaiçyä . . 3ut 5)?$a says" 76o" even for them it is open = 3ecause in the spiritual platform there is no such distinction" man" 9oman" or blac&" 9hite" or big or small 6o 1veryone is spirit soul PaëJitä sama-darçina N3g C +FO Vidyä-vinaya-sampanne brähmaëe gavi hastini çuni caiva çvapäke ca paëJitä N3g C +FO" one 9ho is actually learned" he is samadarçina .ra/&u'äda3 Ehere are so many 8estern 9oman" girls" in our society Ehey are chanting" dancing" ta&ing to 5)?$a consciousness *f course" because superficially" bodily" there is some distinction" so 9e &eep 9omen separately from men" that:s all *ther9ise" the rights are the same .ra/&u'äda3 Ses Lähnavä %ev! 9asQ6ityänandaTs 9ife She became 4f she is able to go to the highest perfection of life" 9hy it is not possible to become guruV 3ut" not so many Actually one 9ho has attained the perfection" she can become guru. then . Ehe first is mentioned" striya . she can become guru./0a consciousness perfectly. if the woman understands -. 6ot only come" she can also attain perfection Ehere is no such restriction 5)?$a said 2oman3 %o you have any paëJitas in the 8estern movementV .ra/&u'äda3 Ehere is no distinction bet9een man and 9oman Ehat is clearly said in the 7hagavad-gétä. sei guru haya. He does not ma&e any distinction 3ut so far our material body is concerned" there must be some distinction for &eeping the society in order 2oman3 Ehe 9omen could become paëJitas.ra/&u'äda3 *h" yes &e "pi yänti paräà gatim. and the vaiçyas.adhya F +-FO Ehe 0ualification of guru is that he must be fully cogniXant of the science of 5)?$a !hen he or she can become guru" Hei kåñëa-tattva-vettä.äà hi pärtha vyapäçritya ye "pi syu päpä-yonaya I striyo ç!dräs tathä vaiçyä . Ehese classes are understood to be less intelligentQ9oman" ç!dra.. 3ut man or 9oman" unless one has attained the perfection Hei kåñëa-tattva-vettä sei guru haya NCc . 2oman3 Sväm!<!" 9ould you say something about the place of 9omen in your movementV . Nbrea&O 4n our material 9orld" is it any prohibition that 9oman cannot become professorV 4f she is 0ualified" she can become professor 8hat is the 9rong thereV She must be 0ualified Ehat is the position 'o similarly.ro0" O4Connell3 4s it possible" Sväm!<!" for a 9oman to be a guru in the line of disciplic successionV .

)omen may not be a''o)ed to associate )ith men in the temp'e. &here is mention. he )as very direct and had no *ear o* pub'ic opinion. as can be seen in his many conversations . 3ut 9e do not agree Ehat is our fault (4ntervie9 9ith 'rofessors *TConnell" Motilal and ShivaramQLune +F" +M. because o* the bodi'y di**erence. then she is 4ua'i*ied. that a'though men and )omen are e4ua' according to spiritua' identity. #not so many. Prabhupäda a'so provides a çästric re*erence and emp'oys systematic reasoning )ith a 'ogica' ana'ogy to support his statement. . in this conversation. &here*ore it cou'd be conc'uded that /ré'a Prabhupäda )as not considering a di**erent approach among (ndians. 7ut that )as not his habit.=> the 4ua'i*ication *or men and )omen is the same K)hich is c'ear'y statedL.ra/&u'äda3 So a craXy manTs statement is not accepted ChildTs statement" craXy manTs statement" unauthoriXed personTs statement" blind manTs statement" 9e cannot accept . &here*ore this statement shou'd be accepted as signi*icant evidence. :e spoke the truth to )homever he metNscho'ars. 1omeone may argue that here /ré'a Prabhupäda is conversing )ith secu'ar scho'ars and is thus speaking some)hat dip'omatica''y to paci*y them.J" Eoronto) /ré'a Prabhupäda direct'y addresses the issue o* a )oman"s 4ua'i*ication to be guru" and he says that i* she meets the standard 4ua'i*ication mentioned in the çästra. Prabhupäda speci*ica''y says that #he or she% can become guru i* they meet the standard 4ua'i*ication.% &hat cou'd be because o* t)o reasons9 . there is no higher 'eve' o* 4ua'i*ication re4uired *or )omen as compared to men. -'though as spirit sou's they may be 4ua'i*ied. scientists or reporters. :e adds. &here is no mention o* any specia' 4ua'i*ication *or )omen. Bither )ay.M> )omen and men can both attain the 4ua'i*ication in *air'y even numbers. there is some separation. but not so many )omen as men can attain that 4ua'i*ication.. sti''. (n terms o* )omenFs issues particu'ar'y. but there are other *actors that cause )omen to become gurus in 'esser numbers. (t shou'd a'so be mentioned that t)o (ndian pro*essors )ere present during this conversation. Oina''y.ra/&u'äda3 -dhikära means he must agree to understand Ehat is adhikära.Indian man3 8ell" to understand 5)?$a consciousness" do you not re0uire adhikäraV . or . ho)ever.

Maybe some9here 4 might have mentioned 4t is not that 9oman cannot be äcärya. socia' reasons. She 9as controlling the 9hole >ai?$ava community 5tre(a 6ñi3 Hord 6ityänandaV .ra/&u'äda3 HuhV 5tre(a 6ñi3 A 9omanTsW .ra/&u'äda3 4f a 9oman is perfect in 5)?$a consciousnessW Lust li&e Lähnavä %ev!" Hord 6ityänandaTs 9ife" she 9as äcärya.ra/&u'äda3 5)?$a does not ma&e any discrimination 5)?$a does not ma&e 8hatever difference is there" it is bodily difference 3ut as soul" there is e0uality So 9hatever difference 9e ma&e" that is bodily difference So 9hen one is above the bodily concept of life" there is no difference 8hy 9omanV 1ven cats and dogs 8oman is human being . #7ut there are many äcäryas% indicates that there )ere many *ema'e gurus &he conversation continues. She 9as äcärya. sti'' very *e) have assumed the service o* initiating discip'es *or other reasons. (n conte8t. +ne meaning o* this statement cou'd be that not many )omen have been 4ua'i*ied to become an äcärya -nother may be that even though many )omen )ere 4ua'i*ied. 5tre(a 6ñi3 8omen todayW" there is a very popular topic amongst 9omen Ehey spea& of liberation And their desire to be liberated is sane" but they do not understand And they ob<ect very stronglyW 4Tve spo&en to some of these soIcalled liberated 9omen" and they ob<ect strongly to 5)?$a consciousness" because they thin& 9e discriminate against 9omen So 4 have been ta&ing advantage of opportunities to describe to them that the only means to liberation for men and 9oman is through 5)?$a consciousness . #enerally" they do not become 4n very special case 3ut Lähnavä %ev! 9as accepted as" but she did not declare 5omen can be äcäryas" but it is rareNon'y in specia' cases.g.ra/&u'äda3 4 donTt thin& 3ut there are many äcäryas.5tre(a 6ñi3 A 9omanTs statementV .ra/&u'äda3 8ife Lähnavä %ev! She 9as controlling the 9hole #auA!ya >ai?$ava community 5tre(a 6ñi3 %o you have references about that in any of your boo&s" Çr!la 'rabhupädaV . the comment. e.

vaiçyas and ç!dras. :ere Prabhupäda repeats the idea that there is no di**erence bet)een genders or even bet)een di**erent species )hen one is above the bodi'y concept./0a consciousness is on the platform of the spirit soul. kibä nyäs(.. kñatriyas. provided the spiritual master is fully conversant . Eo spread 5)?$a consciousness" one need only be cogniXant of the science of the spirit soul 4t does not matter 9hether one is a brähmaëa.San %iego) B4ua'ity is based on the sou' being e4ua'. 74t is stated in the :ari-bhakti-vi'äsa that one should not accept initiation from a person 9ho is not in the brahminical order if there is a fit person in the brahminical order present Ehis instruction is meant for those 9ho are overly dependent on the mundane social order and is suitable for those 9ho 9ant to remain in mundane life f one understands the truth of -. he can become a spiritual master. sei 4guru+ haya 78hether one is a brähmaëa./0a consciousness and seriously desires to attain transcendental knowledge for the perfection of life. or classes" but as far as -. it 9as improper for Him to receive instructions from Çr!la Rämänanda Räya" 9ho belonged to the ç!dra caste Eo clarify this matter" Çr! Caitanya Mahäprabhu informed Rämänanda Räya that &no9ledge of 5)?$a consciousness is more important than caste 4n the system of varëäçrama-dharma there are various duties for the brähmaëas. sannyäsé.1ven cats and dogs" they have got the same spirit soul So a learned scholar 9ill see from the spiritual platform Ehen there is e0uality (Room Conversation: -M Lune +M. Çr!la 3ha&tivinoda Yhä&ura e2plains that one should not thin& that because Çr! Caitanya Mahäprabhu 9as born a brähmaëa and 9as situated in the topmost spiritual order as a sannyäsé.adhya F +-FO '. Actually the brähmaëa is supposed to be the spiritual master of all other varëas./0a consciousness is concerned. he can accept a spiritual master from any social status. a sannyäsé or a ç!draQregardless of 9hat he isQhe can become a spiritual master if he &no9s the science of 5)?$a = N3aitanya-caritämåta .R'*RE 7Ehis verse is very important to the 5)?$a consciousness movement 4n his -måta-praväha-bhäñya. everyone is capable of becoming a spiritual master because knowledge in -. ç!dra. 7 kibä vipra. kñatriya. 12dra kene naya 3 yei k./0a-tattvavettä. vaiçya. &hat is the spiritua' p'at*orm. gåhastha or 9hatever f one simply understands this science.

7ut there are higher 'eve' instructions *or those )ith a deeper understanding9 #Ehe can accept a spiritua' master *rom any socia' status.nless 9e accept the principle enunciated by Çr! Caitanya Mahäprabhu" this 5)?$a consciousness movement cannot spread all over the 9orld = N3aitanya-caritämåta ./0a. vänaprastha.adhya F +-F verse Z purportO &his is on'y one o* many p'aces )herein /ré'a Prabhupäda presents the proper vision o* our phi'osophy on the topic o* e'igibi'ity to become a Vaiñëava guru: there cannot be p'aced any materia' prohibition on the post o* guruNit is transcendenta' being based on one"s devotion. he is automatically a brähmaëa. t does not matter whether he is a /rä&ma8a1 kñatri(a1 sann(äsé or 9:dra" 74f one becomes a guru. if he is conversant in the science of 5)?$a he can become a spiritual master as vartma-pradarçaka-guru. indicating that gender is a'so a consideration to be discarded in Cudging a guru:s e'igibi'ity. 1ik/ä-guru and d(k/ä-guru. brahmacäré. (n his purport he *ocuses on varnaKrama considerations. the spiritual master 9ho initiates according to the regulations of the çästras is called the dékñä-guru. birth and family ties are considered foremost Ho9ever" the hereditary consideration is not acceptable to >ai?$avas !he word guru is e"ually applicable to the vartma-pradar1aka-guru.% :e speci*ica''y states that this princip'e app'ies to a'' gurus inc'uding d!&?äIgurus # Devotee3 Can 9omen become guruV . 5actually the "ualifications of a spiritual master depend on his knowledge of the science of -. vaiçya.with the science of -. ç!dra. /ré'a Prabhupäda a'so e8p'ains that there are instructions in Vaiñëava 'iterature *or those )ho are over'y dependent on mundane socia' order. gåhastha or sannyäsé."<" =réd&ara >a&ärä?a3 Ses" if he NsicO sincerely feels that he can help others" he may be Ehere are so many Lähnavä %ev!" 9ife of . kñatriya. but he 4uoted this verse in his conversation )ith Pro*. +"3onne''. provided the spiritua' master is *u''y conversant )ith the science o* 2åñëa. sei guru haya means that one 9ho is not a brähmaëa may become a çikñä-guru or a vartmapradarçaka-guru but not an initiator guru./0a. Sometimes a caste guru says that ye kåñëa-tattva-vettä. Çr!la 3ha&tisiddhänta Sarasvat! Yhä&ura also states that although one is situated as a brähmaëa. . dékñä-guru or çikñä-guru. According to such caste gurus. and the spiritual master 9ho gives instructions for elevation is called the çikñä-guru. Ehe spiritual master 9ho first gives information about spiritual life is called the vartma-pradarçaka-guru.

"<" =réd&ara >a&ärä?a3 3ut 9hether the lady äcärya should be appointed or not" that may come in future 8hether a lady devotee for the facility to propagate amongst the ladies" 9hether such 0ualified lady äcärya should be accepted or not" that may be a 0uestion of controversy 3ut 4 thin& that" for the sincere thin&ing person" 9herever there is 5)?$a consciousness" there is purity And 9herever the sincere urge for propagation" the sanction must be there Ehat should be the fair field Here also previously Lähnavä %ev! and others" Yhä&urä$!" they did that sort of function of the äcärya. then gåhastha she may initiate gåhasthas."<" =réd&ara >a&ärä?a3 Ses" very rare Ehe number can be counted on fingers" lady äcäryas."<" =réd&ara >a&ärä?a3 *f course some9hat" a gåhastha. (+MF+ Conversation 9ith Sripada 3R Çr!dhara Mahärä<a) And on another occasionW . :is on'y stipu'ation is that they cannot )ear sannyäs! garb and that they )ou'd accept on'y g)hastha discip'es. % 7A 9omanTs nature has been particularly 9ell studied by 5aKyapa Muni 8omen are selfIinterested by nature" and therefore they should be protected by all means so that their natural inclination to be too selfIinterested 9ill not be manifested 8omen need to be protected by men A 9oman should be cared for by her father in her childhood" by her husband in her youth and by her gro9n sons in her old age Ehis is the in<unction of Manu" 9ho says that a 9oman should not be given independence at any stage 8omen must be cared for so that they 9ill not be free to manifest their natural tendency for gross selfishness Ehere have been many cases" even in the present day" in 9hich 9omen have &illed their husbands to ta&e advantage of their insurance . 3ut generally it is not found that the ladies ta&e the robe of renunciation Ehat is red cloth or something 3ut they may have (the) respect even of the sannyäsés.6ityänanda 'rabhu" she began e2tensively this spiritual movement And there are many others Devotee3 Must you be in the renounced order of lifeV . but they remain as gåhasthas and may continue gåhastha-çiñya. (+MF+ Conversation 9ith Çr!päda 3R Çr!dhara Mahärä<a) /ré'a Prabhupäda"s respected 0odbrother a'so says that )omen may become gurus" but it is very rare. Devotee3 So there 9ere some lady äcäryas. .

at the stage o* bhävaIbha&ti 7ut at the 'eve' o* ni?[hä the residua' anarthas are on'y remnants that not 'onger obstruct one"s progress (See . )hether ma'e or *ema'e. b) Eä&navä D&äkurä8é I Ehe 9ife of 6ityänanda 'rabhu Lähnavä Yhä&urä$! became one of the greatest leaders of our tradition in its second generation >!rabhadra and Rämacandra" the sons (biological and adopted respectively) of 6ityänanda 'rabhu" 9ere t9o of the most famous among her initiated disciples .adhuryakädambiné. there*ore. &here*ore. )e recommend that at 'east the symptoms o* ni?[hä shou'd be seen in d!&?äIguru candidates. a'ong )ith the modes o* nature.purport) 5hen the bodi'y concept o* 'i*e vanishes.policies Ehis is not a criticism of 9omen but a practical study of their nature = 5omen on the bodi'y p'at*orm are se'*ish and shou'd there*ore be protected not on'y *rom 'usty ma'e predators but *rom their o)n 'o)er natures as )e''. :ere is a suggestion in re'ation to the above point9 &he bodi'y concept o* 'i*e is transcended. chapter B). she may assume the post o* a spiritua' master. above the bodi'y p'at*orm. &he rest o* the purport be'o). &his is c'ear. 7Such natural instincts of a 9oman or a man are manifested only in the bodily conception of life 8hen either a man or a 9oman is advanced in spiritual consciousness" the bodily conception of life practically vanishes = (7häg. that i* a *ema'e devotee is actua''y advanced. ho)ever. makes an important distinction. &he conc'usion must be. the materia' 4ua'ities o* one"s 'o)er nature are transcended. % @istorical EAam'les o0 Female BauCé(a Dékñä-gurus a) Sétä D&äkurä8éQEhe 9ife of Advaita 'rabhu According to the Prema-vi'äsa (vi'äsa -B) of 6ityänanda %äsa" S!tä Yhä&urä$! gave dékñä (kåñëa-mantra) to her t9o servants 6andin! and Lä\gal! Ehe vaikuëPha-svar!pas of 6andin! and Lä\gal! are the 9ellI&no9n gate&eepers Laya and >i<aya (0aura-gaëoddeça-dépikä te2t FM) Eheir discipleI ship to S!tädev!" along 9ith other interesting facts" is corroborated in the 9ellI&no9n and respected compilation named 0auJéya-vaiñëava abhidhäna and in the 1étä-caritra by Ho&anätha %äsa. J +F B.

M> .2arëänanda.) and in the Prema-vi'äsa of 6ityänanda %äsa (vi'äsas +C Z -.@> d) BauräFga-'ri(ä Devé ` Ehe second 9ife and disciple of Çr!niväsa ^cärya (0auJéya-vaiñëava abhidhäna pg +--B) She 9as from a Ca&ravart! brähmaëa family" her father being Raghunätha Ca&ravart!" a resident of 8est #opälapura She initiated a number of disciples" one being #urucara$a %äsa" 9ho 9rote a boo& at her behest called Premämåta 9hich is based on the Prema-vi'äsa (0auJéya-vaiñëava abhidhäna pg +-. ch. U>!rabhadra #osä]i 9as the direct son of Çr!la 6ityänanda 'rabhu and a disci'le o0 Eä&navä Devé := (3aitanya-caritämåta Gdi-'é'ä ++ F purport) 7Sadunandana ^cäryaTs 9ife" Ha&?m!" 9as a very humble and submissive lady She had t9o beautiful daughters named Çr!mat! and 6äräya$! 3y the arrangement of Çr! _Kvar! (Lähnavä %ev!)" these t9o girls became the fortunate 9ives of >!racandra 'rabhu *n the day of the 9edding" Sadunandana too& initiation from >!racandra" and =ré Eä&navä &a''il( acce'ted =rématé and Närä(a8é as &er disci'les = (7hakti-ratnäkara" ch +/) She is also confirmed as a dékñä-guru both in the 0auJéya-vaiñëava abhidhäna (pg +-BJIB.M. 'ast paragraph> 7*ne day my spiritual master" Sri Hemalata" revealed the glories of Ramacandra to me = 74 shall describe another episode 9hich 4 heard from my guru" Sri 4svari Hemalata = (2arëänanda./) 7Çr!niväsa ^cärya:s first 9ife" Çr!mat! _Kvar! Yhä&urä$!" 9as a highly devotional lady #aurä\gaIpriyä" his second 9ife" also possessed e2alted devotional 0ualities 4n due course of time many persons became disciples of Çr!niväsa ^cärya and his 9ives =.7Çr!la 3ha&tisiddhänta Sarasvat! Yhä&ura 9rites in his -nubhäñya. ch.) c) @emalatä D&äkurä8é I Ehe eldest daughter of Çr!niväsa ^cärya Hemalatä Yhä&urä$!" a contemporary of Lähnavä" 9as one of the prominent leaders of the tradition at her time Among her disciples" Sadunandana" the author of 2arëänanda1 is particularly 9ellI&no9n (see 2arëänanda Nch .?> She also had a 9ay9ard disciple named R(pa 5avirä<a (see 0auJéya-vaiñëava abhidhäna pg +B--) 76o9 the disciples of Sri Hemalata shall be described Sri Suvala Chandra Eha&ura" and his nephe9 Sri #o&ula Cha&ravarti 9ere her disciples Sri Radhavallava Eha&ura from Mandala village" Sri >allavadasa of the #osvami family" and Sadunandana >aidya dasa of Malihati village 9ere all disciples of Sri 4svari 5anurama Cha&ravarti and his t9o servants %arpanayana and Candi" Ramacarana" Madhu Mis9as" and Radha 5anta >aidya 9ere other disciples of Hemalata Lagadisa 5avira<a and his follo9er" 9ho 9as the brother of Radhavallabh 5avira<a 9ere initiated by Hemalata = (2arëänanda.Z/O and the introduction Npg +-O to 2åñëakarëämåta by 1ambidänanda ?äs Ph. ch.

@or e2ample" Çr!la 'rabhupäda 9as as&ed by a professor if 9omen could become gurus in our movement Çr!la 'rabhupäda ans9ered that they could" and he provided Lähnavä %ev! as an e2ample 3ecause our founderI äcärya clearly indicated that the behavior of Lähnavä %ev! could be a guide for us on the 0uestion of 9hether or not 9omen can become gurus in 4S5C*6" it is not 9rong for us to follo9 that indication .IMF) and by the present day mahänta" 3alaräma %äs #osväm!" at the #a\gamätä #osvämin! Matha in 'ur! S&ould 2e Follo) Suc& EAam'lesG 4n 7hagavad-gétä.e) BaFgämätä Bosväminé I A disciple of Haridäsa 'a$Aita #osväm!" the sevaite of #ovinda<! mentioned in /ré 3aitanya-caritämåta. Hord 5)?$a says yad yad äcarati çreñPhas tat tad evetaro Cana I sa yat pramäëaà kurute 'okas tad anuvartate Ehe people in general follo9 the e2ample set by great personalities Hord 5)?$a gave this as a reason 9hy He Himself follo9ed the la9s of religion" because if He did not" others 9ould follo9 His e2ample 4n this 9ay" one might say that Hord 5)?$a functioned as an äcärya. one 9ho teaches by His o9n e2ample 3ut in some cases" it is not correct for an ordinary person to follo9 the e2ample of the Supreme Hord" as in His dancing 9ith the gopés. Ehe same is true of the great >ai?$avas: Sometimes their behavior is meant to be follo9ed by ordinary persons" and sometimes not So ho9 do 9e &no9 9hich actions of the Supreme Hord and great devotees are to be follo9ed by us and 9hich actions are not to be follo9edV @or e2ample" in the fe9 9ellIdocumented cases offered above for female gurus in #auA!ya >ai?$avism" 9e have presented personalities such as Lähnavä %ev!" the 9ife of Hord 6ityänanda 4s her becoming a guru a case to be follo9ed as e2emplary" or a case not to be imitated by usV *ne guide is the general scriptural 9arning to follo9 the instructions of the Hord and great devotees instead of imitating their activities Ehat should ma&e us cautious Another guide is the indications from sädhu and guru. Among others" 5ing Mu&undadeva of Lagannätha 'ur! and a number of Hord LagannäthaTs sevaites received dékñä from her She 9as also an elo0uent spea&er and e2plained /rémad-7hägavatam to large audiences #a\gamätä #osvämin!:s case is further confirmation that a 9oman can be a guru in a bona fide #auA!ya >ai?$ava line At least up to her point in the line" the line 9as bona fide because her guru is confirmed by Çr!la 5)?$adäsa 5avirä<a #osväm! in the 3aitanyacaritämåta (Gdi F J.) Her acceptance of disciples is confirmed in 0auJéya-vaiñëava abhidhäna (pgs ++M.

the 1-3 team conc'udes that *ema'e devotees. . i* 4ua'i*ied.nder that system" 9omen did not generally receive initiation Eherefore" logically" they also could not give it .purport)Qcan be interpreted differently *ne possible interpretation is that 9omen cannot initiate male devotees" but could do so for female devotees Another could be that 9omen can initiate all others e2cept their o9n offspring Ehis second interpretation could be supported by the fact that Hord 6ityänanda:s second 9ife" Çr! >asudhä %ev!" did not initiate her o9n son" >!racandra" but Çr! Lähnavä %ev! did so 4n any case" Çr!la 'rabhupäda is referring to an incident at a specific time in the distant past" and his other statements dealing 9ith the present time (conversations 9ith 'rofessor *TConnell or 9ith ^treya a?i %äsa)" and specifically 9ithin 4S5C*6" are more valuable as pramäëas in this discussion Additionally" the vaidika system 9as operating during the SatyaIyuga . and that should also be ta&en into account 2eig&ing t&e Evidence and Concluding Ehe one significant negative statementQ7Sun!ti" ho9ever" being a 9oman" and specifically his mother" could not become %hruva Mahärä<aTs dékñä-guru./.nder the more recent paDcarätrika system" ho9ever" 0ualified 9omen can accept and offer initiation 8e have also presented statements" on the one hand" demanding the social dependency and protection of 9omen and" on the other" statements declaring that in spiritual matters such considerations may be transcended 8hen 9e loo& at all of Çr!la 'rabhupäda:s statements 9e see that he had the conception of female gurus in the future" i e if they could meet the standard" and that there 9ere female gurus in the past 9hom Çr!la 'rabhupäda cited as evidence for his position 3ut he did say that they 9ere rare" and so 9e should follo9 that indication 5eighing the phi'osophica' evidence. shou'd be a''o)ed to give initiation in (123+$.8e have not found any statement by Çr!la 'rabhupäda that the e2ample of Lähnavä %ev! is not e2emplary Eherefore 9e can ta&e her e2ample as one of the cases in 9hich it is proper to follo9 the e2ample 3ut Çr!la 'rabhupäda also gave some cautionary remar&s in this connection" indicating that it 9as rare for 9omen to become gurus.= (7häg B +.

(e g t9entyIfive or thirty years) b) Ehe >ai?$av! should normally have some family support" e g husband" adult son or daughter or adult sonIinIla9 or daughterIinIla9" and a residential base to ensure her psychoIsocial stability Ehis suggested proviso corresponds to the many recommendations and 9arnings of 9omen becoming independent given in dharma-çästras. Ehis is clearly stated by Çr!la 'rabhupäda and others in the above cited conversations Ehese relative prere0uisites are simple measures to safeguard and support future female gurus 9ithout burdening prospective candidates 9ith unnecessary bureaucracy . c) Ehe >ai?$av! should normally have spiritual support in the form of at least one or more çikñä-gurus or senior mentors from 9hich she can ta&e assistance 2&( s&ould relative conditions /e 'laced on 0emale guru candidatesG 8omen have a different psychoIphysical nature than men Eherefore" 9hile still in the sädhana stages of bhakti.rereHuisites and Su''ort Since it is difficult to ascertain someone:s level of bhakti" and to ensure stability" it may be considered prudent by the #3C to place some relative prere0uisites" not absolute ones (other9ise it 9ould violate the kibä-vipra verse N3c .4t seems unsupportable on the basis of guru" sädhu and çästra to have a policy that asserts that there can never be femaleIgurus in 4S5C*6 Ehe #3C" ho9ever" may choose to not have femaleIgurus at present on the basis of time" place and circumstance or cultural considerations 3ut then there 9ould have to be some <ustification as to 9hy this &ind of policy should be necessary no9 4f the #3C consensus is to go for9ard 9ith female gurus in 4S5C*6" then 9e suggest relative prere0uisites to be considered Ehe follo9ing prere0uisites ta&e social concerns into account: <elative .adhya F +-FO)" on female guru candidates in 4S5C*6 Here are a fe9 humble suggestions: a) Ehe >ai?$av! should normally be of a certain age (e g fifty or more) b) Ehe >ai?$av! should normally have performed a minimum number of years of sädhana-bhakti. a femaleIguru candidate 9ould do 9ell to have some relative support @urthermore" it is rare to find e2amples of their ta&ing the role of guru.

end .

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