for Men by a Woman
Why? Because apparently all ladies are still only their bodies.
Dear Kind Souls and Wonderful Vaishnavas.
Dandavat pranams. Jaya Gauranga!
By a great blessing, I have been exposed to sweet Krsna (God) and ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) since 2002; so today, at the beginning of 2020, it’s been 18 years.
With all this time, it could be (and maybe should be) expected that I am now mature in the art of philosophy and versed in spiritual etiquette. Therefore, I also expect the same from others that have been within the culture and society of Krishna consciousness for this long, or much longer. I know many who were born into this beautiful culture, and yet, unfortunately, their immaturity is quite prominent; and often hypocritical in regards to Vaishnava etiquette. Many times it is like a one way road, where you’re expected to conduct yourself with perfect etiquette, while the one in front of you is not. This has left me stupefied every time.
No need to say, I’ll likely be criticized for speaking of this unacceptable trend; often, you’re an offender for noticing and speaking up about anomalies in the behavior of ‘spiritual’ people.
Over the years, much criticism has been given in regards to my frankness (trying to keep things real) and upfront ways; way too often in fact. So much so, that I’m quite infamous (especially in the UK Yatra). Many today seem to enjoy saying that I am ‘very offensive’. Others, that know me well, will say that it’s mostly because of my constant refusal to just ‘go along’ with absorbing so many irregularities and unacceptable behaviors; especially from Men.
Why specially from men?
First, I would like to acknowledge and express my appreciation for men of steady and great character, as this does not apply to them; and most ladies, because ladies are more straightforward with me; they simply like me or dislike me – usually strongly – and that is just fine. With ladies, once the relationship is established, we then get closer or just move on. But with men it has been quite a different story.
For a start, Vaishanva men (or so they think) are constantly attempting to contact me on facebook, to be their ‘friend’. Many times getting very upset if their intentions are questioned, or when I mention my husband; which they should already know, being that my status says: MARRIED!
When they try to engage me in conversation – if not for a specific service or question – it more often then not, goes like this:
Devotee Man: Hare Krsna Mataji…
Me: Hare Krsna prabhu, How can we serve you?
Devotee Man: Where are you? or …. Where do you live?
Me: How can my husband serve you?
It usually stops there, but if the conversation continues a little further, there are usually two outcomes:
1) They get insulted and try to shame me, sometimes even insulting me for asking what it is that they want, or
2) They just get upset, insult me and go away.
I have roughly three men per day (friend of a friend, or a complete stranger from within the devotee community) asking to connect on FB, most strangers are declined, of course. Only once in a blue moon will a lady seek my attention, and when they do, I am so very glad.
Secondly, after I meet an aspiring devotee in a male body, in person at a temple, an event or kirtan, or even online, more often then not – and especially if they are a little older – there is quickly, a clear undermining of my capacities. This is followed, way too soon, with the preaching of personal philosophy with a hard and clear attempt to control who I am, what I do and how; as if my prana (life force) is now theirs to control, to use to their advantage, rather than mine to use in the mission of spiritualizing the whole planet.
In the event we do begin serving together in some way (apart from a very few cases up to today), a very clear competition is soon established, usually ending badly. Because, when it comes to articulating reason, common sense and expressing their clear capacity to prove themselves worthy of either being followed and/or adored (as some work so hard to do) they fall short, and are at a loss. The only thing for them after that is to engage in a ‘correcting Aradhana campaign’. (Some women have also tried this, but again, it is rare.)
What most are not considering is a bigger and more complicated problem. Our spiritual intelligence is granted by Krsna Himself, and only because of our sincere love, dedication and honesty. This intuitive knowledge facilitates the complete understanding of anyone’s ‘hidden agenda’, and that has been priceless.
Most of the time, in this material world, when someone sees the great potential of another – especially if there is a ‘seniority complex’ – there is an absolute and pointed desire to conquer; the urge to control and utilize others’ amazing energy, only to achieve one’s own desires, being whatever they are. And when this ‘how to control others’ is thought out and strategized, it’s commonly done while fully disregarding any of the spiritual etiquette instilled in us by Srila Prabhupada. So, depending on the sincerity level, which may be low in many cases, defeating a soul in a ‘female body’ becomes more important than the service.
Srila Prabhupada explained many times this important fact, that must be understood: we’re all gurus (with different levels of knowledge, of course) and bodily designations are to be disregarded.
“We are not this body” is indeed the very first lesson.
This being so, why is it that I have been reminded again and again that I am a ‘female’, especially when it comes to ISKCON’S authorities; big and small alike. It has been the case that when positions of responsibility are sought (by me, or other ladies), bodily designation remarks are there every time. Even if just to avoid the consideration of a ‘woman’ filling such positions.
Most positions of authority, and 95% of the time, have been given openly and irresponsibly to men demonstrating a pronounced lack of: spiritual (or even mundane) etiquette, Krsna consciousness, and even a basic understanding of the true value of all souls. Just see what is actually being done to the Hare Krsna movement today!
Hindu Temples everywhere? Unimportant and irrelevant rituals, such as burning Ravana outside a temple? Is that really the goal?
My deepest concern is that for so long now, this distasteful approach has become quite clear. Where do I send sincere souls to enjoy Krsna’s presence in a temple without being afraid they will be prayed upon?
And these prominent issues are not only noticed by me – of course – but by so many that love Srila Prabhupada and his lovely temples (as they were), who also face the same predicament. Today, it’s very difficult to have authentic transcendental interactions with others; so many are not even nice people. It’s my feeling that this is due to a lack of proper Vaishnava etiquette and a minimum level of sincerity.
Certainly I have here only touched the tip of this iceberg so it may be that this will become a series of short articles, because this is a serious matter that needs expression.
I feel strongly that the younger generation needs guidance, and as they much prefer short and pointed information, here we are; simple, and without a great need for dropping slokas or long convoluted exposés. It is about loving God (Krsna) and His creation which includes every amazing living entity in this realm and beyond. Simple really! Right?
The Vedic Times is here to stay, and we remain keen to serve true Vaishnavas, spiritual seekers and all darling souls. We do prefer the ones that are willing to stay level headed, kind and reasonable, regarding all matters; of course!
To be continued…