GBC changes resolution 313 without any statement, and Women: Masters or mothers books is no longer banned.
Resolution 313 as seen on GBC website now looks like this:
That to say to this? This kind of management is characteristic for unorganised societies, it is comparable to countries like Albania or Tajikistan.
GBC created many problems for Bhakti Vikasa Swami with this ban, and after much pressure, they silently changed resolution. Real gentlemen would never behave in such a way. If you are aware that you made mistake, apology is never sign of weakness.
If not apology, then at least some kind of explanation.
Being member of ISKCON sucks these days.
Even as it stands now, resolution still cheats members of ISKCON of portraying Bhakti Vikasa Swami’s book as if doesn’t “necessarily reflect views” of both ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada.
Interestingly enough, GBC never issued such statement regarding many other evident deviations, such as Bhakti Tirtha Swamis’s Spiritual Warrior book series. Since GBC never issued statement about those books, it seems that UFOs, Atlantis, Mu continent, Alien overlords, and satanic rituals reflect views of ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada.
This is called cheating, and as Srila Prabhupada said: “What is this nonsense?”
While Spiritual warrior series contains information about UFOs, Atlantis, Mu continent, Alien overlords, and satanic rituals, Women: Masters or mothers books contains 130 quotes taken directly from Srila Prabhupada’s books, 88 quotes from Prabhupada’s lectures, conversations and letters, 50+ quotes from books by other SP disciples.
Yet, GBC choose to remain silent on Spiritual Warrior and distance itself from Women: Masters or mothers book.
I would call this poor judgement as best case scenario, and persecuting Srila Prabhupada’s teachings as worst case scenario.
Not to mention that GBC made resolution in 2008 desiring to add footnotes to Srila Prabhupada’s books, as if they need to be “explained”, as if Srila Prabhupada couldn’t make footnotes himself:
Whereas some of Srila Prabhupada’s books contain sentences such as the following, which when taken in isolation may be > considered derogatory to and offensive against women:
Although rape is not legally allowed, it is a fact that a woman likes a man who is very expert at rape. (SB 4.25.41, p.)
When a husbandless woman is attacked by an aggressive man, she takes his action to be mercy. (SB 4.25.42, p.)
Generally, when a woman is attacked by a man – whether her husband or some other man – she enjoys the attack, being too lusty. (SB > 4.26.26, p.)
Whereas some ISKCON devotees may have used these statements out of context as an excuse to offend, neglect and abuse women; Whereas some people who read such statements may consider them to be derogatory or offensive, may misunderstand what Srila Prabhupada actually means, and may not want to further read those books, notwithstanding the many other beneficial statements in > them;
RESOLVED: That the GBC Body recommends to the BBT Trustees that the above quotes, and other such statements as determined by the > BBT, be explained in endnotes or in appendices.
So, the excuse is “because some people misuse Srila Prabhupada’s books”, which are law books for next 10 000 years, therefore we take the right to add footnotes, endnotes to explain them? How stupid you have to be to accept this argument?
Srila Prabhupada’s books should not be changed under no circumstances. Srila Prabhupada was well aware what can be misused and he could have added footnotes, endnotes or appendices himself if he wanted.
Deeper perspective - Ideological war for the soul of ISKCON
So, Women: Masters or mothers book is not really problematic for the GBC because it doesn’t “necessarily reflect views” of Srila Prabhupada, but because it doesn’t reflect GBC’s idea of how ISKCON should look like in the 21st century.
If we look through major ISKCON issues in last 20 years, be it book footnotes, female diksa guru issue, female sannyasi secretaries, we can see ISKCON is sliding toward sahajiya ideology. You can’t have genuine spiritual movement with gender free mixing included. It will never work. But if you don’t allow women to freely mix with men in various management meetings, as female sannyasis secretaries and assistants, as female temple presidents, lecturers, project leaders and so on, If we don’t allow all that, then we will be called sexist by ignorant people who are on the cat and dog level.
This divide is most vividly visible in the way how ISKCON is managed, this poster shows how ISKCON’s Northern American Executive committee is structured:
From the other hand, their Indian counterpart IIAC, doesn’t have a single women:
Srila Prabhupada was not feminist and Srila Prabhupada was not proponent of gender equality. Since Western ISKCON deviated from instructions of founder acarya, we are paying the hefty price though divorce, and by looking like gypsies in harinam (with women dancing in front instead being chaste and shy), we loose spiritual power. And there is no question of going to the spiritual world unless we regulate association between sexes:
The male and female living together constitute the sum and substance of material existence. The attraction between male and female in this material world is very strong. In all species of life the attraction between male and female is the basic principle of existence. The same principle of intermingling is also in human society, but is in a regulative form. Material existence means living together as male and female and being attracted by one another. However, when one fully understands spiritual life, his attraction for the opposite sex is completely vanquished. (SP 4.289.85p)
Sahajiyas understand this last sentence, in false manner, and that is: “When we fully understand spiritual life, we are no longer attracted to opposite sex, and therefore we can freely mix because we understood we are not this body, and there is no danger of falldown”. But we can see in lives of all previous acaryas, that this is not so, Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very strict regarding women association, As was Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and Srila Prabhupada. Why did Prabhupada implement brahmacari and sannyasi asramas? For beginners only? This is the essence of sahajiya mentality, they think opposite sex attraction is problem only on begging levels of spiritual life.
Srila Prabhupada’s solution was not that women and men are equal, rather they are different parts of the varna asrama machine and they need to cooperate:
You cannot surpass the nature’s law. That is not possible. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27]. Nature’s law will go on. Best thing is, let the hand… The hand can typewrite, but if you say, “No, the leg will typewrite,” that is not possible. Take hand’s business, take leg’s business, and combine them cooperatively. Then the body will be nice. If the leg says, “Why hand will type? I shall type,” that’s not possible. “Legs, all right, you walk, and hands that you type.” Then combine together. Then it will be nice. You cannot change the different capacities. There is God’s law, nature’s law. Let the man and woman combine together, live peacefully. The woman takes charge of the household affairs, the man may take charge of bringing money, and they meet together, have Deity at home, together chant Hare Krsna. Where is the difficulty? That is unity. Combine together, working differently but for the same purpose, for pleasing Krsna, then you will become happy. That is equality. Unity in variety. Srila Prabhupada — July 31, 1975, New Orleans
The clash of ideologies
These two videos perfectly represent the clash.
Young female diksa guru version:
If we don’t follow Srila Prabhupada’s ideas on gender roles, we are entering very dangerous waters. Although GBC lost a battle, it didn’t lose a war.
In the future, we can expect formation of varna asrama communities following ideal that Srila Prabhupada set up, and these communities will exist independently of GBC’s influence as privately operated projects, and ISKCON gurus who will visit and lead such communities spiritually will be the ones who are currently preaching about varna-asrama.
Liberal part of ISKCON will continue with feminist agenda, number of divorces will increase, women will be more and more “free” in their dress, brahmacaries will have to sit on lectures of young, attractive gurudevis.
Brahmacaries will also be “managed” by women, beautiful “devotee” women will continue to dance in front of harinam and in such way try to attract similarly minded men desirous to enjoy them. Liberal gurus will have to soften the gender segregation preaching even more, not to “fry” the congregation and whole thing will degenerate to sahajiya level in the same was as it happened after Caitanya Mahaprabhu left this world.
These two ISKCON’s will maybe even coexist as same society for some time, but ultimately, they will split. And Paramatma will guide each soul to join the movement that best fits it’s aspirations.
This article originally appeared on Lasting Impression website