The lack of women in Krishna Consciousness

11017125_10152606580856433_3603299318713914365_nHow many female preachers do you know compared to male preachers? How many lectures are delivered by females compared to males? How many women in leadership positions versus males?

Do you think this is accidental? All the Gaudiya Vaishnava instituations are heavily male dominated, with very few revered female devotees.

I’ve always thought of me being outside of devotee association to be a lack in me, but I now believe it has been a mercy. I would not have survived in Krishna Consciousness if I had been a part of a temple etc.

btgBack to Godhead india just released a link to a blog post about a rape statement made by Srila Prabhupada where Jayadvaita Swami uses Hollywood and romance novels as an understanding of the female psyche. Then Jayadvaita Swami comes with this statement:

Of course, “rape” carries with it images of guns, bruises, and brutal thugs–hardly what any woman hopes for. But the essential feature–a man who is strong and aggressive–is sexually attractive.

I don’t even know where to begin with these ignorant statements.

a man is attractive to a woman when he is bold, strong, valorous, assertive, aggressive, “manly,” and so on.


So how many romance novels has this Swami read since he know they sell so well? What is meant by aggressive? What is the meaning of “manly”?

Jayadvaita Swami has misunderstood how romance novels function on the female psyche. It usually comes in the form of pining after some man you can’t have, and he wants to protect his female. Not aggressively and “manly” rape her, which kind of opposes the whole idea of protecting females. So can we please just lay to rest this idea of the female psyche.

I know no women who wants the advances of an aggressive and “manly” man.

On the contrary the statements of Jayadvaita Swami and Srila Prabhupada shows a huge lack of understanding of the female psyche. Stating that women thinks strong and aggressive men are sexually desirable can *drive* rape offenders towards their abominable acts. If you want males to sexually harass and rape women, those are the kinds of statements that supports it !

I find this whole article to be offensive towards women, and dangerously so.

We all accept Srila Prabhupada as a pure devotee, so how do we reconcile that he makes such statements? The trouble is that devotees take whatever comes out of the mouth of pure devotees so literal and to be absolute truths no matter what is said. The whole guru-disciple relationship encourages blind following and accepting without asking too many critical questions. Criticism is discouraged hugely within our movement, because it can destroy your spiritual life and is a huge offense.

We need to understand that pure devotees can be both omniscience and bewildered at the same time. This is how child abuse happened during the presence of Srila Prabhupada without him doing anything about it. Srila Prabhupada didn’t know because Krishna withheld these abominable acts from him.

Secondly, we have to differentiate between material matters and spiritual matters. I accept Srila Prabhupada wholeheartedly when it comes to spiritual matters. When it comes to statements concerning this material world (including women), I reserve the right to reject those statements without them in any way breach my faith in krishna consciousness or Srila Prabhupada.

We take a pure devotees word so literal when it comes to his statement about material nature that we try to explain away things that are not morally okey in any way. We lack the ability to separate between statements on spiritual and material matter. I will question statements on this material world, but accept everything in regard to the spiritual world. I wish more could make this crucial difference.

I just keep on coming back to Bhaktivinode Thakur who reserved the right to question everything in regards to material nature:

… the confidence to follow their ancestral religious traditions by showing how those traditions could plausibly be redefined and re-appropriated according to the culture of the modern world.

Hindu Encounter with Modernity page 136 – 137


The understanding that women seeks a strong, aggressive and “manly” male may have had some understanding decades ago. Fortunately, the world has evolved since then, and I wish the males understanding would have evolved as well.

7 thoughts on “The lack of women in Krishna Consciousness

    • This is a much better argument anchored in siddhanta about there is no difference between men and women in spirituality. Wonderful !

      Unfortunately, there is a world of difference in knowledge and practice in terms of gender equality.

      These different statements from Jayadvaita Swami and Srila Prabhupada which speaks to the female psyche works to downplay women and their influence. It increases gender stereotypes and misconceptions, in a movement which is very male dominated. So I find it so very important to call out these issues whenever they rear their heads.

      • It would be nice if you joined the forum Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Real & Apparent on Facebook and started a discussion there on this.

  1. Some woman may like that kind of man, so why argue against it. Some men may like a woman who displays those same qualities towards men, but so what? All of this is not even worth discussing, because it is concerned with the material conception of life. After hearing our vaishnav philosophy are we still going to be preoccupied with material designations of man and woman. What difference if one is a man or woman, homosexual or heterosexual. To identify with any of this is simply illusion. These are all material designations. What difference does it make about the tendency for male dominated hierarchies. If we have an insignificant position, we can engage in Krishna consciousness without all the diversions and temptations of status or rank. And who can stop us from being sincere in our devotion? And if this is what we are desiring, some recognition, or to be viewed by others in a certain way – we can get that, but what will be the gain in our Krishna consciousness? And if we want to become a pure devotee, what can stop us? If we are pure we will be recognized by those who are looking for purity, and not recognized by those who are materially inclined. If we are pure, other sincere devotees will seek out our association whether we are man or woman, two-headed, or whatever. So there is nothing in our way if we are sincere and pure. But if we are preoccupied with these material issues of status and rank, it only shows that we are still on the mundane platform. We would rather fight about these things than spend our time developing our Krishna consciousness. This should be seen for what it is – a diversion from our real objective – love of Krishna.

    • I don’t think there are women who like that kind of man, so why use fictional women as example? If they exist, they are so very rare that they shouldn’t be used as examples. In reality using this fictional women as examples is a way to further denigrate women and this important issue.

      99,9 % of the people in KC is conditioned, so of course we should deal with this issue!! Men in this movement certainly are conditioned, so why do you expect women to act and be liberated? Why should women be uphold to the highest ideal and not the men?

      Furthermore, the treatment of women turns women away from KC, or do you think that women shouldn’t be involved in KC since they are women? By your logic it follows that only men are allowed spiritual life, and this is not correct. Furthermore, this limits service towards Krishna. Women aren’t allowed to serve krishna in the way that is correct for them. By limiting women, you are limiting service to Krishna.

      We use so much effort towards turning people towards krishna, only to treat women badly and expect them to uphold ideals that men don’t follow (because they break their celibacy, do violence, harass, there’s even been murder in the movement, child molestation).

      So I suggest you start to give a damn on how women are treated and the opportunities they are given. Men like you with your attitude are the reason why women have it bad. Don’t expect us to be liberated, when you certainly aren’t.

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