There are no women's ashrams within ISKCON
An article entitled "Where are the Women’s Ashramas?" by Sri Nandanandana
dasa was recently propagated in 2010.
"With all the recent talk about women, how they should be treated, and even
the possibility of promoting them into leadership positions in ISKCON, that
would seem to be a rarity when ISKCON hardly provides any facility for women
anyway. Why? Because look around and tell me how many temples even offer a
place for women?
"There are so many temples across America, and especially in India, that offer no place for women, no ashramas, little if any facilities, and in some places, little if any service. And women are supposed to be comfortable in joining such an organization? Maybe they can participate from a distance, like from theirhomes if they are married, but we hardly ever find any brahmacarinis like there used to be in the past."
Part of the problem is that Vedic civilization itself does not allow for
women ascetics. One of the reasons Srila Prabhupada gave for wanting the
girls to be married no later than age sixteen and the boys to be celibate
until age twenty-four, is that (as Arjuna says in Bhagavad-gita) women are
prone to be misled (seduced?), and must be protected, to prevent
varna-sankara ("mixed caste," or illegitimate children).
According to Vedic civilization, only princesses like Draupadi are allowed to select A HUSBAND. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly quoted the Laws of Manu as having said that women must never be given independence: they must be protected by their fathers in their youth, by their husbands in married life, and by their sons in their old age. Srila Prabhupada said that according to Vedic civilization, if an unmarried girl leaves home, or leaves her father's care, even for a moment, no one will marry her. Srila Prabhupada said further, after being forced to tolerate divorce in his own society (ISKCON), that a woman with children, strictly speaking, cannot remarry.
Modern science is beginning to catch on! A pro-life advocate identifying herself as a bisexual witch said several years ago on an e-mail list for Alternative Lifers that our modern secular public educational system which expects young girls to control their senses past puberty, to first get an education, and then pursue relationships, etc. contradicts female psychology.
This might explain teen pregnancy.
Vedic civilization values women as wives and mothers, not as ascetics.
Ravindra Svarupa dasa writes:
...marriage can also be part of devotional service. Marriage does not confer a license for sexual indulgence. It does not sanction a holiday from religious principles. Rather, according to religious principles sex is meant only for begetting God conscious children...Children born of parents who are free from lust will be exceptionally pure and naturally inclined toward devotional service...Even the sexual union of a man and a woman can be used in the service of Krishna. It is extremely good fortune for a child to be born from parents engaged in self-realization, for from his earliest moments he lives in an atmosphere uncontaminated by lust and greed, and he takes in the principles of spiritual life with his mother's milk.
Srila Prabhupada did not object to the equivalent of a nunnery. Indeed, he established the bramacharini ashram, to protect women and to provide them with an opportunity for service:
Women should be taken care of-as daughter, as wife,
as mother, bas. No freedom. Then prostitution. Then spoiled the whole thing.
Unwanted children, contraceptive, abortion. Very dangerous. In our society
there are girls. They should live separately. They should be given full
engagement, taken care of. No mixing. Then it will spoil. Both of them will
be... We see big, big workers, sannyasis (monks). (Name withheld) fell
victim. The example is given: fire and butter. (laughs) You cannot say the
butter will not melt even in fire. Woman is like fire, and man is like
butter. So our gurukula should be ideal. Not all these boys... You should
take care of these things from the very beginning-if you want actually
spiritual life. If you want to progress like animals, that is different
thing, as the whole world is doing. We want to maintain an ideal
institution. People may see. In Christian idea also, the nuns were separate.
(Vrindavan, April 17, 1977)
Srila Prabhupada similarly writes in The Path of Perfection:
Yoga does not mean going to some class, paying some money, engaging in gymnastics, and then returning home to drink, smoke, and engage in sex. Such yoga is practiced by societies of the cheaters and the cheated...If one tells you that you can indulge in sex as much as you like and at the same time become a yogi, he is cheating you. If some so-called guru tells you to give him money in exchange for some mantra and that you can go on and engage in all kinds of nonsense, he is just cheating you. Because we want something sublime and yet want it cheaply, we put ourselves in a position to be cheated...if we want perfection in yoga, we have to pay for it by abstaining from sex. Perfection in yoga is not something childish, and Bhagavad-gitainstructs us that if we try to make yoga into something childish, we will be cheated. There are many cheaters awaiting us, waiting to take our money, giving us nothing, and then leaving.
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