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Gender and Krishna Consciousness  

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I know that in spiritual life, there is no difference between men and women and Srila Prabhupada was the first to say so. However, I can't help but feel that Krishna Consciousness is no exception when it comes to putting men above women. Due to the structure of our society, it seems to be easier for them to dedicate their lives to spirituality. I don't want to identify with my gender because I feel it places too many expectations for me to act in a certain way. I feel unable to relate to to certain stories of the Srimad Bhagavadtam and it effects the quality of my listening. What can I do to try and get past this? Am I just seeing everything with 'material eyes'? Why does it bother me every time the pronoun "he" comes up in the texts? 

I greatly believe in the philosophy and the movement, but this is a battle for me. 

@abijoysamuelart Thank you for interesting question. Truth is, in this material world be you a man or woman, you are bound to suffer. Srila Prabhupada says padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām, place where there is danger at every step.

Whichever body or condition Krishna has placed us in, is the best possible condition for us to practice and evolve in spirituality. Sometimes one's limitations in the material world help us grow greater strength in the spiritual world. Let us take the example of ego and pride, as a woman I realized from a very young age, that my ego will be bashed again and again by the men around me, as these were material men, their harsh treatment to me was a reward eventually because it cultivated in me in humility and tolerance. 

I am not saying that we should treat women harshly or anyone harshly, no that would be wrong. But I do believe that conscious men especially those saints who practice pure Bhakti treat women as Goddesses. In fact there is no other culture, institution and society that respects women as much as that I have seen in Krishna Consciousness. It is stated in the Bhagavatam that we are supposed to protect women, care for them and support them. Every woman is seen as a mother and it is for this reason we refer to them as Maataji. 

Let us say, that Krishna will give you a man's body this moment this instant, do you think it will resolve the problems you have in this material world. Do you really think men have it easier?

I beg to differ, you know why because I really feel as women we are more blessed and gifted. We do get it easy, because Krishna has given us a body in which we can cultivate true emotion and love, real bhava (mood) to love Krishna. Men do get very pragmatic, rational and hard hearted. As women we are soft hearted and naive to the cruelties of the world, so we can cultivate love and bhava easily in our hearts, it comes naturally to us. From the Gopis to Queen Kunti there are beautiful stories of women in Bhakti that have shown leadership through womanhood and motherhood. 

2 Answers
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Haribol. You have phrased the dilemma really well.  This is such a difficult one to try and work out within oneself. I'm sure there are qualified devotees who can answer it much more comprehensively than me.  All I can do is share my thoughts on where I'm at with this issue.

It used to bother me a lot more than it does now, although I still register statements that are biased against women, those that are not gender neutral. So what to do? 

Well, my approach firstly is to realise that there are so many things within this philosophy(which btw I'm absolutely signed up to) that are so far beyond my understanding that the gender issue is very low on the priority list.

Secondly, it is said that knowledge will be revealed within us as we sincerely pursue our sadhana, of which japa is the most important aspect. The purification process of japa is, I believe, everything. I'm happy to fixate on this.

Thirdly, society is what it is.  Individuals are what they are - the good, the bad, the ugly. I'm not going to waste energy on dwelling on societal ills.  I'm going to use my energy on things that I can do. Besides the quality of people within KC is amazing - not everyone I guess but so many. I've found everyone to be extremely respectful - with only a couple of negative encounters in my 10 yrs of association.

There is also the most elevated position of the Gopis.  Krsna has placed them there.  So if mere mortals are derogatory, so what?  its their problem totally.

Women are also people with the full range of qualities.... the good, the bad...… So no generalisations!

Sorry if it's very simplistic but as I say this is how I've come to terms with this issue.  Please tell me where I can improve.

Hare Krsna!

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There are two articles you can read aswell that can help you on the study of this this agenda:

1. Woman: Hold your head up High, and don't be afraid to be a WOMAN! The strengths of spirituality learned from women...

2. What is a Woman to do By Her Grace Visakha maataji 

 

Take a look at them and maybe we can continue this discussion further over here ? 

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