Tag Archives: Varnashrama

Para Siksha – A Symposium on Vedic Education Day 2

Morning Class, Priti Vardhana Prabhu

Sravana, manana and nididhyasana.

If one keeps aquiring knowledge and applying it, it furthers more and more, until one comes to the ultimate realization.

The teacher cannot make the student realize the knowledge, unless the student applies an endeavor. Continue reading Para Siksha – A Symposium on Vedic Education Day 2

Varṇāśrama Interview with HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja

[The following interview about varāśrama was conducted on 30 May 2017 by Nagarī Mātājī (BVKS) for the Russian website of HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami’s disciples.]

(This Interview was transcribed and kindly supplied to our website by Sulālitā dd (BBGS), edited by Balaram Briant from Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur)

Varṇāśrama stereotypes

Nagarī Mātājī: What is the essence, or the foundation, of varāśrama? Many devotees confuse it with the caste system.

HH Bhaktividyā Pūra Mahārāja: Caste system, I see. If you listen to modern academics, if you listen to modern socially oriented people, they will try to make it into a caste system. Because the purpose is if make it look bad you don’t have to follow it. Continue reading Varṇāśrama Interview with HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja

SB 5.19 A Description of the Island of Jambudvipa

CHAPTER 19 started 18th Apr 2016 Lecture 3 at 22 min 10s
  • Universe is laid out as it is for various stage of development of Krishna consciousness. Earthly plane is mainly meant for Krishna consciousness.

Continue reading SB 5.19 A Description of the Island of Jambudvipa

Why Women Can Be Siksha, but Not Diksha Gurus?

Prabhu: I would like to ask you a question regarding the previous part of the study guide. We discussed Suniti being the siksa-guru of Dhruva Maharaja, and it says in the purport to verse 32 [S.B. 4.12.32], ‘According to sastric injuctions there is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru, and generally the siksa-guru later on becomes the diksa-guru. Suniti, however, being a woman and specifically his mother could not become Dhruva Maharaja’s diksa-guru.’ So why is that?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Why is which?

Prabhu: Why is it that she cannot become the diksa-guru?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay. See, because you are dealing with… The diksa-guru is a formal relationship. Siksa is… doesn’t have that formality. So since the feminine nature, you are dealing with the sense of possession, then it fits with siksa-guru but not with diksa-guru. Because even though one would think it’s the other way, the problem is is, because of the sense of possession, then you expect them to do everything how you say based on your emotions, not based on your instruction. You know what I’m saying? The mother may be giving good instruction or not, or know what instruction to give or not, but she expects her child to behave in a particular way because they are her child. Do you understand? So you can’t have that in a diksa relationship. The point is is it’s based on siksa. But it’s formalized that that instruction has to be followed. But what’s happening here, it’s not about the instruction. One could say, ‘No, it’s about the instruction.’ No, but then it’s about them following the instruction. Do you understand? So that feminine aspect will come into it and it’s just not supposed to be there. Because then it turns something spiritual into this just whole emotional thing and the control and, you know, care and… You know what I am saying? So that’s the whole thing. So that can be applied onto the husband, onto the family members, onto the children. You know, onto your house, onto your community… But you can’t do that on the spiritual platform. So that’s why then women don’t become diksa-gurus. That’s the basic reason.

You know, I mean, then there’s so many details behind that. Just the strength required to do it. And a women who, only who’s protected can really do that, you know. So the point is is, women gets the strength when she is in a protected environment, she becomes very strong, very powerful, outgoing and that. If that’s lacking, she becomes weak. So when she becomes weak, to protect herself she becomes nasty. So then if you combine that with the need that her identity is based on that and if you don’t follow what she says, you doubt it, then it puts into question her position, her existence, her identity as the diksa-guru. And so that’s going to create so much mental turmoil and it will be about her. So that’s the whole point.

While as a diksa-guru, it’s about what works for the disciple. But if the woman is the guru, because of the sense of possession, it’s always about her. So its just opposite, it’s just incompatible. Now as a siksa-guru, it can work. Why is that? Because the siksa doesn’t have that sense of possession. So they follow or not follow, it’s one of those, they follow, you have a good relation, you don’t follow, then ‘Hey, what to do?’ You know, it’s like the grandparents, they tell you something good, they will always tell you good advice. Right? And you take it, great! If you don’t, its kind-of like, ‘Hey, it’s my child’s problem, not my problem’. Right? Because they are the child of their child. So if they are going off in the wrong direction, that’s their child’s business to take care of. They are just trying to help. So that’s why then the siksa position is the strongest.

So the difficulty is is, in the contemporary environment is, due to the neophyte mentality, there isn’t a proper respect for siksa-guru. Because to have respect for siksa-guru, means you have to have respect for the principle of authority and that knowledge is the highest. Does that make sense? But in an environment where authority issues is basically kind-of standard and accepted as ‘that’s normal,’ and if you accept authority, ‘there is something wrong with you, or you are sentimental.’ Right? And then on top of that, when you add into it the contemporary social values from the platform of prana-maya, you know, from artha, that these things are of importance, then you can see is, then that undermines the whole position of what siksa-guru represents and what needs to be there. So, neophyte mentality especially when it has the aspect of the modern contemporary prana-maya values, then you can’t establish siksa-gurus. So only diksa, because then there is, seemingly diksa is like… You know, then it’s like, there is a ritual. So there is that formal, external relationship. Because siksa-guru is based not on external, its based on the more subtle. It’s on the knowledge, on the metaphysical. Right? But the diksa then the neophyte takes it that it’s based on the external. You know, just like you have any kind of ritual, there is a connection there by the external. When you have a marriage, you are connecting the external. Right? You are not connecting the souls. They are just agreeing to work together. It’s the external you are connecting.

So then that, one, makes it strong for the neophyte, but, two, makes it weak for them to go beyond that and understand the position of siksa-guru. Because if siksa-guru is respected, that means all senior Vaishnavas, and especially those who are more close, who are giving instructions would be on that same platform like the diksa-guru. Right? Then you wouldn’t have a need for trying to bring out this thing based on social values. It’s not based on spiritual values. No one should fool themselves on this. It’s based purely on social values, modern social values, that the women should be diksa-gurus. You know what I’m saying?

The point is is right here Prabhupada is saying, he says according to sashtra. So that’s just the way it is. You know what I am saying? But diksa-guru is the highest in the formal, but that’s within Pancharatra. But higher than Pancharatra is Bhagavata. Bhagavata just functions on siksa. You understand? So that’s the whole thing, we have… We turn everything upside down due to mode of ignorance. So actually someone being a siksa-guru based on the Bhagavata principle is technically a higher position, but by formality then they are not, right? In the formal environment they are not. So you have to be able to balance these things. And balance is not one of the fortes of contemporary society. It just doesn’t know how, because it doesn’t know what the elements are. Because to balance you have to know what your hands are, and you have to know what those funny little balls, or whatever it is that you are juggling, you have to know the rhythm, you have to know all those different things, and it’s… You know what I’m saying? So, you have to know, but the problem is is, you can’t even define these things. So then how do you get people… People don’t even know what is a diksa and siksa-guru and how it fits in the formula and what it means, what are the technical points of initiation? What’s the masculine principle, feminine principle, Bhagavata, Pancaratrika, Vedic? How are their relationships? All those things. If you can define that then you can discuss balance.

But what we are dealing with is it’s thrown out of balance because you are taking a modern social phenomena and trying to make that as a spiritual… How do you say? Vanguard. What it actually is not. It’s just a social… You know, it’s a social issue so that people have enough bile to digest lunch, you know, that’s basically what its benefit is. You know what I am saying? So that’s the thing is that the diksa-guru is just not recommended. You could say, ‘No, but there is some examples and lines in history,’ but who cares if Prabhupada says it’s not and he says it according to the sastra? Who cares? Because if I say… Let’s say there is another modern issue that I have examples from history, right? And if it goes against that modern principle, then what will be the point? ‘Well, Prabhupada doesn’t talk about it, so we don’t accept it.’ But if Prabhupada does talk about it and you find an example to oppose it and it supports the modern, then it’s something to discuss. So this is politics. This is not philosophy, this is not spiritual. It’s just downright… You could say, ‘Equal opportunities,’ and that, but what does this mean? You know what I am saying?

That’s the difficulty is that these aren’t defined and if you try to push an issue, then you just get emotional blow-ups, which is how woman deals with these things, right? In other words, if a woman wants something, but she knows it’s logically wrong, as soon as you start to logically approach it, then she immediately just becomes angry and stops talking and stuff like that, that’s the natural defense. You know, cry, this and that, she just brings it back to her, so then you have to drop it, ‘Oh, oh, oh, no, no…’ [Laughter] Like that. That’s just the way it works. And so, and we are going to accept that that’s how are we going to deal with such an important philosophical point? That shastra doesn’t… That’s why shastra doesn’t support it. It’s very simple, it’s very straightforward, you know. And people may say this and that and ‘we are not this body,’ and so many things, and, yes, we are not the body, but the problem is is, the body is the body. We have to understand that. Yes, I am not the body, but the body is the body and it has a nature, and it functions according to that nature. No ifs, no ands and no buts. That’s like ‘The car is sitting there and it’s a car, but when I get in it, I am the soul, I am separate from the car, now the car can do anything.’ How does that work? ‘It’s only a car if I am not in the car, but when I get in the car now it can be anything. The sky is the limit,’ you know. What do you mean? It’s still a car. So whether there is a soul in the body or a soul not in the body, whether the soul is identified with the body, the soul is not identified with the body, the body is still the body, it’s just straightforward logical facts.

And so it’s not about that there is a problem here, it’s a… Point is, why put women into a position that’s unfavorable for them as women? Because say what you want, that sense of possession is going to come up. It doesn’t matter who says or what says. And if you say… Because the shastra says, if one is liberated then you could do such a thing. But liberated woman, as pointed out by Vishvanatha, not in that context, but he is saying about Varnashrama and about how the devotee in the stages of kanishtha and madhyama engages his conditioning in Krishna’s service. But then when he gets to the uttama platform, he technically doesn’t have to, but he still will because what reason is there for not to? Right? It’s not a matter of prestige. Arjuna being a liberated soul, an eternal associate of the Lord, is not worried, “Oh, brahmana is better.’ You know, that’s for Vishvamitra. Right? He does that. It’s not for the devotees. So when they get to the uttama platform, they don’t have to, but they do, to set example. So therefore it still doesn’t change.

So that’s the whole point is this system is there because that’s how Krishna likes it. You know, that’s how Krishna likes the culture to work, because then that particular closeness and everything can be there, and that closeness is specific. Because if that attachment goes everywhere, what’s the specialty? Because that attachment is focused, that has meaning. So this thing where you put the woman out on the street and her attachment goes out to all and her sense of possession goes out to all, what’s special about that? And two, what it is that you are getting that that sense of possession has a meaning? Because the sense of possession is, means, is as much control as you can get. So then what is it that the woman is doing to deserve that? Do you understand? These things go both ways, we generally don’t talk this way, because men take advantage of it. But the point is is just like if the man is really not putting out and putting in his effort, why does he deserve that reciprocation of the woman, what is he doing to actually… That she is impressed that his commitment to the relationship is strong enough to warrant that kind of surrender and kind-of service and interaction that she makes the effort to smile? You know what I am saying? Does that make sense?

So the same way it goes the other way, that sense of possession, that the woman can feel it’s her right to have that sense of possession, what is she doing for someone else that it’s there? She can say, ‘I am the diksa-guru,’ but it’s going to go for more than diksa-guru. Everybody is going to feel the brunt of it, the temple president especially, because it’s her disciples that are in the temple and things have to go the way she wants, because she is the guru. It’s like the zonal acharyas of the 1980s are kids stuff compared to a woman being a guru because the others don’t pull on an emotional trip. They don’t feel… They may get emotional but as soon as you point it out, ‘Yeah, yeah, right.’ But you try doing that on a woman, its not going to happen. So therefore it’s only going to create havoc.

And the point is is, if you do have an exception, which means, on the liberated platform, it’s an exception. And that exception, as Vishvanatha points out, proves the rule. We take it, exception breaks the rule. That’s the difference between the Vedic and the modern. The modern, if you have an exception, it breaks the rule. The Vedic, you have an exception it proves the rule because there is only this exception. So that shows, the rule stands and the exception is an exception. So, therefore the principle of exception means, there is only an exception. You can’t make a general rule – ‘Women can be gurus.’ That’s against the rules. It’s against Krishna, it’s against the shastras, against what Prabhupada teaches. And to make it, it’s against women because you can imagine, okay, how much trouble the men are going to get for this woman guru? Now imagine what the women are going to have to go through! That’s going to be… You’re going to see riots.

And then, now what’s that woman guru is going to feel when there is a temple where the community doesn’t want her to come? And she’s got this, ‘I was a this and that’. What’s going to happen? You just tell her that she can’t do something she wants to do as an ordinary thing and there is a total meltdown. Let alone something that is seen on this ‘You are on the highest position, you are the…’ And you can’t do something. This is going to, this is going to be devastating. And then where is that…  Because it’s a social issue here. I’ve said from the beginning. It’s social from beginning to end. There is nothing spiritual about it. If it is about spiritual and preaching you do that as a siksa-guru. You know what I am saying? So therefore then where is the social support for such a ‘guru’? Where is that support? Who is giving it? You know, where is that… Where are these ideal husbands? Where are the ideal families and communities that are going to support a woman on this great of a meltdown? It is hard enough to find someone to support her on just day to day little issues. You know, you came out and somebody moved your shoes and you freaked out. Let alone, like this: Someone removed your disciples or doesn’t want you coming to the temple, doesn’t want you dealing with disciples.

They do that to the men gurus. There are men gurus who are not allowed to go to certain zones because the administrators don’t appreciate how they deal. And they’ve had meltdowns. And those are men. And those are tough men. I’m not talking about weak men. I’m talking about tough men. And so now what’s going to happen to woman? Because her whole sense of ownership has been questioned. And that is the point of strength of a woman. She has that sense of ownership. That’s why you have to tell her that you love her a million times, right? But she is not going to tell the man that because he has to… He should be able to figure that out. But he has to say. So then everybody is going to have to be constantly telling her how great she is? So, I mean, whose business is that? That’s a husband’s business. That is a family’s business, father’s business, son’s business, you know, close friend’s, well-wisher’s business. This is not everybody’s general business because diksa-guru is a formal position. So it’s a formal relationship. So that formality doesn’t warrant this.

So it’s a total lack of understanding of the masculine and feminine principles which is shown in the 3rd Canto. And everybody is here talking like Caitanya Caritamrita or something. This is the 3rd Canto, and the social issues and how varnashrama… Can’t even figure out varnashrama. So if you can’t figure out varnashrama, position of women in varnashrama is a detail. So how are we going to know that? How communities work, how all these things are, it means all these things are… If all those are in place, then you can discuss it. You know what I am saying? Discuss it means we can discuss it pleasantly. This other, this kind of thing, you know… We’ve been talking now for 5 years, so this goes smoothly. But if you put this into a general environment you’ve got fireworks after the first two words.

So therefore that’s why it’s brought up and Prabhupada has put it here in writing, right in the Bhagavatam, made it very clear. So it’s not our … Our business is, why is this, how does it work? Not, ‘Oh, this is this, that…’ Prabhupada is on the bodily platform or what? Prabhupada is a smarta? Prabhupada doesn’t know how to see things according to time, place and circumstance? That’s why we have temples instead of mathas. Prabhupada started with mathas, but because Jadurani was very serious about Krishna consciousness, then he made temples. Because temples, then you can have women and grihasthas involved. Mathas, it’s only brahmacharis and sannyasis. Like Gaudiya Matha means that the only ones that can live there are the brahmacharis and sannyasis. Grihasthas are not in any way, shape or form taken care of by the temple or given facility by the temple. They can come and do service, but they don’t give a place to stay and this and that. I kind-of get the idea that the matha manager which generally is a grihastha, he may get some kind of facility from the temple, but that’s the matha manager, and that’s it. It’s not a place… So Prabhupada made temples, that’s already accommodating women. And the principle of how to preach and everything in the community was given by Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the Namahatta principle, like that. So Prabhupada is already accommodating. But he has accommodated according to the nature.

So one has to know what feature… Through something that’s informal, that’s where the interaction with women is at its best and women are the most comfortable. The formal environments are not the place where the women are the most comfortable. You know what I am saying? Because they can only be comfortable if they are the top of the pile. You have the big formal event, and they are the Number One Lady there who is pulling off the event or something, then she can walk around as if she owns the place, and everybody has got to be nice to her. It works in that, so therefore socially it works, so socially it could work as woman as diksa-guru and that she’ll feel great. But how does all the other women and everybody else in that party feel about her? They don’t necessarily like. A few do, but a lot of them just think, “Who is this lady?” So is that what we want to establish in our society? Does that make sense? So that’s why it’s said here.

And that’s just the generic. Now, to finish your question, now add on that that she is his mother, then that sense of possession is total and absolute. Husband is yours, but technically you can get rid of him, right? But the child is yours… You know what I am saying? If there is a divorce, it’s still your child. You stay married, it’s your child, you get a divorce, it’s your child. So where the sense of possession is stronger? With the child. Does that make sense? So now, you add that on top of it, compound it another 10 or a 100 times. Now you are talking about insanity. So that’s why it’s not allowed, that’s all, it’s a simple thing. That does not, that in no way, shape or form supports that men deal in the external and deal with women improperly and in an uncultured way and don’t give the proper facilities and shelter, that’s 100% bogus and basically you can say the men in the society have failed in this capacity. Individuals, not, but as a generic in society, the men, the administrations, the management, they have all failed. You know, there is individuals who understand and they do a good job. But as a generic understanding, no. So that has to change. Because this other one is not a solution, just like the man would deal nastily with the ladies and they would be calling them ‘Mataji,’ while they are saying that with a cringe on their lip. So now, if the men say ‘Prabhu’ instead of ‘Mataji’, now it solves the whole problem? You know, how does that work? You can say ‘Prabhu’ with a cringe on your lip also, plus you have the “bhu”, so you can spit at the same time [Laughter], while ‘Mataji’ there is no chance to spit, you have to wait till you are… you know what I am saying?

So that’s the whole problem is is, external problems, it’s not that external adjustments are going to make it all right, that’s neophyte, that’s childish. Only principle understand… The reason that these details go bad is because the principles aren’t as good. So it’s not that varnashrama is giving a problem, no, who understands varnashrama? One or two. But the problems of the varnashrama are because people don’t understand them, that’s why it doesn’t go away. Does this make sense? Is that okay? Something adds, some adjustments? No? Is that… Is this okay?

Mataji: Maharaja, I have a question.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes.

Mataji: Regarding men… Because the women, they have their sense of possession…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Right.

Mataji: …and that’s what makes them disqualified from this position…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Right.

Mataji: It means the men don’t have this thing usually?

HH BVPS Maharaja: In general… Because they can function in that neutral state. The feminine nature because of its being shakti has to be dependent from shaktiman, it has to be dependent. Men could be independent or not. Therefore the more the man is attached, the less he is qualified. Does that make sense? So just like if sannyasis were gurus, you wouldn’t even think about it, or brahmacharis are gurus, as long as they’ve been around a while and kind-of are senior, okay, cool. But if a grihastha was a guru, you’d think about it. You’d think about, ‘Okay, what’s his relationship?’ and you’d watch how he deals with everybody, his wife and this and that. And if you felt it was good and comfortable, then you would say, ‘Okay, he is okay as a guru.’ It’s just like in the opposite. In the opposite, brahmacharis and sannyasis are taken automatically that they really don’t know what to do socially, and grihasthas automatically are taken that socially they know what to do. Then it’s a matter of individual, okay, there is a grihastha that might not be so good socially, there may be a brahmachari or sannyasi who does okay socially. So that’s the thing is that these mentalities are already established by the Lord, they are given in shastra, the modes of nature carry them out. So therefore it’s not that the man… If a man is attached like that, he shouldn’t be a guru. Because accordingly, from the previous thing, if the woman is considered bad association, but worse is the man who is attached to a women. So then that means a woman guru would be bad, and a man who is attached to women as a guru would be the worst. So therefore then you have to just see that the standard of pure devotional service in all these things to judge this.

So the point is, the siksa-guru then doesn’t have the formality, so then talking in various kind-of natural settings, environments, creating those, then that works very nicely. Like ladies that I know of that I would consider are on the level of guru – then they do their duties very nicely as siksa-gurus. They arrange environments in which they can give instruction, but in the way that matches their feminine nature. And it’s not that they’re sitting in the, you know, out of the way – they do big programs and everything, but they do programs on their own terms. It’s they’re doing a program, whoever wants to be there comes. Does that make sense? While if you have a formal thing, like…How you say? The woman is giving a seminar, it’s not official, so then who goes? Those who want to be there. So then the reciprocation with everybody is very nice. Right? You have an official temple class, then everybody is supposed to be there. Now whether they like you speaking or not that’s another thing. You know what I am saying? So that’s not going to be very inspiring to the woman, because the energy may be very low. But if it’s a program that it’s her program, and you’re coming to it voluntarily, then it’s going to be high energy, and so it’s going to match very nicely. Because the point is is, the feminine nature is glorious because of the amount of energy it produces. And so, that can only be produced if the environment is proper. You know what I’m saying? The man is neutral, so whether it’s nice or not nice, it goes up a little bit or down a little bit; but for the woman it’s nice it goes up incredibly, if it’s bad – it goes down incredibly. So it’s not going to work nicely. So that’s the whole point, is understanding where each nature has its strength and then everybody is placed in that position. You know, it works really nice. Does that make sense?

So that’s why I said… So it’s no that… That’s the whole point is… What I’m mentioning is that our women who are functioning on the platform of siksa-guru, they have been like that for 10-20 years, maybe even more, just I’ve been noticed since then. And people come to them, they take advice and that, but they won’t be seen or respected as senior persons necessarily, except for those who accept them. So that’s the weakness in the society, is that such senior women are not respected as being senior. You know what I am saying? So individuals who know them, yes, but outside that, no. So then what’s the… Like, just for an example, take Yamuna. Right? She’d go down to the kitchen, teach cooking, sit down, talk stories about Prabhupada, that environment then who wouldn’t accept her as siksa-guru? Right? But to come out of that into the formalized environment of diksa-guru – that’s going to be against the nature. How does she express all these things? What medium do you use? You know what I am saying?

So that’s the problem, so even though it may… You can say, ‘No, but the woman can work in the men’s environment,’ no, they don’t. They just change the men’s environment into a woman’s environment, that’s all. The workplace, it’s a man’s place. If the woman ran it, it’s her place. The man runs it, it’s his place of work. The woman runs it, it’s her place. It’s different. The man is the boss, you simply have to do what you are supposed to do and basically just respect that he is the boss, that’s all. There can be zero emotional input or anything like that, no need of sensitivity, just get the work done and don’t be cracks. But the woman, there is the need of being able to relate to her, interact with her properly. Today she is enthusiastic, you deal that way, she is not enthusiastic, you have to deal in another way. So the man boss is always the same. So when women come into ‘men’s world’ it doesn’t remain the men’s world, they just make it into women’s world. And then men have to adjust to work into women’s world just like they do at home. And so for men, that’s a problem, because they look at things mechanically in the work environment and just want to mechanically make it work. And by doing this, even you say, ‘Well, the men need some of this,’ but it hasn’t improved the nature of the men at all, other than making them more weak. They are already weak, they become more weak, so they become more self-centered. So they are like… Now, you know… Before maybe you get the guy up to a teenager, early twenties, a good one. Now you have 8-year olds or 6-year olds, because they are just so weak. Does that make sense?

So that’s the whole point. Women are more powerful. Because of them being more powerful the environment has to be more ideal, suited and controlled to accommodate greater power. If I have something that’s not powerful – does it matter? Let’s say, okay, I have this rock. Okay? Does it matter where I put it down or anything? No. What if I have a one-liter bottle of nitroglycerin? I have to be careful where I put it. I can’t just put it down anywhere. What if I put it next to a window, so it gets a nice, pleasant early morning sun? Right?

Mataji: You might not have a window…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, you might not have a window, yeah. Unfortunately, it was a bay window, so it kind-of went more out, like that. Do you understand? But it’s just like, can I shake it? Can I …? Do you understand? The rock, I can do anything. So that’s the thing, the more power, the more you have to be careful. Right? Okay, let’s say, I have a cheapo plastic swatch. Do I have to worry about it much? No. What happens if I have something very expensive? Leave it around, drop it, scratch it…  Do you understand? So that’s the whole thing, it’s taken that, ‘Oh, we are down on women,’ but no, it’s actually the opposite, it’s that because of the value they have to be dealt with in a different way. But unscrupulous men who don’t understand the culture, but they’ve been raised by women who don’t understand the culture either, who are so-called taken care of, but not really taken care of by men who don’t know what’s going on, and so in this way the line is generated, then no one knows what to do, so they take advantage. It’s just like this. Let us just give some example here, it may be a stretch, but I am trying to find something, because in the modern there is hardly any example. Let us say, like you have the boy in the family, and he is at home, he is always at home, so then naturally the mother takes care, whatever he wants, it’s all about the kid, right? So as he grows up, if he maintains that mentality, it’s not going to be appreciated by his mother, his sister, his grandparents, so why would it be appreciated by a wife? You know what I am saying? Why would a woman want to marry, basically, a man who is, has got the emotional mentality of an 8-year old? You know, at the same time is expecting benefits? Do you understand? At least the kid with the mother, that part is out of it. So it’s just, you know, wants something to eat or doesn’t want to wash his clothes or pick up his room, she should do it. You know what I am saying? So then it just gets worse.

So that’s the problem, it’s not about the Vedic, it’s not about this and that, it’s about the men being untrained. Now, let’s say, the man is trained, you know, like, let’s say, he has to work hard… No, that may not work… Let’s say he goes to the army. He comes back, he is respectful, he has learned to respect, so he comes back, he is respectful to his mother. So now, that missing of the son was not ideal for the mother, but what she gets back is way better. Do you understand? So now that kind of person now can actually have the responsibility to deal in a responsible way with the woman to see that the environment is nicely taken care of. Does that make sense? So that’s what we are talking about, is without training then none of this works. But the solution to lack of training is not out of the frying pan into the fire. That doesn’t get any better. Did that example make sense? Is that okay? Yes? Does that work?

Prabhu: Yes.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Now we move back?

Mataji: Maharaja, but can we say that actually in a broader sense… a woman should not be an authority in any position?

HH BVPS Maharaja: She is not to be an authority in any position?

Mataji: Formal.

HH BVPS Maharaja: In formal? No. I mean other than she is, on formal occasions she is the mother. You have that mix of intimacy and formality, you know. So yeah, that’s the strongest position, you can say, is woman as mother. But otherwise as daughter, as sister, as… Like this, all, because there is a sense of  relationship that’s… When the sense of relationship is there, that’s when the woman is the strongest. You know what I am saying? It’s a miss… I mean it’s interesting when you have a woman who is always inspired, always doing everything, always it’s perfectly done. But you can say whatever you want, okay, take, what is it? Our tour-aid lady, okay? But does she not have money, does she not have a fancy house with grounds that you can’t even see where the end is? Does she not have a committed, dedicated butler that is going to take care of any time, place and circumstance? Right? Do you understand? So that’s the whole thing, it’s there.

So the consistency… It’s just like you have an action film. Do we see the main people eating? Generally not. They are going to sit down and sit there and a whole like 20 minutes goes on the meal? No. Maybe they, who knows, they grab a bite, they are eating out of a can somewhere, under a tree or something. Then sleeping? No, okay. Defending, yes, because that’s what the whole movie is about, and depending upon what they want their ratings, then there may be some mating. But that’s just for interest’s sake, it has nothing to do with the good triumphing over evil, or anything like that. So they don’t get involved in these, so these kind-of things… What about going to the toilet? Definitely you don’t have that one, right? So then? Tying their shoelaces? What about cleaning up after they did something, or…? Do you understand? No, it’s just, everything is just all happening, because it’s all that… So in the same way that’s all they do is take those moments when the woman is in good form and that’s what you see on the screen. But how much these action packed women behind the scene are not doing well? You  know what I am saying? So that’s the thing, it gives the illusion that ‘no, no,’ they are cool, they are always on top of it… No, they are only on top of things if the environment is right. Because as we said, it’s just like this: is fire powerful? Okay. But is any situation going to make fire happy? No, you have to have just the right situation. What if the… What if what’s flammable is wet? What if there is a heavy wind blowing? But once it gets to a certain level, it doesn’t matter what’s going on. So that’s the whole thing is, you have to create the right environment that the energy can be shown, then the women are powerful.

So that’s the whole thing is… And we may complain that, ‘No, no this is..’ But why would we complain unless we have the sense that ‘I am independent from God, I am God.’ So, in other words, it’s not glorious. Just like if a man who is generally situated ‘I am the controller,’ if he says, ‘I am the controller,’ it’s annoying but okay. But if he is ‘I am the enjoyer,’ those kind-of men are really annoying. Right? Does that make sense? So why would it be any different that the woman is the enjoyer, no one is going to complain. But now she is the controller? Now, that everybody gets upset. You know what I am saying? So somehow or another it’s glorious that the women take on the masculine mentality of ‘I am the controller’ rather than ‘I am the enjoyer’? And then somehow or another it makes it better, it becomes spiritual? That’s the whole thing, it’s prana-maya by the untrained is considered spiritual. You go out into the forest, you just feel, just nature and the power of nature, and you have that ‘spiritual’ experience. No, you just figured out that there is energy out there, that’s prana. So that prana-maya is taken as ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if everybody just cooperated together?’ And we take that as spiritual, that’s prana-maya. Necessary, but prana-maya. Does that…? Works? Okay? Yes? Everybody happy and satisfied? Very good. It was a quote from Cabaret. [Laughter] Okay.

I was wondering… When was it? On Tuesday when we read through it and it just went by and no question, I thought ‘Oh, wow, okay…’

Mataji: It was too hot.

HH BVPS Maharaja: It was too hot, okay… [Laughter] Okay, that makes sense. Now in the cool of the morning.. Whoo…

Mataji (2): We didn’t have a [indistinct]

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, yeah… No, it’s good it came up here, because it’s more… Does that make sense? It’s very scientific, means, everything is scientific, so you just have to look at that. Then you apply… The whole point is is, the Vedic is you apply emotions within the scientific field. That way you get benefit of the structure and the feelings, while if you do it the other way, you apply intelligence within the realm of emotion, you just use your intelligence how to express the emotion, and then it can break all rules. So that’s why in the Vedas it says, first you have to learn the science, then you learn the art, because then you will balance it.


(From Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 4, Part 22, Darshan Caksus Course, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridhama Mayapur)

Full Lecture Audio:


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  • Dualities of love and hatred are destroyed by suppression of breath. Sin is destroyed through focus in one’s prescribed duty. Sensual attachment by restraint, and false identity by contemplation of distinction between matter and spirit and constitutional position of the soul.
  • Sin comes from improper activity.
  • We are attracted to certain situations because they offer some benefits, but when we contemplate how people move through these situations as a result to their activities, we gradually lose interest in them.

Continue reading BRIHAD MANU SIKSHA #26

Brihad Manu Siksha #3 Lecture Notes

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  • Bhrigu takes up the recitation..
  • The laws of Manu are composed by Vishnu Himself. Then they are given to Brahma, then to Manu.
  • Measurements of time:

1 nimisha 
18 nimishas = 1 kashta = 3.2 seconds

30 kashtas = 1 kala = 96 seconds

30 kalas = 1 muhurta = 2880 s = 48 minutes

30 muhurtas = 1 day and night

  • Sun divides days for exertion, nights for rest.
  • Dark fortnight is day for manes, bright fortnight – their night.
  • Year is day and night for demigods. Uttarayana is day, Dakshinayana – night.
  • Demigods get up in the month of Kartik.
  • Krta (Satya) yuga is 4,000 demigod years. 400+400 years is “twilight” between yugas.
  • Calculations given by Prabhupada include yuga-sandhis.

Treta 3,000 and 300+300
Dvapara 2,000 and 200+200

Kali 1,000 and 100+100

  • In yuga sandhis people like Duryodhana appear who have qualities of both ages.
  • These 12,000 years is one age of the demigods.
  • 1000 Mahayugas make one day of Lord Brahma.
  • One who knows these calculations, knows time.
  • The catalyst for modification of material elements is adding more false ego.
  • 71 periods of yugas is one period of Manu (Manvantara). There are 14 Manus in a day of Lord Brahma. Bet, between the rules of Manus there are also sandhis.
  • Everybody takes creation and dissolution so seriously, but the Lord is just having a good time.
  • In the Krta age people do not get any benefit from unlawful act. Everybody is doing what they should be doing.
  • In Treta yuga people start getting livelihood by wrong means.
  • In Kali yuga one progresses by ‘liberality alone’ – in means, by charity, and the highest charity is spreading the Sankirtana movement.
  • To get rid of sin, in Krta yuga one has to abandon the country where sinner lives, in Treta – the village, in Dvapara – the family, in Kali – the sinner himself.
  • When Lord Krishna appears, Treta and Dvapara yugas change their places, and so do the yuga-dharma.
  • In Kali yuga one is not degraded by others, but only by what one does oneself.
  • Curses have effect in a year in Kali yuga.
  • Best gift is to seek out the person and to give a gift.
  • If one acts in a way one should be acting, one can actually live in a higher age. But negative effects one only gets of one’s own age.
  • Rules are not necessarily different in Kali-yuga, but since people’s mentality is different, there is ways to apply them.
  • In Kali-yuga men are conquered by women and agnihotra sacrifices cease to exist.
  • The duties were created according to the nature of the people.
  • Brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas all study, perform their own sacrifices and give in charity.
  • Only brahmanas accept charity, teach and do sacrifices for others – that is their maintenance. They may also accept other means of maintenance.
  • For brahmanas their occupation is their ashrama duties.
  • Sacrifice must never be means to make money for the temple. One who does yajna for money (not in a brahminical mood) does not last. Usual term is 6 moths.
  • When a kshatriya teaches, it’s always a fight. If student does not understand, it’s like ‘Are you stupid or what?!” Vaishyas run it as business, and it’s a big money. Education should be available to whoever is qualified, not only ones who have money.
  • After yajna brahmana becomes enemy – the person doing yajna could not care less about them after the yajna is over.
  • Kshatriya should work on abstaining from sensual pleasures.
  • Shudra should serve others without resentment. The highest virtue for a shudra is to serve Brahmanas.
  • Every devotee is a brahmana by duties, but not by occupation.
  • Shudra does not commit wrong by selling things he can collect – honey, milk, curd, whey etc.
  • If shudra eats prohibited food he does not lose his caste, but that does not mean he does not get a reaction.
  • By drinking the milk of Kapila, or Surabhi cow one will life 10,000 years and that would not be good for a shudra, because they will just party.

Brihad Manu Siksha #1 Lecture Notes


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  • Manu Samhita is the main dharma-shastra. There are about 20 different-dharma shastras, their details apply in different ages and situations.
  • Varnashrama is rarely looked at as a complete social system.
  • We think rules don’t apply because we have lost understanding of them.
  • Perverted reflection means that we put ourself in the center.
  • By following dharma, lifestyle here is the same as in the spiritual world.
  • The purpose of the rules is enhancing an aspect of relationship, but most take it as ritual.
  • Tradition is how rules have been applied by great saintly persons – Manu smriti is about that.
  • Knowledge has to begin with how it descended from the Lord.
  • In Kali-yuga there are often times of distress, so comments of Yajnavalkya and especially Parashara are added for Kali yuga.
  • Manu Samhita has 25 topics in 12 chapters (discourses).
  • 18 titles of law.
  • Topics may extend over several chapters – once we get used to it it becomes easier to read Vedic literatures.
  • Svayambhu may refer to Krishna, Lord Brahma and Svayambhuva Manu. Manu is in charge of mankind.


  • Sages know Varnashrama, but they want to know rules in connection with the Supreme Lord. So Manu is actually on Daivi-varnashrama.
  • Parts of Manu Samhita that don’t apply are the rules that we chant Hare Krishna and don’t care about.
  • Even apara-vidyas are to be received in parampara and their connection to Vedanta must be maintained at all times.
  • The idea of anuchana is to see all sciences and scriptures in relation to Vedanta.
  • The students of Manu Samhita must be:

1) high-minded – one is in the mode of goodness, seeing good qualities in connection to the Lord;

2) elevated – one should be practicing it;
3) interested in the practice of religious life for the purpose of God-realization.

  • There are people who are only interested in practice of religious life, or only in God-realization.
  • One must be interested in how to apply religion transcendentally – then one can appreciate Manu Samhita.
  • People only notice verses about fingers cut off  – 2 out of 2,000.
  • We are using the same translation of Manu Samhita that scholars used to discredit culture, to prove it, so no academics can complain.
  • Pradhana is material energy in an undefined state.
  • The Lord first establishes the field of activities for the living entities.
  • The mind is real, but may have an unrealistic perception of the world.
  • “The great one” = Mahat, material energy containing souls.
  • The subtle body is actually all mind, which has divisions of mind, intelligence and ego.
  • Mahabhutas are manifest from Sankarshana, senses – from Pradyumna.
  • Sankhya is explained in 25 elements, or 9, or 16.
  • Our identity is based on the senses and the mind.
  • Body, sharira is the residence of the Supreme Lord.
  • Mind comes from Aniruddha.
  • Performing activities is Vasudeva.
  • All shastras start with creation, because we have to know how everything connects to the Lord.
  • In the beginning Lord assigned name, form and activities for every living entity.
  • German girl riding on a Harley still manifests feminine nature.
  • Impure nature is a problem, pure nature is never a problem.
  • The three Vedas come from fire, wind and Sun.
  • The way we see the world is through mind. Nakshatras are important, since they influence the mind.
  • Time, Lord Brahma and Nakshatras are on the topmost level of goodness.
  • The atomic particles are eternal, though the forms are perishable and change.
  • Living entities spontaneously take to whatever activities are assigned according to their nature.
  • Creation is always the same.
  • Untruth spontaneously sticks to the tribal because it’s important for them to not accept God and the Vedas.
  • Human species accepts the Vedas and authority.
  • We only change from tribal to human due to devotional service.
  • People follow their day-to day concerns anyway, either in a scientific, or a non-scientific way.
  • By analyzing the ingredients of the table one cannot understand the purpose of the table to keep shastra on.
  • People who are successful usually use more intelligence, except for those who are very consistent in sentiment and become successful in that.
  • Psychology is part of Ayurveda.
  • Primary creation is done by the Lord. Secondary creation is what is done by Lord Brahma.
  • Virat is the lotus from which Lord Brahma is born.
  • In the primary creation there is the Lord and His internal potency. In the secondary creation there is material energy and us.
  • Translators don’t understand the Vedas, so sometimes they use obscure words.
  • It’s only through austerity that Lord Brahma creates.
  • Through austerity even the bug is elevated to heavenly planets.
  • By lack of austerity one is degraded.
  • Lord Brahma created 9 Prajapatis who created other living entities.
  • Some grandsons of Lord Brahma also became Prajapatis, so in total there are 21 Prajapatis.
  • Apsaras are female gandharvas.
  • Manes means forefathers, or pitris.
  • Kinnaras are half-humans, half-animals.
  • Living entities are born from womb, eggs, moisture and perspiration, and seeds, shoots, slips.
  • Vanaspati – trees that bear only fruit.
  • Vriksha – trees that bear both fruit and flowers.
  • Plants possess internal consciousness and experience pleasure and pain.
  • Creation starts with Lord Vishnu and ends with plants.
  • Primary creation – sarga, secondary – visarga.​

Moving to Farms – The Great Varnashrama Misconception

Prabhu: Maharaja, this question I am asking this for my clarification. Since we are preaching to the peoples…

HH BVPS Maharaja: To the peoples…

Prabhu: …and people, they are coming and joining the temples, now they have joined the temples…

HH BVPS Maharaja: The peoples are joining the temples?

Prabhu: Devotees…

HH BVPS Maharaja: So, you are preaching to the peoples, but only devotees join?

Prabhu: Those who get, people, they understand the philosophy, they come…

HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, those peoples that understand, they become devotees, they join, okay.

Prabhu: Now they are chanting and reading books, and now they are preaching, going for the book distribution, and main activity is they are raising the funds, so that temple can sustain, they can purchase the rice, wheat, instead of growing their food. So now, we are more dependent on profit and people are living in the cities. So how we can preach so that they can be in their position, they are doing pottery, they are doing agriculture, they are doing all duty according to their varna and ashrama, so it will not….

HH BVPS Maharaja: So the way that you will get them to be comfortable in that is being able to appreciate that whatever position one is in that’s comfortable… Because I would say that there is probably a very major, well, yeah, I would consider a major point that most devotees who are dealing with Varnashrama miss. Dvaraka was not a village, neither was Indraprastha, neither was Mathura, neither was Hastinapura. Right? Or Pataliputra, or Drupada’s kingdom, his city. So Varnashrama also includes cities. So the main point is Krishna consciousness. What is the advantage of living in the rural environment? What is the advantage?

Prabhu: In rural environment there is more peace than city.

HH BVPS Maharaja: More peace? But peace, what’s that got to do with Krishna consciousness? Mayavadis sit in the stone room somewhere is some ashrama on the side of the Ganga and endeavor for peace. The Buddhist sits in his stupa somewhere, or stupor, whatever, and he is endeavoring for peace. Does that make sense? So how is that an advantage, why would peace be an advantage?

Prabhu: Peace in the sense that they have more time for chanting and reading the books.

HH BVPS Maharaja: But so then what would effect peace? Because people are in a peaceful environment, but are they peaceful? You know what I am saying? It’s just like, you go to, you look at the magazines and that. There is an island somewhere, perfect turquiose ocean, white beach, coconut trees and everything. And what are they advertising? A 5-star hotel there. They will say, ‘Yes, it is very peaceful,’ and this and that. So the people are going there, they are peaceful. So now is the natural thing therefore Krishna consciousness? No. What are they going to do? Now they are peaceful, what are they going to do?

Prabhu: Sense enjoyment.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, they are going to spend their time at the beach or at the SPA, or at the restaurant. Do you understand? So the point is is, even peace, if you don’t understand that it has to be connected to Krishna, even if you have it you are not going to use it properly. Mayavadis, their peace they misuse, Buddhists misuse it, materialists misuse it. Does that make sense? 

So the point is is, whatever you have, engage in Krishna’s service. You have a nature. So if you have a nature to function in a rural environment, that’s what you should be doing. Right? But you should be doing it for Krishna. Same thing is, someone is living in a city environment, they should be doing that for Krishna. 

The point is is, in a rural environment you are more in tune with the laws of God, so it’s more easy to remember the Lord. But you can also, just as easily, forget Him, the animals are out there and they don’t remember at all. But it’s just you are more in tune, while in the city if it’s not set up according to Vedic standards, it is very easy to forget the Lord due to the modes of passion and ignorance being very prominent. Because you create the environment. 

In the nature, living in nature, then the mode controlling that is goodness, but it doesn’t mean that you are controlled by goodness. You can be in passion or ignorance while you are there. So, the idea is that if they are there then how to make their situation Krishna conscious, whether you are in the city or whether you are in the country. And so, in that situation you see what would be the Krishna consciousness, what would please Krishna? So if you look at that, that will automatically adjust what you are doing. The form in the rural setting, basically you don’t necessarily have much adjustment. In the urban setting you might have more adjustment. But the point is, it’s the change of the consciousness that’s important because whether one is in the city or whether one is in the other, it doesn’t matter. Because in the Vedic thing… 

It’s just like this. Let us say, you live on a farm. Where is your house? Is it within the farm? Yeah. But in your house, is there farming? Okay, maybe, that avocado seed is growing on the window sill and your wheatgrass is growing, whatever, but the point is, your house is a house. Okay. Let us say, you have a big family, and so now you have three generations there, you are there, your ten children are there with their families, and their grandchildren. So, you have quite a few houses there on your farm. So, where are those houses? Are they all together, or one is here, one is over there, one is over… No, you put them all together, it’s surrounded by farm. Right? So, all you do is you expand that more and then you end up with a town or a city, but in the Vedic concept then where is that city situated? In the middle of farm. So, all around the city on all four sides, that’s farm. 

So that’s the weakness in your modern urban environment, there is no farm. The people want to move out of the city, they then go out and start a new town. Because if you take the farmland and make it into the urban environment, then that’s a problem. Or, as you make the rural into the suburban, then extend the rural. Do you understand? But all cities, depending on how big they are, that much degree of land they are supposed to have. So, in other words, Manhattan Island basically should have all of Jersey and half of New York as farmland. Then what’s the problem? All it is is that more developed thing of what the man who is living in the rural is doing anyway. He is not living out there with his carrots. He lives in a house, there is not one carrot growing out of his ground there. In his living room there is no carrots. So, all it is is that the city is the bigger environment for living in, so, therefore, the rules still apply, it’s not that there is two different lifestyles and all that. That’s if you are not very good at principles and only see details then, yes, it’s very different. Like here, this rock and this brick, ‘Oh, they are so different, oh, this and that,’  no, they are both made of earth. The same rules apply. 

(From Bhagavad-gita Thematic Study Course, lecture #44, 14 Feb 2012, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur)

Full lecture audio, this passage starting at 33:20

Foto © Ananta Vrindavan http://life-photography.info

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Bhagavad-Gita Thematic #18

This course is part of Sastra-Caksus, Year 2 and consists of 101 lectures, available on:


Given in Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur, November 2011-April 2012

The following are lecture notes briefly delineating its contents.

  • All the situations that people live in are created even before Brahma creates this universe, and along with that what’s right and wrong is created by the Lord, along with it duties, law. So the particular occupations for particular people based on their particular senses are created by Krishna Himself.
  • 7:20 Why are people not satisfied in their occupations? A common person may not be situated in the occupation that suits their nature. But then there are people who don’t like the concept of acting according to their duties.
  • Formerly Bachelor of Arts was simply to enrich one as a person, there were elements of education relating to varna and to ashrama. But nowadays people mostly only worry about their occupation.
  • Most animals are not trained. Humans are. But since in the West we grow up like animals, to take up human life is very daunting for us.
  • When we are comfortable with things, we do not notice the restrictions.
  • The only reason we don’t see human culture as practical is because we don’t see through human perspective.
  • Westerners focus on relationships with things and have no idea how to deal with people. But if one understands relationships with people, things are easy. Many Western enterprises are taken over people who come from communities and now apply that understanding in dealing with things.
  • 30:00 Freedom is always there in advanced stages of following the rules. That is spontaneity.
  • If devotees had spent all the time they spent arguing against varnashrama in discussing how to actually apply it, they would be good at it by now.
  • We will take that only illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling is sinful. But not following rules of human life, e.g. not washing feet after using bathroom, is also impious.
  • Every varna have to be tolerant. Just brahmanas already need the quality to perform their duties, while others can develop those qualities in the process of performing their duties.
  • The concept of bachelor is a shudra thing. Brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas are brahmacharis, then they get married, but shudras are always in family environment.
  • The principles of our conditioning always remain, but it can be purified and uplifted.
  • Discussion on eating with fingers.
  • Culture and consciousness when eating are the main things, details may vary. But usually people sitting at the table and eating with fork don’t have a proper mood and discussion.
  • 104:00 While eating elbows should stay within the range of the knees.
  • As one advances, one’s varna does not change, but one’s qualities and attitude in that varna will improve.

Bhagavad-Gita Thematic #17

This course is part of Sastra-Caksus, Year 2 and consists of 101 lectures, available on:


Given in Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur, November 2011-April 2012

The following are lecture notes briefly delineating its contents.

  • We should not think that if someone above us fell down then what’s our chance. Everyone is different.
  • One’s level in devotional service is determined by one’s faith, not by whether one has accidentally fallen down or not.

Continue reading Bhagavad-Gita Thematic #17