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Taliban Rhetoric in ISKCON

by Name Withheld

Posted Janurary 18, 2013

Sampradaya Sun website has posted article by Bhakti Vikas Swami titled "Feminist rhetoric in Dadavats". ( ). Bhakti Vikas Swami accepts that the views expressed in article may seems like Talibanist. Following views are expressed by him in this article and he has tried to justify them using quotes from Prabhupada.

1. Women don't need to go to school. They can get education from home. They should not purse any form of college education. Prabhupada: Yes. They should be taught how to sweep, how to stitch, clean, cook, to be faithful to the husband Tamala Krsna: They don't require a big school. Tamala Krsna: Yeah. That they can get at home also.

2. Girl should not attend any co-ed school. Girls who attend such schools are called prostitutes. Prabhupada: Girls. Boys and girls. That is dangerous. Girls should be completely separated from the very beginning. They are very dangerous. Prabhupada: They should be stopped, this practice of prostitution. This is a very bad system in Europe and America. The boys and girls, they are educated, coeducation.

3. Women should always remain obedient to husband irrespective of how husband treats her. Prabhupada: No, no. That is mistake. They should be taught how to become obedient to the husband.

4. Polygamy is allowed for men. Prabhupada: Therefore polygamy was allowed. Let them be taken care of, one husband, three wives.

5. Single women are like animals. Prabhupada: First of all create animals. Then, when the animals behave like animals, then another program. Why do you create animal? Woman brahmacarini, this is artificial.

Bhagavat Gita is the most important book for Vaishnavas. Most saints agree that Gita has essence of all shastras. So, all major views which Krishna wants his devotees to follow should be contained in the instructions of Krishna in Bhagavat Gita. None of the above views are part of discussion between Krishna and Arjun. Then, why Bhakti Vikas Swami is not focusing on teachings of Gita and deviating the vaishnavas to secondary unimportant topics. Vedic people used to follow the practice of "sati" where women is burned after the death of husband. It is also supported in Mahabharat. Does it mean that we should start following the practice of "sati"? Most of us will reject the practice of "sati" even it is supported by Srila Vyasdeva and Manu.

I have been following Bhagavat Gita As It Is since youth and I consider myself as a sincere follower of Krishna. I have sweet daughter who is simple hearted and devotee of Krishna. She has compassion for all being including animals and always prays for well-being for animals. She wants to become environmentalist and save the animals and earth when she grows up. She wants to go to Harvard. Since she was in kinder or first grade, her goal has been to go to Harvard. She already has list of colleges in which she will apply even though she is in elementary school.

Bhakti Vikas Swami cannot tell me that my daughter cannot pursue college degree and that she cannot go to Harvard or any other college of her choice. My daughter goes to co-ed school and I am really impressed by school and teachers. School staff is wonderful and I feel blessed to be part of such school. Bhakti Vikas Swami cannot tell me that my daughter's going to school is the practice of prostitution which needs to be stopped.

I trust my daughter and she will make right decisions. It will be her choice to get married or not. You cannot label her as animal if she decide not to marry. If her husband does not treat her properly, then she does not need to follow him. You cannot force her to live in abusive married life.

The young generation is intelligent and they use common sense. If you preach discriminatory practices and teach something wrong, they will catch it. If my daughter knows that such kind of statements are supported by Gita, then she will loose faith in Gita. She will reject such discriminatory or offensive statements irrespective of the source. I am glad that such offensive statements are not supported by Gita. On the contrary, Bhagavat Gita teaches that "atma" is beyond the designations of body. Krishna resides in everyone and therefore, we should love everyone. Krishna resides in us and He give us knowledge and remembrance and guides us from within. Krishna is jagat-guru (teacher of the whole world). Such discriminatory statements by Bhakti Vikas Swami should be rejected and it should be clear that these statements are not supported by the sincere followers of Bhagavat Gita.

Rocana Das writes in another article - "They blame the past abuse of women due to "misinterpretation" of our philosophy. They do not specify what kind of "misinterpretation" that they are referring to, which leaves the door wide open for speculation. Perhaps Srila Prabhupada's statements on society were wrong? Perhaps we shouldn't follow it?".

I can say for certainty that above statements mentioned by Bhakti Vikas Swami are wrong and they shouldn't be followed. Rocana Das will use above tactics to support such discriminatory statements. All the sincere seekers of Gita should come forward and reject them.

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