"We have to practice remembering the Lord always, twenty-four hours a day, by chanting His names and molding our life’s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.

"How is this possible? The ācāryas give the following example. If a married woman is attached to another man, or if a man has an attachment for a woman other than his wife, then the attachment is to be considered very strong. One with such an attachment is always thinking of the loved one. The wife who is thinking of her lover is always thinking of meeting him, even while she is carrying out her household chores. In fact, she carries out her household work even more carefully so her husband will not suspect her attachment. Similarly, we should always remember the supreme lover, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and at the same time perform our material duties very nicely. A strong sense of love is required here. If we have a strong sense of love for the Supreme Lord, then we can discharge our duty and at the same time remember Him. But we have to develop that sense of love. " - A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita As Is Is, Introduction

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Prabhu and Vaishnavi, a Double Standard

ISKCON'S Women's Ministry's (now known as the Vaisnavi Ministry) thinks that all women in ISKCON should be addressed as"Prabhu" instead of "Mataji" (Mother). "Prabhu" means "master", and is therefore an equivalent to calling a woman "Mister", but at the same time these same proponents of "Prabhu" like being called "Vaisnavi", a feminine term, rather than "Vaisnava". This is a double standard that makes one wonder what is wrong with being called mother in the first place. And sadly, remembrance of such irreverence ruins being addressed as "Vaisnavi".

Motherhood is a life changer. There are so many lessons to be had that a woman is no longer just a woman when she becomes a mother. And we have so many mothers in our Vaisnava culture from whom we learn the highest standards of sacrifice in their devotion to Krsna.

Needless to say, it's an important service. Childless women often become teachers or nurses or at least adopt a pet to enable that nurturing sense to unfold. In women's magazines like Better Homes and Gardens they have huge, regular adverts referring to the pet as one's child. Or a neighbor may b seen pushing her cat around in a stroller she bought at Petco, It's a part of a woman's life difficult to get around .It can result in physical and mental health problems if not addressed. One example of the latter are those efforts to annihilate the word "Mataji".

We hear that the duty of wife and mother is external or material, but then we are told by these same people that we should get college degrees and careers for our service.

Another observation is that while such persons promote equal rights within ISKCON for a classless, genderless society, they still seem to expect respect if they are senior members, such as when it is time to pass the ghee lamp around or paying obeisances to them. It is certainly a puzzle.