Srila Prabhupada the Greatest Feminist


Never has there been a greater feminist in Vaishnava tradition than Srila Prabhupada, who turned the hierarchy of power upside-down by giving women brahmana initiation and allowing them to live in ashramas and temples side by side with men.

Only few have realized yet how revolutionary a message Srila Prabhupada’s dealings conveyed: men and women may have different bodies, and man may have their strengths in the rational field, women in the emotional. But neither of them has any reason to be proud about it over the other because both qualities are only two sides of the same material coin. There is no difference between hierarchical order of spiritual ratio and spiritual emotio. Therefore, female devotees are as qualified as male devotees to serve Krishna on the highest level. Therefore women should preach, women should manage, women should initiate — just as men do.

To all those who are busy in pointing out discrepancies in weaker and minority groups of which they are not a part, I say: move to the moon and preach to the stones. We don’t need people who cover their attachments in aversion and sell them as spiritual insights. We need devotees who are able to convey the message of love for Krishna to the people of the 21st century. Krishna’s message of pure love is meant for everybody, whether we like it or not. If we don’t like it, then that means that we want to keep Krishna for ourselves and are unable to share the greatest gift we ever received.

One may try to put oneself inbetween certain groups of people and Krishna, hindering them from coming near to Krishna, while at the same time pretending to be spreading Krishna consciousness. But Krishna’s all-encompassing love shines like the glaring sun; He will burn one’s false ego away and make Himself available for everybody to the extent the individual living being desires.

If one is unable to attract people to Krishna but only to distract, hurt, harm and insult them in the name of Krishna, then, I humbly suggest, one should turn down the volume of one’s own speech and chant a little more: “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna; Krishna Krishna Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama; Rama Rama Hare Hare” until one actually starts to feel love for the other parts and parcels of Krishna, which is the natural consequence of developing love for Krishna.



  1. Atma says

    Srila Prabhupada never gave a woman “brahmana diksha” aka upanayanam. Though he did give them 2nd initiation. 2nd initiation is just the other half of the panca samskara aka vaisnava diksha (urdva pundra, tapan, dasya nama, mantra and yaga — the 1st three are in 1st initiation, the last 2 in 2nd initiation) which is open to anyone. So he did nothing new in this regard.

    He never awarded women the sacred thread which is the sign of a dvija. And he always said that if a woman’s husband is a brahmana then she is brahmanai, if her husband is 2nd class (kshatriya) then she is 2nd class, if he is 3rd class she is 3rd class and if he is 4th class she is 4th class. Thus her designation in VAD is according to what her male guardian (father, husband, or son) is. Again nothing new. A woman has no varna of her own because no matter what her guna may be she has only one dharma – serving the husband – stri dharma.

    I could back this all up with numerous quotes etc but this is a comment not an article (-:

    • HareKrishnaHareKrishna!! says

      Your first points are irrelevant-and arbitrarily slanted. Prabhupada gave women 2nd initiation to allow them to worship the deity. As far as the ‘sacred thread’ (and sannyasis robes for that matter) WHO CARES? Those are external (as per Srila Prabhupada). The gopis had eternal female forms which ARE relevant to the pleasure of Lord Krishna. By your speech we must wonder why your male body is so relevant to you? It is temporary. The ego wants to ‘take away’ from others, to belittle and discourage others. Not a well-wisher.
      Your second point is incorrect: In Sanskrit there ARE female versions of the four varnas. Brahmanii, Ksatrayii, etc.
      Your ideas are very grossly mistaken in terms of spiritual and academic understanding. “Backing up” your position “with numerous quotes” is absurd for someone who can not imbibe the basic ABCs of spiritual life.
      Aham Brahmasmi (that means women are also not to be restricted from service to Krishna by arbitrary rules that deride them based on their bodies).

  2. HareKrishnaHareKrishna!! says

    Very very thoughtful. Common sense & thoughtful consideration. This is what we need to get the movement back on track. Inspiring.

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