Question: I want to know more about the position of women in your tradition. Are women allowed to participate in the process of practicing, praying and showing their devotion?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Who is a woman here may not be a woman there in that higher realm; who is a man here may not be a man there. The body is only a dress. The soul has its mental dress, and according to that, we wear this physical dress, the flesh dress. Sexual identity means the flesh and the mind. In the soul, who will represent which type of sexual identity there, is uncertain at present here in this plane. But women there in the higher realm have a higher prospect, a brighter prospect in the spiritual world. In the spiritual realm, those souls that are female – who have attained that formation of the soul’s realisation – hold a better and higher position than men. Here in the plane of exploitation, men hold the better position. But there, in the plane of submission and surrender, the female form of mind is more rewarding than the male’s form of mind. The negative aspect of submission is more valuable in connection with Krishna. The supreme positive is Krishna himself. And his potency is of a negative nature. We belong to the negative-potency group, not the master group. The Lord himself is the possessor of the potency.
Question: You refer to Krishna as him. Does that mean that Krishna is manifested as a male figure?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Yes, male. That is, he is the predominating moiety. Predominating half of the Absolute. And others are to be predominated by him. There are two halves of the Absolute Truth: the male half, or predominating moiety, and the female half, or predominated moiety. Positive and negative. It is similar to the concept of the proton and electron, the positive and the negative. The proton is in the center and the electron and innumerable other subatomic particles are like so many planets moving about the center.
Question: Do you believe in the general concept of equality?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: No two things are ever equal – in this world or in the spiritual world. No two things can ever be the same or equal. Everything has its specific characteristic. One atom is different from another atom, one electron is different from another electron. It cannot but be. Everything has its particular differentiated character.