Women, intelligence and interpretation


Question: In a recent Sanga, ‘Sat gurus and siksa mantras,’ you wrote that “women are not more lusty than men nor less intelligent.” This appears to me to be quite contradictory to what Srila Prabhupada said about the subject. Can a ‘sat guru’ answer this question?

Answer: Srila Prabhupada has said that women are less intelligent and more lusty than men. It appears that I have said something different. However, what Prabhupada said about women is subject to time, circumstance, information available, and interpretation. If statements like ‘women are less intelligent than men’ are to be taken as absolute, then no woman at any time could be more intelligent than any man. Is that true? You are a man. Ask yourself if this is true and answer honestly. Are you more intelligent than every woman on Earth? Is every woman on Earth more lusty than you?

If not, then you have to interpret Prabhupada’s words to fit with your own experience and with what you know to be true. You have to consider what Prabhupada meant by intelligence, who he was talking to, and whether what he said is to be considered siddhanta (absolute conclusion) or a cultural consideration relative to times past when women were uneducated, etc., etc. This is what I have done in dealing with this subject.

Can your question be answered? I think so, but you should know that yours is not a spiritual question, neither in substance nor in form. It has nothing to do with spiritual life proper, and its tenor is not concerned with understanding the truth, but rather with showcasing your own knowledge. Unfortunately, here you have only demonstrated your foolishness.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.adkison Jeremy Adkison

    Swamiji nailed it. \O/

    Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Swami Tripurari!

  • http://gravatar.com/markandeyadasa Bhakta Marcos

    One aspect of Swami B.V. Tripurāri’s answers I admire the most is that they are often short and chock full of deep meaning with multifaceted ramifications that helps one think about certain things in a different manner. This is one of those answers. To assume everything fits between our time and circumstance does not allow for a live parampara that can accommodate for bhakti anyone. Thank you.

  • Jagadish

    Ditto the above comments. Very powerful answer and succinct.

  • Rasaprema dasa

    Frankly I find the Svami’s answer to be evasive with a view to being politically correct. And a misrepresentation and offensive dismissal of the points that Srila Prabhupada was making. We all know that Srila Prabhupada was saying: the female of the species is generally less intelligent and more lusty. Of course there will be exceptions when all male and females are individually compared, i.e, some females are smarter than a lot of dumb men. But this is not the point being made by Srila Prabhupada; obviously Srila Prabhupada was speaking generally. However, by avoiding this central thrust of the statement, deliberately or not, the Svami can now say the politically correct thing. The crowd may be pleased, but the Svami thus dismisses the Niti Sastra of Canakya, the passages of the Mahabratha, Vidura Siksa, the Srimad Bhagavatam (the four directions to which Indra devolved his curse, women took their part by being put into a constant state of sexuality, or lust). Throughout the Vedas and Puranas the points made by Srila Prabhupada are corroborated, but this means nothing when the intention is to be politically correct. Ultimately, the Svami is dismissing the Vedic message of his previous spiritual master. As Srila Prabhupada said in this context, I paraphrase: Historically we don’t see the majority of philosophers, scientists, thinkers, mathematicians, innovative medical surgeons, etc, etc, being women. That is the material world, of course. But if we look to the great Vaisnava acaryas, writing the Sat Sandarbhas, etc, the Bhagavatam; well of course they were all in the male body. So I am disappointed to see the svami muddying the issue, especially when there is a clear dismissal of Srila Prabhupada’s clear and correct statement and a terrible attempt to portray Srila Prabhupada as old-hat and out of touch with the modern context. Shameful and unintelligent behavior. Perhaps, by his answer, svami is trying to support his own idea, the male can be dumb also.

  • BB dasa

    Is it really so brilliant and succinct to tell the person asking a sincere question that he is demonstrating his foolishness? I find it rather unnecessary.
    As to the question to whom Srila Prabhupada made his comments about women’s intelligence: It’s in his books, so his comments were meant for a rather large audience, not just to one person or two. As to the argument itself: if it is so obvious today that there are women who are more intelligent than men, then I guess that information was available in the 1970ies, too.
    And last not least, trying to understand what your spiritual master said and why – is not spiritual? What, then, is?

  • satyavati devi dasi

    I love His Holiness Swami Tripurari. All glories to his preachings. His wise advices are always full of compassion and understanding. I would wish that every Swami in ISKCON would have the same viewpoint toward this topic. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna!

  • Srinjaya

    The following two articles by Sriman Hari Sauri Prabhu provide an in-depth and rigorous treatment of the subject and is congruent with our siddhanta:

    “Srila Prabhupada said that women are less-intelligent than men. Can we support this?”



    “A response to Hari-kirtana prabhu regarding my article”


    • Sri Radha Paramasundari dd

      Thank you so much for the links to those two great articles by Hari Sauri Prabhu. Very deep and full of knowledge and respect for the person who asked the question. Much more satisfying and enlightening than Tripurari’s flippant retort that ends up with a put down for the person who asked. He should have just said he really didn’t know the answer. We need enlightenment not someone trying to show how much they (don’t) know.