Banning of Bhakti Vikasa Swami's book

By editor - 1.2 2016

GBC NA EC on Banning of HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami's WMM

The following bill of complaint was written by Malati devi dasi and sent out by the GBC North American Executive Committee to all temples, on the subject of the banning of H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami's book, Women: Masters or Mothers:

Women: Masters or Mothers hereafter referred to as WMM:

Timeline of recent actions related to WMM:

1. AGM Mayapur Feb. '15: Prominently placed posters featuring cover of this book were placed all around Mayapur campus w/o permission

Were removed with permission of Mayapur Management & GBC Chair. Sales continued on side.

1. UK:Sept. Sept.'15, Sale of book stopped by Pragosha (GBC) for all UK.

2. Vrindavan Kartik '15: Sales inside temple prohibited by VEB. Sales outside temple on lane prohibited.

3. VKS not allowed to speak on WMM at Goshala Conference (he had to change his topic)

4. NA: Jan. '16 NAEC votes to stop sales, distribution, displays of WMM.

Regarding WMM: There is no personal agenda on our (on the part of Vaishnavi's & others)

1. Whereas pages of interest from WMM listed will show Maharaja's contrary conclusions to KC philosophy and the teachings of Srila Prabhupada that have potential for harming the movement and it's members due to misguided perceptions, in some instances using out of context quotes from HDG and unsubstantiated references:

2. Whereas the inflammatory cover sends a negative image and sets the tone of this book;

3. Whereas the appreciations from two undocumented women are shallow and contradictory to the author's message (one is from a Chartered Accountant, Mumbai) belying his assertions that women need no education beyond cooking and cleaning;

4. While there are numerous "OMG" statements in the book, I will only present those that are can cause harmful to the movement and it's members as well as misguiding innocent readers by presenting a questionable image of Srila Prabhupada as an elderly irrelevant Indian from another century;

5. Whereas beginning on page 15 it is stated:

"But a major objective of Srila Prabhupada's misson was to, as far as possible, reestablish pristine Vedic culture-including early marriage), polygamy and a non-egalitarian social system. (*which he later establishes as age five years for female children);

1. Whereas it is cavalierly stated on page 27 that "And women should become wives before becoming mothers—not the other way around." No dispute, but no mention that men should also follow the same rule and become husbands before becoming fathers;

2. Whereas on page on page 30 he announces that "he (Srila Prabhupada) brought devotees to India with the express purpose of introducing them to the culture in which Krsna Conciousness can grow naturally and he wanted his Western disciples to adopt it as far as possible;" (As a direct participant in the first wave of Westerner exported to India by his personal invitation, Srila Prabhupada wrote to us on an aerogram sent from India that he was inviting us to India to begin the "World Sankirtan Party," something he had oft mentioned);

3. Whereas on page 31, he tells a story about Yamuna to which he was not privy and omits the later half where she resumes her natural place sitting in front of Srila Prabhupada after the Kumbha Mela was over and we returned to our particular service area);

4. Whereas on page 31, he says "Muslim women still cover their head (if not their whole body)in public, which some people think is inhumanly restrictive; but a chaste women appreciates this as being cultured and dignified (in other words, implying covered heads by a married devotee lady are not up to the standard of chastity represented by Muslims);

1. From here onward, I will simply indicate the page number and a gist of the statements to save typing time:

2. Whereas on page 37 the GBC is called out for not mentioning Varnasrama dharma on its official web site (htt;:/gbc.iskcon.org/ as of Jan '15. (I agree that this is an oversight, but better he contact the GBC EC or the Web master);

1. Whereas on page 40 he applauds what he admits is technically child labor (kids as young as eight years avoiding education beyond what is learned from working with their family businness;

2. Whereas on page he the sole controversy in ISKCON preaching is boiled down to VDG & calling Vaishnavi's prabhu, as was done early on by the instruction of Srila Prabhupada (no comment required);

3. Whereas on page 68, sri dharma is mentioned as integral to ISKCON; (count the times it was mentioned by Srila Prabhupda as integral to ISKCOIN preaching and expansion);

4. Whereas on page 71 the latest line of thought (sic, propounded by Devaki dasi and others, presumably some on the GBC body who has signed their names to her separate from ISKCON organization) is expounded wherein the early teaching of Srila Prabhupada are dismissed as only intended for time, place, circumstance, and by now we should moved on;

5. Whereas on page 75 we are informed that educated person, esp women, are more likely to engage in infidelity;

6. Wherein on page 86 we are informed about that a big problem on a battlefield should women be deployed, would be that they can't urinate standing up and would require a toilet;

7. Whereas on page 91 we are informed that women going through menopause clearly require a husband;

8. Whereas on page 92 he mentions seeing women on the streets at midnight is very bad, which begs the question what was a Sannyasis doing out on the streets a midnight;

9. Whereas on page 96 and on another page he accuses that some ISKCON Sannyasis' have de facto wives because they engage female disciples (if this is a concern, he should personally approach the sannyasi's or the Sannyas Ministry instead of declaring it as a so called fact in a book;

10. Whereas on page 101 there is an unsubstantiated assertion that women "wannabe" men;

11. Whereas on page 109 he lays square blame on feminism/women for breeding generations of angry children who are attracted to cruelty, substance abuse and criminality. He suggests there might be a link between school shootings and the culture of selfishness whereby women are encouraged to neglect their children, although he doesn't say by who;

12. Whereas page 111 we are reminded that that "Formerly, the girl would be married ro a suitable boy at a very early age, say six years old." Then,further down the same page, he states "So every woman should be married and the sooner the better."

13. Whereas on page 112 he outright advocates marriage of a disciple's 5 year old daughter;

14. Whereas on page 113 he attributes all sorts of medical ailments, including breast cancer, to not having a child (even males contract breast cancer)

15. Whereas further on page 113-114 he advocates marriage at puberty, having a chld by age 14 and if it is a female child, then expect to very soon be a grandmother;

16. Whereas on page 114, he discusses how career minded women panic by age thirty and want to get married but "no one want to marry them because the men want beautiful young girls, not worn out thirty-year olds who have already been used so many times."**

17. Whereas page 119 informs us that a married woman employed outside the home is prone to adultery;

18. Whereas further down on age 119 we are informed that if a woman must be employed, "she may be engaged in weaving, basket-making, or helping in the fields."

1. Whereas on page 129 it is said that it is well known and supported that women are hypergamous (tendency "to marry up wards") and he supports using the example of women going to "modern reproductive clinics." and selecting donors base d children who have an advantage in their ability for sense control if they take up KC.

2. Whereas on pages 129-30, he states "polygamy introduces a built in program of social eugenics. That is men of superior nature are given more opportunity to distribute their character traits through out society." Concluding that "polygamy would facilitate the production of children who have an advantage in their sense control if they take up KC."

1. Whereas on page 131 he admits polygamy is not mandatory for everyone—it is elective but hopes that in the future it will be more viable for devotees to include polygamy as part of their social policy;

2. Whereas on page 142-143 he determines that Srila Prabhupada did not want his lady Indian disciples to dance, that he never told them to dance (although he liked the Western women dancing). This is another absurdity refuted by his earliest female Indian bodied disciples;

3. Whereas on page 143 he equates women dancing during kirtan as women who wants a mate (without the obvious reference to the opposite gender being therefore viable);

1. Whereas on page 143 - 144, he offers a graphic example from 2008 in Delhi that was told to him by a god-brother wherein a "twenty something female visitor" was dancing enthusiastically and an older woman, probably her mother, appeared from behind and pushed her to the ground and then pulled her out of the temple. He concluded without any evidence that this was due to her dancing;

2. Whereas on page 144, he recites his own story of getting a female security guard to pounce on a mother and daughter and shut them down immediately. He alleges they were "dancing the hoochi koochi" during sandya arati;

3. Where as page 144 -147 BVKS begins a treatise on Menstruation (in fact that is the title of this section in bold letters);

4. Whereas on page 147, he begins another treatsie on calling women "Prabhu," avoiding unequivocal evidence from both Srila Prabhupada's books and letters; Many years ago he wrote to me on this topic and I sent a compilation of evidence in support with quotes from Srila Prabhupada (which I'll gladly forward to anyone who requests)to which he replied, saying that "he might have digressed once or twice;"

5. Whereas on page 19 he states that gender roles in ISLAM are closer to the Vedic then those in the west and in ISKCON;

6. Whereas on page 154-155 he asserts ISKCON has become compromised, suffering from 'Mission Drift,' using Professor E. Burke Rochford's book (Hare Krishna's Reformed) to substantiate his claim;

7. Whereas on page 157 he accuses the ISKCON leadership of 'quieting deviating' the greater body of devotees away from Varnashram;

8. Whereas on pages 164-65 he wonders what to do with senior western female devotees in ISKCON who have "never made the cultural transition to the kind of social role exemplified by Kunti, Saci and other in their old age.; and then makes the outright, blatantly false assertion that "ISKCON's traveling women preachers embody the feminist ideal, that the biggest, best women are out in the world doing what the men do with no family connections or responsibilities."

1. Whereas the above examples taken from WMM indicate a mission disconnect on the part of BVKS that puts an unfavorable slant on Srila Prabhupada and his mission;

2. Whereas H H Holiness Bhakti Vikas Maharaja has proved that he is capable of writing enriching significant Vaishnave literature as was shown by his exhaustive biography of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur;

3. Whereas there is precedent for the request that is being made: The book is not allowed in UK as per Praghosa's order (GBC) since Sept. '15, not allowed for sale in Vrindavan since kartik as per unanimous division by VEB (Vrindavan Executive Board);

4. Whereas there is precedent to halt a book by an ISKCON Sannyasi Guru from active circulation within ISKCON (MTM GBC New Vrindaban 2006) when Satsvarup Maharaja's book was removed from further sales by GBC agreement;

1. Therefore it is proposed that the publication by H H Bhakti Vikas Swami, Women: Masters or Mothers not be allowed to be sold or otherwise distributed in or around North American ISKCON Temples, Centers, premises, ISKCON supported programs, including e those in private homes if they are backed by a temple.

2. The pro's of implementing this proposal: It will spare further embarrassment towards ISKCON being seen as a narrow minded sexists organization where women are not respected or valued; it will remove the implied stigma that Srila Prabhupada statements, some of which are strongly expressed, support the wrong, hurtful conclusions of H H Bhakti Vikas Swami.

3. The cons of implementing this proposal: There are no cons.

4. There is no cost to ISKCON attached to implementing this proposal (although I would suggest there is a cost to not implementing this proposal).

1. Interesting:

2. **pg. 114 statement about 30 year old women his is such a slanderous statement that along with the statement on page 15 regarding 'pristine Vedic culture' as being Srila Prabhupada's primary objective and along with advocating child marriage from age five years, should be regarded as sufficient cause to prevent this book from sale or distribution in or around any NA ISKCON center, project, or ISKCON sponsored program.)

1. There is a history of BVKS'a social short sightedness and misbehavior as a Vaishnave that precedes the current matter. He attacked both HH BTS and Radhanath Swami on various Internet forums and even to their disciples. For that matter, he labeled me and other ladies on the internet as "feminazi's."

Sample correspondence between BVKS and Visakha Priya dasi_grs:

1. <<

2. >>>Actually, this is not true. We did not "pressure" the ISKCON Vrindavan management to ban the sale of your books. We wrote a respectful petition explaining our concerns and our desire that the book not be sold on temple grounds, and to our surprise, it was unanimously accepted by the VEB who happened to be meeting that day...VP dd reply to above letter of BVKS 1/06/16