Anti-corruption Laws Needed
Murari Gupta Dasa, in his article “From Corruption to Character” (September 2011), says that to avoid temptations, one must stay away from the company of the corrupt. As a grihastha I feel this is impossible. The tendency to cheat is in-built in us. However, few people (may be 10%) will always be honest no matter what the Anna Hazare types. Similarly, some people will always remain dishonest. The rest will follow what is most convenient. If society rewards honest people, then people will try to be honest; if society rewards dishonesty, people will remain dishonest. Today in our country dishonesty is greatly rewarded. Until we develop systems (strict laws, as mentioned in the article) to punish the dishonest, the society will continue to languish. Making laws is easy, but implementing them is the challenge. We need laws backed by institutions that implement the law. Although India has several anti-corruption bodies like CBI and ACB, corruption goes on unabated.
Reply by Murari Gupta Dasa: Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains what it means to associate with non-devotees. We may have to have social dealings with them but we should not become intimate. Don’t open your heart to them, nor take their guidance. Keep the interactions limited to professional dealings. Maintain regular contact with devotees to keep good spiritual health.
I also agree with your points about social changes needed to weed out corruptions. In the current scenario this is wishful thinking. On the other hand it is much easier and within our powers to change ourselves. When Vaishnavas present themselves as honest, sincere gentlemen and ladies, according to what Srila Prabhupada wanted from us, we can offer a very powerful and positive alternative to the society. It begins with surviving honestly in this murky world and goes on to setting a shining example for the rest of the society to follow.
Bias Against Women?
I am attracted to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and books. What intrigues me is that women are considered of subnormal intelligence in the concepts proposed by the Hare Krishna movement. Srila Prabhupada himself says that in the varnasrama system there are four classes of men and that each performs his duty as per his own nature. Similar to men, women have different levels of intelligence and can perform their duties as per their nature. But it is flatly concluded that a woman’s duty is to cook and take care of the household duties. I am not saying this is an old-fashioned thought. But why should men decide what a woman’s nature is and generalize that all women have the same duty?
Is the duty of all women the same only cooking and taking care of home and children? Why can’t a woman attend a varnasrama college? I personally feel Lord Krishna does not seem partial in His elevation of fallen souls, but the different schools the Ramanuja cult, the Gaudiya Vaishnava cult, etc. have rules or concepts that do not include women. A man who wants to renounce can become a sannyasi. Is there any option available for women who also want to practice renunciation?
(R.Geetha, Trichy, TN)
Our reply: Western ideas about women’s liberation are very tempting. Yet the same Western world did not accept that women had souls till the seventeenth century. Contrary to this, Vedic civilization has always given the highest regard to women. Vedic culture insists on the protection of women because of the simple fact that one naturally protects what one values. Women are given the highest respect, care, and protection because Vedic culture values the position of women. It is a misconception that women were restricted to a few standard, repetitive activities like housework. Girls were taught a variety of skills depending on the family in which they were born; that is, kshatriya girls were trained in some of the same skills kshatriya boys learned. Srila Prabhupada mentions that Rukmini, as a king’s daughter, understood political diplomacy, and there are mentions in sastra of women ascetics and scholars.
Sometimes, influenced by Western thought, we think that raising children and nourishing one’s family is unimportant. A hired nurse could feed the children and clean up after them, but can she instill in the children proper samskaras? A restaurant chef can create the daintiest of dishes, but can he infuse his food with a mother’s love? Raising children and cooking food are not mere physical activities; they are part of the scientific process of raising high-caliber children. In former times, because mothers personally cared for their children, they were able to instill good character and intelligence in them. Such children often grew up to become powerful and principled leaders.
A mother’s hope is to raise strong children, even though she herself may not be much in the limelight. In the Ramayana, when Rama sent a party south to look for Sita, it was necessary to find someone who could jump across the ocean. Hanuman was capable of this challenging task, but he had forgotten his own glories. At that time Jambavan reminded Hanuman of his own power. Hanuman got all the glory; we barely hear of Jambavan’s role in Hanuman’s success. If we want great people like Hanuman, we also need the Jambavans who can stand peacefully in the background and empower others. If mothers themselves wish to become great, then who will give their children the opportunity to be grateful for what they have received in life?
Kudos to BTG!
I was thrilled and filled with gratitude to read Caitanya Carana Dasa’s letter to his skeptic friend. It empirically confirmed my belief that an advanced devotee is spared from the pains of material misery by his sheer attachment to the Lord. This is sought very much by mystic yogis but is available as a mere by-product to the surrendered devotee. It is wonderful how even repeated reverses simply bind the devotee more strongly with his Lord and produce enormous transcendental emotions that debase corporeal pains. His allusion to CIPA children in this context is most appropriate and drives home the message clearly to the hedonistic population that their lack of a sense of sin and guilt is just a disease. I am constantly amazed, ever since I found ISKCON, that in this Kali-yuga, by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, so many saintly persons are appearing making it feel as though it is Satya-yuga again! Kudos to BTG!
Reply to the other letter was written by Nanda Dulal Dasa.
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