WHEN Srila Prabhupada came to the West, he undertook an extraordinary task: to transplant not just a philosophy but an entire culture, to preserve both the philosophy and its context. He carried with him not just the fruit of Vedic knowledge but its roots, its branches, its bark the entire tree.

As with any tree, ours faces changing seasons and circumstances: floods and dry spells, easy times and hard. Some people have even tried to axe it.

But the tree grows on.

What you're about to read is talk from a few of the thousands of gardeners the devotees who care for that tree and depend on it for their spiritual life.

In short, enter here into a dialogue among devotees in an alive and growing spiritual movement.

The talk this time concerns the role of the movement's women, roughly half of its devotees. How are they doing? What do they need for their spiritual growth?

Over the last several years, ISKCON devotees have begun talking about what they call "the women's issue," referring to questions about what the role of women in ISKCON should be.

What are those questions? BTG asked several devotee women to define them for us.

This time, it's all women doing the talking. In future issues, we expect to hear more, both from women and from men.