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“What truly touched my heart was the concern of a visiting bhaktin who felt she did not want to be initiated into a society that would treat its ladies in such a fashion.”

ATMAVANA DASI
She is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada in Santa Cruz, California.


Apology Accepted and Thank You!
By Atmavana dasi

Jai! and thank you to all the devotees who worked so diligently in negotiating the women's issues at this year's GBC meeting in Mayapur, India. The apology from the GBC is most heartily accepted and brought tears of joy to my eyes that had tears of anger before, especially in reference to the incident in Vrindavan, India during Kartik where in ladies were disrespected in the temple room and elsewhere.

I am writing to CHAKRA because I can wait no longer for my contemporaries to respond, who are of course, much more qualified than I to respond to such an important event.  It was indeed an historic event, and long over due.  This was obvious by the response to the event in Vrindavan on this site and others as well.

As a disciple of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada I have seen many misgivings in many different settings.  Few have touched me in the same way as this incident did and I wrestled for weeks with my mind on how such a thing could happen in front of our beloved Krishna Balarama deities.  I wondered where the direction of our organization was headed, and thought that at some time another lawsuit would be looming on our horizon for sexual discrimination.  Just more obstacles to throw on the ISKCON path, as if we don't have enough hurdles to jump already.

What truly touched my heart was the concern of a visiting Bhaktin (Bhaktin Helen) who felt she did not want to be initiated into a society that would treat its ladies in such a fashion. I have to admit I agreed with her but thought of how wonderful it was when I become a member and how all facility was given so that I could make spiritual progress.  I cried over her dilemma and prayed a special prayer for her to somehow be given the support and confidence again to pursue her spiritual path.  Eventually I prayed (through more tears) to Lord Caitanya to settle this whole situation, which obviously has been done through his mercy.

Just a reminder for those situated in the temple environment or otherwise.  Let us not forget that it is not easy for anyone to give up material life to become a member of our society and especially for women.  Women have so many expectations applied from society automatically, so a soul who decides against all odds to come to Krishna is a very special soul indeed.  No matter what the outward dress every soul should be properly engaged to their fullest capacity.

Our spiritual master knew that we as Westerners would have different experiences and upbringing from those of the East. He knew that whatever we brought to the organization could be utilized and improved upon.  In time we would gradually accustom ourselves to the Brahminical way of life or culture.  It did not need to be forced upon us but would draw us to it by it's force and purity.  As time goes by we can see this happening practically on an everyday basis.  Protection of women will be implemented as well in a loving and natural way that is appreciated by all.

On another note, I am still awaiting my first visit to India. I am relieved to know that I can now visit the holy land without fear of my usual practice of visiting the deities up close being discourage or my person being confronted or harassed.

In closing, I want to thank all the wonderful devotees and concerned members who were able to pass this resolution to insure the respect of our ladies be upheld.  Bravo!

Your servant humbly,

Atmavana dasi
Santa Cruz, CA

© CHAKRA 21-May-2000

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