Can women give diksa initiation?

Manidhara Das
09 Nov 2019


There may be still  alive those, who do remember how for fifteen years as sankirtan leader I was managing  five vans filled with mathajis, who served the same way I did, going every day out and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books.

The service these young women did is beyond the imagination of today's ISKCON officials, of whom some hardly ever preached actively or went out on sankirtan. These young women, entirely dedicated to the mission of Srila Prabhupada, shared the same flow of mercy we all did, coming back to the flourishing temples, filled with ecstasy only those can taste, who are truly  connected to the mission of Srila Prabhupada. Indeed, Krsna Himself states in Bhagavad Gita that even sudras and women can return back home back to Godhead, when connected to a pure devotee.
As mentioned already in a previous text, the question if women in general can assume managerial positions was answered and demonstrated to us by Srila Prabhupada clearly. The answer is: NO.
Even on the highest levels of universal management (those in doubt are advised to study the lila of Lord Siva, Daksa and Sati, leading to Sati abandoning her body while entering fire), there are problems. What to speak of us and our conditioned state. 
Without female bodied devotees we wouldn't see the creation of many ISKCON temples and farms. These surrendered vaisnavis were collecting vast amounts of money for these projects. They maintained them, they cooked, they finally conducted the puja, and they served in entirely unconditional fashion...until they often found themselves betrayed by their leaders and left alone to their state of bitterness.
As Srila Prabhupada once pointed out, if a woman is betrayed once, she will never trust another man entirely. And so these mistreated devotees will always have their manifested or hidden reservations.
Regarding nature of female bodies, it is clearly described in the sastra and commented upon by Sriila Prabhupada many times. Women joining Krsna consciousness are special, but that doesn't mean they are freed from their bodily consciousness immediately. Men not either.
The  process of purification demands being properly situated, and commands progressive introspective view upon oneself and one's still remaining material desires. So first comes regulation, then purification, and then liberation from our bodily encagement.
This text is written in view of the recent GBC resolution, which installs women as diksa gurus. This grievous deviation calls for open resistance and opposition, as from this day ISKCON is officially designated as belonging to a deviant sampradaya. Fortunately, there are those who do oppose and those who do cherish the original instructions of Srila Prabhupada, while going out and distributing His books, by going out in hare nama processions, and by distributing Krsna's prasadam.
Those who do fall victim to such so-called gurudevis, are advised to take council in sastra and guru, and consider why Srila Prabhupada, while praising His preaching „heroins“, NEVER installed them officially in managerial positions. Even in terms of giving lecture, He writes that woman indeed can lecture „if not a qualified man is available“.
For leading kirtans an ecstatic „vaisnavi“ being surrounded by ecstatically dancing brahmacaris is indeed a bizarre sight, as much it is bizarre that such brahmacaris (by now initiated by her) offer her as guru daksina maybe some ladies underwear. A bizarre vision indeed? Why not? The present GBC resolution sets such a scene perfectly.
Growing up in ISKCON under care of a GBC who strongly stated that „women should preach to women and men to men“, I felt safe. (Of course, if there are no men to preach, then women have to preach, that's  a fact. Preaching must go on.) But we saw female preachers falling in love with those they preached to, we saw female temple presidents turning out to be a lesbian, we saw women destroying a temple while seducing the local temple president (behind every big man there is a big woman, you know :-).  It is a fact that without help of  mysteriously motivated men the present female diksa rewarding candidates wouldn't come into their position. 
As one man said, a woman always helps a man to get what she wants :-) . That this principle is material, and we should be aware that we are dealing here with entirely spiritualized vaisnavis? Really? Every initiation candidate who desires to worship such a gurudevi should investigate into her past and her activites AFTER she was initiated into our sampradaya. He may be surprised what he finds. Here is a simple questionairre for such illusioned man or illusioned woman:
How many times my gurudevi divorced?
If abandoning her husband, why did she do so?
What is her sexual orientation?
How far is she intending to finance her family members  by the income she „earns“ while being a gurudevi?
Is she preaching what Srila Prabhupada said or is she drawing her „wisdom“ from karmi literature?
If she is preaching about „love“, what does she mean ?
Sastra strongly advises especially brahmacaris not to be intimately associated with the wife of a guru, but doesn't state anything about the wife of the guru being a guru.(SB.7/12/7) 
Did Srila Vyasadeva forgot something? Did Srila Prabhupada forgot something when dictating the list of the INITIAL (not ultimate!) gurus who may serve in this way after His departure? Why not one single female was mentioned at that point, even Srila Prabhupada had such high regards for the service some of these „heroins“ did?
Does the present GBC body have to „rectify“ or „improve“ Srila Prabhupada's decision? It may be much worse than installing a deviant sampradaya; the present decision may include also a grievous offence to Srila Prabhupada commited by those who are sufficiantly arrogant to attempt to change what He has given. Are these „fertile brains“, as Srila Prabhupada used to call such speculators, „smarter“ than Him?
How can they dare!
My spiritual master is under attack, and so this text carries a far more aggressive tone than any one written here before.
What are the consequences of such deviant action? Sofar I am informed, the resolution leaves it up to the local management to faciliate the preaching of such gurudevis in their areas or not. This is even more confusing as it automatically invites further fragmentation of the already fragmented ISKCON. Once initiated by such gurudevi, where will her disciples go? We know well that disciples of certain gurus are not welcomed in certain areas. This step will drive the polarization between the individual devotee parties even further.
As for those who are still determined to live their dignified lives in their particular asramas, they may retire in embarassment and preach individually and discretely. But rascals and demons don't care.
One of the foremost symptom of a demon is shamelessness.
As one man commented:
„The problem of world today is that the fools are absolutely convinced and intelligent people full of doubt.“
In simple words: “Fools dash in where angels don't dare.“
And so the fools sampradaya may emerge for short time victorious, but finally it is self-destructive. 
To end my personal grievance about this matter, I may pay my dandavats to all those vaisnavis who carry on with their daily duties, tolerate their occasionally disbalanced husbands, help others to become part of Krsna consciousness by their motherly care, cultivate other women by their exemplary actions, try to take care and educate their often unruly offsprings, and bring some peace to society while working from the back lines, offering help, support and shelter to everybody who dares to challenge maya's domain.
Such honorable vaisnavis are rare and should be supported in any way. They are the heroins, saving men from fall downs by dint of their chastity. They are the heroins to set an example of human conduct in a rapidly deteriorating society, which brings women to level of prostitutes...and gurudevis who dare to embarrass the other members of the guru parampara.
It is clear that the issue at hand is not settled yet as there is a polarizing fraction going on even between the GBC members. How do those feel who were „voted out“? (GBC is the only democratically functioning body Srila Prabhupada established, as He conceived it to be brahminical by nature, and only brahmanas can vote in vedic society.)
There are already female GBC (another deviation in regards to Srila Prabhupada's policies). How then those who still cherish Srila Prabhupada's principles can tolerate and serve in such a compromised atmosphere?
Even mundane politicians either quit the party, or the politics altogether when finding the original program they represented being compromised.
Why to continue in name of „unity and continuity in perversity?
There is still enough space to preach what Srila  Prabhupada gave and there are still enough devotees who are eager to hear. There is no need to give up what was given. One can simply remain within ISKCON and make it better by pointing out how it got compromised. If needed point out the culprits and oppose those who plan to pervert it even further. 
To use the example of the rtvik hypocrisy: there is no need to reject the whole initiation process altogether, instead a solid discussion based on sastra is in order, about who truly is a guru. I believe such devotees are here and ready to preach, and so I am determined to stay what I always was, an ISKCON man, member of that ISKCON Srila Prabhupada started, and left to us to maintain and to protect. May the deviants start their own movement, Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON should be protected and maintained. Those who are silent at this point are in the same way guilty as those who follow and maintain the deviant path.
As one man said: “Silence is the worst form of violence.“
Or another added: “I am not afraid of those who are evil. I am afraid of those who faciliate evilness.“
As the wave of madness raises to the skies, the sincere ones seek only more shelter at Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet. Ultimately, as it was the case at the battlefield of Kuruksetra, everybody will face its destiny. Even devotees, standing on the wrong side, had to die. The choice is always ours, the Supreme Lord in His form as anumanta and upadrasta, the unseen observer and faciliator, grants everybody what he deserves.