Answering Objections to the Book "Women: Masters or Mothers?"

December 6, 2015 |

English; Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

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Question: 1) I once saw a visiting devotee who was reading Gita Press edition of Bhagavad-gita. When I asked why he was reading that not Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita, he said that because his guru said it was good for word to word translations. And then again I saw this with an initiated Indian lady devotee. She was from Delhi but based in Dar es… Expand>

Question:

1) I once saw a visiting devotee who was reading Gita Press edition of Bhagavad-gita. When I asked why he was reading that not Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita, he said that because his guru said it was good for word to word translations. And then again I saw this with an initiated Indian lady devotee. She was from Delhi but based in Dar es salaam. When I queried her about this, she said the same thing, that the word to word meanings are good (or better? I can't remember exactly what she said).

This didn't seem right, but I wanted to ask your holiness. Are we meant to be referring to Gita Press's Bhagavad-gita at all for any reason?

2) I was in an ISKCON temple here in Africa and saw a compact, one inch size Bhagavad-gita which was from Gita Press and which has slokas in devanagari only and no commentary. I thought that this would be good for carrying around and for chanting Bhagavad-gita slokas as that would be the same anyway in all versions of Bhagavad-gita. Is it OK to just chant the slokas only from this compact Gita Press's Gita or other any other non-ISKCON Bhagavad-gita?

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Certain individuals in ISKCON believe that women can offer dandavat pranams (fully prostrate on ground in a rod like fashion). To support the argument they quote SB 8.17.5 where in Aditi fell to the ground like a rod to offer the Lord her respectful obeisances. Also cited is a video clip wherein a mataji is seen offering dandavat pranam to Srila Prabhupada.

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My question is regarding deity outfits. On Nrsimha Caturdasi, at an ISKCON temple in Germany, the deity of lord Nrsimhadev was dressed/pasted with different flavours/colours of sandesh milk sweet dough instead of any sort of cloth outfit. 

Maharaja, my question is that is the above performed act, proper and in line with the scriptural rules of deity worship, just as during chandan yatra the deities are pasted with sandalwood paste or just as there are flower outfits for the deities in many temples? Or is it not to be accepted. I mean something similar to the previous incident of the deities dressed in Santa Claus outfits?

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikāśa Swami: 

I’m not aware of any scriptural rule that says to dress the Deities in a dress made of milk sweets. It’s the first time I ever heard about it. There are various aspects of Vaiṣṇava culture which may not be directly described in śāstra, but they may be performed in some places as a tradition. So, may be that in some traditional temple in India that there is a tradition on certain days dressing the Deities like that; although, at least in India, if you were to do so, then quite likely the Deity would be covered with ants very quickly. So, that may not be a very good idea to do that. Ants and flies would come. Probably not so much in Germany because there are not so many little living entities as there are in India. But there are some very desirable elements of Vaishnava culture which could, according to the discrimination of the devotees – that may be questionable also (the level of discrimination as to what should be accepted and what should not be accepted). But there are various items of Vaiṣṇava culture which can be adopted, but if something is not in śāstra, is not in tradition… I’d be very cautious about making innovations, especially in Deity worship. So, you probably have to ask the devotees in Germany where they got this idea from. One consideration is that it’s fairly common in India to see Deities of Hanuman covered with butter. That’s quite a common practice. I don’t know if the Deities get attacked by ants, or whatever. Flies come. I’ve seen that. It’s quite often done.

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Question: I am listening to one of your lecture and an inquiry is made about chanting rounds or the Holy Name etc. for others. In the Gita mahatmya there is one section where a bull is dying and all the people come and promise to give some of their accrued punya to the bull including a prostitute - she did it because she didn't want be the one who didn't because she thought she had no punya to give. But because the blessing from the prostitute alone the bull was born as a high brahmana and traced her out to find out what was her punya etc.… Expand>

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I am listening to one of your lecture and an inquiry is made about chanting rounds or the Holy Name etc. for others.

In the Gita mahatmya there is one section where a bull is dying and all the people come and promise to give some of their accrued punya to the bull including a prostitute - she did it because she didn't want be the one who didn't because she thought she had no punya to give. But because the blessing from the prostitute alone the bull was born as a high brahmana and traced her out to find out what was her punya etc. She confessed that she was a prostitute and actually had no punya. But after some thought it was revealed that she had some parrots who used to belong to someone who chanted a specific chapter of the Gita daily and she used to listen to that and for this reason she had punya etc. So it seems that one can gift one's own punya to others. How would you explain this?

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