Addressing Woman with Respect

ASK BVKS | May 27, 2011 |

English;

Question:

It is a practice for men in Vedic culture to address all women apart from one's wife as mother. What about women addressing other women, what is the proper etiquette, would the term mother be as applicable?

Audio answer:

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Question: 1) Some devotees say that Reading Srimad Bhagavatam and Chanting Hare Krishna will award only spiritual benefits and will not remove any material difficulties that a devotee undergoes. Whereas some devotees say when Srimad Bhagavatam and Chanting Hare Krishna take you out of material world by giving Krishna Prema- why temporary material difficulties cannot be removed (if Krishna… Expand>

Question:

1) Some devotees say that Reading Srimad Bhagavatam and Chanting Hare Krishna will award only spiritual benefits and will not remove any material difficulties that a devotee undergoes. Whereas some devotees say when Srimad Bhagavatam and Chanting Hare Krishna take you out of material world by giving Krishna Prema- why temporary material difficulties cannot be removed (if Krishna wishes). Please advise.

2) If someone utters the holy name for making fun of others his sins get washed away. If someone goes around Tulsi even sin like killing a brahmana can be removed. If someone pulls rath when Lord Jagannath is on the cart-all the sins are washed sway.If some one takes Lords remnants all the sins are washed away. Then why still devotees are suffering?

3) Many times we sincerely pray to guru, deities to remove anarthas, to award steadiness in Krishna consciousness, to protect us from all kinds of fall downs ( which happens again and again due to past conditioning) etc. Even we cry our heart out-but still results are not coming! How do we understand this?

Because of repeated failures we tend to think "may be it is not possible in this life" and frustration overcomes us.

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Question: If we are chanting the holy name of the Lord and reading Srimad Bhagavatam daily, then why are desires arising that are completely contrary to the process of pure devotional service? I know for a fact that I am suffering from weeds, how can I remove these weeds I suffer from like adoration, prestige, sense enjoyment, emancipation and so many others?… Expand>

Question:

If we are chanting the holy name of the Lord and reading Srimad Bhagavatam daily, then why are desires arising that are completely contrary to the process of pure devotional service? I know for a fact that I am suffering from weeds, how can I remove these weeds I suffer from like adoration, prestige, sense enjoyment, emancipation and so many others?

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami:

“A question in reference to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.2.30.
In purport toward the end, Prabhupāda says… This is quoting from, Śrīla Prabhupāda is quoting from and paraphrasing from, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s instructions to Rūpa Gosvāmī as stated in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta about the creeper of devotional service.
By the mercy of guru and Kṛṣṇa one receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service. One has to water that creeper by giving water, figurative water, of hearing and chanting about Kṛṣṇa, then the creeper grows. Then Śrīla Prabhupāda writes:
3) “It so happens that by the watering process some weeds are also grown, and unless such weeds are uprooted, the nurturing of the main creeper, or the creeper of bhakti-yoga, may be hampered.
4) Actually these weeds are material enjoyment, merging of the self in the Absolute without separate individuality, and many other desires in the field of religion, economic development, sense enjoyment and emancipation.
5) There are many other weeds, like disobedience to the tenets of the revered scriptures, unnecessary engagements, killing animals, and hankering after material gain, prestige and adoration.”
So that is, more or less, a direct translation of a passage from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. 

PERENNIAL KIND OF QUESTION 
Then the question from Kalki dāsa:
“If we are chanting the holy name of the Lord and reading Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam daily, then why are desires arising that are completely contrary to pure devotional service? I know for a fact that I am suffering from weeds. How can I remove these weeds?”
Why do the desires arise? Well, arise is just the right term because they are there, deep in the heart. They arise. It may be just like in a lake. At the bottom of the lake there is mud, and sometimes some bubble just comes up. There is some air trapped deep in the lake, or it may not even be a bubble. The air may form at the bottom of the lake and come up.
So the reason is we’ve been in this material world since time immemorial and we have so many material desires; and hearing and chanting is the cleansing process. It doesn’t mean that everyone immediately becomes clean. If we are chanting the holy name, the question is how do the desires arise. But how are we chanting? Are we chanting with full purity? So it’s a process. Therefore we have the process of sādhana-bhakti.
Actually, this kind of question I’ve answered dozens of times. Maybe hundreds of times in varieties of ways. It’s a perennial kind of question. So it’s a process.
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt
tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati (Upadeśāmṛta 3)
By enthusiasm, determination, patience, following the proper process, giving up bad association, and following in the footsteps of great devotees, success in devotional service is guaranteed. 

PATIENCE IS REQUIRED 
So in purport to this verse from Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, Śrīla Prabhupāda states that patience is required also. We shouldn’t think that immediately we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and then we become totally cleansed of all material contamination. 
He gives the example that after a girl gets married, she expects to get a child, but she has to wait a little time. Once she is married, it is expected that she will have a child. Of course, nowadays they don’t bother getting married. They just get a child without marriage in many cases also. That’s the normal process – marriage and then the child will come, because only after the marriage do the boy and girl unite in a manner that can produce children.
So some patience is required also. And that patience is part of the process of devotional service. If we become impatient and think that “Well, oh, too much! I want immediate Kṛṣṇa prema!” Then we become disqualified from getting it. We may say: “Why do material desires arise?” Those desires are there in the heart. They come out. See them, drop them. Don’t meditate on it. Then we can become free from it.
How can I remove these weeds?
Again, it’s by the process of sādhana. We go on with the process, with faith. rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso – with faith that Kṛṣṇa will protect me. If I stay on this path, Kṛṣṇa will help. 

CONCLUSION
So what’s the answer? How do I get free from these weeds?
Go on with the process of sādhana and be careful. 
ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ
prātikūlyasya varjanam
Accept everything which is favorable for devotional service and reject everything that is unfavorable. We can’t expect to advance unless we do this. That means we have to have plenty of hearing and chanting about Kṛṣṇa in our life.
And things which are unfavorable like, so many times I say this, but it’s a common anartha, watching all kinds of nonsense things on TV, not turning off our cell phone when we come to the temple, even though we are asked to so many times; so many things. This will impede our devotional advancement. If we follow the process, then Kṛṣṇa will help. To the extent we follow, Kṛṣṇa will reciprocate.

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After procrastinating for several months, with the encouragement of Susan, I finally got myself out the door to visit our local Hindu Mandir, in London , Ontario. I looked at the Vaisnava calendar, and was reminded that it was the day for GIta Jayanti. I thought "How auspicious. What a wonderful opportunity to bring a box of Gitas with me to share with the local Hindus. A most wonderful way to begin my associating with the local pious people!"

I thought perhaps I might be able to speak something about the glories of the Bhagavad Gita at the Mandir, so I Googled Gita Jayanti, and heard part of an inspiring class by HH Prahladanandana Swami where he explained,

"There are 7 billion verses in the Vedas, and the Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all of them, and of all of them , the middle 6 chapters of the Gita are the most important, and of all those chapters, the 9th is the most important , and of all the verses , Bg. 9.34 is the most important,… man mana bhava mad bhakto, "Engage your mind in always thinking of Me, worship Me offer your obeisances unto Me. Thus you will surely come to Me, because you are My very dear friend." It is such an important verse , that it is repeated in the 18th chapter as well."

When I arrived at the Hindu Mandir, I saw the central deities were Laxmi-Narayana, with Sita Rama Hanuman Laxman, Radha Krishna, Siva lingam, Siva Parvati Ganesh Durga deities as well. When Susan and I arrived, they were having a havan, with a South Indian pandit chanting many mantras, which we participated in. Several people thanked me for the way I chanted Sanskrit with the Pandit. After this, I met the temple president, Mr. AV Singh, and when I asked him if I could say a few words about Gita Jayanti, he told me that there is no way of confirming the actual date that the Bhagavad Gita was spoken and that there is no need to promote the Bhagavad Gita, because every Hindu knows about it. He told me that their center was "diversified", and they don't promote any one book, and that if they let me promote the Gita , then everyone would want to promote their own religious views.

I stood there listening to him with my mouth open, in a state of disbelief. I purposefully kept my mouth open so he could see how

shocked I was at his response. He asked me if I understood. I told him that I understood his point of view, but because the Bhagavad Gita is a universal , non-sectarian teaching, I had difficulty accepting his resistance toward promoting it. He told me that the temple was for people to come and worship, sing a few songs, and go home "happy". I quickly packed up the Gitas and left, not feeling very happy at all.

My gratitude to Srila Prabhupada increased for the ISKCON movement he has given us , representing the true universal message of Sanatana Dharma. I realized even more the necessity of starting our own programs so that people could learn about Lord Caitanya. Hindu Bindu hodge podge religion , with so called "diversity" minimizing the glorification of Bhagavad Gita won't get people very far.

What would have you said to Mr. Singh, regarding his arguments against saying a few words in glorification of the Bhagavad Gita?

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