Treating women as mothers
Posted on November 17, 2017
Candravali: Prabhupada, we hear that in our philosophy the men should treat the women as mothers. But actually, the men, especially the sannyasis, don't treat the women as mothers. Instead they treat them as maya. Their attitude, not the women, seems more like maya! It doesn't seem proper.
Prabhupada heard her complaint carefully. He smiled softly and began to reply. His words dropped from his mouth as if they were sweet ripe fruits falling from a tree.
Prabhupada: Yes, the men do not treat the women as mothers. Nor do the women act like mothers. Neither do they dress as mothers.
* * *
Prabhupada answered this delicate question with directness, acknowledging the "butter and fire" nature in the dealings between men and women. Vedic culture compares men to butter and women to fire, not vice versa. In Kali-yuga, women seem determined to break from their traditional roles in social dealing. They seem to be thinking, "If the butter-like men are disturbed, then that's their problem, not ours. Why should we be penalized and our position restricted or minimized?" Prabhupada, however, was not inclined to compromise the Vedic standard.
It is true that our bodily identity as male or female is illusory, but we still have to deal practically with the temporary nature of that illusion. ISKCON's men and women, therefore, need to conscientiously adopt the activities, restrictions, and responsibilities of their temporary, bodily roles and become sympathetic, not antagonistic, to the position and needs of others.
From "My Glorious Master" by Bhurijana Prabhu