Home > Reader > Women: Masters or Mothers? — A book by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami > Women: Masters or Mothers? Book Reviews
Gauracandranana Devi Dasi (BVKS), Graduate Librarian, Teacher and Mother, Kranj, Slovenia
Posted on June 7, 2016
I thank Mahārāja for taking the time and effort to write this book for the benefit of all the members of ISKCON who want to follow Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings and make them the only goal of their lives.
I welcome the publication of Women: Masters or Mothers? by His Holiness Bhakti Vikāsa Swami. Being categorized as an ‘educated Western woman’ and being thus conditioned in that way, I was not even aware that for years I was unconsciously competing with men and acting contrary to my dharma (according to the guidelines for society that Kṛṣṇa Himself had set). I was asked to be engaged in several preaching projects, sometimes even in leadership positions, and I gladly accepted them. After getting married I encountered several difficulties by not understanding that varṇāśrama roles for men and women complement the male and female psychology and are meant to bring peace and prosperity into a marriage and society at large.
Even after theoretically accepting the position of women in society as described by Śrīla Prabhupāda in his books, it took me more than 20 years to actually start taking up that mood, not because I was supposed to but because of the benefits it brings. My personal experience is that after I had understood that the power of Vaiṣṇavīs and their way of influence is by supporting the Vaiṣṇavas in the front, I have become a lot more peaceful and for that matter more respected. I also see how the devotees in male bodies feel grateful towards me for helping them perform their duty by me performing mine. As we respect a sannyāsī who is very renounced, a householder who is very dutiful and responsible, so a woman who is chaste, respectful, sweet, shy, patient, merciful, gentle etc. naturally commands respect. Actually these are all the original transcendental qualities of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
The book Women: Masters or Mothers? is very valuable because it brings a collection of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions for his female followers, enriched with broader explanatory text by His Holiness Bhakti Vikāsa Swami and some modern case scenarios in ISKCON. I encourage every Vaiṣṇavī to read this book in an open-minded way, at least theoretically accepting that it presents Kṛṣṇa’s system of women’s roles in a perfect society. And for the braver ones who are willing to try and apply these principles in their personal lives, just see the shower of blessings that come upon you!