As a disciple of HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami I can say from my own case and examples of my Godsisters, that our Guru Maharaja encourages all of us to preach, teach, go to book distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books, do harinams, do deity worship, and participate in temple sevas, write books, etc. We are a preaching movement, and that literally means that everyone should preach. Including women, children, old, sick, temple cat, etc. BUT at the same time, he teaches us what comes first. First is to finish our duties at home, towards our family. That is the prescribed duty for grihastha asrama.
That means, that we should not leave our crying baby at home, because we have to run to the temple to cook 50 preparations for festivals or book distribution, etc. while children are left alone for hours at home scared and hungry. That means that wife should first cook at home, take care of husband’s and children’s needs, or parent’s and in-laws needs (in case they live in extended family).
So first things first.
And husband is doing the same; he has his prescribed duties in grihastha asrama and after he finishes them that day, he can also go to do preaching, harinams, book distribution, write books, etc.
So the main point is; grihasthas act as grihasthas and not as brahmacaris or sannyasis who have no family and can travel from place to place every third day. A married woman cannot do that if she has a family. Because those who neglected their children and husband on pretext of “preaching mission” gave bad example and left very negative impression on their kids, who now don’t want to hear about Krishna consciousness. And husbands left them to marry a woman who actually wants to be a wife.
That’s the reason why our ISKCON has so many divorces, unhappy children who don’t want to hear about Krishna consciousness, and “preaching” mission, because they never had their mother and father at home to take care of them, cook for them, etc.
I would be fried if my parents treated me that way in the name of book distribution or because my mother was too busy in the temple as full-time pujari.
That’s the reason why there is adultery, because husband never sees his wife, or the other way around, wife never sees her husband. She is busy in opening new centers, and does not cook at home, so he goes to eat somewhere else, he goes to satisfy his need with other woman, etc. Families break.
So first things first. That is what this book “Mothers and Masters” is about. Feminists are blind to this, maybe because they are guilty.
Society is made mostly of grihasthas. If grihastha asrama is strong, the whole society is strong and prosperous. And the children stay in the movement.
- Sundari Radhika Devi Dasi
(The wife of Shyamasundara Dasa (ACBSP), and his student of Jyotisha, Bangalore, India)