1. In the Vedic system, woman is always subordinate

    Natural position is that the wife is under or subordinate to the husband. At least that is the Vedic conception. Therefore woman places herself in the position of dasi, dasi, maidservant. Even the queens of Krsna, when… You will find in the Bhagavata, Srimad-Bhagavatam, when there was talking between the queens and Draupadi at Kuruksetra on some festival, that women, mixing together, they talk about their marriage, about their family, about their husband, so they were also talking. So Draupadi was asking the queens of Krsna how they were married. Because in each time Krsna had to fight to get the wife. That is the ksatriya principle. Without fight, there is no marriage. There must be some fight. And after killing the opposing party, their blood is taken and smeared over it. This is red vermilion. Now it can be purchased. [laughter] There is no fight. You can purchase, two paisa, that’s all. But formerly a ksatriya must fight, and there were many opposing princes, and the victorious prince must kill or at least get some blood from the body, and as victorious, the wife will be smeared.

    Anyway, so the point is that even the queens of Krsna, they are not ordinary woman; very exalted. So they were giving their acquaintances to Draupadi, “In this way I became a maidservant of Krsna.” You will find this in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Even the queens… Every queen possessed a big, palatial building, and all the palaces were made of first-class marble, and the furnitures were made of ivory, and the beddings, and the within the room, there was no need of electrical bulb; they are set up with jewels, and they would throw the focus of light. And there was garden, parijata flower. You will find all these things in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. And each queen had ten sons. And the sons were also married; they had sons. In this way, very, very opulent. But still, they were placing themself in the position of maidservant. They were also king’s daughter, not ordinary being. So that is the Vedic conception. Of course, I do not know what is the practice here, but in Bengal this is the practice. When the son goes to marry to the bride’s house, it is a custom. The mother asks the son, “My dear son, where you are going?” So the bridegroom answers, “I am going to bring one maidservant for you.” This is the system.

    So the Vedic…, according to the Vedic system, there is no equal right of the man and woman. The woman is always subordinate. That is the Manu-samhita law. Na stri svatantryam arhati. A woman does not require, does not desire, to get independence. That is good for them. If the woman remains under the protection — in young age under father, when he [she] is child; when he [she] is young, under the protection of husband; and when she is old, under the protection of elderly children — that is their very safe position. Just like Kunti. Kunti was not ordinary woman; still, she kept herself under the protection of the five sons. The sons were going to forest. Kunti was not asked to go to the forest, but because she took it to be protected by the sons, she also went to the forest. Just like Sita-devi. Sita, she was also king’s daughter. When Ramacandra was going to the forest, Ramacandra did not ask also; neither Sita was asked by her father-in-law to go to the forest. But she preferred to go with Ramacandra just to be protected by Him. This is the system.

    Srila Prabhupada, Talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.26.8 – December 20, 1974, Bombay