1. Women and sacred thread

    So at least for one year chanting regularly, observing the rules and regulation, one comes to the platform of spiritual platform. And then, another initiation, this is called diksa. That is also diksa, that is first process. This diksa, second process, is not very essential. The essential is to chant. In this age, there is no need of this second initiation. But those who are going to be recognized as properly initiated, so this second installment was introduced by Sanatana Gosvami. Diksa-vidhanena dvijatvam [Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.12], his twice birth he’s completed.

    And so far men are concerned, they are offered the sacred thread. Not the woman. The idea is woman, every woman, is supposed to be married. Of course, in your country it is not very compulsory, not very essential. In India is still, but it is gradually declining. Unless a woman is married, his life is frustrated on his debt. Even one woman is diseased or something like that — nobody cares to marry such girl — then the system is that she marries one banana tree in order to get the certificate that she’s married.

    So marriage is so much compulsory according to Vedic civilization for woman. Woman’s independence is never allowed by Vedic smrti. Smrti means regulation, Vedic regulation. Woman must be under the care of father so long she is not married, and then in her youthful age she must be under the care of the proper husband, and she must be under the care of elderly children in old age.

    Now you will see how much husband takes care of the wife, how much it is obliging. You will see from the history of Ramayana. Rama…, Lord Ramacandra’s wife was kidnapped by Ravana. So it is not that the husband or like, “My one wife has gone; I can marry for the second time. There are any women I can…” No. He fought to the last, and He vanquished the whole family of Ravana to get out Sita. This is husband’s responsibility. So the idea spread here. So many women in this country say that “We are not going to be slave, slave of some man.” They say like that. India also there is some of these modern girls. One of my friend’s daughter, she was studying in M.A. and she was not willing to marry, so that my friend in my householder life, that friend called the daughter before me and he told me, “Abhay Babu,” that she, “she’s not willing to marry.” So I asked that girl, “Why you are not willing to marry? What is the reason?” “Oh, I’m not going to be a slave.”

    This is also in India. But the sastra does not allow that. It is not slavery, actually; it is grand protection. If the husband is nice, then wife’s position is very secure. Just like a king, and the woman whom the king marries, she becomes at once queen, without any endeavor, and she gets all the respect of the husband. Just see Ramacandra. Ramacandra was very young ksatriya, fighter, everything. Sita has no such record. But Sita has got the same respect as Rama — Sita-Rama. Now we have heard so many activities of Krsna, nothing of Radharani, but Radharani is still as good as Krsna.

    So this combination, Vedic idea that woman must be under the… They have got three stages of life. First stage under the father, second stage under the husband. Therefore initiation, to the woman, there is no need of, I mean to say, sacred thread, because she’s considered to be the half body of her husband. She’s half-shareholder in everything of the husband; therefore there was no necessity.

    Even you’ll find in the picture of Ramacandra and Sita, Ramacandra has got sacred thread but Sita hasn’t got. That is the system. So this is Vedic system, that woman is given the mantra but not the sacred thread. Even she’s born of a brahmana father, there is no such system.

    (Srila Prabhupada; Initiation Lecture — May 21, 1968, Boston)