Sexism, sexism, sexism and more sexism.
In an attempt to gather a consensus on the definition of the word “Equalitarianism” let us first of all quote Wikipeadia.
“Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning ‘equal’), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that prioritizes equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or moral status. Egalitarianism is the doctrine that all citizens of a state should be accorded exactly equal rights.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term has two distinct definitions in modern English, namely either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social and civil rights, or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. Some sources define egalitarianism as the point of view that equality reflects the natural state of humanity.”
Of course, from a Krishna conscious point of view, we must immediately point out that this is not really equaliterianism. This is a false definition, because it is based on a poor fund of knowledge. It is in fact imperialism, because it clearly excludes non-humans. True equalitairianism includes all living beings, such as animal and plants etc..
For the purpose of our article, it is however useful.
We are not these bodies. All living things are spirit souls, part and parcels of God, Krishna. Therefore they are fundamentally equal.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 5.18.
TRANSLITERATION OF THE SANSKRIT.
brähmane gavi hastini
shuni caiva shva-päke ca
WORD FOR WORD TRANSLATION
vidyä—with education; vinaya—and gentleness; sampanne—fully equipped; brähmane—in the brähmaëa; gavi—in the cow; hastini—in the elephant; shuni—in the dog; ca—and; eva—certainly; shva—päke—in the dog—eater (the outcaste); ca—respectively; panditäh—those who are wise; sama-darshinah—who see with equal vision.
The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brähmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].
What is the meaning of “transcendental”?
Transcendental means beyond the three modes of material nature, tama guna, raja guna and sattva guna.
In Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 2.45, Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, exhorts His friend Arjuna as follows:
TRANSLITERATION OF THE SANSKRIT
WORD FOR WORD TRANSLATION
trai-gunya—pertaining to the three modes of material nature; vishayäh—on the subject matter; vedäh—Vedic literatures; nistrai-gunyah—transcendental to the three modes of material nature; bhava—be; arjuna—O Arjuna; nirdvandvah—without duality; nitya-sattva-sthah—in a pure state of spiritual existence; niryoga-kshemah—free from ideas of gain and protection; ätma-vän—established in the self.
The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.
The three modes of material nature are specifically explained in chapter 14 of the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. This chapter itself is called “The Three Modes of Material Nature.” We invite our readers to carefully study chapter 14 of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, as this concept of the three modes of material nature or the “gunas”, as well as their supervisors, the three guna-avataras, Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, are conspicuous by their absence in western philosophy. This is not at all astonishing as western man-made philosophy is completely under the dictation of the three modes of material nature. How can a night owl describe the sun? Whereas Bhagavad-gita As It Is has a transcendental source.
The three modes of material nature constantly struggle amongst themselves for supremacy :
Sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance, O son of Bharata. Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way, there is always competition for supremacy.
The influence of the three modes of nature is all-pervading as, explained in Bhagavad-gita As It Is 18.40:
“There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, which is freed from these three modes born of material nature.”
Whereas the position of one who has overcome the three modes of nature is very much enviable, as described in Bhagavad-gita As it is 14.26:
One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.
Now to our subtitle: Sexism, sexism, sexism, and more sexism.
Because it originates from the greatest, Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna consciousness is the greatest philosophy. There is no doubt about it. In Bhagavad-gita AsIt Is 15.18, Sri Krishna confirms that He is the greatest: “Because I am transcendental, beyond both the fallible and the infallible, and because I am the greatest, I am celebrated both in the world and in the Vedas as that Supreme Person.” The famous boxer may say he is the greatest. And that may be true in a relative sense. But Sri Krishna will knock him out in just a few seconds if it were to come to that, as He has amply proven in His activities (karma) described in the Krishna Book by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
When improperly practiced and improperly understood Krishna consciousness can lead, like most other things in life, to great abuses as well. This is especially true in our attitude towards women. According to Canakya Pandit, the great Indian philosopher cum politician, all women except one’ s own wife, are to be considered and respected as mothers. He specifically says:
Mätrivat para-däreshu para-dravyeshu lostravat,
ätmavat sarva-bhüteshu yah pashyati sa panditah
He is the learned man who sees all women (except one’s own wife) as his mother, other’s property should be accepted just like refused garbage in the street and treat every living entity as he would like to be treated himself.
In 660803BG.NY, Srila Prabhupada explains the matter very nicely and twice he underlines that education is not at all a matter of university degrees of which contemporary ISKCON has become so proud of, another deviation and betrayal of Srila Prabhupada:
“Pandita. This pandita. This pandita, explanation of panditita. Now, who is a pandita? Now, mätrivat para-däreshu: “He is the learned man who sees all women as his mother.” Except one’s married wife, one should see every woman as his mother. Mätrivat. Mätå means mother. Vat means just like. Mätrivat para-däreshu. Para-däreshu means other women except one’s own wife, married wife.
Mätrivat para-däreshu para-dravyeshu loshtravat: “And other’s property should be accepted just like refused garbage in the street.” Just like we don’t care for all the garbages. Simply if others’ money or others’ property is there, sometimes we hanker, we should think, “Oh, these are nonsense, just like garbage.” Mätrivat para-däreshu para-dravyeshu loshtravat, ätmavat sarva-bhüteshu. And loshtra means that rubbles, just like stone rubbles. You see? There are so many rubbles and, er, strewn over the street. Nobody cares for that. Similarly, if others’ money is thrown over the street, nobody… He should not care. He should not collect: “Oh, here is some money. Let me take.”
So mätrivat para-däreshu para-dravyeshu loshtravat, ätmavat sarva-bhüteñu. And he should see everyone… This ätmavat sarva-bhüteshu was preached by Lord Buddha, this philosophy. This one philosophy was, I mean to say, taught throughout the whole world by Lord Buddha, that there should be no animal killing. Ätmavat sarva-bhüteshu. No living entity should be given suffer, even by words. That is real life. Ätmavat… Yah pashyati. One who has such vision of life, he is called learned. He is called learned—not by educational qualifications. One who has acquired… Phalena pariciyate. Education is understood, how far a man is educated, by his behavior. By his vision of life it will be estimated, not by the degrees. Ätmavat sarva-bhüteshu yah pashyati sa panditah.”
Women are not at all to be considered as sisters, as some speculate. Even less to be considered as sex objects or sex slaves as some wicked men would want to have it. They are to be respected as mothers. Mother holds a respected, a very functional and perhaps a commanding position in the family. Mother is very important. She holds a nurturing role. In most cases, it is therefore possible to have an affectionate relationship with mother.
“According to scriptures, there are seven mothers: (1) the real mother, (2) the wife of the spiritual master, (3) the wife of a brähmana, (4) the wife of the king, (ruler) (5) the cow, (6) the nurse, and (7) the earth. All of them are mothers.” SB 1.11.28
And here we have two paintings of the relationship between Radha and Krishna
These two paintings have both been used by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust as the covers for Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna Book. It may be objected that the second picture is flagrantly sexist in its representation of the transcendental relationship between Radha and Krishna and by extension in its representation of romantic relationships.
Sexism or misogyny comes this time from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Srila Prabhupada’s publishing company and parallel to but an independent company of ISKCON. Of course, the term “sexism” includes “misogyny”, whereas the opposite is not true, as sexism, or discrimination on the basis of gender, can go both ways.
The first picture is very sweet. The colors and forms are nice. The style of painting is very nice. I was otherwise wondering whether this very pleasant style of painting has got a particular name like other styles are called renaissance or surrealism. It depicts a relationship amongst equals, full of transcendental familiarity and transcendental affection. According to shastra, this is the Vrindavan mood. Such divine friendliness is confirmed in Caitanya Caritamrita, Antya 7.29. But just the other way round. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself is speaking:
“When Lord Sri Krishna was dancing with the gopis in the räsa-lilä, the gopis were embraced around the neck by the Lord’s arms. This transcendental favor was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or the other consorts in the spiritual world. Nor was such a thing ever imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, girls whose bodily luster and aroma resemble the beauty and fragrance of lotus flowers. And what to speak of worldly women, who may be very, very beautiful according to material estimation?”
The second picture is not at all the Vrindavan mood, where this relationship is supposed to be developing. We see a very domineering male and a very insignificant and sheepish female pushed in the right hand lower side of the cover. Is this a predator wolf in the guise of a flute player about to attack an innocent woman? I let the imagination and good sense of my readers draw the appropriate conclusions.
The good news is that the next print of minimum 100.000 copies of Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna Book will have the wonderful first picture on the cover. Please make sure to secure your personal copy. This is truly fascinating and educational reading!
I suppose we all make mistakes. Hare Krishna