Vanity thought #808. Living with feminism

First thing we need to realize that feminism is bad. Check. Then we need to realize that feminists in our society are not going anywhere and feminist attitudes cannot be magically purged and that it’s a long long battle. Half check. Then we have to realize that aside from fighting it we have to learn to live with it.

How? I think it would be remarkably close to how we live now. The only thing that would visibly change is that we stop promoting it as a glorious lifestyle choice. Those who have already made this choice will have to accept that it has no future and become apologetic for their own ways but at the same time we don’t want them to drastically change their behavior either. Let them be feminists for Krishna.

How? By doing what they are doing now – engaging their energy and skills in Krishna’s service, not in husband’s service. In traditional Vedic society these two are one and the same and for a Vedic woman one does not exist without the other but in our society, sadly, there’s a difference.

It takes a lot of realization, maturity, and faith to accept that serving one’s husband is as good and even better than doing active preaching service as we’ve been practicing since the inception of our society. When I put it like that I don’t believe in it myself but that is what shastra tells us regarding stri dharma.

Initially, even Srila Prabhupada was “feminist” in his approach and it wasn’t until he took his disciples to India that he had to make different arrangements for men and for women. This is what I understand from memoirs of his first female disciples and they were okay with it at first but eventually things fell back to their old ways – women demanded equal opportunity and equal recognition on the basis of merit, not gender.

This is how we got where we are now – divorced women preaching to sannyasis from vyasanas and demanding diksha guru status. It’s a rather cynical take on the situation but this is a typical picture in the minds of traditionalists. Another typical picture is a traveling female preacher who takes all the glory while her husband sits home holding his d*ck in his hand. Sometimes literally.

Recently there was a public letter circulated in Europe about tough situation with Dina Sarana mataji. She was serving as GBC assistant there while her husband found himself another woman and, despite being asked to stop his affair, eventually decided to separate from his wife of forty years. Immediately someone came up with accusations against Dina Sarana – she neglected her wife’s duties in favor of serving a big GBC man and it was all her fault.

I don’t know. After forty years of marriage any wife would seem to have proven herself as qualified for the job and if a man in his sixties wants a new wife there’s not much she could or even should do about it. It’s unwise to assign blame to any one single party in domestic disputes but I bet until very recently Dina Sarana’s example was a banner one for the feminists and now, capitalizing on her troubles, the traditionalists want to run with it instead.

Bad things happen even to best people. We cannot forbid women of her capabilities from engaging in responsible managerial or any other service. It’s a fact of life – women are often more qualified to manage people or projects and, increasingly, better at bread winning, too. If this is what they do best then it’d be futile and even counterproductive to try and stop them whether we call it feminism or not.

Of course we all want varnashrama, at least in theory, and in our theory there should be four classes of men going through four stages of lives. Four classes of men, noticed that? Women are not part of this arrangement. Of course they are always there but in the assisting role. Fine, but for this varnashrama to work we need brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras of both genders.

What we have now is mlechhas, yavanas, chandalas and mudhis as varnas and lusty, lustful, lusting and lascivious as ashramas. We cannot expect them, or rather us, to live like Vedic brahmanas. It simply won’t happen, we can’t imitate brahmanic qualities and we can’t establish them artificially.

A hundred years ago our acharyas have won the battle in recognizing vaishnavas as superior to brahmanas and that didn’t change, but this superiority is spiritual, in our everyday lives we would still live according to our materialistic qualities. Being devotees fixes up spiritually but, besides following four regs, it doesn’t change our external karma.

If our devotees can’t behave like brahmanas in their personal lives we can’t have Vedic varnashrama no matter how much respect we should afford to them as vaishnavas engaged in the most important preaching mission.

Spiritually our society is doing just fine but if we want to fix our material troubles, too, we should recognize our limitations, and that means living with feminism.

Somehow or other, if we keep chanting and keep serving guru and Krishna our lives will become perfect. Spiritually perfect, and that’s what really matters. If we want to have varnashrama with that then sometimes it might not be on the cards. If and when the Lord desires, or when it’s scheduled according to the laws of the universe, varanshrama would reappear. We can’t rush it even if we accept reestablishing varnashrama as our primary service.

2 comments on “Vanity thought #808. Living with feminism

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