From time to time I hear comments or get asked questions which imply that Srila Prabhupada was affected by his apparently material circumstances that existed before his becoming the Founder Acarya of ISKCON.

sp east village other

As it goes, the accusation states that Srila Prabhupada’s presentation of Krsna consciousness, its practice, was tainted by his personal failures or by his upbringing in early 20th century Bengal. One such critique centers on his explanations of the intelligence of women; another on his insistence of the four regulative principles; another on his comments about the moon. And the list goes on.

It is to be expected because this is Kali Yuga and people cannot easily escape their conditioning and see things from the transcendental perspective. The tendency is to modify transcendental teachings to fit within their own conditioned frameworks.

ISKCON is going the same way all pure spiritual movements go in Kali-yuga. It is being materialized by people who don’t have the ability or desire to transform themselves or be transformed, and instead transform Krsna consciousness to their mundane convenience.

As George Bernard Shaw once wrote:

George Bernard Shaw

“The great danger of conversion in all ages has been that when the religion
of the high mind is offered to the lower mind, the lower mind, feeling its
fascination without understanding it, and being incapable of rising to it,
drags it down to its level by degrading it.”

“The great danger of conversion in all ages has been that when the religion of the high mind is offered to the lower mind, the lower mind, feeling its fascination without understanding it, and being incapable of rising to it, drags it down to its level by degrading it.”

Even though this trend is to be expected, I was still surprised to hear this latest criticism of His Divine Grace, sent to me for comment by one of our Mayapur devotees:

Question:

Sometimes we hear the unfortunate criticism of Srila Prabhupada.  There are the statements in Fourth Canto regarding women liking men who are expert at rape.  It is also said that he describes in detail young girls’ bodily forms, even when there is nothing of the sort mentioned in the slokas in question.  They say this is unnecessary and indicates his personal sexual problems.  They point to his marriage to a wife he did not particularly like as justification.

What can be said about this?

Answer: [note this is in two parts, the second will be posted separately]

A lot can be said, not much of it would be polite.

I don’t know where Srila Prabhupada has made any kind of description of young girl’s forms when it isn’t within the context of the verse or section of the particular book. I would want to see the exact quotes in order to accurately comment on that.

The comment on women liking men who are expert at rape has been discussed exhaustively and its very clear that Srila Prabhupada is describing the psychology of women liking men who are strong and forward and who take the position of a master; women like to be conquered in love. This is the actual psychology of men and women and everyone knows it. The old English meaning of ‘rapacious’ meant exactly this. Nowadays ‘rape’ has a bad connotation and you will find also that Srila Prabhupada strongly condemned the kind of violent attacks that the word now implies.

When Srila Prabhupada gives these descriptions of the psychology of sexual intermingling he is describing the psychology of entanglement in the material world.

jim-flora-entangled-couple-print

Unless people understand how they are entangled, then how will they get out?

It is meant for the sex addicted audience he had to preach to. The sexual hangups belong to the conditioned souls, especially those brought up in non-Vedic influenced cultures. You only have to watch TV or read the newspapers to see how deeply attached and absorbed in sexual attraction people are. It is definitely not a projection of his own mentality. Those who say it is are simply projecting their own sexual hangups and attachments onto Srila Prabhupada.

Why do they want to focus on the few times in his voluminous writings where he discusses these things, and ignore the 99% of his teachings which describe all the aspects of spiritual life, and the glories of Lord Krsna? It is because they are the ones who are hung up on sex, not Srila Prabhupada. They want some excuse so that they can reject Srila Prabhupada’s contention that there is no such thing as enjoyment in the material world and thus they find some excuse to criticise him and make out that he is just like them. They have no understanding at all of the philosophy nor Srila Prabhupada’s trancendental character.

In order to capture your audience and help them, you have to show them that you understand their mentality and that you know the causes of their difficulties. Then they are willing to listen to the alternatives. Srila Prabhupada was expert in this preaching and that’s why he was so effective. People felt that he knew perfectly what they were going through. He was an expert psychologist and that’s why he was so good.

As far as Srila Prabhupada’s family life is concerned, this was all under the supreme arrangement of Krsna. He did his duty as a husband and father even though he didn’t particularly find his wife attactive.

sp-family

The same people that criticize his relationship with her would probably be the first to dump their partners and run off with someone else if they were in the same situation.

divorce statistics

Srila Prabhupada remained married but he took the poor material relationship as indicative and instead pursued his spiritual life and his spiritual relationships as the real source of happiness.

He had no hang ups about his wife. He wasn’t hankering for a better wife nor did he suppress some kind of unfulfilled yearning for sex. He transcended all of that. He was simply uninterested in it because he knew the falsity in it. If he was hung up about sex it would have shown in his dealings with his young beautiful western followers.

How many gurus were captured by the false beauty of their wealthy western ladyfriends? Mahesh Yogi, Muktananda, Rajneesh… the list goes on of bewildered so-called gurus who were definitely suppressing their sexual urges and who were exposed by maya as soon as they got themselves well situated.

love-guru-1

But Srila Prabhupada was way and above all of this, he had not the slightest interest in exploiting his followers or enjoying them either physically or subtely. His detachment from these things showed in all his actions, words and thoughts.

sp-sannyasa

Srila Prabhupada was perfectly situated in pure devotional service and all of his teachings reflect this. These kinds of criticisms come from people with a poor fund of knowledge who are simply projecting their own envy and material desires onto him.

Your humble servant
Hari-sauri dasa
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