Friday, December 16, 2011

Prabhupada: Hare Krishna's founder in his own words

In an earlier article I discussed how many Hare Krishnas have a rather unusual view of cosmology. They believe the moon to be larger than the sun and some 800,000 miles more distant. One of the supporting quotes I provided included the line
"I’m sure that devotees who are more erudite than a mere woman can come up with much better citations..."

and I was asked offline if I could elaborate on sexism in the organisation. (Emphasis in the above quote is mine.)

The Mormons have a doctrine known as 'Milk Before Meat'. When evangelising, they stress the elements they share with Christianity. Only after initiation do they discuss multiple gods, multiple heavens, how you can become a god, magic underwear, Native American Jews, lost civilisations and so on. The internet has made this a little tricky as it's harder to keep these secrets. It's my fond hope that this effect will also be felt by the Hare Krishnas.

Below are a selection of quotes from Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishnas. The sheer breadth of his lunacy and offensiveness means that my selection must be brief. In summary he recommends child marriage, considers women unfit for independence, says they enjoy rape, makes the farcical claim that a man's brain is twice the size of a woman's and considers an ideal wife to be one that willingly leaps onto her husband's cremation pyre.
"...woman has no independence, because they cannot keep their independence. It is not possible. By nature, they are weak... In the Western countries, the women are given freedom like man, but that is unnatural... It is a great deficiency of the Western sociology. But the Vedic culture is different from this. Woman is not given independence. The conclusion is that women are weak."  (Lecture, Los Angeles, November 30th 1973)
It is not that the woman do not like rape. They like sometimes. They willingly. That is the psychology. Outwardly they show some displeasure, but inwardly they do not. This is the psychology." (Morning Walk – May 11, 1975, Perth)
"And it is recommended they should be married at very early age, then the wife will remain always chaste and devoted to her husband. At such young age, from the first night onwards, she can never for a moment forget him, being still child and unspoiled, therefore she becomes the perfect chaste wife, and in those times the wife was so much devoted to her husband that she would voluntarily die in the fire of his cremation, unable to live without him. Myself, I was very young when I got married, and my wife was 11 years only." (Correspondence, 1972)
To understand Brahman is not the business of tiny brain... Physiologically, within the brain there are brain substance. It is found that the brain substance in man is found up to 64 ounce. They are very highly intellectual persons. And in woman the brain substance is not found more than 34 ounce. You'll find, therefore, that there is no very great scientist, mathematician, philosopher, among women. You'll never find because their brain substance cannot go. Artificially do not try to become equal with men. That is not allowed in the Vedic śāstra. Na striyaṁ svatantratām arhati. That is called śāstra. (Lecture, February 3, 1975)


ciaran mac aoidh said...

Have you ever put any of this muck to a HK devotee?

Geoff said...

Haven't had the opportunity yet. Though it's interesting to see how it's defended online. To do a hamfisted summary of their theology, everything in this world is an illusion, and you can only get true knowledge through meditation.

Hard to argue against someone who doesn't consider observation and sensory input to be useful tools when evaluating our experience of the cosmos.

I'm keeping an eye out for a good book by an ex Hare Krishna. I found some interesting articles while researching; might post a links page.

Next article will be Prabhupada and why racial purity is important, interspersed with quotes from the KKK for comparison.

Shyamasundara dasa said...

Good stuff, Geoff!

Here's a bunch of links including books by ex HKs ...