When Women Give Dīkṣā… (11/09/03)
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Here is a quote for you –
Devotee: Can women become guru?
Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Yes, if she sincerely feels that she can help others, she may be. There are so many. Jāhnavā Devī, wife of Nityānanda Prabhu, she began extensively this spiritual movement. And there are many others.
Devotee: Must you be in the renounced order of life?
Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Of course somewhat, a gṛhastha, then gṛhastha she may initiate gṛhasthas. But generally it is not found that the ladies take the robe of renunciation. That is red cloth or something. But they may have respect even of the sannyāsīs, but they remain as gṛhasthas and may continue gṛhastha śiṣya.”
So according to Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja the answer is ‘Yes’. Śrīdhara Mahārāja is saying that, “Yes, they can do” but he mentions that women should only accept disciples from the gṛhastha āśrama. The woman guru does not initiate brahmacārīs or sannyāsīs. They should have gṛhastha śiṣya only.
In the disciplic succession from Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, we do not find that any of his women disciples (many of which were very qualified) ventured to give dīkṣā. Of course, if there were no men qualified to give dīkṣā then certainly they would have done so. When women give dīkṣā it usually means that there are no qualified Vaiṣṇava men around, or that the women are more qualified than the men.
When there are women gurus in Iskcon then rest assured, the X___ Mahārāja camp will make Iskcon the butt of unlimited jokes and use that also to demonstrate that there are actually no qualified gurus in Iskcon.
I do not know where I will be at that time. Not in Jagannātha Purī and not in Māyāpura, but you are certainly welcome to visit our āśrama whenever you have the time. If you are going to visit us I will try to make it a point to be there. J____ will also be there at that time.
Mahabalipuram is a ‘beach house’ and not a preaching center. In future we may do some preaching in this area but for now the house serves as a health facility something that I have needed for a long time.
Good luck with “Guru Mātā’ issue at Māyāpura!
I hope this meets you well.
Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha