By Hari-Vilas dasa Adhikari (ACBSP)
Since the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada there have been attempts, some crude and others more nuanced, to undermine the authority of his words. This is a symptom of Kali yuga, the age of hypocrisy and quarrel. People in this age misrepresent the truth and argue that they have not. A recent example of a crude attempt to undermine the words of Srila Prabhupada is an article by Brahma das on the VNN news. The following is an answer to Brahma das and all others who are fool enough to think they are qualified to undermine the words of Srila Prabhupada with their empirical flights of speculation.
Everyday we, the disciples, both siksa and diksa, of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada honor him by singing the prayers to the spiritual master wherein we say, guru mukha padma vakya/cittete kariya aikya: “My only wish is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from the lips of my spiritual master.” There has never been an assumption that some of the words are purifying and some are not or some are transcendental and some are mundane, some can be accepted and some should be ignored. This assumption is being introduced by Brahma das and others both inside and outside of ISKCON. The following is a discussion of why such an abomination is being attempted and how to see through such sophistry.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given a brilliant analysis in his Tattva Viveka explaining why humans give various diverse answers to the same questions. I will quote him exactly so that you can also appreciate his explanation.
“Human beings, many days after their birth in this world, efficiently learn and collect the knowledge about the objects of the senses. The various materials of this world and their qualities realized by the sense-organs are called “Vishaya” or the object of the senses. As the sense equipments of children gradually attain maturity, the dualities of the sense-objects also are realized by them accordingly. When the sense organs learn to relish the qualities of the sense objects, proportionally the sense organs are influenced by their attraction. In this way the human beings get attached to the objects of the senses that, in due course they engage themselves in no other activity than in the contemplation of those objects. The affinity toward sound, touch, form, taste and smell become the invariable companions of the human mind and they make it to be their slave. Human beings get engrossed into and enchanted by the respective sense objects. This becomes the normal course of ordinary human life. Among such persons, some rare few may have the discretion that the one who is born has inevitably to die and after death one cannot continue his relation with the objects of senses. The one who happens to be fortunate enough to have this discretion, will detach himself from the sense objects and engage in the enquiry of the Reality. That person will put to himself the following three questions, –
1. Being the enjoyer of this material world “who am I?”
2. What is the enormous universe in reality?
3. What is the true relationship between this world and myself?
. . . The answers given by the spirit (person who is dis-attached) for the previous mentioned three types of questions are essentially of two types viz., characteristic answer and multifarious answer. A doubt may arise in this regard that, when the individual spirits are universally homogenous principle why they will provide various diverse answers to the same questions? The cause of this controversy is explained as follows: – The unalloyed spirit is a purely transcendental principle. When they remain in their characteristic nature, all of them will provide the same answer to a given question. But this world, which has been inhabited by the bonded souls, is not the normal abode of theirs. This mundane world is the abode of Maya or the condemned, limiting potency of the Supreme Lord. This has been manifested by that Maya, who is the shadow of the Internal Potency of the Supreme Lord. Since the bonded souls inhabited in this mundane world of Maya have accepted the phenomenal qualities of Maya as their own, their real character has been eclipsed and encovered by the Mayik qualities which has created a conditioned nature of the jiva-souls. Because of this conditioned nature obtained from Maya the transcendental jiva-soul acquires a mixed character and all its sentient faculties are conducted here under external conditionings. The faculty of transcendental knowledge of the jiva-souls gets degraded in to a mixture of sentient and non-sentient principles due to the association of inanimate world, and gets converted and presented as the mind of the jiva-souls. This mixed principle of mind when influenced by the variegatedness of Maya provides the answers of the different questions assuming the ego of the soul, these answers will naturally become conditioned and multifarious.
The answers given by the different jiva-souls are invariably influenced by their associations of different behaviors, culture, clothing, food habits, language, line of thought, etc., in accordance with the location of this world wherein they live. In this way natural variegatedness is always visualized according to the variation of time, space, and person. The basic variation is due to the alloyed nature of the fallen jiva souls, and then due to the various places, languages, and origins the variations become multifarious. All these multifarious doctrines of varied nature can be properly analyzed and understood by that person alone who has traveled all the places of the world by learning all those respective languages and who has studied the various traditions of those places.”
To understand why there are divergent answers to a question one must analyze the influence of the material energy on the jiva soul and ascertain the particular way the person is affected. There are myriad varieties of culture, language, customs, food, dress, etc., that can attract the mind of persons and cause their mind to be attached to a particular set of objects of sense enjoyment. This false attachment and contemplation denatures the person’s ability to see the truth clearly. This is also explained in the seventeenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita.
O son of Bharata, according to one’s existence under the various modes of nature, one evolves a particular kind of faith. The living being is said to be of a particular faith according to the modes he has acquired. (Bhagavad-gita 17.3 translation)
In the purport to this verse, Srila Prabhupada details the transcendental origin of the living entity and the process by which he becomes tainted by the material nature.
. . . every living being, as is stated in the Fifteenth Chapter [Bhagavad-gita 15.7], is originally a fragmental part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Therefore one is originally transcendental to all the modes of material nature. But when one forgets his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and comes into contact with the material nature in conditional life, he generates his own position by association with the different varieties of material nature. The resultant artificial faith and existence are only material. Although one may be conducted by some impression, or some conception of life, originally he is nirguna, or transcendental. Therefore one has to become cleansed of the material contamination that he has acquired, in order to regain his relationship with the Supreme Lord.
Next, Srila Prabhupada explains the origin of faith and how it becomes contaminated.
Sraddha, or faith, originally comes out of the mode of goodness. One’s faith may be in a demigod or some created God or some mental concoction. One’s strong faith is supposed to be productive of works of material goodness. But in material conditional life, no works are completely purified. They are mixed. They are not in pure goodness. Pure goodness is transcendental; in purified goodness one can understand the real nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As long as one’s faith is not completely in purified goodness, the faith is subject to contamination by any of the modes of material nature. The contaminated modes of material nature expand to the heart. Therefore according to the position of the heart in contact with a particular mode of material nature, one’s faith is established. It should be understood that if one’s heart is in the mode of goodness his faith is also in the mode of goodness.
By the process of Krishna consciousness a person is raised from the lower modes of material nature to the mode of goodness. From the mode of goodness one is raised to pure goodness, suddha sattva state, where the action of the modes of material nature no longer affect the person. It is only in this state that one can actually perceive the truth correctly.
Bhaktivinoda Thakur makes the point, “The unalloyed spirit is a purely transcendental principle. When they remain in their characteristic nature, all of them will provide the same answer to a given question.”
In contact with the material world the pure soul becomes influenced by the modes of nature and the objects of the senses. Due to this attachment one formulates a variety of answers different from the actual truth. Therefore, there are many opinions, theories, beliefs, and philosophies.
Further, every living entity has four defects which are:
1. We make mistakes
2. We are easily put into illusion
3. Our senses are imperfect
4. We have a cheating tendency.
These four basic defects of every human being are impediments to discerning perfect knowledge on our own. We need the help of higher perfect authorities who are not subject to such defects and who are situated in pure goodness.
I will analyze the statements of Brahma das in his article “The words of Srila Prabhupada on women.” in light of the above authorized words of bona fide Vaisnava acaryas.
Brahma das quotes Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s Sri Krishna Samhita,
Bhaktivinoda’s writings in Sri Krishna Samhita are distinguished from those of other acaryas by his discussion of two sides of our religious tradition. These he refers to artha-prada or relative information based on time and circumstance, and paramartha prada or the absolute or essential teachings of the tradition. According to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, relative information can be incomplete or incorrect even though it might be found in scripture or spoken by a self-realized devotee. To emphasize this point he states that one is free to disregard relative information in his own writings if it is found to be incorrect. This position would allow one to disregard certain comments Srila Prabhupada made on relative issues, the most obvious being that women’s brain size was almost half that of men. This is a piece of information that he attributed to Dr. Urquhart, a professor at Scottish Churches College, the institution that he attended in Calcutta.
(Brahma das. “The Words of Srila Prabhupada on Women” November 1, 2004. site: http://vnn.org page: http://vnn.org/editorials/ET0411/ET01-8742.html)
Contrary to what Brahma das says, it has been determined that men’s brain size are on the average larger than women’s, with a mean weight of 1347 grams compared to 1223 grams. (“Bigger brains help hunt for mates” March 23, 1999. site: http://news.bbc.co.uk page: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/302152.stm)
In another reference, Amanda Onion, a researcher, has written in her article “Sex in the Brain,” “Research has long shown that men’s brains are larger, on the average, than women’s by about 100 grams.” Brahma das wants to quickly disregard a statement Srila Prabhupada made because it is “relative information” …”if it is found to be incorrect.” However, Srila Prabhupada’s statement is not found to be incorrect. It has been determined by modern research that on the average men’s brains are larger than women’s.
Dr. Urquhart might have overstated the mean average size difference, but the fact that men’s brain size, on the average, is larger than women’s is true. After making this first misrepresentation purporting that Srila Prabhupada’s statement that the relative size of men’s and women’s brains is wrong, now Brahma das proceeds to question, “…. Whether or not Srila Prabhupada’s other comments on the nature of women fall within the category of relative or absolute.” His point is that if a statement of relative fact is wrong, then it can be disregarded. When statements of relative facts are not collaborated by shastra, then it is possible that the person making such statements is wrong due to the material conditioning as explained by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Srila Prabhupada above.
Brahma das continues,
The dictionary defines absolute as complete; perfect; free from limitation. Following Bhagavad-gita 2.16 devotees have defined absolute as that which is satah or true in all times and circumstances. Taken at face value do his controversial comments on the nature of women conform to either of these definitions of the word absolute? Are women always less intelligent and untrustworthy in comparison to men? Are women always required to be under the protection of men? The answer to these questions is no. Neither do these contentions about women conform to Bhaktivinoda’s concept of paramartha, as they are all nonessential to the culture of bhakti. Therefore according to Bhaktivinoda Thakura one is free to overlook them. (Brahma das)
Brahma das begins to form a disingenuous argument to debunk Srila Prabhupada’s statements. These sly tactics are used when one is determined to undermine another person’s authority. Brahma das uses the dictionary meaning and the Bhagavad-gita verse 2.16 to define the word absolute. His slyness is to use this definition to test statements Srila Prabhupada makes about materialistic women in the material world. Remember that Brahma’s point is, “According to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, relative information can be incomplete or incorrect even though it might be found in scripture or spoken by a self-realized devotee. To emphasize this point he states that one is free to disregard relative information in his own writings if it is found to be incorrect.”
Brahma uses the standard of absolute knowledge to debunk statements about relative knowledge. Whatever statements Srila Prabhupada makes about materialistic women in the material world are based on shastra and not the result of material conditioning on Srila Prabhupada by his cultural upbringing. His statements are true for all time because he is repeating what shastra says. However, Brahma das tries to point out in a crude way that Srila Prabhupada’s shastric statements about women are incomplete or incorrect and can be disregarded. He attempts a logical argument that all women are not less intelligent or untruthful than men nor do women always require to be under the protection of men. He uses logic to undermine the shastric statements of Srila Prabhupada. Such improper use of logic is an abomination. Srila Prabhupada writes, “We don’t use a combination of logic and authority, we use authority. Logic we use to convince someone who doesn’t accept the authority. The basic principle is authority. Vedas say that cow dung is pure and we accept it. There is no logic, but when we practically use it we see that it is correct.” (Letters, 75-10-32) Brahma das tries to use logic to undermine the authoritative words of Srila Prabhupada.
Relative, temporal knowledge cannot stand on its own as eternal, spiritual knowledge. Something is relative because it depends on the absolute. The material energy and knowledge within it is manifest and unmanifest eternally. It is not independent of the eternally manifest spiritual reality. It is a shadow reflection of the spiritual world. The living entity, in a marginal position, may be bewildered by the material energy, but does not have to be eternally conditioned by it. The material conditioning is not the eternal nature of the living entity, therefore it can be purified. Materialistic women and men can become pure devotees by following the process of Krishna Consciousness under the guidance of a pure devotee and free themselves of the influence of the material energy.
Brahma das wants to demonstrate that Srila Prabhupada’s statements about women are not absolute or essential teachings of the Vaisnava tradition. He states, “Taken at face value do his controversial comments on the nature of women conform to either of these definitions of the word absolute?” (“. . . absolute as complete; perfect; free from limitation. Following Bhagavad-gita 2.16 devotees have defined absolute as that which is satah or true in all times and circumstances.”)
Let us analyze Srila Prabhupada’s statements correctly without an agenda to debunk them, rather to understand the truth. Every word Srila Prabhupada has spoken is shastrically correct. It is only “our conditioning” that hinders us from understanding this basic fact. Since Srila Prabhupada has repeated the shastric statements, his words are true in all times and circumstances. We will demonstrate this fact.
The ninth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam reveals much truth about the material and spiritual aspects of the relationship between men and women. In The Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.10.11 it is said,
When Ramacandra entered the forest and Laksmana was also absent, the worst of the Raksasas, Ravana, kidnapped Sitadevi, the daughter of the King of Videha, just as a tiger seizes unprotected sheep when the shepherd is absent. Then Lord Ramacandra wandered in the forest with His brother Laksmana as if very much distressed due to separation from His wife. Thus He showed by His personal example the condition of a person attached to women.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to this verse,
In this verse the words stri-sanginam gatim iti indicate that the condition of a person attached to women was shown by the Lord Himself. . . . Whether in the forest or at home, if one is attached to women this attachment is always troublesome, as shown by the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His personal example.
Of course, this is the material side of stri-sangi, but the situation of Lord Ramacandra is spiritual, for He does not belong to the material world. Narayanah paro ‘vyaktat: Narayana is beyond the material creation. Because He is the creator of the material world, He is not subject to the conditions of the material world. The separation of Lord Ramacandra from Sita is spiritually understood as vipralambha, which is an activity of the hladini potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead belonging to the srngara-rasa, the mellow of conjugal love in the spiritual world. . . . Lord Ramacandra, therefore, manifested the truth both spiritually and materially. Materially those who are attached to women suffer, but spiritually when there are feelings of separation between the Lord and His pleasure potency the spiritual bliss of the Lord increases.
It is said in the Isopanisad, verse 11, “Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality.” Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to this verse, “The normal temperature should be maintained at 98.6 degrees, and the great sages and saints of India have attempted to do this by a balanced program of spiritual and material knowledge. They never allow the misuse of human intelligence for diseased sense gratification.”
Material knowledge that analyzes the defect of false material attachment and sense gratification should be cultivated side by side with spiritual knowledge so that the material side does not interfere with our spiritual quest. A good example in this respect is Rsyasrngha who was never taught by his father about the existence of women, nor did he associate with a woman, not even his mother. The first time he encountered a woman, he was bewildered and was unable to understand or control his attraction. There is a definite need for men and women to understand the conditioned nature of persons attracted and bewildered by sense objects so that they will not become overwhelmed and ignore their spiritual quest.
The knowledge the Srimad-Bhagavatam gives about “the truth both spiritually and materially” is perfect. What we will experience in Srila Prabhupada’s purports and equally in his conversations are verbatim repeating or paraphrasing the scriptural knowledge both spiritual and material. Sometimes he will quote Canakya Pandit, who is not a pure devotee, but a moralist, brahmana, and political advisor. Yet, it can be demonstrated that Canakya’s statements that Srila Prabhupada quotes about material wisdom can also be collaborated by Vedic scripture.
In the concluding words to the purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.10.11, Srila Prabhupada writes,
A further understanding to be derived from this example is that a woman, however powerful she may be in the material world, must be given protection, for as soon as she is unprotected she will be exploited by Raksasas like Ravana. Here the words vaideha-raja-duhitari indicate that before mother Sita was married to Lord Ramacandra she was protected by her father, Vaideha-raja. And when she was married she was protected by her husband. Therefore the conclusion is that a woman should always be protected. According to the Vedic rule, there is no scope for a woman’s being independent (asamaksam), for a woman cannot protect herself independently.
Brahma das writes,
The question is whether or not Srila Prabhupada’s other comments on the nature of women fall within the category of relative or absolute. The dictionary defines absolute as complete; perfect; free from limitation. Following Bhagavad-gita 2.16 devotees have defined absolute as that which is satah or true in all times and circumstances. Taken at face value do his controversial comments on the nature of women conform to either of these definitions of the word absolute? Are women always less intelligent and untrustworthy in comparison to men? Are women always required to be under the direct protection of a man? The answer to these questions is no. Neither do these contentions about women conform to Bhaktivinoda’s concept of paramartha, as they are all nonessential to the culture of bhakti. Therefore according to Bhaktivinoda Thakura one is free to overlook them. (Brahma das)
We will proceed to reveal point by point Brahma das’ purposely misleading statements and false allegations and conclusions about the words of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
Brahma asks, “Are women always required to be under the direct protection of a man?” The answer he gives is no. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.10.11 as discussed above, the answer is yes. Srila Prabhupada has simply repeated the scriptural knowledge in this respect and Brahma das is emphatically trying to say that Srila Prabhupada’s scriptural statement is wrong. The question to ask is why Brahma das is trying to debunk a scripturally correct statement made by Srila Prabhupada?
Brahma das writes,
Furthermore Bhaktivinoda says that even scripture is affected by the bias of its author(s). He writes: “It is an obvious fact that a man is greatly devoted to his homeland and even great sages (who wrote scripture) were influenced by this tendency.” Srila Prabhupada grew up at the turn of the 19th century in a culture where women were considered to be almost the property of men. In Srila Prabhupada’s words, “Women is never to be given independence.” According to Vedic civilization, women should be given protection. Srila Prabhupada cites this scriptural advice throughout his writings and conversations, but did he think that it was absolutely essential to the practice of Krishna consciousness for women to be under the control of men? The answer is no. (Brahma das)
Brahma das’ has formulated two main arguments to debunk Srila Prabhupada’s words. First, he attempts to give some historical justification of Srila Prabhupada’s material conditioning by quoting Bhaktivinoda Thakura who states that ordinary “man are greatly devoted to his homeland and even great sages ( who wrote scripture) were influenced by this tendency.” He is implying that Srila Prabhupada may be like one of the great sages (who wrote scripture) influenced by the tendency of ordinary men who are greatly devoted to their homeland. This implication is a cheap attempt to picture Srila Prabhupada as an ordinary man with the tendency of being attached to the land of his birth. (Yasyatma buddhih kunape tridhatuke . . . bhauma ijya-dhih . . . someone attached to his land of birth is no better than a cow. . . . )
Brahma das inappropriately introduces this insulting idea that is contrary to statements made by much higher spiritual authorities than himself. I recently heard a sincere lady disciple of Srila Prabhupada recounting what she experienced the night Srila Prabhupada disappeared from this world in Vrindaban. She was present when Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke about Srila Prabhupada in the Vrindaban temple. Srila Narayana Maharaja clearly stated that Srila Prabhupada was a saktavesa avatara.
I was present at another function is 1996 where Srila Govinda Maharaja spoke at Srila Prabhupada’s centennial celebration in Santa Cruz, CA organized by ISKCON of Berkeley. He said,
Today I will make a confession. Confessions are part of your western religion and today it is my turn to make a confession. He related how he and his Gurudeva, Srila Sridhara Maharaja contemplated the prophecy of Lord Caitanya, pritivite ache yata/ nagar adi grama . . . the holy name will be chanted in every town and village… He said we believed this would happen, but we did not know how it would happen. Then we heard your Swami Maharaj did it. Still we did not believe it. Later, I began to travel around the world and actually see it with my own eyes. Still I cannot believe it. I cannot believe how he did such a wonderful thing. Actually all we are doing is eating Swami Maharaja’s remnants.
Many years before, I was present at Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa puja day celebration in the Vrindaban temple. Bon Maharaja was invited as one of the guest speakers. He said we cannot deny that Swami Bhaktivedanta has spread the Krishna consciousness movement around the world.
Many prominent Vaisnavas have acknowledged that Srila Prabhupada has accomplished the prophecy of Lord Caitanya single handedly. He also accomplished the prophecy of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura who said that one day a great personality shall bring Western Vaisnavas to Sridham Mayapura to dance and perform Hari Kirtan with their Indian counterparts. Srila Prabhupada writes,
Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted that European and American people may understand the philosophy of Caitanya cult and take part in it. That was his desire. My Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, he also attempted to send his disciples to preach Caitanya cult in the Western world. One of them, he advised me also. First meeting, perhaps you know, he asked me to preach. (Lecture, London, August 22, 1973)
Srila Prabhupada fulfilled the desire of his beloved Gurudeva, who had given the same order to preach in the western world to others. Srila Prabhupada writes,
He [Bon Maharaja] was first deputed by my Guru Maharaja, along with our late God Brother, Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaja, to open a missionary center in London, and they stayed there for 3 years, but didn’t make any appreciable advance. Except that spent enormous money of my Guru Maharaja, and later on they were called back to India. (Letters, 68-4-18)
After the failure of Bon Maharaj, there were no other serious attempts by the Gaudiya Math to spread Krishna Consciousness in the western world as per the desire of Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura until Srila Prabhupada ventured to the USA with full faith in the words of His Gurudeva.
He fulfilled the wish of his Gurudeva by profusely printing and distributing authorized Vaisnava scripture all over the world. Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam are the incarnation of Lord Krishna in Kali-yuga. Srila Prabhupada made these two most important Vedic literatures available for millions of conditioned souls to read. There is no doubt that Srila Prabhupada is empowered by his Gurudeva Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Thakura and all the Vainsnava acaryas and especially by Lord Krishna Himself to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world. Yet, Brahma das wants to imply that Srila Prabhupada may be influenced by the material conditioning of his upbringing.
We should ask the question, who is more likely to be influenced by the material conditioning, Srila Prabhupada or Brahma das? Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written,
Since the bonded souls inhabited in this mundane world of Maya have accepted the phenomenal qualities of Maya as their own, their real character has been eclipsed and encovered by the Mayik qualities which has created a conditioned nature of the jiva-souls. Because of this conditioned nature obtained from Maya the transcendental jiva-soul acquires a mixed character and all its sentient faculties are conducted here under external conditionings. The faculty of transcendental knowledge of the jiva-souls gets degraded in to a mixture of sentient and non-sentient principles due to the association of inanimate world, and gets converted and presented as the mind of the jiva-souls. This mixed principle of mind when influenced by the variegatedness of Maya provides the answers of the different questions assuming the ego of the soul, these answers will naturally become conditioned and multifarious.
It is said in the Nectar of Instruction, “vaco vegam ….sarvam api mam sa sisyat Only that person who has controlled all the senses and mind can travel anywhere in the world and make disciples.” Srila Prabhupada has done this, not Brahma das. For Brahma das to make any statement implying that Srila Prabhupada is under the material conditioning is blasphemous and should be immediately rejected. The reason Brahma das and many others cannot accept certain shastric statements Srila Prabhupada has made is because they are under the influence of their own material conditioning. Therefore, they have opinions that differ from the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes,
The answers given by the spirit (person who is dis-attached) for the previous mentioned three types of questions are essentially of two types viz., characteristic answer and multifarious answer. A doubt may arise in this regard that, when the individual spirits are universally homogenous principle why they will provide various diverse answers to the same questions? The cause of this controversy is explained as follows: – The unalloyed spirit is a purely transcendental principle. When they remain in their characteristic nature, all of them will provide the same answer to a given question.
Who has not remained in their characteristic nature, Srila Prabhupada or Brahma das?
Srila Prabhupada has written,
A person who is liberated acharya and guru cannot commit any mistake, but there are persons who are less qualified or not liberated, but still can act as guru and acharya by strictly following the disciplic succession. It is the injunction of the sastras that anyone who sees the Deity in the Temple as made of wood or stone, or considers the acaryas and gurus as ordinary common men, and discriminates Vaisnavas or devotees as belonging to a certain group or caste, are called hellish. (Letter to Janardan 68-4-18)
Brahma das and many other devotees are attempting to find a rational explanation to disregard “controversial statements” Srila Prabhupada made. This is the second argument of Brahma das’ cleaver attempt to debunk Srila Prabhupada’s words. He wants to say that Srila Prabhupada’s controversial statements about women are not essential teachings of the Vaisnava acharyas.
According to the statement Srila Prabhupada has made to Janardan das above, a liberated acarya and guru cannot make any mistake. The pernicious implication in Brahma das’ statements and those of other devotees is that there is a mistake in the words of Srila Prabhupada. If we accept Brahma das’ statements (which we don’t) this would then place Srila Prabhupada in the second category of persons who are less qualified or not liberated, but still can act as guru and acarya by strictly following the disciplic succession. Is Srila Prabhupada strictly following the disciplic succession when he makes “controversial statements” on the nature of women or any other topic?
Brahma das writes,
Taken at face value do his controversial comments on the nature of women conform to either of these definitions of the word absolute? Are women always less intelligent and untrustworthy in comparison to men? Are women always required to be under the direct protection of a man? The answer to these questions is no. Neither do these contentions about women conform to Bhaktivinoda’s concept of paramartha, as they are all nonessential to the culture. (Brahma das)
If we honestly examine Vedic literature we will discover that Srila Prabhupada has simply repeated the words of top Vedic authorities on the subject of women. He has not made any statement that is his own opinion, which could be construed as containing a mistake due to material conditioning. His statements of Vedic authority are essential if a devotee, either male or female, is serious about becoming free of the material conditioning and going back to Godhead.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.30 Devahuti devi the mother of the incarnation of Godhead, Kapila Muni, says,
My dear son, Kapila, after all, I am a woman. It is very difficult for me to understand the Absolute Truth because my intelligence is not very great. But if You will kindly explain it to me, even though I am not very intelligent, I can understand it and thereby feel transcendental happiness.
Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport,
Knowledge of the Absolute Truth is not very easily understood by ordinary, less intelligent men; but if the spiritual master is kind enough to the disciple, however unintelligent the disciple may be, then by the divine grace of the spiritual master everything is revealed. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura therefore says, yasya prasadad, by the mercy of the spiritual master, the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, bhagavat-prasadah, is revealed. Devahuti requested her great son to be merciful towards her because she was a less intelligent woman and also His mother. By the grace of Kapiladeva it was quite possible for her to understand the Absolute Truth, even though the subject matter is very difficult for ordinary persons, especially women.
Queen Kunti states in Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.20,
You Yourself descend to propagate the transcendental science of devotional service unto the hearts of the advanced transcendentalists and mental speculators, who are purified by being able to discriminate between matter and spirit. How, then, can we women know You perfectly?
In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes,
. . . It is said in the Upanisads that the Supreme Truth, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, is beyond the range of the thinking power of the greatest philosopher. He is unknowable by great learning or by the greatest brain. He is knowable only by one who has His mercy. Others may go on thinking about Him for years together, yet He is unknowable. This very fact is corroborated by the Queen, who is playing the part of an innocent woman. Women in general are unable to speculate like philosophers, but they are blessed by the Lord because they believe at once in the superiority and almightiness of the Lord, and thus they offer obeisances without reservation. The Lord is so kind that He does not show special favor only to one who is a great philosopher. He knows the sincerity of purpose. For this reason only, women generally assemble in great number in any sort of religious function. In every country and in every sect of religion it appears that the women are more interested than the men. This simplicity of acceptance of the Lord’s authority is more effective than showy insincere religious fervor.
It is evident that Srila Prabhupada has simply repeated the words of top Vedic authorities like Queen Kunti. His “controversial comments” are not the result of material conditioning or social and cultural influences. Srila Prabhupada has honestly analyzed the real nature of men and women strictly according to Vedic authority so that men and women armed with knowledge of the pitfalls of material life can achieve the goal of human life, which is to develop pure love of Radha and Krishna and get out forever from the material entanglement. I have never read a more lucid explanation of this most perplexing issue than in the teachings of Kapila Muni to His mother, Devahuti. These are bona fide Vedic statements that are irrefutable even by Brahma das and should be studied with the most serious attention by all persons interested in ending our enchainment in the material world.
Please read the following from Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.34
[Translation] One should not associate with a coarse fool who is bereft of the knowledge of self-realization and who is no more than a dancing dog in the hands of a woman.
[Purport] The restriction of association with such foolish persons is especially meant for those who are in the line of advancement in Krsna consciousness. Advancement in Krsna consciousness involves developing the qualities of truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, gravity, intelligence in spiritual knowledge, simplicity, material opulence, fame, forgiveness, and control of the mind and the senses. All these qualities are to be manifested with the progress of Krsna consciousness, but if one associates with a sudra, a foolish person who is like a dancing dog in the hands of a woman, then he cannot make any progress. Lord Caitanya has advised that any person who is engaged in Krsna consciousness and who desires to pass beyond material nescience must not associate himself with women or with persons interested in material enjoyment. For a person seeking advancement in Krsna consciousness, such association is more dangerous than suicide. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.34 translation + purport)
[Translation] The infatuation and bondage which accrue to a man from attachment to any other object is not as complete as that resulting from attachment to a woman or to the fellowship of men who are fond of women.
[Purport] Attachment to women is so contaminating that one becomes attached to the condition of material life not only by the association of women but by the contaminated association of persons who are too attached to them. There are many reasons for our conditional life in the material world, but the topmost of all such causes is the association of women, as will be confirmed in the following stanzas.
In Kali-yuga, association with women is very strong. In every step of life, there is association with women. If a person goes to purchase something, the advertisements are full of pictures of women. The physiological attraction for women is very great, and therefore people are very slack in spiritual understanding. The Vedic civilization, being based on spiritual understanding, arranges association with women very cautiously. Out of the four social divisions, the members of the first order (namely brahmacarya), the third order (vanaprastha) and the fourth order (sannyasa) are strictly prohibited from female association. Only in one order, the householder, is there license to mix with women under restricted conditions. In other words, attraction for woman’s association is the cause of the material conditional life, and anyone interested in being freed from this conditional life must detach himself from the association of women. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.35 translation + purport)
[Translation] At the sight of his own daughter, Brahma was bewildered by her charms and shamelessly ran up to her in the form of a stag when she took the form of a hind.
[Purport] Lord Brahma’s being captivated by the charms of his daughter and Lord Siva’s being captivated by the Mohini form of the Lord are specific instances which instruct us that even great demigods like Brahma and Lord Siva, what to speak of the ordinary conditioned soul, are captivated by the beauty of woman. Therefore, everyone is advised that one should not freely mix even with one’s daughter or with one’s mother or with one’s sister, because the senses are so strong that when one becomes infatuated, the senses do not consider the relationship of daughter, mother or sister. It is best, therefore, to practice controlling the senses by performing bhakti-yoga, engaging in the service of Madana-mohana. Lord Krsna’s name is Madana-mohana, for He can subdue the god Cupid, or lust. Only by engaging in the service of Madana-mohana can one curb the dictates of Madana, Cupid. Otherwise, attempts to control the senses will fail. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.36 translation + purport)
[Translation] Amongst all kinds of living entities begotten by Brahma, namely men, demigods and animals, none but the sage Narayana is immune to the attraction of maya in the form of woman.
[Purport] The first living creature is Brahma himself, and from him were created sages like Marici, who in their turn created Kasyapa Muni and others, and Kasyapa Muni and the Manus created different demigods and human beings, etc. But there is none among them who is not attracted by the spell of maya in the form of woman. Throughout the entire material world, beginning from Brahma down to the small, insignificant creatures like the ant, everyone is attracted by sex life. That is the basic principle of this material world. Lord Brahma’s being attracted by his daughter is the vivid example that no one is exempt from sexual attraction to woman. Woman, therefore, is the wonderful creation of maya to keep the conditioned soul in shackles. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.37 translation + purport)
[Translation] Just try to understand the mighty strength of My maya in the shape of woman, who by the mere movement of her eyebrows can keep even the greatest conquerors of the world under her grip.
[Purport] There are many instances in the history of the world of a great conqueror’s being captivated by the charms of a Cleopatra. One has to study the captivating potency of woman, and man’s attraction for that potency. From what source was this generated? According to Vedanta-sutra, we can understand that everything is generated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is enunciated there, janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. This means that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or the Supreme Person, Brahman, the Absolute Truth, is the source from whom everything emanates. The captivating power of woman, and man’s susceptibility to such attraction, must also exist in the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the spiritual world and must be represented in the transcendental pastimes of the Lord.
The Lord is the Supreme Person, the supreme male. As a common male wants to be attracted by a female, that propensity similarly exists in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He also wants to be attracted by the beautiful features of a woman. Now the question is, if He wants to be captivated by such womanly attraction, would He be attracted by any material woman? It is not possible. Even persons who are in this material existence can give up womanly attraction if they are attracted by the Supreme Brahman. Such was the case with Haridasa Thakura. A beautiful prostitute tried to attract him in the dead of night, but since he was situated in devotional service, in transcendental love of Godhead, Haridasa Thakura was not captivated. Rather, he turned the prostitute into a great devotee by his transcendental association. This material attraction, therefore, certainly cannot attract the Supreme Lord. When He wants to be attracted by a woman, He has to create such a woman from His own energy. That woman is Radharani. It is explained by the Gosvamis that Radharani is the manifestation of the pleasure potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the Supreme Lord wants to derive transcendental pleasure, He has to create a woman from His internal potency. Thus the tendency to be attracted by womanly beauty is natural because it exists in the spiritual world. In the material world it is reflected pervertedly, and therefore there are so many inebrieties.
Instead of being attracted by material beauty, if one is accustomed to be attracted by the beauty of Radharani and Krsna, then the statement of Bhagavad-gita, param drstva nivartate, holds true. When one is attracted by the transcendental beauty of Radha and Krsna, he is no longer attracted by material feminine beauty. That is the special significance of Radha-Krsna worship. That is testified to by Yamunacarya. He says, “Since I have become attracted by the beauty of Radha and Krsna, when there is attraction for a woman or a memory of sex life with a woman, I at once spit on it, and my face turns in disgust.” When we are attracted by Madana-mohana and the beauty of Krsna and His consorts, then the shackles of conditioned life, namely the beauty of a material woman, cannot attract us. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.38 translation + purport)
The above is the clearest statement I have ever read based on shastric evidence that there is a difference between attraction to material women and attraction to the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krishna, whose conjugal pastimes represent the highest contemplation by the greatest Vedic authorities. Lord Caitanya was a strict sannyasi and would never allow a woman to approach him, yet he contemplated and relished the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. He said that when He looked at the wooden form of a material woman, He would become agitated. This shows how bewildering contemplation of the body of a material woman can be for men (and women) who entertain desires to enjoy sense pleasures in this material world. Srila Prabhupada, as a merciful Vedic teacher, is teaching us the most important aspect of Vedic knowledge concerning the cause of our on-going conditioning in this material world and how we can be freed eternally from such bondage. Lord Caitanya says, na dhanam, na janam, na sundarim, which must be carefully understood. The principle of sundarim or the object of pleasure, whether it be a woman for a man or a man for a woman (or any other combination of these two), must be understood profoundly before a person can free themselves from such bondage.
There is a difference between Radha and Krishna’s pastimes and those of material men and women. This is the point made in the Isopanisad mantra 11 that explains one must cultivate knowledge of vidya (knowledge) and avidya (ignorance). The purport says, “. . . and the great sages and saints of India have attempted to do this by a balanced program of spiritual and material knowledge. They never allow the misuse of human intelligence for diseased sense gratification.”
Srila Prabhupada is presenting a balanced program of spiritual and material knowledge. It is dishonest to attempt to undermine his statements when he presents shastric evidence relating to the material world. Brahma das and many others try to do this in a deceptive way by saying such statements are not essential to devotional service, or they are a product of 19th century Indian culture in which Srila Prabhupada was educated, etc. Some also say that if Srila Prabhupada came to the USA today, he would alter his preaching due to a new set of social circumstances.
Brahma das writes after making a short historical perspective on the way woman were influenced by the social, political and religious practices of the 1960s and 1970s,
These examples illustrate that Srila Prabhupada faced a different preaching field than we do today. Women at that time were not as emancipated and the ideal of equal rights for women had not yet been embraced by American society to the extent that it is today. Although there was opposition to Srila Prabhupada’s statements that women were less intelligent, there was at the same time still an underlying social acceptance that women were to be subservient to men. Acceptance of this today is radically less than what it was in the sixties and early seventies. Even Srila Prabhupada’s own disciples and grand disciples are reconsidering this contention and its relevance to practicing Krsna consciousness in modern times. The fact that Srila Prabhupada often made practical adjustments in consideration of social norms demonstrates that his mission was not based on establishing ancient Vedic rules in Western society. Rather his emphasis was the practice of essential Krsna consciousness, which transcends social rules and norms. Srila Prabhupada said, The acarya knows how to adjust things. The real purpose is how one will take to spiritual consciousness, or Krsna consciousness. Keeping one’s aim to that point some concession may be given. As far as possible, keeping pace with the time, circumstances. (Prabhupada lecture 2-20-73)
Therefore I personally believe that had he come to America today, he would have adjusted his comments about women as he found that those who were sincerely interested in Krsna consciousness encountered them as a major stumbling block to practice. After all, his goal was to spread Krsna consciousness, not to alienate people from involvement in his movement. (Brahma das)
Brahma das demonstrates in the above what is illicit extrapolation of the words of Srila Prabhupada. The point that we should all carefully consider is “The acarya knows how to adjust things.” When Brahma das says, “Therefore, I personally believe that had he come to America today, he would have adjusted his comments about women. . . “, he is presenting himself as an acarya or second guessing the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada. This is illicit extrapolation. He has no right to do such an illicit maneuver, nor is his personal opinion of any value when it attempts to know the mind of a pure devotee with his (Brahma das’s) own imperfect intelligence. There are others who attempt such illicit extrapolation such as Amara das, who says that Srila Prabhupada would change his opinion about homosexuals today.
Srila Prabhupada made “some concession” after he observed western society. He permitted men and women to serve together in temples as celibates and also as married couples living inside or outside the temple. He permitted women to engage in brahminical functions directly serving the Deities, giving classes, managing temples, etc. These “concessions” were not a departure from shastric teaching about women and their functions in Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada did not alter bona fide Vedic shastric statements about men and women. He made “some concessions” about how men and women could serve Lord Krishna together. Brahma das and others are claiming that Srila Prabhupada would have made concessions by adjusting his comments about women in his books and conversations (or that his disciples who edit his books should). Such a claim is an illicit extrapolation because it would require changing the philosophy of Krishna consciousness which explains more profoundly than any other tradition the reality of entrapment in the material world and how to get out of it.
To understand how much Brahma das and others are attempting to misrepresent Srila Prabhupada’s words I will continue the scrutiny of Kapiladeva’s teaching to his mother Devahuti.
[Translation] One who aspires to reach the culmination of yoga and has realized his self by rendering service unto Me should never associate with an attractive woman, for such a woman is declared in the scripture to be the gateway to hell for the advancing devotee.
[Purport] The culmination of yoga is full Krsna consciousness. This is affirmed in Bhagavad-gita: a person who is always thinking of Krsna in devotion is the topmost of all yogis. And in the Second Chapter of the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is also stated that when one becomes freed from material contamination by rendering devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can at that time understand the science of God.
Here the word pratilabdhatma-labhah occurs. Atma means “self,” and labha means “gain.” Generally, conditioned souls have lost their atma, or self, but those who are transcendentalists have realized the self. It is directed that such a self-realized soul who aspires to the topmost platform of yogic perfection should not associate with young women. In the modern age, however, there are so many rascals who recommend that while one has genitals he should enjoy women as much as he likes, and at the same time he can become a yogi. In no standard yoga system is the association of women accepted. It is clearly stated here that the association of women is the gateway to hellish life. The association of woman is very much restricted in the Vedic civilization. Out of the four social divisions, the brahmacari, vanaprastha and the sannyasi-three orders-are strictly prohibited from the association of women; only the grhasthas, or householders, are given license to have an intimate relationship with a woman, and that relationship is also restricted for begetting nice children. If, however, one wants to stick to continued existence in the material world, he may indulge in female association unrestrictedly. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.39 translation + purport)
[Translation] The woman, created by the Lord, is the representation of maya, and one who associates with such maya by accepting services must certainly know that this is the way of death, just like a blind well covered with grass.
[Purport] Sometimes it happens that a rejected well is covered by grass, and an unwary traveler who does not know of the existence of the well falls down, and his death is assured. Similarly, association with a woman begins when one accepts service from her, because woman is especially created by the Lord to give service to man. By accepting her service, a man is entrapped. If he is not intelligent enough to know that she is the gateway to hellish life, he may indulge in her association very liberally. This is restricted for those who aspire to ascend to the transcendental platform. Even fifty years ago in Hindu society, such association was restricted. A wife could not see her husband during the daytime. Householders even had different residential quarters. The internal quarters of a residential house were for the woman, and the external quarters were for the man. Acceptance of service rendered by a woman may appear very pleasing, but one should be very cautious in accepting such service because it is clearly said that woman is the gateway to death, or forgetfulness of one’s self. She blocks the path of spiritual realization. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.40 translation + purport)
Kapiladeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, states that Vedic scripture declares, “an attractive woman. . . to be the gateway to hell for the advancing devotee.” When Srila Prabhupada repeats Kapiladeva’s words is he misogynous, expressing gender bias, or a bigoted fundamentalist? Can a pure devotee be wrong when he simply repeats the shastric evidence correctly in context? Brahma das does not directly claim that Srila Prabhupada is wrong. He claims that such statements are not conclusive or essential to the development of Krishna consciousness. He writes, “The guru’s statements are not always conclusive when they refer to material issues. This is Bhaktivinoda’s point about relative and absolute.” Brahma das does not understand the difference between correctly stating Vedic shastric evidence in context and making statements based on one’s own speculation.
The following scriptural statements are conclusive facts presented in shastra about “material issues.”
1. women should remain under the protection of responsible men and should not be given independence,
2. materialistic women (and men attached to them) are less intelligent than men (or women), who are seriously engaged in spiritual life,
3. an attractive materialistic woman is the gateway to hell for an advancing devotee.
Srila Prabhupada made concessions about men and women serving together in Krishna consciousness without changing the truth about the pitfalls of association in the absence of Krishna consciousness. Brahma das and many others have not understood this point after many years of association with the Krishna consciousness movement. Brahma das implies that some statements of Srila Prabhupada may not be conclusive because they refer to material issues is an insult because he ignores the fact that Srila Prabhupada is simply repeating Vedic authority correctly in context. In the next two verses with the purports, Srila Prabhupada articulates the narrow area where restriction of association of men and women may be slackened. He writes,
[Translation] A living entity who, as a result of attachment to a woman in his previous life, has been endowed with the form of a woman, foolishly looks upon maya in the form of a man, her husband, as the bestower of wealth, progeny, house and other material assets.
[Purport] From this verse it appears that a woman is also supposed to have been a man in his (her) previous life, and due to his attachment to his wife, he now has the body of a woman. Bhagavad-gita confirms this; a man gets his next life’s birth according to what he thinks of at the time of death. If someone is too attached to his wife, naturally he thinks of his wife at the time of death, and in his next life he takes the body of a woman. Similarly, if a woman thinks of her husband at the time of death, naturally she gets the body of a man in the next life. In the Hindu scriptures, therefore, woman’s chastity and devotion to man is greatly emphasized. A woman’s attachment to her husband may elevate her to the body of a man in her next life, but a man’s attachment to a woman will degrade him, and in his next life he will get the body of a woman. We should always remember, as it is stated in Bhagavad-gita, that both the gross and subtle material bodies are dresses; they are the shirt and coat of the living entity. To be either a woman or a man only involves one’s bodily dress. The soul in nature is actually the marginal energy of the Supreme Lord. Every living entity, being classified as energy, is supposed to be originally a woman, or one who is enjoyed. In the body of a man there is a greater opportunity to get out of the material clutches; there is less opportunity in the body of a woman. In this verse it is indicated that the body of a man should not be misused through forming an attachment to women and thus becoming too entangled in material enjoyment, which will result in getting the body of a woman in the next life. A woman is generally fond of household prosperity, ornaments, furniture and dresses. She is satisfied when the husband supplies all these things sufficiently. The relationship between man and woman is very complicated, but the substance is that one who aspires to ascend to the transcendental stage of spiritual realization should be very careful in accepting the association of a woman. In the stage of Krsna consciousness, however, such restriction of association may be slackened because if a man’s and woman’s attachment is not to each other but to Krsna, then both of them are equally eligible to get out of the material entanglement and reach the abode of Krsna. As it is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, anyone who seriously takes to Krsna consciousness-whether in the lowest species of life or a woman or of the less intelligent classes, such as the mercantile or laborer class-will go back home, back to Godhead, and reach the abode of Krsna. A man should not be attached to a woman, nor should a woman be attached to a man. Both man and woman should be attached to the service of the Lord. Then there is the possibility of liberation from material entanglement for both of them. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.41 translation + purport)
There is a very narrow area that Srila Prabhupada delineates in the above passage where men and women can associate together for advancing Krishna consciousness. (“In the stage of Krishna consciousness, however, such restriction of association may be slackened because if a man’s and woman’s attachment is not to each other but to Krishna, then both of them are equally eligible to get out of the material entanglement and reach the abode of Krishna.” ) Outside of this narrow area all the precautionary statements about materialistic men and women are valid and cannot be considered as mere relative facts of the material world that are not essential to Krishna consciousness as Brahma das wants to purport.
[Translation] A woman, therefore, should consider her husband, her house and her children to be the arrangement of the external energy of the Lord for her death, just as the sweet singing of the hunter is death for the deer.
[Purport] In these instructions of Lord Kapiladeva it is explained that not only is woman the gateway to hell for man, but man is also the gateway to hell for woman. It is a question of attachment. A man becomes attached to a woman because of her service, her beauty and many other assets, and similarly a woman becomes attached to a man for his giving her a nice place to live, ornaments, dress and children. It is a question of attachment for one another. As long as either is attached to the other for such material enjoyment, the woman is dangerous for the man, and the man is also dangerous for the woman. But if the attachment is transferred to Krsna, both of them become Krsna conscious, and then marriage is very nice. Srila Rupa Gosvami therefore recommends:
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
Man and woman should live together as householders in relationship with Krsna, only for the purpose of discharging duties in the service of Krsna. Engage the children, engage the wife and engage the husband, all in Krsna conscious duties, and then all these bodily or material attachments will disappear. Since the via medium is Krsna, the consciousness is pure, and there is no possibility of degradation at any time. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.42 translation + purport)
Srila Prabhupada has said, “Man is good and woman is good, but when they come together they are no good, unless there is regulation.” (Letters, 75.7.40) Srila Prabhupada makes the point, “As long as either is attached to the other for such material enjoyment, the woman is dangerous for the man, and the man is also dangerous for the woman.” Men and women become good when their attachment is transferred to Krishna.
A letter to Janardan das (68-1-20) Srila Prabhupada explains the difference between material and spiritual relationships of men and women.
In Gita, in 10th Chapter, it is accepted by Arjuna that Krishna is the Original purusa or predominating factor or the Supreme Enjoyer. Stree is the enjoyed, or the energy, or the potency. God has got 3 energies in the spiritual world. One energy is existential, one is cognition, one is enjoyment. The same energy when reflected in the material world is exhibited in 3 mode–goodness, passion, and ignorance. Goodness is manifested in proper maintenance of the creation in the gradual development of spiritual realization, passion is exhibition in the matter of production, and ignorance is exhibited in the absence of real happiness.