by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada
On 21 September 1925, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada gave a long lecture to the devotees assembled at the Gaudiya Math about how to lead an exemplary devotional life. An excerpt from that lecture follows:
All of you please perceive everything of this world as ingredients for serving Krishna; everything of this world is actually meant for Krishna’s service. Please see the whole race of women as beloved consorts of Krishna, and help them to always engage themselves in the service of Krishna. Please do not consider them as objects of your sense enjoyment. They are to be enjoyed by Krishna; they are never to be enjoyed by the living entities. Please do not see your fathers and mothers as a means to your own sense gratification, but see them as Krishna’s fathers and mothers. Please do not see your sons as a means to your own sense gratification, but see them as belonging to the group of servitors of Bala Gopala. With your eyes, please see the kadamba tree, the river Yamuna and its sandy bank, and the beauty of the full moon. You won’t have anymore mundane feelings; you will see Goloka, and the beauty of Goloka will be manifest in your home.Then you won’t have any material feelings for your home. You will be relieved from the propensities of householder life.
Our maths are being built at many places, and many sannyasis, vanaprasthas, grihasthas and brahmacārīs are living there all the time and receiving the opportunity to learn spiritual conduct. But we have been trying for a long time to also give the mothers [women] the opportunity for devotional service. Of course, those who have the facility and opportunity for devotional service in their own homes do not need a separate residence.
But very often we hear that many of them are impeded in their devotional service due to bad association. It will be very beneficial for them if we can build Sri Vishnupriya Palli [palli means “neighborhood”] in Sridham Mayapura, near the residence of Sriman Mahaprabhu, and they can live there separately from their families and render devotional service. They actually belong to the group of Sri Vishnupriya Devi [the wife of Mahaprabhu, who was left behind in Nabadwip when He took sannyasa]. Therefore, it is proper for them to live in the house of Sriman Mahaprabhu and to serve Him under the shelter of Sri Vishnupriya Devi. There should not be any bad association or mundane male association for them there. Only a few devotees like Ishan [the old devotee servant who took care of Sri Sachidevi and Sri Vishnupriya Devi after Mahaprabhu left] can stay at a distance and take care of them. It is necessary to have such an exemplary neighborhood so that the mothers [women] can read scripture every day, discuss devotional topics with each other, and have isthagosthi about devotional topics, so they can give up all luxury, live an exemplary, saintly life, always chant the holy name, and take care of the ingredients of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s service and serve him in every way.
From page 339 of Saraswati Jayasri, edited by Sri Sundarananda Vidyavinode. Translated and published in Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur, page 32-33. Mandala Publishing. Eugene, Oregon. 1997.