Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Patriarchy, Matriarchy or Anarchy?

A representative of ISKCON Women's Ministry complained that the men in the Hare Krishna movement  do not protect the women properly. She then suggested an artificial remedy called "International Law". Apparently, she neglected the fact that men in general can no longer protect the women and children, because for the last forty-five years they have been stripped of their power by feminism. For one thing, if they do show any sort of authority, they are quickly labeled "control freaks". And every one of us knows to beware of the feminist woman's wrath, backed by taxpayers money and laws that infiltrate every facet of western society. As a result, many men come from broken homes where Mom ruled and Dad didn't exist except in the form of a child support payment (Check out Cassie Jay's documentary "The Red Pill" for a discussion about why) And now Superwoman, who has generally taken over every job a man had done traditionally, wants to give him his job back?

Actually, we should know by now that feminism strives to abolish patriarchy. In a patriarchal society, men lead and women cooperate. But think about it- if we abolish patriarchy then... society must naturally shift to a matriarchy- where women lead and men cooperate. Otherwise, what do we have left?

Without leadership, all that's left is anarchy.

Anarchy is just a stronger way to describe a society without a brain or plan behind it, giving in to the whims and sense desires of individuals rather than they being guided as a group. Yet, it must exist in order for the purest intentions of feminist equality to exist. Howard J. Erlich writes:

"Anarchism is the only mode of social organization likely to prevent the recapitulation of social inequalities. Anarchist feminists know what other radicals often have to learn from bitter experience: the development of new forms of organization designed to get rid of hierarchy, authority, and power requires new social structures. Further, these structures must be carefully built and continually nurtured so that organizations function smoothly and efficiently, and so that new or informal elites will not emerge."

Sounds unnatural? complicated?  expensive?  Again, take "International Law" for an example (see the link above). It's a far cry from the simple life Srila Prabhupada envisioned for us. And the result of such is that devotees are now confused about instructing women what their duties are, since Lord Krishna's opinion has been scrapped.

In Krishna's varnasrama system, everyone has a job to do, and when this is neglected, there is trouble for the entire society. It has a ripple effect, This has been pointed out many times in previous posts: the sacrifices made by a wife and mother are not easy, so when there is no solid support or it becomes weakened by divorced and career or position-oriented women as role models, the chance of success in these very important duties is greatly reduced. Now so many women are without husband and family life. An intelligent person will quickly realize that equality is an impossibility materially. Always there will be persons who must cooperate with another in a subordinate role for a society to run smoothly and to get what they need in life.

Despite this fact, another woman proposed: "If the truth is to be told, it is about everyone: men, women and children in our society who require recognition, honor and respect with sufficient opportunities for devotional service, free from impositions of culture, race or gender (really she just mean's gender). It's about opening a solid, recognisable platform of services in all areas of equal proportion and recognising, identifying, correcting and preventing areas of mistreatment against any devotee in ISKCON by any other ISKCON member." Mayapur GBC meeting 1998

Sound familiar? This is a very good example of the anarchist feminist position described by Erlich above.*

Although such speeches may initially sound very nice, again such equality is not possible on the material platform. Rather, it is spiritual equality we must strive for, which is available internally. It means that the same facility, namely chanting Hare Krishna to develop all good qualities, the fruits of love of Godhead, is available to everyone regardless of race, gender and social position, and so on.
And "correcting and preventing areas of any mistreatment against any devotee"? Get real! Distress in our relationships is a fact of life! Good one day, bad the next. Good one minute, bad the next. We may be so afraid of disagreement and dissension, we may wish for utopia on earth, but disagreement and discord are just another part of dealings in any genuine relationships. Otherwise, trying to eliminate trouble and dissension altogether is something voidists and mayavadis wish for and propagate.

Therefore, let us promote Krishna consciousness instead, a loving tolerance and strength of spirit, rather than women's rights (what about the men's rights? the children's? the animals'? human society's?), feminist sensitivity training or the feminization of ISKCON society (Which are all signs of a matriarchy, by the way). There will always be men who need to assert their authority. These are the same men that will risk their lives on the battlefields, and should be offered all respect rather than shaming tactics and victimization self-justification. And let us consider that the Women's Ministry's attempt to forever perpetuate the adjustments made by Srila Prabhupada early on for his westernized disciples, minus propagating a varnasrama culture, is what gives rise to social disruptions in the first place! Srila Prabhupada explained this very simply:

Woman reporter: What happens when women are not subordinate to men?
Prabhupäda: Then there is disruption. There is disruption, social disruption. If the woman does not become subordinate to man, then there is social disruption. Therefore, in the western countries there are so many divorce cases because the woman does not agree to become subordinate to man. That is the cause.
Woman reporter: What advice do you have to women who do not want to be subordinate to men?
Prabhupäda: It is not my advice, but it is the advice of the Vedic knowledge that woman should be chaste and faithful to man.
Prabhupäda: I am not trying. You are already not equal with the man because in so many respects, your functions are different and man's functions are different. Why do you say artificially they are equal? As I told you that the husband and wife—the wife has to become pregnant, not the husband. How you can change this, both the husband and wife will be pregnant? Is it possible? Is it possible?
Woman reporter: No, it is not.
Prabhupäda: Then by nature one has to function differently from the other.
(TV interview, 7/9/75 Chicago)

Yet, it appears that "time and circumstance" preaching is basically the direction preached within ISKCON- perpetually. Sure, time and circumstance preaching has its place- to attract the conditioned souls, but so does a long term cultural cultivation that supports them afterwards. In other words, we see that preachers do bring people in, but afterwards they have no place to go. There is no social structure in which converts may be supported in everyday matters beyond the spiritual.  This is probably one of the main reasons people leave ISKCON, disenchanted;  Prabhupada's books on social organization remain largely theoretical or are labeled "impractical".

Yet, in many ways,  families in other faiths seem to be doing a better job following them than we do. Surprise! Check out the links from this blog which describe an upsurge in this regard. And they are doing a decent job of training their daughters to be chaste women and their sons to be responsible men. Too bad if ISKCON does not attract those sort of people to our movement, which would be the majority of sincere theists today. If conservative theists could just add Krishna consciousness - the perfection of patriarchy- they could conquer the world.

So what to do? Every society, down to the tiny ants, must have leadership. Who should lead? Whenever in doubt, devotees of the Lord are supposed to consult sastra. According to sastra, men have been assigned the leadership role and women are meant to cooperate. This is stated in every theistic scripture in the world. Why? Because normal women become pregnant; they are meant to become wives and mothers. To go against this is to go against nature. Ever notice how without contraception and abortion, feminism could not exist?  (And this is a reason why women shouldn't vote. Outnumbering decent men -thanks to the wars and so on -  it is women who voted for legal abortion). Nature's laws are God's laws and sastra is the final criterion for understanding who is a theist and who is not.

"The conditioned living entities are divided into two classes in this world. Those who are born with divine qualities follow a regulated life; that is to say they abide by the injunctions in scriptures and by the authorities. One should perform duties in the light of authoritative scripture. This mentality is called divine. One who does not follow the regulative principles as they are laid down in the scriptures and who acts according to his whims is called demoniac or asuric. There is no other criterion but obedience to the regulative principles of scriptures. It is mentioned in Vedic literature that both the demigods and the demons are born of the Prajäpati. The only difference is that one class obeys theVedic injunctions and the other does not." -Bg 16.1p

Take your pick, because the first likely outcome of a society predominated by feminism  is to abolish patriarchy and establish a matriarchy. It is what  we see currently with increasing horrors of abortion and weakened men who are over- attached to women.  There must be someone in charge for any society to exist.

At a Christian website I found similar concern: "Matriarchy is the behavioral extension of gender inversion--the goal being female dominance. Often, the man, having relinquished, beginning with the spiritual, his male role and responsibility creates a 'leadership vacuum' into which the woman is drawn (whether she likes to or not). Or the woman, under encouragement and support from mother or female associates, usurps her husband's position through subtle manipulation (maybe sexual) or outright abusiveness and violence, or both. If the husband is other than passive, conflict is inevitable. Over time, if she persists, she may likely destroy the marriage (or even her family!) in her bid for control and dominance.

"When this usurpation extends to the local church, the women may control from behind the scenes or increasingly take an up front leadership roles. Scripture is twisted or altogether ignored to allow women access to ministerial positions, equality of role, and authority over men."

So we need to fight the host culture which is producing all these unwanted things. Are we not taught to be servant of the servant? Why not let our men and sons do the job they are supposed to do? We can offer support by not only doing what we women are supposed to do, but by also desisting from the urge to do everything else for them. That is a good way to train them, to make them understand that they are needed. Prescribed duties are Krishna's plan given in every theistic scripture of the world. The difference is that we've been given detailed knowledge why and how to perform our duty while thinking of Krishna  That will please Krishna and if Krishna is pleased, the whole world will follow.

*Is this to say that there are anarchist feminists in our movement? Krishna Kirti prabhu (ACBSP) has a better explanation, one also mentioned in previous posts, how subtly and all pervasively the feminist attitudes have infiltrated our lives, not only before becoming devotees, but from various continued non-devotee association. He explains:

"Even in Srila Prabhupada’s presence there have been significant, internal controversies. The controversy between the sannyasis and the householders in 1976 is but one example, and many more came after Srila Prabhupada’s departure in 1977. Although ISKCON’s most infamous controversies are usually credited to immaturity, pride, or ambition, rarely have they been credited to prior conditioning—'normal' social attitudes and patterns of thinking that devotees developed before they came to ISKCON. If the Western countries are filled with impersonalism and voidism, then Western patterns of thought and their underlying ideologies have played an important yet invisible part in bringing about these controversies. The clash between ideologies underlying Western culture and ideologies underlying traditional Indian Vaishnava culture has been at the heart of these controversies."  - ISKCON'S Idealogy Part II, A-Brief-Exploration-of-the-History-of-ISKCON