As a follow-up to the posting on MS-13 and ISKCON, I received a number of interesting reactions. But before I share some of those, I would like to make a few summary points:
- ISKCON and the MS-13 Gang’s point of commonality is that women are kept out of decision-making on the grounds they are not suited for it.
- ISKCON’s rationale is mandated by the scriptures, which say women should not be trusted.
- MS-13’s rationale is based on consistently bad experiences in trusting them.
- The big point is that MS-13’s experience “bears witness” to a Vedic truth, which is the position women should hold in society.
Some have found the comparison between the two organization so odious as to be beyond the pale. One devotee wrote,
“I did read your article and of course you are entitled to your opinion. No one can argue with an opinion.”
He portrays the essay as merely “opinion.” Indirectly, he has said there was nothing presented in the essay to support its conclusion. That, of course, is not true. So how do you account for it?
It goes against his values at a deep level, a level beyond the intellect. That level is the false-ego, which comes in two categories: “I” and “mine.” Because it is at the level of false-ego, it cannot be discussed rationally.
Aspiring devotees often have difficulty reconciling their attachment to women’s equality with Vedic principles. And because their attachment is not primarily a matter of rationality, overcoming it is a matter of purification and good association. Otherwise, both are lacking in one way or another.
Another devotee wrote,
If women are so much more lusty than men how come they are not raping men?
To which I replied, that first we must accept as fact what the śāstras and pure devotees have said. These sources are infallible. Then we can begin to understand things as they are. (I will address the above question in another post.) Otherwise, if we don’t first accept at this level, then acceptance and rejection will be limited to the material mind, intelligence and false ego. And that is merely a pretense of understanding.
Even if such a person apparently accepts the correct answer, he accepts it not on account of the authority of the śāstras or the authority of pure, saintly people, but because the correct answer happens to coincide with what his material conditioning predisposes him to believe. That is why we often see that some devotees wholeheartedly embrace vegetarianism while at the same time they reject the gender roles that the śāstras and great devotees like Srila Prabhupada prescribe for women.
For them, it is sometimes useful to say “the śāstras say” or “Srila Prabhupada says”, and sometimes it’s not.
Some of these issues are addressed further in this essay.