Vedic Training: How To Become A Krishna Conscious Wife For ISKCON Brahmacarinis
"Brahmacari Training" chapter of the Brahmacarini Training
a partnership between the husband and wife. In a Krsna Conscious marriage
it is foremost a spiritual partnership. Although the specific duties
and roles are different, the
responsibility to make the partnership work is shared by both parties. Just
as training is required on the girls side, proper training is also
required on the mans
SB Purport 3.14.17
"A faithful wife is supposed to cooperate
with her husband in fulfilling all material desires so that he can
then become comfortable and execute spiritual activities for the perfection
of life. If, however, the husband is progressive in spiritual advancement,
the wife undoubtedly shares in his activities, and thus both the wife
and the husband profit in spiritual perfection. It is essential, therefore,
that girls as well as boys be trained to discharge spiritual duties
so that at the time of cooperation both will be benefited. The training
of the boy is brahmacarya, and the training of the girl is chastity.
A faithful wife and spiritually trained brahmacari are a good combination
for advancement of the human mission."
The thrust of this book is, obviously, training required
on woman's side. But, the often heard complaint is it was the
man who left, or the man who fell down, etc. The man who is unreasonable,
or the man who is not responsible, abusive, etc.
Above we see that logically Srila Prabhupad agrees, the
ideal or good combination for marriage is a girl trained to be faithful
to her husband, and the man spiritually trained in brahmacari principles.
The ideal married life is when both man and wife have
been properly trained and both behave and act properly according to their
What are the principles a brahmacari are trained in? All
good qualities of a brahman, he learns austerity, cleanliness, honestly,
integrity, responsibility. He takes his vows to guru, Krsna, social duties,
with the highest personal honor. Utmost he develops loving devotion
These qualities in the man, combined with faithful submissive
qualities in the girl are the ideal marriage combination.
The character of the brahmacari is that he builds true
responsibility. He sets out to carry out his duty despite any and all
difficulties, just as he sets out to fulfill the orders of his spiritual
master regardless of how materially difficult it becomes. This is the proper
With that training his
conviction in married life will be that of becoming life-long responsible
wife and children regardless of whether the material situatios are
good or bad.
To install such a noble spirit of conviction
requires cultural training.
One of the most profound things a young boy is
to learn is how to properly respect women. From early boyhood he must be
trained to see all women (other then his own wife) as mother. This does
not mean he must see older women
as mother only, but all women, even girls younger than himself,
When the boy reaches 10 to 15 years old, the
training has to be there, he should not just see women who are over 20 as
mother, but he should see the 15 year olds, the 10 year olds, as mother
also. This way when he reaches his
teen years he will not be so agitated by the girls his own age. He will see
even teenage girls who are the same age as himself, he will be able to
see and respect them as his
This, I see, is sorely lacking in our gurukula
schools, at least what I have seen in America.
What does it mean to respect someone as mother?
Vedic culture has a very high respect for mother. A child (and latter the
adult) is trained to touch his mothers feet to his head each day.
He bows his head at her feet. He approaches her with folded hands. This is
the mood and respect he
should naturally develop toward his own birth mother, and brahmacari training
must be there to carry this same respect in his heart toward all other
women, and girls, who are not his own wife.
The wife is to have the
So, the man is to allow the
wife to give him that respect. But, all other women, the man is to give
them the same respect his wife gives him. At least, he should approach
folded hands and be
Men who have this training will make ideal
husbands. They will be trained no to see other mens wives as objects
of their own sense enjoyment. And it will be more natural and easy for them
to also have compassion and
a sense of responsibility and respect in dealing with their own wife.
The man will not see his own wife as his mother, but he
will see her as the mother (or mother-to-be) of his children. Thus, he
must also treat her with the highest respect as well.
This is a key-training for the brahmacaris.
For the unwed girls desiring a good husband, the above
characteristics and behaviors for the prospective husband are the most
important to look for. The system in ISKCON is that the temple authorities
will make the arrangement for the brahmacarini - since she has no devotee
father to perform this duty. It is imparative that the temple authorities
be most diligent in observing these principles.
Actually, let me stress how the temple authority must
carry out their duty in the marriage of the brahmacarinis under their care.
This is a very grave and very important duty to the peace - purity - integrity
and potency of Srila Prabhupad's mission. To make bad choices in marriage
combinations will creat so much havoc and disturbance. If a marriage does
not make it, so much energy is misdirected. Lives are uprooted. If children
are there, their very lives can be totally disrupted. Services get disrupted,
etc. It can be disasterous, very distrupting to the whole society for generations.
Stable marriages and healthy family lives are crucial to
the future of our society.
The mind-set of the temple authority who makes such marriage
arrangements has to see himself as the girl's guardian / father. He has
to treat the situation that this is my very daughter, so who is qualified
to marry her. And, he must consider the above qualifications of the boy.
If he is lacking in responsibilty, etc. then he should not be consider.
He need further training. If such men do not qualify themselves, do not
come up to the first-class level, then the temple authority must not get
them married. They should not even be allowed to remain at the temple/ashram.
Well, the other difficulty, you brought this up several years ago,
was that the men who
take many wives have to be very select. Otherwise men will be attracted
to join our movement for sex life, having different wives.
Prabhupäda: No, no, unless
our men are trained up, why you should allow to stay here and to wife.
We want trained up men, not third-class picked-up. We want men who will
follow the rules and regulations and fully trained up. Otherwise we don’t
want. We don’t want ordinary karmés and... And if he agrees to be trained
up, then we’ll take. Otherwise what is the use of bringing some useless
men? He must agree to produce his own food, and work. Our rules and
regulations, he must follow. Then it will be ideal community. Otherwise,
if you bring
from here and there some men and fill up, that is not good thing.
This is a training institution, to become devotee.
--750801rc.no - Aug 1, 1975 New Orleans farm - Varnashram Dharma talk.
A major problem in ISKCON is too little proper
understanding of dharma.Often one idea is misapplied to something else.
For example, it is also taught as part of our philosophy that married
life is a 'fall down' from spiritual life. This is taught strongly in
the brahmacari ashram. And, it is a fact, those who are sannyasis and brahmacaris
are free from all family responsibilities and thus they are able to
devote their full time and energy toward devotional service and carrying
spiritual mission. For a sannyasi, it is complete fall down to again
take up married life. For the brahmacari it is also a 'fall down', but
not in the same sense. It is not against the principles of dharma for a
brahmacari to marry. Rather, it is expected, it is fully in line with the
religious principles. Yet it is a fact that one who
marries can no longer dedicate
service, in fact, the majority of ones time and energy will now be diverted
to family life. So, it is a set-back or fall down of such to marry, but
for the brahmacari it is allowable by the laws of dharma. For a sannyasi
it is a very grave and serious violation of the laws of dharma.
But, since it is taught that for a brahmacari
to marry is a fall-down, I have seen many times in ISKCON this is misapplied.
In the chapter on Arranged
Marriages I gave the
example of a boy's ashram teacher who had tried to make arrangement for
a young devotee girl, giving her to the ashram's most troublesome boy.
The teachers misapplied concoction was that marriage is a fall-down,
and since this boy was irresponsible, causing trouble in the ashram,
not interested in studies, he was the most fit for marrying the young
girl. All backwards application of the actual Vedic science. No real
knowledge of actual dharma. No wonder ISKCON has had so many trials and
tribulations over the past 25 years.
This is not how one selects a qualified, trained,
responsible man to marry one's daughter?
The main point of this short chapter, however,
is that the person choosing the man, whether it be the father, the temple
authority, guardian or if the girl should have to seek out her own husband,
the main criteria to look for is the persons character, intregrity, responsibility,
and devoutness to honor and vows. Does the devotee see and properly
act as he should seeing all women, other than his wife, as his mother.
That is, with honor and respectfulness. With a mood of wanting to take
responsibility and take best care. Cleanliness, honesty, all good qualities
are desirable, and devotion to Krsna and guru is shown by his devotion
to follow the instructions. These are all desirable qualities.
Remember, it is the trained submissive girl combined
with the trained responsible man, trained in the brahmacari ashram, which
creates the most ideal marriage with the best chance of success. That success
will be both material and spiritual.
However, lets be honest. Especially in current
day ISKCON such men are not so plentiful. I did not plan to end this writing
on this topic, but by need, it has to be said. Even though many devotees
argue that with all the current marriage related problems, this is no time
to bring up the idea of polygamy. Yet, Srila Prabhupad himself argued just
the opposite. He had pointed out how so many marriages had failed and said
that polygamy was the best solution, the best idea, to deal with these
problems. He said the many failed marriages is proof that not all
men are qualified for marriage. As I noted above, not many men have all
those desirable qualities that will make for a good and caring husband.
Therefore, let the men who are qualified, let them
protect via marriage as many wives as they can maintain. From
a letter dated January 9th, 1973 to Karandhar:
the Vedic system polygamy is not prohibited. But it is not a farce
also. Every wife must be provided
for sufficiently." ... ..."It doesn't mean to marry many
wives and maintain none of them. If anyone is able to keep more then
and give all the comforts of life, there is no objection for having
more then one wife. But if he creates trouble by marrying, he should
even one wife, this is my judgment. Now you can do the needful, taking
into consideration the circumstances of the laws of your country, the
customs of your people, the reputation of our society, the examples
be set for future devotees to follow, like that."... ..."It
is advised that all women get themselves married, and if there is any
who is better able to maintain wife and family, he is advised to marry
as many women as he can maintain and thereby free other men in the
society to remain brahmacari. So I can understand that many men of
have got themselves married only for some disastrous result. That means
that not all of our men are meant for married life, but because there
are so many women we may not leave them unprotected without husband,
also not serve us well. Therefore it will be the best idea if those
who are well-qualified as husbands to keep more than one wife very
in every respect. If such men can marry more then once, that will free
the others to remain brahmacari."
In Srila Prabhupad's own words, it will be best
idea for those men who are well-qualified as husband to keep more than
one wife very much satisfied in every respect. The point is, the best marriage
is for the girl to marry a well trained, responsible and caring man. The
problem is, there are too few such men. If we insist
on monogamy only, then many women will be stuck settling for less the ideal
husband. Meaning they will be forced to marry men who really are not qualified
to make good husbands. As Srila Prabhupad saw even in the marriages he
personally arranged. Many such marriages ended in disastorous results.
Forcing monogamy simply prolongs the problems. Monogamy will not sovle
the social imbalance, it cannot solve the
of good marriages. This is crucial need for women and their fathers
to consider this in today's modern culture.
As I said, I did not plan to end this essay on
this topic. It did not end this way in the original writing. As
I wrote the revision I had no plan to end the article in this way. I was
just going to advise the unwed girls to take on due diligence to assure
that the husband that is selected for them, or that they choose, has
the qualities needed to make her marriage be a lasting success. Polygamy
just happens to be the system that Srila Prabhupad and Vedic Dharma put
forth as facilitating this. So, the advice is, also consider this as a
viable, authorized and Krsna Conscious option.
However, one caution to temple authorities. Due
to the laws against this, temple authorities must NOT make such arrangments.
Srila Prabhupad has said he does not object even if his men take 16,000
wives each, but they must make their own arrangements, due to the current
laws, the temple authorities cannot be involved in such arrangements.
Hare Krishna, Your Servant,
I welcome any and all correspondence with
parties interested in this and related topics. (Questions, advice, or discussion
or criticism, etc.)
(I have, in the past, received email and also mailed letters
from both newly married and even longer time married devotee women thanking
me for these writings. All credit belongs to Srila Prabhupad. I am just
trying to convey his message.)