Every member of ISKCON owe our lives to him. Words cannot repay him. This
book is offered unto him with hope that his daughters, granddaughters and on, can
understand and appreciate his mercy.
I also offer this to my son, who will most likely someday will be
asked to give protection to a wife. I pray that wife will have the ideal qualities that
are illustrated in this book.
And I offer it to my daughters. Whose duty I have to train them
in this science.
I got the idea to write this book while on a trip to LA.
I wrote a book entitled "Kanya Daya, The Fathers Most Obligatory Duty: To Get His
Young Daughter Married", some time ago, however I had decided to rewrite most of it
before I made more copies available. It is also a good manual for any one in Krishna
Consciousness who is looking to get married or who is already married. Much of the
information in Kanya Daya and in this Training Manual for Brahmacarinis is the same.
While speaking with some brahmacarinis I realized that there were no (or extremely few)
organized attempts to actually train unwed girls in the science of how to be a proper
Krishna Conscious wife, based on the teachings of His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupad. Yet,
as we shall see, it was something Srila Prabhupad spoke about.
Actually, there is no such thing as a brahmacarini in Vedic culture. In the West Srila
Prabhupad started the ashram because so many unwed girls were coming, wanting to join the
temple and practice Krishna Consciousness. Many were living outside, on their own, or
living with friends. Some were living at home, but it was not a favorable atmosphere for
them to practice devotional service. Therefore, out of compassion for these girls, Srila
Prabhupad instituted the brahmacarini ashram.
From the very beginning his intended purpose for the brahmacarini ashram was to provide
a facility for training for the girls in how to be a proper Krishna Conscious wife and
devotee, with the goal of getting the unwed girls married as soon as possible. He
wanted that all unwed girls be protected via marriage as soon as possible, but first, they
had to be trained. However, this idea of training girls to become proper Krishna Conscious
wives appears to have gotten quickly lost in the policies of the temple authorities. The
first formal brahmacarini ashram training began in 1968-69. A few years latter, however,
as Srila Prabhupad translated more and more books and stressed that each and every
disciples duty was to help distribute those books, many unwed girls took to the
streets to fulfill those instructions and many of them did quite well.
Sending the girls out on book distribution became a new service or function for the
brahmacarini, as well as brahmacari ashrams. Of this there is absolutely nothing wrong.
Srila Prabhupad encouraged it. However, Srila Prabhupad never ceased to preach and
encourage that all unwed girls be married as soon as possible. And this, I feel, the
temple authorities in ISKCON did not understand or institute properly. Many temple
authorities felt that marriage will decrease the unwed girls ability to do book
distribution, which is a higher spiritual service then to serve a husband or have
children. Therefore many temple authorities reached their own conclusions that marriage
was maya, unwanted for young girls, as it would diminish their ability to do Sankirtan.
Over the years, authorities gradually discouraged young girls from marrying, and only
emphasized and encouraged them to do Sankirtan.
Because of this, the original intended purpose that Srila Prabhupad started the
brahmacarini ashram to carry out (to give training to the girls in how to become Krishna
Conscious wives) was lost. No formal programs were included in any ashrams that I am aware
of that taught unwed girls in the science of how to be a proper K.C. wife. Rather, the
main and often only emphasis was on Sankirtan.
Understand, there is absolutely no problem with unwed girls distributing Srila
Prabhupads books. Srila Prabhupad encouraged it. The problem is that he never ceased
to emphasis that unwed girls be trained and married as soon as possible. The fact that
this (trainging them for proper marriage) is hardly at all, if at all, taught or practiced
in ISKCONs ashrams is wrong.
From a Room Conversation recorded April 2, 1977, Bombay (more complete transcript is
included later in this book).
Prabhupad: Woman brahmacarini,
this is artificial.
Tamäla Krsna: In our
centers, though, there are so many brahmacarinis, and even sometimes
encouraged to remain brahmacarini.
Prabhupada: That they cannot.
As soon as they will find opportunity, they will become vyabhicarini.
[unchaste - prostitute] For woman, protection.
Tamäla Krsna: So you dont
advocate this remaining sing..., these women remaining brahmacarinis.
polygamy was allowed. Let them be taken care of, one husband,
From the very beginning of starting ISKCON and starting the
brahmacarini ashrams in 1968 up to his departure in 1977, Srila Prabhupad never ceased to
stress that the unwed girls were not to be encouraged to remain unwed. He only encouraged
they be married as soon as possible. Even encouraging men to take three wives so that all
the girls would be properly taken care of.
Discouraging unwed girls to marry as soon as possible (after a
little training) is not what Srila Prabhupad wanted. It would not be unjust to say that
many social problems have arisen in ISKCON due to this fact. Without proper training, many
girls dont really know how to deal properly with their husbands, thus many marriages
fail in ISKCON. Failed marriages mean so much energy is lost and misdirected that could be
better used in spreading the glories of Krishna. And worse, many young lives of the
children are spoiled and misguided when their families break apart.
Therefore, even though it may sound like a higher and better
system to encourage girls to remain unwed for as long as possible so that their youth can
be dedicated to book distribution only, in the long run, the results are more marriages
failing, more energy lost that could be diverted to preaching, more children having more
social problems due to broken families, and thus, over all, the preaching and peacefulness
and spiritual potency of the society becomes more and more diminished. What seems like a
better idea, ultimately is detrimental to achieving our goals.
The intent of this book is to show what Srila Prabhupads
instructions were in this regard and to show that following his system will result in the
higher spiritual atmosphere which will be the most conducive to preaching.
I have compiled this book to be used by the brahmacarinis in
training and preparation for married life.
One of the key elements required to make a Vedic marriage work
is the cultural training. Srila Prabhupad has stated that parents must train the
daughter prior to marriage. Starting at birth. This training is required for brahmacarinis
as well. Girls who join later in life have no devotee parents to train them. Quite often
such girls receive no training about marriage at all in the ashram. Or they hear things
from other matajis which are not based on Prabhupads teachings. The only training
they get is what they pick up from Bhagavatam classes, reading the books, and hearing
Prabhupads lectures. No specific training. This can be disastrous when they enter
married life as most devotee husbands expect certain things from a Krishna Conscious wife
and most often they do not get it. This can result in frustration, friction and fighting
which creates an unpleasant marriage ending in divorce
Training is also required on the mans side, most notably
in his conscience to be responsible for wife and family. He must be trained to see all
women except his wife as mother. This means he must actually have real respect and
compassion for all women. A man who is trained in such a way will naturally develop the
proper relationship and attitude toward his Krishna Conscious wife. Especially the husband
must be trained so that he becomes a strong spiritual guide for his wife and children.
However, this book deals with the womans side of training. The "Kanya
Daya" book has both. As we shall see, the greatest responsibility for making family
life peaceful is placed on the women.