After the first Brahmin initiation ceremony (Boston 1968), I asked Prabhupada, “What is the significance of this Brahmin Initiation?” Prabhupada gestured dismissively and said, “It is not very important. My Guru Maharaja introduced this ceremony of Brahmin initiation, because in his time SMARTA BRAHMINS (caste conscious) were deriding Vaishnavas as not being qualified Brahmins, because they were not born into Brahmin families and had received no second initiation. So to counteract their belittling attitude towards the Vaishnava community, he introduced this policy, but it is not very important. One can become perfectly Krishna conscious simply by first initiation, Hare Nama initiation. Nothing else is required. It is a formality to satisfy the SMARTA BRAHMINS – CASTE CONSCIOUS community.
About an hour later, still not being completely satisfied, I again approached Prabhupada and asked him, “What is the meaning of this Gayatri mantra? What does it do?” Again Prabhupada’s reply was quite casual and dismissive. He said, “IT IS A LITTLE AUXILIARY TO THE MAHA MANTRA. IT IS NOT VERY IMPORTANT, but it helps in chanting Hare Krishna. The main thing is chanting HARE KRISHNA. That is the main thing. So Gayatri mantra, it is a little helpful, but chanting Hare Krishna is sufficient. It is the main thing.”
So I am just relating what I was directly told by Prabhupada. Unfortunately, Brahmin initiation has become a gargantuan concern, like Christians have a communion and confirmation ceremony, Jews have bar mitzvah, Mohammedans have some ceremony… In every community there is some formal ceremony, but the main thing is HARER NAMA, HARER NAMA HARER NAMA EVE KEVALAM, KALAU NASTYEVA, NASTYEVA NASTYEVA, GATIR ANYATHA: there’s no other way in Kali Yuga ([emphasized] three times). Hare Nama ([emphasized] three times) is the only way for spiritual perfection.
Therefore it is just astonishing how much controversy, time and energy has been focused on this woman guru issue. It just goes to confirm that, in any social, political or spiritual association, 95% of the members are foolish, sentimental, fanatic, argumentative, dull, good for nothing, lazy, lusty and totally lacking in common sense and simple humility. If the ISKCON people so eagerly want women gurus, then let them marry a woman, and let the woman dictate to them, and become thoroughly henpecked disciples of their woman guru. Problem solved.
Sometimes someone would challenge Prabhupada, “In Bible it is written Jesus ate fish, or he ate meat.” Prabhupada would strongly reply, “Jesus also walked on the water. So you walk on the water, then talk of eating meat.” Or sometimes hippies would mention that Lord Shiva smoked ganja (marijuana). Prabhupada would say, “But Lord Shiva drank up an ocean of poison and kept it in his neck, not spitting it out, and not swallowing it, so can you do that?” Or some foolish persons would point out that Krishna danced with the Gopis, and that was immoral. Prabhupada would reply, “Krishna lifted the Govardhana mountain. Why do you only see Krishna’s dancing with Gopis? Therefore I can also dance. Why don’t you see Krishna’s lifting the mountain?”
The same point… if some woman can get a husband like Nityananda, or get a son like Druva Maharaj, then woman guru (for that special woman) might be something to think about. Come to think of it, it’s probably the existing gurus who would like to see some woman gurus enlisted to their club. I just don’t think a young brahmachary would be eager to have a woman guru. Think about it.
Often times someone would challenge Prabhupada, “What about Lord Buddha? Or Lord Jesus? Why do we have to accept Krishna?” Prabhupada would snap back at them, asking, “So you follow Lord Buddha? You follow Jesus?” The person would be stymied to silence, Prabhupada having called his bluff. “Oh, you just talk of Buddha; you don’t follow. First you should follow Buddha or Jesus. First follow, then talk of Buddha.” So this clamoring and challenging, quoting Prabhupada and shastras, pontificating, politicizing is an attempt to defy Prabhupada, the shastras, the acharyas, the tradition. What is the difference between this kind of rabble, babble bull s_ _t and the women’s liberation – equal rights, or the same sex marriage movement?