Women In Society–A Television Interview With Srila Prabhupada
A man and woman unites, and the woman becomes pregnant, and the husband goes away. Then the poor woman is embarrassed with the child. She has to beg from the government. So do you think it is very nice thing? The Vedic idea is that woman should be married to a man and the man should take charge of the woman and the children independently so that they do not become a burden to the government or to the public.
July 9, 1975, Chicago
Woman reporter: When you came to Chicago last week you said you were going to tell us some of the solutions to our problems in this country. Can you tell me what some of those solutions are?
Prabhupada: Solution not only of your country or our country, it is the solution for the whole human society. I told that as there are different divisions in the same body, the head, the arms, the belly, and the leg… Although the body is one, but there are different parts for different function. Then the body is going nicely. The head is the most important part of the body. So if the head is not in order, then, in spite of presentation of other parts of the body, hands, leg, the body is useless. Just like a madman. Madman, this brain is not in order. Therefore despite the presentation of the hands, legs, and other things, it is useless. Similarly, the human society should be divided into four classes according to quality. Not everyone is on the same level. So for, even for material purposes there must be four divisions: first-class, second-class, third-class, fourth-class, means… The definition of the first-class, find out. This is the definition of the first-class man.
samo damas tapah saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
“Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness–these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work.”
Prabhupada: This is first-class man. Then second-class man?
sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam
yuddhe capy apalayanam
danam isvara-bhavas ca
ksatram karma svabhava-jam
“Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the qualities of work for the ksatriyas.”
Prabhupada: This is second-class. And then third-class?
Prabhupada: That is fourth-class. First of all, third-class.
Nitai: Third-class: “Farming, cattle raising and business are the qualities of work for the vaisyas,…”
Prabhupada: Not cattle raising, cow protection.
Nitai: Cow protection.
Prabhupada: Yes. Farming and cow protection and trade, this is meant for the third-class division. And worker, fourth-class. These divisions must be there. Then the society will go on very nicely. Exactly the same example, that if the different parts of the body–the brain, the arms, the belly and the legs–all are in order, the bodily function will go on very nicely. This is natural.
Woman reporter: Where do women fit into these four classes?
Prabhupada: That I already explained. Women’s position is subordinate to man. So if the man is first-class, the woman is first-class. If the man is second-class, the woman is second-class. If the man is third-class, the woman is third-class. In this… Because woman is meant for assisting man, so the woman becomes suitable according to the man, her husband.
Woman reporter: Would you say that women are inferior to men?
Woman reporter: Why?
Prabhupada: By physiological condition. Just like you are. Your bodily features are different from the man’s features. You cannot deny it. So according to the bodily features, the psychological condition and everything is there. How you can deny it?
Woman reporter: Do you think that I am inferior to you?
Prabhupada: It is not the question of inferior or superior. Different. Now you take one inferior or superior. That is your calculation. But the bodily features are different. That is material. But spiritually, they are all one. Materially… Just like your bodily feature and a man’s bodily feature is different. Now, so far question of inferior, superior, that is your calculation. But we say that by nature, a woman and man is different.
Woman reporter: What does this mean as far as whether women can do the same things that men can do, or whether women can lead people?
Prabhupada: Well, women can bear children, but the man cannot. Is it possible to bear children? A man can become pregnant? Is it possible?
Woman reporter: No.
Prabhupada: Physically… Therefore there are so many things which is possible in man and which is not possible in woman, by nature. How you can say that they are of the same nature?
Woman reporter: I’m not saying they’re the same. What can…
Prabhupada: Then if you not saying that, then they are different in their physiological condition. So now this physiological condition, you may calculate, “This is better, this is better.” That is your calculation. Our calculation is the man and woman are different in their physiological condition.
Woman reporter: But you say women are subordinate to men.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is also natural. Because when the husband and wife are there or the father and daughter is there, so the daughter is subordinate to the father and the wife is subordinate to the husband.
Woman reporter: What happens when women are not subordinate to men?
Prabhupada: 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?
Prabhupada: It is not my advice, but it is the advice of the Vedic knowledge that woman should be chaste and faithful to man.
Woman reporter: What should we do in the United States? We’re trying to make women equal with men.
Prabhupada: 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.
Prabhupada: Then by nature one has to function differently from the other.
Woman reporter: But why does this mean…?
Prabhupada: So how you can change?
Woman reporter: Why does this mean that women have to be subordinate?
Woman reporter: Just because they bear children and men can’t?
Prabhupada: Well, by nature… No, as soon as you get children, you require support from the husband. Otherwise you are in difficulty.
Woman reporter: Many women have children and have no support from husbands. They have no husband.
Prabhupada: Then they have to take support from others. You cannot deny that. The government is giving you support. But the government is embarrassed. If the husband supports the wife and children, the government is relieved of so much welfare contribution. So that is a problem.
Woman reporter: What happens when women support men?
Prabhupada: First of all try to understand that you depend. The… After man and woman unite, there is children, and the man goes away, and you are embarrassed. The woman is embarrassed. Why? Why this is, is made possible? A man and woman unites, and the woman becomes pregnant, and the husband goes away. Then the poor woman is embarrassed with the child. She has to beg from the government. So do you think it is very nice thing? The Vedic idea is that woman should be married to a man and the man should take charge of the woman and the children independently so that they do not become a burden to the government or to the public.
Woman reporter: Do you think the social unrest…
Prabhupada: I am thinking like this. You give me the answer. Simply you go on questioning. I question you, do you think this burden to the government or the public is good?
Woman reporter: I don’t understand what you’re saying.
Nitai: Do you think that the burden caused when the husband goes away from the wife, that burden to the government is good?
Woman reporter: No.
Prabhupada: So that has happened. Because the woman does not agree to be subordinate–she wants equal freedom–so the husband goes away and the woman is embarrassed with the children. And it becomes a burden to the government.
Woman reporter: Is there anything wrong when the woman works?
Prabhupada: There are so many things wrong. But first thing is the wife, the woman, the wife of somebody, and the child born by somebody, they should become burden to the government or to the public. First of all answer this thing. Why she should become burden to the government? What is your answer? Do you think, from social point of view, this position of woman and the fatherless children are very nice thing? No.
Woman reporter: What I’m trying to say is that… This may happen to some women. I’m talking about women who are not…
Prabhupada: Not… These are the general cases. You cannot say, “some.” I see in America mostly the woman…
Woman reporter: Oh, then what you’re saying is not all women should be subordinate to all men.
Prabhupada: No, man should be subordinate to the man, woman, so that the man can take charge of the woman. Then that woman is not a problem to the public.
Woman reporter: Is it true for all woman and all men?
Prabhupada: Yes, that is the nature. You take even in the dogs. The dogs they also take care of their children. The tigers, they take care of the children. So in the human society, if the woman is made pregnant and the man goes away and she is embarrassed, she has to beg from the government, that is not a very good situation.
Woman reporter: What about women who do not have children?
Prabhupada: Well, that is also another unnatural thing. Sometimes they use contraceptives. They kill children, abortion. That is also not very good. These are all sinful activities. These are sinful activities, to kill child in the womb. And take shelter of abortion. These are all sinful activities. One has to suffer for that.
Woman reporter: Is the social unrest in this country caused because…
Prabhupada: Because of these things. They do not know that.
Woman reporter: And if women were subordinate to men, it would solve all of our problems?
Prabhupada: Yes. Man wants that woman should be subordinate, faithful to him. Then he is ready to take charge. The man’s mentality, woman’s mentality different. So if the woman agrees to remain faithful and subordinate to man, then the family life will be peaceful.
Woman reporter: Thank you. It’s late.
TV Cameraman: Any more questions?
Woman reporter: Yes. I’ll ask the same questions again, do not answer.
Nitai: She’s going to ask the same questions, but no need to answer. They’re just going to photograph her. This is for on TV they will show her asking the questions. (break)
Woman reporter: What will you do in Philadelphia?
Prabhupada: The same thing. I have got my temple there. I stay there, and I teach people according to my philosophy.
Woman reporter: Is Philadelphia your last stop in…
Prabhupada: No, no, I travel all over United States. Then I will go to Europe. Then I will go to Africa. I have got my touring program for 4 months. (break)
Woman reporter: There’s one more question I’m going to ask. Is that tea? Is that tea that you’re drinking?
Prabhupada: No, we don’t drink tea. We don’t drink tea, don’t drink liquor. We don’t smoke. This is our process, no illicit sex, no meat eating, no intoxication, no gambling. Unless one is married, there is no sex. And unless one is going to beget child, there is no sex. Not for pleasure. This is our regulative principle.
Woman reporter: You have different schools for men and women, is that correct?
Prabhupada: Yes. Man is regulated to become a first-class man, and woman is regulated to become very chaste and faithful wife.
Woman reporter: There is one more question.
Prabhupada: Then the life will be very successful. And marriage, compulsory. Marriage, compulsory.
Woman reporter: Everyone should marry?
Prabhupada: Yes. Every woman, at least, should be married. Therefore, according to Vedic conception, polygamy is allowed.
Woman reporter: Is allowed?
Prabhupada: Yes. Because every woman must be married. But every man may not be married. Therefore man has to accept more than one wife.
Woman reporter: There is one question I have for you. You say that a woman’s brain is smaller than a man’s.
Nitai: Woman’s brain is smaller than a man’s brain.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is a fact. In the history there is no woman who is a big philosopher, a big mathematician, big scientist, big educationist. We don’t find. They were all men.
Woman reporter: What about women who are leaders of countries such as your own country?
Prabhupada: Well, according to Vedic conception woman is never offered leadership. But experience has shown that woman’s leadership has not been successful.
Woman reporter: Do you think Mrs. Gandhi’s leadership has not been successful?
Prabhupada: Well, there is already trouble. There are many big, big men, they do not agree with her and she has taken emergency steps. So on the whole, the country is in trouble.
Woman reporter: What about Mrs. Meir, president of Israel?
Prabhupada: I do not say of any particular woman, but according to Vedic civilization, we have never seen in the history that woman has become a leader.
Woman reporter: Women have been leaders.
Prabhupada: They were not selected. The leader–formerly it was monarchy–the monarchs were selected by the advisory board of the first-class men. So they never selected any woman to become the leader of the society.
Woman reporter: What about women who are elected by the people?
Prabhupada: Well, people election… Just like you elected Nixon and then you wanted him to come down. So this kind of election has no value. Sometimes you elect and sometimes you pull down. So what is the value of this election?
Woman reporter: So a leader should not be elected.
Prabhupada: Elected, but not by this general public. They have no intelligence. They sometimes elect a wrong man, and again they try to drag him down. So what is the use of such election? Because that election is not sober, not mature. If the election was mature and sober, then there was no need of dragging him down again.
Woman reporter: We have talked to scientists who say that the size of the brain has nothing to do with intelligence. Do you believe that?
Prabhupada: I think that the scientists do not think like that. They keep the brain of a particular scientist to study. They keep the heart of a particular noble man. Why they try to study the heart and the brain if there is no difference?
Nitai: Sometimes they keep the brain of a great scientist to study because they think that he is so intelligent, there must be something we can learn from studying the brain. So if they are thinking like that, then there also must be a difference between a woman’s brain and a man’s brain.
Woman reporter: What they say is that there is difference, but it has nothing to do with the size.
Nitai: Then why do they keep great scientists’ brain to study?
Woman reporter: They keep many people’s brains to study.
Nitai: Especially great scientists, that they want to see what has made this man so intelligent.
Woman reporter: That’s not necessarily true.
Prabhupada: Then why they study the brain? What is the purpose of studying brain unless there is difference? You study different brains. Unless you feel that there is difference between this brain and that brain, why do you study. What is the meaning of study?
Woman reporter: To find differences among men. It’s not necessarily differences between men and woman.
Prabhupada: I don’t say man or woman. But I say you study different brains–why? Unless you think there is some difference?
Woman reporter: There is difference.
Prabhupada: Yes. So if there is difference, then what is the harm if there is difference between man and woman’s brain?
Woman reporter: They say there isn’t.
Prabhupada: They say, but the fact we have to study. As soon as you study the construction of different brain, then you must know that there is difference, different activities.
Woman reporter: In other words, you do not believe this, what they say.
Prabhupada: Then why do you study different brain?
Woman reporter: I don’t study them. I’m just telling you what the scientists say.
Prabhupada: So scientists, the psychologist… As I was a student of psychology and our professor, a big man, Dr. W. S. Urquhart, he said that “By studying the brains of man and woman, we have found the highest brain substance found in man, sixty-four ounce by weight.” You may deny. This is the statement of a big psychologist. You can shake your head, but this is the scientific words by big psychologist. You can note down his name, Dr. W.S. Urquhart, professor of psychology in the Scottish Churches College in 1918-20.
Woman reporter: Oh, dear, no wonder. 1918-1920, that means… O.K. I see now what you’re thinking about. That was many, many years ago.
Prabhupada: So can you give any proof since then that the woman’s… In 1920… She does not take it?
Nitai: She does not take it. Somehow they think that the brain is no longer small. If it was small, then, it is not small today.
Prabhupada: But where is the proof…
Woman reporter: You do not believe that there has been advancement of science since 1920?
Nitai: Well, if the brain has been ascertained as being half the size then why should it change by now? Should it change?
Woman reporter: Well, do you think that the Romans weren’t as tall as men are today?
Nitai: No, but the… But then, within fifty years there is not going to be any change in the brain.
Woman reporter: Not in the 1900’s. Why do you use the technology that you use? You didn’t have cars in those days, this television. Things have changed since 1920.
Prabhupada: So what change has become? Can you give any evidence that woman is more powerful in brain than the man during these years? Can you give any evidence?
Woman reporter: No, what I’m saying is that…
Prabhupada: Now, can you give any evidence that woman has become more powerful than the man during these fifty years?
Woman reporter: Yes.
Prabhupada: What is that? Give me some tacit example.
Woman reporter: That she and I wouldn’t be here if women weren’t more powerful than they were fifty years ago.
Harikesa: Now they are talking louder. (laughter)
Woman reporter: Than you. Thank you. (woman leaves)
Harikesa: The scientists have the theory that the brain, the intelligence is measured by creases in the brain, creases, not by size.
Prabhupada: Not size, but what is the proof that the brain of woman has increased? Where is the proof?
Harikesa: They think because the ego has increased, the brain has also increased.
Prabhupada: Oh, that’s nice. (laughter) That’s nice. (laughing) So to become angry means defeat. If two persons are in argument the man, the one party, he becomes angry, that means he is defeated. Why one should become angry? It is the argument, logic. They should continue. And to become angry and to go away, that means defeat.
Harikesa: They become upset because they cannot dominate you.
Prabhupada: No, it is not the question of domination; it is the question of logic. If you do not agree to logic, then no argument can make progress.
Uttamasloka: Srila Prabhupada, if one does not agree to logic, does that mean that they are under the influence of tamo-guna?
Prabhupada: That means he is animal.
Guest: Under the influence of who?
Harikesa: It’s the mode of ignorance.
Harikesa: The mode of ignorance.
Prabhupada: Logic is meant for learned man, and uneducated man, they want to force, “Yes, you must do it.” With point of revolver, “You must do it.” And educated man, they argue on logic. That is the difference. (break) …queens of Krsna, they are giving statement as maidservant of Krsna. You have read that portion? When there was talk between Kunti and queens of Krsna, the queens presented themself as maidservant of Krsna.
Harikesa: The men have become the servants of the women.
Harikesa: Women’s liberation has become successful because man is now the servant of woman.
Prabhupada: It is not successful. That I was pointing out. It has caused the disaster because the whole women become dependent on the welfare gift of the government, and the government has to raise tax heavily for this purpose. The tax is given by the general public, but it is going for one individual person, and I have heard that government is embarrassed. They are now making enquiry about the welfare gifts.
Nitai: There’s many scandals there.
Prabhupada: There are now so many scandals. So these are the problems. Why? The man leaves the woman uncared for.
Brahmananda: One statistic has come that there are more people in this country receiving welfare than there are those who are employed in jobs outside of government. That means the government is actually spending for more people than… (break)
Prabhupada: Is not that a problem to the government?
Nitai: A huge problem.
Harikesa: Taxes are very high. Everyone is complaining about taxes being too high.
Prabhupada: Problem is already there and if they think it is not problem, then what can be said? By nature’s way, if the husband takes care of the wife and children, this problem is solved immediately. But the man takes advantage. He goes away after making the woman pregnant. And the woman is embarrassed and the government is embarrassed.
Harikesa: And the child grows up to be a criminal.
Prabhupada: Yes. Hippies. That is another problem. So they are not far-seeing. The immediate benefit they want. What will be the effect? That is animal civilization. Animal cannot see what will be the future. Therefore we have to take advice from Krsna. One who knows past, present, and future. Everything is there. We are spreading this knowledge, that “Take your council from Krsna. Then you’ll be happy.” That is our program.
Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, if we speak these things on television and the newspapers and people become angry, if all the people become angry like she does, is it still good propaganda for us?
Prabhupada: No, then we chant Hare Krsna. We don’t make disturbance. But in the Bhagavad-gita everything is discussed, this varna-sankara and the first-class man, second-class man. If we have to push on Krsna consciousness movement, then we have to discuss. But if they do not like, better chant Hare Krsna and don’t discuss anything. But these things are discussed. If you are not agreeable to hear from Bhagavad-gita, then let us chant together Hare Krsna. That’s all. But these things are discussed in the Bhagavad-gita about varna-sankara. If the population, varna-sankara, is increased, then it becomes hell. So if you want to increase the hellish person, then don’t discuss. But if you think it is a problem, then discuss.
Satsvarupa: As a brahmana, we have to be truthful. When in Hong Kong they asked you what you thought of Guru Maharaji, you said you could not help yourself.
Prabhupada: Yes. I said that he is a great cheat. What can I say? And it has been proved now. (laughter) I said in my book, Easy Journey to Other…, that this moon excursion is childish, and it has been proved now. Now they don’t talk about the moon excursion because they are failure. So ten years ago or more than that, I said that it is only childish. (end)
HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada