IBN – April 1, 2012
The Sree Krishna Temple here bars entry to women devotees! For centuries, women have not been allowed into the nalambalam, the core structure of the temple, which shares its antiquity with Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
It is believed that the ban was enforced during the reign of the erstwhile Travancore ruler Sree Moolam Thirunal. “The two Pushpanjali Swamiyars of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple had to spend six months at the Malayinkeezhu temple. The custom to bar women’s entry probably began then as they were celibates,” says Malayinkeezhu Venugopal, district panchayat member and former president of the temple committee. Go to story
excerpt from letter to Ekayani, Bombay, December 3, 1972:
My dear Ekayani,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated November 1, 1972, and I have noted the contents with great concern. I do not know why these things inventions are going on. That is our only business, to invent something new programme? We have already got our Vaishnava standard. That is sufficient for Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya, it was sufficient for Lord Chaitanya, six Gosvamis, for Bhaktivinode Thakura, for my Guru Maharaja Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, for me, for all big big saints and acharyas in our line—why it shall be inadequate for my disciples so they must manufacture something? That is not possible. Who has introduced these things, that women cannot have chanting japa in the temple, they cannot perform the arati and so many things? If they become agitated, then let the brahmacharis go to the forest, I have never introduced these things. The brahmacharis cannot remain in the presence of women in the temple, then they may go to the forest, not remaining in New York City, because in New York there are so many women, so how they can avoid seeing? Best thing is to go to the forest for not seeing any women, if they become so easily agitated, but then no one will either see them and how our preaching work will go on?
excerpt from conversation, Nairobi, November 2, 1975:
DEVOTEE: Prabhupada, sometimes I’ve seen devotees say that they did not like to chant in the temple room with the opposite sex.
PRABHUPADA: Then that is a rascal. He is not a devotee. He is a rascal, when a devotee says… How you become devoted? If he does not like the temple and he thinks to be happy outside, what is he? What kind of devotee he is? He is not a devotee.
DEVOTEE: What I meant to say is he does not want to chant with women in the temple room. I have seen this before. He says, “I do not want to chant in a room with women. I would rather be away from the women.”
PRABHUPADA: That means he has got distinction between men and women. He is not yet pandit. Panditah sama-darshinah [Bhagavavd-gita 5.18: “The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste] .”]. He is a fool. That’s all. He is a fool. So what is the value of his words? He is a fool. He should always consider, “There is woman, that’s all. She is my mother.” That’s all. Matrivat para-dareshu. Then what is the…? Suppose you sit down with your mother and chant. What is the wrong? But he is not so strong; then he should go to the forest. Why he should live in the Nairobi city? On the street there are so many women. He will walk on the street closing the eyes? (laughter) This is all rascaldom. They are rascals. They are not devotees, simply rascals. … These are all bogus things. One should train himself that matrivat para-dareshu, all women, “my mother.” Then it will be possible to live… Therefore the etiquette is to address every woman, “Ma, ma, mother.” That is the etiquette.
yah pashyati sa panditah
“One who considers another’s wife as his mother, another’s possessions as a lump of dirt and treats all other living beings as he would himself, is considered to be learned.” (cited purport, Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 9, Chapter 10, Text 27)