Male/Female: A Theological Perspective

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja:   A noble ideal. The conception of the ladies, the lady conception of the ego, that is of a very noble type. Sacrifice is very much there, negative aspect. And the man’s aspect that is aggressive. But they’re [ladies] not aggressor, they’re sacrifice personified, that gradually that came to me. And I learned to appreciate that Sītā, Draupadī, all these, and ultimately the gopīs. The gopī group, the sacrifice, self-forgetfulness, self-sacrifice, self-surrendering, that is in acme, in the highest conception the lady aspect. The lady aspect, the passive aspect, that holds the highest, that came gradually in my mind. So mādhurya rasa, that consorthood, the highest position of Rādhārāṇī. So sacrifice, affection, that is there. Aggressor, the males are aggressor, they’re responsible for all difficulty and trouble, not the ladies. That came gradually, developed from inside, and some respect for their clan came within me.

   So in varṇāśrama generally strī-śūdra, the śūdra and the strī, they are set apart. They have no right in the high religious functions. They should participate from little far, not direct participation. Indirect participation of the śūdra and the lady. A brāhmaṇa lady also, she does not get any sacred thread. She has got – though the boy, the son brāhmaṇa, he’s touching the feet of mother, but he’s worshipping Nārāyaṇa,  he’s touching the feet, taking the feet dust of his mother, but mother can’t touch Nārāyaṇa. Such is the position in varṇāśrama, śūdra-strī, generally they’re considered unfit, below the standard of coming direct service to the Lord. It is general, in varṇāśrama. But in the Vaiṣṇava conception no such strictness about that.

Revolutionary Change

   But, so generally some sort of disregard and hate grew in my mind about these two sections. We must be far from them, they’re untouchable. But when I got a push from my aunt, in that way, she marked my nature, my conduct, and made some remark about me, in an affectionate way. Then that was the cause of a turn.

   “O, yes, Lakṣmī Devī, they [the ladies] belong to the same section.” And then the attention of their nature of sacrifice and submission was very much plain and clear in their section. So they should be respected. And the aggressive nature that is to be blamed. And ultimately I found that mādhurya rasa, the vātsalya rasa, when in connection with the supreme līlā, that has got their highest position there. And our aspiration is for the service of Rādhārāṇī, Rādhā Dāsya, as been considered by Mahāprabhu. Vāsudeva Datta said:

yadi gaura nā hoita, tabe ki hoita, kemone dharitām de

rādhāra mahimā, prema-rasa-sīmā jagate jānāta ke

[madhura vṛndā vipina mādhurī praveśa cāturī sāra

baraja yuvatī bhāvera bhakati śakati hoita kāra]

   [“What great insurmountable, unsurpassable loss would we have faced in our life, if Śrī Gaurāṅga had not appeared before us on this earth? How could we bear our unfulfilled, empty life without Him? Who in this world would have described the super excellent transcendental glory of Śrī Rādhikā, Who is the last limit of divine love and devotion for the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa? Without His grace, who would be able to know the super excellent devotional path that gives entrance into the transcendental realm of the ambrosial ecstasy of Vṛndāvana? Who would be able to attain the mood and taste of the topmost devotional ecstasy of the young damsels of Vraja?”]

   The position of Śrī Rādhā is that of the highest service. Who could disclose this holy, divine fact, if Śrī Gaurāṅga did not appear on this earth? Who could make ourselves know, could inform that the highest conception of the highest servitor is Rādhārāṇī? Gaurāṅga came and He showed it clearly the highest conception of the servitor is in the service of that highest negative potency.

   We’re all included in the negative side. Our aggressive nature of a male, that is the disease in us.