Response to H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami's book is Not Banned by the GBC


Jun 12, 2016 — INDIA (SUN) —

In the above article the author wrote:

    "Yes, there are 'restrictions' but no, the book is not 'banned'. The GBC did not say that ISKCON members could not purchase or read this book, only that sales and display of the book shall not occur on ISKCON premises."

This is a practical example of 'word jugglery'. Has ISKCON ever banned a book through any other condition than placing restrictions on it, e.g. restricting its availability? Why doesn't the author of the above article (who is also the author of the resolution) or the GBC (I am not sure if the author is speaking on behalf of the GBC) be direct and say that clearly, they banned the book and take responsibility for that action. As Maharaja pointed out in his correspondence with the GBC, and which they did not respond to:

    "I might be forgiven for opining that this statement seems to exhibit either ignorance of the definition of this word, or plain disingenuity. According to an edition of Collins, "ban" is defined thus:

    1) () to prohibit, esp officially, from action, display, entrance, sale, etc.; forbid."

It is something like asking someone to not go out of the home while at the same time saying that we have not jailed you. So whether you want to use the word 'ban' or not, the action that was taken by the GBC was to BAN the book, as substantiated by the definition above.

An important point missed by the writer of the resolution is that the book says clearly in the beginning that this book is meant for ISKCON devotees. So, saying that…

    "The GBC did not say that ISKCON members could not purchase or read this book, only that sales and display of the book shall not occur on ISKCON premises."

…effectively means that you are banning the book for sale given that it is not meant for outsiders and if it is not sold on ISKCON premises (to devotees), then where else could it be sold?

The article also gives reasons for the ban:

    "Reasons for the restrictions include, as stated, that the book contains statements advocating practices that are illegal in the majority of countries in the world, notably polygamy, child marriage and child labor."

I wonder if some of our managerial authorities have read Srila Prabhupada's books. If so, then they would have found that Srila Prabhupada explains and encourages


    From Caitanya-caritamrta 1.14.58, purport:

    "Generally in every society the female population is greater in number than the male population. Therefore if it is a principle in the society that all girls should be married, unless polygamy is allowed it will not be possible. If all the girls are not married there is a good chance of adultery, and a society in which adultery is allowed cannot be very peaceful or pure. In our Krsna consciousness society we have restricted illicit sex. The practical difficulty is to find a husband for each and every girl. We are therefore in favor of polygamy, provided, of course, that the husband is able to maintain more than one wife."

    From Srimad Bhagavatam 4.26.6, purport:

    "People have become so degraded in this age that on the one hand they restrict polygamy and on the other hand they hunt for women in so many ways. Many business concerns publicly advertise that topless girls are available in this club or in that shop. Thus women have become instruments of sense enjoyment in modern society. The Vedas enjoin, however, that if a man has the propensity to enjoy more than one wife – as is sometimes the propensity for men in the higher social order, such as the brāhmanas, ksatriyas, and vaiśyas, and even sometimes the śūdras – he is allowed to marry more than one wife. Marriage means taking complete charge of a woman and living peacefully without debauchery. At the present moment, however, debauchery is unrestricted. Nonetheless, society makes a law that one should not marry more than one wife. This is typical of a demoniac society."

Child Marriages

    Srimad Bhagavatam 4.25.42, purport:

    "A young woman who has no husband is called anātha, meaning "one who is not protected." As soon as a woman attains the age of puberty, she immediately becomes very much agitated by sexual desire. It is therefore the duty of the father to get his daughter married before she attains puberty. Otherwise, she will be very much mortified by not having a husband."

Hence the GBC now requires to ban Srila Prabhupada's books also if we are to follow their line of thought. Another point to note is that we distribute Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in public all over the world, but Women: Masters or Mothers? is only meant for devotees.

We would like to remind our managerial authorities that Srila Prabhupada didn't shy away from placing all his books and philosophy up for analysis when sued in America, but rather encouraged more and more public discussion on them. And as followers of Srila Prabhupada we are duty bound to follow him.

Besides these above quotes from Srila Prabhupada's books, there are mentions about polygamy and early marriage in His Divine Grace's lectures, conversations and letters. Therefore by banning Women: Masters or Mothers? the GBC has actually banned Srila Prabhupada.

Child Labor

Regarding the references to child labor in the book, Maharaja has already clarified the following in his correspondence with GBC EC:

    "Another inaccuracy (at least from my perspective) is to state that I have advocated child labor. More precisely I have discussed vocational training for children who are unfit for academic education. Although this position might not be very popular in much of the world today, it is concordant with Srila Prabhupada's vision of varnasrama, which he wanted his disciples to implement "immediately." No doubt, such points are not "politically correct" but, as I have attempted to highlight in "Women: Masters or Mothers?" it is Srila Prabhupada's mandate to us that we at least begin to implement such social measures. I fear that we may be guilty of guror-avajna if as a society we are not anxious to fulfill this desire of Srila Prabhupada -- especially if we are instead anxious to suppress a book that is meant to bring to the attention of devotees these vital issues that, frankly, we who are supposed to be Srila Prabhupada's successors have neglected for so many years to act on."

As we can see, this ban not only doesn't make sense but is not in the interests of ISKCON members or the managerial authorities. Not only should it be rescinded, but an apology is due to H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami for such an illegal action towards someone whose only interest was to glorify his spiritual master and fulfill his orders through the medium of writing.

I hope we can do the needful and quickly put this episode behind us as some of the followers, disciples and well-wishers of H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami are very confused with this action from a managerial authority which is supposed to propagate and spread Srila Prabhupada's teachings and encourage others who do so, rather than ban them.

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For updates on the Banning of Women: Masters or Mother?, visit


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