SAC Conclusion & “Relative Prerequisites”

SAC Attempt to Reconcile Evidence Against FDG:

“these kinds of statements may be followed, and thus reconciled, by supportive facilities in the form of relative prerequisites in deciding female diksa-guru eligibility. Samples of such conditions are presented at the end of this paper as only humble suggestions.”

SAC Conclusion:

Weighing the philosophical evidence, the SAC team concludes that female devotees, if qualified, should be allowed to give initiation in ISKCON.

“If the GBC consensus is to go forward with female gurus in ISKCON, then we suggest relative prerequisites to be considered. The following prerequisites take social concerns into account:

“Relative Prerequisites and Support

Since it is difficult to ascertain someone’s level of bhakti, and to ensure stability, it may be considered prudent by the GBC to place some relative prerequisites, not absolute ones (otherwise it would violate the kiba-vipra verse [Cc Madhya 8.128]), on female guru candidates in ISKCON. Here are a few humble suggestions:

a) The Vaisnavi should normally be of a certain age (e.g. fifty or more).

b) The Vaisnavi should normally have performed a minimum number of years of sadhana-bhakti. (e.g. twenty-five or thirty years)

c) The Vaisnavi should normally have some family support, e.g. husband, adult son or daughter or adult son-in-law or daughter-in-law, and a residential base to ensure her psycho-social stability. This suggested proviso corresponds to the many recommendations and warnings of women becoming independent given in dharma-sastras.

d) The Vaisnavi should normally have spiritual support in the form of at least one or more siksa-gurus or senior mentors from which she can take assistance.

“Why should relative conditions be placed on female guru candidates?

Women have a different psycho-physical nature than men. Therefore, while still in the sadhana stages of bhakti, a female-guru candidate would do well to have some relative support. Furthermore, it is rare to find examples of their taking the role of guru. This is clearly stated by Srila Prabhupada and others in the above cited conversations. These relative prerequisites are simple measures to safeguard and support future female gurus without burdening prospective candidates with unnecessary bureaucracy.”