Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry Celebrates International Women’s Day
By Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Mar 08, 2024
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In commemoration of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2024, the ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry is hosting a “Celebrating the Sacred Feminine” campaign.  It is an endeavor to foster a culture that recognizes women as integral components of Krishna’s divine plan, acknowledging their inherent worth and the unique gifts bestowed upon them by the Supreme, thereby enabling us to take full advantage of this great fortune that we have been gifted. Our Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada said, “Actually, woman is considered as goddess of fortune, representative of goddess of fortune. We are misusing for sense gratification. No. They should be respected as goddess of fortune” (Initiation Lecture, 15 August 1968). 

International Women’s Day presents a wonderful opportunity to honor and raise awareness about the inherent and immense value that every woman possesses. Srila Prabhupada has instructed that “We should see all women as spiritual units (aham brahmāsmi), whose only duty is to satisfy Kṛṣṇa” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.18.42, purport). In Sri Isopanisad, it is stated that every living entity is an original part and parcel of Krishna and, therefore, perfect and complete. This campaign is aimed at fostering a culture within ISKCON that not only comprehends but also cherishes this inherent value of all women.

This year’s theme for “Celebrating the Sacred Feminine” is centered on Bhagavad-gita 10.34. In particular the seven divine feminine qualities highlighted by Krishna Himself. Encouraging and nurturing Vaishnavis begins with recognizing and cultivating an environment where these virtues are not only recognized but also celebrated.  

Bhagavad-gita 10.34 poignantly reminds us of the value that Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada place upon women—not just Vaishnavis but all women. This seven-day campaign aims to understand these qualities and their practical applications within the prime context of Bhakti-yoga as presented by Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.

The campaign included a discussion series with speakers: HG Krishnarupa devi dasi (ACBSP), HG Ananga Manjari devi dasi (ACBSP), HG Citi-Sakti devi dasi, HG Kamala Sita devi dasi, HG Syama Mohini devi dasi, and HG Phanesvari Laxmi devi dasi, along with other exciting content from various Vaishnavis.  

“Srila Prabhupada’s centrality within ISKCON cannot be overstated. To ensure the movement’s perpetuity, it’s imperative that every devotee nurtures a foundational and personal relationship with him,” said HG Karuna-Sakti devi dasi, ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry, “It is our hope that this campaign and others like it will inspire devotees to delve deeper into Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and immerse themselves in his wisdom encapsulated within his books.”  

She explained further, “The official United Nations theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Invest in Women.’ By highlighting exemplary Vaishnavis from scriptures, illuminating their embodiment of these virtues and Srila Prabhupada’s reverence for them, the ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry aims to encourage investment in the training and skills development of Vaishnavis.”

HG Karuna-Sakti devi dasi continued, “Srila Prabhupada himself emphasized the significance of equal opportunity and engagement in Bhakti, ‘However, since both boys and girls are being trained to become preachers, these girls are not ordinary girls, but are as good as their brothers who are preaching Krishna consciousness. Therefore, to engage both boys and girls in fully transcendental activities is a policy intended to spread the Krishna consciousness movement'” (CC Adi lila, chapter 7 verse 32, purport). Sri Isopanisad, Mantra 1 explains the principle of quota. Quota includes all our gifts, talents, and abilities. Everything is meant to be used in Krishna’s service for Krishna’s sole pleasure. Krishna is the only benefactor of all these gifts (BG 15.15). This includes all our gifts as women. So to prevent anyone from using all their gifts (quota) in Krishna’s service is actually to be stealing from Krishna.”

“Our greatest fortune as Vaishnavas are the gifts of knowledge and devotee association from Srila Prabhupada,” said HG Phanesvari Laxmi devi dasi, one of the speakers. 

You can watch videos for the full campaign here. For more details, visit the Vaishnavi Ministry website, or you can connect via Facebook, Instagram, and email

 

 

 

 

 

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