Prabhupada states that the sun is one of the eyes of God (SB 01.08.28, purport). Some cultures of the past considered the sun to be God, such as the Egyptian emperor Akenathen. He was severely persecuted by his priests because he wanted to establish monotheism in Egypt through sun worship. In Vaishnavism there is also the worship of the Sun, but it is secret and done only by initiated Brahmanas, through the Gayatri mantra.
Why should the Sun be worshipped? It is said in the Bhagavad-Gita that knowledge about spiritual science has been passed down through the ages as follows: “I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku” (BG 4.1). Therefore, the Sun-God is an authoritative source of knowledge that can be accessed even in the absence of the spiritual master or when the disciplic succession is broken.
Based on my personal experiences I believe that in a way there is a break in the disciplic succession in the sense that female spiritual evolution has not received due attention from spiritual leaders who have taken decisions in recent years at ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness). Prabhupada was a truly special being. He included both his male and female disciples on the same level of spirituality. However, somehow this instruction has not been followed by many leaders.
Myself, around the year 1997 (when I was about 19 years old), I felt left out due to a negative experience in my first contact in a Hare Krishna temple. After much searching I found the Alto da Boa Vista temple. My first contact with devotees was at the university where I was studying, a few months earlier. They were going around campus distributing books. I remember buying one: “Simple Living, High Thinking” (Swami Prabhupada).
I attended the temple ceremony which was wonderful, the food looked divine and I never forgot the taste of a drink called lassi. Years later this memory would take me back to the temple. At the end of the ceremony I went for a walk in the garden and found a devotee dressed in a sari and tilaka. We chatted for a while and she told me about her dissatisfaction with living in the temple because the male devotees were very sexist.
At the time, I was a young woman who was quite reluctant to accept sexism. So I decided not to go back. Only in 2004 did I allow myself to go to the Hare Krishna temple again and this time I met the person who would be my spiritual master, Purushatraya Swami. This reunion was very moving and going back to the temple was like coming home. Meeting my spiritual master was like finding a long-lost dear father. However, my journey on this path would still be a long one. I was initiated only 10 years after meeting my spiritual master.
I consider him a very spiritually advanced person. He never treated me as inferior as a woman and always encouraged me to have my own spiritual path. He was never invasive. He never told me what I should do. His presence is like an invisible support, on the etheric level of encouragement and protection. I once dreamed that he had given me the blessing of remembering God’s name in my last seconds of life. This brought me immense peace because one of the precepts for spiritual transcendence is that you must remember the names of God in the last moments of life to make the spiritual connection with the kingdom of God.
Currently for devotees of Krishna it is forbidden to hear the Gayatri mantra if one is not a brahmin. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, born approximately 500 years ago is also considered one of the incarnations of Krishna and in his time the Hare Krishna mantra was also secret. Is now the time for us to reveal the Gayatri mantra to the public and accept female spiritual evolution as valid as the male one? Do we have to rescue our feminine archetype through the connection with the Sun? I’m curious to know…
Leave a Reply