Prabhupada Claims Women Have Lower Status

“I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”  ‒ Maya  AngelouPrabhupada 

BG 1.40, purport ‒
As children are very prone to be misled, women are similarly very prone to degradation. Therefore, both children and women require protection by the elder members of the family. By being engaged in various religious practices, women will not be misled into adultery. According to Chanakya Pandit, women are generally not very intelligent and therefore not trustworthy. So the different family traditions of religious activities should always engage them, and thus their chastity and devotion will give birth to a good population eligible for participating in the varnasrama system. On the failure of such varnasrama-dharma, naturally the women become free to act and mix with men, and thus adultery is indulged in at the risk of unwanted population. Irresponsible men also provoke adultery in society, and thus unwanted children flood the human race at the risk of war and pestilence.

BG 16.7, purport 
Now, in the Manu-samhita it is clearly stated that a woman should not be given freedom. That does not mean that women are to be kept as slaves, but they are like children. The demons have now neglected such injunctions, and they think that women should be given as much freedom as men.

SB 1.7.42, purport 
Women as a class are no better than boys, and therefore they have no discriminatory power like that of a man.

SB 3.23.2, purport 
Here two words are very significant. Devahuti served her husband in two ways, visrambhena and gauravena. These are two important processes in serving the husband or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Visrambhena means “with intimacy,” and gauravena means “with great reverence.” The husband is a very intimate friend; therefore, the wife must render service just like an intimate friend, and at the same time she must understand that the husband is superior in position, and thus she must offer him all respect. A man’s psychology and woman’s psychology are different. As constituted by bodily frame, a man always wants to be superior to his wife, and a woman, as bodily constituted, is naturally inferior to her husband. Thus the natural instinct is that the husband wants to post himself as superior to the wife, and this must be observed. Even if there is some wrong on the part of the husband, the wife must tolerate it, and thus there will be no misunderstanding between husband and wife. Visrambhena means “with intimacy,” but it must not be familiarity that breeds contempt. According to the Vedic civilization, a wife cannot call her husband by name. In the present civilization the wife calls her husband by name, but in Hindu civilization she does not. Thus the inferiority and superiority complexes are recognized. Damena ca: a wife has to learn to control herself even if there is a misunderstanding. Sauhrdena vaca madhuraya means always desiring good for the husband and speaking to him with sweet words. A person becomes agitated by so many material contacts in the outside world; therefore, in his home life he must be treated by his wife with sweet words.

SB 3.31.41, purport  
A woman’s attachment to her husband may elevate her to the body of a man in her next life, but a mans attachment to woman will degrade him, and in his next life he will get the body of a woman.

SB 4.4.3, purport ‒
Generally, separation between husband and wife is due to womanly behavior; divorce takes place due to womanly weakness. The best course for a woman is to abide by the orders of her husband.

SB 9.3.10, purport ‒
However great a woman may be, she must place herself before her husband in this way; that is to say, she must be ready to carry out her husband’s orders and please him in all circumstances. Then her life will be successful. When the wife becomes as irritable as the husband, their life at home is sure to be disturbed or ultimately completely broken. In the modern day, the wife is never submissive, and therefore home life is broken even by slight incidents. Either the wife or the husband may take advantage of the divorce laws. According to the Vedic law, however, there is no such thing as divorce laws, and a woman must be trained to be submissive to the will of her husband. Westerners contend that this is a slave mentality for the wife, but factually it is not; it is the tactic by which a woman can conquer the heart of her husband, however irritable or cruel he may be. In this case we clearly see that although Cyavana Muni was not young but indeed old enough to be Sukanya’s grandfather and was also very irritable, Sukanya, the beautiful young daughter of a king, submitted herself to her old husband and tried to please him in all respects. Thus she was a faithful and chaste wife.

SB 1.2.6, Montreal, August 3, 1968 ‒
Yes. So psychology… I was student of psychology in my college life. Dr. Urquhart said, I remember still, that the brain substance has been found up to 64 ounce, while brain substance of woman has been found, highest, 34 ounce. Therefore woman class (laughs) is not so intelligent as man. There is no question of competition. It is actual, scientific fact.

SB, Sept. 13, 1969 ‒
In India still, the system is follow(ed) in conservative families that a widow cannot marry. There is no widow marriage in India. They, the… Manu-samhita, the law-givers, the saintly persons, Manu-samhita… Why widow marriage is prohibited? The idea is generally, everywhere, in all countries, the female population is greater than the male population. So the idea is that she has become widow. She was once married. Now if again she is married, another virgin girl, she does not get the chance of being married. Therefore there is no widow marriage according to Hindu scripture. And a man is allowed, if he is, I mean to say able man, he can marry more than one wife. Not that simply marry. To get more than one wife does not mean sense enjoyment. The wife must be maintained very respectfully. She must have good house, good ornaments, good food, good servants.

Lecture at Harvard University, Boston, December 24, 1969 ‒
According to psychology, there is difference of brain substance. Not the brain substance equally, of equal weight, in every man’s brain. You know, you are all educated students, psychology students. In our boyhood when we were a student in psychology class, Dr. Urquhart explained this brain substance. The man has got the highest brain substance — not all — up to sixty-four ounce. And woman has got the highest up to thirty-six or thirty-four. Of course, we are not discussing that point. Our movement is a spiritual movement, Krishna consciousness. That is beyond brain.

Room Conversation — August 15, 1971, London ‒
Prabhupada: Yes. That is psychological. They develop… Sex life, sex urge is there as soon as twelve years, thirteen years old, especially women. So therefore early marriage was sanctioned in India. Early marriage. Boy fifteen years, sixteen years, and girl twelve years. Not twelve years, ten years. I was married, my wife was eleven years. I was 22 years. She did not know what is sex, eleven years’ girl. Because Indian girls, they have no such opportunity of mixing with others. But after the first menstruation, the husband is ready. This is the system, Indian system.
Syamasundara: So they are not spoiled.
Prabhupada: No. And the psychology is the girl, after first menstruation, she enjoys sex life with a boy, she will never forget that boy. Her love for that boy is fixed up for good. This is woman’s psychology. And she is allowed to have many, oh, she will never be chaste woman. These are the psychology.

SB 1.3.21, Los Angeles, September 26, 1972 
I was student of psychology, and our professor… He was a Scotman. He explained this brain substance, cerebular substance, Dr. Urquhart, that the more brain substance is there, more one becomes intelligent. And it has been found that a woman does not have more than thirty-six ounce of brain substance, whereas in man it has been found that he has got up to sixty-four ounce. Now, this is modern science. Therefore generally, generally, woman, less intelligent than man. You cannot find any big scientist, any big mathematician, any big philosopher amongst woman. That is not possible. Although in your country, you want equal status with man, freedom, but by nature you are less intelligent. What can be done? (laughter)

Bhagavad-gita 4.12, Vrindavana, August 4, 1974 ‒  
Svarupa Damodara: Cerebrum.
Prabhupada: Yes. I was student of psychology. Our professor, Dr. Urquhart said that the brain, the biggest brain is, by practical psychology it has been tested, sixty-four ounce. And that is the highest brain substance. But for woman it is never more than thirty-six ounce. So they have tested all these practical psychologies.

Bhagavad-gita 1.40, London, July 28, 1973 ‒
Canakya Pandita says: visvasam naiva kartavyam strisu raja-kulesu ca. Visvasam naiva kartavyam. “Don’t trust women.” Visvasam naiva kartavyam strisu. Strisu means women. Raja-kula… And politicians. Yes. Visvasam naiva kartavyam strisu raja-kulesu ca. Never the trust the politician and woman. Of course, when woman comes to Krishna consciousness, that position is different. We are speaking of ordinary woman. Because Krishna says, in another place, striyo vaisyas tatha sudrah [BG 9.32]. They are considered, women, vaisya, the mercantile community, and sudra, and the worker class, they are less intelligent. Papa-yoni. When the progeny is defective, then they become less intelligent.

Bhagavad-gita 16.7, Hawaii, February 3, 1975 ‒
Otherwise it doesn’t matter what he is, which family he’s born. It doesn’t matter. Krishna says, you’ll find, mam hi partha vyapasritya ye ‘pi syuh papa-yonayah [BG 9.32]. Papa-yoni. To take birth low-grade family, or animal family, these are called papa-yoni. Krishna says that it doesn’t matter if one is born in the papa-yoni, low-grade family. It doesn’t matter. Mam hi partha vyapasritya ye ‘pi syuh papa-yonayah. In the human society, striyah sudras tatha vaisyah, even woman and sudra and vaisya, they are also taken in the category of papa-yoni. Papa-yoni means their intelligence is not very sharp. That is called papa-yoni. And a brahmana means to become very, very highly intellectual. That is called brahmana. Because he’ll understand Brahman.

Bhagavad-gita 16.7, Hawaii, February 3, 1975 ‒
To understand Brahman is not the business of tiny brain. Alpha-medhasam. There are two Sanskrit words, alpa-medhasa and su-medhasa. Alpa-medhasameans having little brain substance. Physiologically, within the brain there are brain substance. It is found that the brain substance in man is found up to 64 ounce. They are very highly intellectual persons. And in woman the brain substance is not found more than 34 ounce. You’ll find, therefore, that there is no very great scientist, mathematician, philosopher, among women. You’ll never find because their brain substance cannot go. Artificially do not try to become equal with men. That is not allowed in the Vedic sastra. Na striyam svatantratam arhati. That is called sastra. You have to understand that woman is never given to be independence. Independence means just like child has to be taken care, similarly, woman has to be taken care. You cannot get your child go in the street alone. There will be danger. Similarly, according to Vedic civilization, Manu-samhita, woman should be given protection. In this way,acara, this is called acara. So the demons, they do not know. The demons, they do not know what is what, how one thing should be treated, how… They do not know. In the Western countries there is no such distinction between man and woman. But there is.

Television Interview, July 9, 1975, Chicago ‒ 
Female Reporter: We have talked to scientists who say that the size of the brain has nothing to do with intelligence. Do you believe that?
Prabhupada: I think that the scientists do not think like that. They keep the brain of a particular scientist to study. They keep the heart of a particular noble man. Why they try to study the heart and the brain if there is no difference?
Nitai: Sometimes they keep the brain of a great scientist to study because they think that he is so intelligent, there must be something we can learn from studying the brain. So if they are thinking like that, then there also must be a difference between a woman’s brain and a man’s brain.
Female Reporter: What they say is that there is difference, but it has nothing to do with the size.
Nitai: Then why do they keep great scientists’ brain to study?
Female Reporter: They keep many people’s brains to study.
Nitai: Especially great scientists, that they want to see what has made this man so intelligent.
Female Reporter: That’s not necessarily true.
Prabhupada: Then why they study the brain? What is the purpose of studying brain unless there is difference? You study different brains. Unless you feel that there is difference between this brain and that brain, why do you study. What is the meaning of study?
Female Reporter: To find differences among men. It’s not necessarily differences between men and woman.
Prabhupada: I don’t say man or woman. But I say you study different brains — why? Unless you think there is some difference?
Female Reporter: There is difference.
Prabhupada: Yes. So if there is difference, then what is the harm if there is difference between man and woman’s brain?
Female Reporter: They say there isn’t.
Prabhupada: They say, but the fact we have to study. As soon as you study the construction of different brain, then you must know that there is difference, different activities.
Female Reporter: In other words, you do not believe this, what they say.
Prabhupada: Then why do you study different brain?
Female Reporter: I don’t study them. I’m just telling you what the scientists say.
Prabhupada: So scientists, the psychologist… As I was a student of psychology and our professor, a big man, Dr. W. S. Urquhart, he said that “By studying the brains of man and woman, we have found the highest brain substance found in man, sixty-four ounce by weight.” You may deny. This is the statement of a big psychologist. You can shake your head, but this is the scientific words by big psychologist. You can note down his name, Dr. W.S. Urquhart, professor of psychology in the Scottish Churches College in 1918-20.
Female Reporter: Oh, dear, no wonder. 1918-1920, that means… O.K. I see now what you’re thinking about. That was many, many years ago.
Prabhupada: So can you give any proof since then that the woman’s… In 1920… She does not take it?
Nitai: She does not take it. Somehow they think that the brain is no longer small. If it was small, then, it is not small today.
Prabhupada: But where is the proof…
Female Reporter: You do not believe that there has been advancement of science since 1920?
Nitai: Well, if the brain has been ascertained as being half the size then why should it change by now? Should it change?
Female Reporter: Well, do you think that the Romans weren’t as tall as men are today?
Nitai: No, but the… But then, within fifty years there is not going to be any change in the brain.
Female Reporter: Not in the 1900’s. Why do you use the technology that you use? You didn’t have cars in those days, this television. Things have changed since 1920.
Prabhupada: So what change has become? Can you give any evidence that woman is more powerful in brain than the man during these years? Can you give any evidence?
Female Reporter: No, what I’m saying is that…
Prabhupada: Now, can you give any evidence that woman has become more powerful than the man during these fifty years?
Female Reporter: Yes.
Prabhupada: What is that? Give me some tacit example.
Female Reporter: That she and I wouldn’t be here if women weren’t more powerful than they were fifty years ago.
Harikesa: Now they are talking louder. (laughter)
Female Reporter: Than you. Thank you. (woman leaves)
Harikesa: The scientists have the theory that the brain, the intelligence is measured by creases in the brain, creases, not by size.
Prabhupada: Not size, but what is the proof that the brain of woman has increased? Where is the proof?
Harikesa: They think because the ego has increased, the brain has also increased.
Prabhupada: Oh, that’s nice. (laughter) That’s nice. (laughing) So to become angry means defeat. If two persons are in argument the man, the one party, he becomes angry, that means he is defeated. Why one should become angry? It is the argument, logic. They should continue. And to become angry and to go away, that means defeat.

Press Conference, July 9, 1975, Chicago ‒
Reporter (3): (a woman) Where… Do women fit into this social structure? You keep referring to man.
Prabhupada: Woman is not equally intelligent as a man.
Reporter (3): Equal in intelligence?
Prabhupada: Not equal intelligence. In the psychology, practical psychology, they have found that the man’s brain has been found up to sixty-four ounce, woman… Sixty-four ounce, man’s brain. And woman’s brain has been found, thirty-six ounce. So therefore woman is not equally intelligent like man.

Interview with Trans-India Magazine, July 17, 1976, New York ‒
So actually this varnasrama system is meant for bringing the man in the lower status of life to the higher status of life. It doesn’t matter one is born in a low-grade family. That is also said by Krishna: mam hi partha vyapasritya ye ‘pi syuh papa-yonayah. Papa-yoni, lower grade. Striyo vaisyas tatha sudrah [BG 9.32]. In the human society, woman, the vaisya and the sudra, they are considered in the lower status, not very intelligent.

Morning Walk, January 9, 1977, Bombay ‒
Prabhupada: I condemn everyone, that “You are all dogs and hogs.” And United Nations a pack of dogs barking. That’s a fact. And in Chicago I said, all women, “You cannot have freedom. You have got only thirty-four-ounce brain, and man has got sixty-four-ounce.” I told them. So I became a subject of very great criticism.
Trivikrama: Women’s liberation.
Prabhupada: I denied, “No, you cannot have.” I told them. One girl in the airship, she was seeing like (makes some gesture-laughter). I asked her, “Give me 7-Up.” “It is locked now.” So I frankly said that “No, no. You cannot have equal rights because your brain is thirty-four ounce.” Actually that’s a fact. Where is woman philosopher, mathematician, scientist? Not a single.
Dr. Patel: Apart from that, I mean, they are made for a particular mission.
Prabhupada: How they can have equal rights? Up to date in the history there is not a single woman who is a great scientist or great philosopher or great…
Dr. Patel: Madame Curie was a…
Prabhupada: All bogus. (laughter)
Dr. Patel: You are getting too harsh on them because…
Prabhupada: No, no. How can I give you equal rights, because your brain is less substance.
Dr. Patel: We cannot degrade our mothers that way.
Prabhupada: It is not degrading. It is accepting the actual fact.
Dr. Patel: These girls are misled, these American girls.
Prabhupada: There is no history. There is no history. Just like Kunti’s mother. She produced so many heroes, but she was not hero. She could produce heroes like Arjuna, like Bhima. But not that she becomes hero.
Dr. Patel: Mother can produce heroes…
Prabhupada: That’s all right. Still, nobody will say that Kunti is as good as Arjuna or Bhima.
Dr. Patel: How can anybody say?
Prabhupada: That is… How you’ll get the equal rights?
Dr. Patel: No woman smaller than Kunti could have produced an Arjuna.
Prabhupada: You can produce. That is another thing. A cook can produce foodstuff suitable for rich man, but that does not mean he is rich man.
Dr. Patel: You argue. (laughs)

Interview, March 5, 1975, New York ‒
Reporter: Are men regarded as superior to women?
Prabhupada: Yes, naturally. Naturally, woman requires protection by the man. In the childhood she is protected by the father, and youth time she is protected by the husband, and old age she is protected by elderly sons. That is natural.
Female Reporter: That goes against the thinking of a lot of people in America now. Do you know that?
Prabhupada: No… America, maybe, but this is the natural position. Women require protection.
Female Reporter: Who decides who’s natural? And what’s natural?
Prabhupada: Natural means just like in psychology it is said that woman, the highest brain substance of woman is thirty-six ounce, whereas the highest brain substance of man is sixty-four ounce. So there is difference by nature, of the brain.
Female Reporter: Well (laughter), to get to something else, what do you do for fun when you’re in New York?
Prabhupada: Huh? What is that? I…
Srutakirti: You have defeated her.
Prabhupada: Huh?
Female Reporter: (laughs) But I’m not going to pursue your line of logic. And what do you do for fun?
Prabhupada: No, that is natural defeat. You cannot avoid it. (laughter)

Television Interview, July 9, 1975, Chicago 
Female Reporter: But you say women are subordinate to men?
Prabhupada: Yes, that is also natural. Because when the husband and wife are there or the father and daughter is there, so the daughter is subordinate to the father and the wife is subordinate to the husband.
Female Reporter: What happens when women are not subordinate to men?
Prabhupada: Then there is disruption. There is disruption, social disruption. If the woman does not become subordinate to man, then there is social disruption. Therefore, in the western countries there are so many divorce cases because the woman does not agree to become subordinate to man. That is the cause.

SB 3.7.29, purport ‒
Mahabharata is also a division of the Vedas, but it is meant for women, sudras and dvija-bandhus, the worthless children of the higher section. The less intelligent section of society can avail themselves of the Vedic instructions simply by studying the Mahabharata.