Separation of men and women is desirable by Romapada Swami

Q. If the heart desires to sing praises to the Lord in a loud voice (especially during the day), should there be a consideration if female that there are no bramacharis around? I mean, is it wrong for a female to sing when there are bramacharis in the arena?

We are Vaisnavas and we are not concerned in one sense about bodily conception of male or female but yet the separation of men and women is desirable.  Canakya Pandit said that every man should see all other women except one's wife as mother, and similarly a woman should see all men other than husband as sons.  This kind of culture keeps everybody protected from unlawful desires.

So, though it is not wrong to sing in a loud voice being a woman, we must all play our little role in fostering this wonderful Vedic culture in a community for everybody's protection.
For example, in India it is a very common custom even today for women to address all other men as sons and the men also to address women as mother. Not only just addressing each other in that manner but their actions also actually reflect that because that is what they are feeling in their consciousness.

However, not everyone is on the platform of such religious behavior; male/female attraction is the MATERIAL principle that rules in this world, and thus the role of a woman is to assist renounced brahmacaris to NOT become attracted by their sweet voices…unless in organized chanting within the temple.

Informal association between men and women of any kind can easily lead to problems, and men hearing your pleasant singing voice may stir some type of attraction, or mental agitation.

Here is what Srila Prabhupada said in one letter to a mataji regarding women giving class in temple:
"Regarding lecturing by women devotees: I have informed you that in the service of the Lord there is no distinction of caste, or creed, color, or sex.  In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord especially mentions that even a woman who has taken seriously is also destined to reach Him.  We require a person who is in knowledge of Krsna, that is the only qualification of a person speaking.  It doesn't matter what he is.  Materially a woman may be less intelligent than a man, but spiritually everyone is pure soul.  In the absolute plane there is no gradation of higher and lower.  If a woman can lecture nicely and to the point, we should hear her carefully.  That is our philosophy.  But if a man can speak better than a woman, the man should be given first preference."  (Srila Prabhpada's letter to Jayagovinda, Feb 8th 1968)
One time Srila Prabhupada wrote to Gargamuni Maharaja, "I want to organize a women kirtana party singing the Gita Gan. Can you help me?"

From this it is very evident that women can sing and even organize kirtana parties.  Within our society/temple when there is a mataji who is especially qualified to conduct nice kirtans, her service to Krishna is actually to be encouraged; at the same time, if there is a male who can do nice kirtan, he may be given preference.

On mother's day it is a custom in many of our temples to encourage mataji's to do kirtan, give class etc to honor their position.

"Respect for those who are renouncing via dedication to brahmacari life, balanced with appropriate encouragement of one anothers' devotion" is the essence of my reply to your question.

I hope the answer is clear to you – women can sing, and it is not absolutely wrong to sing in the presence of brahmacaris, but we need to make some thoughtful considerations as above mentioned for the protection and elevation of everyone.


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