Bg 1.40

adharmābhibhavāt kṛṣṇa
praduyanti kula-striya
strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya
jāyate vara-sakara

Word for word: 

adharma — irreligion; abhibhavāt — having become predominant; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; praduyanti — become polluted; kula-striya — family ladies; strīṣu — by the womanhood; duṣṭāsu — being so polluted; vārṣṇeya — O descendant of Vṛṣṇi; jāyate — comes into being; vara-sakara — unwanted progeny.


When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Kṛṣṇa, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, comes unwanted progeny.

adharmābhibhavāt kṛṣṇa. when there is no dharma then praduyanti kula-striya the striya, women will become praduyanti they will become contaminated polluted and when they are polluted strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya, - Krishna is a descendent of Vrisne so He is called vārṣṇeya, jāyate vara-sakara, then vara-sakara will be born.

This is deep thought which we may not be able to think with our current conceptual and cultural framework. In vedic culture bringing forth good dynasty and continue dynasty is considered very great responsibility and for that purpose having good marriages and having good family is very important. Now when Dharma is not protected what that mean? That means it can happen in various ways here Kshetriya is going to fight and they will kill each-other, when Kshetriyas are killed then unscrupulous men will assume power and when they will assume power they will exploit women and when they will exploit women what will happen is vara-sakara will be born. So what is vara-sakara? What is Unwanted Progeny? Nowadays people think O we did just birth control which didn’t work so unwanted progeny came up and we decided that we will not do abortion so the child was born. But that is not the context or thought of Krishna and Arjuna 5000 years back unwanted progeny means progeny with poor consciousness with degraded mindsets. So how the child is born is not just a material science yes from science point of view how semen enters and impregnates the women and then how embryo grows and how from that child is born it is a fascinating science and how from one small cell whole human being like us is born it is actually miraculous it is miracle which only God can do and He does it repeatedly.

So that is physical process but here the talk is about how the consciousness is determined, consciousness of child is by the consciousness of the couple during their union. So in vedic scripture it is described that the kind of soul which enters when the mother conceive is based on certain factors and those are the consciousness of the mother and father so if they are completely in the mode of passion than a passionate soul is attracted over there. If they are in ignorance…there is a European pop star who said most people are born over whiskey on Saturday night. So that is how it is vara-sakara, so people are fulfilling their desire and begetting children is side product of that so that is how souls of degraded consciousness appear. So if souls of degraded consciousness appear then it is very difficult for them to be regulated.

We may wonder that the souls are going to be born somewhere or other if souls need body they get the body so what is the difference so it is like saying actually there are going to be criminals so why not criminals be there is my house. Who wants criminals in my house or in my city. So it is not our problem where those souls will get the body. Our problem is how we can liberate ourselves and how we can liberate others those who are our dependents those who are our progeny and while liberating them how we can follow dharma and do good but when there are children with low consciousness it become very difficult in maintaining any kinds of order in the society. So praduyanti kula-striya, vārṣṇeya. So actually when man and women unite after having proper prayer then a wonderful child can be born.

So here Srila Prabhupada purport could be quite inflammatory and provocative from the point of view of today’s culture, Srila Prabhupada writes that women are less intelligent and according to Chankya Pandit women are not very intelligent and not very trustworthy. So what is this blanket statement not very intelligent? How do we understand this statement?

So there are various ways of looking at it:

Is this refers to spiritual intelligence? Actually the souls is neither male nor female, at least bodily gender doesn’t apply to the soul, the same soul can be today in male body and tomorrow in female body and vice a versa. so it is not that soul is less intelligent, than is it that it refers to material intelligence? Are women less intelligent at material level? We may say that when women are given career opportunity they may excel in so many fields they are often toppers in school and colleges and they excel in so many fields so how are they less intelligent, so if materially we don’t find women to be less intelligent and spiritually we know that soul is neither male or female then what is this referring to? Actually it is referring to the interaction between soul and the body. The word intelligence is used in different sense in different context and in different cultures

We often used intelligence in terms of our capacity to manipulate, control and organize matter. And IQ score are basically to organize concepts. So that is one understanding of intelligence.

However in Vedic culture intelligence refers to understanding the fundamental truths of life and the truths of life are I am not the body but I am soul, that is the beginning that is ABC of spiritual life . Generally speaking in female body the bodily misidentification is far greater than in the male body because for women her whole sense of self-worth and self-identity comes from the body how good I look, how many heads do I turn, how many people I attract so that is very defining for a women self-conception of course once a person becomes devotee things may change. The important point is the bodily misidentification is much stronger in a female body and not only that, women are more sentimental than rational (people flatter women by praising them, say by saying you are looking good etc.), this is not necessarily bad and because of this quality of women helps them in easily becoming devotee, they have a tendency to accept God and bow down to God, they can practice devotional life more easily. The sentimentality can also lead to someone misguide them easily. The opposite of sentimentality is rationality which found more in man. And the rational facility is foundational for philosophical enquiry for metaphysical study and that is beginning of serious spiritual search.

So here point is greater bodily misidentification so less intelligent and female body and psychology has greater level of sentimentality than rationality that is why it is said that women are not to be trusted.  

Also these statements are general we also should understand that there are exceptions. Exceptions also has to be understood carefully.

Sometimes SP had argument that female brain is smaller than the man brain and that proved that women are less intelligent than men and now subsequent research has shown that it is not always true, first of all there are several problems with this argument that firstly weather brain size itself is indicative of intelligence it is not necessary that if a person has big brain he is having more intelligence secondly the brain size also depends on body size so in general males has bigger body than females so naturally the whole body is bigger so brain also will be bigger so both ways whether bigger brain size correlates with bigger intelligence and whether males has bigger brain than female that is not very clear and if we take out proportion it turns out that women can have bigger brain also then what is Srila Prabhupada using this argument for. So in general we have to understand that there are Prataksha anuman and sabda. Chanakya Pandit’s words are not sabda. SP quotes Chanakya Pandit (who has said above statements) as moral and social authority he has never quoted him as spiritual authority he never quotes him for atma jyan bhagvat jyan he quotes him for social purposes so even his words are not infallible like scripture because Chanakya Pandit is not considered as any incarnation or like that so the point is Srila Prabhupada quotes him so there is some authority over here. So the important point to recognize is when Srila Prabhupada is quoting such examples those examples are contextual and example are based on Prataksha and anuman so actually Srila Prabhupada was in college and he has studied in Scottish church college and in this college was a Christian professor, he made this statement, that was the scientific belief at that time SP has quoted that scientific belief in his purports so now so this knowledge which SP is quoting is not coming from Shastra it is coming from his Prataksha and Anuman so an Acharya can learn something from Shastra and an Acharya can use something to substantiate that point, now Prataksha and Anuman are not always reliable they can go wrong and that is why Srila Prabhupada quotes scientific authority of his time and now it is changed as someone else is saying something else so we have to understand that the principles are eternal and examples are contextual which may change for example in Philadelphia, USA when SP visited some devotee quoted this and Vishaka mata ji asked SP is it that women brain are smaller SP smiled and said don’t worry when you chant your brain will increase this was a light conversation it was not shastric discussion, it should not happen that after chanting someone should start think weather my brain size is increased or not. SP point was once one become a devotees his intelligence increases as he starts understanding that I am not the body I am the soul and one starts understanding metaphysical concepts and using those concepts so in the scriptures the general point is there is a social arrangement in which both male and female cooperate and both of them makes spiritual advancement so here the central point is praduyanti kula-striya, if the women are unprotected it is not only protection in the sense males providing some physical protection but in having religious arrangements and this principle doesn’t apply to women only it applies to everyone, we have seen that if we don’t have structured time then the mind starts going to the lower activities. Same happens with women also so when there is proper social arrangement to practice dharma then it is easy to practice dharam otherwise it become difficult. So Arjuna is seeing future consequences and saying that in this way when women is polluted there will be VarnaShankara. There will be degraded population that will come up.