Are women Priests, Sanyasis and Gurus allowed in Sanathana Dharma?
A Girl Devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
Hare Krishna prabhuji. Does shastra allow women to be priests? Recently many women are conducting marriage ceremonies as priests. Is this allowed? If not then why did the vedas refer to the women seers?
As per the scriptures, women need not follow tough devotional practices as leaders nor sanyasis. If she takes part on the devotional practices of her husband, it is enough. All the benefits received by the husband will also go to the wife.
(Why Arjuna blames only women, not men in Bhagavad Gita 1.40? READ HERE!)
However, Chanting the Holy Names of the Lord is common for all. Women can chant, observe fasts, worship Krishna at home and temple and also assist in the services of her father or husband.
See, becoming a guru or acharya should be spontaneous. One will not become a priest, seer or guru just because he / she is appointed by some managements.
A Seer or acharya or aguru will evolve naturally showing his outstanding purity and skills.
For example, starting from Krishna or Lakshmi or Rudra, different samoradhayas originate. So, they exist thousands of years and they would have seen hundreds of acharyas or gurus in every lineage. Bt, only a few acharyas are considered as the promoment acharyas.
For example, if you take Gaudiya vaishnava sampradhaya, there have been hundreds of acharyas in lineage. But, Only a few became the prominent acharyas such as Bhakti Vinode Thakkur, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati, srila Prabhupada, etc.
They evolved as acharyas naturally showing their strong purity and performance in devootioanl services.
(How women preachers of Krishna are successful and how should they manage the preaching? READ HERE!)
Similarly, a few women evolve as seers naturally. It is rare. But, officially, there is no such practice of appointing women gurus or acharyas.
In general, the sanyasa is recommended only for men. Women are advised to follow devotion at home and worshiping at temples.
When her husband gets sanyasa and leaves the family, the wife has the fresponsibility of guiding her sons and daughters in right path.
If women are also allowed to take sanyasa, if both the husband and wife take sanyasa, there will be no one to guide the children.
Women have been entrusted very important responsibility of guiding and running a family making the home itself as temple.
Our Varnashrama dharma recommends sanyasa for men. Women are expected to live with her children following devotion at home.
So, for the betterment of future generation, the women are allowed to take care of the family after her husband takes sanyasa.
Even in the temples, the women are not allowed to stay.
(Why the scriptures give more restrictions to women than men? READ HERE!)
Because of their physical disturbances, more family responsibilities and their own safety, the women are expected to stay at home woth her children and practice devotion.
However, since every custom is violated in this advancing kaliyuga, some women seers, gurus, exist in this world.
The women can preach to the surrounding women in their colony, street, town, etc.
But they need not go upto taking sanyasa.
Even Sri Chaitanya Maha Prabhu’s consort Srimati Visnupriya Devi remained at home after Maha Prabhu left home taking sanyasa.
If women sanyasa are also recommended, the second wife of Sri Caitanya maha Prabhu, Srimati Visnupriya Devi would also have taken sanyasa as she was a devotional woman.
Women becoming the sansasis and priests are rare and they evolve rarely here and there.
For men, four evolutions in their life Brahmacharya, Grahastha, Vanaprastha and sanyasa are recommended.
No such recommendations for women to evolve in four stages up to sanyasa.
Except becoming priests or gurus, the women can follow all other devotional practices and assist their husband in devotion. No barrier for that.
If they follow the recommended devotional practices and also serve their husband’s needs, they will get elevated to good births with pious husbands though their present husbands are not devotees.
So, chant, fast, worship and Read about Krishna. Help your husband in devotion and other needs.
These five are enough for women. No need to become as women Priests, Sanyasis and Gurus.
However, they can preach to their surrounding women as a group. That will be nice.
Hope you are clear now.
(Why the dress codes for women though even the girls of vedic period were wearing skirts only? READ HERE!)