Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for MankindChapter 18: Diti Vows to Kill King Indra

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.18.41

śarat-padmotsavaḿ vaktraḿ

vacaś ca śravaṇāmṛtam

hṛdayaḿ kṣura-dhārābhaḿ

strīṇāḿ ko veda ceṣṭitam


śaratin the autumn; padmaa lotus flower; utsavam — blossoming; vaktram — face; vacaḥ — words; ca — and; śravaṇato the ear; amṛtam — giving pleasure; hṛdayam — heart; kṣura-dhārā — the blade of a razor; ābham — like; strīṇām — of women; kaḥ — who; veda — knows; ceṣṭitam — the dealings.


A woman's face is as attractive and beautiful as a blossoming lotus flower during autumn. Her words are very sweet, and they give pleasure to the ear, but if we study a woman's heart, we can understand it to be extremely sharp, like the blade of a razor. In these circumstances, who could understand the dealings of a woman?


Woman is now depicted very well from the materialistic point of view by Kaśyapa Muni. Women are generally known as the fair sex, and especially in youth, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, women are very attractive to men. Therefore a woman's face is compared to a blooming lotus flower in autumn. Just as a lotus is extremely beautiful in autumn, a woman at the threshold of youthful beauty is extremely attractive. In Sanskrit a woman's voice is called nārī-svara because women generally sing and their singing is very attractive. At the present moment, cinema artists, especially female singers, are especially welcome. Some of them earn fabulous amounts of money simply by singing. Therefore, as taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, a woman's singing is dangerous because it can make a sannyāsī fall a victim to the woman. Sannyāsa means giving up the company of women, but if a sannyāsī hears the voice of a woman and sees her beautiful face, he certainly becomes attracted and is sure to fall down. There have been many examples. Even the great sage Viśvāmitra fell a victim to Menakā. Therefore a person desiring to advance in spiritual consciousness must be especially careful not to see a woman's face or hear a woman's voice. To see a woman's face and appreciate its beauty or to hear a woman's voice and appreciate her singing as very nice is a subtle falldown for a brahmacārī or sannyāsī. Thus the description of a woman's features by Kaśyapa Muni is very instructive.

When a woman's bodily features are attractive, when her face is beautiful and when her voice is sweet, she is naturally a trap for a man. The śāstras advise that when such a woman comes to serve a man, she should be considered to be like a dark well covered by grass. In the fields there are many such wells, and a man who does not know about them drops through the grass and falls down. Thus there are many such instructions. Since the attraction of the material world is based on attraction for women, Kaśyapa Muni thought, "Under the circumstances, who can understand the heart of a woman?" Cāṇakya Paṇḍita has also advised, viśvāso naiva kartavyaḥ strīṣu rāja-kuleṣu ca: "There are two persons one should not trust — a politician and a woman." These, of course, are authoritative śāstric injunctions, and we should therefore be very careful in our dealings with women.

Sometimes our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is criticized for mingling men and women, but Kṛṣṇa consciousness is meant for anyone. Whether one is a man or woman does not matter. Lord Kṛṣṇa personally says, striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās te 'pi yānti parāḿ gatim: whether one is a woman, śūdra or vaiśya, not to speak of being a brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya, everyone is fit to return home, back to Godhead, if he strictly follows the instructions of the spiritual master and śāstra. We therefore request all the members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement — both men and women — not to be attracted by bodily features but only to be attracted by Kṛṣṇa. Then everything will be all right. Otherwise there will be danger.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness