On Female Gurus


Can women become gurus?


H.D. Goswami Profile Picture

Here is the logic for stri-gurus (female gurus).

In Vedic culture, and in evidence in general, a direct statement or proof is stronger than an indirect statement or proof. Thus, shruti would be direct statement, and anumana, inference, would be an indirect evidence, perhaps based on and interpreting a direct shastric statement.

In the ISKCON Shastric Advisory Council paper, we have many direct statements from Prabhupada that women can be gurus, even parampara gurus. On the other side we have anumana, inference, such as:

Premise 1: Prabhupada said women can’t be independent.
Premise 2: A guru is independent.
THEREFORE: A woman can’t be a guru.

This is anumana, and is, therefore, indirect evidence. It has these problems:

  1. It is indirect, not direct, and therefore cannot nullify or refute a direct statement.
  2. We have no shastric statement that ‘a guru must be independent,’ using the same language of independence and dependence used for women. Thus, again, the transfer of independence to the female guru case involves anumana. So we have anumana, stacked on anumana. Two steps removed from shruti, direct statement.