Hayagrīva: Concerning men and women and the qualities, Comte felt that women were inferior physically, intellectually, and practically to men, but that they surpassed men in goodness and love. He writes, "In all kinds of force, whether physical, intellectual, or practical, it is certain that man surpasses women in accordance with a general law which prevails throughout the animal kingdom. If there were nothing else to do but to love, women would be supreme."
Prabhupāda: Hn. So?
Hayagrīva: Is that so?
Prabhupāda: So that is natural distinction between man and woman, so how it can be changed? Woman is meant for certain activities and man is meant for certain activities. So how this can be changed? Artificially if you change it, it cannot be changed. Then, just like woman becomes pregnant, man does not become pregnant. How it will be changed?
Hayagrīva: Well from this he concludes that woman, being dominated by love, is morally superior to man.
Hayagrīva: And he considered woman, or all women, to be what he called "The spontaneous priestess of humanity. She personifies in the purest form the principle of love upon which the unity of our nature depends." So the woman is to act almost like the brāhmaṇas, in being a priestess or in charge of the, of the religion of man, being that she's dominated by the heart.
Prabhupāda: These are all imagination. When woman, when she is misguided, she becomes dangerous. There is no question of love. But one thing, according to Vedic conception life, that women and children are on the same level, so they should be given protection by men. In childhood the protection is from the father, in youthhood the protection is from the husband, and in old age the protection is from the grown-up sons. So they should never be given independence. They should be given protection, and their natural love for father or for husband or for children, then that propensity will grow very smoothly, and that will establish the relationship with woman and man very happy, and both of them will be able to execute their real function, spiritual life, by cooperation. The woman is known as his better half, so if she looks after the comfort of the man, a man is working and he is looking after the comfort, then both will be satisfied and their spiritual life will progress. Woman is meant for certain duties; man is meant for... Man is meant for hard working, and woman is meant for homely comfort, love. So both of them, if they are situated in their respective duties under proper training, then this combination of man and woman will help both of them to make progress in spiritual life.
Hayagrīva: Comte felt that love of God has always interfered with man's love of women. He says, "Love of God is inconsistent with love for our fellow men, and it was impiety for the knight to love his lady better than his God. And thus the best feelings of man's nature were repressed by his religious faith. Women, therefore, are not really interested in perpetuating the old system of religion."
Prabhupāda: Generally, women are interested in comfortable home life. That is woman's nature. They are not spiritually very much advanced or interested. But the..., if man is interested, and the woman helps the man, either as mother or wife or daughter, then both of them, if the woman remains subordinate and the man is making spiritual progress and the woman is helping the man, then both of them will make spiritual progress. Or the woman, without working for spiritual elevation, because (s)he is helping the man (s)he will share the profit, spiritual benefit.
Hayagrīva: The role of woman he envisioned as that of man's companion. He says, "The first aspect, then, under which positivism considers women is simply as the companion of man, irrespective of her maternal duties," and that this friendship or companionship has as its basis sex. He says, "Conjugal union becomes a perfect ideal of friendship, yet still more beautiful than friendship, because each possesses and is possessed by the other. For perfect friendship, difference of sex is essential as excluding the possibility of rivalry." So he felt that sex, there can actually be very little friendship between men, because there's no sexual basis, that sex is the basis for the friendship between the sexes.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. So woman, sex, there is sex, sexual necessity and the bodily demand. So woman not only give the sex pleasure to the man, but woman should prepare good foodstuff also for the man. The man is working very hard. When he comes home, if the wife supplies him good foodstuff and nice comfort and sex, then the home becomes very happy. That is practical experience. So after hard working, when man comes home, if he finds out good foodstuff and nicely satisfied by eating, and then the woman gives satisfaction by sex, then both of them remain fully satisfied, and then they can improve their real business, spiritual understanding, because human life is meant for making progress in spiritual understanding. Spiritual, first of all they must know that the spirit soul is the basis of material life even, and the body is built up on the soul, and within the body there is soul. This understanding is required both for the man and the woman. Although woman is less intelligent, still, by the help of the husband, he..., she can become intelligent. This we think, we see in the instruction of Kapiladeva. Kapiladeva is the son of Devahūti, and He is engaged in teaching the mother. So a woman, either as daughter, as wife or mother, remains subordinate and gets knowledge from the man, either from the father or the husband or son. Then that life is elevated. We find also in the conjugal life of Lord Śiva and Pārvatī, in the Purāṇas we see always Pārvatī is questioning and Lord Śiva is answering. In this way woman is elevated, and the comforts given by the woman, comforts of the tongue, of the belly, and the genital, in this way, cooperative life, both of them becomes advanced in spiritual life.
Hayagrīva: He felt that in the beginning stages at least, of positivism, woman should take the role of God. He says, "From childhood each of us will be taught to regard their sex as the principal source of human happiness and improvement, whether in public life or in private. In a word, man will kneel to women and to women alone. The worship of women, when it has assumed a more systematic shape, will be valued for its own sake as a new instrument of happiness and moral growth. The worship of women satisfies this condition and is so far a greater efficacy than the worship of God."
Prabhupāda: Worship of man, woman.
Prabhupāda: Yes, to give protection to women. That is not actually worshiping, but maintaining her comfortably, that is the duty of the man. But to worship woman as God, that is not very good proposal. Then he will be henpecked. Worship of God is reserved for God only, not for anyone else. But the exchange, cooperation, between men and women for worshiping God, that is essential. Not that woman should be worshiped like God, or man should be worshiped like God. But the affection sometimes is stressed that you see him as God or see, see her as God. That is sentimental. But God is different either from man or from the woman. Both of them are living entities, both of them meant for worshiping God. Just like sometimes in the Vedic conception the wife is considered as dharma-patnī, religious wife. Means wife helps the husband in the matter of his religious life. That is found in, still in Hindu family: the man is worshiping the Deity and the woman is helping about the paraphernalia Deity worship, helping the husband so that he can immediately come into the Deity room and begin worshiping comfortably. So woman should always be engaged to assist the man in every respect in his religious life, in his social life, in his family life. That is real benefit of conjugal life. But if the woman does not agree with the man, and the man treats the woman as his servant, that is not good. The man should give the woman all protection and the woman should give all service to the man. That is ideal life, family life, conceived in the Vedic way of life.