Gender Of The New-Born

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    Sugandha Sharma

    Hare Krishna Rsiraja Prabhuji

    Srila Prabhupada once said:

    When men have more sex, they lose the power to beget a male child. If the woman is sexually more powerful, a girl is born, and when the man is more powerful, a boy is born. This is Āyur-vedic science.

    Can you kindly elaborate and explain this more in relation to modern scientific knowledge?


    Ashish Dalela

    In Material and Spiritual Natures, which is a commentary on Sāñkhya Sūtra, there is an extensive discussion of linga sarīra which can be translated as “gendered body”. This body includes the senses, mind, intellect, ego, and morals. The following is a summary. The book elaborates more.

    Men and women have different kinds of senses; for example, women and men typically like different colors, shapes, smells, etc. In modern society, for example, a girl child is made to wear pink clothes while a male child is made to wear blue clothes. Girls tend to play with dolls while boys tend to play with cars. Men and women have different kinds of perfumes. So, all the five senses are different in men and women. These things should not be universalized. But there are dominant trends. I will return to discussing the variations in them shortly.

    Similarly, men and women have different kinds of minds. For example, men and women have different kinds of creativities; a man’s creativity is more prominent in analyzing the world into parts, and a woman’s creativity is prominent in new ways of putting things together. Men and women also give different interpretations of the same reality, such as words. For example, some sentences would be construed as being very offensive by women but would be considered non-offensive to men. Again, don’t universalize these things. Just take these as somewhat common trends. I will return to discussing the variations shortly.

    Men and women have different kinds of intelligence and beliefs. A man thinks a lot about the big picture and a woman about the world around her. Men tend to be more preoccupied with world politics, wars, weapons, economic transitions, and societal transformation, than women. Again, don’t generalize and universalize. These are just the broad trends between men and women. We will come to variations shortly.

    In the same way, men and women have different kinds of egos or self-identities. What feeds a man’s ego may not feed a woman’s ego, and vice versa. They also have different personal values. Men dominantly value risk and change, while women dominantly value safety and stability. Again, don’t universalize. These are just the broader trends. We will come to variances a little later.

    The basic point is that gender is not limited to the gross body or genitalia. Gender is a big topic in Vaishnava theology. You can read the book Emotion, where this topic is discussed extensively. Male and female are divine archetypes. They both have desires, but the desires are different. Likewise, you can read Cosmic Theogony where the emotions in art and music are divided into masculine and feminine archetypes. Almost all my books discuss these differences in different contexts.

    When you take the issue of gender deeper, then you can understand that the basic difference between men and women is emotional. A man wants a woman to need him, and a woman needs a man to want her. There is much detail around this, especially around the differences between wanting and needing, which is discussed in Conceiving the Inconceivable. Because of the want to be needed, and the need to be wanted, the divine masculine and feminine archetypes are said to be different and yet inseparable. Conceiving the Inconceivable discusses all these masculine-feminine entanglements. Separation arises when these needs and wants are mismatched or unfulfilled. Since they are unfulfilled in the material world, hence, the divine masculine and feminine become the material male and female. By definition, these males and females are dissatisfied.

    In a simplistic sense, a man’s desire is called wanting and a woman’s desire is called needing. Women like men who want them, but who don’t need them. A woman is turned off by a needy man and turned on by a man who doesn’t need her and yet wants her. This generally translates into an independent man who chases a woman that he can easily do without. Similarly, men like women who need them, but who don’t want them–e.g., when a man looks at a woman, she looks away. The woman needs that appreciation, but would not acknowledge wanting its existence. This entails that the man has to initiate the relationship, which the woman needs, but would not admit or confess. The woman is dependent on the man because the power of initiation is given by women to men, due to their emotional nature. That power also transfers the workload to the man: The man has to approach and woo the woman, while the woman waits patiently for the man she cannot easily do without. Meanwhile, the woman retains the power of rejection, which actually needs no work.

    Once we understand this emotional dynamic between masculine and feminine, then we can understand why and how it progressively translates into an independent nature of the man and dependent nature of the woman, until it becomes a truism of social customs. If this dynamic is disturbed at the gross level, the result is emotional dissatisfaction for both men and women.

    At present, women want to be as independent as men: They want to acquire the power of initiation and retain the power of rejection. Men too then acquire the power of rejection and retain the power of initiation. This never happens in the divine masculine-feminine relationship. If the man has initiated a relationship with a woman, he can never reject the woman, which means a man can never divorce. Likewise, a woman can reject an initiation, but if she has accepted it, there will be no rejection thereafter. Divine couples are eternally couples simply because there is no divorce.

    We can understand all these things by the dynamic between Radha and Krishna. Krishna has to chase Radha, even though He has millions of other gopis. The fact that Krishna has millions of other alternatives makes Him far more attractive to Radha. A woman’s psychology is that a man becomes more desirable if he is desired by other women. A man’s psychology is that a woman becomes less desirable if she is desired by other men. Therefore, the fact that Krishna doesn’t need Radha but still wants Her, makes Krishna attractive to Radha. Likewise, Radha needs Krishna, although She never chases Him, and pretends that She doesn’t want Him. She plays “hard to get”. The fact that Radha outwardly shows that She doesn’t want Krishna makes Her more attractive to Krishna.

    Due to this emotional dynamic, there is a seeming power imbalance between the masculine and feminine. The man has the power to offer, and the woman has the power to refuse. The woman gets frustrated when the man doesn’t offer, and the man gets frustrated when the woman refuses. However, since the offer is prior to refusal, hence, a masculine is said to have the upper hand. Then again, since the refusal can reject the offer, hence, the feminine is said to have the upper hand. Hence, all ideas of power imbalance are incorrect when we understand divine genders. There is no gender equality, man is independent and woman is dependent, and yet there is no power imbalance. To the extent that it is hard to grasp these things, it is also very hard to grasp divine genders.

    Now comes the question of the conception of a child. If a man is dependent on the woman and needs her to fulfill himself, then the woman has emotional control over the man, because she has the power of refusal. In this case, the child is female, because the woman is emotionally controlling the man. Conversely, if a man is independent, and the woman needs him to fulfill herself, then the man has emotional control over the woman because he has the power to offer. In this case, the child is male.

    Basically, there is a dominant-subordinate dynamic between masculine and feminine, which determines the gender of the child. To beget good male children, the man must have emotional power over the woman. And to beget good female children, the woman must have emotional power over the man. Whoever is needier of the two, determines the emotionality of the child.

    Dominant and subordinate are not universal states; they change with time. Likewise, the difference between dominant and subordinate may not be applicable to all the facets of a person. That emotional state may only influence some aspects of the person. For example, even if a man is emotionally dependent on a woman, there could be limits to how much and which aspects a woman can control in a man’s life. Similarly, even if a woman is emotionally dependent on the man, there could be limits to how much and which aspects a man can control in a woman’s life. The terms dominant and subordinate don’t mean that the man or the woman is dominant or subordinate in all aspects. The result of this difference is that even if a female child is conceived, it may have many of the father’s bodily and psychological traits with the gender of the mother. Similarly, even if a male child is conceived, it may have many of the mother’s traits with the gender of the father. These results are the outcomes of the changing dominant-subordinate emotional states of the parents, and to what extent the dominant or subordinate emotions control various facets of each other.

    The basic thing to understand is that gender is not about genitalia. It is about emotions. That emotional state is a deep-rooted difference and determines the gross level differences. The deep-rooted emotional difference translates into the body and social norms and regulations. They are not whimsical. They are all byproduct manifestations of the need for emotional satisfaction.

    Now, you are asking: How do we compare this idea of the body gender arising from the emotional gender to that of the conception of children in modern science? And the answer is that the modern scientific idea of gender is based on genitalia, but the Vedic philosophy conception is based on emotions. That emotional difference translates into differences in the senses, mind, intellect, ego, and moral sense, too. So, biology has to explain why psychology is different. That they cannot do.

    Modern science also cannot explain why a male body sometimes has feminine emotions, which is why men desire other men (and are called homosexuals). If this desire reaches its peak, then the males want to convert their genitalia into those of females. Likewise, many female bodies have masculine emotions, which is why they desire female bodies (and are called lesbians). If this desire reaches its peak, then the females want to convert their genitalia to those of males.

    Finally, modern science cannot explain which of man’s traits and woman’s traits will be found in the child. They can just say that the child’s traits will be based on either the man or the woman, but they cannot indicate which parent’s traits would be inherited in a child to which extent.

    Similarly, those who start from the conception of gender as chromosome pairs have to explain why some chromosome wants to acquire the nature of the opposite chromosome pair, or why it is psychologically of the opposite gender than the chromosome pair. If chromosomes are everything, then lesbians and homosexuals must never exist, because chromosome determines gender.

    The problem of comparison arises if both explanations explain all the facts in different ways. When one explanation is unable to explain most of the observed facts, then there is no comparison.

    Sugandha Sharma

    Understood Prabhuji. Thank you so much for explaining this to me.

    Also, I am confused about ‘homosexuality‘. Can you kindly elaborate upon that as well in relation to Vedic philosophy?

    Ashish Dalela

    A homosexual is a person whose gross body is masculine and the subtle body is feminine. So, outwardly, the person is male, but inwardly the person is female. This means that mentally and emotionally the person is attracted to another male gross body, just like a woman.

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