Devotional Determinism and Woman Gurus in ISKCON
The fact that there have been less female gurus, speaks nothing against the principle. It may rather speak volumes about the diehard necessity men feel to dominate.
The fact that those who speak against the principle mostly appeal to tradition is no shocker. To what else can they appeal? Is it not mostly those based in India that are up in arms. Would they themselves have survived Mahaprabhu's movement and its nonconformity back in the day?
Although not opposing the greater social frameworks of medieval India, Sri Chaitanya gave them no more recognition than they deserved. He re-ordered the hierarchy of what is pure and best based upon devotion. He also broke many of the social taboos and accepted everyone with special appeal to the 'chandalas'. In his devotional movement there was no traditionalist or brahmanical bar on people assumed to have less social or human value. He opposed and reformed traditions around devotion to Krishna. His biggest opposition were the orthodox--the traditionalists.
As a reformer, Mahaprabhu accepted some principals of tradition while rejecting others. It is well known that in regard to female association he was very strict but compromised the same by sustained love and affection for his mother. His conformity and nonconformity became somewhat of a nightmare for Damodar Pandit. And despite Mahaprabhu's love for Damodar, he also felt the strain.
Devotion to Krishna was raised to the throne and tradition took a position of subservience. In that era Jahnava Ma became the leader/guru of the Gaudiyas.
In the face of tradition and all the libraries of holy law books, Mahaprabhu's greatest theologians have advised us-- 'accept what is favourable and reject what stands against devotion'. It's a sort of devotional determinism. If the supremely independent (parama svatantra) current of devotion is flowing through our women, and they exhibit both stability in devotional character (brahmany upasamasrayam ) and thorough knowledge of Srila Prabhupada's teachings (sabde pare ca nisnatam), I for one will not raise a Vedic verse against them.
As Mahaprabhu pushed boundaries to make way for the current of pure devotion so did Srila Prabhupada on his arrival in the west. The aspiration to domesticate and constrain the current of bhakti-devi by too much adherence to tradition stands in the face of ISKCONs responsibility to flood every culture and country of the world will love of Krishna.
Tradition must never again take the throne away from devotion.