(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, 23rd August 2012, Amsterdam, Lecture: SB 4.29.55)
Sometimes in Srila Prabhupada’s purports you will find: The whole world is in the clutches of maya and is being controlled by a woman, which is sometimes discouraging to the ladies in our movement. Women are being depicted as a problem where not only is one being controlled by one’s wife but he is also being controlled by so many sex literature. All of this does not sound so positive!
So when Prabhupada’s disciple Visakha asked him that question, Prabhupada replied: A vaisnavi is not a woman. It’s referring to the mundane situation but it’s also referring to the tendencies to look for happiness in this world. The tendencies to settle down and think: Yes there is happiness in this material world. Whereas, the paramahamsa is obviously very clear about that: There is no happiness in this material world… it’s an illusion.
So. that doesn’t mean that we are voluntarily looking for suffering in the material world and that we are aiming to suffer as much as possible. No, we understand what is comfort, and that a certain amount of comfort is permissible. Even the sages in the forest used to sit on the deer skin and that’s comfort, but it also protected them from snakes, because it says that deers have natural substance in the skin that chases away snakes. So in this way, they also made some arrangements!