Hinduism and Homosexuality

A site for gay and lesbian Hindus

I recently received a comment which said :

“.. But at least some youngsters move to hindu , coz they arent acceptd in Christianity coz they are Gay/bi etc.

Hindu spirituality has nothng to do with it. But Being a hindu or hindutva ,the way of life of a hindu is against such acts as christianity is.

‘Vivekabhudi’ or power to differentiate right-wrong is what which makes human different from animals. And hinduism is for those who have this viveka. So people who dnt even have the diligence of animals are not suited for hinduism.

Such people who misuse of Unorganised structure of hinduism really make us hindus ashamed.

In a second comment the commenter adds:

But I have seen a trend that when people bi/gay nt get acceptd by Catholicism they turn hindu. This is not a place for going when you have no way. Secondly hinduism is clearly in line with nature that female-male equation.

I was going to write a response to the comment, but I realised that the response would be fairly long, and I had a feeling that I should write it as a post. Part of me did not want to write on this controversial subject, some readers are bound to disagree me. I have a feeling that it is not a subject that I should just leave alone though.

Points of Agreement

First of all, I will discuss the areas where I agree wholeheartedly with the commenter. People should not come to Hinduism just because they are not accepted by Catholicism or any other religion. Hinduism is a path towards liberation and God. If you are not going to try to follow this path there is no point in being a Hindu. Unlike some religions, Hinduism does not say there is any merit or promise of “salvation” is attained by just being a Hindu. In fact, theologically someone who wants to make no effort in a religion is much better of following Christianity, where the creed is that you are saved just by belief and being a Christian, and that you will be forgiven however you behave.

Hindus Upset With Brand & Perry Over Marriage Split

Secondly I agree that Hinduism has standards of dharmic behaviour, to which we should all aspire. Sometimes people adopting Hinduism do act in adharmic ways, which is embarrassing to Hindus – though it is not only gay and lesbians who do that.

Russell Brand and Katy Perry had a Hindu wedding. Russell Brand was a regular attendee at the ISKCON temple in Watford.

When Russell and Katy Perry split up, Rajen Zed said:

They should have taken marriage more seriously as it is a sacred rite in Hinduism.

… In Hinduism, marriage is the most important sacrament. The married couple is looked upon as a complete module for worship and participation in cultural and social acts.If celebrities opt for a Hindu wedding, they should be prepared to adhere to the commitment, devotion, responsibility, sanctity and morals, which are attached to it.

I agree with this. We don’t always manage to hold dharma all the time, but at least we should try.

Also, I would add that there is no need for gays and lesbians to leave Christianity simply because they are gay, as there are churches accepting gays and even a gay Catholic forum.

Hindu Views on Homosexuality

There are many views about gays and lesbians among Hindu groups. There are even some groups that cater specially for gays, such as the Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association who’se website image is at the top of this article.  These groups are as far from the mainstream Hindu schools as the gay Catholic forum is from the Vatican though.

There are some things that I believe all Hindus can agree on though. Homosexuals the same as everyone else have the divine spark of God within them. The HAF site quotes Swami Viveknanda on its article on homosexuals:

“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship or psychic control or philosophy – by one or more or all of these and be free.”

All will eventually attain moksha, homosexuals will not be damned eternally because of this birth.

Also I think that all Hindus agree that anyone who has homosexual tendencies but remains celibate is as virtuous as a heterosexual renunciate. Some Hindus say that this is the only dharmic course for homosexuals, though many go beyond this. In an article in Hinduism today about Hindu attitudes to a proposed constitutional change in Guyana’s law, Amar Ramessar, president of the Yuvaa Shakti Sangh at the Radha Krishna Mandir, says:

“I would urge any person to live a dignified life, which leads to a peaceful coexistence with the society. Prejudices are born out of ignorance and fear; our work can help in the education necessary to overcome them.”

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami writes in Dancing With Shiva:

Sons and daughters who are gay may not benefit from marriage, and should be taught to remain loyal in relationships and be prepared to cope with community challenges.

This is not just liberalism, in many other ways Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami is conservative. I believe it is a recognition that for homosexuals, trying to live in a hetrosexual relationship would lead to disaster and adharmic behaviour. Not everyone can live the life of a renunciate. For the wrong people, attempting to do so will lead to hidden shameful illicit affairs – and this applies to both homosexuals and heterosexuals.

My personal opinion is that followers of Satguru Subramuniyaswami should see his advice to gays  as an instruction to the rest of us to  treat gays who follow his advice with respect. If they are having long term relationships, doing their duty to the community, God, and holy people, then they are acting dharmically. Whatever karma brought them to this situation they are acting in the best way possible to them.

Bisexuals

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned bisexuals here. It seems to me that a bisexual is really in the same situation as a hetrosexual. Hetrosexuals have the duty to be chaste in marriage. They may at times find themselves attracted to members of the opposite sex, but it is their duty to ignore this.

For bisexuals its essentially the same situation – except they may also occasionally find themselves attracted to members of the same sex too! Again they must ignore it.

I see no reason why most bisexuals cannot live the same dharma as a hetrosexual, choosing either the path of a renunciate or a housholder. Occasionally a bisexual might meet a soulmate of the same sex, who they cannot live without. In this case they should follow Gurudeva’s advice for homosexuals, and live a dharmic commited relationship with that person


The low resolution image of screenshot of “the Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association” website is considered to be fair use. Similarly the image of Russell Brand and Katy Perry is a low resolution copy of an image from the W. E. N. N website article “Hindus upset with Brand and Perry over Marriage Split”, which is considered to be fair use.

46 responses to “Hinduism and Homosexuality

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly that Hinduism is not a refuge for anyone trying to escape themselves. I know a Wiccan priestess, a long-time friend, who occasionally encounters new pagan students that joke about being “recovering Catholics” – she tells them to go “recover” somewhere else!

    You’ve written a fair and sensitive post, covering different facets of a difficult issue. I’ll be interested to see how other readers react to it!

  2. Nice post, Tandava. A little confusing on the bi issue, though — if I might jump in there…. Bisexuals are not defined as heterosexuals with occasional gay proclivities on the side, as many people often to define it. We must be careful not to confuse the vagaries some people’s behaviour (i.e., the kind of folks we see paraded on talkshows as being ‘on the down low’ as representative of all bi people) with inborn orientation of all people who identify as bisexual. Bi people are, simply, people who have the capability over the course of their lives to love someone regardless of their gender. There is nothing about being bi that makes someone any less able to commit to a stable monogamous relationship than anyone else. As a matter of fact, every survey I’ve read over the past few years shows that, no matter the gender of their partner, bi people are by-and-large interested in pursuing monogamy and living in faithful, stable relationships at the same rates as gay or straight people.

    That said, my own teacher speaks in similar terms as Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami and other gurus from many lineages — we must focus on the Love. Always focus on the qualities of the heart. We must not, as Hindus, get obsessed (as some people of other faiths often do nowadays) with what people are or are not doing in their bedrooms and get stuck in a hateful rut. It is the qualities of loyalty, perseverance, commitment, and other similar personal qualities are what is important to cultivate within a relationship with another — and these are the qualities we should applaud in others’ relationships, no matter whom they love. To obsess and get hateful the way members of other faiths often to about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people is entirely wrong and, in and of itself, takes someone away from their rightful path of respecting and loving all of humanity as ourselves.

    We will all, no matter how many lifetimes, no matter the vagaries and proclivities and challenges of any one lifetime, eventually achieve moksha. That is our birth right as human beings. Our task in between is to learn the full meaning of Love for our fellow human beings. And never to cultivate prejudice, and hate.

    That’s my humble input, anyway. Hope it makes some sense.

  3. Tandava,
    Thank you for this wonderful article. I agree with all of your points. As a gay Hindu, let me say that I did not “choose” Hinduism any more than I “chose” to be gay– I was born into this gay body, I did not choose it, and Sanatana Dharma, in many ways, found me. I can say with a good deal of certainty that I did not choose to be a Hindu because I was rebelling against my previous Christian heritage. I had already been exploring other religions for a very long time and for whatever reason (Divine inspiration perhaps) I kept being interested in Hinduism; I felt as if it was what I should have been practicing for a long time.
    The trend about more younger people embracing Hinduism because they are not accepted is not just unique to the LGBT community. Many people in the West, gay and straight, have become increasingly unsatisfied by the faiths of their birth and turn to Eastern faiths like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism for spiritual nourishment. A number of them are sincere seekers who actually yearn for spiritual development and become very devout, others just think it’s ‘cool’, the alternative to the Abrahamic faith of their birth, so they take it up for a while but then lose interest. It’s a shame really.
    I recently received a few negative comments of a similar nature about me being gay and Hindu, and I plan to not only write more blog posts about these kinds of issues in the near future, but to use my blog to advocate a more on the behalf of LGBT Hindus.
    In the Lord’s service
    Ricky

    • I understand exactly what you mean about sanātana dharma choosing you. I always hope that people who try Hinduism for a bit will take something from it with them – a greater understanding and tolerance. I’m sorry to hear that you have negative comments.

      • That is my hope for those people as well. Our religion has an amazing tradition of tolerance which always comforts me when I receive comments such as the ones I got on my blog about homosexuality being a disorder, not conducive to spiritual life, etc. I try to remember that whenever I’m put in those kinds of situations.
        I also wanted to say that I appreciated your addition of Satguru Subramuniyaswami-ji’s views on gay/lesbian relationships in your article as well. Although I found Swamiji’s views to be very conservative at times, the fact that he chose to offer advice to LGB people on their relationships showed his great tolerance for all people, and I agree with what he said; not all LGB couples wish to pursue marriage because they find it to be “oppressive” or see the attempts made by LGBT people to seek after marriage equality as part of a misguided scheme to better “assimilate” into the heterosexually dominated society. I personally find this view to be very silly, marriage is a sacred covenant between two people who wish to become emotional, spiritual, and material partners in life and it isn’t misguided of the LGBT community to desire this as well, though if they do not desire to be married they should at least settle down with one person and pursue a sacred life with them. There are more and more LGBT Hindus marrying in same-sex ceremonies, which I find to be very beautiful and something I want for myself, and everyone may not agree with that as they see marriage as a heterosexual-only institution, but for me marriage is about two souls coming together, not bodies.
        Blessings
        Ricky

  4. p.s. — I know I was actually repeating some of what you, yourself, said there, Tandava. I just re-read what I wrote, and I don’t want it to come across as if I was chastising what you wrote about bi people — for I thought you were sensitive. I was just diving in with more to say on that issue, in particular.

  5. We have very aligned beliefs upon this. My own very young son questioned his sexuality last year as he was being pressured by a current trend to be homosexual here. A teacher spoke with many parents at an open house about this problem which I shrugged off. I spoke with my son a very long time about this and told him our views upon this as Dharmists (almost verbatim what you posted above) and gave him some space to think about it. I felt as if this child, who has no relationship experience was very misunderstanding of what homosexual was. This child came to me numerous times about this subject and we talked about what is what. From this he began to understand what defined him. He has been dating a young lady for almost 9 months now, is deeply in love…and came to me with hugs of gratitude for allowing him to sort this private matter through without anger or hatred. I do believe this was more a test for me than for him some times…It was as if Beloved said…”I am everyone? Okay…well what about a gay son?” And my answer came profoundly so…”Yes Beloved…Beloved Everything…Beloved Everyone. Yes.” I say this now, and the proof is in my actions,thoughts and words. Despite the current “Twilight Trend” of ambiguity within the male community…being gay would not be easy in this small xtian town, but neither is being Hindu. I would think being gay is almost more acceptable.:P

    • I think you handled things very well, with love and understanding. I am so pleased, it is really sad when you hear of parents rejecting their children because of their sexuality – especially when at a young age it can just be a misunderstanding.

  6. I will never understand how a parent can turn away their own child, or any child for that matter over something they can not control. If one has deeply thought this out and does decide that they are gay…some parents still try to force that child into what they feel they should be. The whole situation is so difficult, it’s not like someday you wake up and say…”Okay how can I make half the people I know stop talking to me?” Several of my son’s friends immediately stopped talking to him because of rumors. We all laughed at this and suggested the rest of my teenage sons should probably question their own sexuality. That way we could weed out the ones which would be so hateful:P These, almost always were the same people already shunning them for our religious beliefs…so no loss.

  7. As the Law in US court was discussed on homosexuality, there was post in some blog on it. I don’t remember but the post is quite popular. I commented binignly that nature created us as heterosexual for reasons of procreation and it may be against the law of nature. There were unexpectedly very fierce reactions, some of them were very aggressive and abusive. One of them said, “You can adopt a child”. I thought sensible reaction and later on I realised that adoption is an immediate answer like a childless couple but someone has to still reproduce that child for someone else to adopt, hence we cannot get rid of the heterosexual way of procreation.

    Coming back to the topic of sexual variety, as far as spirituality is concerned, all creators, irrespective of their sexual anatomy and physiological orientation, one general rule applies to all of us including these sexual variants – anatomically and physiologically.

    Hindu concept deals with ‘three in one’ concept of sentient beings, i.e. “Body-Mind and Soul” complex. Irrespective of the sexual make-up both anatomically and physiologically, this basic vedic concept doesn’t change, hence irrespective of the sex, or their mental make-up, everybody is entitled to spiritual practices. Now let us take up in the light of the scriptures. Let us just take up the example of Patanjali Yoga Sutra.

    It clearly states in the verse 2:38, purity of sex life is affirmed and vigour is obtained which means that once a person is well established or is steadfast in sexual abstinence, the flow of spiritual energy occurs i.e. the Vital Energy that is needed to attain the unsullied “Brahma Consciousness” or if someone doesn’t like word Brahma, just say “Consciousness” or may prefix with any other word of personal choice including his/her own names. There is no bar. Hinduism considers all “Souls” equal and once a river, small or big, merges into “Sea”, it is all “Sea” without any distinction.

    Hence the word, “Brahmacharya” is different from celibacy or even moderation in sex. Brahmacharya is derived from two root words. Brahma + charya or achara meaning behavior or character. Thus it deciphers as the character of/like Brahma. It doesn’t exclude one to complete sexual abstinence. Because if you are distracted from concentration in Sadhana due to your overflow sexual urge, there is no harm and no point in making it a feeling of guilt. Treat it like any other bodily needs. Over indulgence will weaken both physically and mentally, that will be disastrous for a spiritual seeker.

    In the entire Patanjali Yoga Sutra, he doesn’t distinguish between any such practice, in fact Patanjali is very open and liberal; and rightly so. I also endorse this view, which should not leave much room for ambiguity as far as any, not just Hinduism, religion is concerned. Hinduism is very liberal and crystal clear. One ought not forget that the fruits obtained are pari passu with our labour, like in any other field, besides spirituality.

    Sorry for a little long post in comment but as Tandava himself observed it, the topic is very sensitive and better clarified. God bless

  8. I think my comment is perhaps not a full justice to the topic, but I apologise to my esteemed readers because, more than this it may need a separate column to address this issue. I have deliberately digressed from inter-religion comments. I hope that my above comment may be sufficiently self explanatory in that regard. Directly addressing will be more a political than spiritual. I think you all know the reasons for such comments. None of them are able to compete with Hinduism, hence it is a way out for their survival. But hate cannot win over the love. I think, I shall like to restrict myself to that. Let Catholics, Orthodox, Islam or anyone else say what they like.
    God bless

  9. Well, what i meant is joining hinduism, just for sake of homosexuality or misusing the unorganised nature is bad. A homosexual person by birth can be in a longterm homo relation and attain salvation. As salvation is for soul not this physical body. And soul is neither homo or hetro. You can see Shikhandi in Mahabharat. To attain liberation you have to lose all differences as per advaita, that is he becomes above gender classification. For a yogi , there is no male or female , only soul without gender. But , above highlighted comments were made by me at a very disappointing moment when i saw some facebook profiles said they ‘accepted hindu way of life’ as it is liberal and gays are accepted. And followed by shower of abuse on Catholicism, pope and other bishops.
    Well Hindu spirituality accepts all, but Hindu way of life or Hindutva based on Manu smriti and other codes of conduct for dharmic living oppose homosexuality. I was angered by the way these people try to put my religion. They tend to show hinduism as ‘a religion where you can do all non sense and still no one to control you’. It may create bad impression of Indians who adhere to both Hindu spirituality and Hindu way of life.
    Hari om

    • Thank you for this clarification. I too don’t like the “in Hinduism you can do anything” attitude that some people have. Hinduism is like a railway station, once you are in you can take many routes, jnana, bhakti, karma, etc. I think some people misunderstand this freedom and their claiming to be Hindu is like someone going to a railway station, buying a ticket, walking out again and telling everyone that they are on an exciting journey.

  10. And Hinduism is not a place to shower abuse on other religious leaders, like the Pope.
    Hari om

  11. Brahmachariyam pirathipannam vireeyalabam – Brahmachariyam is a boon which brings all goodness mental physical and spiritual -. Hinduism advocates perfect chastity until marriage and perfect loyalty to Husband / wife is obligatory for all human beings not only Hindus But for all.Brahmachariyam means perfect chastity not only be bodily but also mentally. One should control his semen and retain as much as possible.

  12. Start worshipping Mother Earth like the Pagans did, and respecting nature, otherwise there won’t be a planet left on which to obsess about what other people do in bed. People seize religion in order to claim moral high ground and point the finger. They should invests that energy in caring for the needy and vulnerable, the starving and homeless.

    • Mark,
      From your comment I think that you misunderstand Hinduism. We do worship mother earth, sacred rivers, oceans, and places. Though some Hindus may not put this respect into practice, I believe that there are many reasons they should do.

      Also, Hinduism gives nobody the moral high-ground. Unlike some religions there is no benefit of just being a Hindu. You are not ‘saved’ or ‘one of the chosen’, ‘the elect’, at the beginning of your path you are just the same as beforehand. Hinduism gives a path for spiritual development, but we recognise that a non-Hindu living a dharmic spiritual life is closer to God than a Hindu who fails in dharma.

      I agree with you that caring for the needy and vulnerable. I support organisations like Sewa UK

      • “Hinduism gives nobody the moral high-ground.” Then you cannot judge the homosexual. My point was that sexual piety is a waste of time, and what other people do in their beds is nobody’s business but their own.

        People who use religion to moralise in this way are preoccupied with the sex lives of others, and this is widely seen in our more enlightened age as an embarrassment.

        No one has the right to say that recreational sex between two consenting adults is wrong. Twenty percent of all mammals are disinterested in breeding, which is nature’s way of ensuring a given herd does not outstrip it’s environment and it’s means to survive. And we are all mammals. Homosexuals should be cherished for this reason, not vilified. We live in an overpopulated world. Backward religions which do not evolve in their attitudes will disappear. We must all embrace the real world of science and nature otherwise the planet we stand on will no longer sustain us. That is true spirituality.

        • ‘What others do in bed is their private affair. And control of population’.
          I agree with your opinion.
          On spirituality, Hindu spirituality has always been blended with, science, nature and research from times of Ancient sages. ‘Vaishesika’ school of philosophy by Sage Kanada had even gone beyönd todays science in Research and findings about Atomicity and particle nature. Vedanta profoundly deal with Cosmic science as said by Carl Sagan. Modern Science believes in what it can ‘sense’. While senses can create illusion. So it is subject to changes everyday. While Bharatiya Shastra and spirituality always went along.
          So Sanatan Dharma which was, is and will be open to Science, will continue to exist. Thats why it is known as ‘sanatan’ or eternal truth. It overcame various periods of genocides and persecution from various parts of world and will exist,. It is always with nature.
          Hari om

        • Mark,
          At first I was puzzled at your reaction to this post, but then I realised that as I was writing for a Hindu audience it is open to misinterpretation by non Hindus. This is not telling non-Hindu gays or even non-practising Hindu gays how they should behave. Practising Hinduism means following a spiritual path, following some rules, at least to the best of our ability. These are seen as rules of guidance rather than commandments, saying “if you want to come closer to enlightenment follow these”. To non-Hindus all we would say is that we believe that if you did follow these rules you would have a happier, more fulfilling life. We would make no attempt to enforce them on you, any more than a Jew would force you to eat kosher.

          Some Hindus believe that gays and lesbians cannot follow these rules, or can only follow them by being totally celibate. In effect they are saying that non-celibate gays and lesbians are not practising Hindus. In this post I was acknowledging that some Hindus believe this, but saying that gays and lesbians who do follow the path as closely as they are able, by virtuous behaviour, caring for others, and having long term relationships, are practising Hindus and should be honoured and respected by the rest of the Hindu communities. Just to be totally clear I am not advocating that they should have to do anything that is substantially different to the dharma and duties of heterosexual Hindus.

          • Nice reply tandavji.
            Firstly, hinduism doesn’t enforce anything on hindus so question of enforcing on non-hindus doesn’t arise.
            2.”Sarvadharmanparityajya mamekam Saranam Vraja.
            Aham tva sarvapapebhyo mokshayishyami ma suca”
            bhagavad Gita 18.66,
            So EVEN IF Lgbt is considered sin. Lord will protect and liberate a true devotee (whether Lgbt/not).

  13. At a stage of spirituality, especially sage and saints reach bisexual or a state when they have equal attraction and equal repulsion to both sexes.
    Shikhandi, a character in Mahabharat is such really a state of Arjuna not a different person.
    I am planning to elaborate it on my blog.
    And i apologize to all those who felt bad on my above quoted comments.
    It were nt against LGBT, which is a personal matter, but some people who try to throw mud on Indian culture and Indian way of life based on Smritis. But when i thought deep on my own comments, I felt many natural hindu may feel it is against them.
    Hari om

  14. Again on Brand-Perry, its their personal matter,. But should have been more careful, because there is no question of seperation in Hindu marriage. May be they are people as shivyatra say people who find it ‘cool’. And even some are doing the same in India too. Divorces increased, and we had had many meetings and discussions in Hindu communities and organisations to avoid high divorce rate situation, that may arise due increasing Globalisation/westernisation. We could find the basic reason for divorce is that the couple still try to maintain selfishness and seperate identity.
    For a hindu marriage, there is no 2 after marriage, bride and groom merge to a single person with 2 body.
    Even ‘kamasutra’ pointed out as sexual liberty of India also is clearly against sexual ‘anarchy’ and unfaithfulness in relationship. Well when Indians do such acts, without knowing the ‘meaning’ of hindu marriage, i find no point in blaming brand or perry , its natural that they didn know and divorce is not so in England as it is in India.

  15. You may know Bhagavan Ramakrishna paramhamsa and Mata Sarata devi moved together to The Eternal truth.

  16. Interesting to wake up today and find so many responses. You certainly have started a lively conversation, Tandava!

    I just think, despite personal feelings on this (positive, negative or mixed), and despite specific cultural or historical or traditional feelings on this matter, we need to be clear: Hinduism has never condemned homosexuality specifically or LGBT people as a whole. Even if individuals Hindu people do. Other Hindu people have never done so.

    As with many traditional cultures and religions that came into contact with ‘the West’ during the colonial era, history shows that several prejudices were injected into traditional cultures via the auspices former colonial masters — be it legally or via the colonial power’s dominant religion. Specifically, the laws that came into force outlawing homosexuality in India were recently reviewed and found to have been imposed by the British, not something Indians had a need for before that time. In the wake of such laws, individual and communal prejudices became entrenched and the notion that the prejudice was somehow ‘ancient’ set in. In 2009, the Delhi High Court recognised this by-and-large with it’s ruling:

    “The extent to which these representations embrace or reject homosexuality has been disputed within the religion as well as outside of it. In 2009, The United Kingdom Hindu Council issued a statement that ‘Hinduism does not condemn homosexuality’, subsequent to the decision of the Delhi High Court to legalise homosexuality in India.[3]” — http://goo.gl/X6GD3

    I am disheartened by the notion that I pick up from a couple comments above, that somehow Hinduism needs to be protected or the boundaries made firm, so that so-called ‘anything goes’ types are kept from embracing the faith and making ‘us’ all look bad. Nonsense — really, it is. There is not ‘us’, there is no ‘them’, there is only Brahman, the Absolute Reality, and everything else we call ourselves are only functional names for the life we live in the here and now. People embrace any faith/religion because of reasons of spirit and personal conviction. Some people who have been rejected by other faiths often find in Hinduism the love of God they have always felt expressed in a way that allows them to be fully a part of God’s love. That is nothing to fear. It is something to be proud of.,,, i.m.h.o.

    • Thanks TAH for a thought-provoking comment.

      I just think, despite personal feelings on this (positive, negative or mixed), and despite specific cultural or historical or traditional feelings on this matter, we need to be clear…

      One thing researching this did for me is make me realise my own prejudices. I generally think of myself as non-prejudiced, attending a mandir where nearly everyone else is of Indian descent means that I don’t think of race the same way as a lot of people. Having done some research in my lunch break at work, then found myself thinking “I’d better delete my history or someone might see these sites and think that I’m gay”. I didn’t, in the end, but it shows that I have some prejudice.

      There is not ‘us’, there is no ‘them’, there is only Brahman, the Absolute Reality, and everything else we call ourselves are only functional names for the life we live in the here and now.

      Thank you T.A.H for reminding me of that.

      • I used to have prejudice towards Hijras/hermaphrodites. Given my own personal experience with them in childhood.
        When we travelled to Tirupati Venketeswara temple, at somewhere near chennai these people entered into our train, with wierd looking body of men, and dress and charateristics of women. Half man-half woman.
        They would beg or ask donations, if you refuse they would abuse you, or strip or open up private parts to you in public leaving embarassed. And they are well known for stealing, kidnapping etc.
        But later i came to know they were forced to do so. The politicians+mafia dons who use them as prostitutes and such collectors of möney. If they refuse they’ll kill these people. And there is no one talk on their behalf. Most of them are also AIDS affected and usually have pathetic death like street dogs.
        The ‘Great’ britain has left deep wounds in Indian society and some deeprooted believes in the minds of people which block development and uplift the downtrodden.

    • Smritis clearly prohobit homosexuality. And was practised only by the ‘third gender’ or hijras. British introduced their colonial laws and thanks to them we have a great number of such hijras compelled to accept prostitution for living. Now they are most AIDS affected and curse theirown lives.
      Before colonial rule they were seen as a ‘good sign’ and were most welcome in auspicious occassion. Delhi highcourt order is very specifically intended to help them although i don’t think they can escape from clutches of Sex and political mafia,.
      In case of people coming to love god and those trying for escapism are different. They just want somethng ‘cool’ and then leave. While people like Shivyatra are most welcome.
      Hari om

      • In response, I’ll post a quotation & link to a discussion of what Manu Smriti and Narada Smriti say, as I’m short on time.

        “Hindus have many sacred texts and different communities give special importance to different texts. Even more so than in other religions, Hindus also foster disparate interpretations of the meaning of various texts.

        “The Vedas, which form the foundation of Hinduism for many, do not refer explicitly to homosexuality, but Rigveda says Vikruti Evam Prakriti [diversity is what nature is all about, or, what seems un-natural is also natural], which some scholars believe recognizes the cyclical constancy of homosexual/transsexual dimensions of human life…”

        http://goo.gl/Qdi4S

        • Dear sister
          I have read manu smriti, prasna, svetasvatara , kena upanishads, Brahma sutra and Gita. I am related with various Ashrams Chinmaya , Ramakrishna, Art of Living, and many more.
          I am not against homosexuality. Just said some facts in Gita.
          Hari om

          • I was not suggesting you had not read them, Syamukamath. I was only linking to sources that discussed them and their various interpretations, as a way to further our discussion here.

            I particularly liked the quote: “Hindus have many sacred texts and different communities give special importance to different texts. Even more so than in other religions…”– that’s, again, something to be proud of in Hinduism. It’s diversity.

            ‘Even more so than in other religons’ we are willing to debate and hold divergent opinions and not (always) get mired in the literalism, fundamentalism, and dogmatism that is rapidly grinding many faiths into crisis.

        • Vedas never prohibit anything. They only give statements which can be analyzed and decision is left to individual. It neither entertains Homosexuality nor discriminates it,. Basically whether homo or hetro is at the level of materialism. For spirituality there is no sex. For living it encourages hetrosexuality. Yet if one is homosexual, that can never be a reason to be pushed aside.
          By integrating third Gender we Indians had shown tolerance löng before westerns.
          Hari Om

  17. Tolerance towards the undeserving has cost us dearly.
    My ancestors who used to be great businessmen in Goa (ref. To Gouda saraswat brahmins in wikipedia) had welcomed portughese businessmen. And result was a very respected Saint Francis Xavier came Goa from Lisbon. And as result of the genocide, forceful conversion and torture by Him and the portughese they had to flea leaving everything to South Kerala. Many were killed by him, many temples were destroyed. A recent edition of ‘Hinduism Today’ magazine had an article on us. The sad thing is he is being followed as a great saint by Catholic church , Anglicans around the world.
    Similar was the effect of welcoming Great britain and East India company. The Sultanate- Mughal rulers werent bad. Muhammed Gazni/ghori was first defeated by king Prithviraj chouhan but was pardoned and let away. Same person came again defeatd and killed pritviraj without mercy. And also Burned the Great ancient Nalanda university.
    Well these are historic, present situation is Pakistan , the nation itself was born out of Mahatmaji’s kindness. And what they do is known to all. 4lac kashmiri pandits, the real owners of kashmir, now live as refugees in Delhi. Nearly 1 lac pak soldiers were set free by Indiraji in 1971 after indo pak war. But the Indians in Pak jails never returned. And Bangladesh formed out of sacrifice of Indian soldiers now infiltrate terror into Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
    MORAL: NEVER SHOW TOLERANCE TO DEVILS AND MAKE YOUR ‘BOUNDARIES’ SAFE AND STRONG.

  18. I have put my first post in blog, please read and give your valuable suggestions for improvement.:-)

  19. This is a complex topic for discussion on any forum whether Science or society or Religion/Philosophy.While you won’t find any texts forbidding or promoting Homosexuality,there are people who ‘interpret’ them to justify their positions/opinions on it![regardless of the position]. In Hinduism what isn’t good for society ‘is not spoken about’ .It is just accepted and allowed existence as long as it doesn’t impinge on others rights or liberties.People respects those who contribute to Society/community;while those who are parasitic are reviled or not respected! So regardless of a persons status [economic/academic/sexual orientation], this seems to hold good,in my Opinion.So you’ll find families who cast out their sons for their orientation,& those who take care of them.One’s orientation does not impact one’s Philosophical outlook in a Big Way,but it does impact on one’s social sphere,as this is a society that still cherishes marriage,Pregnancy & Child birth[not withstanding the child neglect that happens] ,family Life ,taking care of one’s parents & others who are indigent,etc. For every rule you can find an exception in all our spheres of life whether language,literature or education,polity or sexuality! In India Families are just waking up to this ‘third gender’ issue & homosexuality.Our laws are just a little ahead in only recently decriminalising Sexual orientation! It is very complex!

    • Macaulay Saheb keeps an eye on us. Soul is immortal, so is Macaulay Saheb.

    • The society’s negligence to third gender has creatd lots of problems. Most of them are forced into prostitutn, HIV-AIDS ,etc before british rule they were auspicious or good sign. Nw they are cönsidered curse.

    • @sitaji
      The society’s negligence to third gender has creatd lots of problems. Most of them are forced into prostitutn, HIV-AIDS ,etc before british rule they were auspicious or good sign. Nw they are cönsidered curse.
      Like Gypsies in Europe.

  20. Mitt Romney and the homosexual agenda.

  21. This is very useful information for us thanks for providing this type of in information i want to say that Bomdila is the headquarters of West Kameng district located at the height of 8500 ft above the sea level. It has a lot of attractions for the tourists with its cool climate, Apple orchards, artistic people, snow-capped Himalayan peaks and Buddhist Gompas. The Buddhist monastery of Bomdila is the repository of culture.. This place has a tourist lodge, a craft centre displaying local crafts and a shopping centre where the visitors gets first feel of the local version of Himalayan Buddhist life.
    Thanks Once again

  22. Why did the epic Mahabharata took pains to bring in two unorthodox characters to help out the good people, there got to be a larger implied meaning underlying the extra ordinary effort. Lets consider the example of Brihannala first. Brihannala was an avatar of none other than Arjuna who happens to be the dearest friend and sishya (disciple) of Sri Krishna. Arjuna had to take up a job in anonymity for one year during the years of Pandava exile. He becomes a transgender, which he can do so from a boon he acquired through his Tapas or some such thing. He turnss a palace dance teacher training princess uttara in his overt transgender form. Why did a famous hindu king accept a transgender man to be the dance teacher of a princess? Because it wasn’t out of the ordinary even in those days of Dwapara yuga. A second example is that of Shikandi which was already mentioned above, this transgender man helps Pandavas to defeat the great warrior knight Bhisma in kurukshetra war. In Mahabharata, thus, we have two illustrious examples who fought a righteous war to uphold dharma, both the transgender men performing under direct supervision of none other than sri Krishna. Tritiya Prakriti or third gender was mentioned in texts in recognition of the LGBT community. FF to contemporary hindu way of life. There are many transgender individuals who, though suffering from poverty and abuse, live openly their life style with specific reference to the sexual orientation. In other words from religion POV the third gender was never condemned, if at all some very famous epic characters were cast in their gender. Diverse personal opinions are aplenty, some hating and some applauding the LGBT. As above pointed out we can interpret the Sanskrit verses or even misquote them to serve our purposes, that’s different matter altogether. By scripture or by law LGBT were never shunned.

  23. ^^^^^ “By scripture or by law LGBT were never shunned.”we all know this about transgenders.but lesbian & gay sex acts are not even mentioned in hinduism. i don’t know in which scripture u found about lesbians & gays may be u read it in bhavishya puran hehe.

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