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.
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.
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.
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